Mar 18, 2017

Naked Nazarene: The Catholic Bear's Bulge

When I was a kid, the Nazarene church taught us to:

1. Pity "heathens," the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims who hadn't heard the Gospel.

2. Be suspicious of "liberal so-called Christians," the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists.

3. Run in terror from Roman Catholics.  They drank, went to movies, and worshipped idols. Their Pope was the anti-Christ. They were probably demon-possessed.  We weren't supposed to make friends with them, set foot in one of their churches, or even walk on the sidewalk outside one of their houses, lest we be corrupted.

I left the Nazarene church around my freshman year of college, but my parents, brother, and sister are still active.

Ken is actually more devout than when we were kids.  He's ok with gay people, but he doesn't go to movies or the theater, doesn't shop or work on Sunday, and doesn't go to restaurants or stores with alcohol on sale.

He married in 1981, and had four kids.  Then his wife died, and he married a woman who had three kids of her own, plus an elderly mother.  Ten people, four dogs, two cats, and a parrot all living together in a big, rambling house downtown.

Most of Ken's kids turned out less devoutly Nazarene than their parents.

The oldest spent time in prison for aggravated assault.

The second sang in a punk rock band.

The fourth got pregnant while still in high school.

But somehow the third, Katie, turned into a ultra-devout "Suzie Nazarene."

In high school, she was president of the NYPS and a delegate to the International Institute.

She enrolled at Olivet, the Nazarene college on the prairie, where girls generally majored in becoming a preacher's wife.

I wasn't out to her.  Fundamentalists insist on a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.  When I brought Lane or Yuri over for Christmas or a summer holiday, we stayed closeted.

We weren't close.  I didn't visit Rock Island much after my parents moved to Indiana in 1995, just brief Christmas visits, and after 2000, I didn't visit at all.  I sent her a birthday card with a check in it every year.

In the spring of 2008, when I was living in Dayton, I got a wedding announcement in the mail.  I almost threw it out.  I usually boycott heterosexual weddings."


Then I saw that it was being held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Kankakee, Illinois.

Katie was marrying a Roman Catholic boy named Steve!

I had to see this!  How would my Nazarene relatives react?  Would they grit their teeth and go into a Catholic church?  Would they wait outside?  Would they disown Katie and refuse to talk to her again?

The uncensored story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. The Nazarenes weren't particularly antisemitic. Jews needed to accept Jesus, but otherwise they were ok. It was the Catholics who were the epitome of evil.

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