My NPR station out of Seattle was fading in the back shadow of the mountains. With more static than words (or classical music) I gave up and hit the seek button on the radio. It spun through the entire range of the dial and came to a very loud and clear Christian station. I’m not a fan of Christian radio although Denise still is. I hit the button again. It spun through the entire hertz of frequency and rested back on the Christian station just like shooing a seagull from your picnic table at the beach, only to have it circle high in the air and land right back were it was.
The radio was broadcasting a children’s program and it blared so loudly that it awaken everyone in the car . . . including me. The radio kids were singing sweetly and with great enthusiasm about Noah or Peter and the other fishermen. It reminded me of our countless road trips in our old blue VW van with the kids were young. We didn’t rely on Christian radio that much but we had a whole library of evangelical, kids-tapes that sounded the same. Focus on the Family put out volumes of such material.
The next segment of the radio program was title (can’t remember for sure) “Uncle Bob’s Question Time.” That sounded interesting.
At this point I’m going to recreate that program as best as I can remember. I will try to keep my commentary to a minimal as I don’t want to sound critical again like I just can’t help myself from deconstructing everything Evangelical. I will let the reader (if there are any) deconstruct this in their own minds. My only point, and it’s a personal one, is that sometimes I am amazed how far I have drifted from my Evangelical roots. I started to diverge twenty years ago with a failed missionary experience. But the process has been gradual. So, while listening to this Christian radio, first I felt a kinship, remember the old days with James Dobson and the Adventures in Odyssey. But then when Uncle Bob started talking, I felt like I reside in a parallel (maybe a perpendicular) universe.
Setting: Uncle Bob’s voice is one of those playful ones that’s a little over the top—somewhat like Pee Wee Herman’s in his Big Playhouse. This episode began with an introduction. While whimsical music played Bob’s voice said, “Welcome to Uncle Bob’s Question Time. Boys and Girls did you know that every question that you will ever have has an answer in God’s word?” The music then decrescendos into silence.
Uncle Bob: Today we have a letter from one of our listeners in Kansas City, named Coy. Coy asks, ‘Uncle Bob . . . my uncle Dave died from AIDs last year. Will I get to see him in Heaven?’”
(Oddly Uncle Bob continues but begins his answer with a chuckle in his voice. Why is he happy about the poor girl’s uncle dying? Okay, sorry, I said I would try not to do commentary.)
Uncle Bob: “Well Coy, that is a great question! You know Heaven is a wonderful place. There will be no tears, no suffering, no regrets, no sorrows and no grief. So you will not miss your uncle because then you will be in Heaven.
But let’s turn to God’s word." (He turns to a passage in Matthew 19:4:
Haven't you read, he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,'and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.'
You see, Jesus says that gay lifestyle is sin. You can not go to Heaven if you are in the gay lifestyle because Jesus says so. But you will not be sad about not seeing Dave when you are in Heaven because you will be with Jesus.
Also Coy, Dave would not be happy in Heaven anyway. In Heaven will only be people who love God and desire godliness. This will make people like Dave very uncomfortable.”
I didn’t notice that Ramsey and Amy, in the back seat, were wide awake and listening to this program. They immediately and simultaneously burst out laughing. I didn’t get the chance to ask them why because it is hard from me to hear them from the front driver’s seat when the car is loud.
So what is wrong with this? I really try not to be critical. There is so much in life that is wonderful and worthy to spend energy thinking about, so I have to learn to stay away from Christian radio. But sometimes, I forget how far I’ve diverged and I start tiptoeing back into the evangelical waters.
I know that I'm breaking my promise (about not deconstructing Uncle Bob) but I am left with a few questions. 1) Really Bob, the Bible has a very precise answer for every question? Then tell me who the were the Neanderthals and you are not allowed to use tangential meanings from obscure verses to answer that question? 2) Why does all knowing Uncle Bob assume that Dave died from AIDs because he was “practicing the gay lifestyle?” That’s a huge assumption (and they say, to “assume” is to make an ass out of u and me). 3) Okay, now assume (now I’m doing it) that Dave was, indeed gay. If we believe in a gospel where once we are saved, we are still not perfect, then how much gay sin discounts the entire gospel in that’s person’s life? This raises a very important question.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m sure (if he is like most Evangelicals) that Bob believes if George, a good Baptist minister, is caught bonking (is that a decent term?) one of the women in the church, does that sin of adultery nullify his entire conversion experience? I bet even uncle Bob would say no. So how does Dave having AIDs convince Bob that Dave had done something to pave his way to hell?
3) Lastly, so Bob is saying that Dave would RATHER experience hell’s fires for all eternity (and worse . . . separation from God) than be UNCOMFORTABLE around good Christian people in the glories of Heaven? I admit that we Christians are sometimes obnoxious, but that statement seems a little bizarre.
I just purchased a novel on CD so I can avoid radio for the rest of the trip and just enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the creative words of a great author.