When Michael Johnston tells people he used to be a homosexual, they have trouble believing him. . . .Johnston, 39, is the president of Kerusso Ministries, a Virginia-based Christian organization that helps people leave the homosexual lifestyle.
-Lincoln Journal-Star, Jan. 14, 2000.
On the other side of the looking glass, in the Land of Mirror Images, Michael Johnston's twin brother, Bruno, makes a life-changing decision.
At age 39, he has lived a flamingly heterosexual lifestyle since puberty. He has delighted in the company of females who have delighted in his delight.
But one day during his regular reading of the Old Testament (piety runs in his family) he comes across a troubling story in the First Book of Samuel. It involves David-he who brought down Goliath with a slingshot-and his great good friend, Jonathan.
Bruno reads that "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (I Sam. 18:1).
Bruno reads that when Jonathan and David were alone, "they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded" (I Sam. 20:41).
And Bruno, wondering what "exceeded" means in this context, continues reading into the Second Book of Samuel to the point where Jonathan dies in battle and David tells his lifeless body that "thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women" (II Sam. 1:26).
Bruno sleeps fitfully that night. He awakes with the firm conviction that God is calling him to change his sexual orientation.
It is not a change he looks forward to, for Bruno has lived a flamingly heterosexual lifestyle since puberty and he has delighted in the company of females who have delighted in his delight.
But because piety runs in Bruno's family, he figures he must do God's will even when it goes against his natural inclinations. Anyone, Bruno figures, can do God's will when it coincides with one's natural inclinations. But to do God's will when it contradicts those inclinations, Bruno figures, is piety indeed.
So Bruno becomes a circuit rider on the Gay Lifestyle Circuit. Heterosexuals, he tells enthusiastic audiences, violate the Jonathan-David principle of same-sex love. And because that principle is part of Holy Writ, he says, heterosexuality violates God's plan.
"I myself used to be a heterosexual," he tells his cheering audience, "and I still struggle with heterosexual feelings even though I consider heterosexual acts to be ugly and repugnant. But we must extend our Christian love even to heterosexuals by getting them to renounce their sin lest they burn in hell."
When critics point out that Bruno is perhaps being overly selective in his reading of Holy Writ, he tells them that of course all scripture is divinely inspired but the Jonathan-David story is more divinely inspired than the others.
The Truth, Mainly
And at night when Bruno goes to bed-alone, because deep down in his vitals he cannot bring himself to practice what he preaches-he sleeps fitfully and is haunted by unspeakable dreams of unspeakably heterosexual acts in the company of delightful females delighted by Bruno's delight.
He awakes in the morning feeling ugly and repugnant. Despite his piety, Bruno is not wholly happy.
"Why, God," he asks, "despite my piety, am I not wholly happy?"
That night in the midst of a fitful sleep, Bruno gets his answer. It's in the form of a Divine Visitation in which God speaks directly to Bruno in King James English.
"Bruno," She says, "thou art a boob. Keepest thou up thine looniness, and I may punish thee in ways thou shalt never get over, even unto the end of time."
"Hah?" Bruno says.
"Knowest thou not that I, in My Omniscience and Omnipotence, hath created all humankind in My Own Image, yea, even thy poor self with thy ridiculous male plumbing? So why thinkest thou that I approve only one sexual orientation? As my man Walt Whitman sayeth, I am large; I contain multitudes. What thinkest thou of My creation skills that you should tell My creatures that some displease Me as I created them? What part of 'different strokes for different folks' dost thou understand not?"
"Hah?" Bruno says.
"Last chance," God says, beginning a Divine Fadeout. "Knocketh it off. Right now. Or findest thou Someone Else's creation to live in."
Bruno wakes up in a cold sweat. It is a troubling Divine Visitation but a salutary one. He knows what he must do. He calls a press conference.
"I have news from a High Source," he tells the assembled journalists from all corners of the Land of Mirror Images. "Listen up."
Lincoln English Professor Satterfield writes
to salvage clarity from his confusion.
His column appears on alternate Mondays.