Tag Archives: Bible

Little Foxes

12 Apr

Hubba, hubba! Who dat bathing over there?

Little Foxes

By L. Stewart Marsden

Solomon 2:15 (KJV)
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

I’ve both thought for others and said of my own situations when tragedy strikes, “Well, that puts things into perspective.”

Things like the death of a loved one. Sudden illness. An unexpected downturn, like loss of job or worse.

As a result, for a while — longer or shorter as the case may be — I’m back in the doldrums of daily existence. I should know better.

Solomon, to give you unchurched a little background (how haughty was that comment?), was the first legitimate offspring of King David and Bathsheba. If you have heard Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (and if you haven’t, you need to get out more), they are the subject of at least one of his lines in the song*:

Your faith was strong, but you needed proof,
You saw her bathing on the roof (BATH-she-ba … get it? Moses definitively had a sense of humor/irony).
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya …

I digress.

Anyway, David and Bathsheba hook up, and, because they didn’t have a local Family Planning Clinic in Jerusalem at the time and sheep intestines were not yet being used for protection, she got pregnant. The seed of David was strong.

“King David …I have good news and I have bad news.”

“I’ll take Good News for $200, Alex.”

“I’m preggers.”

“Great! Wait! What?” (David was also smart, but Michelangelo couldn’t quite convey that in the statue).

Soooo, because David had not heeded the long-time tradition of going off to war in the spring, and all of that moonlight and beauty stuff had knocked him slightly askew (excuses, excuses), he set to figuring out a remedy for this wonderful, yet not-so-wonderful situation. Again, had Family Planning been around, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Now Uriah was Bathsheba’s husband, and he was out standing in the field of battle (literally), fighting David’s war. Must have been a pretty high-ranking officer, as his house was within spyglass distance of the palace. David had him brought home for some R&R, thinking that Uriah and Bathsheba would get it on, and, voilà! No more problem! Sure, Bathsheba would have to lie about the paternity of the baby, but in the long run, David’s position involved in far more important stuff to worry about, what did he care about that? (I think this story is dog-ear marked in Willie C’s Bible — but don’t quote me, please).

Uriah comes home and David invites him to eat and drink (from the private wine collection) until he’s pretty sure Uriah doesn’t know which end is up.

“Go home and make puppies with Bathsheba,” he commands.

BUT, (perhaps this is a small fox?), Uriah goes to his house and sleeps outside the gate (a gated community) instead of insulting his men who were sleeping on the ground at the battle site and going in for a luxurious night’s — well.

So Bathsheba texted David: “LOL! Uriah slept outside the gate last night! We are in deep doo-doo!”

Once again David wines and dines Uriah, and urges him to “Go home, Bro’! Have a roll in the hay with your wife!”

Once again Uriah staggers home and makes a rock on the ground his pillow for the night.

Frustrated, (those damn foxes), David sends Uriah back to the battlefield with written orders to have him placed at the front of the lines, charge the enemy, and then suddenly retreat, leaving the hapless Uriah standing by himself when the enemy swarms.

See, now I might have taken a peek at those written orders. Not Uriah. Stalwart to the last. “Here you go, Colonel! The King’s orders!”

NOW David has TWO little foxes to deal with: Bathsheba, who is preggers with royal semen (no, not the Navy); and now an indirect murder.

Probable cause.

Nathan the prophet has a direct line to God, who leaks the information to him about what’s going on with David. And just like a CBS reporter, he storms the royal press conference and asks the question, “Is it true you’ve quit banging Bathsheba after Uriah took a hit on the battlefield?”

No good answer in hand, David is more than ferkempht.

Karma prevailed, and the bastard son died. Didn’t need Family Planning after all. Which David was glad about because that would have been one more fox in the vineyard to take care of.

Nathan tells David: “Remember that temple you wanted to build? Ain’t gonna happen. Wouldn’t be prudent. You will have another son by Bathsheba. He will build it, and they will come.” Or something like that. I’m not a Presbyterian in my Biblical interpretation. More of a combination Methodist/Unitarian.


So another window of opportunity was open, albeit not quite what David was expecting.

Pretty heady stuff.

But, I digress again.

For me little foxes are the things that irk me. And I know I should be able to get over them. But as I improve with age like a fine wine, those little buggers take up a lot of my mental/emotional space.

Like, people who get the usage of there, their and they’re mixed up on Facebook. Or, to, too and two. Or when news reporters (local AND especially national) say, “The victim is in stable condition.” (Search my website for that blog. I won’t repeat it here — suffice it to say stable is not a medical condition according to HIPAA).

Like, people (and you KNOW who you are!) who pour a glass of filtered water from the Brita water jug, and don’t refill it.

Like people (and you KNOW who you are!) who order a nice steak well done, and then cover it with A-1!

I could go on ad nausea.

These are minutia, and should easily roll off my backside, especially with my perspective of very serious stuff (I’m old enough to have a list of those that have happened).

It’s not really OCD. It’s the little foxes, nibbling constantly on the vines of my life.

The metaphor is actually the reverse of how I’m using it here. It really means take care of the little things in life so you don’t end up with a field of withered grape vines. But I’m the author, and I’ll decide how to use it. If I took that stance, I’d be Biblically correct. But because I know too many who are “Biblically correct,” and how that plays out, then I’m satisfied to be incorrect.

Gnashing of teeth. I hear gnashing of teeth.



*I first heard the tune in Disney’s Shrek, and then was under the impression Jeff Buckley was its composer. Wish I had known about Cohen years ago — but I didn’t. Oh, Cohen mixed his metaphors (that’s what metas are for) with Sampson and Delilah (She tied you to her kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair). I’m pretty sure God is okay with that. AND, Hallelujah is NOT a Christian song! Kind of like George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord is not a Christian song, or Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog is not in the United Methodist Hymnal. But, these, too, are little foxes.

Chick-fil-A: Or, Just Why Did That Chicken Cross the Road?

3 Aug

Chick-fil-A: Or, Just Why Did That Chicken Cross the Road?
by L. Stewart Marsden

I don’t pretend to have an answer to the controversy over Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, and his statements regarding same-sex marriage. Initially I wasn’t sure whether or not the heated headlines reflected him correctly, and were inferring far more. But, after reading a few articles, no — pretty much accurate.

The issue for me is what I believe and my rights to express those beliefs.

My dad and I once had a discussion about burning the American flag in protest. Surprisingly, we were on opposite sides of the issue. Dad, who had earned his law degree at George Washington University after the war, held that while he might not agree with the expression and the sentiment, he would ultimately uphold a person’s right to burn the flag in protest. First Amendment. Me? I was more like the Queen of Hearts: “Off with their heads!”

You may not agree with me, nor I with you, but we each should agree to our right to express those sentiments.

I think that’s a big pill to swallow.

And by expression, I mean written, verbally, or through peaceful demonstration.

I believe in Dan Cathy’s view on marriage. I suppose it’s what I do with that belief that can land me in a hotbed of controversy, or in an intelligent exchange of beliefs. I prefer the latter. My belief, expressed or not, still puts me in uncomfortable situations.

For example, my wife’s cousin is married, and the two women recently became parents through artificial insemination. I wonder about a host of questions regarding not only the couple, but their child. Do I think they are incapable of raising a child? No. How should I behave towards them and their child? With animosity?

In North Carolina, the state recently voted on Amendment One — regarding same-sex marriage. Uncomfortably, I voted against the amendment, because I felt that a host of legal expectations were going to be denied same-sex couples.

Again, I do not believe that the Bible supports same-sex couples.

So, here was a quandary that put me at odds with the majority of Christians in my community. Even with Billy Graham!

WWJD? Well, I’m not really sure. I think He would deal with the human issues, not the political. The woman at the well was clearly in violation of marriage by having many husbands, and by sleeping with someone who was not her husband. Yet, his approach was to offer her living water. No, not bottled in a plastic bottle.

His final instructions? Go and sin no more.

Perhaps we should each take that instruction to heart for ourselves, regardless of our deeply-rooted beliefs or positions.

This is a hard thing, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m sixty-two, and one year older at the end of this November. As I grow older, I realize just how much I don’t know. It’s massive. Colossal. Gargantuan. In the movie “Rudy” a priest who counsels the main character after a set-back, has this to offer in response to the question why God does what He does:

“There are two things I know. One, there is a God. Two, I’m not Him.”

So, I agree with Mr. Cathy’s right to express his beliefs. And, I support your right to either agree or disagree with his position, including not eating those delicious chicken fillet sandwiches.

Bon, or Non Appetite!

For Such a Time

21 Apr

For Such a Time
by L. Stewart Marsden

Asma, Asma!
who knoweth whether
the centuries together
have brought you to this time?

For long ago
So it is told
Your sister in a legend old
came boldly forth by design

To plead her case
To Xerxes strong,
Unravel nooses strung in wrong
Awaiting to be sprung.

Asma, Asma!
Your Bashar do approach
And dare to reproach
All the killing he has done!

Asma, Asma!
Does the blood not cry
Like old Mordecai
Pleading for respite?

Asma, Asma!
Are you so locked in fear
You no longer hear
The terrors of the night?

You knoweth inside,
You can no longer hide
Or look off to one side
Ignoring what is true . . .

Asma, Asma!
There is another choice —
A clarion voice —
And that voice is you.

Day 21
of the National Poetry Month challenge to write a poem a day for thirty days.

Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was born and educated in the United Kingdom, where she earned her BS in computer science and studied French literature. Attractive, well-educated, she is in a unique position to influence her husband for right, much as the Biblical heroine, Esther, was. The question is: will she?