Steve was born with severe Cerebral Palsy. At age 44 Steve has endured a life where control of body function is extremely difficult and speech is nonexistent. Yet, despite a life unprivileged with all that many people take for granted, Steve found acceptance and normalcy in the most unlikely of places… the local bar.
Steve’s father, a devout Pentecostal congregant drives Steve to the bar on Saturday night, and picks him up from the bar in the early morning hours when the bar closes. Despite a personal belief in a teaching that says Steve will spend an eternity in hell for drinking and carousing with sinners, the father knows that his son finds hope and joy in the midst of sinners, and desperately needs the feeling of being normal and accepted by others. In an atmosphere rife with drinking, smoking, lewd joking, immoral conversing and all manner of sinful behavior, Steve is included and accepted. On the streets of the small town where he lives, in an atmosphere of uncomfortable glances, weak smiles or obvious avoidance, Steve is excluded and rejected.
Steve’s father loves him and yearns for his happiness in the world around him, a world prone to dejection and social exclusion for someone like his son. Standing against the teaching of the church, Steve’s father ignores the doctrine of his beliefs because he loves his son.
When I consider this relationship I am reminded of Jesus defying the interpretation of Judaic law by healing on the Sabbath. There is no sin, but to not love.