Tuesday, October 04, 2005

But Onan knew that the seed would not be his . . .

I imagine other homeschooling parents have well thought-out curricula for their children, complete with lesson plans, lectures, daily assignments, and weekly field trips. I suspect they would shrink in horror at our 'just winging it' approach, also known as, "Okay. What do you want to do today?" As I've mentioned before, we homeschool the lad because he was bored silly in 3rd Grade and the school wouldn't give him challenging material. Currently, he's reading To Kill a Mockingbird and studying grammar from Strunk and White, chemistry from Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide to Chemistry, and geometry from a book so dense it swallows thought. He hangs out with Karen in the office. Since she's online reading political blogs much of the day and Jake never stops asking questions (about one every two minutes), he's getting schooled in politics, government, and geography as well. He knows enough about current affairs to call our preznut an asswipe. Never did I think we would become the sort of homeschooling parents who teach their kid from the Bible . . . until now.
As a direct result of my evil atheistic wife's addiction to the Television without Pity Duggar Thread, Karen rediscovered the Brick Testament this morning. The Brick Testament pops up in the blogosphere every few weeks. In it, the Rev. Brendan Powell Smith has reduced much of the Old and New Testaments to a Lego extravaganza. I'd love to say the Brick Testament sparked in my son a burgeoning lust for spiritual knowledge. In fact, he noticed this picture of Lego Adam taking Lego Eve doggy style, and I guess the sight of it sparked a different kind of lust. On a more uplifting note, I can honestly say that my little atheist son spent the whole day reading Genesis. Really. I think Bible studies are important. Even if you're not a believer, the Old and New Testaments are part of our cultural heritage. Take a look at Bartlett's Quotations sometime -- check out how many pages are devoted to biblical quotes. I bet you'll recognize most of them, and in many cases you'll find yourself saying, "That's from the Bible?" So, yeah, this stuff is important. Unfortunately, Jake's newfound passion for Genesis meant Karen had to explain the concept of "spilling one's seed" to an almost-ten-year-old boy.
To her credit, she didn't say, "Ask your father." First she tried to explain masturbation to him; then she had to explain coitus interruptus. It took her a long time to explain this because she couldn't stop laughing. Jake says, "Mommy is seriously cracked." (He means she was cracking up.) Karen says, "At least I managed to avoid the whole topic of orgasm." By the way: contrary to popular belief, the Onan story is not a criticism of masturbation or coitus interruptus. God got cheesed because Onan violated the spirit of levirate marriage. Here's the deal: Onan's older brother Er died without children. By the laws of levirate marriage, Onan was obliged to take Er's wife Tamar as his own and impregnate her. Her children would be considered not Onan's, but Er's. That way, Er's bloodline would not die out. Tamar, however, was a babe. Yes, yes, I know you can't really tell that from the Brick Testament photo linked above. They fuzzed out all the good bits, so you'll have to take my word for it. Tamar was hot. Selfishly, Onan didn't want to get Tamar pregnant because he wanted to keep her as his love toy for as long as possible. If you remember that we Jews consider our children to be our afterlife (sort of), Onan's selfishness deprived Er of his immortality. That's why God iced him. I bet Karen hopes Jake gets back to Geometry tomorrow. D.


Anonymous fiveandfour said...

I love watching those little specials they do on the History channel on Biblical stories - did this really happen, is that the place that occurred? The Onan story was covered on one of those and I recall I hadn't thought much about it before then, but it's interesting to me how the meaning behind many (most?) Bible stories are usually more complex and with more layers than is generally discussed in Bible classes (aka "Sunday School"). But, due to the fact that there are so many people who need things explained to them in the simplest possible terms, complex stories with multiple meanings become instead "masturbation is a sin".

I agree that reading the Bible is important, even if your interest is merely cultural. I've been trying it with mixed success over the years, but have always been amazed at the number of stories and themes I've read and seen in fiction that were at a minimum inspired by Biblical stories.

10/05/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Oh, there's some pretty naughty stuff in the Bible. You may be in for explaining a few more things. :)

Homeschooling is something I envy you Americans. I was one of those bored kids who'd have done a lot better if my parents could have homeschooled me and only sent me to the Biology and Chemistry lessons (that teacher was great and made me love the subjects). Sure my parents did educate me outside school by answering questions, evoking my interest in things and all, but most of the time at school was such a waste. I even learned English by reading books and not by listening to that stupid teacher who looked at the girls' legs all the time.

Maybe, if there had been gameboys back in the 70ies ....

10/05/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

BTW, do you think this would qualify as coitus interruptus?

10/05/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hah! What part did that come from, Gabriele?

Fiveandfour: I wrote (and published, with an ezine) a spec fic story on King Saul's visit to the Witch of Endor. Saul is one of the most complex heroes (antiheroes?) of the Old Testament. Sadly, that whole zine is offline. I should post it over at my dshoffman.com website.

10/05/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

The Wilderness, God Kills 24.000 Israelites.

God must have been mightly pissed there. Obviously he didn't like that group sex thing with the Midianite women.

10/05/2005 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

I envy you being able to homeschool your kid. My daughter wouldn't be so bad, but my son? We'd be in a contest to see who killed the other first.

10/05/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Grrr. It's rough 95% of the time -- a constant struggle to get him to do his work and not goof off. That's one of the reasons I was impressed he spent all day reading Genesis. (And that sounds ever so much better than "Looking at Legos doing the nasty with each other", doesn't it?)

10/05/2005 04:14:00 PM  
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