Bible Studies

I hear Billy might get kicked out of school, Dr. Russo.

Hey, Xena, what’s with the ‘Dr. Russo’, suddenly? I’m still OK with you calling me Johnny – here in church at least.

Linda doesn’t like me using her dad’s first name.

What’s Linda got to do with it?

She’s my best friend, duh.

Well, Billy’s not going to get kicked out of school whatever you might have heard, Xena.

He trashed a lot of books in the school library, Dr. Russo. Apparently they are going to make him – or you, I guess – replace them all.

He only wrote a few lines on the title pages of those books, Xena. Those words can be pasted over. We are going to work that out with Mrs. Yossarian. Writing those screwball dedications was very foolish of Billy, but the school doesn’t need to buy new books and they can’t expel him for a harmless teenage prank.

Well anyway, he wrote some pretty weird stuff. Kids who didn’t even know we had a school library went in there to read all those authors’ desire for Mrs. Hornbacher. Somebody named Henry James wrote he couldn’t wait to get cozy between her . . .

You don’t have to repeat that, Xena.

Well, I didn’t know Billy could even write – or that he had a sense of humor that stretched beyond grabbing my ass every time I come over to your house. Linda has bashed him over the head with a lacrosse stick a couple of times, but it hasn’t helped. Ironic that a son of yours could be so horny.

He’s at a difficult stage in life, Xena.

Aren’t we all . . . but Mrs. Hornbacher has it in for him, Dr. Russo. First the wastebasket . . .

. . . which hasn’t been proven, Xena.

. . . and now making x-rated fun of her in those dedications.

Listen, Xena, you calling me Dr. Russo seems like a step backwards from the confidence we’ve built up in our bible studies together. Can I be Johnny again?

Sure, Dr. Russo . . . Johnny.

Thank you. And I will share a little secret with you, Xena. Mrs. Hornbacher’s unfair treatment of Billy is all about getting revenge on me.

Oh my God? On you? Why?

Well it just so happens that she and her husband did marriage counseling with me last year when Lillianne – Mrs. Hornbacher – was trying to get a divorce.

But Johnny, isn’t that, like, what do you call it, privileged information? Should you really be sharing that with me?

The counseling was court mandated. It’s in the public record.

But they’re still married, aren’t they?

As are most of my clients, Xena. You know my success rate. I just had to convince Lillianne that the extramarital affair she was having wasn’t going to lead anywhere because the guy she was involved with was taking her for a ride.

Eew. But that can’t be in the public record, Dr Russo – Johnny?

No, that’s between you and me, Xena. Lillanne was in deep with a married man who promised to run off with her to Bora Bora. Of course it was all a lie. I convinced Lillianne of that. It wasn’t the first time this guy had duped a naïve woman.

You’re going to tell me who this guy was too?

No, he’s someone we both know. It wouldn’t be ethical.


Yeah – mum’s the word. But now Mrs. Hornbacher blames me for keeping her trapped in a quote-unquote failed marriage. She can’t stand her husband, Herb. She’s in a double bind. Hates both her job and her spouse. She’s hammering on Billy just to get back at me.

Yuck, that’s so sick. And Billy is playing right into her hands.

Exactly. But time’s running out here. We need to cover this week’s assignment. Do you have any questions about John VI 16-19?

No, but I have a question about Genesis 3.

Xena, we’ve covered that topic so extensively in the past. You just can’t keep harping on that subject.

Yeah, I know, but it interests me. Adam and Eve were living shamelessly – free from guilt in a beautiful garden, right?


They were totally naked and made love like animals. All over the place, on the grass, in the water, even in the trees.

Xena, please curb your imagination. We don’t know anything about that – the bible doesn’t go into that kind of detail. We don’t even know if they had conjugal activity before eating the forbidden fruit.

Uh huh? But after the snake tricked Adam and Eve into eating the fruit God punished them so that they were ashamed of their own naked bodies.

No. When they ate the fruit they learned what was good and bad and knew they just couldn’t run around naked anymore. They got that knowledge from eating the fruit – not from God.

Sure Johnny, but the nakedness has to be about sex. Nothing else makes sense. The Garden of Eden had perfect tropical weather – like Hawaii or the Bahamas. You wouldn’t need clothes. It was then and there that God made sex something to hide and lust something to feel guilty about.

Except that God had already said, be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. How does that fit into your theory, Xena?

Yeah. Multiply. But what I am saying is that God forced us to become deceitful. That God told us to cover up the truth. Hide our feelings. Sex is as powerful as nuclear energy. It’s cooking in everyone all the time. But it’s also shameful, so we got to keep our thoughts hidden.

Xena, this is extremely off-topic. And you are sadly wrong thinking that sex is on everybody’s mind 24/7.

But Johnny, it is you who taught me about sexual coefficient scores and target ranges and all that stuff.

Only because you keep bugging me about a lot of off-topic subjects, Xena.

Isn’t it a fact that men think about sex every seven seconds and women every minute?

No, that’s a myth, Xena. We couldn’t lead normal lives if everyone went around thinking about sex all day.

Nevertheless, it’s okay to lie and cover up and hide your secret thoughts because that’s what everybody does.

It’s not about lying – it’s about respect and self control. That is what separates us from animals.

Well let’s just suppose you had the hots for me, Johnny?

Whoa, hold on there, young lady!

Do you have the hots for me, Johnny?

Xena! That’s absurd. And shocking. And here in the House of Our Lord, of all places. I’m appalled.

Of course, but my point is that your answer means exactly nothing. That’s what I’m getting at, Johnny. Because if you did, what do you call it, covet me, you would lie about it.

But I don’t what-do-you-call-it-covet you, so there’s nothing to lie about and you’re out of order.

Even if I’m not beautiful like your daughter, my pimples are drying up and I’m beginning to think I have a nice body. I have always hated my body, Johnny, but you’ve helped me to believe that I actually have a pretty sexy bod.

I’ve done nothing of the sort, Xena. I have never once commented on your figure. This conversation is totally off-limits and has to stop now. You are adventuring our years and years of valuable bible studies together.

Well, you told me to lay off the fries, which is the equivalent of saying I was fat. Don’t you think I look good now?

You look healthier. I suppose you are doing more sports in school.

No, Johnny. I don’t do sports. My femaleness is developing.

Well you should consider doing sports.

Haha, Johnny, I’m just gaming you. Had you sweating there for a while, didn’t I? Come on, I know how devoted you are to Mrs. Russo and I know you would never look at another woman, least of all a mousy teenager.

It’s not something you should joke about, Xena.

I just wanted to illustrate my point. People are always asking for transparency – transparency in politics and transparency in business. But transparency in sex . . . ?

Xena,this obsession of yours … are you having troubled thoughts? If you are having troubled thoughts, you should perhaps consult with someone about it. Do you have someone you can talk to?

I have you, Johnny.

No, you don’t have me for that, Xena. You have me to guide you in your understanding of Christianity. That’s a red line we must never transgress.

But Christianity has to have an answer to sex?

Christianity has an answer. It’s called marriage.

Well, that’s a big help, Johnny.

Xena, under the current circumstances, perhaps it’s a good idea that you continue addressing me as Doctor Russo.

Sure, Johnny – er, Dr. Russo.

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