Monday, September 29, 2003

Time for a rant!

Trying to get back into the blogging habit and there's always room for a good old rant!
I spend a lot of time reading stuff about young people and the statistics on sexual activity just really frightens me. Teens are having sex younger, they have distorted ideas about what is and isn't "sex" and our culture holds up sex as the ultimate form of expression. It's all about gettin' your jollies as we used to say.
Through all of this the church seems amazingly silent. When we do say something it's usually in a form that it guaranteed to turn off the hearing of the young people. Lot's of "Thou shalt nots" and talking about rules. Very little actual discussion of what a proper faithful response might look like, why we value such a response and what forms the basis of our belief. More often than not in the Episcopal church we don't talk about it all, or even worse bypass the discussion of sex for another donnybrook about sexuality. So let me make clear what I want us to do:

Separate sex from sexuality
We can actually do this because we are dealing with them as theological issues. This church needs to discuss how we "use" our sexuality no matter what it is. If we don't separate the issues we will continue to not speak clearly and our young people will continue to flounder in this arena.

Get Over It
It's time to stop being all squeamish about talking about sex. God gave us sex, it's a gift. It is a normal part of our functioning beginning with puberty. Sex is the single most discussed/thought about/spotlighted human activity in our current society. If we remain silent then our youth will believe that we don't have any trouble with the version of sex (cheap, disposable, totally recreational) that is presented in our culture. If it's a choice of our comfort level versus helping our young people and we choose our comfort we should be ashamed of ourselves. And new parents/ministers should be found for our kids. If we don't speak out THEN WE HAVE FAILED

Address the issues that we are strongest on
We can eliminate a lot of the squeamish factor by simply deciding that we don't need to educate our kids on how the plumbing works. The schools are better equipped to talk about equipment. The strength of the church is talking about how we use that equipment and why. I believe that explaining the why part may be the most important part.

We have no choice, we MUST enter into this discussion. We need to stop blushing and stuttering and look our young people in the eye. The subject needs to be faced squarely and explained clearly. The images of the culture must be confronted and exposed for the shallowness of life that they are. This is the prophetic voice calling to the world from the wilderness, this is the counter culture nature of Christianity demanding that we remember that we're not SUPPOSED to be in the mainstream, we're supposed to fight the power. Because it is a power that destroys and can kill. How we continue not to pick up the challenge and the burden? How much longer can we ignore the ministry we are called to do?


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Back in the saddle again...

It's been a long time between blogs I know! It has taken me weeks to even come close to getting a handle on all the stuff that backed up on me in my office. But I think I'm about there. My desk is starting to show through the piles again.

I do want to note here (as well as EVERYWHERE ELSE!) the change in our Youth Commission meeting time. As is well known Episcopalians (of all ages) don't really like change. On the whole we don't want to deal with it. So changing our meeting time from Tuesday nights to Sunday afternoons may seem a little radical. But more of our members (especially the youth) were having more and more trouble making the meetings. As I've noted elsewhere this is probably the busiest generation of teens in the history of the world. So YC discussed it and decided to make two (or three depending on how you look at it) changes.
1: We moved the meeting to Sunday. It was the only day that offered any improvement. No one wanted their Saturdays clogged up (more than they already are) so we ended up on Sunday.
2: We went to afternoon meetings. It's just easier to travel during daylight, especially during the winter. So meetings moved to 2 PM with dinner at 5:30 and hopefully everyone merrily on their way by 6.
3: We will now only meet every OTHER month (I know of at least one diocese where they only meet once a YEAR!). So the schedule goes September, November, January, March, May. We usually ended up not meeting in December anyway, February is a no fun travel month so we skip it.

These changes mean we also have to really get some work done during the meetings. Not just doing the agenda items but some of the committee work can be done then as well. It's an experiment, we've only committed to it for a year. I encourage everyone to give it a try. If you couldn't make it before now's the time to try. If you NEVER came before nows the time to try. Remember that youth commission is open to anyone High School age and over who is interested in the youth ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of WNY. Hope to see you there.