I deeply apologise for the lack of communication over the last week or so. Even this is not a post of any consequence, just an explanation of some of the things that have been going on.
Of course, the whole back to school thing changed the rhythm of Casa Schutz-Beaton. Add to this the start of new teaching rounds for Anima Education, and lots going on at the start of the year at work, and that would be enough. But two other things have kept me really busy.
First, I spent every spare moment of three or four days at the end of the week before last writing a very long letter to my 13 year old daughter on the topic of sexual ethics, including homosexuality and same-sex marriage. She has been watching a lot of TV and Internet programs in which gay issues arise and are dealt with under the category of “justice” and “tolerance”. So she thought her dad was particularly intolerant for not being in favour of these things as a life-style choice. I realised I was up against some hefty alternative sources of information and authority. There was a time when all parents needed to do was explain the birds and the bees to their kids, today that can almost be taken as read by the time they are 13 – but you have to explain a whole lot more. And all this just at the stage when they really are not ready to hear very long explanations. And there are not many short explanations to some of these things. On top of which, discussing the issue of homosexuality is also intertwined with marriage and divorce, contraception and abortion, IVF and surragocy, and a whole bunch of other things. So the only way I could decently do justice to any of these topics was by writing them all out as simply as I could. Sort of like giving the recipe for a very complicated cake. She read what became a 20,000 word essay in a matter of quarter of an hour! We are still talking through the issues raised, and she said that it has helped her form her own thinking – which still isn’t that of her father’s, but at least she now has some kind of basis on which to think about the issues.
The whole experience has gotten me thinking: why don’t we have a program on the Theology of the Body for pre- and early-teens? Early adulthood is way to late. We need an exciting and engaging program that parents can attend with their pre-adolescent children to work through these issues at an early stage, before their thinking is hijacked by Hollywood. It is the sort of thing that is beyond me, but surely we have someone out there who could do this? I would see it as a kind of adjunct to the sex education that is currently on offer. Something that really grounds them in an understanding of who they are as God’s creations in relation to themselves and others…
In the meantime, I am wondering whether the “big letter” might be something others might find useful for explaining things to their children. However, it was written to her personally, and I would need to (a) ask her permission for further publication and (b) do some editing and probably even further expansion first.
The other thing that has kept me very busy indeed is learning how to drive a new piece of technology. I am currently roadtesting a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet (Android). Other folk in the Archdiocese have been using ipads, but this is the first time we are testing out how an Android tablet might better serve the needs of the agency employees. I am a happy little guineapig, but any piece of new technology takes some getting used to. I can report so far that I am pleasantly surprised. It is quite a versatile instrument. The real limitations are the available apps – far less and less sophisticated than the ipad. Still, I have found most of the apps that I need without having to pay anything other than an upgrade for Docs to Go. The machine itself however is a far better deal than the ipad with a lot more versatility.
Anyway, that’s what I have been doing. I have been reading some great books too, the best of which is James L. Kugel’s “How to read the Bible”. I also attended the launch of Fr Brendan Purcell’s “From Big Bang to Big Mystery” which is also needing a good read. I will write about both books in due course. A break from reading Wright at least…