Sunday, June 01, 2008

the ironies of christian education II

The hierarchy of sins

Maybe this is not so much an irony as it is a weird fact.

In all vast christian subcultures there is an understood hierarchy of sins. Christian schools and campuses are certainly no exception.

All christians state something to the effect of all sins being equal. But our actions and christian subcultures say otherwise. Fine. So it goes.

For example: being a homosexual is a worse “sin” than being an obese gluttonous pastor milking widows out of their meager earnings. That list can go on and on.

Christian institutions, such as universities and schools, almost write in the hierarchy of sins within their student handbooks. Random, undocumented examples that I’m pulling out of my butt are as follows: students are not allowed to have sexual relations with each other outside of marriage, students are not allowed to drink alcohol on OR OFF campus, etc.

Back in the late eighties, my alumni university had an underground joke that went something like...our school is the only place that a guy will get kicked out of school for sleeping with a girl. But if a guy sleeps with a guy he’ll get counseling. That joke is tacky and probably inaccurate, but it embodied the gist of this university’s culture.

Maybe the student handbooks of these universities should go all the way: ban gossiping, gluttony, idolatry and so forth.


mike said...

the problem is in banning any human behavior that is basic to our nature and essentially what makes us human. sex for example, or the joys of consuming alcohol.

the problem isn't in the behaviors so much as it is in a deep misunderstanding of the nature of humanity. christianity, western american christianity is against the body. the western christian has uncritically embraced paul's neo-platonic body ethic.

if the church and christian educational institutions (that is an ironic turn of phrase in itself) would rethink their theory of the material and the body in specific their just might be less of a need to go around trying to police the things people do with their bodies.

what is more, and you have pointed this out with your comment about fat preachers, these institutions are inconsistent in their application of this manichean philosophy.

there is nothing wrong with sex or booze. both sex and booze are sources of relief and joy in what can be a very bleak existence. but the church needs to control people. it also needs something to be "agin" - it is a part of the psychopathy. you almost never hear sermons about what christians are for, but you can always find someone on TV or in the pulpit espousing the many dangers of the world.

just anecdotally i recall a study done many years ago of two sectors of society. both were christian. one believed that alcohol was an evil, the other embraced it as a gift. it was the group that saw alcohol as an evil that in the long run had more instances of alcohol addiction and abuse. the conclusion is obvious. when you withhold something from folks and teach them to fear it rather than enjoy it appropriately they will not know how to handle it.

my favorite quote regarding christians and sex: "sex is dirty and evil and sinful and you should save it for the one you love." how f****ed up of a message is that?

Agent B said...

The results of that study doesn't surprise me one bit.

For a religious town, Abilene seems to have a high alcohol problem. And we've only been wet since 1978...

And I know that teen pregnancy use to be real high here. I don't know what the current stats are.

I wonder why...

mike said...

teen pregnancy. ug. i used to be a speaker for Crisis Pregnancy Services in the Bay Area. of course I was an obvious choice given my training in rhetoric. i went into every school in the San Jose area and tried to convince a bunch of horny teens not to have sex. i had a real good little speech and all. i tag teamed with a woman from the CPS who had all the facts. my job was emotional manipulation.

the thing is, kids are horny. biologically they are ready to bread. such a waste of money. we should have been handing out condoms. Planned Parenthood would go in before us and talk about how they can have oral and jerk off and all that stuff and it was ok. i always felt conflicted knowing that there is nothing wrong with sex but the funding wasn't really about teen pregnancy but about kids having sex.

eventually i stopped being a shill for them. i tried to explain my reasoning and that i would continue if we could at least say that if they were going to have sex they should use protection. when i started ending my little talk with that recommendation i got black balled. just one more stab in the back from the church i guess.

kids are going to f***. they are biologically ready. you can't fight biology. i think Planned Parenthood is all F***** up, they tell kids that it is ok to kill babies. but at least they give out condoms. i think both sides are self deceived.

if you don't want girls getting pregnant then you need to work on the parents, not the kids. and even then you will still have teen mommas. then you need to have "good christians" willing to adopt and churches who won't make pregnant girls feel like dirty sinners. but the church doesn't car about pregnant teens. they just don't like the idea of kids having sex cause "the Lord" said it is bad. how F***ed up is that?

Agent B said...

biologically they are ready to bread

I agree. There are safer ways to knead dough.

mike said...

oh fuck me. that is what happens when you drink and comment.

nicely played agent be, nicely played.

of course, now you know you are on my "to shit on" list.