Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pulling up the rocks

Earlier today, at the suggestion of my four year old's kindergarten teacher, I took my daughter for a language screening at an early years centre. Braving the sleet and the snow and the slush and the wind in the streets, I rolled into a parking spot thinking firstly, I hope they made it, and secondly, if they did make it maybe no one else will be here and this won't take long. Hey I can dream, right? I was lucky to get in near the end of the line, at least a dozen dishevelled parents after me were turned down. But I'm happy to report after a long morning that my daughter and probably her younger brother will not need speech therapy. Woo hoo! That was music to my ears after just finishing 3-4 years of speech therapy with her older sisters.

But while we were waiting in a room full of preschoolers with one little table with one sought-after toy to the side of the room, what can I say, I had lots of time and no time at all, all at the same time, while everything became a toy. So, while trying to keep the stairs, the elevator buttons, the coffee machine, and everything in between from the groping little fingers of my little kids, I had occasion to notice pamphlets and condoms and rainbows and HPV pamphlets and rooms for at-risk youth and bulletins for hormonal suppression information night. Just about everywhere I looked it seemed, there was something to give me pause for thought.

And this is where it gets tricky, of course, because I understand that in secular minds and secular spaces, hey they're just thinking about health, most of the time with public health issues, I get that. But you know what I don't get, is why can't you just say to kids in a pamphlet, you know, it's a really good idea not to sleep around, but they never seem to say that, do they? And yet it's not inconsistent with the research that we have, is it, that this is a health and safety issue, much like drinking and driving. We seem to expect more from young people in other ways when it causes harm, and we let them know that choices have consequences, right? And separately, as much as I agree that it is a rights issue, that people who are gay should be treated as equal human beings, I'm not quite so convinced that it's as simple of an issue as everyone seems to want me to accept without question.

So interestingly, when I came home and turned on a lecture that I had stumbled across the previous evening, that challenged a lot of mainstream assumptions about homosexuality being genetic, unchanging, etc., and I was reminded of a fairly recent major study that suggested the same thing, that it's not genetic, or that genetics may play a fairly minor role...but I haven't heard much about that study in the mainstream media. Funny that. And I know as a pro-lifer that abortion affects women, but I never hear that admitted either, and I never hear it admitted that there is much scientific evidence that is consistent with an intelligence being behind creation. I never hear so much as a word in that direction. It's taboo, isn't it, to step outside our secular culture's assumptions and orthodoxies, and to think we thought we got rid of taboos at Woodstock.

But it reminded me of something I heard a caller on a morning radio show say some time back, that has stayed with me, because I think it sums up what the dominant culture thinks of social and theological conservatives like myself, that we avoid the evidence, in favour of our personal beliefs. He was much more pointed and well, a lot more rude in how he said it...but I was looking at that pamphlet and the lack of condoms available for the potential consequences of oral sex and the decisions that obviously very young people are making that could affect their health. Do we really know how hormone suppression therapies will affect young people down the road? Do we? 

I'm not trying to have the last word here, and I'm not trying to make definitive statements. I don't know enough to make definitive statements on much of anything here. I'm just asking questions and reflecting, while I'm thinking about a memory that I have of when I was a little girl. I was much afraid of creepy crawly things as a kid, but I remember that feeling. Do you remember that feeling, the excitement and nervousness of lifting up rocks, while knowing that there might be something wiggly and fascinating underneath? How often there was something wiggly and fascinating underneath.

I think the secular world is right sometimes, when it says that religious people are sometimes guilty of having a God that is too small, but I don't think we're alone. People pick through and file things according to their own beliefs, regardless of what those beliefs and presuppositions are, whether secular or religious, and they take what they take, and leave the uncomfortable.

With that said, I remember being out one night, and listening to a Christian speaker and he said something interesting. He said, if we lift up a rock as Christians and look underneath and something that's greater than God crawls out, then we really should worship that thing, shouldn't we? I can say that because I know as a Christian that we serve a very big God, and so I don't have to be afraid of what lies underneath. What do we have to fear, when our God is not the sun god or the moon dog, but the God of before the big bang, the author of all things. May I humbly suggest as a thoughtful Christian, that we overturn every rock for all to see, and maybe the secular world can join us, and we can have a really interesting discussion.

Thanks for listening,

M.A. Harvey

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