Yesterday was my last day teaching UU Sunday school. I'd volunteered to cover the "helping others" unit. The curriculum material got tossed immediately. Have two students hold a third in their arms so they can understand what it's like to be oppressed? They're middleschoolers. They understand oppression. From both sides in a few cases. The prepared lecture was heavy on "Some people and countries are richer than others. This is a Bad Thing and should be stopped." I pulled together some appropriate parables and other Bible references with help from celticdragonfly
and made up a rough outline to guide me. Only had three students show up, usually it's more than a dozen, but it made for a more intimate discussion.
I started with the current church charity goal, the Heifer Project
, to illustrate how you can't just help people at random, it has to be useful. The boys came up with what a family had to have to make use of the heifer--fodder, land, knowledge of what the animal needs, and enough healthy people to do the labor to take care of it. I also pointed out that they needed to be secure in their ownership of the heifer or there'd be no incentive to work hard. From there we went to a comparison of poverty in India and America, how Bill Gates became the richest man in the world ("Is that fair?" "No!" they all said. Good UU kids.), what charities he's supporting, how North America went from much poorer than India a thousand years ago to much richer now, and the moral significance of giving charity proportional to your resources. I don't know how much of it took, but I mostly held their attention and got across the points I wanted to make--charity has to be useful, not just for show, hard work has to be rewarded, and wealth is created, not just redistributed.
Then I let my fellow teacher and the RE director know I was quitting. It's not just the teaching, though trying to work with that curriculum is frustrating and I hate teaching conscripts. Usually I'm teaching professionals who want to drag as much information as possible out of me. I haven't gotten political flack at the church though that's mostly from keeping a low profile. The negatives haven't been as bad as I'd feared but that's just rubbing in the lack of positives. There's not much interest in spirituality at this church. Sometimes even worse is the lack of interest in doing things well. The classic example is whenever a gospel song comes up as a hymn. Most of the congregation will start clapping, whether they have any sense of rhythm or not, so the song's so badly screwed up that it's painful for celticdragonfly
to listen to it. Other parts of the service tend to be much more "well, I'm here to check this box" than "done well for the Glory of God." One of the things we wanted from joining the church was to have a source of guidance for our kids, figuring we'd have an easier time countering the PC junk here than a theology we don't agree with. But if they're going to teach "it doesn't matter if you do a good job or not, just do something and we'll all praise you" I don't want them inflicting that on our kids. Things worth doing
are worth doing well
Not that we're swearing to never darken their door again, we're just looking for other options. Well, celticdragonfly
is looking for options while I watch the kids. But sometimes it seems like we won't fit in anywhere. Sigh.
Speaking of doing things well--we went to see The Incredibles
last night. Whee. Great stuff. I loved it. A bit intense for Maggie I think but she didn't complain. There was one moment that truly horrified me--the wide shot of Bob's cubicle farm spreading horizon to horizon. My windowless matrix is about the same except they use a slightly lighter shade of grey. Or maybe that's the lighting. Yeah, I felt for him wanting to get out of there.
Oh, they had the new Star Wars trailer. "Yes . . . I can feel the nerd rising inside you."
I want to see it . . . I've actually skipped #2 up to now even though the glimpses I've had of the battle scenes looked cool. But the battle scenes in this one I think I want to see on the big screen.