Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pass the aspirin please

Pondering stuff makes my head hurt, but sometimes, I do try to brave the pain and ponder anyway. It's sadistic, I know, buy hey...

I'm a catechist. I teach students the Catholic Faith as I promised to do, in a public profession of faith during Mass one fine day some time ago. Unfortunately, I take my vows to God seriously. So I try my best. I do enjoy teaching the Catholic faith, sharing it's great beauty and power, it's awesomeness in the fullest sense of the word. For many, it's the first time they have heard the faith articulated and presented without the caveats, the watering downs to cater to their level. It's one thing to have Divine Condescension but its another to constantly think of our young people as such blooming idiots with such sensitive minds that any objective truth claims such as the existence of God, the last Judgement and reality and permanence of Heaven and Hell and clear presentations of Catholic morality will drive them all away.

This should be the textbook we use (It's a really good book)

Ok, no more rants. It alleviates the pain in my head somewhat, but let's try to look at the situation objectively.

Kids these days are subjected to harrowing experiences in school. School is only bearable to them because of their friends. Most teachers don't take their job seriously and the haphazard and ill prepared classes bore the kids into the ground. That they're striving so hard to be Barney-like and preach not Christ Crucified but Buddy-Christ doesn't help either. (Nothing puts kids off so much as teachers trying their best to be groovy)

What the teacher wants to be

How the teacher sees himself (Groovy baby!)
How the class sees the teacher

The Jesus that is preached

Five days a week of mind-numbingly boring lessons, homework, tuition and even more homework, and come Sunday, they go into class rooms, sit in chairs in front of a teacher and a blackboard and the teacher starts to speak. Deja vu. Their eyes glaze over. Half the battle is lost. The Faith has become one more subject is a sea of others which the kids haven't the slightest interest in. That's the setting.

Now lets talk about the subject matter. I've always referred to catechism classes as a kind of inoculation. To innoculate someone against a disease, you vaccinate them by injecting a weak strain into their system and the body builds up anti-bodies and presto, when the real thing comes along, the body is immune and is able to fight off the disease. The weak strain of Catholicism, the watered down, milky and syrupy sweet pleasantries that are forced down their throats quickly immunize our young against true authentic and meaty Catholicism so that even when the real thing is taught, not only do we have to overcome the problem of the setting, we have to over power years of immunization and the internal resistance that has been built up and reinforced.

The substance of our teaching - watery gruel

On a good day, the gruel may be chunky (yummmm how appetizing), but it's still gruel

The meat of the Gospel

Is there any wonder then that our children are (for the most part, hopefully) theoretical theists but practical atheists? More on that some other time. I intend to muse some more on practical atheism, our duty as evangelists (it's GOOD NEWS!) and the failures and dangers of being a catechist. But, more on that later. I gotta go get some aspirin now. The pain of pondering is making me black out.