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Blind Chihuahua


More to religion
than pleasing
your imaginary friend

A priest
once got rid of the bats in his belfry
with holy water and a Catechism.

He baptized them,
confirmed them,

and they
never came back.

Churches want to be safe places for adults to raise their children. Which means that the only teenagers most of them want around are the safe teenagers, who show little tendency to express their adolescent rebellion against parental constraints by experimenting with Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll!

In other words, if you come, make sure it's to church, and stay a virgin in every other way. Unfortunately it's not that simple. When you're a teenager, finding a mate is part of finding yourself, and nowadays, that often involves more than an ethereal connection. Sometimes the quest for identity even involves some amateur tinkering with one's own neurochemistry. Most churches cop out at this point and send their prodigal teens away to take their chances. But in the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son, the father gives his son the resources that should sustain him. He sets his son up for his eventual return. By withholding the necessary resources — straight (and gay) talk about self-preservation and "safer" behaviors — most churches do the moral equivalent of sending their prodigals away to die.

At VCBC we think that reverence for life includes reverence for teenage lives. We remember the attitudes behind making love in high school, and realize that adults have a moral responsibility to help teens who choose to be sexually active take care of themselves, their partners, and their society. We also think that some aspects of sexuality are funny, especially the male mind.

What is not funny is the dilemma faced by those teens who are growing up gay in a world that tells them they can't be who they are and be good people. In our experience this is untrue — we have known gay people to be good Christians and good soldiers. If you or someone you care about is in this situation, you might want to check out PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). They have a number of resources, including the famous brochure Read This Before Coming Out to Your Parents. You may also want to check out the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. And for a little fun, try Dear Dr. Laura. Or even A Christian Kama Sutra.

And of course, everyone involved in youth ministry (whether or not they agree with VCBC) may benefit from the resources at YoungLife.

Finally, we note that so many churches want to be the People of God, already perfected, reaching out only to those who are blessed with conformity to some ideal. We maintain that we are all the People of God, with all our failures and imperfections, and that those of us who come to church do so to participate in a community of spiritual healing and growth. One way of reaching out to those within and without a congregation is through Stephen Ministry, a kind of lay ministry in which trained and supervised churchgoers visit those who need a little companionship in God's name on Life's journey. I can recommend it personally.

Oh well, as long as we are dispensing advice, see The Future of Our Past.

Here is a brief webguide:

Oi vay, sex, so much talking about it! Let's try somewhere else.
Once is one time too many.

When James B. Nelson wrote Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology, he did not imagine the current crisis regarding sexual and emotional abuse of parishoners (expecially children and teens) by ordained clergy and other representatives of the Church. Such abuse betrays a person's basic trust — in God, in the Clergy and the Church, in the world, in humanity, and even in the person's own self. This basic trust is essential for the development both of Love and of Faith. Thus, the abuser destroys what he or she is specifically called to build — a person's relationship with God. And the abuser selects his or her targets for virtues that can be exploited into vulnerabilities. Consider the case of a young person who can be trusted to sacrifice his or her own well-being rather than harm another. That's the kind of virtue you'd look for in a firefighter, a doctor, or a priest. But it is also the kind of virtue that an abuser exploits in order to keep from being caught. Trustworthy people are so because they value trust so highly — hence it hurts them all the more when they are betrayed. And our society colludes by creating a culture of subversion in which the breaking of a vow or a promise seems to have no consequences, as long as the one doing it espouses the proper ideology.

An Open Letter to Survivors
And then I had the Dream
When I Know Who I Am

Wizard of God
The Horror of Me
I Have Forgotten
The Human Experiment
Going Supernova

A Bankruptcy of Bishops

We call the Church to Repentance.