Controversy Brewing

Those who know me well might argue that if I didn’t *really* enjoy stirring up controversy, then I wouldn’t blog about controversial things. And they would be mostly right in that assessment. However, the backlash at the church where I currently serve as Director of Youth and Music — over the blog post immediately preceding this one — has left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Did I go too far? Since I am obviously biased, you, dear reader, will have to judge for yourself.

On one hand, I can see the point of view of those in my church that as a leader and role model of impressionable young teenagers, I should be careful about what I say in public (as blogs are entirely public). I agree with that. But I strongly disagree that simply using a clinically and scientifically accurate term like “masturbation” as a metaphor for a genuine and valid church malaise — because it’s a “social taboo” — is unacceptable on my personal blog. The blog directory on our church website clearly states:

The links below are to blogs belonging to various [church] members. Since the content on each blog is generated by it’s owner, the views expressed there don’t necessarily reflect the official positions of [our congregation] or the Presbyterian Church. We do hope, however, that they reflect the beautiful diversity of opinions found among us, as well as the love of Christ we share as a Christian community.

Yes, teenagers or parents might stumble across that link (which I have since removed), although my web stats monitor indicates that only six people have done so in the past three months. I hope visitors would take the time to read more than just the title. I don’t believe that even the youngest teenagers I work with are unfamiliar with the terms, the concepts referred to, or quite so inept as to not understand the point I was trying to make.

I admit that in the post, I made quite a few puns of a sexual nature. Parents who take issue with this should certainly then object to the fact that every American public high school teaches those same puns (and worse) to young students when they teach *anything* by William Shakespeare (of whom I’m definitely a fan). I also disagree with what would likely be the next argument: that church/religious/spiritual leaders should somehow be “above” or “better than” that kind of talk or innuendo. We’re people too.

But what perhaps annoys me the most is that in the entire time I’ve had this blog (four years as a church member, and two as a member of the church staff) — and in two hundred posts and twice as many comments — only once has another member of the church or staff ever taken the time to comment on the blog or engage with me (or its readers) in any sort of discussion, though obviously some read it.

If you’re one of these lurkers from my church, I officially invite you (and anybody else, too) to weigh in on this issue, and speak your objections (or your support) directly and publicly to me, via this blog, in addition to “behind me, around me, or to others.” Perhaps a little genuine, authentic dialogue would go a long way to breed understanding…

UPDATE: Soooo…. This post was written in a pretty hasty, reactionary moment. I decided (upon the advice of someone older and wiser than I) to take it down for awhile until things cool off. Which of course defeats the whole purpose of the last paragraph, but hey…you win some and you lose some.

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