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Be Kind -- Religious Education Notes for December, 2018

When I meet new people, they often ask me what I do for a living. When I tell them that I’m a liberal religious educator, I usually get blank looks. When I tell them that I am a Director of Religious Education, I usually get vague nods and politely raised eyebrows. In an attempt to capture the spirit of what I do, I often quip that I teach kids not to be jerks. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

There’s a hint of cynicism in that, though, and at times it bothers me. There’s an old philosophical argument about whether or not humans are born “bad” and then
conditioned by society to be “good,” or if it’s the other way around.

When I tell people that I’ve dedicated my life to teaching kids not to be jerks, I’ve already assigned myself to one side of that argument and, oddly enough, not the one I actually agree with. I believe in the innate goodness of humanity and that anyone can do good things if given the opportunity. So why this difficulty in explaining what I do? Why do I use laconic humor instead of loquacious excitement?

I think we tend to view long explanations as a negative. As UUs, this is especially true, as we struggle to express what our faith is as opposed to what it is not. We try to find our “elevator speech,” a short, easy way to explain the most complex of our feelings and beliefs.

A much beloved volunteer recently handed me a short comic strip called Pearls Before Swine. There are four panels. In the first one, a goat character explains to pig that he’s written 100 pages of an essay trying to summarize the world’s religions. The second panel shows the pig take the goat’s paper and write something on it. The third panel simply says, “Be kind.” The last panel shows goat saying, “Now I feel wordy.”

So, remember not to over complicate things. I teach children to be kind. Your faith implores you to be kind. It doesn’t matter how we start out, “good” or “bad,” as long as we strive to be kind.

In Fellowship,
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Director of Religious Education

 

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