"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Aren't teenagers wonderful?

In my current frame of mind ALL teenagers are vile, hormonal, defiant and foul-mouthed. The logic behind this is that the teenagers I taught on Friday morning were all those things and therefore all teenagers are.

Firstly you have to understand the language and recognise that all terms are used with a truculent voice tone.

"It's sham, that is!" means: "I'm really sorry, sir, but I don't think that's fair."

"That's gay, that is!" means: "I'm sorry sir, I don't like it."

"I wouldn't dare!" means: "I'm terribly sorry sir, I'd rather not."

Me: "O.K. folks, we need to go to assembly now."

Them: "Thats, sham, that is I wouldn't dare. Assemby is so gay!"

Then in to lessons:

One "young lady" told me very clearly and loudly - and once again just to be sure - exactly what I could do with myself in good anglo-saxon terms. (Good luck at church camp, by the way girl.)

Every child on that register - all 28 of them, aged 14 - has a statement of special educational needs and most have that need identified as "behavioural issues". Well that's fine and dandy then! It's kindergarten with added acne. An hour with the class from hell who have the collective concentration span of a gnat, (What's a gnat, sir?) and all the charm of salmonella. Still they remained in their seats, no one hit anyone - today - and most managed to write a good six lines of misspelt musings on why some people do and others don't believe in God.

"How do you spell paedophile, sir?"


"You know, paedophile vicars and that."

These are the least well informed children in the history of the universe and yet thay have managed to pick up on paedophile priests.

"Sir, what's a vicar?"

"Is the Pope a Christian, sir?"

"I'm a Christian, sir. I was baptised."

Do you believe in God, then?

"Don't be stupid."

Then in the afternoon - an oasis of calm and civility. Eight 17 year olds: bright, personable, witty and high achievers taking their first year of Advanced Level Religious Studies. We looked at the Philosophy of Religion starting with religion and science. How nice to be able to talk sensibly with keen minds about oscillating universes, quantum mechanics and Aquinas and the First Cause. Aren't ALL teenagers wonderful?


  1. I'm much more familiar with the students in the first class, having taught middle school for five years. I dreamed of having an advanced class of civil learners. You probably already know this one, but I highly recommend Belief In God In An Age Of Science by John Polkinghorne.

  2. "Is the Pope a Christian, sir?"

    This is quite a good question, isn't it? :-)