I love to debate. It's probably a very unhealthy interest of mine, one that has gotten me in deep trouble in the past. When I get rolling, I can really steamroll you with my debate tricks and knack for finding loopholes in your arguments. Lately, I've tried to pull the reigns in, to consider that each heated debate detracts from the real mission: spreading the true definition of Love. And Love doesn't have to win.
However, many of these discussions have been about theology and with people who disagree with Catholic teachings. One teaching that I didn't always embrace, and therefore couldn't engage in debate about, was the Theology of the Body. Sure, I decided long ago to wait for my wedding night, to abstain, but that's all it was to me. It was a rule I had promised myself to follow and the other Catholic "rules" seemed unreasonable.
When the final cog settled into my system and the theories in Theology of the Body revealed themselves to me in their entirety ... BOOM! There it was! It was so true, so full and complete, just as it always had been, but as I could never recognize. I think I was hung up on the "don'ts," blocking me from seeing that it's really freedom from the muck the rest of the world uses to bait us.
This year I am one of about five teachers of Theology of the Body for Teens at my church. Tonight was the first meeting and ... let's just say, teachers outnumbered audience members. The youth minister tells us that October is a tough month for teens and that many kids expressed interest in the class.
Created for Love
My topic for this class was the idea that we were created for love. The entire course will weave this theme into each class, so my object was to relate it to something these kids could tie down and define. We're surrounded by sexual themes that call us to "Just Do It." "Size Matters," "That's what she said," ANYTHING involving Megan Fox...
The way the world talks about and portrays sex makes it glorious, magical, something impulsive, pain-free and conveniently detachable, in case silly things like emotion threaten to step in the way of pleasure.
I've heard sexually active friends approach sex saying, "It's natural," "It's a human act," "You just get over it (the pain, embarrassment, pick your burden)," "You can't let yourself get too emotionally involved, just move on," "We're animals, everybody does it."
Raise your hand if you draw relief from the "we're animals" take on sex. That's how we want to see ourselves? In the same vein, I brought up Twilight (I'm putting my pride on the chopping block here. Yes, I've read Twilight. Please, forgive me) and how Bella described Edward (the vampire, for those of you too cool for bad writing) as her drug. She spoke as if loving Edward wasn't her choice, she was a slave to the love she had for him.
How can you participate in love if you're a slave to it? If there's no choice and you're not even checking back on your own definition of love, how can you participate in love? Love is both a feeling and a choice that you commit to in the long run.
God has not changed the meaning of love. He embedded the signs into our very being, from the moment we're conceived and we develop into little XXs or XYs, our map to discovering love is penned.
Our job is to pick up that trail and we navigate it for a lifetime.
I'm excited to learn from the teens (the thralls and thralls of whom WILL show up eventually) and this class over the next year! I'll keep you updated.