Monday, September 14, 2009


The latest buzzword, apparently, in trendy sex-education circles is "pleasure". Some people who have been teaching the kiddies about the birds and the bees are becoming upset at all the negativity out there. Come on people! Lighten up! This is the post-sexual revolution world. It's supposed to be all about the fun you can have. Safely, of course.

Jansen and some of her colleagues visited the Toronto classrooms and tried to get a feel for what students knew, what they didn’t know, and moreover, what they wanted to know. The more workshops they conducted—she guesses they’ve done 12 to 15 so far—the more convinced they became that high school students are navigating a huge information gap, and that in many schools, the current sex ed curriculum is woefully inadequate. “Kids are taught to death about all the bad things that can happen to them if they have sex,” she says. “They’ve said, ‘We’ve heard about sexually transmitted infections, we know you can get pregnant, but we want to know about pleasure and we want to know about healthy relationships.’ ”

Now I am just wondering if anyone has explored the distinction to be made between "pleasure" and "happiness" and if anyone is asking if the one can tend to obstruct the other.

6. Q. Why did God make you?

A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

Here's a thought, maybe we, as a culture, have given up on happiness. Maybe the sexual revolution - the Divorce Wave, the severing of connections within families, the idea of people as disposable commodities, the nearly universal sense that we are all, really, essentially alone out there, like corks bobbing around on an immense and unconscious ocean - have left us collectively incapable of imaginging happiness.

When the Baltimore Catechism says we are made for happiness, what if we moderns cannot conceive of what that means. If God is offering us something we are constitutionally incapable of imagining, something for which our brains simply have no slots to receive, is it any wonder that we generally choose "pleasure" over it?

Perhaps we have had the capacity for belief in happiness, even earthly happiness in this life, the pursuit of natural goods (laying aside anything wildly weird like eternal beatitude) entirely beaten out of us. How many of the kids in these squelch-fest workshops come from single parent "families"? How many of them see their fathers more than once a month? How many of them have had to school their expressions to greet a succession of men coming out of mum's room in the mornings? How many of them have been separated from beloved grandparents because mummy and daddy aren't speaking, or because daddy's new family gets to go there for Christmas this year?

Pleasure is certainly a great deal easier than happiness in our world.

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