Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why They Only Teach 3 R's

I'm not certain when the Holy Ghost got a makeover in America.

I do know most folks I meet these days are more inclined to say, "The Holy Spirit" so I suppose there was some point where many churches/religions gave up the Ghost so to speak.

My Real Live Pastor tells me that neither term is actually very accurate. In Greek the term k'numah is used while in Hebrew the word used when speaking about the Holy Spirit is ruah - both words translate to the wind or the very breath of God.

Apparently the push is on to spirit out the Holy Ghost in parts of England these days, at least according to a story which I read today from the "Press Association" - England's equivalent of the Associated Press. This was the opening line:

"Education bosses delayed plans to introduce new guidelines for religious education teachers which include warnings against using terms such as Holy Ghost - deemed too "trivial and spooky" for children."

The thought of "education bosses" sitting around making up rules for the study of religion does conjure up a rather unsightly image in my mind which was validated by the next line in the story:

"Under the guidelines, schools will also be advised to take school trips to churches only when they are full - as the sight of the empty buildings may make pupils believe Christianity is irrelevant."

Some of the other guidelines under consideration, according to a longer BBC version of the story I found include advising teachers to avoid terms such as the "body of Christ" and the "blood of Jesus" because Christians are not actually eating flesh and blood. Also when teaching kids about Judaism it's suggested teachers not refer to the first 39 books of the Bible as the Old Testament because that "suggests the books are out-of-date."

I'm torn by this story I suppose because they're actually teaching religion in schools in England which I think can be a good thing, but I also envision these committees trying to make things more palatable and or politically correct and I fear the inevitable homogenized result.

I'm no professional educator but it would seem to me that these concerns about impressionable kids not grasping why churches are empty on Tuesday afternoon or having their little noggins in a knot because people are not drinking actual blood could be alleviated rather easily.

How about we get a committee together to write a report advising teachers to explain to the kids why things are this

But maybe that's too spooky of a concept.