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September 15, 2006

Comments

Laura

Your "kids" are lucky to have you.

Mermade

What Laura said! :-)

Jendi

Ditto! Blog crush alert.... I am doing anti-porn activist work right now, and I keep wishing the teen guys who heckle our protests and post hostile comments on our blog could have a pro-feminist male role model like Hugo. Because I get the sense that they are pumping each other up to act more macho and rude because it's the only way they know how to feel manly. Good job, Hugo, for being there for your boys and girls in a society where healthy gender role models are so hard to find.

Hugo

Thanks, folks; Jendi, I wish I could be at those protests and go have a word with these lads.

Rob

Hugo,

Thank you. I saw this almost as soon as it went up, but I needed to wait for this morning, when things were calm and I could read this with the concentration it deserved.

I wonder if a few of your readers won't get my jokes in the segment you quoted. I'm incredibly prudish about profanity on my blog -- for the longest time, I was reluctant to link to a local blog called "Grabass." There's also a running joke on my blog that all medical Internet searches eventually lead to porn. The joke may be too restrictive -- Nancy came across porn when she was searching for "Ukrainian Easter Eggs."

But thank you for this post. I envy your church's willingness to stand by you. I have no idea what my church would do now. Looking back at my past experiences at this church as a teen and at other churches in our denomination, I believe I have some reason for concern. But I don't really know. I may be doing a terrible disservice to them all.

Some of my problems involve my own issues. When I was a teen, I saw myself as intelligent and my actions toward my girlfriends based on my love for them. As an adult, I find that apologies to these same women (now some of my most important friends and, in once case, my wife) are insufficient. At times, I was a complete and utter jerk. Any ethic of sexuality for me must come to terms with humanity's predatory nature. And I'm not just thinking of men when I say that; the women in my life have left emotional scars on me as well from their selfishness.

Most of all, though, I see the middle school kids I work with facing questions I only had to deal with as a senior in high school. It's almost like everyone wants to pretend it's not a problem for these kids yet. "Just say 'no' and say no more" seems to be the message. That approach is nowhere near enough.

I was a paramedic too long. I'm used to charging in and solving any problem. But there's no protocols issued by a command physician for where I find myself now. The American Heart Association has detailed instructions for restarting a heart but no one gives a step-by-step for preventing broken hearts.

This will require some work.

Hugo

Rob, you have my admiration and my full support. You're right to realize that focusing on your own issues will make you more effective as a youth leader. Yes, we all are capable of being predatory and selfish. I'll put my track record from my late teens until my early thirties up against anyone's in that department. But I also know that with everything from therapy to 12 Step to, above all else, an opennness to the wonders of grace, change can happen. The past can get to be the past, and I can tap into it as an asset when needed -- while being a solid, loving, dependable, and transparent mentor to a lot of kids.

Carlos

Dr. Schwyzer, you write eloquently about having been with your kids through all of these heartaches around abortions, pregnancies, coming out. But besides a warm and comforting shoulder to cry on, what else do you offer? I know you are a loving and good man. But your love, as wonderful as it is, isn't going to change these kids lives. The Gospel does that, and you preach a lack-luster version of His message.

Hugo

Carlos, I've addressed that point in a post earlier this year: http://hugoboy.typepad.com/hugo_schwyzer/2006/02/we_had_a_very_s.html

Thanks for your kind words, in any case!

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