Saturday, 3 December 2016

School R.E. a question for today

Fine weather for a drive to Kenilworth yesterday morning, arriving just in time for lunch, and some catch-up time with Kath and Anto. I'm here for the weekend to look after Rhiannon, while Mum and Dad go down to Bournemouth for a couple of Sunday performances of their show 'The Colour of Me'. leaving me to provide meals and keep an interested eye on my delightful 12 year old grand-daughter. 

Last night we walked out together to Kenilworth old town, where the Christmas lights were switched on with the arrival of Santa's sleigh, not to mention the local police paddy wagon. There were several stalls selling mulled wine and snacks, and the shops up the old High Street were open late. The most unusual feature was a roadside enclosure where a man had his collection of ferrets on show, and he was running ferret races through long sections of drainpipe. A ferret handling photo opportunity for some, sheer mystery to others.  

Rhiannon is at the age where she likes spending lots of time in her bedroom, communicating with her friends on social media, and listening to music on her dad's old iPhone, but she enjoys meals together, even breakfast/ After lunch today, we walked into town together, then she went off to meet a friend at a coffee shop, and I sent to a greengrocer's shop to get some garlic. She returned at sunset, and went back to her room, while I cooked supper, which we ate together.

She was asked to do Religious Education homework on the question 'Why are you a Christian?' but was left to her own devices to interpret it and respond. I'm not sure if this question was meant to be addressed to a third party, or to herself. There are so many ways in which it could be answered. I offered her a few ideas about possible approaches, but I felt she was rather bemused by the question.

Maybe in this middle class area of middle England with a couple of local church primary schools, more than the national average of two out of ten people are baptized, as opposed the average of seven out of ten when I was born. What is the common understanding of 'Christian' as an adjective these days? Someone baptized? Someone who attends church? Someone who adheres to a certain established moral code and conventions of moral behaviour, but isn't necessarily baptised or a churchgoer? It seems that children have been introduced to other religions in the classroom. 

This is predominantly a 'white highlands' area, although multi-cultural Coventry is only a few miles away, so there may only be a small minority of people of different faiths attending school. It's right and proper to introuduce pluralism and cultural diversity. Hopefully it won't be at the expense of the historic legacy of religious faith which has shaped British society and our entire environment over the past two millennia.

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