Random Rants, Raves and Ramblings

My missed career as a theologian.

“Should you really be putting this on Facebook?” asked Mr. R. Our youngest’s eyes spat disdain.
Mr. R. is a long-standing friend of mine and the man who introduced me to Louise. That made him something of the family’s wise uncle. He’s also 55 and this evidently disqualifies him from passing judgment over things only young people understand. Like Facebook, and what to put on it.
“Why, of course, it’s true isn’t it?” And if it is true, how could it be wrong to put it up on your Facebook page. The room’s aging contingent exchanged a meaningful shrug and moved on to the order of the day.
What our 14 year old had been putting on Facebook was the fact that she was madly in love and irrevocably engaged to a boy whose name escapes me for the moment. That was two weeks and half a century ago. The bleary-eyed little heap of misery dejectedly forcing down dinner is unrecognizable as the same person. With difficulty I resist asking her what her latest Facebook update says. One of these days I’ll have to point out that in the not too far future, some otherwise suitable man might look her up there and start counting.

It scares me. No species ever evolved with social media. It’s so radical that we can’t even extrapolate from anything that went before. Sure, proponents will say that youngsters will just learn how to deal with it like we dealt with the new media of our time, and they’ll become street-wise quicker than older generations. Yep. After all their embarrassing mistakes have been indelibly recorded. Yesterday I was leafing through a German magazine and bumped into something that made me do a double-take. A block of large print halfway down a sidebar declared that “Putzeys Liebe gilt Hifi, der Mathematik und der Theologie.” Say what?! The only thing I can imagine loving theology for is deconstructing it. As in “demolish”. I scanned the surrounding text hoping to find out what on earth had happened. Ah, here: “…(Stereoplay 6/2002) Putzeys plante damals seine Ingenieurskarriere an den Nagel zu hängen und Theologie zu studieren”.

It all came back. You ought to know I was a ripe 9 years old when I learned the truth about Santa Claus. It was, almost to the day, 20 years later when I learned the truth about God. That was in December 2002. I cried over Santa. I submit this in evidence that as a 29 year old I had become noticeably less naïve. But how on earth? Oh yes, that was it… I had been taken out to dinner by 5 of the editorial staff of Stereoplay in the late spring of 2002 and had somehow felt moved to confess that I was seriously considering studying theology. German lager is, after all, said to be quite good. It now seems inconceivable that I should have ever thought that someone looking for truths, much less ultimate ones, should see a theologian about it. How much can we expect of someone academically trained to believe 6 impossible things before breakfast and to talk their way out of it. Clearly though I used to hold a different view.

There was no Facebook then, but here we are, an embarassing past staring me in the face across 11 years and, it must be said, a loudspeaker review of which the remainder made me very happy indeed.

Allow me to propose a new kind of internet. One with an isolated www for kids to be young and put pictures of their bums up in. And when they grow up (say at the age of 30) they can decide whether to migrate their online legacy to the Real Web or not. If they don’t it should be wiped out beyond recovery, forgiven and forgotten.

Likewise I hope that people don't judge my wisdom today by my wisdom more than a decade ago. That does not, of course, include whatever moved me to post this on my blog.

Thursday 18 April 2013