Tag Archives: the abstinence teacher

the abstinence teacher

The Abstinence Teacher, by Tom Perrotta

straight to the point: this book was a disappointment.

i actually enjoy reading mainstream books that talk about christians. there’s an almost voyeuristic fascination with finding out how we’ll be portrayed. i’m often quite pleased with the depiction. a great example of this from my fairly recent reading was the young adult fiction book evolution, me, and other freaks of nature, which (like this book) takes place in a public high school and revolves (at least partially) around a conservative church’s efforts to pressure the school into their belief set. but, in freaks of nature, there were at least some of the christian characters who were portrayed in three dimmensions. another was the year of living biblically , which — i thought — was very generous and gracious, even while having some fun with the extremist tendencies of some christians.

the abstinence teacher centers on the story of a liberal sex ed teacher who is forced to teach an abstinence curriculum she abhors, as a result of the pressure of a somewhat fundamentalist church lobbying the school board. a second key character is a reformed druggie who is a recent convert to this church, and the soccer coach of the central character’s daughter.

problem is: the christians in the story are seriously two-dimensional. every single one of them is an idiot. well, that’s not quite true: the soccer coach is a two-dimensional jerk until he starts to lose his faith — then he becomes a fully-developed character.

i know there are idiots in christianity. i know there are churches who do the things portrayed in this book. but the book lacked because the author wasn’t willing to make any of the christians with a mix of good motives and bad behavior.

bummer. could have been such a better book with a bit more complexity.

monday morning update

the weekend that was: nice weekend. friday night was mostly chill — helping jeannie get ready for the spiritual retreat she was leading the next day, and a few other odds and ends. saturday was jobs around the house, and i took max and a friend to see madagascar 2 (funny!). in the evening, i got caught up with jeannie about her retreat. wrote a magazine article and a book endorsement. then, when she went to bed early, i went with a buddy to see quantum of solace (wow!). didn’t set an alarm for sunday morning, and slept in way later than i ever do: 10:30. which meant i wasn’t going to make it to church. dinked around the house until friends came over to watch the frustrating loss of the chargers at the hands of the steelers. it was 87 degrees here, and funny to see them playing in snow. that’s gotta be a little shocking to our sunny climate chargers. in the evening, we had a great home church — deep sharing about why we’re meeting and where we want to head. oh, and i’ve been working on dropping a few pounds this week — lost 6 so far.

where i am at the moment: at the office for a couple days before leaving for the nashville nywc. actually, i’m at cosmo’s, my local coffee shop, in the mornings, working on writing middle school ministry. then i take the trolley to work for the rest of the day.

on my to-do list this week: nashville nywc, baby! my days in the office until then are all about getting ready, really.

procrastinating about: hmm, nothing strikes me this week.

book i’m in the midst of: finished dave livermore’s upcoming cultural intelligence (feb 09 release), and started reading the abstinence teacher on my kindle.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: my friend bob gifted me some cool itunes music by a band called styrofoam. cool stuff.

next trip: nashville, wednesday through next tuesday.

how i’m feeling about this week: pumped!