July-August Updates + Follow-up on that Dorm Story

July-August Updates + Follow-up on that Dorm Story August 10, 2022

Been awhile, huh? Sheesh, Jen.  Okay, here’s what’s been going on since I last updated here:

  • I drove up to Ohio to tape my conversion story with The Journey Home. Reminder that most (but not all, see below) of my Jesus-blogging has moved over to the substack.  I don’t link backward from there to here, because the ‘stack is there to create a no-politics zone for those who don’t love debates. But if you’re a longtime reader here, definitely subscribe (it’s free) over there.
  • It went great! I’m still waiting to hear when the episode will air. Sometime this fall, I assume.
  • Then I fled covid, took care of a very sick child with the flu, acquired a mild version of same, and enjoyed a couple weeks of crushing fatigue afterwards because that’s how it goes with me, yay.  Also sent two kids away to school, one to school locally, and made room for our eldest who is in between homes. Those notes and my thoughts on the Prodigal Father are here.
  • And guys, let me tell you: Crushing fatigue brings in its baggage an extreme temptation to despair. That’s just the way it works. You despair because of things like it taking over a week just to get up the energy to pose for a new headshot, because it involves feats of endurance like taking a shower and then styling one’s hair and then standing around posing for like almost ten minutes.  (But we got there and I think my kid did a pretty good job!)
  • So here’s my pep talk to self, which probably it worked primarily because I’m emerging from the extreme exhaustion so things seem better, but I mean, we can pretend I’m holy, too, right?

Finally, for readers here, I want to do a follow-up on the previous post, re: gaslighting on gender issues.

Pluralism Doesn’t Have to Be Totalitarian

Child moved herself to school, no problems there, and settled in with her roommate in the last-minute dorm assignment (long story — we love some things about this college, but they struggle with certain administrative tasks).

Alas, the last-minute dorm location was not in a part of campus that was going to work very well for this particular kid, so she went down to residence life and asked for assistance there. They offered her a room in a dorm in a much more suitable location for her situation . . . but it was on the gender-fluid hall. The set-up in that hall was such that yes, she’d be sharing a bathroom and private living space in a suite with persons TBD of either sex, luck of the draw.

She couldn’t care less what anyone wants to call themselves or how they dress or any of that, but she was not interested in rooming with a guy she’d never met before, no matter how much they shared a common love of pink ruffly skirts (or not). So she told residence life her parents wouldn’t let her be on that hall, and they offered a room on a different floor of the same building, problem solved.

Summary: Administration in-person behaved like normal friendly bureaucrats just trying to match students to rooms where they’d flourish.  They were perfectly willing to help the kid who requested a different room assignment, even when they didn’t have to and could have told her to suck it up and make do. So let’s give some stars and genuine gratitude there. (This consideration for students’ needs is one of the things I like about this school!)

So. The set-up where everyone who is good with gender-fluid has a designated hall set aside? That’s not a bad solution to the culture clash.  The school offers other affinity halls (she was also offered a space on the gamer hall and declined that one as well), and in terms of cultural accommodations it would be reasonable to, say, offer set-aside spaces for students keeping kosher, girls in hijab, and so forth, if there are enough students to fill a suite (or more) making that request.

I want to reiterate from my previous post: We live in the world as-it-is, and a public university has a duty to serve the general public. The general public is very culturally and religiously diverse. It’s fair for housing questionnaires to offer options serving various social groups within the student body.  But I think persons of good will should object strenuously when the questions are worded in a way that gaslights students who don’t fit the mold.

You wouldn’t pose a question about a kosher-only hall by saying, “Would you like to demonstrate your love of G-d’s chosen people by rooming with other students who don’t defile themselves with unclean food?” That would be . . . absurd. Horrible phrasing. Inappropriate.  Normal administrators would just say, “Would you like to room on the kosher hall?” and offer a link with details on what that entails in practice.

That’s how we do it in civilized, pluralistic societies.

Blorging Plans Going Forward

As I mentioned, most of my evangelism and discipleship blogging is over at the substack these days, since I wanted to create a politics-free zone for readers of the evangelization book who just want some low-key encouragement and edification, minus the spiciness on offer over here. HOWEVER . . .

Patheos is doing a new thing with scheduled discussion topics on general comparative-religion questions. Looking through the calendar, they’ve got some neat stuff going.  I think this gets back to the original mission of Patheos — it can be tempting to go heavy on click-bait and controversy in order to bring in the revenue on an ad-funded platform, and I really respect that the management is trying to cultivate more civilized dialog about basic questions of religious belief.

So, time and energy permitting I’ll be doing some pleasant Catholicism-blogging on some of those cross-channel discussion topics.  Haven’t done much of that in a long time, and I’m looking forward to it.

City bridge lit up at night with the colors of the rainbow.

Photo: Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo, 2008. By ajari, via Wikimedia, CC 2.0.

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