Peace Encouragement, llvl

They’re here from all over the world. And people have come in from all over to encourage them. Gay and straight, men and women. More straight men are needed. Quite a few of them are young, young, young. A surprising amount of them are people of a certain age. They’ve been at this for years. And they can talk about the grit and the dreams and the computer apps with the best of them.

Sex ed, it’s not for the squeamish… But it is for the kind. There were sessions on the elderly, sessions on people with disabilities, sessions on sexting, sessions on how the hell we got in this predicament anyway. Some of them were simply informational, some were simply ho-hum, and some were simply inspirational. A conference like any other, but with a great goal. There were 650 people paying attention — a huge, do-gooding, optimistic, learning/learned community.

Bill, the man we came with, came to introduce Jane Fonda. Yeah, Jane Fonda, who now has dedicated her life and no inconsiderable amount of money to the children of Georgia. For 20 years, she’s been running a program entitled Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Along with other efforts in the state, in that amount of time, the number of pregnant teens in Georgia has dropped by 50 percent. They’ve changed their name to Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential. you go, gurl!

What was really fun was that our kids from church were featured in a vid that introduced Jane’s book, “Being a Teen,” because they’d read it in our Our Whole Lives program. Our kids will be doing peer work in their schools, because they can, because they know, because they believe it’s important. And it’s not just about sex, it’s about image, ethics, self-awareness, decision-making. We’re all proud.

We’re all better educated.

And at least some of us are ready to leave a group of 650 enthusiastic folk and go back to sermon writing! But what a (one-time) privilege!

There are a lot of different ways to make Peace. Keeping kids safe, helping them become knowledgeable, helping them stay on course to get what they want in life, helping them dream beyond this very minute… these are great tools for Peace. Blessed are these particular Peacemakers. Blessed are they all.

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