September 11th is Kevin's birthday, and so our national tragedy on that day cast a shadow on it for him. We exchanged some warm letters, though, after my initial birthday greetings. Regis is apparently reading Kev's new book, The Half-Truth High: Breaking the Illusions of the Most Powerful Drug In Life & Business, through the instigation of Tom Morris, so that would be great fun if Kev could end up on that show as a result. I think the two of them would probably hit it off. If that happened, that's when I'd really start to wonder about what kind of consequences my contribution to the "religion" section would have.
In our usual mode, he began to write about some thoughts he had been having about fear being an unaddressed factor at the root of most dysfunction that he observed in failing marriages and like relationships, and how fear was such a potent threat to love. I shared my own reflections on that point, and how taken I was with the line from 1 John 4 that "perfect love casts out fear," a thought I'd seen Saint Benedict develop in the Benedictine Rule in the most genius way, and which I'd then put at the center of my thoughts in my song "Listen To You," and in my unfinished song "Love." So some thoughts on that might give birth to some further collaboration between us. Having failed to get out to Jackson Hole in the summer, I might try to sneak out for an extended weekend around peak week, to hug my goddaughter, meet Max, and go looking for cougar amid much good talk and food with the Flemings.
With some sleep finally under my belt, my critical faculties/theological mind has returned out of the fog of my last week's stupor and I'm getting some serious work done. I'm going back through Sullivan's older book chapters and articles from the 1970s on the charismatic renewal and correlating those to his monograph on the subject, trying to get a sense for development or refinement in his thinking on the matter.
A surprise good talk with a hurting friend last night. There's a book waiting to be written about how to talk parent-to-child (or maybe more specifically parent-to-adult child) about sex and morality in ways that don't provoke unnecessary pain and feelings of being judged. Still, that's almost impossible with people who assume that any association of the two is automatically judgmental. There's such an expectation of people who assume that any Christian speaking about moral issues is automatically moralizing that it may be almost impossible to be heard in any other way. I've certainly borne that fear or prejudice more than I'd hope would be necessary. But there's so much unnecessary pain caused by people raising perfectly valid issues by their doing so so awkwardly.... I don't know. Maybe it's inevitable because these are such tender, vulnerable parts of our psyche, but it seems to be that there must be some way to consistently do this more smoothly, and this must be able to be taught, somehow. I have enough students calling me to talk about their sex lives and spiritual concerns that I must be doing something right. I'd just like to see more people gain from such conversations, and not be so unnecessarily wounded by people they love, while not falling into the opposite trap of dissociating such matters from our spiritual and ethical lives.