Yes, while sitting in on an English class, one of the pupils was proud to admit that in his modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet, was a bit unconventional.
This work placement (or experiment) as a chaplaincy assistant at Wimbledon college is now into its fourth week (out of two and a half months) and has been both challenging and rewarding, but definitely more challenging. The timetable here is shared between working in the Inclusion department (a place for boys that have been excluded from class), teaching History and English to pupils who need to quickly catch up and helping James Potter and Roger Dawson SJ, the school chaplains.
Before coming, the great dilemma posed was, ‘How do I be enthusiastic about God to school children without looking like a nutter?’
Since arriving that question got put to one side as all the tasks started to build up. Then all of a sudden it came back up. The boy who decided to write about Romeo and Juliet with a twist turned around at the end of the lesson and out of the blue asked, ‘Does God get angry at people?’ There it was, a Year 9 (boys aged around 13 years old) English class that had a low level set writing freely, independently and enthusiastically about Shakespeare. Then, suddenly, a discussion breaks out between a pupil and an assistant about God, that isn’t in an R.E lesson or a chaplaincy group meeting. It showed that God is not something irrelevant, something to brought up at rare and pre-planned moments, but is a constant throughout people’s lives and can found in the most surprising places. Definitely a good thing when on an experiment to test someone on their Jesuit experiences. Little surprises like this just keep popping up, making all the challenges seem more and more worthwhile.
So after, four weeks, it is probably safe to say that the next month and a half will no doubt be very unpredictable. Can’t wait.
P.S. The reply given to the boy’s question, ‘Does God get angry at people?’ was an attempt to be honest, open and, of course, quote James Martin SJ:
‘Yes, but not furious, just like people in love also get angry with each other.’