Stephen Caldwell comments below about my math skills and his belief that OWL is good Religious Education worth the 18% of RE hours that we put into it. OK, I didn't do my math. But the real point is not actually the number of hours spent but the depth of programing and whether it is religious education or simply good education.
I have no problem with the notion that comprehensive sex education takes time, and I am much happier with sex education programs that are outside of Sunday morning, although I have noticed that even when they are, Sunday morning attendance drops off. And I'd agree that there is a subtle but real relationship between one's own body awareness and one's spirituality. But are the kids who take the class made aware of this? Is there any place in OWL that talks about Rumi or the Song of Songs? Do we ever tell them that many people believe (and they might consider believing) that their bodies are sacred or that the love they experience with other humans is for many people a "leg up" to the love they might experience of God? Is there anything in OWL, in short, that could not be a part of a good public school sex education program? (I realize that these are few and far between, but my son was a part of an excellent school sex education unit that was nearly identical to OWL: bodies, health, relationships, good choices, justice, diversity of expression...all good things, but only in the most general terms, religious education.)
It might seem that I'm picking on OWL but I feel the same way about most of our RE curriculum. Just one more example. I happened into an elementary school classroom last Winter. They had all brought in pictures of their pets and were talking about the care they gave their pets. It was a sweet class. But I also thought...nobody ever talked about love. Nobody ever said anything like, "one thing about our pets is that they seem to love us unconditionally...no matter what we do. That's how the Universalists thought God loved us. Do you feel like your pet loves you unconditionally? Do you love your pet unconditionally (pause for many wonderful stories of pet misbehavior and owner forgiveness). Many people who believe in God think that God is like that. What do you think?
Now, that would be a piece of spiritual education. Since we don't do anything like that ever, our kids leave our program without a clue as to how the majority of the world's people connect with the divine and not tuned in to how they might do the same.