Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pining for Privacy - A Ban

Writing about privacy on the Internet is a self-defeating task, but I know my readership is the size of a taxicab, so I will confess. My desire for privacy has recently surged. I'm not talking about a fear of transparency or accountability. I still share personal gripes and struggles when I meet for coffee or preach a sermon. The privacy I'm pining for is personal space in my own bathroom.

Both my daughters attend elementary school. The youngest is fast-approaching her seventh birthday, which in some strains of Christianity is deemed the age of accountability. If I buy this doctrine, soon I will no longer provide the covering for my daughter's sin. And if they are uncovered (spiritually) and I am uncovered (literally), we have ourselves a potential sin problem. We really need locks on the doors.

Every parent has reached this privacy phase at some point. We start by spelling words so our illiterate kids can't understand us. Then we talk in hushed tones so our nosy kids don't hear us. We start making love in the garage or basement so our sleepless kids don't walk in on us. (Or we stop making love but pretend everything is alright so our maturing kids don't feel unstable.) We password protect our financial accounts so our teenage kids don't know our debts. Eventually, we hide our heart problems and degenerative diseases so our adult children don't worry about our demise. Parents constantly set privacy terms and limits.

But privacy issues extend well beyond parenting. We condemn the government for tapping into phone calls, and we applaud the mistresses who expose the bigotry of Donald Sterling. We update our personal status on social networks, and put on masks in person. I've talked to older men who would never write a journal for fear someone might stumble upon an entry and violate their privacy. I've heard about teenagers who SnapChat their chests and politicians who expose their privates to peers. Our culture's terms and limits for privacy are conflicted.

I will not solve the world's privacy problems, but I can fight for it in my own home. I am proposing a ban on all females from entering the bathroom while I am in it. Ten minutes to myself is not too much to ask.

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