We had some excitement at home this morning: we discovered that we have an infestation of head lice in our house. So we’re following the recommendations of the CDC: treat heads with over-the-counter pyrethrin or permethrin preparations; wash clothing and bedding in hot water and dry at high heat (lice die at over 130 degrees); anything that can’t be washed goes in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks (adult lice and eggs die after two weeks away from humans).
And yes, Carol and I being who we are, we did make stupid jokes while dealing with the head lice: [Pointing to one another:] “Hey, you’re a lousy human being. Literally! Heh, heh, heh.” [While applying head lice shampoo, speaking to lice:] “Die for your crime against humanity, you louse! Heh, heh, heh.” And so on.
Why mention this on a religion blog? Because one of the things that liberal congregations have been very good at over the past century or two is promoting public health initiatives. It can be hard to talk about things like lice, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), etc., and congregations have been pretty effective at making it easier to talk openly about such topics. A shining example is the grade 7-9 unit of the Our Whole Lives comprehensive sexuality education program developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ — by the end of that program, young adolescents are able to talk openly and honestly about STDs and sexual health. It’s yet another reason to participate in a congregation.