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Archive for September, 2008

My favorite song from the musical “Sweeney Todd” is called “Pretty Women.”  I won’t go into the background of the song.  Suffice it to say that it comes during a pivotal moment in the show when the dramatic tension is especially high.

But that’s beside the point…

I listened to it on the way home from work this evening and, once again, the “vision” of womanhood cast by a number in the patriocentric movement popped into my brain as it has so often before.  I think specifically of one blogger in particular.  I’ll leave you to guess who that might be.  This mention isn’t meant to be a slam on her- it just gives me a chuckle to think about it.  And then, of course, I continue chuckling as I think about this point in the musical.  Its my own little inside joke.

Does the same thing happen to you?

Pretty Women

Pretty women
Fascinating…
Sipping coffee,
Dancing… pretty women
Pretty women
Are a wonder.
Pretty women!

Sitting in the window or
Standing on the stair
Something in them cheers the air.

Pretty women
Silhouetted…
Stay within you,
Glancing… stay forever,
Breathing lightly…
Pretty women,
Pretty women!

Blowing out their candles or
Combing out their hair,
Even when they leave
They still are there.
They’re there

Ah! Pretty women, at their mirrors,
In their gardens,
Letter-writing,
Flower-picking,
Weather-watching.
How they make a man sing!

Proof of heaven as you’re living,
Pretty women! Yes, pretty women!
Here’s to pretty women,
Pretty women,
Pretty women,
Pretty women

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Christianity and Politics

This may be beyond the scope of WWF, but I wanted to point any interested reader to this exceptional episode of the White Horse Inn, a weekly radio program on which my pastor participates. This past week’s show was on Christianity and politics:

Christianity & Politics (Part 1)
On this edition of the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton conducts a roundtable discussion on Christianity & Politics, with special guests D.G. Hart (author of A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church & State), Dan Bryant (former Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice) and Neil McBride (a strategist for the Democratic Party).

They discuss why it is so vital for Christians to differentiate between the two kingdoms- the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man.  This will provide plenty of food for thought for anyone who gets riled up by the hyperpatriarchs ramblings on Sarah Palin and for those of us who wonder if its possible to be a Christian and be a Democrat (Newsflash!  It is!)

Please, please give a listen.  Its really really excellent.

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Be Proud of Me!

Okay, this is a major step for me… but I have taken Doug’s Blog and Ladies Against Feminism off my reader.  I like being kept abreast of all the latest patrio-thought and all, but honestly, all their Sarah Palin coverage was just getting obnoxious.  During a downtime at work yesterday, I took an informal survey of the content of their blogs over the past month to see what percentage of articles had been posted about Sarah Palin and John McCain.  Both of these sites were over 66%.  Sixty-six percent of their blog time was spent trashing fellow believer Sarah Palin, groups like CBMW who hold to a more middle-of-the-road (and yet, more biblical) view of the situation, and American Christians at large.  Again, those of us who disagree with their point of view are “Christians” or “people who call themselves Christians” and the like.

Essentially, I am fed up with it.  Reading their sites just frustrates me and I really don’t have the time, the energy, or the desire even to get worked up about what these fringe groups have to say.  I don’t even really want to talk about their blogs on WWF anymore.  What I WANT to do is concentrate on the positive- what the Lord is teaching me as I study His Word and what other godly men and women have to say about the issues that interest me.

Here are some posts I’m pondering:

  • The difference between errant theology and heresy
  • Book Reviews (When Life and Beliefs Collide, Raising Maidens of Virtue, Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God, and Finally Feminist)
  • Why I’m not voting (SHOCK!)
  • Anne Boleyn: Anti-Feminist Heroine?
  • Jane Austen: Anti-Feminist Anti-Heroine

Those are just a few and I hope that they are all positive.  Does this mean that I’m giving up critique?  Of course not!  I just want to spend my time a little differently as I don’t have much of it.  There are a number of fantastic apologists already at work over at True Womanhood and here (hats off to the other WWF bloggers).

Okay, back to work!  Cheers!

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Say A Little Prayer For Us

Some of you may know that last year our oldest child was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Reagan has Asperger’s Syndrome which, while on the spectrum, differs from classic Autism in a number of ways.  Since then we have been learning quite a bit about Autism and Asperger’s so that we could better meet his needs.

Combined with a better understanding and the knowledge that Reagan was the second child in our family to be diagnosed with Autism (my nephew is also Autistic) I began to have concerns about our two year old, Ciaran.  His verbal delay was noticeable, he wasn’t attempting to get my attention when something interested him, he often didn’t respond to his name when called, and preferred lining cars and blocks up on the floor rather than play with them the way they were intended.

Over the Summer we began a series of evaluations for Ciaran through the school district, and this morning we met to discuss all of the assessments.  We found that Ciaran has been given a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  He is mild to moderate at this time and he qualifies for services through the school district, including early childhood special education.  My two year old will soon be taking the bus to school five days a week for several hours.

They say that Autism occurs in 1 in 150 children.  In Minnesota it’s about 1 in 86.  In my family there are 3 boys who’ve been diagnosed.  And I have a friend who grew up close to me in California who has four children, all of whom have been diagnosed somewhere on the spectrum.  That’s too many children.  And it’s scary.

This isn’t the usual post for WWF, but I wanted to ask for prayer and support as we walk down this path of parenting two children with special needs.  Autism is affecting more and more children every year, and while I don’t know why, I know that soon all of us will know someone affected, someone whom we love.  So, while you pray for us, please also pray for those who are researching this disorder, that answers may be found.

Ultimately I am grateful that I live in a time where this disorder is understood as well as it is and that I live in a place where I have access to the resources my children need.  At the same time, as a mother, I’m sorry that the path that they have to walk is going to be more difficult.

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Do I Want to Go There?

Dear Friends,

I have been advised by one of my fellow bloggers that the post which formerly occupied this space offered far too many personal details about my specific situation and that it might be injurious to the other people involved in the discussion.  This person is absolutely right.  I have deleted the contents of this post, but I do feel that the comments are helpful, so I will allow them to remain.  I apologize for my zeal in soliciting your opinions without being more general in stating the situation.

To get the background for the comments, let me pose the following questions:

What would do you say to patriarchalists who oppose Sarah Palin’s nomination based on gender?  What would you do if you were confronted with the question: are you egalitarian when you aren’t quite sure just what you are?

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DISCLAIMER: I want to warn readers that this article freely uses medical and sexual terminology that may not be appropriate for young readers. However, I do not do so gratuitously. Also, please know that while you may freely disagree with me (and even challenge or contradict me), I am writing this article from a (slightly) authoritative perspective since I do have a degree in anthropology. That said, I hope that you can enjoy and learn from my musings.

Nearly all cultures that we know of created systems, laws, rules, customs, and traditions to protect and guard the womb. Many cultures do the same for the vagina, but rules regarding fertile women are even more strict than infertile (speaking of prepubescent and post-menopausal), which leads one to believe it is not the sexual organs or sexual act but the womb and its fruit that is being safeguarded above all. For instance, most rules regarding women in a given culture do not apply to prepubescent girls or to post-menopausal women. Have you thought why it is considered a shameful and bad thing for a woman to no longer be a virgin upon marriage (in nearly all cultures and even our own before feminism) and yet the same standards are not usually held up for a man? Why?

Firstly, it is objectively easier to determine a woman’s virginity. If her hymen is intact, then she is a virgin. (I know some have elastic hymens, some don’t bleed upon penetration, and recently some are undergoing hymen replacement surgery, etc. etc…. but for the majority of women this can be a marker and it has historically been a determiner of chastity and there is no such biological equivalent with men.)

Secondly, if a man sleeps with a woman he has no lasting, personal physical consequences such as a woman might have (STDs not included).

Thirdly, if a woman has premarital (or extramarital) sex and gets pregnant, no one can be absolutely sure of the father (in some cases, not even the woman herself), but everyone obviously knows who the mother is.

Therefore, to protect property, money, inheritance, titles, tribes, crowns, kingdoms, etc. women’s sexual activities have always been curbed with cultural mores and laws that have been strictly enforced. From a Christian perspective, does God care less about the sexual virtue and vice of men? Does He value His daughters’ chastity higher than that of His sons? Do I as a parent (when my children are grown) instruct my daughter on purity and (*gasp*) safe sex and not my son? I would hope that we as Christians would hold women AND men’s purity to have equal value.

However, in the hyper-patriarch sub-culture I do not see this. Instead I see that women (and not men) are guarded in the same manner as in all pagan, pre-feminist cultures. For instance, in Middle Eastern culture where gender segregation is still practiced in homes (i.e. one living room for men and another for women) it is common for both little girls and old women to go freely between the men and women’s quarters. Why is this freedom granted to old women? Is it because, with the onset of grey hair, they have lost their sex drive or their sexual attraction. Well, not necessarily. The main difference is their inability to conceive (i.e. being post-menopausal). This special status given to old women (not just widowers) is found in many cultures, including the hyper-patriarchs.

Leaders like Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham ferociously guard women’s freedom, requiring that godly fathers make their unmarried daughters remain at home (regardless of age). Women who are married are encouraged to work only at home for a home-based business under their husband’s guidance. The only exception they give to these rules are older, “proven” widows. Younger widows are encouraged to remarry. So, as soon as a woman has no ability to conceive she is suddenly released and allowed to circumvent the gender roles.

Men, however, are encouraged to go out into the world and forge a life and to battle the dragons in order to create a castle fit for their maiden. And these distinctions are chalked up to the differences inherent in men and women (biological, emotional, physical, spiritual, and scriptural, they would argue). And they, of course, try to provide proof-texts to support this dichotomy, as if tacking on an obscure misinterpreted scripture or two will validate their view and cover-up the real reasons. I don’t doubt that these hyper-patriarch leaders (and followers) genuinely believe their arguments and positions. I do, however, believe that they have a goal (whether conscious or subconscious) to put up a fence around their most precious treasure–the womb. It is not the cross they vehemently defend. It is not the Holy Scriptures. It is not even women, per se. It is women who have the ability to conceive. It is the uterus and its potential to propagate little patriarch warriors which they hold up as the crux of the Christian family. And they consider the family to be the center of the Christian life and message.

This message, however, is not what Christianity is about. Our primary purpose as Christians is not to birth little warriors for God. We are given other commands:

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Or was this Great Commandment only meant for those with male genitalia and post-menopausal women?

Maybe the hyper-patriarchs should consider the following verses (emphasis mine):

1 Corinthians 7:26-40. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you… But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord. But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.  A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

It seems to me that Christianity turned the pagan control and obsession about the womb on its head. No longer is the worth of a woman her fertility; instead it is her own faith (not that of her husband or father). A woman’s worth has risen above her role as either wife, mother, or even daughter. Her role is equalized in a sense, for “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). She is not foremost mother, wife, or daughter but fellow sister in Christ. And if her role as either wife or daughter is to be elevated and reverenced, then it ought to be as the bride of Christ (as is any true member of the church) and daughter of God the Father, or as a spiritual mother to fellow Christians. Those are her primary roles; there is where a woman ought to secure her worth, and not in the ability (or inability) to conceive and bear children (which any pagan can do just as well).

For where in a woman’s soul can we find her womb?

______________________________________________________________________

Edited to add: The image used in this post is that of the famous Venus of Willendorf figurine, an archaeological artifact from 24-22,000 BC, found in Austria. Many similar figurines have been found, but this is the most famous image. We don’t really know exactly what they are or what their purpose was; however, the general consensus is that they are related to fertility (both of the womb and of the land). More is available here.

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Guilt By Association

Recently, James MacDonald wrote on his blog that Ron Paul was a supporter of Ralph Nader, uber-liberal. This was unfair, since that’s not really what Congressman Paul wanted. He was really encouraging people to vote for any third party candidate to help shake things up a bit.

After reading that blog post, one of our white washed feminists posted a comment more fully explaining Paul’s position on this issue. It was not vulgar, argumentative, or unkind. Yet the comment was rejected. Why? Well, Mr. MacDonald was generous enough to answer that question. The answer? Guilt by association. Because she is a contributer here and a commenter at True Womanhood, Mr. MacDonald felt that he could not, in good conscience, allow her comment.

After hearing about this, I wasn’t surprised. But the more I thought about it, the more upset I became. If a comment is reasonable and accurate, why not allow it to be posted? When Jesus was on earth, he spent a great deal of time with people who were considered unsavory. Prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, and others that the religious types didn’t think were righteous. I can’t imagine Jesus not wanting to listen to someone who was telling the truth simply because of their associations. After all, even if those with whom we were associated with were in sin (and I’m not conceding that they are, at least not for the reasons given by Mr. MacDonald) who isn’t? I don’t believe that anyone is devoid of having associations who are in sin. The idea is ludicrous.

I find this action on the part of Mr. MacDonald to be un-Christlike, uncharitable, and utterly ridiculous. To his credit, he has ammended his blog post to acknowledge his misake about Ron Paul. But I would be much more impressed if he were to acknowledge his error against a sister-in-Christ making a sincere comment in good faith on his blog. And, for my part, if I’m guilty for associating with such godly women as I’ve come to know on this blog and on True Womanhood, I’ll take it.

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