Category Archives: Religion

The Case for Christ (book and film–spoilers)

I was sent this book a few years ago by someone who thought it’d convince me of the divinity of Jesus. I felt that the book didn’t prove it’s point. I saw that the film is now on Netflix, so I figured I’d better watch it to see what points are emphasized (since the film can’t hope to bring in as many arguments and evidence as the book did).

Since it’s been a couple years since I read the book, I have decided to A) not re-read my previous review and B) look back at the book as I feel is appropriate.

In watching this film (currently paused at exactly 29 minutes), I am struck by his outward hostility to Christianity. I view Lee Strobel as a very passionate person. Passionate people tend to be all or nothing. So, while it seems like he’s a “devout” atheist, I’m more inclined to believe that he’s just the kind of person who views the world as black or white. There is no grey for him. So he either believes or he doesn’t believe; nothing else matters.

I got this from the book, too, I think. For him, he’s able to drum down the truth of Christianity to just the Resurrection. I find it ironic that he got this idea not from his own investigations but (by film-lore) by his editor, I think. This strikes me because, well, what if his editor had told him that all of Christianity revolves around the Virgin Birth? Or the Literal Interpretation of the Bible?

There are a lot of atheists who come to the conclusion that there is no god after years of studying the Bible. Here’s an excellent example.  These are people who know the Bible inside and out and have many, many reasons why they don’t believe it. Yet, Strobel, a “devout” atheist has no clue what even the basic tenants of Christianity are. He’s saying he doesn’t believe in something he knows absolutely nothing about. It’s then not a surprise that when given a glossy bit of the faith, he believes that there must be something there and since the world for him is black and white, he now must do everything in his power to prove it correct.

Which brings me to why I just hopped off the couch and grabbed my copy of the book. I don’t read bibliographies very often. Mostly I just look at them to see if they exist and to what length research was done. In this first 29 minutes of the film, I realized that Strobel is the kind of journalist who likes to talk to experts and read their books, but I wasn’t sure if he’d spend much time in a library looking at the primary sources.

Guess what? Out of about 140 citations, 4 seem to come from primary sources. All the rest appear to be secondary sources or not contemporary to Jesus sources (depending on the nature of the source).

I’m not saying that this is a bad way to do academics, but one of the things that I recall from the book was the chapter on how immediate to the Resurrection the sources were. What I mean is, Strobel spent some time discussing when the Gospels were written and other sources and concluded that most were written 30 to 80 years after the Resurrection. But, every subsequent mention of this dating used the low end of the spectrum. Since I was reading this like a regular book and not as an academic challenge, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to what sources he was directly referencing when talking about a particular date, so maybe he was always using evidence from an earlier source rather than a later one, so claiming it was written 30 years after the Resurrection was appropriate, but my memory has him speaking very generically about all his sources, yet using the earlier date.

By the way, shortly before the 29 minute mark, Strobel is talking to a scholar who claims that some sources are from mere months after the Resurrection seeing Jesus walking around. Strange, that sounds like what the Gospels say but these weren’t actually written down for that 30 to 80 years. Plus, I don’t recall Strobel writing about such a short time frame. The way it’s presented in the film, you’d think you can go to an archive and pull out a bunch of bound diaries where folks wrote:

3 June 0001

Today I saw Jesus walking around the market place, buying some sugar. Funny, I swear he was crucified 2 months ago!

Okay, the film is resumed. I don’t know if I like the way it’s focusing on his family life and “transformation” from atheist to Christian. I guess it’s because I don’t buy him as being particularly strong in his atheism (he seems to not know why he’s atheist, since he doesn’t even know what it is that he doesn’t believe in). It seems fake and I’m not sure how many people can really identify with him. I mean, I know that there are plenty of people like him, but I think that there are a vast majority more who are atheists because they know the Bible and other religions well, are agnostic because they’ve never had an interest one way or the other and don’t care about what they don’t know, are “spiritual” because they don’t know about theism, or are deist because they don’t believe in the power of prayer.

Ooh…We’ve hit the first bit of historical flubbery in the film. Comparing the Iliad to the Bible for historical authenticity. Yes, we believe that copies of the Iliad are accurate to what was originally written by Homer. But this doesn’t prove that Hera and Zeus actually had the conversations that are written there. Or, since I know the Odyssey better than the Iliad, Odysseus didn’t actually fight a cyclops or deal with Circe. Just because it’s a reliable copy doesn’t make the subject matter as written true. Supernatural events are probably made up.

Ugh. Lee is an asshole. Telling his wife that she’s “cheating on him with Jesus” while he’s staying up all night and obsessing about disproving Christianity.

Ooh! He’s actually discussing the evidence. Yes, the questions are good and the answers probable. But, they still miss a certain bit. When a Biblical scholar asks an atheist if they want the truth or just want to prove what they already believe, ding, ding, ding! That’s exactly what Biblical scholars are doing! If they’re Christian, then they’d be hard pressed to come up with an explanation that doesn’t lead to their Christian faith.

And boom! The scene ends with a hanging issue: sure, it’s reasonable that the 4 gospels would have varying accessory details about the main story of “a group (or single) woman visits Jesus tomb and found it empty”–cool! I can believe this. Except: where’s the evidence that no one removed the body during the 3 days?

Answer: I remember that he’ll get to this in a little bit, and the answer is that there was a guard and moving the stone and other stuff that’s a great argument if we knew for certain that there’s no evidence of tampering. Except, I’ll refer you back to the Iliad: a work of fiction that is taken as a very reliable source for what it says about historical facts. It’s still full of conversations between the gods that are obviously made up, unless they were divinely inspired, of course. There are plenty of contemporary sources that aren’t included in the New Testament. Why? Because of tradition and because they alter the story a bit (don’t do anything to prove the supernatural bits).

Power: what’s the agenda. It’s not a new thing.

Ugh. Why is the wife getting advice that she’s supposed to listen to Lee? She tries to talk and he shuts her down, but she’s supposed to just listen to him and take his abuse while he gets away with abusing her?

I guess I wasn’t paying much attention in the book about his story of the cop shooting gang informant (I don’t remember this). But wow. What a way to seriously prove my hypothesis about him seeing the world as black and white. All he cared about was telling the world about how the police were protecting their informant. He didn’t think twice about exposing the truth (as he saw it) without considering the consequences. He didn’t wonder why the cop got shot (since the cop and the informant had a history, there’s definitely a motive that needs to be addressed, especially with the history of abuses in the Chicago PD) or consider what information the informant was giving police. Was it worth keeping quiet about? In Lee’s world, shooting a cop is a black and white event and the guy deserves to go to jail for life without any consideration of extenuating circumstances.

I’m not saying that the informant doesn’t deserve to go to prison, but depending on what information he gave and why the shooting occurred, he doesn’t deserve to have any “friends” in prison knowing that he’s a snitch and killing him for it. The world is a very gray place!

God. Lee is such a misogynistic asshole. He’s decided that his wife is incapable of deciding for herself what she believes and that she’s being manipulated. Excuse me, but she’s a grown woman who can decide for herself what she thinks. She doesn’t need a husband to tell her what her opinion is. Strange, he sounds like most Evangelical Christians who buy the whole “Umbrella of Protection” crap and that women need a keeper.

Why do I expect he won’t change a bit once he becomes a Christian? Oh wait, he doesn’t have to!

Wow! “She’s different”–like, she’s her own person with her own mind and her own thoughts! Why is this so baffling to assholes? Oh yeah. Because they’re assholes!

Ya know, I don’t recall being this upset with Strobel while reading the book. I mean, I disagreed with his arguments, but I didn’t judge his character. But with this film, his character disgusts me!

Sigh, I wish that Lee had gotten a tougher lecture when it came out how crappy a journalist he’d been with the Hicks trial. Oh yay, he got to go get drunk and have his own pity party. Because he’s the smartest man in the world! Grr.

Sigh. And of course, the film ends at the exact same place the book does: he still has questions and doubts, but can’t deny what evidence he’s gathered. There still isn’t any proof, but there’s enough probable cause to get him to become a Christian.

That’s probably the thing that makes me mad at Christians like Strobel. They claim to have all the answers (or rather that all the evidence points to where they want it to) and declare that to believe otherwise is wrong. Here’s the thing! A lot of people are presented with every bit of evidence that Strobel was and they have decided that it’s just not enough proof. Or rather, there is plenty of room to doubt.

Like I said, the Iliad and the Odyssey are a good example because they show how easily fact and fiction can be intertwined together. It doesn’t really matter that the Bible had multiple authors because there was always the one narrative: the one that Jesus wanted publicized.

Erm…Hmm…

Okay. So, here was my thought process as I wrote the above paragraph about Jesus’ end-game. “Huh. I wonder if the author’s were present at the Loaves and Fishes Miracle (since it’s one that I happen to remember).” So, I went and pulled up the Loaves and Fishes and read the Wikipedia Article. Which led me to take the link to a chapter of Mark that talks about Jesus feeding 5000 and then 4000 in two separate miracles.

This is a chapter written by “Mark”. I’m not a theologian, but a quick Google search led me to another Wikipedia article that says that historians believe that Mark is actually written by an unknown person. Which is fine for the point I will be making here.

2Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

–Mark 9: 2-8

 The author of this is using a third person omniscient perspective. They know all, yet weren’t actually there. In this case, the only people on the mountain were Jesus, Peter, James, and John. So,unless one of these men is the anonymous author of Mark who writes of themselves in third person, the author wasn’t there and this is a bit of he said, he said. John, who apparently is the same John that authored a gospel, doesn’t seem to mention this event, but if he did mention it in passing (debatable) he’s very vague on details. If God had spoken so blatantly to me, I’d definitely write all about it! So, did it happen? I’m dubious. If the 4 did go to the top of the mountain and decide that Jesus would be labeled the Son of God, but didn’t decide on the details, then yes, artistic license 30 to 80 years later is very probable. The exaggerator and the circumspect.This makes as much sense as any explanation.

Which is why The Case for Christ doesn’t make as strong an argument as it claims to.

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Texas Church Shooting Video Shows Gunman’s Methodical Attack, Official Says – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/us/texas-shooting-video-devin-kelley.html

If there are no criminal negligence charges filed against those people in the Air Force who didn’t do their job and report his assault convictions to the federal background check system…I don’t even know.

Will Republicans who have been bitching for years about how perfect the background check system is (“there can’t possibly be a way for someone who shouldn’t get a gun to get through the system! We don’t need more gun laws!”) finally understand what we (moderate) gun control folks want?!?!

1) A comprehensive background check (extreme vetting? Sure, IF we’re going to be assholes to refugees, too.) And a life sentence in prison if your negligence leads to someone purchasing/using a weapon that they use to do harm.

2) Comprehensive and regular gun safety training. No one should be stupid enough to leave ANY gun where a child can find it! Regular reminders of how badly gun ownership can go IS A GOOD THING! And, yes, I’m cool with having similar retraining for a driver’s license!

3) A limit on the number of guns a person can buy in a month (ideally in a lifetime). A gun is a WEAPON, not a toy! It should NEVER be an impulse purchase. If you start crying like a three year old because you can’t get a toy RIGHT NOW!! you are part of the problem. Grow up!

Guns become illegal when a person with no (recorded) criminal past purchases guns to sell to people who can’t purchase guns themselves. Period. Limiting the supply (with limits on purchases) not only increases the price on the black market (which will cause purchasers to need more money, leading to more non-gun using crimes (because they can’t afford one yet) that will make it easier to catch them before they buy the gun), but will obviously reduce the total number of illegal guns on the streets… eventually. TL;DR: Make it harder for criminals to buy guns on the black market=more slip ups=more arrests=ultimately less crime.

No, these 3 demands AREN’T perfect! Probably nothing would have stopped Paddock in Las Vegas. But I live in a place where between the 7 cities where is usually a gun related murder (or 2) every night. The status quo doesn’t work. There is a hole in the system that can be closed IF we quit pretending it doesn’t exist or worse care so much about our own ability to purchase guns like candy that we feel no guilt when someone’s death is directly related to our own greed and entitlement.

Christianity Is Just A Better Religion Than I | The Daily Caller–A Rebuttal

http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/02/christianity-is-just-a-better-religion-than-islam/

“But the ‘renaissance’ injected into western man an absurd inferiority complex in regard to pagan antiquity and then the ‘Enlightenment’ insisted on eliminating from public policy and public law the very Christian revelation which defined and ennobled western man. “

Except, the Renaissance and Enlightenment literally brought Christians out of the dark ages. Education was quite stagnant in Christendom during the dark ages. There was minimal innovation and little exploration. Then, Christians invaded the right places in the Islamic world and REDISCOVERED the philosophical works of the Greeks and Romans. Art, Literature, Science,Mathematics were REBORN in Western Culture. 

Excerpt, this wasn’t pure Greek and Roman. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and possibly 0 are known as ARABIC numerals (as opposed to Roman numerals: I, II, III, etc). You see, while Christians were busy planning invasions of the Holy Lands (the Crusades), the Islamic world was translating and expanding on the philosophical works they were protecting, probably stolen, but that’s okay in 1000CE, because they were stolen manuscripts depicting educational materials. Would you think a manuscript with Pathagorius’ (sorry about spelling!) notes on triangles valuable enough to steal in a world where Christians were looking for the Holy Grail?

I’m not sure when Islamic scholars decided that the Earth circled the Sun, instead of the Sun circling the Earth, but Copernicus sat on his research until his deathbed, some 20 years after he more or less figured it out (1543), because he was certain he’d be jailed or killed for his heresy. Galileo WAS placed under house arrest ~70 years later when he proved Copernicus’ theoretical mathematics correct after building his own version of the telescope.

What is most telling about Fimister’s complete ignorance of history is this:

 The ‘Enlightenment’ is a parasite, it will not survive the death of its host. But it is strong enough to weaken the West to the point where its traditional external enemy the Islamic Ummah can strike the killer blow. Deep down the liberals know this is case, as they contracept and abort and legislate our civilisation into extinction, but in the end they don’t care. Their ultimate motive was always less the love of ‘liberty’ and more the hatred of Christ.

Without the Enlightenment, and it’s emphasis on the intelligence of man, there would not have been a Reformation!

Martin Luther is as much a child of the Renaissance and Nicholas Copernicus! They wereboth seeking answers outside of the monopoly that was the Roman Catholic Church. They both were heretics with ideas that threatened Church Doctrine. Both men show that anyone, not just Catholic Priests, are capable of making discoveries on their own.

Probably the stickiest part argument in favor of Christianity (which I assume is modern Evangelical Christianity) is that the most important person other that Luther for the spread of Protestantism is King Henry viii, who changed England from Catholic to Protestant solely so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon. After 6 marriages and 3 divorces, the Tudor line started many started many religious wars, but didn’t extend their reign. Had Henry stayed Catholic, America would probably be a more Catholic nation where divorce and birth control are taboo.

Of course, America would still be ruled by Britain because Democracy? Freedom of Speech? These are totally Enlightenment things.

Gluttony: The Acceptable Sin – The Transformed Wife–A Rebuttal

https://thetransformedwife.com/gluttony-the-acceptable-sin/#comment-16140

By why is your condemnation of gluttony limited only to the consumption of food?!?

Do you see Christmas decorations in the stores you shop in now? This is the most visible form of American gluttony.  The “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” mentality.

The man who was elected president in 2016 is a glutton. Not satisfied by his first wife, he replaced her.  Not satisfied again, he replaced her, too. He bought an airline and had the planes repainted again because the T wasn’t big enough! Also with this airline, he ignored customer surveys that wanted  their flights to be on time, and instead invested in ultra plush carpet (telling flight attendants to push harder) and gold plated sinks.

Not satisfied with owning one nice casino in Atlantic City, he had to have 3, which in competition with each other, led to all of them losing money and ultimately all 3 closing their doors.

Trump doesn’t just want to have more, he wants the MOST. Trump doesn’t just want better, he wants the BEST. He claims that he’s trying to get the most and the best for everyone, but that is logically impossible. Besides, everything he and Republicans have done so far take things away from others, which is the exact opposite of giving everyone the best!

 

2 Indian Christian Women Arrested, Slammed With False Charges of Forced Conversions

https://www.christianpost.com/news/2-indian-christian-women-arrested-slammed-with-false-charges-of-forced-conversions-204814/

The women were arrested after the Hindu activist group Hindu Jagran Manch complained to police about children being taken to Mumbai by train.

The activist organization reportedly accused the women of trying to take the kids to be forcibly converted. Along with being charged with violating the state’s anti-conversion law, the women were also charged with kidnapping.

Kunwarlal Warkade, a local police official, told ucanews.com that the two women were charged with kidnapping four girls and six boys under the age of 14. Warkade also stated that it has been alleged that the women lured the children with the promise of education and toys.

These children have parents or guardians who would have sufgned permission slips for the women to take the children anywhere.

Without permission slips, this is kidnapping. Period.

Promising education and toys to children so longcasvthey say they’re Christian? Done. That’s a coerced/bribed conversion.

Ignorance is no excuse for this sort of thing.

But they don’t deserve a living wage? Health care?

I’m still in chapter 7 of Good: The Joy of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Tony Reinke is explaining why he teaches his children to say thanks before every meal:

Besides being an extremely nostalgic vision of food production and distribution in America, it also comes across as being very self-centered (“look at how many people God influenced so that we can eat!”)

I’m pretty sure Reinke has never worked in customer service or really any job where he was responsible to actual customers. He’s also never paid any attention to any kind of reporting on the food industry in America:

  • Hubby was a long haul truck driver. He would refuse loads of groceries, especially produce because of how many regulations there are/demands by customers.
  • A few years ago, one of the major news agencies did some investigative reporting on trucks driving around with perishable groceries and their refrigeration units (reefers) turned off or to the wrong temperatures, so food was melting/getting too warm for safe consumption. Hubby said that California inspectors would tell drivers to turn off their reefers because their trucks were polluting too much 😐.
  • There is constant debate about how much room chickens need to be able to move freely.
  • Chickens are not herbivores! Yet, I’ve seen organic chicken advertised as being fed an “All Vegetatarian Diet”.
  • Food, Inc is a documentary that delves into the modern American food industry and it’s toll on the people employed by it.
  • The poultry industry is lobbying heavily right now to get the FDA to let them increase the speed that workers process a chicken at, despite risks to employees, animals, and consumers (do you want the mechanical eviserator flinging feces all over your chicken legs, thighs, breasts?). EWW!!
  • And finally (though there is so much more!here are some stories from the hell that is customer service/retail.

    This tiny section of the book goes a long way to explain why Conservatives don’t think workers deserve a living wage and health care benefits! They’re completely oblivious about the real world! 

    {Well, I kinda already knew that!}

    Obedience and Disobedience

    I’m back to reading Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood. This sentence from Chapter 7: Everyday Forward, brought me to a screeching halt:

    Disobedience brings negative consequences; obedience brings positive consequences.

    Now, I realize that this is coming from a dad who means it quite innocently in the way of “there’s a good reason why a child should STOP on a dime and not run out into the street.”

    But, we literally just had a chapter on how and why women are supposed to submit to their husbands and earlier in this chapter, this same dad “explained that civil authorities (like presidents) are God-given blessings for our flourishing.”

    [I wonder how much tongue biting went with saying/writing this about Obama.]

    The chapter on submission implies that wives aren’t supposed to blindly to bad husbands, but since I hat advice is immediately followed by:

    “Ultimately, Christ is a wife’s final authority….As a wife follows her calling to submit in marriage, she is ultimately submitting to Christ”

    Paired with NO ADVICE on how a woman is supposed to deal with an abusive husband (i.e. divorce his ass!) and Lori Alexander’s disgusting article about how women are supposed to submit without any expectation that their husband will reform himself (or as I think of it, the most blatant propaganda to keep women in abusive relationships), it appears that “not blindly submitting” really means that women know and accept that they are being treated like dirt.

    {If you feel you are being abused and need help, please call the Domestic Violence Hotline:  +18007997233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org}

    Is it no wonder I got concerned when a dad wants to teach his children that obedience (always and only) leads to positive effects and disobedience (always and only) leads to negative effects?

    The world is not black and white and children are NEVER too young to learn that sometimes disobedience is the correct choice!

    • Being abused by a person (especially when the person is in an obvious position of power).
    • The Holocaust HAPPENED! Other Genecides are happening today!
    • Jesus Camp has a scene where a 10 year old boy says that Galileo should have submitted to the Church’s teaching on the Sun orbiting the Earth. Because apparently scientific discovery is disobedience.

    Children  should be taught right from wrong and why they shouldn’t do certain things for their own safety. But teaching children to “do what I said because I said so” doesn’t teach children real life skills except how to please people.

    When Theory Matches Reality

    Ever since I decided to become a teacher (for apparently the second time in my life, haha), I’ve paid a lot of attention to education as discussed by commentators and lawmakers.

    Since I was a middle and high school student during “No Child Left Behind” and in college when “Common Core” was adopted, I heard a lot of adults and educators complaining about both because they’re too strict and don’t let teachers make decisions.

    Now, at some point in college, I decided to consider myself a Non-Conformist. Pretty much, I do my own thing based on my own rules and am very good a “smiling and nodding” when I think other people’s ideas are bat-shit crazy.

    When I first heard about “Common Core” the thing that struck me most was that it would mean that students in (hopefully) all 50 states would be taught using the same curriculum. This, I thought, would mean that a student could transfer from one school in one state into another school in a different state without much confusion due to repetition and stuff being “skipped”. I have a cousin who moved from SC to PA (or vice versa) in 4th grade and thought that the Civil War was 2 different wars because of the completely different way it was taught in both states. I think that this is the example that shows exactly how screwed up our education system is in America. Living in Southeastern VA means that there are a lot of military kids who move around a lot and they deserve to have one solid education, not a piecemeal one based on what the individual states think is important.

    Anyway, so, I was loving Common Core and then I started hearing parents and educators complaining about the new way of teaching math. Mmmkay….

    They started showing me examples. I agree: that crap is weird!!

    But…is that a problem with the overall aspect of Common Core? Or is it an implementation problem?

    Hehehehehe.

    My education class this semester is Language Acquisition and Reading. This week we’re learning about lesson planning, which includes information on Basal Readers which has since become the educational idea of a “core reading program”. Essentially, teachers are handed a reading program that’s supposed to solve all their problems so long as they work through the program systematically with their students. The article we read this week explains why this doesn’t work (USING BASAL: From Dutiful Fidelity to Intelligent Decision Making by Peter Dezvitz and Jennifer Jones).

    Essentially the problem is that no two children or classrooms are exactly the same (duh). The Basal can offer a great place for novice teachers to start, but teachers still need to evaluate their students to determine exactly what they need individually. The Basal can’t really differentiate for students.

    Which, really, only serves to prove the point I’ve been trying to make for going on 10 years now: the school system can make all the mandates they want, but teachers are completely free to revise and plan on their own (“defying the school system’s mandates”) all they want so long as at the end of the day the student is learning exactly what they need to learn!!

    Before “No Child Left Behind” and “Common Core” Virginia had it’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Every student in 3rd, 5th, 8th, and various high school classes had to pass these suckers in order to graduate and the student’s scores had great influence on teachers keeping their jobs and schools getting accreditation.

    This, of course, led to many teachers and administrators deciding that it was better to “teach the test” so that the schools kept up appearances of offering a quality education.

    I call these teachers LAZY!

    You see, even though I was in AP and dual enrollment classes in high school, I still had to take the SOL tests. Here’s the thing: as a class, we NEVER studied for the SOLs. This is because the AP and dual enrollment requirements are above and beyond what the SOLs ask and so without any special preparation, we AP kids easily aced or nearly aced the SOLs.

    I had many friends in regular classes and they were given vast workbooks meant to prepare them for the SOL tests. I read through them and was fascinated and appalled by how little in depth knowledge was required of them! That’s not right!

    Since I spent so much time with the “regular” kids, I could never understand what made me special. Sure, I had more knowledge, but that was because I was in classes that required me to go above and beyond and so the incidental facts were easily retained.

    It’s easy to remember that the Revolutionary War was fought between 1775 and 1783 when you’re writing essays in 30 minutes on “To what extent is a Revolutionary War a literal revolution where society returns to the status quo after a short period of change?”. Memorizing dates is lot easier than trying to determine if everything after a revolution is actually just like it was before the revolution (I’m convinced that it’s more like a spiral where life is similar, but with a striking difference; like, American’s don’t drink as much tea as the English).

    Anyway, since I think that students are much more competent and capable than school systems seem to give them credit for, I’ve always decided that if a teacher is complaining about too much regulation and testing by administrators, the teacher probably isn’t a very good teacher.

    Do many kids get stressed out about taking too many tests? Yes. Can students be given the skills to make these tests so easy that they’re a joke? HELL YES! If a teacher is afraid of their students doing poorly on any given test, then the teacher hasn’t taught them properly. Period.

    And any teacher who thinks that gathering meaningful data about their students and evaluating how that data should influence instruction is too much work should be fired. We did Running Records a couple weeks ago. Yes, they seemed awkward, but I just watched a YouTube video of a teacher performing one very fluidly as part of small group instruction. In other words, I see how easy performing a Running Record can be with practice and the data it provides is invaluable. To think of it as too much work undermines just how much work and care goes into teaching!

    I was reading these tips for Homeschooling and thought it was pretty horrible that in the chart for analyzing different methods of education, the amount of parental involvement was listed under the disadvantages! I mean…if parents are going to be teachers, then they should be comfortable being teachers! That means lesson planning. That means evaluations. That means actually learning the content before you attempt to teach it! I think that there’s a reason why most of the homeschooling blogs I follow don’t have much information for teaching children after they’ve become “independent readers”. Once the kid can read it seems like the parent only exists to answer specific questions that the child has (which means Google?).

    I’ve taken enough standardized tests from elementary to high school to know one thing: except for the writing example section, they’re always multiple choice tests. I highly doubt that Common Core has added short answer sections. Which means that even in the math section, with the crazy, seemingly made up techniques, the only thing that matters is that the student gets the correct answer.

    So, in a real world classroom, if the school system mandates a specific way of instruction, the teacher can teach that, plus whatever other techniques that individual students may have an easier time using. Because, here’s the thing: most of that “crazy math” is just meant to help students better grasp the concepts of numbers and how they relate to each other. It’s supposed to help students rely less on memorization and more on why math works.

    • 1/16th=0.062
    • 3/8ths=0.375
    • 5/8ths=0.625

    I hate rotely memorizing things! I don’t have the patience for drills and I find such isolated facts to be useless information. But, I’ve just listed 3 of the more obscure inches to decimal conversions that I know (skipping the obvious quarters and halves). Why do I know these? Because I work in a print shop and our line-gauges are in inches while our paper cutter is in decimals. If I’m measuring something to cut it, I have to do the conversions. We have a cheat sheet right on the wall behind the cutter, but after a few months, they started to stick. And once I have them memorized, I don’t need to look at the cheat sheet anymore. (In a classroom, a student would probably be required to carry out the long division to make the conversion).

    If a Common Core tests asks the student to do a division problem, the answer will be in numbers; it will not be asking them to show their work unless the question requires them to use a specific technique! But, that means that the teacher should have taught that technique as something to be learned, and if the student doesn’t understand the technique, other techniques should be taught in conjunction, with emphasis that learning the technique that will be asked about on the test is as important to learn as how to find the correct answer.

    Do you see what I did there? If there are 4 ways to solve a problem, then the teacher should teach all 4 ways, illustrating why each of the ways is different and giving each it’s proper name. In other words, the techniques are facts to be learned, not just what the answer to the problem is.

    If Common Core doesn’t test specific techniques and those techniques are useless once the core information has been memorized (e.g. 7×8=56), then it really doesn’t matter how kids learn to do math so long as they learn the technique that works best for them.

    See? Lazy teachers are part of the problem. It’s harder to teach 4 techniques instead of just one, so I’m sure many teachers are unwilling to add onto their already overflowing workloads, even though I’m personally convinced that it’s actually easier to teach 4 techniques instead of trying to force the wrong technique onto a specific student.

    P.S. This of course leads back to homeschooling parents who don’t want the state to oversee their child’s education. Remember what I was saying about the SOLs? If you as a homeschooling parent are teaching your child above and beyond what the minimum requirements of the state are, then you should have no fear of your child taking state mandated tests to ensure that they’re getting a basic education.

    And if you’re refusing the teach your child evolution because you’re afraid that it will hurt their relationship with God (and that is why you keep your child out of school and are afraid of state tests), you are a bad teacher. Teaching the science adequately will not alter faith since religion and science have nothing to do with each other. Science describes the what and how; religion gives reasons for the why. Science functions perfectly without getting stuck on why things work the way that they do; for science why doesn’t matter. Lying to your child about how old the Earth is because this information disagrees with your holy book only serves to disadvantage your child because you’ve most likely cut out or otherwise undermined the very foundation of scientific inquiry: The Scientific Method.

    Pro-tip: teach everything from the standpoint of the Scientific Method. Background Information/Observation, Hypothesis, Design and Conduct the Experiment, Evaluate the Data, Draw a Conclusion. Repeat steps as needed. Seriously, it works for every subject (or so say’s this history and environmental science major :-))!

    The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood–Chapter 6

    What is Submission by Christina Fox

    Mrs. Fox admits that her childhood was full of verbal abuse (put downs, anger, threats, rejection, and fear) and that this left her with a very negative reaction to marital submission. The only way I can think of to connect marital submission to this abuse is if her parents were actively linking the two. Few secular couples ever connect the idea of submission with marriage unless they’re into BDSM, which is a very different kettle of fish.

    When a parent is abusing their spouse or child, the words that are usually used (based on what I’ve heard friends describing in their household) are “you should do what I say, because I’m in charge”. Or, “You owe me.” The abuse doesn’t get linked to submission directly unless you happen to look in a dictionary. And at that point, it’s still viewed as an expectation of an abuser, not as an expectation of a spouse.

    So, I can completely understand where Mrs. Fox would be skittish about a potential husband turning abusive, but I think that the only way for her to mentally connect biblical submission in marriage to marital abuse is if her parents were using the Bible to threaten her into submitting to the abuse. In this way, a bastardization of the Bible’s view of submission is used to control the child, which seems to me to be the place that Mrs. Fox is coming from.

    I took a quick peek at her website and scanned her writing to see if any posts jumped out at me as being specifically about her upbringing. None caught my attention, so until further notice, I will assume that I’m correct that her parents directly linked Biblical submission to the abuse she suffered.

    The definition she’s using for submission, which I’m very comfortable agreeing with since it doesn’t change my opinion on submission comes from John Piper:

    “the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It’s the disposition to follow a husband’s authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership.”

    Apparently by using the above definition whenever submission is used by Paul in Ephesians 5:22-33 is supposed to show that submission isn’t the equivalent of abuse. It apparently shows that a woman submitting to her husband is no different from a church submitting to God/Jesus.

    This is supposedly beautiful.

    There is a section on what submission isn’t. Essentially, Biblical submission is neither a conduit for abuse nor is a wife supposed to blindly submit to her husband because Christ is ultimately her guiding force.

    But the last section on “Marriage and the Gospel” seals the fate of submission:

    “When we struggle in our God-given roles in marriage, it is the result of sin.”

    Sigh. Let me once again explain how an egalitarian marriage works, in terms maybe a woman like Mrs. Fox can understand:

    I submit to my husband. And he submits to me. Just like you try to say that the bible encourages.

    The difference is that our “submission” isn’t a mandate, while, however much you try to spin it otherwise, submission is a mandate in the Bible. How do I know that submission is mandated in the Bible? That quote about how all troubles in a marriage are caused by sin. Plus, Piper says that submission is a “divine calling of a wife” so if a woman doesn’t submit, she risks not fulfilling her divine calling.

    When me and my husband “submit” to each other, all it is is us doing each other favors without any obligation. He operates on a different schedule than me, so there are many nights when I’m eating dinner and he’s not hungry. Later, he may ask me to make him mac-n-cheese or something else quick because he’s useless in the kitchen. I really don’t mind doing these things for him because I care about him and want to make sure that he eats something with a semblance of nutrition rather than just a bag of Frito’s. However, we have an agreement that the kitchen closes at 9 pm unless I’m unusually awake.

    A husband who expects his wife to submit would want a fully home-cooked meal on his schedule, without any regard to whatever else she’s doing.

    Remember: “When we struggle in our God-given roles in marriage, it is the result of sin.” Sins by whom?

    What happens when a husband expects his wife to always submit and she has to say “sorry, dear, I’m too tired to cook you a 3 course meal at 2 am”? To what extent is her refusal to cook for him a sin? That is her “God-given role” in the marriage, isn’t it? Obviously, the question is whether a Biblical husband  would even think about asking for a 3 course meal at 2 am. But if he’s working on some huge project that is supposed to revolutionize the world, it’s quite possible that he might.

    Of course, a wife may be very happy to complete this task for her husband and that is her choice. But the real debate over submission isn’t about wives “serving” their husbands or husbands “serving” their wives: it’s about what happens when one or the other decides that they’re not in the mood for whatever reason to comply with a specific request.

    To ever say NO to a spouse seems to be a direct refusal to be submissive. Biblical submission is always described as beautiful because a spouse would NEVER request something of their spouse that they know the spouse doesn’t want to do. But that is not how reality works:

    I have a higher sex drive than my husband. I enjoy having sex. However, I work 40 hours a week and most nights I’m half asleep by 9 pm. When he is interested in sex, it’s usually not until 11 pm. So yes, there are plenty of nights when I’m already asleep when he comes to bed wanting to have sex and yes, I reject him.  Does he get all upset about this? No. Does he make an effort to join me in bed earlier? Not usually, hahaha. His loss.

    Every article I’ve ever read a Christian woman write about any kind of marital submission has never included any description of what to do when a wife doesn’t want to submit. This book says that abuse isn’t Christlike, but doesn’t tell a woman what rights she has to say NO.

    ….

    My husband just got home from a trip to the store and bringing me a sub for dinner. We ended up having a bit of an argument/debate because he said in passing to his buddy on the phone while getting the sub that a woman who was out there should put some more clothes on. This happens to be one of my soapboxes (obviously) so I tried to explain to him that while I agree with the statement at face value (no one really wants to see all that), the reason it offends me is that despite my not wanting to see a woman or man’s body all hanging out, it is her right to wear whatever she damn well pleases and it hurts society to sum up such an interaction with “she should put more clothes on” as though it’s her fault should anything happen to her. My point is entirely that the party line is “blame the girl” and that we as a society would do better to leave the comments about the girl alone and instead focus on statements about boys and how they should respect women. Changing the party line would do more to change society than continuing to have toss away statements that ultimately do nothing.

    Of course, my husband, as well meaning as he is, feels that conversations of this nature are an attack on him as an individual instead of learning that he can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. He has had too many experiences with women getting him in trouble for their lies, so his gut reaction to my arguments is that I’m automatically taking women’s side rather than seeing “both sides of the issue”. Truthfully, it all comes down to him arguing about Oranges (that there are 3 sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth and that no one deserves to have blind acceptance of their story) and I’m arguing about Apples (that it hurts women (and men) to always make the conversation about what a women is wearing or doing and that we as a society can do better if we make the automatic statements into “look at that woman and how she has the absolute right to wear whatever she wants without being touched” instead of “if she goes walking around like that in the wrong neighborhood she’ll get raped”–one statement teaches boys to respect women, the other tells boys that women only deserve respect when they’re wearing respectable clothes).

    I still haven’t figured out how to explain to him that I’m not the only one who has a visceral reaction to certain triggers. He seems oblivious to the fact that he automatically reacts negatively to these discussions, though he seems well aware of my triggers. But that’s a discussion for another day :-).

    Anyway, in my attempt to explain to him that I’m not anti-men, but anti-party line about this issue (and that it’s not his fault that he’s been well trained by society to spew the usual lines about women being the problem) I pulled this paragraph from Lori Anderson’s “The Transformed Wife” to show him that it’s not just men who spew the party lines:

    Young women are encouraged to have “free sex” and pursue higher education and careers instead of getting married, bearing children, and guiding their homes. They are told to send their children to daycare and public schooling instead of raising them in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord and yes, having boundaries for them, disciplining, and training them. They are encouraged to divorce their husbands when they aren’t happy instead of being covenant keepers until death do they part. They are sold a bill of goods in buying provocative clothing to cause men to lust instead of dressing modestly and respecting themselves and the men around them enough to cover up.

    I added the emphasis for the sentence that sounded most like what he’d been trying to say in his defense. About how it’s women and how they dress that causes men to lust and if women respected men, they would cover themselves up. I don’t know what he thought of it because he didn’t respond, but I’m hoping it’s something he’ll think about.

    Anyway, while scrolling through Lori’s blog posts on feminism to find an example to use for my husband (it, unfortunately, wasn’t hard to locate), I found this gem which seems very appropriate for use on this post about submission:

    “When you heard many sermons on how women submit to husbands but zero on how husbands lay down their life for wife.” I have never heard a sermon from the pulpit of any church I have attended in my 58 years that teach women to submit to their husbands. In fact, there are few women preachers/teachers/writers/bloggers who even teach it. Instead of searching out Scripture for how they are to live their lives, they prefer to hear how their husbands should treat them instead. These women are either unbelievers or baby Christians because those who are mature in the faith examine themselves to see how they can become more like Christ. They understand that they will only have to answer for themselves one day instead of constantly pointing their finger at their husband. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith(2 Corinthians 13:5).

    This is from Lori’s blog post about Misogyny in the Church, which apparently she thinks is a feminist delusion. According to her, telling a young girl that she can’t be president is simply sharing that God’s plan for women is for women to be wives and mothers and to be content to stay at home.

    Anyway, I can totally believe that women like Lori aren’t hearing their pastors specifically teaching women to submit, but then, Lori makes it clear that she’s not a preacher because she’s a woman and therefore isn’t Biblically allowed to preach. What she refuses to believe is that she is one of the people who is teaching women that they should submit to their husbands. I don’t know whether she’d be proud of the fact that she has so much power over women or shamed because women aren’t supposed to overshadow men. In any case, here’s Lori’s very blatant post on the submission that she’s never heard preached anywhere in any church she’s ever attended. I think me and Lori have very different definitions of preaching.

    Urgh. I was scrolling through other recent posts by Lori and apparently she has a big problem with young women not being taught to submit to their husbands:

    “God is clear in His Word what older women are to teach younger women. They desperately need to be learning to submit to their husbands, how to properly discipline their children, to be sober, discreet, modest, chaste, good, and keepers at home since many younger women who claim to be Christians don’t look or act any differently than worldly women.”

    Maybe Lori should get ordained so that she can have a real pulpit to preach from instead of a blog that only masochists read. Then she could teach even more women…

    Before my husband got home and caused me to look at Lori’s blog, I’d already found this post where Michelle Duggar offers advice to newlywed women about always being sexually available to their husbands because that’s the one thing that sets a wife apart form any other woman in the world, supposedly. If you remember where I was before my husband got home and distracted me, I’d just explained how being in an egalitarian marriage doesn’t mean that my husband and I don’t “submit” to each other in an appropriate manner (though we’d use a better term like loving each other and showing that affection through our actions), but that because we’re in an egalitarian marriage, there’s no obligation to never say NO.

    ————————————————————————————–

    By the way, I’ve loaded up Lori’s post on Misogyny in Church on my tablet because I’d like my husband to read it. Or I may just read out the parts that he most needs to hear because the vertigo makes his eyes jump around, which makes reading difficult and the stroke that affected his left side has caused him to be slower at comprehending what he reads/hears–he get’s stuck on certain ideas easily, which is why we so often are arguing Oranges and Apples :-). It’s not because he’s a closet misogynist, no matter how much it sounds that way; he’s just had the party line ingrained in him for a long time because he’s of a certain generation, plus his own experiences, and then the stroke makes it harder for him to switch gears quickly. I think that offering him more female anti-feminist voices will help him understand that I’m not attacking men specifically, but society as a whole. Women are just as much to blame for rape culture as men, since I fully blame mothers and fathers for not teaching their sons to respect women rather than blaming mothers and fathers for not teaching their daughters to dress modestly.


    Argh! I just checked Glow, my fertility tracker for our natural family planning (because I don’t want the hormones from birth control) to see where I am in my cycle because arguments don’t stop our sex-life, haha. Anyway, Glow has a daily community poll and today’s question is “Is your relationship an equal partnership?” and I generally expected the spread of answers that I’m looking at: 70.9% of women (I assume that most users of Glow are women) are in an equal relationship and happy about it and 17.8% of women aren’t in an equal relationship, but want to be (they really should find a better significant other). I think it’s sad that 10.3% of women aren’t in an equal relationship and think that that’s okay (they also deserve better), but the fact that 1.1% of women ARE in an equal relationship and don’t like it, is the worst statistic! What have these poor women been taught that they want their significant other to quit treating them like an equal?