Tag Archives: Christian

The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood–Chapter 4

The Feminine Focus is the name of this chapter.

There’s not much in this chapter except to reiterate that being female is more than physical appearance. Apparently women are also created in the image of God…but since God is always portrayed as masculine in Christianity, I’m not sure what this image is supposed to be and why God is suddenly a hermaphrodite. I mean, I can understand that “in his image” can lead to different designs of men (like they come with a different options package or paint scheme), but I’m not sure how “in his image”leads to differences between men and women that is meaningful (like the difference between a Ford and a Toyota? or is it like the difference between a pickup truck and a sedan?).

Mmkay…I’m a woman who doesn’t really like to cook fancy things. I’d much rather use my money to have someone else cook for me. But, I do enjoy watching cooking shows for tips to make cooking what I don’t mind cooking easier.

I know, vaguely, how to make Beef Wellington. While reading this description of how making Beef Wellington went so wrong, I wondered why on Earth they were willing to buy an expensive beef tenderloin, but didn’t want to purchase pre-made puff pastry?!?! Erm…There are two cooking shows that I very much enjoy: Hell’s Kitchen and The Great British Baking Show. I’m 99% sure that Gordon Ramsey makes his famous Beef Wellington with store bought puff pastry and I know that Mary Berry never bothers to make puff pastry (and she’s a famous baker!). I have watched the home cooks struggle with making puff pastry (GBBS) and seen Paul Hollywood demonstrate how it’s not really that hard. In truth, I’m relatively confident that I could make puff pastry if I really wanted to. It’s just a matter of making sure that the pastry gets plenty of time to chill between turns. Two hours is how long it’d take an experienced baker to make puff pastry. If I were making it for the first time, I’d give myself at least 4 hours.

And this particular wording really concerned me about this anecdote: “The ingredients included some pricey tenderloin and other specialities that were supposed to form into a beautiful dough that wrapped around the meat” (my emphasis). Erm. The “other specialties” are brown mustard and the ingredients that go into the mushroom “filling” (for lack of a better term). The puff pastry is just flour, water, and a bit of salt to form the dough and I believe enough (nearly frozen) butter to cover a third of the dough (it could be more butter) that gets laminated into the dough through the process of turning. The wording here makes me think that they put the mustard and/or the ingredients for the mushroom filling into the puff pastry dough. That would lead to a mess!

Apparently this anecdote about a couple of women not really doing enough research into the dish that they were making is supposed to convince me that God didn’t make any mistakes while creating humans. I feel that there are enough differences in people to illustrate that there isn’t one kind of perfect human and while, yes, I can agree that we shouldn’t try to change who we are, I think that the writers of this book have misunderstood that when women like me want more power in our relationships and in life, we’re not rebelling against God, but are merely trying to be the people that God has meant us to be. To tell a woman that she doesn’t belong in a corporate boardroom (or as President of the United States) because she was born with a vagina, only goes to say that when God gave her the ambition and the ability to take these jobs, he made a mistake.

“Something about our femininity is saying something about God.”

I wish that this author had actually explained what this means.

I guess it’s supposed to be that women are and equal and opposite reaction to men. But that doesn’t explain why women have so far been described as the inferior sex that is dependent on the protection and provision of men and incapable of providing enough of anything to reduce their husband’s stress.

Oh my goodness. This author just punched men on the nose and I’m sure she doesn’t even realize it:

“The heart is the focus of our femininity–and that’s good news because that’s where God works.”

If what sets women apart from men is our heart and God primarily works through the heart, then it would seem that God works primarily through women rather than men. This, I would think, would mean that a woman’s opinion is more valuable than a mans because a man is more than likely making decisions with his head rather than his heart (whereas a woman makes decisions more with her heart than her head) and therefore the woman is making a decision with the organ that God works through primarily.

Personally, I think both men and women are more than capable of making decisions utilizing all parts of their brains (since the heart isn’t really involved in the decision making process), which includes having compassion for others. If men claim to be making rational decisions that don’t involve any compassion and sympathy for others, I’d run for the hills!

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God’s Calling

I’m not a Christian. In fact, I’m a deist who dabbles in atheism. But I’m morbidly fascinated by all the Christian ladies who blog about their life and their faith.

One of the blogs I’ve been following for a couple months is Take Heart Daughters which is a daily devotional authored by ~12 women of various ages, backgrounds, and denominations. For the most part they write decent advice for when life is trying to drag you down, which highly I’d recommend if you need a faith-based pick-me-up. It’s been rare that I’ve felt the need to correct advice that comes across as anti-feminist.

Feminism has always been the driving force behind my morbid curiosity. One of the first websites that alerted me to this sub-culture of woman against feminism was shared with me by a pen pal who listed it as one of her favorite websites. I wish I could remember the name of that specific website, but the only hint I have when I think about it is that it was a forum-type website with mom’s asking for advice about their daughters (not very much in terms of articles) and I want to say that the web address seemed benign (like I wasn’t expecting to find an anti-feminism website when I checked it out). Of course, it could be Ladies Against Feminism and they’ve just had a major makeover since I first learned about it.

Anyway, whatever the website that first grabbed my attention was, one of the things that struck me was the numerous questions by moms (usually) about how to convince their daughters that what God was actually calling them to do wasn’t what the daughters thought that God was calling them to do. Usually it had something to do with the daughter going away for college and/or work. It understandably pissed me off that these parents were seeking ways to invalidate what may actually have been a calling from God!

Remember, I’m a deist who dabbles in atheism. I am incredibly open minded about the possibility that a God may be playing some role in the direction of individual lives. I respect this 1,000,000 times more than the idea that parents can tell their daughter that instead of the idea that might possibly have been planted by God isn’t a valid life-dream. Only the woman (or man) can decide if something is or isn’t a calling by God and parents need to butt out of their adult children’s lives!

Anywho.

So while I was defending these daughters’ right to do whatever they damn well please and that it’s disgusting for parents to use religion to pressure their children into a specific path in life, I was wondering about this thing: “A Calling from God”.

Like, what does this feeling feel like? Is it some pipe-dream like the parent’s claim–no more than a whim of a teenager looking to be too “worldly”? Or is it a substantial, metaphysical calling? The parents’ weren’t of any use to discover a description for this phenomenon and the daughters were most likely to do one of two things with their calling: either ignore it because they were bullied by their parents or rebel completely against the restrictive household and most likely end up off that path just because of the financial and mental hardship that comes with suddenly being dumped into the real world.

The only time these daughters (and sons, though I’m sure there’s less pressuring down a very specific path for sons) would be able to investigate their calling is when it aligns with that of the parents (being a stay-at-home wife and mother, namely). Sure, she can have some life ambitions, but only those that keep her close to home and under her parent’s supervision. Not like, say, going across the country to attend a secular university. If she gets to go to university, it’d either be one close to home (including online) or a Christian university with lots of regulations, just like home.

So, for the most part, I’ve figured that I’d never fully understand what this “Calling from God” feels like to these poor girls. I just can’t relate to feeling something so strongly that I’d need to rebel against my parents to do it (because my parents have never told me I couldn’t do anything since everything I’ve ever wanted to do is relatively normal; dating my now husband was the sole exception and I was 25 at the time so my dad just bit his tongue since he’s just old, not dangerous).

However, since I decided to go back to school, I’ve been persisted by this feeling that “this is what God’s calling me to do”. Not that I’m suddenly a Christian or anything like that demographic. Not even like I really think God is involved in so many coincidences (I don’t have delusions that I’m so special that God rearranges the entire world to suite my needs). But, there have been a lot of things that have happened that make me feel like this is right. And I imagine that if I were one of these Christian women, I could easily call this my “calling from God”.

Which, you know what, makes me EVEN MORE PISSED FOR THOSE GIRLS I FIRST DEFENDED! Grrrr. Do you know how much it would hurt if I had someone in my life telling me that this isn’t what God wants for me! As each block has laid itself on this path before me, making the path easier (like suddenly not needing to take the GRE or MAT the very same semester that I wanted to start), to be told that this isn’t what I’m called to do, that this isn’t God, that this is in some way a sin because I’m being selfish or self-centered…it’d be bullshit!

Ladies, if you feel that you are being called to do anything, you are more than entitled to pursue that desire. There is no more reason to believe that it isn’t God that to believe that it is. If your parents are trying to make you stay home and under their control, that isn’t fair to you! You deserve to get the most out of life and yeah, that may mean making a few mistakes along the way. I would hope that your parents would accept that that raised you right, but that they can’t raise you forever. Independence is about proving that you are the person that you want to be, whomever that person is.

If your parents are afraid of you being independent, then they are afraid that you will become someone that they don’t like–that means that they don’t think that they raised you right. If is up to you to decide if you want to be the person that your parents want you to be or if you want to be the person that you want to be. But keep in mind that it is you who will be living the life and dealing with the consequences, not your parents. It is your happiness that matters, not your parents.

Good: The Joy of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood–Introduction

​For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus, (Galatians 3: 27-28) 

This text is helpful for our purposes. It doesn’t mean that the gospel wipes out manhood and womanhood. It does mean that our fundamental reality in life is our identity in Jesus Christ.

Hmm…If there IS male and female, that would also mean that there is not only Jew and Greek, but also slave and free. I don’t see how you can have one pairing without having all.

We are not free to choose our sexual predilections.

I agree! But these authors seem to think that people choose to be LGBTQ. I hope no offense is taken when I say that I would not choose to be a lesbian. Just as I wouldn’t expect a lesbian to choose to be straight.

I love how earlier they stated that masculinity and femininity aren’t based on any stereotypes, but that men are leaders and women are followers. Dress and actions don’t matter. Well, we’ll see how long it takes for someone to say that boys should play rough sports while girls cook.

Actually, upon further reflection, if all that matters is that boys lead while girls follow, then what does sexual preference and gender roles have to do with anything? Making a boy lead when he’s not a natural born leader is every bit as artificial as making a boy look like a boy because he was born with a penis. I feel like that comes across as insensitive–ladies, I don’t care if you were born with a penis, you are welcome in the bathroom with me so long as we have separate stalls (because I don’t even want my hubby looking at me when I’m on the toilet, let alone anyone else, male, female, other, whatever!) ☺. If God designed boys to lead, then a boy who doesn’t have a desire to lead obviously isn’t a boy (just pointing out the stupidity of this argument).

Don’t try to become something you’re not. Embrace who God made you to be…


Strange, all that talk about how it’s ridiculous that mere humans think that they are capable of doing anything and being whomever they want to be, only to finish the chapter with the story of a boy who is (severely) disabled learning to walk because of the willfulness of his adoptive father. Looking past the supposition that the child is being abused by not having his disability respected, we’re left with a child being taught that despite his body saying that he’s not capable of walking, through willpower alone, he can defy the limitations he was born with. I thought this chapter was about accepting the fact that if you are born with a penis, you are expected to be a leader, fall in love with a woman and have more children than you can afford. Apparently being born with a disability is different than being born with a penis when it comes to defining your destiny.



Our “Christian” Wedding

So, you already know that we consider our wedding to have been non-conformist. My husband and I are Deists, not Christian. But while writing a review of The Pilgrim’s Progress, I realized that there are a lot of Idols and Symbols associated with a modern wedding that aren’t what I consider Christian.

I really feel like my husband and I had nearly the most “Christian” version of a wedding–there were no frills, no Idols, nothing but us in front of the very few people who matter most to us. We actually planned it, rather than a quick elopement, so it was done with purpose in a place that felt special, but wasn’t ornamented to make us seem any more special than anyone else.

The only thing we “splurged” on was our clothes, because I wanted to be pretty on my wedding day and I wanted him to be drop dead gorgeous (because we’re not the type of people who dress up, ever). However, the actual amount of time and money spent on our clothes was relatively little. My dress took about an hour to order online. Three quarters of that was debating if I really wanted the dress that immediately caught my eye in comparison to the rest that were available. It is black and white hounds-tooth patterned and doesn’t conform with any Idolized Ideal of a wedding dress (a tradition started by Queen Victoria and isn’t in the Bible, so far as I know). The rest of that hour was getting my husband to measure me.*

My husband’s clothes took a bit longer because we had to go to multiple stores, but the overall look was relatively cheap: Jeans and a gray button-down. New boots, which he needed anyway (and we did this trick again for his son’s wedding: they looked fine under his tuxedo). The most expensive item was his suit-coat, which we got new, but could have come from a thrift store if we really wanted to search it out, though he’s a big guy, so our choices were limited. But time is money and getting his suit coat new also got us a great relationship with that particular Philip Michael’s store in Chesapeake Square Mall, who helped us out when we needed to measure my husband for that tuxedo.

If being a good Christian means being austere (and really, I don’t think you can be both filthy rich and a good Christian), I think a big, audacious wedding ends up being more a status symbol than a sacrament. A few choice items, picked for their importance to the couple are wonderful, but more for the sake of filling up the space, well, maybe you shouldn’t be getting married in such an empty room!

We didn’t have a registry for gifts. Honestly, I find this entire idea a bit nauseating. I’ve seen the movie My Fake Fiancé where two broke people pretend to get married for the gifts, but really, as a person, I hate any time someone wants me to tell them what to give me as a gift! My least favorite part of Christmas is the gift exchange because I hate the idea of gifts being an expectation instead of a surprise. Ideally, I’d only give gifts when I feel inspired to give gifts and it seems stupid to literally hold onto items that you know someone will love because of the unspoken obligation to have something for them to open at Christmas. Seriously, I’ve started working on my Christmas presents for this year and I will have to store them for the next 8 months. Is there any wonder why people wait until the last minute to buy and wrap their gifts–that’s where all the incentive is.

When we invited everyone to our reception in May, I specifically told everyone not to bring a gift, but to bring a dish to share (it was potluck). Honestly, I loved packing up all the leftovers to fill our fridge! That was the best gift we could have asked for because I won’t be tripping over random stuff for the next 20 years. Okay, I will be, but it’s all stuff my husband had from before we married.

We didn’t have a cake either on our wedding night or at our reception. Wedding cake is yet another unnecessary Idol/Symbol/Tradition. While I’m amazed by the amount of work that can go into a gorgeous wedding cake, at the end of the day it will either be eaten or thrown away. It is food. I think everyone should take a moment when they buy their cake (and their flowers) and decide if they are getting it because it’s something that means a lot to their relationship or because it will make a good statement piece.

I guess there’s a fine line between a bride getting her vision and the audaciousness of a $50,000 wedding. And I guess that if you can afford it, you should get what you want. But, I think it’s important to keep your priorities in check with everything you do. I actually do have a really big problem with the divorce rate being 50% and while I’m libertarian enough to say that folks are more than allowed to do whatever the hell they want, I think society would be better off with better marriages, not more of them!

Oh. One final note is necessary. It’s actually really easy to identify when you’ve crossed the line from getting the wedding of your dreams and the wedding meant to please everyone–you’ve felt even the smallest twinge of regret over at least one choice. If you feel overwhelmed, you’ve definitely crossed this line! Yes, things can (and do) go wrong, but if you feel unable to run with whatever life throws at you, STOP. You need to reevaluate the situation. There is no need to rush into anything and I can tell you from personal experience working in a print shop, RUSH means that someone, somewhere screwed up (and because of that, more things will go wrong). There is no such thing as a job marked RUSH where everything was done right from the beginning.

*By the way, while my husband is a good sport about measuring me, keep in mind that husbands will shrink you an inch around the waist, where it’s easy for you to inadvertently suck in your stomach when he pulls the tape too tight.

The destructive effects of birth control on marriage…part deux

You know it sucks trying to be a well-rounded, well-researched pain in the ass when you have to write a part two of a post that was never intended because you forgot what your initial complaint was…

So…that sentence above got a little lost. What had happened is that when I first saw Mrs. Anderson’s blog post I got so pissed about her graph and how incomplete it was, I quit reading it and started thinking about everything it implies, but is so wrong about. It took me a few days to actually have time to right my response (because I don’t usually do much of anything after work except veg on the couch with the hubby). When I did finally take some time to write my response Friday night (as we vegged on the couch) because I knew I could stay up as long as needed, of course the historian part of me said that I couldn’t respond to something I wasn’t entirely sure of the context of, which meant I had to go back and read her post and you can see the rant that was the result of that. I’d gotten so caught up in the sexism of her post that I’d completely forgotten about the scientific and historical arguments I’d thought up at work. It wasn’t until this morning when my husband added another theoretical point on my “he only comes to bed in the morning when I use the bathroom” chart that I laughed about “correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation” and had a literal “oh shit” moment.

Because yeah–I think it’s important for women who are confused enough to seek out the marriage advice of folks like Mrs. Anderson have someone like me writing about everything she wouldn’t dare mention. Like the fact that her chart needs to be read with the understanding that “correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation”.

Here is the offending chart:

50eab-divorcepill

In my previous post I hinted at my offense at this chart because you’ll notice that the blue “Pill” line seems to be tapering off even which some may cheer for, but it doesn’t mean less people are using birth control, just that they’re switching to non-pill methods.

Now, I’m going to analyze this chart a hell of a lot better. The first thing to notice is that the divorce rate is staying relatively consistent now. It’s naive to think that it’s on another upward swing because anything can cause a divorce and in my opinion, divorce is highly preventable (don’t get your panties in a knot quite yet, I’ll get to that in a little while–if I forget, drop me a message and I’ll update this post).

Disclaimer: I have no talent or desire to to an actual statistical analysis of this data. I literally should have failed college statistics (thank you TA for not destroying my poor GPA, I wasn’t stupid enough to continue down that path, so you saved me and I learned my lesson!). The one thing I did eventually learn (via the Environmental Science department, where the statistics calculations we used, while I also failed at them, had more specific meaning to me, so therefore made slightly more sense) is that to be “statistically significant”, the alpha (result of statistical calculations) must be above 0.05. In other words, based on the calculations, it has at least a 95% chance of occurrence to get this FANCY TITLE. That is all that “statistical significance” is–a fancy title. So take it with a grain of salt because something may not be “statistically significant” because it has a 94.99% chance of occurrence. The same is true about a “100 year flood”. The media portrays this like it means “a flood like this only occurs every 100 years”, but in reality the way of calculating this is to take the top 100 floods, put them in order by size with the biggest as #1 and that flood is a “100 year flood” because it has a 1 in 100 probability of occurring IN ANY GIVEN YEAR. A “99 year flood” is the second worse flood and it could be a mere centimeter smaller than the one above it. So in a world with more bigger floods, a “50 year flood” could be less than a foot smaller than a “100 year flood”.

Anyway, so now you know why I’m just going to eyeball this graph to give my analysis. Besides, for what I care about, an eyeball is all I need.

So…what are some of the causes of divorce? This seems like a good place to start. There’s cheating; abuse (mental, physical, sexual, spiritual, etc); one spouse being gay, transgender, bisexual, etc; umm…”irreconcilable differences” (which covers a lot of things); this is depressing, so you get the picture. The point is that this graph is trying to narrow all these causes into one root cause: “The Pill”.

Which now begs the question: why did the divorce rate jump (it did) after The Pill became mainstream? I’m VERY glad you asked!!

WOMEN’S LIBERATION!

Cool. Thank you very much ladies of the past for making it almost socially acceptable for my husband and I to both hyphenate our names because we’re both important parts of this marriage! Considering where things once were, there was no sarcasm intended in that sentence above. I really am grateful for these ladies and it’s a condemnation for where we still need to go that I snark at.

Women’s history is a slow, but forward moving entity. I don’t really want to go all into it, but my studies generally started with what women did during the US Civil War (the abolitionists, the spys), though there is SO much that they did before that. I just haven’t studied it as in depth, so there’s only a few names that pop out at me–Anne Huchinson is one if you want to start a little bit further back, though PLEASE, don’t think it that ever really has a beginning! Women’s history is important, even as it’s usually ignored with the rest of minority history.

To simplify, let’s look at this list of “women’s issues” (issues that women were actively involved in) starting with the US Civil War: Abolition. Rights for freed slaves. Rights for immigrants. Rights for children. Rights for women. All through this there was Temperance, weaving in and out as social ills were blamed on alcohol. Then there was the Women’s Right to Vote, which there were probably as many women for this as there were against. Remember that also during all of the above, these women activists were attacked not only for what they were fighting for, but also because they were acting outside of the realm of women–women were supposed to be under the control of their husbands and fathers or other male relative. To speak out against anything not condoned by their protector made them that much less of a woman, though even when they did have the support of their husband, both sorts of husband was still often accused of being less than a man for not controlling his wife.

Imagine the situation a woman wanting to speak out would be in if she lived in a society where her husband is expected to control her. She’d be terrified to disagree with him because back then it was perfectly acceptable for a husband to hit his wife to keep her submissive. It was legally very difficult for a woman to go after a divorce while very easy for a man to ruin his wife with one–imagine the stigma of being a divorced woman–she can’t find work because she’s no longer “proper”. Gah–there are plenty of books written about this; if you need more information to be able to imagine this Hell, feel free to find one. Or there are lots of good documentaries. Let’s just leave it that there was this “Utopian Ideal” much like the one described by “modern” women who preach about a “Good Christian Wife who is Submissive to her Husband” and then there is REALITY when there are actual laws that prevent women from being independent AND a society that finds it morally acceptable to snub (meaning allow to suffer) women who are divorced, have a child out of wedlock, and, to some extent, who are beaten (there was a line, but it was still a grey area–“rule of thumb” and all that).

Anyway, This is pre-1920, a good place to pause and acknowledge the role of the rest of the world because at this point WWI has just ended, leaving many families without a male head of household. Wars had always left many women in such a state for thousands of years, but never on this kind of scale. This is because there’d been a change in how families earned their living. Before, the work of her husband may not have been socially acceptable for a woman, but she was probably lucky enough to live in a place where since she’d been honorably widowed (and enough of her neighbors were in a similar state) that it was okay for her to take over her husband’s shop or push his plow in the fields. She could game the system in whatever way was necessary and people would overlook it.

But, before the War, factories had been invented and while it may be okay for a woman to run her husband’s general goods store after his death, it was more questionable for her to work in a dim, dirty, factory. Factory girls weren’t proper girls. It might have been okay for a teenager to work in one before she got married, but after marriage she was expected to stay home and raise the children. Once she became a married woman, dirty work was just that: dirty. Scandalous. But, a family has to eat, so a woman did what she had to do and again, because she was probably lucky enough to live in a town where there were many women living a similar life, at least the scandal was minimized and ignored. Women would never brag about their day job in polite society.

Manufacturing during WWI wasn’t such a massive scale that women were expected to work in the factories while the men were away. This was merely women taking the jobs of their deceased husbands to be given up at the time that she found a new husband. REMEMBER THIS!

With WWII, we see those wonderful “Rosie the Riveters” and the “All American Girls Baseball League”. This was a time when factories actually were RECRUITING women to fill jobs vacated by men who’d been shipped overseas. Now, lets go back to what society had been. Before, most women only worked outside of the home because they needed the money to survive. Society encouraged this ideal. If a woman seemed to step outside of the idealized role of wife and mother, she was shunned or at least talked about behind her back. I believe even rambunctious and scandalous Anne of Green Gables quit her teaching job when she became pregnant (if not when she married), thus conforming to the ideal. Laura Ingalls also quit teaching upon pregnancy if not upon marriage.

And now, during WWII, we have the US government (feel free to leave a comment if your country had a similar campaign) actively telling women that they’re needed outside of the home. That they’re actually important to the war effort. Imagine what must have gone through these women’s heads: “Wait, I’m worth more than just my ability to have a child? I’m actually smart enough that you want me to build and fly airplanes, bombs, tanks, etc? You aren’t telling me you want me to be just a placeholder, because I personally am needed?” Even if she wasn’t having these revelations, once she was actually put into these roles, she must have enjoyed the mental stimulation, especially if she was one of those amazingly brave women who were flying airplanes near enemy territory without ammunition (because we all know that a woman isn’t in combat if she isn’t properly armed)!

The same “UNCLE SAM NEEDS YOU!” mentality went into recruiting women into the factories as it did getting men into the trenches. Is it any wonder that women reacted so strongly when they were told that they weren’t needed anymore when the boys came back from war? Yes, many happily went back to being a housewife and mother. Few told their children what they’d done (it was only in 2002 that those WASPs (Women Air Force Service pilots) were allowed to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and then someone had the nerve to revoke those rights in 2015, though it went back into law this past May). But some really liked the work. They liked being useful as something more than making and raising children. So, women started actively entering and staying in the workforce even after they married and had babies.

Let’s say we’re in the 1950s, now. Women have been expanding their role. They’re still talked about behind their backs and their jobs are considered unimportant (because anybody can be a teacher or a secretary). Depending on the demographics of her town, she’ll be more or less accepted. Think deep south vs. NYC. Also at this point we need to acknowledge that demographics have changed. Fewer people know their neighbors and this downward trend is reaching rock bottom today. When you don’t know your neighbors it’s both very easy to vilify them and also to ignore them, which is why there was (is?) a wide gulf between the homemakers and the working women–both assume that the other is someone she probably isn’t. Anyway, at some point, college is suddenly considered a proper place for a woman (because education is necessary for women to be able to teach their sons to be educated and because college educated men make for good husbands), though they weren’t expected to actually complete a degree other than an Mrs. At least if a woman had a husband, her parents couldn’t completely give up hope that she’d turn out “normal”.

Then came the 1960s. The era of the protest. And women whose mother had potentially worked in a factory during WWII (having been told that she was smart and special to get her there), is now in college and maybe she thinks she’s “smart and special”, too. Like, maybe she’s capable of more than just an Mrs. degree. And as other minorities start to fight to get the same basic rights as white folks, white women start to wonder why their choices are still stigmatized. They begin to protest, too.

Meanwhile, by now the Pill has been developed and is LEGALLY sanctioned for use only within marriage. Even before this condoms existed and were stigmatized even when used by married couples. So, it’s not like the US government has always been pro-free-sex, there were laws on the books that said that you had to prove marriage in order to get birth control. For a relatively long time.

Now, while I’m sure all of you are fascinated by women’s history, I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the divorce rate. Well, I’ve shown you the progression of Women’s Liberation. From speaking out on husband-approved topics like slavery  all the way to women burning their bras. During that time, women were always faced with the tales of their mothers and grandmothers. Tales of women who, once married, were forced to stay in that marriage no matter how miserable they were. Tales from them about women who’d been shamed (as precautionary tales). But these women of the 1970s didn’t want to be forced into that life. Women-kind, as a sex, had lived through so many changes, why should they as individuals be forced into a life that wasn’t the one that they wanted. Yes, this kind of independence was still stigmatized, but if a man can run off to Paris to become a starving artist, why can’t a woman? During this time of upheaval, the simple truth that came out was “If a man can do this, why can’t I?” That is Feminism. The belief that I’m not less capable of anything simply because I was born with a vagina instead of a penis. And maybe there was/is a little chauvinism of “well, I can do everything a man can do WHILE bleeding for a few days every month AND I can grow a new person inside of me”.

So. The divorce rate. The first thing that had to change was that it became legally as easy for a woman to be granted a divorce as a man. In reality this was a slow process because there were still male judges who were less likely to grant said divorce. But, with time, this changed (that’d be that slow rise of the red divorce line way up above at the graph).

Because, let’s also head way up above to where I started my analysis: what are the causes of divorce? NONE of these are NEW. None of them. There has always been cheating. There has always been abuse. There have always been revelations that one spouse is not heterosexual or has any other sexual dimorphism (PLEASE do not yell at me for not knowing the correct terms to use here–when it comes to gender issues, I’m very sympathetic, but not a scholar. Feel free to correct me in the comments!). There have ALWAYS been irreconcilable differences.

People have always wanted to end their marriages: the problem was that it was socially and legally unacceptable. With Women’s Liberation, this changed. Yes, I’m blaming Women’s Liberation for the high divorce rate and I’m PROUD that it did! Because you know what? I think we’d live in a shitty society if people were forced to stay in relationships with people they don’t want to be with anymore! That situation cannot be healthy for anyone, but especially for any children that are involved!

Now, at this point I want to mollify those of you who got upset when I said that I believe that divorce is highly preventable. Here’s the thing: My husband was married twice before me to two women who sucked. Yes, he loved them at the time that they got married, but they turned out to be awful. Both cheated on him, though he said to at least one of them that he’d accept an open relationship so long as she was honest with him–she wasn’t honest. The rest of his girlfriends were, for the most part, not great (because, one of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always been honest, but gracious, towards his many exes, so I will not stoop to their level and call them trolls).

I think a lot of what eventually happened with them would have been solved by a few weeks of good PRE-marital counselling. I get the vibe that when he was 22 and married his first wife he was really just looking to be a husband and father and thought that what love they had was enough, though she ended up changing on him. In other words, he didn’t know her well enough before he married her. She’d been looking for a dad for her two girls and he probably liked the idea of an instant family. I think I can honestly say that whatever the cause of the divorce, it’s something that could have been spotted before the marriage occurred just by ensuring that both parties are honest with themselves about what they want and having a 3rd party ensure that both parties are being honest with each other by bringing up the hard questions. I doubt that there could ever be a time when the divorce rate hits zero, but if we begin to fashion a society where people are looking for marriages that are based on the right foundations for success, the divorce rate can get very low.

It seems like I haven’t had a post yet comparing a marriage to a wedding. I need to get on top of this.

 

The destructive effects of birth control on marriage…huh.

So, not every blog I follow is one I actually agree with. In this case, my interest in home schooling and it’s positive and negative effects led me to start following the wife of Pastor Steven Anderson, notorious homophobe and generally rude person from Arizona.

She wrote this post on “the destructive effects of birth control on marriage” this week and I only got about a third of the way through when I realized I had to comment on this and that my comment was probably more than a comments section could stand. So here I am.

First, birth control is SOOOO much more than The Pill in 2016! There are condoms, patches, IUDs, tubal ligations (and other surgical sterilizations for women), vasectomies (and other surgical sterilizations for men?!? I don’t know this one),  and probably a few more that I either haven’t heard of or can’t recall off the top of my head. So you notice how that Pill curve seems to be tapering off and maybe even decreasing? That’s not something anti-birth control folks should cheer about–it’s just that there’s so many other options to choose from.

The lesson I’m hoping to teach here is that people need to understand their graphs and that one is very unimpressive at best!

But it doesn’t seem that Mrs. Anderson is trying to make that kind of point. I think she was just looking for a picture to illustrate her point and was LAZY.

It seems that the point of this post is that men are more important to women. In all cases, but most importantly in pregnancy.

First, let’s insult men and women because “There are the unspoken insults to the other spouse and children – I don’t want your kids, I don’t want any more of you.” Which is pretty barbaric because as a child (which we all are), I definitely didn’t look at my mom after learning that she’d had a tubal ligation after my brother’s birth and think that my mom was somehow hurting me because she wasn’t having more children.

Actually, now that I’m older, I’m PROUD of her for stopping at 2 kids. It would have been interesting having more siblings, but I accept that my mom isn’t a great mother. In fact, I’d say she failed every standard “good mom” test when I was growing up. She has her issues, but she means well. She came from a stereotypical Italian family that SMOTHERED their children so that they were ill prepared to live their own lives and my mom definitely never made an effort herself to become independent. She’s always had low skilled jobs and now that my brother and I are grown, she really has no life. I wish I could convince her to have a passion for something, but all I can do is try to convince my dad to get her to go to therapy for their issues.

Anyway, the next thing Mrs. Anderson said after insulting women  was insulting men and women because “There is even the very practical aspect that when there are no children in the home, it is far easier and more likely for one spouse to commit adultery.” Uhh…as a newlywed, I’m not sure how this works. So because there’s a child or 4 in the house, the husband (or wife) can’t sneak away for a quickie with some other man or chick?

First, that scares me that the parents have no life outside of each other and children. My husband has his best friend since he was a teenager. They see each other weekly and often a 1 hour visit really means 4 or more because they’re car-heads. Gonna be honest–it’s boring to hang out with them for any extended amount of time because even though I’m content to read my book, there are no comfy chairs in the garage/yard/house (he’s a recent bachelor with two daughters in there twenties) and then there’s always the weather to deal with if I want to sit in the car. So usually he goes on his own, especially after our bowling league which is on a weeknight. Also, my husband drives a tow truck, so he’s OFTEN out of the house between 11 pm and 3 am. If we had a child, neither of these two events would change one bit, so if my husband wanted to have an affair, all he’d have to do is fake a police call or say he’s going to his BFFs house and not. I trust him, so it’s not like I’m going to call if I know where he’s supposed to be and it hasn’t been way too long (sometimes he’ll get called again while he’s already out at 2 am). OH! And he also mows his stepmom’s yard at least every two weeks and I don’t always go with him. Me, I don’t care to have much of a life. I’m content to stay home by myself and catch up on my quiet activities (reading, writing, crafting, etc). I’m an introvert so I need my weekend to re-coup from all the socializing I do at work all week, though I do volunteer at the church next door (secular historic church, so don’t get excited, haha).

I guess Mrs. Anderson’s reasoning is that parents don’t socialize with people besides their spouse and children, so there’s no significant amount of time when they’re actually outside of each other’s sight. Here’s two anecdotes that disprove the theory that children insulate a marriage from adultery. The first is that my husband’s first two wives (I’m number 3) both cheated on him. He had his son with the first. His second had a son from a previous relationship. He was at times the stay at home dad, though he was also at times a long haul truck driver, gone for days at a time in order to put a roof over their heads and food on the table (mostly the latter case). So…it’s more about the person you’re married to than the idea that children keep the wife faithful.

The second anecdote is when my mom called me crying because she’s found out that my dad was using a phone sex service and she felt that this was cheating. Sigh. I really didn’t need to be my parents marriage counselor, especially when it comes to their sex life! But in any case, my parents are NOT going to divorce EVER because they come from a different generation. Yes, they have their bumps and bruises and NEED TO SEE A THERAPIST! but, their marriage isn’t going to dissolve. So, again, children didn’t stop the cheating. Period. Do not have them because you think it will rescue your marriage–it won’t!

(By the way, I don’t consider this situation as my dad having cheated on my mom, but I do accept that because they never discussed what types of porn are acceptable, if any, that she is entitled to consider it cheating. One of the first conversations my husband and I had on the issue of cheating was what forms of porn are cheating because I don’t believe reading erotica or viewing porn both static and video are cheating because the “source” is a stranger that you have no contact with–there is no emotions crossing any barriers. I would consider calling a phone sex line cheating for us because you’re actually having a conversation with another person (in a manner of speaking). BUT, it is the RESPONSIBILITY of a couple to determine what and where the lines are and for each to respect the opinions of the other person. If your significant other views all forms of porn as cheating and you think that’s crazy, YOU ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. So, in my dad’s case, he gets a “pass” from me on the issue of cheating because they never had a discussion on where the boundaries of porn are, which is their fault and not my problem. When it’s not discussed, the socially agreed upon, overly-simplistic definitions of cheating are the boundaries that must be condemned; anything in the grey area is up for debate unless set in stone by the two (or more) parties involved. Case in point, my husband knew his second wife wasn’t very good with monogamy, but he told her he would accept her having other lovers so long as she was open and honest with him. She wasn’t and claimed that she wasn’t sleeping around behind his back even though by 4 months into the “marriage” he caught her sleeping with his then best friend in their bed. Had she been open about her sex life, he’d have probably climbed in bed with them, but as it was, she lied and he kicked her out.)

You’re probably wondering where Mrs. Anderson gives so much power to men (and declares that women are entirely too weak minded to know their own feelings on the subject of children): “I say “men” because in virtually all cases where couples intentionally prevent having children, the driving force behind that decision is the man, or at the very least he is failing to win over his wife to where she would desire children. Virtually all women, especially Christians who love the Lord and trust in his provision, would want nothing more than children if they felt supported and appreciated, and felt that the children were a great source of joy to her husband.” One of the sweetest things my husband has ever said (even though I disagree with him) is that men need to get their asses out of the abortion debate because it’s a woman’s body that is at issue; there is no reason for an all male panel to be making laws about abortion, he says, when men aren’t the ones having these children. Ain’t he the best?! Like I said, I disagree with him on this because I think that the FATHER has the right to discuss things with the MOTHER about the fetus–really these are the only two people who have any right to make abortion decisions in any instance since it’s the life that they created that’s in the balance. I feel like his position negates the opinion of the father of the fetus, though ultimately we both agree that there’s no reason for ANY third party, male, female, whatever to have any say.

Mrs. Anderson doesn’t mince words as she continues to blame men for women not wanting children: “If your wife does not want a baby, you have failed to make her feel safe, loved, and supported. She doesn’t want children because she doesn’t want more of YOU. She doesn’t want to hear you gripe more about the finances, or how the kids are a burden, or how you wish you could do XYZ instead. Nobody wants to have kids with a selfish whiner who is a spiritual weakling.”

Well, here’s the thing: I’ve never been particularly drawn to having a biological child. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but it was always towards the needy kids in the foster care system who I’d adopt the moment they said they wanted to be my kid. One of my earliest memories of this is walking home from high school in probably 10th grade with my best friend (who is black) and telling her that I could just see me calling her up because I’d just fallen love with the most beautiful black little girl and I had no idea what to do about her hair! Seriously, my plans for my future never involved having a husband or sperm donor as my family grew. Now that I have a husband, my plans haven’t really changed. Yes, he wants another biological child, but he’s also not certain if he’s even still fertile (he’s 19 years older than me and was defibrillated 14 times 7 years ago when he suffered the “widow maker” heart attack). I’ve never opposed biological children, they were just never my priority simply because I never expected for find a suitable husband. I’ve always been on the fence of “if it happens, it happens” and he’s in agreement with me. So, in case you care about our sex life, as Mrs. Anderson seems to, we use condoms when my fertility tracker says I’m fertile, being slightly extra careful because of the Zika virus and because I’m supposed to be a bridesmaid in Feb 2017 for my stepson’s wedding, and going unprotected the rest of the month.

Mrs. Anderson seems to be a few years out of date on her obstetrics training: “It is no coincidence that permanent birth control measures are virtually always pushed and performed during pregnancy or birth.” While my mother’s and my husband’s first wife’s tubal ligations were performed immediately after the birth of their last child (both c-sections so while mom was still wide open), apparently this isn’t done as regularly anymore. We found this out when we were talking to a friend of my stepson, a young woman who was pregnant with her 3rd (4th?) child, who was ready to make it her last, but was told by her doctor that she had to have the tubal ligation in a separate surgery months after the birth. It took my husband a few minutes to comprehend that the recommendations had changed in the 20 years since his son was born.

Again, she illustrates that men are the all powerful being (interesting since she’s the spokesperson for their family via this blog): “So men, before you do something permanent like getting a vasectomy or pushing your wife into a tubal ligation, please consider that sooner or later, your wife will come to the painful realization that she would like to have more children, even if you don’t.” Because, women don’t know their own selves. Though, I suppose she’s also insulting men for being “selfish” by not wanting children in the first place. I guess this hints at another unhealthy aspect of this ideal relationship she pictures: one where children are entirely the domain of the wife. Because obviously since this husband doesn’t want more children (he’s considering a vasectomy) he’s still supposed to let them continue to come for his wife’s sake. This makes me wonder the nature of the relationship where the wife wants children like Mrs. Anderson encourages, but the husband is done–I guess that’s when she blames him for pressuring the wife to stop having them–the poor man can’t win!

I don’t know about you, but shouldn’t the husband and wife be entirely in agreement on this issue? And what REALLY matters is that they’re IN AGREEMENT? Who gives a damn if they choose to only have 1 or 2 children (or none)–that’s their life. Children AREN’T going to fix a crappy marriage (my husband is an example of this) and having a child as a way of forcing your husband to stick around (plenty of women do it), is a HORRIBLE foundation to raise a child on! THAT is selfish!

It is NOT selfish to look at your individual situation and decide what is best for your marriage. It IS selfish to make a baby because a baby will love you when your man won’t. Mrs. Anderson needs to sort out her priorities instead of guilt-tripping women (and men) who are confused!

I shall leave you with one final anecdote. This is from 1962 or so. My grandma had recently given birth to my uncle, her 8th child, who was born at least a month premature. Back then, this was even scarier than it is today for a parent because the survival rate was so low for premies. The technology just didn’t exist that we have today. Anyway, this scared the hell out of my grandma and even though my uncle survived and is fine, a few months later when my grandpa called her from the ship he was stationed on (US Navy) he mentioned that they were being offered vasectomies. Grandma told him that he’d better get one! Because she didn’t want to risk having another premature birth and losing the baby. My grandfather did just as requested because he respected the decision of his wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump is a Bully and the Christian Post agrees (even if they don’t realize it yet).

Yeah, I know,  I know. It’s easy to say it, but apparently the rest of the country doesn’t actually believe it.

But, while browsing Christian Post, I came across this article about 8 Warning Signs of a Church Bully and Oh My Goodness, they’re describing one Donald J. Trump! The real irony is that while trying to grab this list, there was a Trump ad on the page calling Hillary “Crooked Hillary” and saying that she’s bought by the lobbyists, Wall Street, etc.

1. They are among the first in the church to tell you how much they love you. And they will continue to love you as long as you do everything exactly the way they want it done every single day.

–Trump loves to say how much he loves you! He’s got friends everywhere–including Idaho! I still would love to hear directly from these Idahoan friends of his!

2. They have strong personalities. They tend to be boisterous. They speak up frequently in meetings. They can be loud. They like to dominate conversations.

–Uh yeah. This is Trump with a capital T!

3. They are highly opinionated. And if you ever disagree with them, you become their next target.

–Especially when it comes to people who disagree! Encouraging the booing of protesters and having them kicked out of “his show”. Bad talking EVERYONE on the Republican side who says something negative about him even after the nomination is his! I was very appalled when he not only encouraged Ted Cruz to go on stage knowing that Cruz didn’t plan to endorse him, but then was saying that Cruz’s career is over because he did that.

4. They are terrible listeners. They want you to listen to them; they don’t want to listen to you.

–Trump lives in his own little world. He says he already knows everything he needs to know about everything or can learn what he needs to know from a 3 page brief!

5. They build unhealthy alliances. The bully in one church built an alliance with two weak staff members. The three of them spoke in secret to the personnel committee about the pastor. The pastor was fired without even being asked his side of the story. Watch carefully those the bully befriends.

–I’ve been very disappointed as top Republicans keep letting Trump steamroll them. I mean, Paul Ryan didn’t want to endorse Trump, but decided he had to in favor of “Party Unity”. To Hell with Party Unity–this is THE COUNTRY that’s at stake!

6. They murmur and gossip. Most of their words are negative. They are the anti-Barnabas.

–“Crooked Hillary”. Rubio’s small hands. “Lyin’ Ted”. I haven’t heard what he’s come up with for Tim Kaine yet, but I heard that coming up with a mean nickname was on the top of their agenda (because apparently it’s too much work to come up with a proper platform for the candidate and actual plans to implement everything that he wants to do).

7. They do most of their toxic work in darkness. They let other people become the fall persons for their nefarious deeds. They meet with them behind closed doors and then slither away.

–He’s thrown Cruz under the bus just this past week. He let the speechwriter take the fall for Melania’s plagiarism. He has attached his name to a lot of businesses that have since failed, while he comes away richer and with more fame. But it’s never his fault that the company failed. There are something like 3000 court cases with the Trump brand attached in both plaintiff and defendant positions!

8. They have been to several churches. Bullies tend to move around. They do their damage at one church and then leave. They are sometimes asked to leave.

–Hmm…there hasn’t been much evidence of Trump’s church attendance, but he has bounced from business to business leaving havoc in his wake. See above.

 

The Case for Christ

A SEASONED JOURNALIST CHASES DOWN THE BIGGEST STORY IN HISTORY
Is there credible evidence that
Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God?
Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of theChicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates who are specialists in the areas of old manuscripts, textual criticism, and biblical studies.
Strobel challenges them with questions like How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?
Strobel’s tough, point-blank questions make this bestselling book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it’s not fiction. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.
What will your verdict be in the The Case for Christ?
“Lee Strobel probes with bulldog-like tenacity the evidence for the truth of biblical Christianity.”
Bruce M. Metzger, PhD, Professor of New Testament, Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary
This book’s flaw is that it bases all arguments on the premise that the Bible is TRUTH. And it does a poor job of arguing why the Bible should be taken as TRUTH. For example, it is probable that the earliest books in the Bible were composed 30 to 60 years after Christ’s death. Instead of using the conservative estimate of 60 years, all further references are to the 30 year mark. It also doesn’t address the idea that the writers could have been part of an overreaching conspiracy (for lack of a better term) to overthrow the status quo of 0 AD.
 

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