Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Damaged Goods?

True Love Doesn't Wait author Von Ohlman has been taking on the writings of one Michael Pearl, author of "To Train Up A Child" and founder of No Greater Joy Ministry.

You remember To "Train Up A Child" don't you? That child training book that has been blamed for the beating and starvation death of adoptive child Hana Grace Williams and the deaths of a few other children?  The trial of Hana's adoptive parents started last week. They'd been charged with murder, as they well should be. Michael Pearl and his cruel book also hold some culpability in my mind. But back to the subject.

Michael Pearl said something that just offended me beyond all reason in the bit Von quoted about purity, sexuality and waiting for marriage -

The modern concept of betrothal is a long overdue swing of the pendulum away from the licentious practice of recreational dating. The liberties taken by “Christian” couples in the modern dating game would have been viewed as philandering or immoral in former generations.
 Most “Christian” young people are “damaged goods.” Church youth groups are hotbeds of immorality. And I am not limiting my evaluation just to those that have copulated. Would you buy a candy bar that had not been eaten, but the wrapper had been partially removed? What if it had not been handled, just displayed in a partially unwrapped condition? Would you buy the candy bar if it had not been eaten, but just licked? After all, licking by one or more persons would leave the proud, new owner plenty of candy bar to take home for his own.
 The idea of sexuality and purity as a fungible good, like purchasing a pristine, sealed shut candy bar is every bit as much objectifying a person as pornography is said to do. People are not objects, people are living, breathing, imbued with souls and humanity, prone to making mistakes, prone to loving the wrong people, giving and forgiving.

When's the last time a candy bar said to you "I love you" or comforted you when you were down, did something nice for you? Never and it never will.

But that broken, imperfect "damaged goods" person you might have judged as not good enough could possibly do all of those things.

Reducing humans mentally into commodities or things is a very dangerous thing indeed. It makes it easy for you to detach and do them harm without regrets. It makes them easier to abuse, to murder even because they are things, not humans in your mind.

We in the church need to knock off thinking of anyone as 'damaged goods' and start giving everyone a chance. Rahab in the Bible, who is in the line of Jesus, was a prostitute, about the ultimate in 'damaged goods' using Pearl's analogy, yet she was important in bringing about God's promises. There are other instances in the Bible where God ordered someone to marry 'damaged goods'

Von took Pearl's words and went to what Michael skipped. -
 It is inappropriate, before or after marriage, to treat anyone in a way that is only appropriate to treat ones wife.
He proceeded after that to state that controlling your thoughts is important as well. For one of those rare times I have to agree with Vaughn, you can't be married and fantasizing about what it would be like with someone else. It's not healthy for the marriage or the person doing it.

Controlling your thoughts is sometimes necessary. I have to do it somethings, not for lust but for other things, e.i. when I having a panic attack following a severe asthma attack. It's chemical and I have a choice which way to go with it. I can either allow the panic to overwhelm me and go into where I am fully convinced I am dying, or I can deal with it, take my meds, take steps to calm and distract myself from what is happening, while keep telling myself to relax because this is just temporary, it's not forever.  In that situation I have to control my thoughts or I'm make it much worse.

Don Draper on the television show "Mad Men" isn't a very good role model for marriage but he has said some very wise things over the years. "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation" being one of his quips. That can be applied to thinking too.

In marriages it's vital we control some of our thinking, like it or not, if we're to have a good relationship with our spouses.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

True Love Doesn't Devalue Children and Their Needs.

This morning I posted on NLQ a piece by quiverfull author Jay Younts from Shepherd Press. Basically he was saying that if you give into a child's needs or wants not only are you creating someone with entitlement issues, selfishness and a sinner, you've doomed them to a path that leads to drugs, promiscuity, porn, and all sorts of dire warnings.

While I think kids that whine and throw tantrums aren't desirable anymore than Jay does I cannot believe he tossed in there this -

"If your children believe the lie that getting instant relief from their discomfort or discontent is ultimate, then they are bound by the power of sin."
Say what? When did meeting the needs of your child needing relief from discomfort turn into a sin and not good parenting?  It sounds to me like he's even advocating forcing your child to wait til it's convenient for you to deal with their needs.  A child with fever needs relief, a thirsty child needs a drink, a sick child needs your help and a tired child needs a nap. It's not creating a selfish monster to meet the need of your precious child in the moment.

If you want to get all Biblical about it there are warnings about not provoking your child to wrath and saying that a good parent wouldn't give their child a stone for bread. Meeting the needs of another is what mothers do, not encourage whining.

What is it about these Fundamental Christians that they always seem so mean-spirited about their children? They say they love the kids yet rarely do what is actually best for that child in any given moment, it's all about controlling the child instead of loving it. That makes me want to puke!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Continent or Contented?

Von has been quoting The Second Helvetic Confession lately but I think he needs to check his spelling - Pretending to be Continent. Does that mean pretending you are Australia or Europe? I think the word he's grasping for it "Content" or "Contented"

At least continents don't marry young or rape

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reasons For Marrying Besides Horny Virginity

Von Ohlman of True Love Waits been talking again about all the great reasons besides keeping that cherry unpopped this side of the marriage bed to marry young. I don't know why he doesn't just recommend mastur-you-know-what to keep the youngsters from trying to defile each other. There is not one specific direct banning of solo love in the Bible.

 Don't even try to bring up Onan. He was slain by God for his stinginess, his heart attitude, his defrauding his brother's widow/his new wife, from being able to have a child. Not for self love.

 Funny that 'True Love' is in none of the answers and questions.

Off-topic, my favorite song about love

I love it that God has a sense of humor.

Anyway, back to my looking at Von's reasoning and why it just might not be the best of ideas.

1) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;.
And this was said, in paradise, in Eden, before there was any question of fornication.
Not marriage. Not marriage at all. What's to stop someone from having a full life filled with friends, pets and what not, not being 'alone' but not marrying either? Marrying is simply a state of being, it's not the be all and end all of existence.

2)Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 
Obviously the later we marry our children the less they can do this.
 So what does Von say is the 'right' age to marry those young 'uns off to start having babies? He has yet to state the age, which tells me it's probably much younger than the legal age of consent. Is it 'Warren Jeff's  Jailbait Young' or 'Charlie Manson's Girls Young'?

Do the math on the marrying at, say, picking an age, 16 years old. Average fecundity, let's figure a new baby every 18 months. Without decent medical care, pre-natal care and preventative medicine you're looking at may be 5 or 6 children before something goes wrong. You might beat the odds and pop out ten or fifteen, but without education, taking good care of your body and having decent medical care from a doctor or an actual educated licensed REAL midwife it is not very likely.

People who marry older than that, have had time to know who they are and what they want out of life tend to approach child bearing differently, educating themselves on the risks, whys and hows of child birth. They may go with a licensed midwife but most of them will also make sure they take the best care of themselves before, during and after pregnancy and have no problem consulting medical help when there is any question of the safety or health of their fetus.

It's also not that uncommon to find families that started when the parents were a bit older that have just as large of families as those from young marriages.

3) Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. 
Why would we want our sons to wait for this favor? Or our daughters from providing it?
 Yes, but there are also warnings about fools and the folly they bring upon themselves. Does it not say in the Bible that there is a time and a season for everything under the sun? Why rush the time when all it does is make it much more difficult for the couple to have a successful marriage?

Marriage is a blessing, a favor, but it can also be a curse when rushed into without much love between the two.

 4) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; …(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Marriage and family are the training ground for eldership (and deacons). At what point do we want to start that training?
 That training for leadership is something that starts in childhood, not in a child marriage. How you lead and how you serve teaches more to your child about leadership than heartlessly throwing them headlong into marriage before they are emotionally and spiritually mature.

Plus, the way that scripture reads it sounds like polygamy or polyandry was more the norm in those days than one man and one woman. 

5) And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 
God desires marriage in the youth in order to seek a Godly seed.
 Again, you are interpreting this very loosely.  Many Bible Scholars believe this refers to the practice of men in that time being able to put aside or divorce their wives on the thinnest of pretext instead of dealing with whatever disunity there is in the marriage. Wife of his youth doesn't mean the twelve year old your daddy picked for you, forced you to marry and then you raped.

6)But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15For some are already turned aside after Satan. 
God commands younger women to marry, bear children, and guide the house… that they may give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. Paul says unmarried women had already turned aside after Satan.
 Semantics, you say tomato, I say tomoto. This passage is speaking of younger widows, not unmarried girls.

Paul was speaking to a specific church, in a specific time about specific issues that church was dealing with. It wasn't meant to be taken as the 11th Commandment.

Love is really that thing worth living for. It's the only thing that lasts, cannot be corrupted or corroded by time. It's the first and last message of our lives. It's the greatest power in this world and the purest of feelings.

Does anyone really think that allowing someone else to dictate to you who you will love actually works in the long term? The human heart will love who it will love regardless who is forced upon it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Refusing to Agree to Sex Whenever Requested in a Marriage

Someone has been bandying about this old Martin Luther quote as proof that no sex in a marriage equals a dissolving of the marriage.

XXII Notice that St. Paul forbids either party to deprive the other, for by the marriage vow each submits his body to the other in conjugal duty. When one resists the other and refuses the conjugal duty she is robbing the other of the body she had bestowed upon him. This is really contrary to marriage, and dissolves the marriage
Not quite so fast there, buddy boy Von. Before you move on to the next walking vagina to marry make sure you have that quote by Paul in it's entirety.

1 Cornithians 7:3 -6
 New International Version (NIV)
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command.

Aha! So it's not just a streetcar running one way placing all the requirements on the ladies, is it? Doesn't give you that 'out' on your marriage at all, does it?  Plus, as Paul says, this is his opinion, not a command. As you read further down that passage Paul states again that this is his advice, not straight from God. Marriage advice from a man.

So what does True Love do when one partner is sick or simply stressed out and doesn't feel like they want to be having horizontal fellowship that day or night?  True Love doesn't keep pestering and petty whining about their marital rights, it is patient and kind, perhaps there is an acceptable compromise, or True Love sees what's going on and pitches in to resolve whatever is going on to impede that connection. 

Demanding your rights is about the surest way to turn off your mate, male or female, and it's not very loving at all. It shows you're selfish, self-involved and it's always all about you. That's not very loving and certainly not manly at all. It's borderline rape if your partner gives in to shut you up. 

True love doesn't rape.

The Why

... because I felt a serious need to move my discussions of fundamentalist quiverfull blog Von Ohlman to a different space instead of clogging up my personal blog with discussions on the purity culture/rape culture.

I propose to look at the rape culture imbedded in the world of courtship, betrothal and early marriage promoted by American Christian as the ideal we're all supposed to be emulating.

There are two different points best expressed by True Love Waits/Courtship camp and True Love Doesn't Wait lone gunman, both proposing paths towards matrimony that are radically opposite.

One thing that both of these movements fails to pick up on, there is no mention of True Love in the Bible. The Bible has plenty to say about love, even a little bit on romantic love, but nothing you could call True Love as defined by either camp.

Once or twice a week or when I feel a need as a liberal Christian to get all ranty I'll be posting my thoughts on love and what fundamentalist Christianity tends to get very wrong by their own perspicacity. I'll keep my cat stories and complaining about my chronic health condition in my main blog, concentrating only on the Biblical here.