Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Duties, Rights and Privileges

The quotes and theology I stumble across as part of my posting and moderator duties at No Longer Quivering sometimes make me laugh, but many times I'm more likely to drop my full coffee cup in shock or dismay, just like the graphic of a spilled coffee cup I use for the Quoting Quiverfull feature.

The QQ quotes are chosen by their ability to make me do a sharp intake of air and lose my grip on my coffee. The outrageous, the ridiculous and sometimes, the downright dangerous.

This week between some of the quotes and some of the things written by the usual offenders I'm wondering how the uber religious can possibly think that curtaining the rights, duties, privileges and responsibilities of others based upon sexual gender and their own understanding of a book written in an ancient culture by many authors that may or may not be applicable in our modern times.

There are so many different meanings and translations of the Bible that I don't think anyone can genuinely claim to have a lock on ultimate truth. It is more like watching a group of blind men feeling up different parts of an elephant and saying only their understanding of what the elephant is like is the right one. They all have pieces of the picture, just not the entire thing. I think that is the state of the Christian church today, bits and pieces that perhaps fit together.

One of the most head scratching pieces this week was when I posted the quote of Jonathan Lindvall saying that it wasn't a good idea to have women on juries or allow them to vote, Allow? It's a right and a privilege in our country to vote and a part of good citizenship to serve on a jury.

His reasoning on the jury service was that it would not be good to expose a young woman to possible trauma from what she might see, or hear, or experience serving on a jury of her peers. He doesn't seem to realize that if there is anything even slightly untoward, such as viewing autopsy photos, that might occur the potential jurors are polled as to their ability to serve without being upset. You are given an out.

I've served on a few juries and it's mostly tedious waiting with short periods of interesting testimony and long hours discussing the proper verdict. Only once have I been in a potential jury pool and ended up traumatized. It was due to the fact that it was a murder trial and I knew the victim quite well. I asked to be excused, was questioned by the defense attorney, commonwealth attorney and the judge before being dismissed. I like to think I could have been fair but the reality was that I had already formed an opinion on the guilt of the defendant. None of which had any slight connection to my sex or religious beliefs.

One day soon I've have to tell the semi-comical story of the jury I served on for a lady who'd been video taped beating down the Safeway manager while stealing a buggy filled with steaks. Now that was a funny three ringed circus. How can you argue with a video tape of the crime?

Very few people actually enjoy jury duty but most people understand it is an important role in assuring that justice works as it should. Making half the population not eligible to serve is a grave disservice to our great nation. Even Supreme Court Justices will appear and serve on juries if called up.

Not voting? Same lame excuses the anti suffragette crowd tried to use to keep women from being allowed to have a voice in who represents them on the political stage.

With all the hue and cry about culture wars and Christians impacting the culture for Jesus you'd think that the Fundamentalist and Evangelical crowds would be all for women on juries and voting, if for no other reason than to swell their numbers and assure a bigger impact on the culture. They're hurting their own causes when they shut out their women folk from having a role in what they are trying to accomplish.

Also this week I featured a posting written by Vaughn Ohlman on his belief that women should not serve in the military at all, much less in combat.

To me this is all a moot point because there are occasions in the Bible where women were warriors or took part in defense against invading armies. I look too at history, at the warrior queens, at Joan of Arc: unlearned peasant girl who claimed that God called her to lead the French army to victory for the Dauphin.

Not to mention the fact that women in the military have been placed unofficially in combat situations around the world in the US military. When my husband was serving in Army Intel there were women at the various bases serving in areas that were considered potential front line. When you sign up, male or female, you realize there is always the possibility that you could be in a combat situation some day. It's not all holding hands and singing Kumbaya all day.

At no time was this not in the back of my mind when we lived in Germany near the Fulda Gap. During those days I worked at the base USO office as the welcome wagon/volunteer coordinator. Every fall we helped out when the military did a mock removal of military spouses and children, practicing for the remote possibility that war would be waged and non combatants would need to be shipped out for the States on a moments notice. If the Russians had decided to attack the West, then the Fulda Gap would have been right where they would have marched through. Every single spouse I knew there lived with the possibility that one day there could be war and we might be in the path. We chose to stay and support our military men and women.

So all this talk of not putting women in military harms way is just much too late. Again, it is the right and/or privilege of any heroic person feeling the patriotic call to serve their country. Time spent at any military base schools you in a hurry about the integrity and sacrifice these brave souls embody. Saying that some do not belong because of biology belittles all that serve.

I've always wanted to know exactly what the percentage of fundamentalists or evangelicals or theonomic men that have stepped up to defend our freedoms? I'm guessing from what I've observed over the years that very few from those groups end up in the military. Until they start stepping up in the numbers that other groups have to serve the citizens I have very little respect for their opinions on who is fit to serve.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, a time when we're celebrating our freedoms in America and those that made it possible to have freedom of or from religion, I think it's seditious and unAmerican to try and strip those same freedoms from half the population merely because of a random roll of the reproductive dice make them female.

Happy Thanksgiving. This year I am thankful that I live in a land where we all don't have to think or believe the same. Where there is freedom to think as you chose. Where all are considered to have been created equal. Freedom from state sponsored religion. Freedom to hug a tree or bow before your God.

Imagine how boring it would be if we weren't free to be ourselves?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Revisiting Modest: Skirts Versis Pants

In the modest battle exactly who gets to decide what is modest? Who's standards do we chose if we're going to present ourselves as 'modest'

The Bible doesn't say "You must wear skirts only!". It does address women and men not dressing the same. But in reality in those times women and men wore very similar garments, long robes very close to what is worn in the Middle East today by women. Abayas with a head dress called either a Jilbab or a Hijab.

An Abaya worn with a Jilbab. The ultimate in 'modest' clothing. But I know that Christian fundamentalism that insists only on the wearing of long skirts would reject this model as Biblical modesty, even if this is the reality of modest clothing in Biblical eras. THIS is what we're talking about, not modified Little House on the Prairie look, not long skirts sewn on an ancient Singer sewing machine, not my silly pants, this is what was worn when Paul was busy making up rules for men and women that might or might not have been divinely inspired.

I have several Abayas and I wear them on those days when I'm home sick from work. The days when I don't want to lay around in my night gown but I'm really feeling much too under the weather to wear other clothes. Very comfortable and beautifully embroidered. Rather impractical for much activity.

But how are carefully worn pants with the right tops any less modest. Yesterday the outfit I wore for work showed about as much skin as the lady in the Abaya photo. Just hands and face. Yes, I wore pants, loose corduroy pants, a black loose tunic turtleneck sweater topped with a silk brocade tunic vest that fell nearly to my knees, skimming over and disguising my rear end and the boobage. I thought I was was pretty modestly dressed and even my tops were nearly as long as dresses but somehow this doesn't meet a Biblical standard of modesty?

I've come to the conclusion if you are not showing off your 'goodies' then you're likely dressed modestly. But if you really want to make sure you're modest and Biblical then you should wear an Abaya and Jilbab. Easy to buy online.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vision Forum Ministries Closing

Today it was announced on Vision Forum Ministries site that in light of the Doug Phillips scandal that the ministry would be locking the doors and shuttering the building. They are completely shutting down. Here's what they've posted on the Vision Forum Ministries site.
The Closing of Vision Forum Ministries
In light of the serious sins which have resulted in Doug Phillips’s resignation from Vision Forum Ministries, the Board of Directors has determined that it is in the best interests of all involved to discontinue operations. We have stopped receiving donations, and are working through the logistical matters associated with the closing of the ministry. While we believe as strongly as ever in the message of the ministry to the Christian family, we are grieved to find it necessary to make this decision. We believe this to be the best option for the healing of all involved and the only course of action under the circumstances.
Say what?

My first reaction upon hearing the news was 'oh holy *expletive*' Could not believe it, First Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College didn't close when either Jack Hyles or Jack Schaap were outed as adulterers. Jimmy Swaggart has been caught with nasty cheapo hookers more than once and he's still on the air touting his special blessed Bibles and other religious geegaws as it only ever temporarily slowed him down. Oh Lawd, oh how the money still rolls in!

I could just be engaging in idle speculation but this makes whatever it was that Mr. Phillips did or didn't do much worse than his published confession on the website of 'emotional infidelity'. VF has stopped taking ministry donations. When the money stops rolling in it sounds like something more serious. Could be there were other improprieties going on that haven't hit the press yet.

If I were a betting woman I would say it's likely some financial 'situation' has taken place and someone is nosing around the ministry's books. I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Wonder what the staff at VF is going to do? The loss of jobs has to be heartbreaking to those staff members that believed they were helping do the Lord's work, had nothing to do with the scandal and are now facing unemployment at a time when the government has made serious curtailments to unemployment, food stamps and other assistance programs. They are being punished and have done nothing to deserve it.

Mrs. Doug Phillips and assorted little Phillips are being punished by this by no fault of their own.
But the ones I feel the worst for are the thousands nationwide that supported this ministry financially. They've been fleeced for years by someone that cannot even practice the same things he insists on from everyone else.

I'm of two minds about all of this. Glad that this means that Doug Phillips will no longer have a public bully pulpit to spread his warped ideas of what following Jesus means and unhappy for all those people that are humiliated, losing their livelihood or being punished in any way by the ministry closing.

Who will the Botkin Sisters follow now?

Tell me what you think about this sudden and unexpected news.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How, Michelle, How?

As I got up this morning and stumbled through my routines it came to me that one of the big reasons I've uncomfortable with the way Michelle Duggar promotes her lifestyle is that I cannot figure out how she manages to hand out that essential one on one time that good mothering takes every single day.

My children are all grown and out of the house, but my mornings are a cacophony of demands for attention. Because I have animals, a few rescue kitties and tropical birds, some of which are rescue. The numbers fluctuate depending on how many birds I'm fostering. The noise starts the second my feet hit the floor in the bedroom, everyone lets me know that they indeed know I am awake and they want me right that moment. My day starts taking care of their needs and showering them with one on one love and affection. It's not always easy.

If it's a big part of my morning to meet the needs of my poor abused little animals then I can just imagine how hard it would be to accomplish the same thing with a large family of little children.

How on earth can you possibly do that effectively when you have enough children to field a baseball team? The logistics of it would be staggering, you might only get a handful of minutes with each child to pour into them special love and attention. I can only imagine a scene like that in the animated movie "Antz" where the queen ant is handed each newborn she births every few seconds and gives them only a cursory bit of attention completely lacking in love.

But I know that's not the reality of Michelle Duggar's motherhood because she obviously does love her children from what we see on their show, books and website. She does want the best for them. But does her best include having time for each of her precious children? I can't see how, and I suspect this is where the 'buddy' system they use kicks in.

Which is really unfortunate. No older brother or sister is going to be able to completely replace mom and a mothers love.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why Can't Pants Be 'Feminine'?

The Modesty Debate rages on.

Today for No Longer Quivering I posted a quote by Stacy McDonald of Ladies Against Feminism and Raising Virtuous Daughters about why she and her daughters always wear skirts.

I guess if you're swanning around doing dishes, updating your blog and attending prayer meetings as the main bulk of your day skirts might work. But you know what? For the rest of us poor slobs to wear a skirt all day and pretend you're all holy and righteous for not allowing the fabric of pants between our legs would be an awful choice.

Stacy claims it's because skirts are more 'modest'. Hate to bust her protected fantasy bubble life but it's possible to wear a skirt and be what she would consider 'immodest'. Or that ever popular Michelle Duggar term 'defrauding'. Just open your eyes and go out to just about any place in normal society and you will see girls in skirts of all lengths and tightness.

Wearing a skirt doesn't automatically confer modest status on anyone just like wearing pants doesn't turn a woman into manly being.

What about dressing appropriately for your day and stop with all this modesty nonsense? Has Stacy even bothered to notice that there are many job positions out there filled with ladies wearing pants. Nurses in hospitals wear pants and I don't think anyone could ever accuse them of being 'immodest'. Scrubs are meant to be worn loose, revealing nothing of the shape, not because it might tempt someone but because it's not comfortable, good for the patients or practical for the job to be tricked out like a hoochee momma.

The psychiatric facility I work at doesn't allow skirts to be worn for practical reasons, chasing a patient, the fact that it's a farm in the middle of nowhere, there are a thousand reasons why you wouldn't wear a skirt. Today's reason would be because it's in the high thirties out there right now. Your legs would freeze.

But there are rules about those pants, they have to be loose and cannot be leggings. Modesty at the facility. Not for some made up crap you're using a few out of context scriptures to support. Tight pants and low cut tops might trigger some of the sexually abused patients. It's for the protection of the patients. That sort of modesty makes logical sense.

You say you want to return to a Biblical standard of dress, but.. do you realize that in the Bible times both sexes dressed the same in long robes? Where's your long robes if you are trying to emulate the standards of the Bible?

Myself and most of the women I know are secure enough in their sexuality and bodies to wear what is appropriate for whatever we are doing for that day, knowing that clothes don't make the woman, you can be feminine and wear pants and who gives two hoots what other people think of your way of dressing.

I thought the same as you when I was still attending a patriarchal church even if the church said nothing about wearing skirts only all of the time. Somewhere along the line I absorbed that same poisonous message women's bodies were like snakes or deadly bombs so you had to disguise them to be pure. But eventually I realized that thinking that way was merely fetishizing clothing choices for the silliest of reasons, the reaction of someone else.