Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Medical Care & Those Fundagelicals

The embrace of medical care by Zsuzsanna Anderson during her recent medical crisis confused me in many ways. Why? Because most of the of the mommas of the same sort of faith seem determined to confuse decent medical care with idolatry. More babies are lost to preventable conditions and bad birthing beliefs in the crunchy Christian home-birthing community than many others. Even some third world countries have a lower infant mortality rate than them.

When Zsuzsanna made the choice to do the sensible thing and seek real medical care it marked in my mind a different turn than I would have expected after reading her blog for many moons now. I was glad she took advantage of more options that many do but at the same time I wondered about the mental gyrations she would have to do to use real doctors. After all, she's been vocal about criticizing the use of antibiotics, doctors, conventional medical thought and most distressing of all, vaccinations.

I'm glad she went to a real doctor and had the procedures that at least gave her a chance to have both babies and I was sorry to hear that she'd lost one of the twins after the amnio patch. I suspect her thoughts on medical care will shift accordingly.

Just wish that part of that shift will about vaccines.

Just so you know I completely reject the idea that choosing to vaccinate your children against common childhood diseases is a personal choice. It is something that affects the entire community, the world and picking the option that puts the world at risk, children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses is downright selfish and short-sighted. Already rates of infection from illnesses long thought eradicated have reemerged and started to climb.

The Religious Right likes to manipulate with fear and control others into a moralizing lockstep. This anti-vaccine crowd is just more of the same.

Of course, I could just be reacting to my own personal preference here considering six years ago I had whooping cough, likely contracted from some unvaccinated child. Because of my wrecked immune system I have had boosters of childhood inoculations and I can assure you I developed none of those supposedly bad things they say will happen. What I did gain was the possibility of not ending up in the hospital from Whooping Cough or having Shingles yet again. Plus immunity to all the other easily vaccinated against cooties of childhood.

I was vaccinated as a kid, but, because of the immunio suppressant therapy I am on I tend to pick up up just about everything. I am not alone in this, newborns, seniors, other sick people have that tendency too. So by vaccinating your children you are literally protecting everyone, practicing that good Christian love by caring for your brothers and sisters.

Recently I was reading a biography about our first First Lady, Martha Washington and her efforts to make sure those in her circle, her family and close friends, took the best available precautions against a killer illness in her time, Smallpox. She was vaccinated and had others inoculated. She understood the importance of eradicating what illnesses that impacted the young nation.

If Martha was able to be a Christian and see the need to protect others as well as herself then why can't a subset of our world understand they are impacting us all by refusing to even consider something that is simple and free under most healthcare plans? A moment's pain and a lifetime of protection.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Answering Kevin Swanson

Recently Kevin Swanson, radio babbler and righteous rabblerouser against all things not homeschooling fundamentalist Biblical patriarchy has been making more of an ass out of himself than usual. It's not merely due to the fact that he has a new book to flog about and promote by calling everyone that doesn't agree with him an 'Apostate', a title that is also a big part of the title of his new book. Oh no, Kevin seems to be off the internet deep end this week.

He's attacked some of No Longer Quivering's great friends and authors: Heather Doney of Homeschoolers Anonymous, Homeschooling's Invisible Children and Becoming Worldly, Kathryn Joyce author of Quiverfull, The Child Catchers and many articles in national publications (Salon, The Nation, Huffington Post and others), Ryan Stollar of Homeschoolers Anonymous, Vyckie Garrison founder of NLQ, Libby Anne of Love Joy Feminism, and many others...

Kevin has been saying some very harsh things in such blog postings as one I quoted tonight for NLQ - Trolls Spew, Silly Women, and Sons of Belial on the Internet Yep, not so much love of Christ in that title, is it?

I'm going to attempt to translate/answer his blog posting here, without using too many emotional nasty spewing words, unlike some coughcough*KevinSwanson*coughcoughcough people do.

Occasionally, I take a foray into the fray of the internet wars to see how the sons of Belial and the silly women (who creep into people’s houses via their blogs) are “working things out” in their theological meanderings. I thought I’d comment.  I’m not speaking of anybody in particular here. . . only assessing a whole lot of troll spews and unsavory bloggish communications.
In other words he's either bored at work or innately curious as to what those that don't slavishly hang on his every word as saying about him. Or he's just trying to scare up something to discuss on that show of his. Self-Googling is the sin of pride.

The errors are multitudinous.
i.e. not everyone agrees with him.

 1. People want to choose the wrong epistemological authority, which is usually themselves or the zeigeist.  They usually want to assume that the liberal press maintains a higher respect for truth than the Scriptures and all those “ignorant, horn-rimmed bespectacled” folks who like to quote Scripture.  They shudder when they see a Bible reference (several below).
Please point out exactly where you've seen people openly assuming the press has a lock on truth over the Bible. You can't.

The Bible references that most thinking people shudder over are those pulled completely out of context and twisted to suit manipulative purposes. If you weren't misusing the Bible to beat people up with then there would be much more reference for the Bible and scriptures. It's not your own personal weapon.

 2. I also find moral outrage everywhere. I’m always a little surprised when those who have abandoned all basis for absolute ethics, get all red-faced and huffy about their moral opinions that have no real basis in revelatory law.  Everybody seems to be very outraged about some moral thing or another (with very little if any basis for absolutist ethics, seeing as they left law somewhere back there for grace).
How does he know that others have abandoned all basis for ethics? Because they don't think he is the most mostest righteous dude this side of Jesus ever? Anyone following the goings on by prominent Christians in this world would be outraged. Trying to deprive the poor of food and access to health care? Busy disenfranchising large portions of the population? One of the few very famous Christian patriarchs that seems to have any clue or love for people is Pope Francis. Swanson would be a much better person if he only emulated the Pope and not Rush Limbaugh.

 A fair proportion of internet opinionators tend to lose all sense of proportion when it comes to morality, usually assuming again that the politically correct sins of the day is the appropriate standard of right and wrong (for now).  We believe that Scripture bears out that some sins of themselves and by reason of several aggravations are more heinous in the sight of God than others (Ezek. 8:6, 13, 1 John 5:16, Ps. 78:17,32, etc.)  Thankfully, the Bible provides us with some sense of proportion when it comes to sin.
No, it's not that silly buzz phrase "politically correct" that the internet opinionators apply as their standard. Most seem to apply the basic 'right' of being compassionate, caring for their fellow man, wanting to do what is right for everyone, not just some elite people thumping the Bible and throwing condemnation on others.

Yes, indeed, the Bible DOES provide guidance about sin. It even says that in the last days there will be tons of false prophets tooting out their own horns. Now why is it that seems to apply to many of the ones in the public eye at this moment?

These guys love putting “sic” in people’s quotes, but never really engage the argument itself (especially if it challenges their presuppositional framework).
It is really possible that a learned man such as Swanson doesn't understand what "sic" actually means? This is what one grammar site had to say about the usage of "sic" - "you’ll find that when writers are quoting the work or words of other people, they’ll insert [sic] to indicate that the quote has been reproduced verbatim. Typically, the quote will contain an incorrect or strange spelling of some kind and the writer wants to preserve that without it appearing to be a typo on their part."

You also see it when someone is using archaic language or is incorrect or their logic or point is inaccurate. I think that sums up much of Mr. Swanson's assertions on his blog and radio show. Some of the things posted he's said are so completely absurd that they read like an article from The Onion, almost a perfect parody.

3. Among the troll class, I also detect a serious lack of knowledge concerning or respect for history, especially church history.  This is not all that surprising, seeing as many bloggers express themselves as the first ones to discover truth in the history of the church/world.  Maybe they’ll be as successful as Jim Jones was with pulling together a nice little cult of 900+ in Guyana (back in the 1970s sometime).  Connection to church history in our thinking is critical, especially in a day of 100 million opinions and 50,000 cults.  I spend about half my extra-biblical reading time with the ancient church fathers.
That's another untruth. Many people coming out of spiritual abuse and the corrosive churches that abound have a better handle on history and the role of religion and churches upon history. They are the ones that search, seek the answers without settling for what someone else has told them. Which is about as far as one can get from a 'cult' member or leader. Cult leaders cannot stand for others to not worship them or have more knowledge than they do and frequently accuse others of not having sufficient understanding of history and whatever 'holy' book used. 

4. Too many of these folks love the world of lust and flesh and they hate their brothers (or don’t love them very much, anyway).  Technically, it’s supposed to be the other way around. The Bible wants us loving our brothers, hating the world of lust and flesh, and hating the lust and flesh stuff that corrupts the brother.  It’s the third part of this that’s the hardest to track down. And yes, you can get too picky with your brother.  Matthew 7:1-4 applies.  Maturity enables judgment. Immaturity disables moral judgment (2 Cor. 10:6).
 That's rather backwards. Most of the people coming out of cultist church situations have a passion for helping others not make the same mistakes as they, to see to their spiritual emotional healing, and it comes out of love for people. I haven't noticed much love for anyone but themselves in many of the fundamentalist churches lately. Statistics show that more what you would call Apostates volunteer to care for others in some charitable way than those that identify as conservative Christians.

 Church people in apostasy are usually gravitating towards the Hollywood gay-pride thing (ie. lust of flesh and pride of life), while at the same time they work very hard to create as much dissension between brothers in the church as they can.  They’ll separate chief friends if they can, hoping to the devil these friends won’t pick up the phone to call each other (and work it out). You can sniff these folks out pretty good, if your sniffer is calibrated/sanctified.  Most worldly types just love the lust-pride thing, and they could care less about Christians, unless the Christians are bugging them about their lust-pride thing. 
Gravitating towards the Hollywood gay-pride thing? Wasn't Swanson just going on about loving people and hating the sin? Who has the right to say their own sniffer is 'sanctified'? Plus most church people don't need the devil or anyone else stirring up dissension because many of them specialize in that very thing.

5. Finally, there just isn’t much fear of God before their eyes.  After reading the blog, try to imagine this person on his knees trembling before God, crying out for mercy, forgiving and being forgiven.   You don’t see much of that on the internet these days.
Can't imagine Kevin Swanson on his knees trembling before God. I can see him trying to tell the Almighty exactly what He should do next.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Triggered Watching....

....or Dislike the idea but love the person.

The last few days have been highly triggering for me, putting me back in a not nice place involving my history with QF and the internet.

Why? Because I'm witnessing a large group of people openly harassing someone I've quoted in No Longer Quivering's 'Quoting Quiverfull' feature over her pregnancy problems.

Zsuzsunna Anderson, the author of the blog "Are They All Yours?", wife, mother, sharer of a very similar first name as I. She's from Germany, a place I came to deeply love during my years living there as a military wife.

She's having maternal twins, and has discovered that her twins have a condition known as TTTS -  twin to twin transfusion syndrome.

Mrs. Anderson is a Quiverfull adherent and something of a fundamentalist. I've been reading and following her blog for quite some time now, quoting it occasionally to illustrate some aspect of QF beliefs and actions. While I don't agree with her on many things about religion even as we're both Christians, I was heart sick to read her blog this week and find out that her twins are suffering from TTTS.

One of the big new things with me lately is gaining an ability to separate the person from the idea, love the person even when you think their beliefs might be wrong. As a result I have been able to look at things like the scandal with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum and feel bad for those affected, or to read about another mothers struggles and feel for her, know she needs positive support, not being torn down.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be many people that share the ability to look beyond the theology and see a living human being like themselves in need of support and love. Zsuzsanna is pinned between two very different, very critical groups of internet users that want mostly to impose their wills on her during this trying time.

I really should not be surprised at either group, the first group is upset that Zsuzsanna sought medical attention when it became apparent that things weren't going as planned. Yes, yes, the other Quiverfull Fundamentalist sold-out mommas are attacking her on message boards and on the comments of her blog. Many of them believe that medical intervention is like playing God, unnecessary and too close to idolatry. Which is too bad, didn't Jesus himself refer to physicians and sick people? Yes, yes he did.

The other thing they are objecting to is that Zsu not only consulted a physician but had a surgical procedure in an attempt to save both babies. For some reason I don't entirely understand some of them put this on equal footing as abortion, or as it's tidily named for this condition, selective reduction.

A personal decision. Really none of our business since none of us are in the exact same circumstances as Zsuzsanna. Who can say how they would decide if they were in that position. Her decision was to try and give both a shot at life. It was a brave one in my eyes. The kind a good mother makes.

At least she's not making the same decision that poor Carri Chmielewski made

Now that second group, they are part of what's triggering me about this entire thing. They are saying things on their board about how they hope that the Andersons twins are born with handicaps or deformities just so Zsuzsanna will realize how wrong it is to have a large family or be QF.

But that's just the thing that Free Jinger does. They pick apart fundamentalist bloggers and occasionally take it into real life to every ones detriment. One of my ever lasting regrets is in being involved with their board during the Carri Chmielewski pregnancy. None of us there did anything more than make an awful situation exponentially worse.

Makes me so sad that they seem so determined to punish Zsuzsanna Anderson instead of trying to understand where she is, accepting her and wishing for the best in this situation.

Why is that, do you think? Is looking down upon others and picking apart the deets of their lives done to make them feel better, superior to the poor schmoe they're trying to torment?

I am coming to the conclusion that in order for people to live in peace, receive the healing they need and make this world a better place we'd better all learn tolerance, how to treat others like human beings, develop empathy and love for our fellow man. Hate on ideas, not people.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The "For Profit" Vision Forum Inc. Closing Dec. 31, 2013

...And so things get a bit more grim for the Phillips.

There's been no official word on the closing of the incorporated for profit side of Vision Forum closing after Doug Phillips stepped down after admitting his affair and the closing of the ministry side of Vision Forum, but it looks like that is indeed what is happening.

T.W. Eston of the blog Jen's Gems is reporting that many people working at the Inc have been given notices that they are losing their jobs.  Others are reporting that if you order from Vision Forum Inc. you'll receive notice that all sales are final and that an inventory liquidation is ongoing. Emails went out from other sources saying that FVI is having a Black Friday sale. Lots of compelling evidence that the money maker is shutting down as well at Spiritual Sounding Board

Starting January 1, 2014 the assets of Vision Forum will start being liquidated. The Phillips family has until New Years Eve to be out of their luxury mansion that is owned by the ministry. The mansion, vehicles, some of the personal belongings and clothes are rumored to be on the chopping block for sale since they were purchased with ministry funds.

Peter Bradrick, Doug Phillips former right hand man, has finally spoken out on the mess and about his being let go by Doug. Read his take at Homeschoolers Anonymous: Peter Bradrick, Former Executive Assistant to Doug Phillips, Speaks Out On Being "Formally Disowned" and "Declared to be a Destroyer"

If you still think that perhaps Doug Phillips and his wife have been handed a raw deal I suggest you real the series over at Jen's Gems on her own personal experiences attending the church Doug Phillips pastored.  Starting with Part 1 to the bitter end at Part 12. It's a fascinating and horrifying read on the way the Phillips acted towards church members.

Do you think perhaps this is it and nothing more 'wrong' will come out from the ministry or are there even worse allegations to come?