Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Duggar Fans Trolled?

We've written and posted too many times here and at NLQ about TLC's Duggar family, the stars of "19 Kids & Counting".  You can almost tell how well or not so well the show is doing in the ratings and when the premiere of the new season is by the flood of Duggar family related news/gossip that floods the internet. 'The Duggars stop for bagels!' or 'The Duggar Family says all drag queens need Jesus!' Ridiculous minutia everywhere to keep people talking about the show and the Duggars so all that sweet, sweet cash will keep coming on in like manna to TLC and the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar compound. 
Last season there was some rating slippage and suddenly we're treated to Jill Duggar's engagement, marriage and pregnancy. This season Jessa Duggar is the bride-to-be/lil' ratings grabber.  More 'exclusive' articles have been churned out by journalists on everything from choosing Jill Duggar Dillard's wedding dress to Jessa Duggar's wedding registry and more. Enough Dugger-related info to choke a mule.
So when an article appeared online this weekend at a satire site saying that "19 Kids & Counting" had been cancelled because it had come out that Michelle Duggar had supposedly given birth as a teenager to a mixed race child many Duggar fans actually believed it, not bothering to stop and consider the only source for this information was a dubious site that doesn't understand how satire and parody was supposed to work.  There was a lot of angst on Duggar message boards and in some comment threads over this misunderstanding, commentary had to be erased at a couple of places due to some of the racist statements made by Duggar fans.
The Epoch Times, another site related to The National Report wrote a bit about the story being made up on a satire site and pointing out that Duggar fans had shared it thousands of times and thought it was real. This isn't the first time that The Epoch Times has had to explain that poorly thought out parody on The National Report is not true. TNR needs to rethink what they consider funny because they surely missed out on this one.
The site that pulled this very unfunny prank was The National Report - 20 Kids and Canceled - Michelle Duggar Gave Birth To Mixed-Race Child in 1986. The saddest thing about the article is this all too true statement about TLC's programming.
In 1991, TLC shifted its educationally oriented programming content to a more reality-based model, after the channel’s parent company declared bankruptcy.  The Discovery Channel purchased TLC, altering its lineup to reflect a more sensational tone.  Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers & Tiaras, Extreme Cheapskates and America’s Worst Tattoos now dominate its broadcast content.
They missed a golden opportunity to actually make this all be truly funny, they could have posted an episode synopsis of "19 Kids" visiting this fake-child of Michelle's and doing something way way way out of the Duggar comfort-zone, such as having the Duggar's celebrating Kwanzaa with the new child. Think of the comedic possibilities, Jim Bob's obvious discomfort with another race, the new son trying to be too friendly to his hot new sisters, the general awkwardness of the entire situation. 
Duggar fans need to start considering the source on information about the family. People magazine legit, The Onion parody. Still, it's pretty comical to think how many people believed this and were eager to believe that a fifteen year old Michelle had a child she gave up for adoption.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Child Sexual Molestation & Christianity's Completely F'ed Up Response

I was saddened but not surprise to hear this morning that actress-singer Vanessa L. Williams (my favorite on the show "Ugly Betty") had been sexually molested at ten years old. She came out and told the story on "Oprah's Master Class"

Vanessa explained how her experience had played out in the rest of her life, her early sexual experiences, bad choices in relationships, the guilt and shame, the bout of promiscuity.

For the record, Vanessa is 51 years old now, at a point where she can look back and see the bends and turns on the road that tripped her up. I'm a few years older than her but that's where I am too.

Her admission was a huge thing for me, because, really a celebrity admitting to the whole world that she'd been victimized as a young age, knowing everyone would be talking about it? That takes real bravery, huge cajones. For her there may be consequences, it could be that she'll get less roles now, or public blowback. So far the world seems to be sympathetic.

Except for, you guessed it, Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians. You know, all those 'legitimate rape' folks, or insisting if you're raped you were obviously asking for it by your attitude or the way you were dressed, your 'worldliness' seducing those poor weak-minded men that cannot control their thoughts or their peckers.

From a man on Facebook going by the disgustingly inaccurate name "Love All" -

This is why so important to communicate with our kids in a world of SEX(FLESH). ABOUT 90% OF KIDS ARE MOLESTED BEFORE THIER AGE 18...Maybe by a parent or friends BF,GF..Youare suppose to be VIRGINS until you get married. This is why we are in the state of emergency in the country. You see it on tv and on the internet. This why the lord said ONLY a woman or man should be married as a VIRGIN.The flesh is very very weak when it comes to sexual advancements and sexual immorality.. This is why God is angry with his children. This is why he destroyed the world and Sodam and Gomorrah. This is why he hates fornication, adultery and anything related to sex outside of marriage. We have more kids born today in single parents homes.. God didn't intened for it to be that way. This is why he gave Adam and woman. To fulfilled his desires. One could only imagine why God got angry with Adam. King DAVID was punished by God because of his sexual advancement to Barsheba.

Debi Pearl has also stated many times that those who are molested as children are worthless, dirty, diseased things. This seems to be the stance of most in the Evangelical Fundamentalist world, that 1) you did something to cause what happened to you and afterward 2) you are beyond cleanliness or redemption.

That stinky false belief system is something that every single one of us that was sexually abused as a child has to deal with in Evangelical Christianity, not just famous folks, everyone that admits that something like this happened.

And the Evangelical Christian world frequently gets their facts wrong on this issue. Love All states that 90% of kids are molested by the age of 18. Not so, according to the Dept. of Justice it's 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys. Not even close to 90%.

Here are the rest of the statistics about child sexual abuse from their site -

  • As many as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood. 1
  • Most perpetrators are acquaintances, but as many as 47% are family or extended family. 1
  • In as many as 93% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person that commits the abuse. 2
  • Approximately 30% of cases are reported to authorities. 3
  • Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. 4
  • 33% of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17. 5
  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 5
  • 69% of the teen sexual assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual. 5
  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3 1/2 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. 6
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. 7
  • Approximately 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations.8
  • 4% of youth Internet users received aggressive solicitations, in which solicitors made or attempted to make offline contact with youth.8
  • 9% of youth Internet users had been exposed to distressing sexual material while online.8
  • 9.2% of cases of maltreatment of children in 2010 were classified as sexual abuse. 9
  • Over 63,000 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2010. 9
Having something like that happen to you that is beyond your control as a child doesn't make you 'diseased', 'dirty', 'disposable' or 'worthless' any more than something innocuous does. It happens to you, you're not a willing and able participant. It's like trying to say that people who get wet in a sudden rainstorm did anything to bring the rain down on them. It's not possible.

It doesn't have to 'wreck' the rest of your life and it doesn't disqualify you for marriage or God's blessings. You have nothing to feel guilty about. The only ones that should feel guilt are the abuser and those folks lacking any common sense or compassion that want to blame you for it. Evangelical Fundamental Christians, I'm looking at you.

The second reason I think what Vanessa did in telling the world about her molestation is that it took me till almost her age because I could admit to anyone that from the ages seven to nine I'd been molested by the family dentist. I tried to tell my mother, but had no real frame of reference to even explain it to her. It took two full years of me acting out, becoming uncontrollably upset and throwing up before every time I had a dental appointment for my mother to think that perhaps something was going on. To this day she thinks the dentist was rough and lacking any bedside manner, that is why I reacted as I did. We weren't close and she's never really understood me very well.

She doesn't know and I'm not about to tell her at this point because it would only make her feel guilty. I really don't see the point in inflicting pain on her now. But I think it's a good example of how we deal better in our society with childhood sexual abuse. Make sure you have the kind of close and open relationship with your child that they would immediately come to you and share with you what happened.

When my kids were little I hovered and never allowed them to be alone with just anybody. Dentist appointments, doctors, you name it, one of us always accompanied them. Our house was one of those places where all the other kids came and I was careful to keep watch over everyone under my roof. Hyper vigilance and fear.

That also means that the Evangelicals that want to lay blame on the victim just need to shut the hell up!

Debi and Mr. Love All don't know what they are talking about either. It is possible to get help, push past what happened to you, deal with it and refuse to allow it to ruin your life. I'm managed and so have many others. However, we refuse to allow anybody to treat us as a less than or ruined person over something that happened ages ago we had no control over. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Growing Up Duggar - Your Relationship With Yourself - Part 1

Page 1 to 9

The chapter starts out with a lot of talk about how wonderful it is that all the girls share the same room before an awkward segue into being self critical over appearance.

 "All of us have gone through times when we've felt we needed to lose weight. And we've all looked at the girl in the mirror and sometimes found things that just didn't seem to measure up."
I find that most curious considering in many reams of writings about the benefits of homeschooling and keeping your kids away from any popular culture claim it creates secure individuals  devoid of all peer pressure or pressure to conform. Not according to the Duggar sisters.

"Suddenly the girl who looked just fine yesterday seems like a total loser today compared to all those cute girls at the mall... or your school...or your homeschool group.... or even your church."

This was followed by a long story written by Jill of taking a l.o.n.ggg time picking out an outfit for church the next morning only to see her sister Jessa the next morning and realize how great Jessa looked, leading to a frantic outfit change after rampaging through the closet, small domestic dramas about running out of hair spray, etc, etc, until she was almost late for church.

"And it all started because I compared myself to one of my sisters and felt that my appearance fell short."

Surprising how concerned with appearance Jill was. I thought from reading the other Duggar books that outward appearance was not something the Duggars spent much time worrying over, more keeping sweet and making sure the heart was right.

"It's easy for us to compare ourselves to others and think we have to be like them to measure up or to be accepted. But too often it's impossible to meet the goals of perfection we set for ourselves, and as a result, we end up dealing with all sorts of destructive feelings: poor self-worth, lack of confidence, jealousy, discontentment and so much more. Before we know it, momentary concerns about our outward appearance turn into lies about ourselves that swirl constantly through our minds, telling us, 'I'm not good enough.' 'I'm a failure.' 'Nobody loves me.'

I guess some things cut across religious and cultural lines as it seems that this is something that could have been written by any teenage girl dealing with feeling inadequate. Since the Duggar girls aren't being as bombarded by society's messages about personal perfection as frequently as most women it seems like this is an issue that pops up regardless of how carefully you've been sheltered from 'The World'

Jessa follows Jill with her own tale of feeling not good enough at a friend's birthday party, how no one complimented her on her outfit while others got told how cute they were and her realization much later that she'd given away her own personal power by allowing what the others thought control her.

Not much I can argue with there, except I keep puzzling over how much like the typical middle class American girl that goes to public high school, dates and hangs out at the local mall the Duggar sisters sound like. Very different than the homeschooled young ladies at my old church.

"This teacher said that if we reject our physical features, we reject our self-image and often assume that others will reject us, too. This assumption can cause us to make poor decisions based on our own misperception of ourselves."

That's actually a pretty healthy idea. Was this book actually written by the Duggars or ghost written by a psychologist that deals with the problems of youth in our time?

And then it all takes a sharp left hand turn into crazy fundyland thinking...

"But if we're upset with that girl in the mirror, it means we're upset with God for how He designed us. We may start to think He messed up when He designed us or even that He doesn't love us."

Gasp! It all leads back to sin! That's about all I can take of the Duggars today, folks. Interesting factoid about Chapter 1 so far there are three, count 'em, three references to worrying about if boys will find you attractive. So much for purity and true love waits and modesty and all that crap I suppose.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review - Holy Sex Part 1

Holy Sex The Way God Intended by Michael Pearl

I had no intention of reading and reviewing another book considering I'm way behind on reviewing both “A Love That Multiples” by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and the book by the Duggar daughters, “Growing Up Duggar”. Lately I've been approached about doing book reviews for various folks uninvolved with NLQ and my reviews of the Duggar products has slipped to the back burner.

After looking at the Pearl's author page on Amazon.com on Memorial Day afternoon I saw that Michael (Woman do it MY way!) Pearl had written a book on sex. As much as the idea of Michael Pearl having sex with anyone skeeves me out I could not resist downloading and starting to read through Michael's thoughts on having sex.

The reading so far has been by turns laughing and wanting to hurl!

First, let me apologize. I am not Libby Anne so this isn't going to be an intellectual take down of Pearl's mostly vile ideas. I am someone that laughs, loves to laugh and loves to poke fun at things. This book is giving me lots of fodder for fun.

It starts with a warning. The type of warning you might see at the beginning of a Christian porn film (yes, there are Christian porn films or so I've been told)


This material is intended for mature audiences. Don't read this book unless you are married, have definite plans to be married in a next few weeks, or you are an older teenager whose parents have first read it and approve of you doing so.”

What? Is the material racy enough to send some poor innocent into the arms of Masturbation Land? Will it defraud them?

On the next page Michael states:

“If you don't think God meant for sex to be fun, this book is definitely for you.”

I think everyone would agree that sex is fun and sex in marriage is meant to be fun. How does Michael rationalize that sex is God given fun?

“The first gift God gave to man was a beautiful, naked woman”

Wasn't that so thoughtful of God.

Then he moves on to the 'dirty' part of the Bible – The Song of Songs. The fact that there is such frank talk and poetic blathering on about sex and the bride and bridegroom impresses Michael Pearl with the comfort ancient people had with 'erotic text'. Seems like that alone might make him open to erotic fiction. Not so.

“Unlike us, they had not surrendered the pleasures and art of lovemaking to the depraved and base elements of society”

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't these the same ancient people of Israel that were mentioned in Genesis as being completely sexually immoral during the days of Lot? The book of Genesis had a lot of incest, prostitution, sexual idol worship and sleeping around in it, didn't it? Sounds to me like we started with some depravity and base elements. You can't entirely blame that on modern society.

“The drama gives an account of the bride being beaten by the night watchmen of the city.”

Now that is something Mr. Pearl is familiar with, tormenting women.

Michael goes on to claim that most of the Song of Songs is about the woman feeling desire for her coming bridegroom, that sh e is the initiator and pursues him to bring him to her bed. Lots of flowery Biblical language is used in this poorly-written tome to indicate sexual desire and sex acts. Poetic imagery instead of more prosaic straightforward language that might serve to educate.

“His world is a crescendo of sensual experiences.”

Real world translation – Horny, horny, horny. Come on, Michael, say it with me 'Eee-Recc-Shun' It's not scary. It's natural and created by God.

“In this godly song there is no carnal versus spiritual; all of self is unified in the experience of marital love. The whole person --- body and soul --- is integrated with the physical nature in perfect harmony with everything without and within. It is only when that love is interrupted by circumstances that there is tension, which is resolved when the lovers are once again in passionate embrace. It is a most simple and basic view of life, not complicated with guilt, shame, inhibition, or cultural expectations”

Normally I might say this is actually a good way to view sexuality... but... have we not all seen in his wife's book, Debi Pearl's “Created To Be His Helpmeet” that this isn't the reality for the Godly Christian Woman. It's put out the sexual favors whenever requested no matter how ill, busy, inappropriate the timing or any other possible reason you might not be inclined to. Not only drop your drawers and jump into the bed, you better be enthusiastic about it too, fake it if you don't feel it, make him think you are just dying of desire for him and whatever sexual request he might make.

Makes me wonder if there's some orgasm-fakery going on too.

Michael asks these questions:

“Can erotic pleasure be as sacred as prayer? Can the sensual and the spiritual both be the creation of God, with equal standing?”

You know, if you didn't know Michael Pearl and his poisonous views on women, children, discipline and how his relationship with Debi was conducted via her book, then you might think this book is pretty good. But sadly he's demonstrated over and over again in his writings, Youtube videos and on his website that he's all about control, with his as the patriarch doing the controlling.

I leave you with these words from this book to ponder till next week.

“Contrary to popular sentiment, it is only the righteous who truly enjoy the pleasures of sexual love.”

What a load of self-deluded crap!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

True Love Exibits True Servanthood

Today for NLQ I posted a bit in Quoting Quiverfull out of the mouth of Nancy Campbell, guilt-tripper-inducing controller of everyone in her sphere like many Evangelical extremists. She was trying yet again to tell mothers that they were to serve in their household as servants to their children and husband.

I don't have a problem with people acting as servants or servers of those they genuinely desire to do as a blessing. It's like I don't mind serving my own husband dinner as he sits heavily down at the dinner table, tired and worn out from a hard day at work. I want to bless him and honor him for the work he does to support our family out of his love by serving him out of my own love for him.

Where the problem is with Nancy and her insisting that all mothers must sacrifice and serve is in the hide-bound insistence that this is the only role a woman should have and the only way to run a family. Things like this simply make my blood boil -

As the years have moved on, I realize more and more that it is a privilege to serve. It is innately in us as mothers to serve. We only reject it because of our selfishness, and in the end we miss out. For God blesses us when we serve. We are fulfilled when we serve. We are born to serve.
No, I don't think it is innately in anyone to serve and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous, like much of what Nancy claims. Most of us that serve and serve our families do it out of love, not duty, not gender role, not out of hormones but out of deepest love for our family.

The whole gendered aspect she pushes for service is repellent to me as well. Last night I watched a documentary on a woman who falsely confessed to a murder she didn't commit in order to protect a beloved family member. It's a film named "Half Ton Killer" 

Now, that's not the service/servanthood I'm talking about, it's what her husband did to lovingly serve her, Mayra Rosales, for you see Mayra was significantly impaired by lypodemia and obesity. He alone cared for her, bathed her, helped her with her daily needs without complaint. When asked why he said he did it because he loved Mayra.

Under Nancy Campbell's guidelines of women serving their families and men being the leader/taskmaster/head there is no room for a man to serve his wife, or his kids. Servant hood is a female designation related to motherhood. What would Nancy say to the gentle massaging of lotion into her flesh that her husband does. The helping her empty her bladder?

Personally I thought it was touching to see a man helping his wife with serious medical issues stay alive with such tenderness.

Serving others is such a necessary thing, such a good work that I always admire those that do it selflessly without any hope of compensation. This world needs more Mr. Rosales, Mother Theresas, Jesuses, the lady that volunteers at the soup kitchen, the man helping kids to read in the schools, hospital visitors, lovers of people and way less Nancy Campbells with their limiting to what serving others should be.

For me personally serving others always makes me feel like I'm the one getting. But I'm not willing to put up with that service being limited by small mindedness.

Plus there is a happy ending to Mayra Rosales sacrifice of trying to cover for a family member. It brought Mayra and her day to day challenges with her health into the spotlight of those that had the power to help her. She's now lost over 800 pounds and has hopes to adopt her sister's children. I hope she is successful in getting the children.

When I googled for an image or a servanthood mother to put with the NLQ piece most of the images were of Mother Theresa and other nuns, not smiling Stepford Evangelical wives, which really tickled me.

Serving others is a beautiful thing, not a duty.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Growing Up Duggar - Part 2 Foreword - Winning Souls Via Television

Pages XIII to XVI

"Lord, we pray that our family can impact the world for You!"

This portion of the Foreword was titled "Racing Against Time" and details how Michelle and Jim Bob prayed the above prayer years before they were anywhere near the public radar screen. They state that the prayer was also humbly asking God to keep all of them on the right track, but in reality there's not much humble about that type of thinking as it presumes that their way is the only right way, more of a 'use us, oh God, because we are the most righteous!'

What follows is more humble brag about how humbled the sisters are to have helped reach millions of people for Christ during the television show and how awesome the unique opportunity they've been given to reach girls and young women on their own, what a Christ-like way their parents have modeled for them.

Does anyone know a person that has been 'saved' or accepted Jesus because of the Duggar show '19 Kids and Counting'? I think believing that others are saved through their show is a stretch at best. Truthfully, most of the viewers seem to be Evangelicals like the Duggar family, or because of the sort of freakshow aspect of the Duggars, no different than watching "Honey Boo Boo Child" or "Dance Moms".  Most Americans cannot imagine raising nineteen children at once.

The next section is labeled "Making a Difference in Your Relationships" and starts with talking of all the things the Duggar parents have instilled in the kids to make sure their relationships are strong and close without fractiousness. How to smooth over familial conflict.

Sounds good doesn't it? Normally I would say keeping peace among siblings is a good thing, but let's face it, that's about the only 'others' that the Duggar kids have relationships with. They lack any of the essential daily interactions most children get and learn from. How to deal with people that don't necessarily like you, people different than you, resolving conflicts with those that don't share your views. You learn from those relationships with people who aren't your relatives. This is another way the Duggar way of life has ill-prepared their children for adult life.

"And then there's the really hot topic we're asked about a lot: boys. That's a relationship that is frequently considered by just about every girl we know---including the four oldest Duggar girls! As we write this, we're waiting for the young man God has for us---if marriage is in the future He plans for us. Meanwhile, we've thought a lot about what we want in a future husband and how we anticipate courtship will happen . As you might expect, it's pretty different from the way many couples interact these days. For one thing, it may surprise you to know it doesn't involve typical dating, but what we call courtship--- or 'dating with a purpose' "

Ah, and just like that it becomes obvious that the book and all the courtship and engagement news emerging about the Duggars might just be Jim Bob Duggar's newest scheme to keep the money flowing and the interest in his family's show alive now that Michelle's quiver has been devoid of new life for something like several years now. Jill is engaged as of this writing and Jessa is courting, both to young men Daddy Duggar hand picked as worthy.

If I was Jana I would be upset that dad had picked suitors for my two younger sisters and none for me. But perhaps as the eldest young woman in the house Michelle couldn't do without her help. That 'if marriage is in the future He plans for us.' gives me chills thinking of Jana. Run, Jana, run!

"We hope this book will inspire you to let the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ empower you to make a difference through the relationships that fill your own life."
Pretty words. We'll see where this all leads in further chapters.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Growing Up Duggar - Part 1 Foreword: Explanations and Humblebrag

Pages XI to XII

If there's one thing you can count on, like the swallows returning to Capistrano yearly, it's that any book written (or ghostwritten) by the Duggar family will contain answers to viewers questions. Growing Up Duggar is no exception. The Foreword/Greetings lays this out quite quickly.

"We've written this book as a way to answer some of the questions we receive in emails and letters every day"

For some reason the Duggars (and many other Evangelicals) cannot handle anyone having questions or doubts about their way of life. We've seen this clearly in the many Duggar specials on TLC and on their television series "19 Kids & Counting" And the family have two ways only of dealing with the questions, either they drop or hide something like 'blanket training' as it appeared in the first special or they change what they are doing on the show, like the time people on Television Without Pity was criticizing the meals the Duggars made as being all processed bad for you foods and then the next special made a big deal of the kids being seen getting fresh oranges with their processed meat on white bread sandwiches.

Writing their books gives them a third option, answering (defending their choices) the questions in print. Heaven forfend that someone might raise an objection to their lifestyle, which to me speaks of a fundamental insecurity about what they are doing and just another attempt to keep the family in the media so that the money will continue to roll in.

Almost everything about the Duggar band wagon revolves around keeping the money train on the tracks. This book is no exception.

And now for some humble bragging all to common in Fundamentalism too.

"Maybe you're that girl we met in the locked ward--we still call it the cage--in the orphanage in Central America. Jana sat with you there and shared your hope that someday you would see your mother again.

Maybe you're the single mom whose baby Jill helped deliver as an apprentice midwife. You smiled and nodded when Jill asked if it would be okay if she said a prayer for your newborn babe.

You might be the mom who approached Jessa after we spoke at a women's conference somewhere. You asked for ideas about how you could be more helpful and encouraging to your teenage daughter as she struggles with relationships involving boys.

Or perhaps you're the girl Jinger met while she was ministering at the juvenile detention center. You could hardly bring yourself to believe God could really forgive you. But Jinger assured you He can. And will."
Fundamental/Evangelical approved occupations for stay-at-home daughters instead of college. Not that these are bad things, not at all, but when these are your only choices for going outside the compound walls it's a bit limiting. That's one of my big problems with the Duggar family and this book, the fact that the female members of the family are granted no agency of their own, no freedom, only what Daddy deems to be worthy.

The girls state that the purpose of the book is..

"..to continue the conversations we started with you but couldn't finish"

"We'd like to know how we can impact your life for good"

Being the cynical old coot that I am I read those statements and feel the earnest squeaky-clean-image of the Duggar ladies and wonder how people being raised like veal in a box could possibly have enough life experience, sense of self and lack of cognitive dissonance to do just what they're proposing. Poor things.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Behind The Mask: Why Do We Join Christianity & Mask Our True Selves?

Have you ever asked yourself exactly how women get into fundamentalist-patriarchy Christianity and why they stay? What emotional payoff are they getting? What drives the desire to completely immerse oneself into a system that devalues you as a human? Giving up all autonomy for the sake of male rule?

Or are they really submissive or is it just a facade to cover up what's really going on inside? Seeing Michelle Duggar last week confirmed everything I'd been thinking about the submissive mask many women wear in Dominionism while actually being in charge of the family AND the husband. Lip service and control behind the scenes.

Back in my days attempting to be a fully submissive wife and a perfect Christian mother I observed an odd trend, the deeper into fundamentalist religion a family was, the more it seemed that the wife/mother of the family was the one spearheading the journey into more radical territory. The men seemed to trail behind their wives, not nearly as spiritually committed but eventually seizing upon the extreme beliefs of their wives.

Why the push of women to drag their husbands into radical evangelical-fundamentalist territory with all of its rules, legalism and bondage? Because behind the masks of Good Christian Submissive Wife they're actually in control.

Are they aware of this? Actively aware? No. But in the their subconscious, the unexamined parts of their mind is where this thought pattern that leads to fundamentalism to control what she cannot cope with lurks.

Vyckie Garrison and I have talked many times about the drive to plunge families and husbands into the most radical forms of Christianity. Here's what she thinks.

My theory is that when the man is not much of a leader and he is slacking, leaving his wife to carry most of the burden of keeping the family together ... the wife, who is stuck with him because God hates divorce, starts looking for ways to get the bum to step up to the plate ... It is indirect control of the man ... a weird psychological mind game in which she, by her submission and obedience, she is controlling God who has promised to make something beautiful of her marriage.

She knows she can't change her husband, so she gets on the good side of the One who can change him. Of course, the man has to already have some controlling tendencies himself. I've noticed that men who are inherently egalitarian, when they encounter patriarchal teachings of headship/submission, are not at all interested. They want a partner, not a Stepford wife.

And patriarchy is the perfect way for them to feel big and brave. The wives have the idea that what they need is an ego-boost, but self-esteem is anti-Christian, so they go for the whole "head of the home" thing instead. It is very twisted.

While I agree with Vyckie on everything she's said above I have to go a bit further. It's not only those in bad marriages or married to someone not engaged with being a good husband, but it's also those women that have untreated psychological issues, perhaps an addiction or an unhealthy tendency. For example, someone like Michelle Duggar.

Michelle has already come out and admitted she struggled with bulimia as a teen. A popular cheerleader with a secret condition. Bulimia is controlling one of the few things you can. It's an addiction and it's a control issue. In “Growing Up Duggar” Michelle says she was able to stop her bulimia merely by having a teenaged Jim Bob as her accountability partner.

I call bullshit on that. Most of the time anyone with an addiction and/or control issues is not just able to 'walk away' from them unscathed without doing some serious in depth work on themselves with a trained professional. What happens is the addiction/control issue merely gets transferred to something else. Like to religion.

That's my big take away from the book signing, seeing Michelle Duggar simperingly ask permission from Jim Bob to get up and speak, going ahead and speaking after his mild 'approval'. I've noticed on their show and other media outlets that Jim Bob says that Michelle is the one that decides when their family is finished and have noticed that he seems to be a genial go-along kind of a guy, not a 'leader' That fits with the pattern Vyckie has come up with.

Michelle is just like all the rest of us who've found ourselves in that mask of subservience while trying to control it all behind the scenes. Look at the chore charts, the ATI homeschooling, the keeping everyone home unpolluted by the outside world, the constant pushing of her life choices in front of a television audience and tell me she's not dealing with significant control issues. She's transferred whatever it was that started her on the road to bulimia onto religion as a form of control.

Being seen as a submissive Christian wife is one of the greatest covers for being the controlling one behind the scenes. Look at the types of men that there are in Biblical patriarchy, either very sort of mild-mannered or controlling, with both types eventually becoming more controlling themselves as time goes on.

As the relation changes and the wife carries the family deeper into fundamentalism, the wife shifts her control methods, seeking to make the man think he's in control when it's really just her manipulating him. Everyone ends up forced into unnatural roles, stuck in an existence that is dissonant to their actual feelings.

And why do people try to control everything in their path? Because they are afraid. Fear drives all of this.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Loveless Marriage: Seven Minimal Requirements For Christian Marriage

Last week I posted at NLQ Nathaniel Darnell of Persevero News called Three Lessons to Learn From Duggars' New Courtship.

While there were a few good nuggets of wisdom in the article, such as setting boundaries and expectations early on, must of it was the typical hand-wringing weak man trying to control women pap that Persevero is famous for. Like insisting Daddy control everything. Only men frightened of women insist on ruling them as if their vaginas were nuclear bombs.

Without further delay here's what Darnell said was necessary for marriage.

Seven Minimal Requirements for Christian Marriage:
  1. Must Be a Christian (II Cor. 6:14)
  2. Must Be to Person of the Opposite Gender (Gen. 1:27-28)
  3. Must Understand that They “Two Become One Flesh” (Matt. 19:5-6)
  4. The Man Must Be Diligent to Provide for His Family (I Tim. 5:8)
  5. The Man Must Understand Himself to Be the Shepherd of His Family (Eph. 5:23-33; 6:4)
  6. The Woman Must Be a Submissive and Fruitful Help Mate to Her Husband (Col. 3:18)
  7. Must Work Together to Take Dominion by Bringing Greater Value to the Raw Resources of Creation. (Gen. 1:27-28)
This seventh would include “taking dominion” by being fruitful in child birth and raising up the next generation as well as managing other raw materials available to them in nature to bring greater order and benefit in God’s world.
I'm a Christian and I have been married to the same guy for a happy twenty eight years and I can say none of those things, okay, maybe #2, had anything to do with our marriage being successful. So here's my list of those things that are essential.

  1. Must be a living breathing human.
  2. Must be whatever sex you are attracted to.
  3. Must have sexual chemistry between the two of you
  4. Must have skills or schooling and a plan for how you both are going to run the financial side of your marriage.
  5. The other partner must respect you and your choices or the marriage doesn't stand a chance. One person should not control everything and make the other one their servant.
  6. Each partner needs to have the freedom to disagree with their partner and it not be a big deal. It's really the end of the world.
  7. Must love one another and genuinely always want the best for their partner.
See how much easier it is without legalism guiding the way? Love is really the only rule to a successful marriage, everything else is really open to interpretation. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

By Its Cover

By Its Cover

or White Privilege, Judgmentalism and Duggars, Oh Boy!

Warning: This is long and I talk a great deal about how my daughter was treated by “Good Christians”. These are my impressions, not necessarily the views of anyone else.

Yesterday I took a little trip from my bungalow in Washington DC/Northern Virginia suburbia to another Northern Virginia section of suburbia to see TLC's “19 Kids & Counting” Duggars up close and in person. I took my college-aged daughter Laura from her studies at George Mason to the signing of Jana, Jill, Jinger and Jessa's book, “Growing Up Duggar”

We'd decided to have a fun outing and then go to the book signing late last week. I have to admit I was curious as to Laura's view of young ladies in her own age bracket that still toed many of the same religious lines we'd both done back in our days in Fundamentalism and Evangelical circles. Little did I realize when we made our plans to attend the signing at Alexandria's Family Christian Bookstore that the encounter would reveal much to me about the nature of judging a book by its cover.

That particular Family Christian Bookstore is on Route 1, a mere stones throw from Mount Vernon and Fort Belvoir, both places that represent freedom. Freedom in the shadow of religious oppression.

Once we arrived at the strip mall holding this store and a host of other stores we could see that the parking lot was full up. Imagine my surprise when I realized that there were more people at this book signing than at one last year at a nearby Barnes and Noble for a former President of the United States. The sad truth is that Americans appear to be more eager to rub elbows with reality television stars instead of leaders and great humanitarians.

The store held a line of white middle class ladies wearing mom jeans with little girls here and there. Some men, some boys and absolutely no people of color at all, unless you counted the several African Americans working the store registers. It was crowded and somewhat chaotic, the entire store was filled with all these eager well-scrubbed white folks looking like they would have fit in perfectly at any John Birch Society function. Less Fundy, more Reality TV Show junkies.

As the part-Jew mostly Cajun I was about the darkest one there, which always gives me the creeps.

But way my daughter was treated as soon as we joined the long line snaking through the store was the biggest surprise of the night.

First I must explain my daughter's latest look. She's dyed her chin length hair two differing shades of bright red. She's a pretty girl, had an appropriate amount of makeup on, wore a bright red wool trenchcoat and ombre circle scarf over jeans and layered shirts. She was dressed like just about every girl on the campus of George Mason, it was only the hair that was a bit outre. But she spent the night being treated like the spawn of Satan by just about every 'official' type person we encountered from moment one.

As we lined up one of the store employees handed out cards we were supposed to fill out with 'encouragements' for the Duggars. The worker handed one out of each of the six people before us, handed me one, and then handed them out to all the people behind us. He skipped Laura! Plus I saw the look he gave her, sort of a get behind me Satan glare.

But it was when she went out to seek a restroom and returned where it got very weird. The lady representing the Chick Fil A in the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia, owned by Jeff Burke, took one look at Laura trying to enter the store right behind her and purposely shut the door in Laura's face. Later she was distributing Chick Fil A freebie coupons and did the same thing the FCB flunkie did, give things to those immediately in front of us and immediately behind and everywhere else, but deliberately skip Laura.

This behavior continued the rest of the night, people looking at Laura as if she were some dyed haired Jezebel. Echos of “Gone With The Wind' Mammy saying, “Do you know a dyed haired woman?”

Laura handled it with grace and peace, but we spent the hour and half in line giggling and whispering with Laura reading aloud to me parts of the book that were ridiculous and braying with laughter. She was tickled by the antiquated advice on relationships in the book. Her comment upon seeing the Duggars in the flesh was that they seemed more normal and less freaky than on the television.

Plus Laura wasn't the only one getting the bums rush. Several local street people wandered in and were encouraged to wander right back out and away. My heart broke for them, seemingly homeless older African-American men who came in just to see what all the fuss was about and treated with something less than Christian love and charity.

There was a large amount of Duck Dynasty merchandise in the store. So people were flipping out publicly months ago when Cracker Barrel and Wal Mart kept selling Duck Dynasty merchandise when Phil Robertson made his ignorant remarks, yet no one once mentioned that Family Christian Bookstore also carries a full line of Duck Dynasty merchandise. When did hate become a Christian family value?

There was a kerfuffle and moaning in the crowd when it was announced that the Duggar girls would not sign any books purchased anywhere else. You had to buy a copy of the book there right then, with it's special imprint, before you could have it signed. People were upset because many of them had already purchased a cheaper copy of the book on Amazon and Family Christian Bookstore was not going to allow them to have it signed.

Then the Duggars arrived, actually it was the rest of the family, not the four eldest girls or Josh Duggar. The film crew arrived, taking the store from crowded to bursting at the seams. Between the lights, the crowd and everything else it started getting red hot in there. The crowd was woohooing and cheering as Michelle climbed up on a chair and started speaking.

She welcomed everyone and spoke for a few minutes, but I cannot tell you what she said because I was trying to angle for a decent photo with my crappy cell phone camera. She could have been shouting out cult instructions or Satanic recipes and I wouldn't have known as I'd tuned out her voice to jockey for camera position. Michelle was followed by Jim Bob announcing that the girls were with Josh doing an interview for American Family Radio and would be arriving soon. This was well after the announced time that the event would start.

The remaining Duggar offspring flipped into automatic performance mode, like some cut-rate version of the Sound of Music family and sang several songs. For me this was the absolutely creepiest part of the night. I got chills, not in a good way, from the singing and presented perfection. I can't explain why I found it creepy, but it was.

Then the girls arrived, darting into the door rapidly, parting the crowd as they rushed to the tables set up for the signing. They passed so closely in front of Laura and I that we could have reached out and cast blessings or cursings right on their heads. And so finally the line began to move.

Once we got to the head of the line Laura took a shot of me with Jill, Jana and Jinger. I made small talk with Jill and Jana about how they'd have mighty writers cramp before the evening was over. All four of the girls were beautiful, except I was surprised to see how much makeup each wore. Jessa had her fiance Ben Seewald with her and I have to say I simply wasn't impressed. He came off like a very shy teenaged boy, doing what they told him, eyes down, concentrating on signing books. Of course, I could be mistaken about Ben, he hadn't been raised in this public circus like the rest.

The line was moving very slowly so you did have a chance to talk a bit as you waited for the family ahead of you to quit posing for photos. I spoke with Joseph, asking him how he liked coming out to the DC area to visit his big brother Josh. He waxed enthusiastic about visiting all the different places and events in the area. Sweet kid.

My Laura hung back, said little to nothing to the Duggar kids and that was fine.

The next time the line moved forward a bit I ended up in front of Anna, Josh's wife and she started talking to me. In the course of our interaction I have to say that she seems like the most normal of the entire family. I was charmed by her niceness. We talk a little of how different this area is to live in that just about anywhere. She's kind and gracious.

Someone has obviously restyled Anna, she looks like she could fit in well with any Washington group of ladies. She's been refined to a more classic look with the hair and makeup now. Again, prevailing culture making an impact on someone instead of the other way around. Looks like the move away from the family was a positive one for Anna, she seemed much more self-assured than she has in the television show.

Josh slipped in and sat down next to his wife, flustered and rushed. His hair is in retreat and I got the impression of a man with more demands on his time than he actually has time. He looks older than his years.

Laura and I oohed and ahhed over the absolute over the top cuteness of the youngest girls so seriously signing the books and Laura remarked that Anna was going to end up wearing a lot of permanent marker and Jim Bob laughed, saying that he might have to give the younger ones washable markers instead of Sharpies.

And then, the end of the line, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. I posed for a photo between the two and I told Jim Bob I was there representing No Longer Quivering of Patheos Faith platform. Told him that the kids were beautiful, because they absolutely are.

My impression of le Pere et Mere Duggar is that Michelle wears the pants. I have no evidence of that, it was just things I observed in body language and interactions. Jim Bob seemed pleasant enough, except that from tales I've heard from pals in Arkansas and some of his behavior last night I think he has an unhealthy dash of wanting to be recognized. He's enjoying his fame.

The children all seemed happy, healthly and well cared for, both Laura and I thought so. But much of the night just seemed to reinforce that the main body of folks there are so very far removed from the words and actions of Jesus.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

True Love Doesn't See Agendas Behind Every Bush - Frozen

You have to see this before I start talking about "Frozen". Of the many wonderful versions of the song 'Let It Go' from "Frozen" I think this one personally tops them all. But then again I love classical music so blending the song with Vivaldi's "Winter" makes sense to me.

So incredibly talented!

One of the biggest drags of getting older is no longer having an excuse to go see Disney movies. I wanted to see "Frozen" after reading so many people on the blogsphere talking about how this was one of the best Disney princess films and it managed to avoid the obvious princess-y behaviors that made the older films not exactly showing behavior you wanted your daughter to emulate. Hello? True love at first sight moving to marriage before anyone bothered checking if they were even slightly compatible?

I went to an early afternoon matinee of "Frozen", slinking in past the few families with kids and sitting alone on the back row. As I huddled down and started inhaling my popcorn I had to chuckle upon seeing a teenage boy also sneak around the theater before picking a seat in a likely child free zone. I guess I wasn't the only non-child person in my tiny town that wanted to see the movie.

There was a great deal to love about the film, the princess Anna was being voiced by one of my favorite actresses, Kristen Bell. The artistry of the film was breathtaking, the songs were great and the messages mostly positive. Of all the characters my favorite was Olaf the snowman, who had a strange nativity and truthfulness about his being.

But on a deeper level I could relate more to Anna's sister, Princess Elsa. Elsa desperately trying to control herself, deny who she really was in her truest form only to run off from those that think she's some sort of monster. For me personally it was symbolic of my years at my old church, trying to fit in, tamping down the real me before leaving and being thought of as apostate while my true me emerged. Pain, isolation, misunderstanding followed by freedom and embracing who you really are.

One of the bloggers I read occasionally related it to his own struggles with depression (wanted to post his review at NLQ but he refused, here it is anyway - Gasp! There ARE Hidden Messages in Disney's Frozen.) I think that is the beauty of the film, it's truth is as varied and multi-layered as our own selves. People get out of it how Elsa's struggle relates to their own lives.

The other big message I walked away from this film with is that love is the final message, the only thing that matters. Love endures, love frees, love thinks not of itself. Not romantic love, but the love of family, love for friends. Love is the strongest force in the universe if we would stop fearing and put that love into action.

So when someone forwarded to me a review of "Frozen" from a lady that blogs at A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman claiming that the movie pushes some sort of evil Gay agenda I had to wonder if we'd even seen the same movie! Did I miss Olaf doing something outrageous or did that sauna bit at Oaken's involve some same sex shenanigans? 

After reading through her thoughts on this it's pretty obvious that this lady sees gays everywhere and somehow feels like they're threatening her way of life by just existing. She presages her explanation on why "Frozen" is some liberal gay-agenda piece of detritus with these words

Sidebar: Let me be very clear about one thing, I am not anti-gay nor am I here to judge homosexuals not worthy of their rightful and respectful place among society. However, I draw the line at the idea of redefining traditional marriage to include homosexual relationships, as equal. Meaning, that as a Christian, I believe that acting on same-sex attraction is contrary to God's will, and therefore SSM should not be legalized. Because I hold this value and voice it freely, does not mean that I am trying to force it on anyone - anymore than those who feel opposite and advocate for their position intend to force SSM on me, personally - both have the right [to freely advocate an oppositional position] and should not be demonized, regardless of where society takes us, as a whole.

and then starts to link every possible tiny bit of the story to The Gay Agenda.

Maybe I have my liberal Christian blinders on but I'm just not seeing it. A girl with the ability to freeze the world running away to her ice palace in the mountains is not a representation of some person of a different sexuality going to hide in a figurative emotional closet. It's a reach at best... and her opinions sort of go downhill from there.

Watch part of the movie yourself and tell me it has any agenda other than the importance of love.

Friday, February 21, 2014

True Love Loves All Families and Even Women

Vaughn Ohlman has posted over at his blog True Love Doesn't Wait about families and the Bible, that families must glorify God and fathers are to rule over their families, right down many generations. He claims that the church is somehow 'feminized' and that men have been stripped of their masculinity.

There's just one problem, I'm not seeing much scriptural support for his extrapolations of Biblical law.

Let's look at how Jesus treated women during his time here on planet earth. His actions show that he was the first feminist to many of us.

  • He dared speak to the loose woman at the well, a behavior that was forbidden under Jewish law and society of that time. He didn't slut-shame her, or ignore her or treat her with disdain as the Pharisees of that time would have. He treated her as an equal before telling her he was the Messiah.
  • What of the woman being stoned by the religious leaders of the day? He saved her life by challenging those that would have killed her to only allow those who had not sinned to throw the stone. After everyone departed he spoke to the woman, again a forbidden act under Jewish law at the time and sent her on her way. Told to go and sin no more, Jesus refused to judge her for her adultery.
  • Jesus was supported by women, women that raised the money for His ministry to keep going on. They weren't apostles, they kept to the background, like geckos hiding behind frangipani on a lanai wall. Essential but not in the spotlight. They did some of the more practical work of running everything. Check out Luke. 

All of this is in the Bible. Jesus treated the women that He interacted with the same as the men, therefore making Him the first feminist or, at the very least someone that thought the sexes were equal.

Von also talks of how 'broken' the family is compared to the Biblical model, calling modern families 'bastardized families'. Let's look at those Biblical families.

  • Loads of polygamist families, including the family of King David.
  • Moses was adopted into a family not his own.
  • Widows with children
  • A father with only daughters like Lot
  • Families where the father was off with another woman instead of staying with the first wife and mother of most of his sons like Leah
  • Every imaginable version of family is in the Bible, just like now. 
If you think divorce wasn't a problem back then just ask yourself why Jesus found it necessary to address divorce.

The fact is that families are like they are back in those days, the same permutations, the same problems even. There's no such thing as a 'bastardized family' unless you are talking about a gang filled with members trying to construct their own family out of people they know or someone like Charlie Manson. Manson called his cult his 'family'.

Cult or not one of the things all those families share is love for one another. The reality is that families, women and even controlling men are all acting out of what they perceive love to be. Love isn't rational.

Friday, February 14, 2014

True Love is More Tolerant (Than Me Anyway..)

One of the things I know that I desperately need to work on is my response to Christians critical of No Longer Quivering. The ones that show up, make some snarky remarks calling the authors/commenters various names and flounce around.

I tend to be exasperated and not very loving or accepting of them. Not that I should always be, "bless your heart" to them, but I'm ashamed I haven't managed to come up with a sane, respectful answer towards them in reply, like Vyckie always does. I always go for the sarcasm button.

Sometimes when I moderate the comments I feel like I'm working the front window at DMV. Complaints all around, yet exercising petty power to put the complainers down even when they might possibly have a valid point.

I'm going to have to work on that because I'm not particularly proud of the way I reply. It's more a knee jerk response that I've settled on based upon a few things.

  1. No tolerance for anyone or anything blame-shifting from fundamentalist Christianity. I've kept my mouth shut for years, swallowing my retorts to things that are clearly spiritually abusive. This year one of my resolutions was that I was going to speak out every single time I ran across abusive theology.
  2. Years online losing patience with those who seem to fit the label 'Stupid'. This one came out of years playing games at Pogo.com and finding people so dull that when playing Scrabble they were hard pressed to even come up with a two letter word after three extended turns of 2  minutes each. Show up at NLQ and you misspell simple words over and over again or seem to have no idea about punctuation or capitalization and I'll mentally sling you in the same box with the Scrabble dumbasses and point out that your lack of spelling makes it much harder for me to take you seriously. 
So, here I am, scornful, judgmental, spelling freak, cranky from the snow, cranky with Christians and abuse theology. How do I craft a response that isn't the mean spanking I itch to dish out? 

My Valentine's Day promise to the NLQ community is to come up with a nicer way to answer dissenting voices, even the ones I have to ban for pure over the top attacks.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Is Rape Culture?

Buzzfeed.com had an awesome article today laying out exactly what Rape Culture actually is. They even had photos to illustrate the problem and that song by Robin Thicke that is a perfect example of rape culture and the lack of informed consent - Blurred Lines.

If you haven't seen the video or heard the song here it is. Not safe for work.

The writers and editors did an outstanding job breaking down what Rape Culture is, the only problem was they failed to include the whole impossible Purity Culture Rape Culture in Biblical Patriarchy. They left it entirely out. No talk about 'taking her myself' on the wedding night, no Vaughn Ohlman-esque ponderings on women never having the right to refuse a "Godly" husband sex, nothing by Debi Pearl urging you to play along with your man's sexual needs even when you hate it. Not one thing about how Fundamentalist Christianity tends to view all women as walking vaginas free to plow at any time regardless of consent, while insisting on virginity and virginal behavior.

One of the bigger problems in the Christianity version of Rape Culture is that with girls being taught to stay sweet, obey orders and be sexually innocent is that it sets these same young women and girls up to be victims/targets by the males surrounding them and not even realize it. Look at the stories of all the women sexually harassed by ATI head Bill Gothard, one of the big things those ladies had in common is not realizing while it was going on that he had clearly crossed a line into Rape Culture. Hard to recognize a creep with impure motives when you've been sheltered to the point where you don't know those types of predators actually exist.

My question tonight is what do we do as citizens of this nation to make sure that Rape Culture dies a swift death?

Also, I like this version of "Blurred Lines" much better, even if it's no more safe for work than the other one. It's more honest.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

True Love Doesn't Beat Their Precious Children

One thing I can count on daily with picking articles and updating No Longer Quivering. It's that I will view theology and quotations that will make me nearly sick. The one taking my breath away right now is Paige Coleman's "Pearls Before Swine". She's defending Michael and Debi Pearl, saying that they are not responsible for the death of Hana Grace Williams, even if the Williams hadn't admitted they were using the child discipline advice in the Pearl's 'To Train Up a Child'

For those few who've yet to encounter TTUAC let me sum up the philosophy of the book in a few easy to understand terms. Your child is willful, sinful and disobedient and it's your job as a parent to discipline them starting at just a few months old by switching them. You start with a tiny tree branchlet before working up to a plastic quarter inch plumbing pipe. You beat them often to keep them instantly obedient and if they aren't, you beat them till they are.

I am shuddering writing that last paragraph as I cannot imagine wanting to do such a thing to a toddler, much less a baby. Crying is one of the few ways, the primary way, that a baby has to communicate it's needs to it's parents. Having needs and needing to be cared for isn't selfish or self-centered or sinful, it's normal. Beating a baby, or whatever sweetly cooed Christian buzzword they are using for beating this week, is something only a person without a heart would do. A child abuser, a damaged soul.

Once my children were born I would have done anything for them, I would have laid down my own life for them had the sacrifice been required. I loved them deeply and the last thing I wanted to do was to harm them in any way, emotionally, physically, spiritually. My love for them was geared towards raising productive members of the human village, with love for others, a desire to do what was right and to help the world. I could not conceive of anyone thinking that physical punishment was a good thing.

No matter the age of the child, beating them is never something you want to do. I'm not talking about a swift swat on the seat of the diapers of a toddler attempting to do something awful, such as run in the street. There are times when a tap on the rear might be called for. But those situations are rare, I hope.

When you discipline a child with physical violence, in anger or in calmness, you are teaching that child that a) violence is the way to settle disagreements, b) it's perfectly fine to use violence on others (or their future children), c) that the bigger you are (like the parent) then you can use violence or physical force to get your way.

Is that really the lessons you want your child to learn from you?

Not meeting your children's needs, denying the needs, trying to impose your will on a child you say you love isn't very loving. There are many different ways you can discipline your child or teach them to self correct behavior that don't involve violence. Disciple can be as varied as the personalities of the individual children.

Many evangelicals and fundamentalists seem to make a lot of noise about how much they love children and value their futures, but turn around and do things that turn their words into a lie. I'm not claiming that people who aren't Good Christians (tm) don't make parenting mistakes or that some don't use physical punishment, but most of them aren't writing books claiming their way is the only way. The Pearls are making that claim, to the detriment of many children in the church.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say you must beat your children. It's extra-Biblical, which goes against the scripture that says if anyone adds or subtracts from the word of God then they are damned.

The Pearls books are filled with dangerous, violent and abusive advice. Anyone that thinks the books are about love has no real idea what love actually is.

Friday, January 10, 2014

True Love Loves the Unlovely

The chapter of Libby Anne's review of Debi Pearl's "Created To Be His Help Meet" I posted today at NLQ: 'The Tale of the Purple Flowers PJ Girl' triggered me badly this morning. So much of it was utter ridiculous twaddle, the crap that if you actually believe it will wreak havoc with your relationships. It would take me days to point out everything wrong with Debi's points if I were to break it down.

But the biggest lie that jumped out at me was this:

"...... you have no right to expect him to love you when you are unlovely."
Bullshit. Double bullshit. Debi is talking about your husband loving you, how you have no right to an expectation of love if you are unlovely.

This is really the sickest and most twisted. In reality in marriages there are going to be lots of those 'unlovely' moments, even if you're the most beautiful creature on this planet. You and your partner can't help it. We're all human and things happen.

Times when things are going haywire and aren't all peaches and creamy are the moments where True Love is really shown.Those times when you have to rush him to the hospital or sit by his bedside for days on end in the hospital. Or you yourself gets sick or you have vomit in your hair for caring for a sick child. Perhaps you're going through a major depression and cannot stop crying. Name a scenario that isn't something flattering and there you go.

Those are the times when our bonds of love are put into action. I remember around twelve years ago when I was having bouts of asthma and pneumonia a night when I was changing the sheets on the marital bed as my husband sat at his desk. I started coughing uncontrollably before projectile vomiting all over the sheets, the bed and the bedroom. I started crying I was so embarrassed, feeling miserable physically on top of the embarrassment. My darling husband just sighed, told me to go clean up and he'd deal with cleaning up the vomit covered room and getting fresh bedding on the bed. I showered, he cleaned up. Yeah, I know my example is gross but I feel like it illustrates what true love does in those unlovely moments.

I wonder how Debi would spin that scenario? She'd likely say that Michael would leave the room as she apologized for the mess. She'd rush around cleaning it all and apologizing some more I'm sure. He'd been annoyed stomping around about her daring to be 'unlovely' around him.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ducked Up

During the last few weeks of outrage and defense of Phil Robertson's remarked on man anuses, vagina, happy blacks before Civil Rights and a host of other ignoramus quotations I've stayed mostly silent.

What the "Duck Dynasty" star said in his GQ magazine interview was offense and unfortunate, but really, was anyone genuinely surprised? I was not. Bruce Gerencser pointed out how fake the Robertson clan is (loved all the photos of the clan on the Redneck Rivera, the beaches of southern Alabama!) and Joe Sands seems to think that the comments were taken out of context.

Context or not, Americans seem to be divided over the importance of statements by folks on reality tv, something not worth a squirt of piss.

Let me state first I do not watch this show ever. I stopped watching A&E network when they morphed from twice daily showings of "Biography" and various British dramas to the same sort of fare that TLC now shows, sleazy reality shows exploiting lowest common denominator subcultures or fame-whoring sects/groups.

There's another reason why I cannot take the show seriously. Many years ago I was in a band and one of the areas we played in happens to be the same area that the "Duck Dynasty" Robertson's live in, West Monroe. When we'd book a gig up in rural Northern Louisiana no one would look forward to it.

Louisiana is a very culturally divided place, there's South Louisiana where I grew up, filled with Cajuns, Catholics and Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler. There is a certain sense of laid back attitude about many things in South Louisiana.

Northern Louisiana is more like Mississippi, completely different than the South. There are far less Cajuns, more people there that would fall under the not too complimentary title of Redneck. Southern Baptists and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist flourish in the northern half of the state. Used to be mostly dry parishes and more churches than you could shake a stick at. Granted, I haven't been to the West Monroe area since 1984 when I attended a wedding but I have my doubts as to the changes in the last twenty years.

I say all this not to put down the people of that area, but to explain who and what they are. Which is why I was not surprised anyone raised there said those things. You have to look at the culture and the context when D-list celebs utter inanities. It's hateful, it's inappropriate but it's not surprising at all.

The thing I hate is that people are treating this like it's newsworthy. That Good Christians (tm) are supporting the ignorant statements like they are gospel-truth instead of the ravings of a good old boy. I hate that A&E gives ignorance and intolerance a weekly platform.

There's been enough hatred. Time to ignore reality tv and the things that come out of the mouths of supposed good Christian role models marketed by television and molded into something they are not.