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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

For the last few weeks I've been waiting with baited breath for CBN's Pat Robertson to make his yearly announcement claiming that God told him what to expect in the coming year. Pat's obviously falling down on the job since he's been largely silent on 2014.
Let us revisit what he said in December 2012 in regards to 2013's happenings....
  • The country is in great peril
  • It will come a financial reckoning, debts called in, money devalued, people on fixed incomes will suffer. Creditors will seize assets to pay back debts.
  • It will be a time of great turmoil.
  • God says to get out of debt and hold all your purchasing to a bare minimum to prepare for those times.
  • God’s glory will shine everything. Many will turn to God and many will curse and revile God.
  • It will be a time of great division with the worse rebellions and turmoil ever seen before.
  • It will be a time of miracles and favor for CBN but very tough of people who don’t know God and live in the world.
Some of these are so damn vague they could take on all sorts of different meanings but the truth is that nothing that perilous or awful happened here in 2013. Is there division? Yes, but there always is. Peril and turmoil could mean anything.
Here's what I think 2014 will be like ala Pat.
  • The economy will continue a weak march towards recovery
  • The new healthcare laws may or may not be a good thing
  • Americans will still continue to max out their credit cards but at least it will help stimulate the economy
  • Christians will keep claiming that they are discriminated against and persecuted
  • Gays, transgendered folks, abortionists and birth control will still be blamed by the religious right for all sorts of stupid things.
  • The sun will still shine, the grass stay green and the sky blue.
And I'm sure I missed a ton of things that will certainly happen. Please feel free to add your own or discuss anything in the comments. Did you make a resolution this year or are you making good changes in this new year?