Friday, December 31, 2010

The hazards of "googling"

Mother Google is getting a bit too clever for my tastes. Why can't I simply enter search terms and get a listing of all pages that fit? Why does it "help" google to know where I am from and what my search history is? It skews the results and ends up in frustration because it gives me what it thinks I want and that is, with increasing frequency, not what I want. This morning's search was a case in point. While searching for "Celtic Christianity", I stumbled across a new church in the Denver area. It is "co-pastored" by a Denver Seminary professor and his wife (she, a former PCUSA pastor). They are currently preaching through Saint Patrick's Breastplate.

This got me wondering that, with all of Denver Seminary's expansion lately, are they not managing to train enough pastors in the trendy new thing? Are they unsatisfied with how their students are doing?

Apparently not being satisfied with teaching feminism on campus, they have to put it into practice as co-pastors. Not that feminism is the only cultural trend they are chasing after. In an effort to echo the title of a Philip Rieff book, Denver Seminary's counseling program seems to have triumphed as well. I am guessing such a therapeutic view of things is the source for their support of another professor-church planter who is divorced and re-married. That church, which currently meets on the seminary campus, describes their leadership council as being composed of men and women fitting the biblical qualifications as elders.


Never mind that women aren't included in the biblical listing of elder qualifications because, apparently, this particular church pays no never mind to that husband of one wife thing, either.

To quote yet another Denver Seminary professor, "The genius of Evangelicalism is its ability to re-invent itself".

Indeed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flat, grey and ugly

That's the landscape presented to us by religious feminism. You know they protest most vigorously whenever they are called on their leveling of the tremendous differences between men and women. They cry foul and protest that theirs is a technicolor world and ours is thegrey one, cramped by rules.

But then these spayers and gelders (to borrow my dear friend Anthony Esolen's phrase) let their slip show, proving my point in rather unspectacular fashion. These people who claim to exist for the sole purpose of lifting up women from their prison of kinder, kuche, kirche (unless, of course, the kirche bit includes leading men around by the, ahem, nose in their positions as pastorettes), well, one of them just inevitably goes and says something like this:

God chose to inform Mary first of the impending conception and some time later Joseph was told. If God saw Joseph as the leader of the home he surely would have sent the angel to Joseph first.

Just what are we supposed to do with that? This is the moment upon which history turns. And our wise ones reduce it to "God chose to inform" and "impending conception"?!

There is no beauty, no sense of humble obedience, willingly embracing God's plan here in the religious feminist explanation. And certainly no Magnificat!


My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why it matters

Religious feminists often accuse orthodox Christians of adding to the Gospel, of being pharisees who pile on requirements of the law, adding to some supposed pure Gospel. Unless, of course, it is their idea that the "gospel of equality" is the pure and simple gospel.

In this post, Doug Wilson gets it:

When God gave us the world, Hegave us certain building blocks for the understanding -- heaven and earth, sea and dry land, sun and moon, male and female. Let me try to imagine a place which had heaven and earth muddled, sea and dry land reversed, sun and moon backwards, and the female in combat and the male in drag, but where everybody was sound on Christ crucified and justification by faith alone. Can't picture that? Neither can I.

Nether can I.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

To shut it again on something solid

As is frequently the case, the religious feminists over at CBE's blog have again brought to mind a Chesterton quote:

The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.

Their current post is about "pedagogy and gender" and reads like nothing so much as a primer on postmodern/post evangelical reimagining of Christianity. In the post author's own words, "knowledge is dialogical and communal". While I will readily admit that certain forms of knowledge are indeed communal, I hasten to add that Truth is not. Truth takes the form of a person, the God-Man Jesus Christ. But the enlightened ones over at CBE appear to be more interested in whining about patriarchalists not "sharing" than they are in bowing their knee to the one who is Truth incarnate.

To all their concerns about about closure, the opportunity for which is denied if religious feminists are excluded (as the blog manager moans in his response), I can only say that their quibble is with God himself. It is God who established patriarchy-- it is written into his works as well as his word. All known cultures have been patriarchal, even if some have been matrilineal in the reckoning of inheritance. In the beginning God established patriarchy by creating Adam first and then creating Eve from him and for him, then by calling Adam to account for the rebellion even though it was Eve who took and ate first. He established Israel as a patriarchy and eventually gave it Kings (not queens) and priests (not priestesses).

Then, in the fullness of time, God set forth his Son. Did you catch that? In the fullness of time. Jesus Christ did not take on male flesh because the patriarchal culture of his time required it, the culture of his time was patriarchal because it was right, the time was full. Jesus continued this practice by numbering only men among the twelve. After his death and resurrection, they continued His practice by only considering men as possible replacements for Judas Iscariot. This practice was continued by the early church through the Fathers and on down to our present age.

In other words, closure has long been established on this matter. It is not the patriarchalists who exclude the religious feminists. It is the religious feminists who have excluded themselves by their rebellion against God's established order.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Doubting Beauty

An old friend recently posted a short piece on his blog about the all too frequent lack of good apologetic answers on the part of Christians who encounter someone with doubts. His prejudice, I know from experience, is that arguments will save the soul of the doubter.

The problem is more likely a case of inadequate, stunted apologetics. Reformed and conservative Protestant Christians may know Lee Strobel or Josh McDowell by heart. They know how to deal with intellectual doubt and answer questions logically and rationally. But do they know Beauty? They believe they have a handle on Truth - but are utterly ignorant of her sisters, Goodness and Beauty.

I have long been convinced that one of the reasons Evangelicalism fell so spectacularly fast and so very thoroughly to the heresy that likes to call itself Egalitarianism is that their theology is inadequate. They are so afraid of anything with a whiff of incense, the least taint of Rome, that they run headlong away from anything but their Bibles and a few acceptable authors. They have even trimmed the cardinal Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura into just me and my Bible, also known as solo scriptura.

There is no room in their universe for an argument from Beauty - beauty isn't so easily contained in their tight little logic boxes. Beauty is a wild card, she is dangerous. Beauty unleashes, in the words of a friend, titanic realities. Beauty opens the door to the past, to a time when we weren't so, ahem, enlightened. And she opens the door to her nature, to transcendence. She can be terrifying and comforting, wild and yet as tame as a purring cat curled up on your lap. Beauty can be found in a ray of sunshine falling across your shoulder, in the laugh of a child, in the almost imperceptible first strains of the violins opening On the Beautiful Blue Danube, in the eyes of a friend, or in the simple and accidental touch of your beloved.

Will philosophy, logic, rational arguments win the soul of a doubter? Perhaps. But I think it more likely that Dostoyevsky was right. Beauty will save world.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

As if the kids aren't bad enough . . .

I am at the library today, trying to find some articles online using their search engines. And, truthfully, the boys aren't bad. They are minding their own business, playing their computer games. But the woman next to me is old enough to know better.

Popping your gum? Seriously?

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm a bit surprised

Months after I highlighted on this blog the heresy-spouting paganism of one of CBE's authors (profiled on their blog's contributor's page with a link to her blog), they have now scrubbed her entry.


Funny that.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brains, Babies and Birth Control

Although Great Britain is a bit too Big Brother-ish for me (what with their cctv cameras seemingly everywhere), they seem to have more interesting newspapers. Recently, both the Telegraph and the Mail had articles touching on babies and birth control.

The Telegraph's article, which I have personally titled, "Why Feminists are So Stupid", took a look at the myth that mother's brains turn to mush when they have a baby. Not surprisingly, this anti-natalist myth is just that, a myth. As might be expected, if we took a moment to think about all the skills a new mom has to learn, and learn quickly, researchers have found that, "the brains of new mothers bulk up as they coped with the steep learning curve dealing with a newborn." What might not be so intuitive, however, is the finding that the mothers who, "gushed the most about their babies showed the greatest growth in key parts of the brain". The areas most affected were those, "involved with motivation - the hypothalamus - reward and emotion processing - the amygdala - senses - parietal lobe - and reasoning and judgment - the prefrontal cortex."

Looking at the other side of the babies versus birth control problem, the Mail's article found that women on hormonal contraception tend to be more jealous and possessive. A new study has shown, moreover, that those "taking the brands with the most [estrogen] may even find their hormone-driven suspicions place their relationships in jeopardy . . ." Previous studies have shown that drugs can also change a woman's taste in men, including suppressing their interest in more masculine men and even affecting their sense of smell. Not sounding good for the health of long term sexual relationships, is it?

Dr. Roberts, one of the study's authors, has said, "it seems that women, and perhaps pharmaceutical providers, are not fully aware of the range of potential psychological side-effects associated with pill use . . ."

Do ya think?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So, is it or isn't it?

Religious feminists - no telling where they'll lurch next. Because I often let curiosity get the better of me when I should know better, I checked on the current issue of a certain organization's e-newsletter. Hunh. I thought they disliked it when patriarchalists called the issue a core one touching upon the heart of the Gospel (faulty anthropology leads to faulty theology and all that, right?). But no. When they decide to, it's OK to call it a "primary issue".

When patriarchalists teach what the Church has always taught, they are making God out to be "illogical and unjust". Heaven forbid we should cross the religious feminists path of logical argumentation. The problem, however and always, is that religious feminists never present what the Church teaches on these matters. It's always some aberrant crackpot who teaches that Eve was responsible for "all the sin in the world" or that women can never hold any position of responsibility in the church, or that God has already decided women have nothing of interest to say. So religious feminists can dismiss any old crackpot claiming to speak for God as a patriarchalist, but don't play on a level field - if a religious feminist celebrates her lesbian lover she is not really a religious feminist. They get to define what is authentic on both sides of that fence (sorry to the mixed metaphors).

I am encouraged by one thing, however. I think the religious feminists are finally recognizing what the battle is really all about, what truly divides us:

What is interesting about worldviews is that a corruption in one element creates a disruption in the other elements. . . . [I won't bore you with the bogeyman slavery analogy she launches into at this point]


--------

Does the shared leadership and authority of women and men advance a more biblical world view? Does it promote the gospel and our capacity to reflect Jesus to the world? Katharine Bushnell, in the early 1900s, said that Christians must assess women's capacity for service in the same way we assess men's -- not based on the fall, but on our atonement in Christ. to do otherwise is to do violence to the gospel, to which all of Scripture and history point.



We finally agree. The authority of women and men is a gospel issue. Now if we could only agree how authority works out differently for women than it does for men.

So, how much is a big toe?

Sometimes I just HATE being right. A few months back, several of my co-workers were very excited about getting together to go see the "BodyWorlds" exhibit then in town. Fascinating! A great chance to learn. Yes, well, I will admit to learning a thing or two while watching, "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". Not that I'd recommend it. I wouldn't recommend "BodyWorlds" either.

There is something to be said for the "ewww" factor that makes us recoil at certain things - dead bodies on display for your viewing pleasure being one of those things. But we are so very deadened, many of us don't even recognize the tiny whisper of an "ewww" any longer. Christianity has always held a respect for the human body and while some still object to autopsies for the sake of medical students learning anatomy, most of us would agree that putting plastinized bodies on public display is just plain wrong. It's disrespectful, its voyeuristic.

Now I know this isn't a full-fledged argument, it's merely a reflection, a caution. I have found the exhibits disturbing since the first time I heard about them. I just didn't trust a man who would make a fortune in this way. And where, so many ask, did he get the bodies? According to this story, some of them were Chinese prisoners, as the speculation had run. Not only that, but a German exhibition of the bodies included poses of corpses in flagrante. Which is why I hate being right sometimes - the whole project always struck be as being akin to necroporn.

But now the corpses are for sale. A head goes for approximately $35,000, an entire body for nearly $100,000. No need to worry. Mr. von Hagen protests that only, "scientists and medical experts" will be "eligible" to buy them.

The Year of Living Dangerously

After an email conversation with a friend whose advice I always respect, I've decided to embark on the project of following Rachel Held Evans', "Year of Biblical Womanhood". I'll admit here at the outset that I don't hold out much hope for the project looking anything like orthodox Christianity or that it will change Mrs. Evans' view on womanliness. I say this because, as a friend noted over on FB, it's rather odd that a professing Christian can present living biblically as an experiment to be engaged in for a year.

This is why her project is so very dangerous. It's not simply the mocking video she put out to announce the project. It's not the Chinese-menu approach to Christianity. It's not her skepticism about "biblical womanhood". What makes her project so very dangerous is that she announced it this way, "Starting this month, I will commit one year of my life to following all of the Bible's instructions for women as literally as possible." If this is what she admits the Bible teaches, why is it a one-year experiment? Why isn't it the aim and focus of her life if she truly seeks to follow Christ?

She says there will be no picking and choosing, but then immediately launches into the picking and choosing. Polygamy is out. No real problem there, polygamy was never an "instruction" in the first place. But being fruitful and multiply? As to the first "instruction" given woman (Man, if you will)? That's out. As to exemplars or archetypes such as the Proverbs 31 woman? Oh, baby, that's in with a vengeance. So the year of living biblical womanhood seems to come down to what she wants to ridicule, such as head coverings and homemaking skills but things that may actually change her life and her heart? Nope. Not having a bit of it. And never mind that she is only following some of these instructions just once, not the whole year, just once.

Since Mrs. Evans has already stacked the deck, from her enthusiastic embrace of the secular feminist movement (see here ), to her intention to explore "the dark underbelly" of biblical womanhood in which, according to her, it is taught that there is only one "right way" to be a woman (see the same page) all the way to her proposed Table of Contents in which Modesty is described as "Good Deeds in a Size 10", it's clear which way this project is heading. Never any mention of a "dark underbelly" to feminism. Hah!

But this shouldn't surprise us if we know anything about young "Emergents" like Mrs. Evans. Though a reliable source tells me the emergent movement has been dead for years, just last year Evans was lamenting this declaration of death on her blog with the declaration that, "some of us are still talking". Not only does she describe herself as part of the "emergent conversation", she is also a proponent of theological Darwinism. From her "About the blog" section:

Charles Darwin said that the survival or extinction of an organism is determined by its ability to adapt to its environment. I think faith operates the same way. Changes in the environment -- be they cultural or experiential -- test the resilience of our faith and challenge us to rethink our most fundamental beliefs and values.

That's what this blog is about. It's about how faith survives by continually changing*. Its purpose is to reassess the fundamental elements of Christianity in the context of a postmodern environment. . . my insights coming from a small town famous for its fundamentalism, yours coming from wherever you may be.

I believe that knowing the answers isn't as important as asking the questions, and that following Jesus Christ is a lot less about being right and a lot more about, well, surviving. . .



Surviving, adapting and changing. That's the vision of "christianity" presented by Rachel Held Evans. Is it any wonder I'm as skeptical of her as she is of biblical womanhood?

*Emphasis in the original

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Talk about your mint and cumin!

Thomas Nelson publishers must be desperate for books to publish. Honestly, that's the only excuse I can think of for encouraging this project. Unfortunately, Mrs. Evans seems to have a selectively edited copy of the Bible. She's taking that "infamous" chapter at the end of Proverbs as a command, rather than an example while ignoring the bits about having a gentle and quiet spirit.

Sorry, Rachel, but mocking aprons and headcoverings should have no part of your year of living out "biblical" womanhood.

Year of Biblical Womanhood

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Egalitarian's Secret Societies

One of the things which has long puzzled me about our religious feminist friends is their penchant for secrets. They have secret email lists to protect the fragile and increasing levels of secrecy on their discussion boards. Like a game in which you have to earn a certain number of points to progress to the next level, some Egalitarian groups have varying levels of secrecy on their boards, and most of these levels are completely opaque to the innocent passer by. And yet none of the patriarchal blogs or discussion boards or websites on which I participate have any of this. Some of them require registration or ask their posters to identify themselves with their real names, but this seems to me to be the opposite of secrecy.

Perhaps this is simply self-selection on my part, but past experience on both sides of this divide inclines me to think that is not the case.

My experience and biblical wisdom also teach me that such secret gatherings are not good ideas. They often turn into dens of sniping gossip which resemble our therapeutic culture more than anything biblical. The so-called fragile are enabled and coddled -- and anything they advocate which does not cause immediate physical damage to another person is uplifted as their "god-given right". Hitting out from the shadows and slandering men (most often it is men) about whom they actually know very little, all manner of psychiatric illnesses and selfish desires are attributed to their opponents. The shadows in which these feminists dwell only serve to feed their delusions. And even on the rare occasion when they do manage to engage something these men have actually taught, the words are taken out of context and the worst possible construction presented as if it is the only reasonable interpretation.

All religious feminists are not so dark and secretive, but very few are as open and free as the patriarchalists I know. Consider the simple difference between a religious feminist professor who moderates all his blog posts, discarding or posting at will -- and that of a blog run by a patriarchalist in which comments are freely accepted (though some may occasionally be edited or deleted, this is never done without a clarifying comment by the blog owner). Of course, in each case it is their blog and these gentlemen are free to moderate or delete as they see fit. I'm not disputing that, I'm simply comparing the tenor of dialogue, the manner of moderation and how they differ in the two camps.

In the end, I can't help thinking of Paul on Mars Hill. Are we going to emulate him with a free and open exchange in the "marketplace of ideas"? Or are we going to hide in the shadows, protecting ourselves?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now, tell me again about how "safe" legal abortions are?

Two stories today put the lie to the claim that legal abortions are safe abortions:

A Louisiana abortion clinic has been shut down for failing to follow basic medical guidelines such as monitoring patients given anesthesia.

Following the botched abortion of a teenager, a Four-state abortion empire crumbles. The girl in question had to be flown to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for emergency surgery which included repairs to her lacerated lower bowel.

In particular, the Louisiana case is interesting as it results from a new law which put abortion clinics under the medical safety regulations as hospitals. Nearly forty years later and some states are just now getting around to applying basic medical and safety regulations to abortuaries.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Outmanoeuvred by Galatians 3:28?

This afternoon, I have been watching an email exchange. As part of that exchange I received the following. He is here answering a friend and I quote the relevant part only:

"I suspect that when you refer to feminism though you are including many evangelicals who are egalitarians but would not define themselves as feminists. Let's not debate labels . . ."

To which I responded:

As one of those included in this correspondence and as a former religious feminist, I beg your pardon for stepping in and correcting a misconception on your part.

You write, "I suspect that when you refer to feminism though you are including many evangelicals who are egalitarians but would not define themselves as feminists." When it comes to matters of doctrine and Christian orthodoxy, we don't get to define these things for ourselves. "Egalitarian" is merely a polite way of saying, "religious feminist". It is an anthropological error which rapidly progresses into theological error and rank heresy.

"Egalitarianism" is born in the soil of gnosticism and ecclesial deism and flowers into what Steve Hutchens, Senior Editor at Touchstone, has termed, "Anthropological Modalism" from which it cannot help but result in theological heresy. It borrows the tactics and aims of secular feminism with its taint of Marxism and historical revisionism. It aims for positions of power and authority, never those of humble service. It denigrates the home as the center and base of a woman's life and revels in its barrenness. It pays lip service to difference between the sexes, but cannot bring itself to delineate what those differences might be. Along with the secular feminists, it calls God "Mother" and has even coined the neologism (combining God and goddess), "godde". In short, it looks exactly like secular feminism with an icing of religious language.

So [name deleted] is quite correct to use the term.

******************************************************************

To which he responded in part:

"The statement "in Christ there is neither male nor female" does not come from gnosticism but from the New Testament."

No! Really? Well I'll be. I don't know what I'll be but one thing I won't be is stymied by this overused ploy. Designed as a thought-stopper, it gets thrown into the conversation whenever religious feminists don't know what else to say, but know they need "proof" from the Bible. Ever willing to turn the tables, those most likely to accuse their opponents of prooftexting prove to be the most facile of prooftexters themselves.

Though I declined further engagement, my response could have read:

Show me one person who says that verse isn't in the Bible. That's not the question, never has been. The question is and always has been the application. If Paul simply meant there were no differences, no proprieties to be observed in who teaches, who asks questions during service, he could have saved us all (just those of us in the last 40 years or so, mind you) a lot of grief by just leaving out I Timothy and a couple of other needless letters.

But those letters are there, in Holy Scripture, accepted by ALL the churches, all three branches of historic Christianity. So how are we to resolve this apparent conflict? Certainly not by bowing to this latter-day prooftexting ploy. We look at the context, we look to those who have gone before. We trust that the Holy Spirit has not been entirely derelict in His duty and only lately gotten around to mentioning the true application of that short little phrase in Paul's letter to the Galatians.

In short, we submit our wills and our modern sensibilities about fairness, reasonableness and something we call "equality" to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the entirety of the Holy Scriptures. And we don't claim a clarity of vision and understanding that has been utterly lacking in those generations who came before us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Holding up half the sky

Half the Sky was published last fall. Since it had gotten quite a bit of positive press and, being under the mistaken notion that Nicholas Kristof was one of the more reasonable and unbiased journalists, I bought it. This week, I finally sat down to read it. It's a good job there are screens on my windows or it might have gone flying out one. The biases of Kristof and his wife and co-author, Sheryl WuDunn, are remarkably and annoyingly obvious throughout the book. When Christians do something praiseworthy, he seems to believe it is in spite of their faith or that their faith provides no incentive to action. I have decided to pick out three areas that show this bias most clearly. But first, some general notes about the work.

The book's chief positive accomplishment is to help highlight the plight of women and girls around the world. There are good resources mention throughout and listed at the back of the book. It is a call to engage, to go and do. The book highlights problems such as slavery and shows how globalization, the collapse of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe and local corruption help fuel modern-day slave trafficking and forced labor (prostitution and other forms of coerced labor). Bride burning, acid attacks, honor killings and genital cutting are also covered. Rape as a weapon of war is dealt with frankly, if sometimes unnecessarily graphically. We are also reminded in the book of the forms of violence against women we often don't think of - isolation and neglect.


Most heartbreaking, in a way, is not violence it self but the devaluing of women which takes them as child brides and leaves them to give birth without assistance, often resulting in the death of the child because the mother's pelvis is too immature to allow unassisted birth. These pregnancies end not only in the death of the child but severe injury to the mother resulting in the formation of a fistula leaving them incontinent, with urine and feces trickling out of them. Because the odor is so terrible, the women are often isolated and suffer further from infection and wounds due to lack of proper hygiene. It was heartening to hear of the new efforts being made to help repair these (often quite young) women's bodies and their lives with the building of new fistula hospitals in Africa.


Oddly, on page 140, Kristof and WuDunn call for mandatory HIV testing - with an opt-out option rather than voluntary opt-in testing. This runs contrary to the way HIV/AIDS has been treated and is surprising to see, coming from journalists who have advocated sexual freedom throughout the book. It's not something that is likely to be embraced soon in this country and certainly not something I've read Kristof advocate here in the States. But, apparently, it's OK to advocate in the developing world with people of color.


Since the book purports to be about helping lift women out of abuse and poverty, the authors sound a strikingly discordant note when they call the hymen "pointless". While I would agree with them about the indignity of "virginity checks" in some cultures, it shows a callous disregard for women's differences to dismiss female anatomy in that fashion. I find myself wondering at this, as at many other points, whether the authors really understand and value women as women or whether women are simply valued as another cog in the economic machine. Their praise of Mao's communist revolution would seem to point to the latter:



Communism after the 1949 revolution was brutal in China, leading to tens of millions of deaths by famine or repression, but its single most positive legacy was the emancipation of women. After taking power, Mao brought women into the workforce and the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and he used his political capital to abolish child marriage, prostitution, and concubinage. It was Mao who proclaimed: "Women hold up half the sky."

By most estimates there are 100 million missing girls and women in the world. And yet the authors praise Mao's China and only once do they come close to criticizing the country's brutal one-child policy which turns women and their children into victims through forced abortions and sex-selective abortions -- the latter of which in a gross injustice, disproportionately victimize the littlest women.



The Problem of Abortion



"Unsafe abortions cause the deaths of seventy thousand women annually and cause serious injuries to another 5 million." (99)



There is no such thing as a "safe" abortion. It doesn't matter how sterile the conditions, how practiced the abortionist. The aim of every single abortion is the death of one of the two human beings subject to the procedure. Two human beings enter the procedure, only one of them comes out of it alive. It is no tragedy that seventy thousand women die as a result of abortion every year if it is not also a tragedy that at least one human being is killed in every abortion.

The authors also betray a healthy dose of anti-Bushism when they complain about his implementation of the Mexico City Policy's ban of the release of funds to international abortion providers like Marie Stopes. They write of Marie Stopes International as having "some links" to abortions and yet the organization's own website is headed by a banner which reads, "Family Planning, Safe Abortion, Sexual Health". No, it's not, "some links", it is one of their three primary activities internationally. The authors argue that more abortions happened because organizations like MSI didn't receive funds as a result of the Mexico City Policy and yet this isn't true. Organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International would be eligible for US funds even under the Mexico City Policy if they refrained from providing abortions. So it is not the Bush administration, Republicans or cultural conservatives that are "forcing" women to choose unsafe abortions, it is the organizations like MSI or IPPF which refuse to budge - they would rather be free to provide abortions than cease providing them for the sake of funds that would help women in other ways.

Here again, we find the authors praising communist China when they write about China's switch from a cheap and very uncomfortable steel-ring IUD (intrauterine device) to the more comfortable and effective copper-T type of IUD. They claim this switch "has prevented nearly 10 million abortions"! (133) Yet they fail to note that this number is utterly unknown because the IUD also causes early abortion via its secondary effect -- irritating the uterine lining and preventing implantation of the growing baby. Instead of feeling the abortion's vacuum, the tiny human being is simply flushed down the toilet.


"Whatever one thinks of abortion, it's tragic that up to 40% of all pregnancies globally are unplanned and unwanted - and that almost half of those result in induced abortion." Why? Why is it a tragedy? What is wrong with abortion that we must look at it this way? There is a bit of cognitive dissonance going on here. Something is wrong with the view that simultaneously argues for the good of "safe" abortion and yet says the incidence of abortion is tragic. If abortion is a tragedy, it is so whether or not it is performed "safely". The authors quote a social entrepreneur who stepped into the breach to raise funds when the media began to cover Bush's re-implementation of the Mexico City policy:



"Forty women every minute seek unsafe abortions - to me this is just a crime against humanity." (140)


Yes, it is. But not for the reasons she believes.




I'm ever so sorry I have to say this . . .



The authors, being remarkably eager to lay the blame at Christianity's door when a president like Bush prevents abortion funding, in a remarkably facile move, turn to an apologetic tone when they write a chapter on Islam. The subject of the Islamic faith and Islamic-dominated cultures can hardly be avoided when the book is about the treatment of women around the world. So why apologize?

In an obsequious display,Kristof and WuDunn praise Muhammad and the Koran for being more respectful of women than early Christian leaders like that love-to-hate-him, simply awful St. Paul. (Oh, right. And no Christian ever risked anything to save a Roman baby girl from death by exposure) While they do note the poor record of Muslim countries regarding abuse of women and honor killings, the tone continues to be apologetic throughout the chapter.


It is interesting then, when the authors note that Europe had an Industrial Revolution but neither Asia or the Middle East did. They write that openness to new ideas was one of the driving forces of that revolution and that " . . . one of the best gauges of that openness was how a country treated its women." (159) Of course, this couldn't possibly be due to anything remotely like Europe's Christian heritage as the Holy Roman Empire, could it?

Once again, we see the anti-Christian bias of Kristof and WuDunn. While apologizing for having to say something uncomplimentary about Islam, they studiously avoid the 300-pound gorilla in the room - the good Christianity has done for the world.



The Clapham Sect



William Wilberforce comes up three times in the book - in the Introduction, as the hero of a young social entrepreneur and again towards the end as a segue to highlighting Thomas Clarkson's role in the British abolition movement. The discussion of Clarkson's risky and clandestine efforts is brief, but quite good in most respects. It is evident, as the authors note, that the success of the British abolition movement was enormously aided by the British public's growing knowledge of the horrors of slaving -- and this was Thomas Clarkson's work.


But they also note that the abolitionists were dismissed as "idealistic moralizers" and the authors themselves denigrate them by writing that they were, "a few indignant Britons". Wilberforce is mentioned, Clarkson is highlighted although his status as an Anglican clergyman is not mentioned, but John Newton who was, in some ways their spiritual leader, is nowhere to be found. And in a remarkably studied manner, the authors utterly fail to mention the driving force behind Wilberforce, Clarkson and the bulk of their friends in the abolition movement -- namely, their Evangelical Christianity



What happens when you only hold up half the sky?



The anthropology driving the book might be described as a form of Economic Man. Women who are homemakers raising children are not, in the authors' view, productive members of society. Rather it would be better they deny their womanliness and limit their number of children to preserve their health so they can become economic contributors - working in a factory or sweatshop rather than making a home for their husband and children and caring for their elderly parents.


It was obvious that Kristof and WuDunn are passionate about helping women and have invested a great deal of blood, sweat and tears in their foundation and this book. But all their efforts will come to naught in the end because their diagnosis is off. As with so many secular efforts, even ones which are not openly hostile to Christianity as this one is, the cure won't work in the long run because they are treating the symptoms and not the root cause, In short, they fail to be truly radical.


While taking all this care to come to know and understand the problems women face around the world --their vision for their immediate culture is utterly and completely darkened. Almost every single effort highlighted and praised in this book focuses on women to the exclusion of their husbands, fathers and sons. In fact, women who defy their husbands and fathers are praised frequently throughout this book. What the authors are missing while praising the defiant young woman in Lahore is the jails and prisons not far form their New York City home which are filled with fatherless young men.


Our war on poverty in this country, supposed to help women and families has succeeded in nothing so much as feminizing poverty and filling our jails with the sons of female-headed households. In fact, the single most consistent predictor of whether a young man will succeed in attaining adulthood as a man or end up as a frustrated and violent adolescent for the rest of his life (in other words, be convicted of a violent crime and end up in prison) is whether or not his father was present in the home when he was growing up.


Educating women is a good thing. Repairing obstetric fistulas is a marvelous work of mercy. Rescuing a young woman from a brothel and teaching her beadwork so she can sell her wares in the market and support herself and her younger siblings is praiseworthy. And yet, if we do these things and ignore the men, we are breeding disaster. Success in the long run requires both men and women to be valued for their differences as well as their shared dignity and value, and lifted up.


The authors' biases, sadly, taint the work to the extent that I cannot really recommend it as anything other than a source of information about various groups working with women -- and even that I do reluctantly considering the number of groups listed at the back of the book who are abortion providers or advocates. Kristof and WuDunn harbor a malignant hostility to Christianity which deeply mars their work. While they put great effort into helping women around the world, they are doing so while impaired by this hostility. When they haven't been overtly hostile, they have ignored the Evangelical Christianity which is the driving force behind Wilberforce, Clarkson and countless other caring people around the world. They aren't consistently overt in this, for that would certainly offend. Rather, they often do this by studied neglect -- they refuse to mention it as the driving force behind some of the Christians they praise while never missing an opportunity to criticize Bush and any other religious conservative with which they disagree while never failing to mention these people are Christians.



If you only hold up half the sky, eventually it will all collapse.

Living within the Truth

Some time ago, I saw an interview with the actress Ashley Judd in which she gave the following definition of the craft of acting:



Living truthfully in imaginary circumstances



It struck me as a very good definition. Christians know that, while our present circumstances are not imaginary, neither are they eternal. Nevertheless, we are called to live within this world that, while not imaginary, is also only a dim and bent shadow of eternity. In his recent address to a symposium on canon law in Slovakia, Archbishop Charles Chaput recalled former Czech leader, Vaclav Havel's idea of "living within the truth".


The bigotry of the post-Christian leadership class, while not overtly oppressive as was the system of persecution under which Eastern Europeans lived for half a century, is enabled by the historical ignorance and (frankly) ennui of so many Christians within the States. They seem to neither be aware of Europe's past or care that the first distant rumblings of that manner of persecution are happening here in these United States. Time will tell whether recent political and patriotic rallies are a harbinger of a serious change in that mood or simply a blip on the radar of history. What is certain is that the blood of the martyrs has proven, once again, to be the seed of the church now that the snows of Communist oppression covering much of Europe have melted.

We do well to heed the Archbishop's reminder that "freedom of worship" is a much smaller sphere than "freedom of religion":

Religious freedom includes the right to preach, teach, assemble, organize, and to engage society and its issues publicly, both as individuals and joined together as communities of faith.

In short, freedom of religion means what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says it means - free exercise. On the other hand, "freedom of worship" encourages recollection of the ominous forecast of C. S. Lewis when he warned that we will be allowed to have our religion in private, and then they will make sure we are never alone.

Instead of being satisfied with the sort of public ceremonial deism that is our wont, Christians must learn the discipline of "living within the truth":

Living within the truth means living according to Jesus Christ and God's Word in Sacred Scripture. It means proclaiming the truth of the Christian Gospel, not only by our words but by our example. It means living every day and every moment from the unshakeable conviction that God lives, and that his love is the motive force of human history and the engine of every authentic human life. It means believing that the truths of the Creed are worth suffering and dying for.

Living with the truth also means telling the truth and calling things by their right names. And that means exposing the lies by which some men try to force others to live.

Standing alongside those things is the recollection, the re-learning of history. For, if we don't know our history, we don't know who we are and we have no context for moving forward. We will be lost on the "progressive" sea -- either being pulled along by the tide of the progressive voices that out-shout us or we will be left attempting to row across that tide. Even if we succeed in escaping it, we will surely be caught in it again because, without history, we have no anchor.

"Cardinal Henri de Lubac once wrote that, "It is not true . . . that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true, is that without God, [man] can ultimately only organize it against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism."

See the entire speech here

This is what marriage looks like

Danny & Annie

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Feminist?

Women will sometimes protest that they are not feminists, even though they hold the same views, use the same rhetoric and promote the same agenda as feminists. I don't think much of the criticism, especially when it comes from religious feminists, because I think the case is a pretty open and shut one.

And then, while cleaning out my study and getting things organize, I ran across a cache of old issues of Priscilla Papers, the journal of "Christians" for Biblical Equality. And it happened to include the issue in which my article was published. For the first time, I noticed that they had actually changed my subtitle. It formerly read, "An Evangelical Egalitarian appraisal". In the published version, it read, "A Feminist Appraisal of John Stuart Mill's Last Work". Then I went and did a quick check of how often the phrase is used. Just checking CBE's bookstore page and searching for "feminist", I quickly found a number of uses of the term. Additionally, back in 1997 frequent CBE author and speaker, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen published the article, "Servanthood or Soft Patriarchy: A Christian Feminist looks at the Promise Keepers Movement" (published in a sociological journal).

I hadn't actually noticed it, but religious feminists have been embracing the term, "feminist" for well over a decade.

Why can't we just admit who we are? I am a partriarchalist - happily, gladly and redeemedly so. Why is it so hard for religious feminists to admit that is what they are?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Art of Manliness





I discovered this website today, courtesy of a friend. It's full of humor, self-deprecation, instruction in lost arts and has just the right amount of prodding in the mix.

I also like the name. I've long had a sense of unease about "femininity" as a concept. Even after long discussions with girlfriends, it still rings of twinsets and pearls or gingham dresses with lace collars. I've always preferred womanliness. It seems to me to have a deeper, richer, warmer and even stronger sense to it. So here's to womanliness in response to manliness!

25 Things (Or Singleness has some compensations)

Today I got tagged in one of those Facebook notes. The challenge was to list 25 things other people might not know about you. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've had some unusual fun in my life and met some remarkable people. Sometimes it gets intimidating when I see the names of others included in some of the emails I get. It's fun to recall some of the events and people, others are not so fun. A few have caused me great shame and tears of repentance.

Some of the items listed are deliberately cryptic, some are fun and some have genuine meaning. But I'd trade all of it for the sake of a husband who holds me until I stop crying and a child who calls me mommy. On the other hand, you know, us Maiden Aunties need to have a stock of stories to tell.

Without further ado, here is my list:

1. I was once kissed on the cheek by Vincent Prince (he bought me lunch as well!)

2. I've been subpoenaed to testify in court twice - but neither was legally delivered so I got out of it.

3. I was once accustomed to entering prisons cells - one guard in front of me and one behind. And none of the men ever gave me any grief, because I always had a needle in my hand.

4. I love wearing skirts

5. I love being a girl (I stole this one, Barbara, is that ok?)

6. I used to hate wearing skirts and wore almost nothing but jeans.

7. When I was a 19 year old college student, I used to arrange conference calls for the KC branch of the Federal Reserve Board.

8. I've published an academic paper, which I now utterly repudiate.

9. I once got stood up for lunch because the Prime Minister called a meeting at 10 Downing Street. Well, I didn't really get stood up. We were supposed to have lunch on Monday, but he bought me Sunday dinner instead.

10. If I was indepently wealthy, I would have four homes - Denver area, the North Shore, London and Holy Island (Lindisfarne).

11. I once took a swim in Lake Superior (and yes, it's THAT north shore I'm talking about)

12. I got strep throat in Moose Jaw.

13. I've seen an altar cloth that Catherine of Aragon did the needlework for and the tomb of Catherine Parr (Henry' VII's first and last wives), which are in the same little English village.


14. I make the best braised red cabbage in the world, not to mention baklava, beef stroganoff and venison burgundy.

15. Of the bookcases in my study: one was made by my father as a young man, one was made by my brother when he was in college, one was made by me when I was in college and one was retrieved from a dumpster, and only one was store-bought.

16. I was once on Abp Chapuit's list of prayer intentions.

17. I was doing serial crossmatches on a surgery patient when Secret Service came through the lab.

18. When I am on vacation in a big city, other tourists frequently stop me to ask for directions.

19. My childhood home has been moved and a WalMart now stands where it used to.

20. I was named after my great, great aunt and the name originates in mythology. The original Camilla was an Amazon warrior queen who was said to be so fleet of foot she could run across the ocean without getting her feet wet. In this respect, as in most things, I DO NOT take after her.

21. I love baking my own bread and wouldn't dream of allowing a bread machine in my kitchen.

22. Almost no one believes I am as old as I really am. And I don't dye my hair.

23. I have never married but still have hope.

24. I have a love-hate relationship with writing.

25. Through the prayers of two faithful shepherds, Jesus Christ redeemed my rebellion and has blessed me beyond measure with friends I don't deserve (I saved the best for last!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't set foot on the plank

If I am made to walk the plank by a pirate, it is vain for me to offer, as a common-sense compromise, to walk along the plank for a reasonable distance. It is exactly about the reasonable distance that the pirate and I differ. There is an exquisite mathematical split second at which the plank tips up. My common-sense ends just before that instant; the pirate's common-sense begins just beyond it. But the point itself is as hard as any geometrical diagram; as abstract as any theological dogma.


- What's Wrong With the World, G.K. Chesterton

If the pirate is of a liberal/progressive type, such as the religious feminists, they key thing is to never set foot on the plank.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Resentment Gambit

Religious feminists will sometimes squawk in protest that, "I am NOT a Feminist, humph. I am an EGALITARIAN!" which seems rather ironic given that at least one well-known Egalitarian Internet gathering spot has seven levels of hierarchy. Nevertheless, feminist is what they are. One particular nail in that definitional coffin is what I will call, "the resentment gambit".

This resentment was given birth by the feminist movement starting in the late 60's and early 70's with the formation of "consciousness raising"(CR) groups. The stated aim of these groups was a better understanding of women's "oppression". Often the women attending these groups had no idea they had been so sorely oppressed until the CR opened their eyes. With the CR groups, feelings mattered more than facts and results mattered more than anything and the result they wanted was anger and resentment against the patriarchy.

CR groups also proved to be feminism's most useful organizing tool. It's easy to see why that might be - all those shared experiences, the oppression, the sisterhood, the relentless solicitation of emotion creates a bond which is sometimes harder to break than blood. The current incarnation of CR is seen in the chattering of blogs and discussion boards where the religious feminists gather. It is a veritable industry and its product is the creation of a shared narrative of past abuse and repression. The least imagined slight becomes inflated into just cause for rejecting what the Church has always taught, following the Apostle's example and the guiding of the Holy Spirit for the last two millennia, regarding the relationship of men and women in marriage and the Church. That is rejected in place of something they call "equality".

There is one prime directive here. You must never, ever indicate the least hesitation, the least question about the veracity of any claim of abuse or any manner or place in which that tale of abuse is retold. To question such claims is to blame the victim and to re-victimize them again. Never mind the countless men victimized by false accusations, the men who will never get their lives back. The abuse of men via false claims is not acknowledged to exist. And they certainly won't acknowledge that the Scriptural punishment for the person who makes a false claim is the very punishment the guilty perpetrator would have received.

I re-learned this prime directive last year when a dear brother in Christ published a piece I had written on his blog. Never mind that the woman in question had told her story publicly in several places (I ceased counting at four). Never mind that she had made it her calling card, I was not allowed to discuss it or question her story in any manner. It didn't matter that I happened to believe her story. It didn't matter that I wasn't actually question her truthfulness. and it truly didn't matter that my purpose in the post was to explore this phenomenon of a shared narrative of abuse among religious feminists.

This resentment gambit is a cancer, a plague on our churches, seminaries and parachurch organizations. Without it, religious feminism would never have gained its stranglehold on so many supposedly Evangelical organizations. The cancer starts with a small tumor. It might be a husband not listening to his wife when she's had a trying day. It might be a father not shepherding his daughter's heart. It might be a pastor telling a stupid wife joke. It starts there. Then, in the soil of religious feminism, it grows. Is is nurtured and clung to until the resentment matures into rejection of any male who challenges in the least way, female, ahem, equality.

The cancer affects the hearing as well as the heart. I saw so clearly in the responses to my post that so many of the feminists had been utterly unable to comprehend what I had actually written. They read everything through the lens of their resentment. The vehement reaction did nothing so well as show that my speculation had hit the mark. It forced me to recall an article I had read some years ago, by Dale O'Leary.

Before a feminist can hear anything, she has to come from a foundation of repentance and forgiveness. From the failure to adequately answer a question to unspeakable abuse - every sin must be forgiven. No exceptions. Women have been abused, no question. But women are also called to forgive that abuse. One thing standing in the way of that forgiveness is a misunderstanding about what forgiveness is. It does not mean the abuse didn't happen. It does not mean you restore the relationship. True forgiveness can only occur when a woman has experienced a genuine injury, a real hurt.

The resentment gambit will lead to a heart shriveled up like a ten year old walnut. It hurts, it makes a woman blind to the living color around her and gives her a greyish landscape of "me and my sisters against the world". It's mean, unattractive, unpleasant to be around unless you're one of the initiates and it's just plain ugly. However, when we cease to cherish our hurts, real or imagined, and learn to forgive as Christ requires, only then can we begin the journey to wholeness and holiness.

Dale O'Leary on Feminism and Forgiveness

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's adventure in dressing

Multi-Ethnic Salad Dressing

(didn't know what else to call it, it's a part Greek, part polyglot Middle Eastern sort of thing)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water

(wait, it's gets more interesting now)

1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp sumac
2 T pomegranate molasses
a bunch of fresh basil, finely shredded
2 T sugar

Suman and pomegranate molasses are available at a Greek or Middle Eastern grocery store. Make sure the pomegranate molasses is syrupy and not completely congealed (I am told this means it's been sitting around for a while).

The olive oil should be only the best - I prefer one with the "MedMark" seal. Mine is Greek, and I recommend experimenting with different varietals/regions/countries. You can double the lemon juice and leave out the vinegar -- I just had crappy lemons with not much juice today.

Shake well, check seasoning and adjust to taste. The flavors will blend upon standing, I leave mine standing out on the counter for 2-3 hours at room temperature.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The problem with feminism and someone to celebrate instead

Today is "Women's Equality Day" -- it also happens to be the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the franchise (the right to vote).

I'm not so sure it is a day to celebrate. I don't suppose most of us want to give back the right to vote, even when we are presented with the choice between dumb and dumber. Nor do I suppose that most of us who necessarily earn a paycheck for working outside of the home are disappointed that we make the same as our male colleagues for the same work and the same experience. Although I do have to make a point here of saying the "wage gap" between men and women which we *still* hear about is largely a feminist accounting trick which disappears when you consider the time spent on the job on an ongoing basis (men tend to work more overtime than women) and the overall years spent on the job (women take time off to bear and raise their children - a very good thing!).

Aside from a few legal victories, I have to wholeheartedly agree with Dorothy L Sayers when she said, approximately fifteen years after we got the right to vote over on this side of the pond, that feminism had largely outlived its usefulness and that, if it went ahead, it would do more harm than good. And she was right. The problem with feminism, as with all "progressive" movements, is that they seldom know that to which they are progressing. In consequence of this, they don't know when to stop.

I had a short FB conversation (on a friend's FB page) with someone I don't know. Here is her response to my caution about celebration the day:

As one who proudly lived through and reveled in the feminist movement, I find it difficult to understand the vehement opposition on the part of younger women.

I didn't mean to pick a fight so I called a halt to it after a few rounds. But really -- reveled? proudly lived through? Are we walking about the lies of Betty Friedan? The shared narrative created by Consciousness Raising groups? So, I responded in part:

Perhaps it is because the few children that feminist had have found that husbands make better fathers than Uncle Sam, contraceptives are a bad bargain, practices like co-ed dorm bathrooms and bedrooms and the co-ed military leave women physically vulnerable to men who are stronger, even when they are drunk.

And it's true. Even if some of the legal victories are worth celebrating, the social consequences are not. Since Betty Friedan created her "problem with no name" poverty has become feminized, consisting largely of female-headed families with no father in sight. The sexual promiscuity enabled by widely available birth control has led to newer and more terrible and more frequently occurring sexually transmitted infections. The list goes on. On the FB page, I also responded with a short reply about how OCP affects a woman's judgments on the intangibles and that she takes more sexual risks, choosing men as partners she wouldn't normal choose and then closed by saying I would rather be rescued by a 6'2" 190-pound male firefighter who passed the tests under the old standards than the 5'7" 130-pound woman who passed under the new standards which have been lowered as a result of, ahem, equal rights.

That's the problem with progressive movements. They never stop with what they initially fight for. If I saw a 6'2" 190-pound female firefighter with broad shoulders coming to my rescue, I wouldn't worry so much. But not enough women were passing under the old physical standards so they had to be lowered. The same has occurred in policing and the military. Equality is never really about equality, it's about bringing men down where women cannot (and, honestly, should not) compete. Her response to my final word, after the usual blather about respecting my opinion, was this:

What troubles me is educated women casting judgment on other women, whether it has to do with their choice and/or number of sexual partners or casting doubt on a woman's ability to do a job she has trained to do. No one travels through this life unscathed by a bad choice or difficult decision. We should be applauding others rather than casting doubt on motives or ability.

Now, first of all, I did not judge any woman or her sexual choices, whether number or quality. I simply outlined one of the consequences of OCP -- something that is well documented in the literature. This points up one of the problems of feminism/progressivism/liberalism. Consequences translates to makiing an improper judgment. Though I know the concept is terribly over-used, the truth of the matter is that ideas *do* have consequences. However, progressives demand not only equality, they also demand a pre-determined outcome as a result of their ideas. Life just doesn't work that way when you have the wrong anthropology, the wrong philosophy and most especially, the wrong theology.

Instead of revelling in rebellion, why not celebrate someone who gave her life to the ones no one else cared about. A diminutive woman who had the courage to stand up to Bill Clinton and tell him the truth. A woman who gave her life to mother the motherless, even though she bore no children of her own. A woman who persevered through many a long dark night and smelly, germ-laden, hot and humid day.

Instead, I plan to Celebrate Mother Teresa's 100th Birthday

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I am no man. You look upon a woman!

I took one of those silly Facebook quizzes again tonight. This one, "Which race of Middle Earth are you?" No surprise I came out "Race of Men - Rohirrim".

Which means that, once again, I am Ewoyn.

And watch it, mister. I do actually know how to use that bow and arrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Links forged of spider's silk and hardened steel

There was a bit of a flurry this week in the blogosphere when several bloggers broke open the news that Jim Wallis, de facto leader of the "Evangelical Left", had been taking money from George Soros. You know him, he's the guy who has given, through various organizations, tens of millions to the radical left organizations like "MoveOn.org". But poor Wallis sputtered and protested a bit too much - parsing his defence in a way that would make President Clinton proud (no, the elected President Clinton, not the unelected coPresident Clinton). Until the documents started disappearing, the evidence was there in black and white pixels for all to see. If you want to follow the rabbit trails, start here or here .


Now the reason I am spilling any electronic ink on Wallis and Soros is because it was a light bulb moment for me this week when I started reading about that. I started thinking about the web of links surrounding "Christians" for Biblical Equality, which tries to present itself as not just "Christian" but in the mainstream of Evangelical Christianity. The funny thing about the links is that they appear very flimsy, a bit like spider's silk. But they are spun around and around and around and pretty soon, it begins to look a bit stronger. Then, when you consider how many little links there are and how CBE used to try to hide those links (they stopped selling books by Jann Aldridge Clanton after a public fuss was made by this blogger and others about her hymns to "Our Great Creatress" and her own links to "HerChurch" in San Francisco), they don't appear concerned about them any longer.


Sojourners is an important link regarding CBE because Mimi Haddad (president of CBE) is also a featured blogger on Sojourner's "God's Politics" blog. So it begins with a link to the religious left which is linked to further leftist and openly pro-abortion funding. But that isn't CBE's only link to pro-abortion views. They still sell the books of Mrs. Stanley Gundry who, if you ask her point-blank, will deny she supports abortion rights, but her writings here and here show that to be a semantic ploy.


Abortion, being the natural consequence of the feminist agenda, it is not surprising to find links to other aspects of that agenda, including the leveling of sexual difference that occurs when we attempt to normalize the abnormal and support same sex "marriage". Feminism isn't only about sexuality and denying our differences as humans. The divine target of the agenda is God Himself. And here we find CBE's profile of one of their bloggers and Mutuality authors whose website is linked in her profile. Here we have the denial that children are a blessing, at least not a blessing she wants bestowed on her, she has much more important work to do than raising children. No, as with so many in religious feminism, her books are her children. But then, what else can you expect from those who worship a hermaphroditic gawdy?


So it begins to look like a well-spun web, doesn't it? Whether the religious feminists are akin to Lenin's useful idiots or whether they are knowledgeable tools - the agenda of the forces behind religious feminism is clear for those willing to look.


I agree with the headline on Marvin Olasky's article linked above - let's admit who we are.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Your not so humble correspondent sings her own praises . . .

You all know by now that I have strong opinions. You may not be easily convinced though, when I tell you I am usually willing to be proven wrong. Today, however, my aim is to show my single gentlemen readers what they are missing in a wife by not pursuing moi (she blushes coily).

It's still hot today, but the kitchen was reasonably cool and the nights are cooling and this always triggers a nesting reaction in me. I've never really had spring fever, except around the time of my birthday, I usually do go out in search of some new makeup. However, I have always, as long as I can remember, gotten horrible fall fever. The moment you can feel that tinge in the air, I start craving days cool enough to wear a sweater and I start paging through my cook books. I begin to bake bread again (something which summer heat usually deters) and experimenting with soups and stews. I start nesting in a bad way. But the achy-est part is not having someone who appreciates my culinary endeavours.

Today I again experimented with my favorite cookbook, The Flavor Bible and came up with three gems:

Shrimp poached in a sauce of butter/olive oil, orange juice, fresh Thyme and Capers

Flageolet Beans with Thyme, Garlic, lemon juice and olive oil

Greek Yogurt sauce with sauteed red peppers

Later on, I think I may have to bake a loaf of bread and there is some fresh fennel and spinach which both require something like steaming or sauteing - haven't decided yet. I might even throw caution to the wind and put them together in something magical.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SCORE!!!

You know that point in a major spring cleaning/room overhaul project where you've become convinced you've thrown the one thing away that you now know you absolutely can't live without? And it gnaws at you and gnaws until, three days later, after you're tired of trying to forget it, you tear through all the boxes and nooks and crannies until . . .

You find it after all?

Just did it. Found all three of the books I couldn't figure out what I'd done with. And the bonus is that the storage closet in my study is now reorgnized (for the third time in as many weeks) and now I can set about culling and filing in an organized manner all the financial papers, articles and journals that I want to keep -- and boxes of books I can't bear to part with but have no shelf space for will line the floor.

Now, it's off to the shower and then to girls' night out at the Ice Cream "parlour"!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where are the men?

After watching yet another one of "those" discussions on another blog and judging from my experience and observations, I've come to some rather grand conclusions:

First, the vast majority of men worth marrying manage to get themselves successfully married early in life and stay that way. Of the remaining men, 99% aren't worth more than five minutes of your time. Trust me. He's either a "bad boy" looking for the proverbial "love of a good woman" to turn him around or he's a whiner fussing about the lack of "good Christian women" (trust me, in this case, the demographics don't lie, he does - there are far more women than men looking for a spouse) or he's licking a near fatal wound that, had it been treated early, would have healed well. If he's divorced and his spouse is still living, give him a pass. Trust me. If he also has children, give him a pass and a very wide berth. Trust me, really.

Now this leaves us with about 2 in 1000 of the general adult male population. You may, by a great deal of guiding by God and wise married friends, find the one of those two that is worth marrying and, indeed, wants to marry.

The other one? He may prove to be a great friend who will buy you champagne on your birthday, but he's never going to be interested in anything involving rings and vows and lifetime commitments. He's a born bachelor.


Addendum: I have thoroughly enjoyed the series of posts from Doug Wilson of which this is a stellar example. It's a simple, yet vital distinction. If more men learned this . . .

Where are the Children?

According to some religious feminists, their "children" are the books they are writing. The late John Paul II famously uttered the condemnation, "a culture of death". And that is exactly what we have with the religious feminists. They trumpet on their blogs their decision to surgically render themselves barren because they are concerned that the hormones they have been consuming to make themselves medically barren may fail and, horror or horrors, they might become pregnant! Then, of course, they have the option of abortion, tearing their little one limb from limb and removing him from the place of safety by the piece, counting to make sure all of him is truly dead and gone from her body. But abortion is messy and bloody and ever so gauche because it indicates a failure of the myth that sex, that gift of the Author of life by which we most closely mirror Him as Creator, can safely be made sterile.

So, though I doubt the late pontiff had the sort of religious feminists published by CBE and CT on his radar, he certainly had the culture pegged.

It all points to the perennial problem of religious feminists. This is the fear of lesser authorities, God's shepherds, overseers, His vice regents, as it were. They hate submission to anyone but the self - witness their posts about "my truth" and their postmodern hermeneutics. But they also fear the submission of those who place themselves under authority, willingly and with humility. The men who are faithful shepherds may be hated, but the women who humbly submit are despised.

Their "children" are books and blogs which, rather than growing into the faith, into maturity steadily lead where their ideas lead - to darkness, death and increasingly self-delusional heresies. It is a culture of death more powerful than any of them are willing to admit or, likely, able to recognize.

The culture of death is a culture with no authority but the self. The culture of life acknowledges the authority which stands outside the self, the One who gives life and commands submission to His will, His words, and His vice regents.


Romans 1:20-25, NAS
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what was made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and of four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their heart to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Clever Logo (I never would have guessed its hidden meaning)

I can't wait to buy the book

Why Ministers Must be Men by Douglas Wilson. Today's snippet from Blog and Mablog:

"While falling, a number of people have the temporary sensation of absolute freedom, and they seek to use that freedom in the creation and pursuit of various sexualities. And that is why we are now dealing [with] metrosexuals, sodomites, catamites, lesbians, virtual perverts, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals -- not to mention the ecclesiastical variants, the lesbyterians. Sometime in the next ten years, look for more interesting variations to push to the front of the line, all demanding societal respectability -- pederasty and bestiality included. Because all this is a function of sexual postmodernism, we should simply call all of it pomosexuality. You cannot believe that ultimate reality is ultimately malleable, and yet not believe the world we live in is equally malleable" (Why Ministers Must Be Men, p. 48).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who are you calling sexist?

I'll admit it, I have very little patience for women in politics -- especially the sort of woman who wants to have her cake and eat it too in the sexist name-calling game. First, we weren't supposed to vote for Ken Buck because he made a crack about not wearing high heels. Then we are supposed to vote for Jane Norton because she's a conservative? Because she's pro-life? No, because she's a woman.

That's a bit like the sexist pot calling the reverse sexist kettle black, isn't it?

So, it is with a little bit of snickering that I heard the news tonight that, despite all the support she got from the Susan B. Anthony list and the heavy-handed use of Buck's crack about high heels, Jane Norton lost to Ken Buck in the Colorado Republican Senate primary.

feh.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Beauty of Obedience

To take liberty with a Chestertonism - the paradox of the Christian life is that is it bigger on the inside than the outside.

In The Power of Obedience, my friend Anthony Esolen shows us how and why.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's pronounced "heresy"

Doing a last update on the cloud of gnats calling themselves the, "Freedom for Christian Women Coalition" I ran across an explanation for something I had been wondering about but hadn't yet looked up. One of the supporters of this demand for an apology is also a listed blogger for CBE's blog but also for their newsletter. She uses the neologism, "godde" and this is her explanation:



Why godde and not God? godde is combination of God and goddess to show that the Divine transcends gender: godde is neither male nor female and both male and female since godde created both men and women in the image of godde. I believe that godde is Mother as well as Father. Instead of using the standard Lord that’s used to translate Yahweh in the Hebrew Scriptures, I use Sophia-Yahweh or Sophia. I will lean more towards feminine references to godde on my blog as masculine references are just about all you hear in church and society to refer to godde. I use exclusively feminine pronouns for godde for this reason as well. You’ll be seeing Sophia and Mother a lot on this blog, and I hope it doesn’t offend you. I hope it will help you to see godde in new ways and start to walk on new paths with this godde who cries out like a woman in labor to bring forth her people and nurses them at her own breast (Deut. 32:18, Psalm 22:10; 131:2; Isaiah 42:14; 49:15; 66:13).


I was recently queried on whether or not I was being too strong and perhaps I should consider calling them merely, "unfaithful". Well, that is certainly one word for it. However, calling what we have here in this example merely "unfaithful" is a bit like saying Judas was simply misguided about where to go for some extra pocket money. Here, in a CBE-published author, we have the open syncretism of paganism and Christianity. We have the hermaphroditic gawdy-godde. And when our authoress writes, "I will lean more towards feminine references to Godde on my blog as masculine references are just about all you hear in church and society to refer to Godde." you'll forgive me if all I can hear is an echo of a seminary professor, a vocal defender of religious feminism who, when questioned about why he taught "Egalitarianism" in all his classes responded, "Because you get the other side in every other class."

Offended? That's one way to put it.

nb: Once again, I have removed capitalization of the false deity the quoted author serves.

For those of you unable to obtain gravitas the organic way


Yes, it's a Dr. Boli day!





Friday, August 6, 2010

Just DON'T do it

Don't be stupid. Don't be a slow learner. Don't think you're cured. Don't ask 972 friends the same question, hoping to get a different answer. Don't think you can win fighting on the enemy's turf. Don't think it's your business to save the useful idiots. Don't think you can reason with those whose minds are darkened. Don't hang on to dead friendships (such folk were never your friends to start with). Don't forget that ideas have consequences. Don't discount the wisdom of age or the vision of youth.

Do listen to the wisdom of your friends, family and those in authority over you. Deliberately and joyfully place yourself under the authority of the wise and discerning souls who God places in your path. Be a parent as well. When you hear the same thing from unrelated sources, give it serious consideration. Think twice. No, think three times before discounting such advice. Listen to your gut. And your heart. And your head. And especially the Spirit that dwells within you. When someone tells you something that stops you in your tracks and makes you pause in thought - listen carefully.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Simcha Fisher almost got me kicked out of the library . . .

That tingling means it's working!

Don't forget to watch the linked video.

I'm rotflshipmp (not really, that last part doesn't happen any more since the surgery!)

I'm confused

Well, quite frequently about many things, if I am going to be honest. But today, I am confused by the religious feminists who prefer to call themselves, "Egalitarians" or "Evangelical Egalitarians"

It's bad enough that folks got their knickers all twisty over Ken Buck's (Senate candidate, Colorado Republican primary) crack about not wearing high heels. Honestly, if you can't take the rough and tumble and an occasional "sexist" comment, why are you in the race at all? Apparently, it's only bad if men are sexist. If women are sexist and want to specifically elect women, then that's just peachy keen-o. The religious feminists are just fine with that. Personally, I thought Buck's comment funny and his point a valid one.

Exhibit A. Margery Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony fund is charged with getting conservative women elected to office. She has sent out a letter in support of Jane Norton, Ken Buck's opponent in the Colorado Republican Senate primary. Notice that it's all about electing women. Not electing conservatives or pro-life candidates, but specifically women who fit those two categories. That's ok, that's Margery's job.

But why is a religious feminist concerned about specifically electing women when they profess to be all about gifts and talents and elevating people based on those qualities and not based on whether they wear high heels or not?

And why is it ok to be sexist when supporting women and not ok for men to make sexist comments when opposing women?

And they say they're not the sexist ones? Nah, I'm not confused at all. It's just a case of flummery!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chivalry at work . . .

It's been rather nice to sit back and not feel I have to defend myself. On another blog, something I wrote has been indirectly questioned and denied. I was going to respond quickly and pointedly but decided to sit back in my chair and watch for a day or two.

It's nice to see gentlemen leaping into the breach and correcting the impression left by the questions this respondent had asked.

That's one of the nicest things about patriarchy. Even though I'm not married, it's nice to be able to sit back and watch men do the heavy rhetorical lifting. Rather nice not to feel as if I have to defend myself against every question, criticism or slight. I once knew a religious feminist who declared she would never, ever let anything like that go unanswered.

I used to think that as well. But now I don't have to.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How low can CT sink . . .

God as Divine Drama Queen

Jason Bourne, she ain't

OK, let's clear the air, get it out of the way and then forget it was ever mentioned. Right?

Angelina Jolie isn't worth her Salt.

There. It's done and we don't need to mention it again.

I had to get out of the house this afternoon and, picking from the movies available at the newest theater in the area (which I hadn't been to as yet), I chose the 2:10 showing of SALT. As I suspected, it was a female version of the Jason Bourne movies.

SPOILER ALERT!

The premise doesn't exactly hold together here. Does anyone still believe there are late Soviet-era sleeper agents just waiting for the right moment to start WWIII so Russia can rise from the ashes and dominate the world?

For the other major complaint about the movie: Salt takes as many or more physical risks as Bourne but gets injured less seriously and recovers more quickly. Although the way she controls the police car during the chase/escape is quite clever. I never saw THAT bit coming. But, puhleeeeze, do we have to have the obligatory ladies' room scene where the dispenser is kicked from the wall and the contents thereof used in a, ahem, nontraditional manner (as in a wound dressing)? I could do without that scene.

It sounds awful, but I didn't come away thinking I'd wasted $8 even though I wasn't really surprised at any point by the plot turns. I'd guessed the denouement about 1/4 of the way in and even though my iced tea had taken its inevitable effect, I sat until the closing credits began, just to make sure I was right about it all.

Salt succeeds in a nice little bit of misdirection which is revealed at the last moment, just when you might begin to wonder if you were wrong all along. The ending sets things up for a sequel which might actually be better than this first movie, given the premise of this one.

Of course, try as the world does -- even Hollywood has to recognize that women are different. It was all for love of a good man after all.

In which some take themselves too seriously . . .

At the end of last year, Lars Walker wrote a post at MereComments about The Post-Ironic Age, in which he observed:

"The Post-Ironic Age” describes our times to a nicety, it seems to me. We've reached a point where statements are made by public officials and institutions which, only a couple decades ago, would have gotten the speaker laughed off the stage. But today such pronouncements are unremarkable.

and,

I think we live in the first age in history in which such nonsense is possible on a worldwide scale. There have always been totalitarian societies where the subject of the emperor's clothing deficit has been dangerous to bring up, but only today is such delusion acceptable everywhere. And not merely among the “ignorant masses,” but most especially and vociferously among the intellectuals.


Unfortunately, this means such statements as, "The System worked.", uttered by our Secretary of Homeland Security after an alleged terrorist on the no-fly list purchsed a one-way ticket for cash and boarded a plane for Detroit where he tried to light himself up on landing -- such statements are taken seriously.


Conversely, intended ironies, satires and sarcasm are also taken seriously. Take, for instance, responses #16 and #17 in this post at FirstThings, intended as a send-up of Anne Rice's rejection of the Catholic Church, "I Refuse to be Anti-Undead"

addendum: In answer to David Goldman: I hope not, but for now I am content to sit at the feet of a master and learn.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wombs: Fruitful and Barren

The call of the water is the stuff of legend and romance. From Jimmy Buffet to the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner to the book of Job, it haunts our poetry, our myths and our imaginations. When we stand at the place where the waters meet the dry land, our gaze is ever out to sea, never back at the land until we reluctantly turn away to our beds, our homes, our families, our lives. It has been compared so often to a womb, it is not surprising to find this line in a recent CT editorial:

"But worse is this: A sea hemorrhaging black oil now suffocates life instead of nurturing it."

Yes, wombs should nurture life. Never suffocate it. The gulf oil spill is indeed a tragedy. And because it affects the sea-womb important to so much of our country's economy, so many people's livelihood, it has captured our imaginations like an earthquake never could. But in a moment of absolutely hideous irony, CT elsewhere published these lines about a genuine myth, overpopulation:

"There is a population and resource issue, and the best way to love our children and to love the future's children and to love, really, all people, or all children, will be to limit our family size … . I love bringing babies into families. But there may be a higher calling, now that we have been fruitful and multiplied as a species, to think about limiting our families. "

On the one hand, CT is fussing about the deaths of a few sea turtles and fish while publishing advocates of life-smothering birth control. Just as the sea should nurture many kinds of life, a woman's womb is made to nurture human life. In the womb's hidden depths, a new human life is nurtured. This new human life, endowed by God with an immortal soul, swims in the amniotic waters, cushioned and kept safe there. And yet CT's "experts" would have Christians practice birth control (limit family size), would have them make woman's womb a barren place.

It is obvious which wombs the folks at CT wish to see barren of life, and which womb more importantly nurtures it.

reading suggestion: The Sea Within, Peter Kreeft

Thursday, July 29, 2010

But, but, but, you shouldn't BE!

Babies go to Congress

The Attractive Soul

"The old seminary professors used to speak about a necessary trait for pastoral ministry called gravitas. It refers to a soul that has developed enough spiritual mass to be attractive, like gravity. It makes the soul appear old, but gravitas has nothing to do with age. It has everything to do with wounds that have healed well, failures that have been redeemed, sins that have been forgiven, and thorns that have settled into the flesh. These severe experiences with life expand the soul until it appears larger than the body that contains it" (Barnes, The Pastor As Minor Poet, p. 49).

I found it here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Today's vocabulary word is . . .

Feckless:

Lacking purpose or vitality, not fit to assume responsibility.

Example: Most men over 40 who *say* they would like to marry.

I try, I REALLY do try . . .

Some time ago, a dear friend not-so-gently suggested that reading the sites of religious feminists might not be good for my spiritual health. He was absolutely right. For the most part, I have followed his advice. But when someone sends me an unsolicited link, I do tend to follow the rabbit trail long enough to figure things out.

This happened recently when the Seneca Falls 2 hive of harridans demanded an apology from CBMW. I still say, the only thing CBMW has to apologize for is treating the religious feminists like misguided colleagues and not the heretics they undeniably are. It took me a couple of days to pull this one out of memory, but the name of one of the gals promoting the demand for an apology -- her name sounded vaguely familiar. And it was. She is one of CBE's listed bloggers where here description reads:

Shawna R. B. Atteberry is a freelance writer in Chicago. She is a member of Grace Episcopal Church in the South Loop. Her husband, Tracy, is a computer software engineer for Oracle. Her writing includes biblical studies, theology, feminist theology, biblical egalitarianism, sermons, poetry, and urban fantasy. Outside of writing she likes to cook, sew, crochet, go for walks, and listen to great music in Grant Park over the summer.



She sounds like a pretty run-of-the-mill Evangelical feminist, doesn't she? Pretty harmless except for the preachers in skirts thing, right? How many times do I have to repeat it? There is nothing harmless about these religious feminists. It is heresy piled upon heresy with these folks and her own website reveals the depth of her rebellion. On her website she describes herself like this:

Shawna is an associate editor with The Christian godde Project: Exploring the Divine Feminine Within the Christian godde. The Christian godde Project is translating the New Testament using Divinine Feminine images for godde. She is also the Chicago Protestant Examiner for Examiner.com.

and,

I empower women to be the leaders godde calls them to be at home, work and church by exploring the Divine Feminine and stories of the women in the Bible. I also use my experience and spiritual direction to help them discover new facets of godde and their own leadership abilities.

note: In copying information from Atteberry's website I have made two alterations. First, I have removed the links -- you will have to follow your own rabbit trails. Second, I have removed the capitalization from the name of the false deity she serves.