Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Wednesday in Ashes

Each year I attempt to observe Lent in some form, to give up something. Today my intentions ended as a pile of ashes. I don't know all the theology behind Lent, or the reasons for the well-defined Lenten disciplines in Orthodoxy and Catholicism. But it does strike me as an excellent exercise in spiritual discipline.

Trouble is, with our Lenten disciplines we often seem to be treating the symptoms of spiritual sickness and not the root causes. I don't know how this will turn out, but I know after today I have to approach things differently.

One thing that has long irritated me is all the 'noise' in our lives. From constant musak/satellite radio playing in the background in the most unexpected public spaces to the rolling bass amplifiers some people think of as cars. . . to, well, you name it. Too much noise, too much distraction. Any day now, I expect to see news coverage of a newly defined syndrome in adults that is akin to 'overstimulated baby syndrome".

So, for the rest of Lent I'm tuning out and turning off. No Facebook will be poured over, no blogs will be read. I hope to devote some concentrated time to reading and, in consequence of that, there will still be some posts here. Otherwise, you can reach me here:

It all began with Insurrection . . .

8th March Insurrection Day of Female Workers against Kitchen Slavery

Yesterday was International Women's Day. I want to thank The Thinking Housewife for reminding us of the origins of the celebration.

As The Thinking Housewife notes, the great thing about Soviet Equality was that women were sent to the camps, too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

At least it isn't The Sun

I rather suspect that the folks at Zondervan/Harper Collins knew two things when they saw Rob Bell's book proposal.

The first being that it would generate controversy. The second being that the controversy would probable translate to sales and they weren't going to let that income go. So waddya do when you've already irritated your prime constituency by diddling with the best-selling bible translation? Bell's proposal was evidently a bridge too far even for the company who's Editor-in-Chief is a founding member of "Christians" for Biblical Equality.

So they shifted Bell over to the secular arm and tossed the hot potato into Harper One's court.

I guess we should be thankful it wasn't published by one of Mr. Murdoch's more openly pornographic enterprises.

ht: Denny Burk

The Mythology of Feminism - International Women's Day

Trotting out all the tired old feminist canards, two of my favorite actors make me not want to see their next movie, in the Youtube video, Equals , Judi Dench as "M" and Daniel Craig as Bond serve up cold myths and an image I want out of my head.

Coming from the country that silenced Erin Pizzey when she tried to tell the truth - that men can be victims of domestic violence as well - it's more than simply ironic. It's sad and disheartening.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The precious hospitality of the religious feminist

The average religious feminist holds her position as a matter of course, because that is what her culture tells her is right. She is not an ideologue, a crusader with a cause. In fact, unless the topic specifically comes up, you may never *know* that is her sincere belief. The professional religious feminist, however, is on a mission from god (I can't capitalize that in good conscience). She knows her cause is good and right and just and she will enforce her belief, "teaching into" whatever situation she encounters which may have the slightest whiff of chivalry (which she will view as the worst sort of sexism).

This mindset makes for the most difficult of conversations and gatherings. One has to always keep both eyes and both ears out for the slip, a tell. Of course, if the religious feminist commits the tell, her fellow travellers will let it pass because they know she is one of them. Never mind the occasions when they pay lip service to marriage and sex as they normally play out, the "well, if it works for them it's OK, but only if they both agree"offhand comment. They may say that, but they will always be on the watch for a teaching moment. Ever vigilant lest the women gather around the kitchen table picking at leftovers while the men drink beer and smoke on the back deck, they never ever let their guard down.

And who wants to live like that? Who wants to be constantly on the alert? Ever ready to do battle in the service of the great Cause? For constant vigilance is the price of battling against nature. It is affected, fastidious and entirely too precious. If you doubt me, here are the words of one leading religious feminist in a discussion of hospitality:

We both make a point of offering to help with preparation or cleaning up and usually it is [husband] who initiates this to encourage the guys to participate. Many like to wait until after everyone has gone so they just get to sit and enjoy the company and we respect that too.

Whenever we are in a situation where the men and women seem to drift into gender groups, we go together to a group and join in to try and break the pattern. As has already been said, each situation can be unique and we need to be sensitive to times when someone of the same gender really wants to share something with another woman or man.

We have also seen situations where [husband] has got up to do the dishes (which he enjoys BTW) and the man of the house has flatly refused to join in. It seems that some couples are so entrenched in their roles that neither wants to cause disruption by changing things.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Kristof,

Please tell me again how good Mao was for women? Tell me again why you quote a Maoism as the title of your book and the name of your foundation? How, exactly, is China's brutal enforcement of it's one-child policy good for women? Yes, yes, I know you deplore sex selection abortions, but what about government action against women who defy the policy and become pregnant with a second child?

Chinese woman taken to an undisclosed labor camp

CNA is reporting that, one day after being released from a previous arrest, a day in which her house was under constant surveillance, a Chinese woman who protested the regime's brutal one-child policy has been arrested again. The charge is that she had taken part in illegal activities (in the space of a brief one-day period in which her house was under constant government surveillance, mind you).

She was released from a previous imprisonment six months early due to health conditions, including dangerously high blood pressure.

Mao's husband has not been told which camp she was sent to. They have three daughters.

So, Mr. and Mrs. Kristof, can you please tell me how your wonderful China is helping Mao Hengfeng and her three daughters hold up their half of the sky?

She's at it again - religious feminists and their penchant for re-writing history

One of my favorite religious feminists to watch is at it again. First, she claimed to have been in online discussions back in the late 1980s with one of CBMW's current leaders who was (I do believe) actually in high school at the time. I am sure he was blissfully unaware of the Evangelical battle lines being drawn between CBE and CBMW back then and had no thought of engaging in online discussions with one of the more imaginative religious feminists.

Now, shes' making another claim about those discussions. After having been corrected on the timeline, she's back at her imaginary timeline. Sure, back then she was on discussion boards with a high school kid when forums weren't commercially available and generally only available to military and academic types - but she remembers it that way so it must be so. But now she not only remembers being in those discussions, she remembers how the creation of the term "complementarian" played out.

Against such flights of fancy, who can stand?

Note: She is correct about how the discussion played out, just not her concurrent participation in those discussions.

Addendum: I have just received confirmation from Randy Stinson that his involvement with CBMW began in 2000 and that he was unaware of the battle lines being drawn between CBE and CBMW back in 1987 when the term "complementarian" was coined. Although, in 1987, he was two years out of high school.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Might I suggest a CoQ10 chaser with that Ortho-Evra?

President Obama is reported to have dismissed the recent revelations of law-breaking by the murderous organization, Planned Parenthood, as nothing more than a mere "distraction". I am sure the Evangelical reaction to the latest news on the health effects of birth control will be along the same lines.

As I wrote in another context, Evangelicalism is utterly lost. It has reduced itself to a groveling, snivelling chasing after culture, calling out, "Me, too!". With Evangelicals wringing their hands over the gulf oil spill last year, and moaning about life being smothered while at the same time embracing the lie of overpopulation and wringing their hands in the other direction about whether or not Christians should have babies - it's no wonder they are utterly incapable of stepping back and thinking critically, especially about something as deeply unpopular as moral theology. There is no thought to swimming against the tide of culture, only of riding along with it, if at a slightly slower pace.

Into this setting in American evangelicalism comes yet another study finding ill-effects of birth control.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Bronx-Lebanon Hospital have conducted a study looking at the relationship of three different forms of hormonal birth control (daily pill, cervical ring and transdermal patch) and their effect on antioxidant levels. All three methods of delivery resulted in lowered antioxidant levels, although the women using the transdermal patch had the greatest reduction in antioxidant levels.

Antioxidants help protect us from oxidative stress and the resultant diseases, including: Atherosclerosis, Myocardial infarction, heart failure and chronic fatigue syndrome. They also help shore up the immune system's ability to kill off pathogens.

The culture will never admit "The Pill" was a bad bargain for women. How much evidence has to pile up before Evangelicals depart from culture on this and recognize that their wish to be "good stewards" of the environment must include a little bit of wisdom about what women put into their bodies?

You can read the study here.

Fry-day Fry-volity

It's free Fry-day at Chick-fil-A, but only for a few hours this afternoon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And yet there he is on the set of his television program

The knee bone's connected to the shin bone . . .

On Facebook, I "like" Loome Theological Booksellers. Loome posted a link to their blog. Their currently blog article is a reprint of an article by an old friend . . . and so the connections go.

Another reason not to watch television

The conclusion:

What Chesterton says of modern literature is also true of television entertainment. There may be an urgency to it, and passion, but no life, because there is no coherent philosophy. It has dissolved into separate fragments, or rather, exploded into separate fragments. There is no moral cohesion because there is no moral consensus, so nothing holds together. The result is not only bad, it's boring.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moral Bankruptcy, not simply confusion (Updated)

When I passed around a link to the Her.menutics discussion of the boy-girl wrestling news, one friend responded this way:

Actually, reading that post was helpful to me. It helped me to see that there is no hope for Christianity Today. They are completely gone.

My correspondent is right, of course. Moral confusion is too generous a term for what reigns at the women's blog - moral bankruptcy gets it just about right. Among the 100+ responses to the blog post in question, there was this response from another Her.meneutics blogger:

But, most importantly, it seems we are forgetting that Cassie Herkelman CHOSE to be in this situation! . . . she wrestles competitively and is asking to be taking seriously as a competitor . . .She earned her right to be there.

And as far as the sexual component goes... these are athletes, and highly skilled ones at that. I would think they can separate competition from sexual playfulness, in much the same way a doctor can separate a physical exam from sexual touching. It's about context! If the wrestlers who have to face girls know they cannot handle the situation, then I completely respect their decision to forfeit. It's unfortunate that it has to play out like that, but as Caryn mentioned this is the way the system is set up and we must deal with that reality. I have absolutely zero desire to wrestle anyone, let alone men, but Cassie (and other girls) want to and the school system has decided they are allowed.

I completely respect Joel Northrup's decision to forfeit. It was his decision to make and if he recognized that he could not or would not glorify God in this situation, then he made the right choice. But I don't this it follows that his choice is the right choice for every male wrestle who has to face a girl.

Forget about the constant derision of young Mr. Northrup - their ssumption that he couldn't "handle it" or that his decision had to do with "his cultural view of girls". Did you catch the language in the quote? It's all about personal choices and what the system allows. One wonders if Ms. Leonard and Ms. Rivadneira (the respondent and original blogger, both Her.meneutics bloggers) would feel the same way if the school system decided their 12-year-old daughters get access to birth control without their consent or knowledge? Should their daughters be in a co-ed class learning how to put condoms on cucumbers? If it's all about what is allowed, one wonders if there ever is a line they would draw?

I'm guessing the Her.meneutics gals have never heard of Moral Theology. I am sure it is both too Catholic and too catholic for our Evangelical friends. But, as we are reminded in the (currently) last response, Her.meneutics is a place for the diversity of evangelical opinions and voices.

And therein lies the problem.

Update: Since religious feminists often cry "Fowl!" when it is said their aim is to blurr the differences between men and women, further, I thought it would be interesting to note how Cassy Herkelman's dad views all this:

"She's my son ... She's always been my son."

Update: It will surprise no one who has read the Her.meneutics blog post to find that the authoress is a fan of Rob Bell.

Raising a family, leading a country

It looks as if Sarah Palin is just not going to go away. Whether or not she seeks some party's nomination to run for President next year is an open question.

But I have to say, Mrs. Palin's track record doesn't bode well as a predictor of her ability to govern well and stick with a tough job. She found herself faced with a pregnant teenager who she had *assumed* knew enough to make wise choices. And then what does she do? Removes herself even farther from substantial involvement in that girl's life by taking on national campaign. Then she quits as Alaska's governor because the lawsuits have proven too difficult to deal with.

Doesn't look good for the future, does it?

Nor does Miss Bristol Palin's twitter feed bode well for a controversy-free run, should her mom decide to have at the top job. I think she's trying to tell her mom something here.

The question remains: Will Sarah stop long enough to listen? And what about Mr. Palin?

Addendum: Bristol's twitter feed may be a fake. And it *does* look a little too good to be true. However, my closing questions remain.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Requiescat in pace

"Don't talk to me about it being a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body. The choice is between life and death."
-- Jane Russell, abortion survivor