Smokin Hot… Misogyny?

Yesterday, while listening to another great episode of 9 Thumbs(which, if you haven’t checked out yet you should! http://www.9thumbs.com it’s a pop culture podcast from a unique post modern  Christian perspective.) I was made aware of a conversation that has recently been happening in the Christian Blogosphere. To give you a basis here what’s been going on are Christian men, mainly CHristian pastors, have been referring to their spouses as “Smokin Hot Wives” not only in private, but on public social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. This led Mary DeMuth to write a blog called “I’m Sick of Hearing About Your Smokin’ Hot Wife”, in which she talks about what she feels are the unrealistic exp[ecations laid on women.

These expectations get laid out in blog posts, books, sermons, conferences, and keynotes, all directed at us, Christian women. Earlier this year, I wrote “The Sexy Wife I Can’t Be,” sharing what it felt like to attend a “sexy wives” conference, where the speakers talked about ways to entice, offer our bellies as fruit bowls, and become the sex kittens our men deserve. I felt bile rise up in my throat. I knew I couldn’t have been the only woman in this audience suffering from flashbacks from unwanted sexual abuse. I left that conference feeling less than. I tried some of the things they suggested, but I ended up feeling even more cheap, more used, thrust backward in my oh-so-long journey toward healing. I playacted; I disconnected; and when I couldn’t keep up the charade, I felt even more guilty. Smoking hot, I was not.

This led Zach Hoag to respond at Huffington Post.

Mostly, guys blabbing about this stuff are just posturing. They are publicly asserting that they are in fact one of the (Christian) guys, the ones with the power, the ones with the penii (is that the correct plural form?). They are showing that they have a dominant gender role in the home and church, given to them by God, and by golly they are going to tweet compliments about their wives, using the words of drunk 19-year-old fraternity brothers.

In both blogs the same idea came to light. That these men, while seeming to be complementary of their wives were actually being misogynistic. Really?

Look, I empathize with Mrs DeMuth, she has written candidly about her past encounters with sexual abuse. I don’t think that is something we should(or can) take lightly and I think her past reflects upon her opinions when she writes about this topic. I don’t however, understand how complimenting your wife whether in private or public could be seen as misogynist.

I’ve referred to my wife as hot and as sexy. I’ve done this both privately and publicly. She has done the same to me. It’;s actually one of the things that she has asked me to do from time to time, she has told me she enjoys it. One thing I haven’t done is I haven’t asked her to live up to some lofty physical standard in order to remain my sexy wife, she is sexy because she is Corrie.

When I met Corrie and fell in love with her over the course of our dating relationship it became apparent to me that she would forever set the standard of beauty for me in my life. No woman I would ever meet, no matter how good they might look, would ever surpass the blessing God gave me when he gave me her. So yeah I like to compliment her, I enjoy showing her off, I’ll flirt with her privately and publicly. I may even instagram a picture of her giving me a look that drives me wild but it’s not because she is tirelessly living up to a standard that no one could meet.

Besides, I’d much rather read about men who are totally ion love with their wives and find them sexy than hearing about men raving about the physical beauty about some woman they don’t even know. When men compliment their wives I cannot help but think that this is the way it was meant to be.

And for the love of God could we please stop overusing the word misogyny? I don’t not think it means what YOU think it means.

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Broken

There are two times in my life that I seriously considered killing myself, enough that I had made a plan and was seconds away from implementing it. The first was when I was 17, not long after I had graduated High School(yes I graduated a year early that isn’t a typo). The 2nd happened when I was 28 several months after my first marriage had ended in divorce.

I bring this up because we spoke about it at my therapy session last Tuesday and I have been thinking about both instances a lot this last week.

Both times that I had almost killed myself an element of impending change was present. See when I was 17 I was right in the middle of moving from a small town in Farmington NM where I had just spent 2.5 years and had finally felt like I had made some decent friends to Denver where I really didn’t know anyone. I was just out of high  school where life was pretty much planned and mapped and now I was going to have to figure things out on my own. I felt alone, more alone than I had every felt in my entire life. The girl I was pining for, the girl I thought I could save, the girl who was living with us at the time because she felt she had no where else she could go was downstairs in the arms of another guy. I was alone, I was lonely, I didn’t want to start over and I would do almost anything to stop the deep sorrow I felt at the time.

When I was 28 I was living with my folks, in their basement several months after leaving my ex wife who was in love with our room mate. I didn’t really grieve the end of that relationship because I put all of my love and energy into another girl that I thought I could save and take care of. She told me she was being abused and that she loved me and wanted out and now she and her husband had just told me to get out of their lives and to move on. They were going to work it out. THat left me empty and alone., There were no hopes and dreams left for me it seemed. I was once again filled with a darkness that I don’t know how to describe and I knew again that I didn’t want to start over. I was getting too old and meeting women was too hard. I would have done almost anything to stop the hurt I was feeling and I almost did.

Both time, in my darkest hour I was stopped in my tracks.. The first time I don’t really know why I didn’t do it I just knew I couldn’t. The second time friends talked me down. Looking back now I can see the providence of God all over both instances and consider myself both lucky and blessed. I also consider the sin in both instances. I’ve committed many sins in life but I think one of the biggest sins is my demand that life be free of pain, that I be comfortable and happy. Demanding that GOd redeem the pain and suffering I’ve experienced in very specific ways instead of submitting to his calling in my life and allowing him to shape me in any way he sees fit.

I’ve spent a lot of time demanding a happy life, now I find myself less and less concerned about that, though when blessings come I will accept them. My concern is becoming more and more about loving God and using my time here on earth to serve him no matter what. I don’t know if I will ever feel the way I did back then, I hope and pray that I don’t but I am learning, slowly but surely, that I cannot live my life simply trying to avoid those moments of deep depression. What I am asking God for is the strength to be able to keep my eyes focused on him no matter what this world will throw at me. I still long for a simple happy life but I feel I\ can no longer make a demand for one.

Yeah… I listened to that

DeGarmo and Key, remember them?

Yes that IS a Keytar that Eddie DeGarmo is playing. Sadly Dana Key left us in 2010 but as the song says I am sure he was satisfied when his time was over.

To love and to cherish

Last night I went on a walk and I decided to listen to a sermon by Mark Driscoll, it is the latest in the series about identity that I have been following since my solitude experience. This particular sermon was about our identity of being loved and in it he was speaking about marriage roles. During the sermon he spoke about how he loves officiating weddings and while he does he likes to look at the bride as she comes down the aisle, how she looks at her groom. Then he likes to look at the groom, the look  on his face as he see’s his approaching bride.

I’ve been married to Corrie for approaching 5 years, we wed before I came back to faith in a hotel chapel in Vegas. There was very little tradition in our wedding, we didn’t even dress up. We all wore T-shirts and shorts and baseball caps. But there was one bit of tradition we didn’t break with, her walking down the aisle to me. We have a great picture in our wedding book of the look on my face as she approached. I don’t know how exactly to describe it other than a look of awe and adoration. The kind of look a guy has when he see’s the most beautiful  thing that life has to offer. I felt that way then and I still feel that way about my Corrie. I am blessed to have her in my life and I still get swept away when she smiles at me.

That’s when it hit me

See in scripture time and again the idea of a wedding and marriage is used to illustrate the relationship that Jesus has with the church. Jesus is the groom and we are his bride.

Ephesians 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior 

Ephesians 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Much is said in Christians circles about our role in this marriage, our submission to Christ and our adoration and enjoyment of him as well as it should be. These are important lessons that we all should learn. But as I was listening to this sermon and reflecting back on the way I looked at my blushing bride as she walked down the aisle to me I realize that far too many words are said about the way in which Christ loves and adores his bride, us. I think that many Christians, myself included, could benefit from a reminder that Christ looks at his church, at you, the same way that I looked at my wife when I was getting married to her, the same way I look at her now. Jesus adores you, he loves you, and he takes great pleasure in you. Not because you’re perfect, because as I’ve said before we aren’t, none of us are. But because we are redeemed in his saving work on the cross. He loves us simply because he desires to love us. He thus invites us into a much more intimate relationship with him, he invites us to desire him in the same way he desires us.

Hosea 2 19 I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in[e] righteousness and justice,
    in[f] love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in[g] faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord.

21 “In that day I will respond,”
    declares the Lord
“I will respond to the skies,
    and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
    the new wine and the olive oil,
    and they will respond to Jezreel.[h]
23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
    I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.[i]
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,[j]’ ‘You are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

 

Filthy Rags

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Isaiah 64:6

Hours after the bombing that happened in Boston Patton Oswalt hit the internet with a positive message. I saw tons of my friends reposting it and sharing it on twitter.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

Touching words sure but here is the problem, they are simply not true.

Patton isn’t the only one, I’ve seen people I know, local newcasters, national celebrities all toting the idea that people are good, that together we can stop things like the bombing in Boston from happening. I simply don’t agree, I don’t believe that people are good. Not me, not you, not anyone.

Regardless of your culture, your creed or your religion I think the utter darkness of humanity is something that is easily proven. The easiest place to see this is the distribution of wealth in this world. Chances are, if you know me and you are reading this blog you live in the US and probably consider yourself to be low to middle class as far as income goes. No shame in that, I’d consider myself to be lower class too. I don’t have a lot of money but when you look at what I make and the opportunities that I have in life compared to the rest of the worlds population. I;m rich. Just by living here in the US I am a member of the worlds wealthiest. If you make over $34K you’re in the top 1% of earners. While we drive our cars and decide what we want to eat and do on a Friday night some folks are wondering whether they will have to drink water out of the same creek that their village uses for it’s restroom. Many will wonder when their next meal will happen. If humans were good this wouldn’t be true.

While we argue over whether or not same sex couples should have the same rights to get married as straight couples do there are women who are being sold into sexual slavery. They won’t have any rights at all. This still exists in this world as much as we would like to pretend it doesn’t.

I am not trying to downplay the heroism that has been shown in the face of tragedy at all, we shine under pressure there is no doubt about that and I am as proud as anyone else to see people risking their lives to help others. But lets take a look at our broken world and be honest about this.

We’re

Not

Good

People

We’re just not, and I would go even further to say that on our own we’re incapable of fixing the deep issues that our world faces. I’m pretty sure that if we were really up to the challenge we’d have made a lot more headway.

The Jesus that I know and that loves me has seen this trouble and has acknowledged it. In John 16:33 he says

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When and only when we realize that we are broken and sinful, when we see and acknowledge the idols of money and power and entertainment and sex that we have built and turn from them can we be used by Jesus to help bring about the change that he started with his resurrection. The focus SHOULD be on God and his love for this world not on this world and certainly not on how great we think we all are. This world has an expiration date, and so do we. Best to use our time following the one man who has lived past his.

 

Yeah.. I listened to that.

True story, in the late 90’s I remember going to a Easter play and the actors sang this song. Really cheesy choreography and everything. You gotta love it

Whenever they said the word abandon they’d thrust their arms out to their sides in a big grandiose motion. I’m chuckling just thinking about it.

Equal… Right?

Today, I read a new report about Jim Wallis, who is the head of Sojourners and is affiliated with the Red Letter Christian movement. He has come out in favor of same sex marriage. This of course will cause waves in the Evangelical world but I think there is some crucial stuff that is said that might get overlooked.

The original article appeared here

“Marriage needs some strengthening. Let’s start with marriage, and then I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage. I want a deeper commitment to marriage that is more and more inclusive, and that’s where I think the country is going.”

This is a conversation we need to be having, not just about same sex marriage but marriage in general. Marriage and traditional families are in trouble in this country and it’s not the fault of homosexuals wanting equal rights. Divorce rates continue to climb, plus you see more and more people who are choosing to co-habitat for a time rather than get married. This can cause deep problems in our society and it is right to have that conversation. Having been through a divorce myself I am more than aware of the statics about 2nd or more marriages I work very hard to keep my own marriage together and with communication and Gods grace we are doing very well.
But what Wallis said later in the same article was what I found really profound.
“On the issue of gay marriage, you can be supportive of same-sex couples being able to have the same benefits that straight couples have, but you can also be in favor of religious freedom for faith communities to figure this out in their own time, in their own scriptures, their own way. I don’t think they should be called ‘bigots’ if they are struggling with what the Bible says about this, or might we lose marriage because of this. … But calling each other names, we’ve got to stop doing that.”

The ‘both, and’ approach to Wallis’s thinking is striking here. There is a persistent myth in our country that ours was founded as a Christan nation, that we continue as a Christian nation to this day. It wasn’t and we don’t. What it seems many of the far right want is a form of theocracy, where we have a government where God is the head of everything. Being Christian myself, while I can empathize with why this is wanted it’s not what we would get. If we tried to become a theocracy what we’d have is one or more cults of personality rising up and giving us what they believe to be THEIR version of how God would run things. This could lead to dangerous times for us indeed.
The USA is NOT a Christian nation therefor the laws that are established may not always reflect Christian ethics. Regardless of our personal views there is no reason why people in same sex relationships should not be allowed to be married. But there is a deeper problem than that.
The deeper conversation that is going on is whether or not homosexuality is a sin, whether or not someone can be both gay and a Christian and the eternal end point for those who are practicing homosexuals. This is where I think both sides need to use caution. I’ll be frank I don’t know whether or not homosexuality is considered a sin or not. I see verses in the bible that certainly lead one to believe that the act of homosexuality isn’t the way that God intended for sex to be and that certainly gives one pause when trying to address this subject. But in this day and age even expressing the possibility of the act being a sin gets one labeled a bigot, narrow minded or worse.
I remain agnostic about it, I do know that no sin can keep Christ’s love out of our lives except our own refusal to follow him. We will all die sinners but because of Christ God will not see his chosen as such. Can a gay person be saved? Absolutely.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Rom 5:8
I would press that God would address individual sin through the process of sanctification, and if homosexuality is indeed a sin than it would be addressed in God’s time not ours.  Will gay people go to hell? I remain agnostic about the topic of hell, there way in which the afterlife is depicted in the bible isn’t clear enough to understand fully where we will go, who all will be in which place and how long the duration will be. There are stark warnings about going ones own way and not following Christ and I think we need to take heed of those and take them seriously but we must be careful in our speculation.
Above all I think we as Christians need to continue to seek the heart of God in all of this and pray that the holy spirit lead us into love for all people. That doesn’t mean that we have to accept compromise but it does mean that we’ll have to be kinder in our dealings with it.