Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Woman's Role in the Home pt. 3

Okay here's the third installment in our series. (Check out the second one here.)
M – Mold Your Children. When I think of the word “mold”, I think of The Potter, God, molding the clay, us, into useful vessels as it speaks of in Jeremiah 18. As Christian mothers, we can and should be instruments that God can use to mold our children. Our desire should be for our children to grow up to be vessels fit for the Master’s use.
Okay except, I'm not a lump of clay. Or an instrument or a vessel, and I don't want my life to be for some master's use. And I don't want my son to be a molded lump either. I want him to make his own choices and find his own path, and be his own person. Of course I'll try to influence and shape him, by expressing what I approve of and what I value and what I find reprehensible. But I don't ever want him to think he is meant to be shaped to someone else's design.
Molding our children into these vessels is a continual process. Our teaching and training time with them cannot be “here a little, there a little”. If a potter works on a lump of clay for a while and then sets it aside, intending to come back to it at a later date, what is going to happen to the clay? It will become hardened. So it is with children. If we neglect to teach and train them daily according to the principles found in God’s Word, there is danger of them becoming hardened to the things of the Lord.
If you don't indoctrinate early and often, they'll think these tales are ridiculous and this morality inferior. Find out how brainwashing can work for your family today!
How can we as mothers be used by God to “mold” our children? Deuteronomy 6:6,7 says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:” What you teach your children must first be in your heart. If you are not allowing the Lord to speak to you DAILY through His Word, you cannot effectively teach your children.
Uh, the Lord isn't speaking to me daily or even semi-annually, yet I am effectively teaching my child. Hell, Blue's Clues is effectively teaching him*. Do you think Joe's right with God?**
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” These verses tell me that I need to be speaking of the Lord and His Word throughout the day….while cooking supper, teaching math, folding laundry, playing, cleaning, etc…
Sounds like argument ad nauseum to me. Say it over and over again, and anything sounds possible. "God is all these contradictory things at the exact same time and the entire Bible is true, even the parts that disagree with the other parts. Amen." Stamp out doubt, stamp out doubt...
I need to be sensitive to opportunities God gives me to apply Biblical principles to “day-to-day” situations. I have found that the more time I spend in the Bible, the easier this is to do. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Whatever I have hid in my heart is going to naturally come out in my conversation.
This is where Christianity can get really oppressive. I remember feeling like I could express too much appreciation for something, or it would become an idol and then I wouldn't get to have it anymore. I wasn't allowed to actually feel proud of my singing voice, and I could like fantasy books or plays or friends too much, because God was supposed to be my primary focus. Every minute I spent playing video games or watching Monty Python or smoking cigarettes down at the park with friends was a minute I wasn't putting God first. A guy told me in a video recently that "atheism sucks the life out of its followers". Thinking I was cheating on my god anytime I spent a minute on an activity that wasn't completely about him - (like worship, or church volunteer work, or youth group activities, or devotions time) left me feeling like a battered lover.
There are many principles from God’s Word that we need to be teaching our children as we are used of God to mold them, but I would like to quickly name a few.

1. We need to teach them of their need for a Saviour and God’s wonderful plan of salvation. Salvation is only through repentance and faith in the finished work of the cross. Romans 10:9,10 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Right, can't have your kids thinking they're okay the way God made them. Gotta teach them that they're wicked, and in need of salvation for their dirty humanness.
And, II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” I cannot save my children…they must each trust Christ as their own personal Saviour.
If He doesn't want any of us to perish, why did he set up a system where so many people are guaranteed to? After all, merely repenting towards your fellow human being isn't what's required here. Rachel says salvation "is only through repentance and faith in the finished work of the cross." She can't save her babies, so she has to raise them in fear of themselves, so that they won't tarry in getting "saved."
2. We need to teach them the importance of reading God’s Word. Tell them how precious God’s Word is and how we need to love and treasure it. Psalm 119:97 says, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” Our attitude toward the Bible will affect their attitude.
Ah, yes. If you don't convince them at an early age that the Bible is holy, and if they actually read it, they might not come to the conclusion that the book is the Word of God or divine or somehow inspired or even good. And that would be a tragedy, after all. I can't fault Rachel for indoctrinating her children, much as it pains me. Remember, she was indoctrinated as a child herself. The fear she used to feel about her own immortality is now for her children. Given that set of propositions, telling your children over and over that they need a savior, and that the savior wants them to read this book, is the loving thing to do. It's just not true.
But, we not only need to stress the importance of reading their Bible, but also to live it. James 1:22 says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…”
Okay, well, I gotta give her points for avoiding hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the word that she is being faithful to is genocidal, fear-mongering, and insane.
3. Teach them the importance and privilege of prayer. Teach them, by example, to go to the Lord about everything….every burden…every decision to make.
Well, it's what she looked for in a marriage, so it's hardly surprising she desires a submissive, following role with her god as well. Why make decisions when you can just trust the menfolk and the man-god?
The last part of James 4:2 says, “ye have not because ye ask not” and then II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” How many times have we missed having a burden lifted, or lacked wisdom in making the right decision simply because we didn’t ask? James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally…” Teach your children the power of prayer.
So do you suppose people dying of disease and starvation, malnutrition and political strife and war, do you suppose those people never asked God to improve their lot in life? Certainly some of them may not believe in the Christian god, and so I can see they'd be screwed (although this hardly seems to mesh with a god who doesn't desire for any to perish), but there are Christian amputees and Jewish amputees (and atheist amputees.) Do they "have not" because they ask not? Or do you suppose they asked, and god just didn't answer them? Was he "slack as some men count slackness" during the Nazi Holocaust or the genocide in Darfur? Ah yes, the power of prayer.
4. Teach them to be faithful to the Lord’s house. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Psalm 92:13,14 says, “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” Teach them, once again by example, the importance of faithfulness to God’s house. Psalm 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Are you “glad” when Sunday morning comes? Children learn much by example.
Especially when they're not permitted to see any other examples. Church is largely boring. The exceptions tend to be on the crazier and crazier ends - rooms full of adults dressed in business casual, jumping up and down to some incredibly simplistic GCDC music; handling snakes; or else writhing on the floor "slain in the Spirit" or being delivered from demonic activity. Beyond those frightening displays, it largely consists of sitting or standing in a room for an hour or hours, listening to someone read and explain a book that doesn't actually apply to your modern-day life, desperately trying to make it fit, like solving a jigsaw puzzle with a razor blade and a roll of scotch tape.
5. Teach them to choose godly friends. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” How many Christian young peoples’ testimonies or even lives have been destroyed simply because of a wrong friend? Psalm 119:63 “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” The right kind of friends will encourage and build you up in the faith. I heard a preacher once say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you what you are or what you soon shall be.”
Ah, well, if a preacher said it, it must be true! No, wait that's scientists. Oh wait, no, that's not anybody. Nice argument from authority there, Rachel, but I don't actually respect the authority of clergy. When you say "teach them to choose" do you mean, instill them with values you cherish and clearly state your expectations for behavior to your children, or do you mean TELL them "Don't hang out with those godless kids down the block. They'll lead you to Hell"?
6. Teach them that they can and should be godly examples to others, even in their youth. II Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Don’t believe the lie that it is “normal” for every child to “sow their wild oats.” Yes, some children will rebel. “…a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15, but children do not have to go through a time of rebellion. Proverbs 20:11 says, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.” We should expect godly behaviour even in our children if they are saved.
Well, separation or "rebellion" actually is a vital step in child development. The early years are the enmeshed absorption years, where your child basically emulates you and generally likes you and wants to please you. Then comes puberty, sexual identity, and the beginnings of self-definition. If you're permitted to form a more individual identity at this point, you "come into yourself." If you're not given this freedom, then you struggle against nature and yourself to stay a child.
7. Teach them the blessing of obedience as well as honour. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
And here I was planning on teaching my son compassion, and ethical decision-making skills. I'm not raising my son to be a sheep, a sacrifice, or a lump of clay. I'm raising him to be a man. When we describe a man we admire, how often do we start by saying, "Oh well he is so obedient!" (That we still consider this a positive trait in women bothers me, but social change takes time and I can read & vote & divorce & own property & sue for sexual harassment, so things are moving in the right direction.)
But not only teach them the blessing, but warn them of the danger of disobedience and disrespect. Proverbs 30:17 says, “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” Proverbs 20:20 says, “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”
Listen to your mother, and I'll set the birds loose to peck your eyes out. Oh, and mommy & daddy & Jesus love you.
The obedience and respect that we are to teach them should not be only toward parents. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” We need to stress the importance of respect and obedience toward our pastor, teachers, etc. It’s a sad day that we are living in. I’ve never seen so much disrespect for elders among children. The saddest part about this is that much of it goes on in our own churches.
Ah, the appeal to simpler times. You know who always told me kids needed to respect their elders? My elders. Seems like there's a conflict of interest there, really. And of course, it was this unquestioning obedience and deference to elders which left me so unprepared for the sexual molestation a neighbor put me through. As a septuagenarian, he was certainly my elder, and I had been taught to obey my elders. I try to teach my own son to be nice to people, but to defend his body. (If somebody tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back.)
I’m reminded of the story in II Kings when the little children came forth and mocked Elisha. God brought swift punishment on these children. If you love your children, you will teach them the importance of obedience and respect for their elders.
Respect your elders, or God will sic bears on you! So, why are you teaching your children this book is holy?
8. Teach them to one day teach their children. Psalm 78:1-7 says, “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” A favorite example of this is found in II Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Our desire for our children should not just be to see them grow up and remain faithful to the Lord. We should teach them to instruct their children also…and so on.
Because religion is hereditary. And I did the same thing. I prayed the Lord's prayer a few hundred times during my 98-hour labor, and I brought my son to church. I put him in Sunday School & read children's Bible stories to him. I was trying to share something important to me with my son, and did not recognize the brainwashing path I was leading him down. Fortunately, I woke up before any strong belief in Jesus was instilled. Still, this generational-faith description does make me tend to agree with Dawkins' statement that "faith is a virus."

That's all for today - come back tomorrow for E- Encourage Other Women. For now, enjoy my latest video :D

* When I get pissed, Little Man reminds me "Angry mommy? Stop, breathe, and think!"

** No, Steve did not die of a heroin overdose. The actor quit because he didn't want to go bald on national kid's TV. Seriously. I saw it on the 10 Year Anniversary Blue's Clues Special, which I absolutely did watch. Also, since there are two transition episodes featuring Steve and Joe, it's amazing that urban legend is still going around.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Woman's Role in the Home pt. 2

This is part 2 of my response to Rachel Harkins on The Woman's Role. In our first installment of the HOME acronym, we made it through "H for Honour" - that's right, it's not just Honor, it's Honour with a U. Last time, Rachel wrote about god sometimes needing to "bring us to our knees" to us properly in submission. I'll let you fill in the imagery on your own.* Moving on.
O – One Flesh. Genesis 2:20-25 gives the account of God creating Woman. We know that Eve was created for Adam to be an help meet, according to verse 18. Then, in verse 23 we read Adam’s response when God brings Eve to him. In verse 24 we see how God describes the union of man and woman. He says that they shall be “one flesh”.
Not to go all grammar geeky, but I did copy edit my Giggy's manuscripts starting at age 10. The a/an rule for H is as follows: If the H is pronounced, say a; if it's silent, say an. I consider it an honor to be heading to hell in a handbasket. See how that works?

On to my actual substantive as opposed to neurotic notes, I have so much to say about what's wrong with Adam and Eve that I have posts here, here, here, and here on the subject. But I don't think I've really gone into the misogynistic qualities of the story yet, and this seems like the appropriate venue to do so. Notice we don't have Eve's response to Adam? We don't hear if Adam is pleasing to her, or if she desires him as a helpmeet, mate, lover, or spouse. We are told what the male god thinks and the male human. Of the woman, we aren't told her feelings or thoughts. What did Eve think of Adam or Eden or God? It's as if she had no desires or feelings of her own, which is of course the end aim of Quiverfull: Complete subordination of will to another. It's important within complimentarianism, when using rigid gender roles, to remind yourself that women are supposedly inferior to man - last made and first deceived. Surely, if men and women were really and truly equal, constant submission would never be approrpriate.
What does it mean to be “one flesh”? Several times in the New Testament, this term is mentioned in reference to a husband and wife, and each time, it speaks of two becoming one…..two individuals….man and woman…becoming one. When the two become one, there is now only one head….the husband. Ephesians 5:23 – “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: …” So, we’re not talking about some “two-headed” monster. Since the husband is to be the head of the home, the wife’s role in the home is to be in submission to her husband. Ephesians 5:22 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”. To be in submission means “to yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another”.
Ugh, hang on a minute while I try not to vomit. (pause) Okay, I think I'll be okay. Imagine viewing cooperation as a "two-headed monster." Rachel here thinks having a say, a voice, a vote in her marriage would make things worse in her life. I don't want to yield, resign or surrender to the power, will, or authority of another. That's *slavery* and it's not something I'm going to sign up for! It bothers me to see so many who do.
Let me add right here, this is NOT just an outward act. True submission comes from within the heart. It’s very easy to submit on the outside and all the time be rebelling on the inside. If you are trying to live like that, I guarantee that you are having constant turmoil within. Real peace only comes when we acknowledge the God-given role of our husband as the head and we in submission to them.
This like telling a rape victim "Don't fight it." As soon as you quit trying to have any autonomy, then you'll feel better? Well, yes, in a way. Evolution has made us innately obedient in some capacities, with built-in deference to authority. Which is why it matters so much to me that we remove the illusion of authority from institutions and men who do not truly possess any. The fact that my ex-husband had a Y chromosome and a penis did not make him a good steward, decision maker, person, human being, or even mammal. (Even my cats hated him.) I saw him two days ago, on my way home from running errands, standing on the sidewalk, holding a sign advertising same day tax returns, in a Lady Liberty smock and funny hat and the sunglasses I bought him on our honeymoon. I cannot express how glad I am I did not submit to his will and authority. Since I left him, he has gone to jail 3 times for domestic battery against 3 different women (thank you, public records system.) Rachel is saying you should not only submit outwardly - allowing the Male One in all his penis-given wisdom to make every decision, without ever once complaining - but that you should also submit inwardly. Convince yourself this is what you want, and that it's nice not to have to make any decisions or be responsible for your own choices. Oh, and on a grammar note, I did not edit her work at all so each "..." was in this where I found it on LearntheBible.
Not only is there peace in submission, there is also protection. I wish I had been taught the BLESSING of submission as a young wife but unfortunately I am learning that many years later. Just a few years after we were married, God blessed us with our first child…..a new responsibility for both of us. One by one, as the babies came along, my responsibilities grew. In 1990, after much prayer, we began to homeschool our children. I now had a full-time/over-time “job” and I needed to realize my limitations. I just couldn’t do everything.
Being a mindless slave is the essence of letting go - in worship to god, in a submissive marriage, or in a BDSM dungeon. So is suicide. That doesn't mean it's a way to live your entire life, or that it's how every woman *should* live, for the crime of being a menstruating creature. Grrrrr. Moving on, God blessed them with an absence of contraception, check. Doing everything yourself in a marriage sucks, check. So is she gonna ask hubby to help out around the house or with the kids more?
I used to have a hard time saying “No” when asked to be in charge of or take part in a particular event. Because of this, I would find myself many times “in over my head” with responsibilities. Since the only kind of involvement our family had was church or homeschool related, these events were “good” in themselves but also very time-consuming. If you have ever found yourself in this situation, you will have to admit that most of the time some area will be neglected and many times it is your own family. It wasn’t until I really began to acknowledge in my heart that Jim was the head of our home, that I had the freedom to say “No” when needed. Before, when I was asked to do things I would either say “Yes”, knowing in my heart that I shouldn’t be taking on anything else, or I would say “No” and then worry about it for weeks. Now, I go to my husband and tell him the situation, we discuss whether I should or shouldn’t agree to something and then I can give an answer. Either, “Yes, my husband said I could” or “I’m sorry, my husband said he didn’t think I should be taking any more on right now.” When Jim discourages me from doing something, he is simply protecting me from “overloading” myself. The best part about this is that I can walk away with a perfect peace, knowing that I did the right thing. You may think this is silly, but it’s a blessing to me.
Yes, Master. Whatever you say, Master. She's just describing poor interpersonal boundries. Instead of learning to say no to people on her own, she completely gave up her personal boundaries between her and her husband and is allowing HIM to say no for her.
With submission there is an inner peace and there is protection. Let me add quickly about the protection. Since we are teaching courtship with our children as opposed to dating, our daughters have that protection knowing that any young man has to go through Daddy first. If God allows them to marry, that protection will be passed from Daddy to their husband.
Can't let the girls have a moment of freedom and independence - after all, if you did that they might never choose a life of submission and servitude.
So, being one-flesh with your husband, where two become one, means acknowledging that there is only one head now and that head is your husband as you submit inwardly as well as outwardly to him.
And here all those years I was a Christian, I thought it meant that once a couple got married they were gonna do it and make babies.
Quickly, I want to mention a few other things in reference to a woman’s role as a wife and then I’ll move on. Proverbs 31:11,12 says “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Our husbands should not have to worry about their needs being met in the home, whether physical or material.
Okay there's a difference between being a trustworthy, loving partner (what that verse describes IMO) and pampering a grown man. The idea that after I've worked all day (trust me, what these Quiverfull women do all day in the home is some serious backbreaking work), I would want to follow someone around meeting their every desire (without, you know, EVER getting my desires met) is just... gross? Contemptible? Unappealing, to say the very, very least.
I Corinthians 7:3-5 says, “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” When two become one….one-flesh…their priorities change. They now should be concerned about pleasing their spouse.
No "Not tonight honey, I've got a headache." No "I'm nine months pregnant and I just don't feel like it". No "Get OFF me!!" You can only abstain from sex in the marriage if it is by consent of both partners, which means you can't say no. Yes, spousal rape can happen. Saying "I do" to wedding vows, despite what Rachel and the Bible (and the Koran) might say, does not mean you sacrifice all rights to personhood and physical safety. Whether you are a man or a woman, you deserve to be safe from violence and sexual assault, especially within your home. Verses, teachings, and mentalities like this create a culture where abuse is justified, and rape goes under-reported, and often untreated. And it sucks.
Verses 32-34 of that same chapter speaks on this: “But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” Let me add right here. So many young unmarried adults, desiring to be married but waiting on the Lord, often wonder what exactly their “purpose” is as a single Christian. This passage deals with that question as well.
Wow, talk about a sweet deal for the menfolk! Now the way she's supposed to honor god is by making *you* god! Put up your feet honey. Here's a beer and a casserole and the remote. Would you like a backrub or a blowjob while you watch football? Hey, there's nothing wrong with offering your man (or woman) any of those things. Being nice is nice. Being enslaved, belittled, demeaned, and submitted isn't. It's the difference between living under an expectation and offering your lover a treat, acting out of a sense of obligation or a sense of gratitude.
And then, in the book of Titus, chapter 2, Paul lists characteristics and duties of both the aged and young men and women. Verse 4 says that the aged women are to teach the young women and one of the things they are to teach them is to love their husbands. How are they to teach this? I believe they are to teach by example. This may seem “elementary” to you…I would imagine that every married lady in here, if asked, would say, “Yes, I love my husband.” But, do our actions show it? Does our husband know that, after however many years of marriage, he’s still the most wonderful man….that you’d marry him all over again? Do your children know that Momma and Daddy love each other?
Well, those aren't the questions to start with. First you have to ask IS your husband the most wonderful man? WOULD you marry him again? DO you still love each other? You do have to ask those questions first. My ex-husband got furious, and played the hurt card, once when I "dared accuse" him of being a bad provider. He got all upset, wounded by my accusation - but it was true. The electricity got shut off that month, and I was working 30 hours a week, while doing all of the childcare, all of the housework, and about five loads of laundry per day (hello, cloth diapers, how I do not miss you even one teeny tiny bit.) There was no food in the fridge, but there was beer. Much more important than convincing my son or myself how in love with him I am, was getting the hell away from him, where I can freely hate him from a safe distance (although not nearly as distant as I would like.)

Also, Rachel is elevating the words of Paul to gospel (no pun intended.) She is acting as though his ideas on the role of women were God's. Possibly because I had a female preacher grandmother, or possibly because she actually told me this and I've just forgotten, but I always had the idea that what Paul said about women and families was his opinion, whereas what he said about Jesus (and what Jesus said about anything) where facts. Of course, I also thought Moses was a real guy and Jonah lived in a fish's belly, so it's not like I was totally rational and on top of things.

There's a long and badly told story about going to the Dollar Tree in the mall with her kids. I will spare you and pare it down.
Courtney wanted to show me a picture frame she had seen that was just “perfect” for Daddy and I... It looked just like a license plate…a red one with gold numbers and letters. The “license number” was NUTZ 4 U and the state was the “state of bliss”. I loved it! ... As I thought about this later, it thrilled my heart to know that our 20 year-old daughter knows that Momma and Daddy are still “nuts” about each other. I believe, aside from parents that truly love the Lord, the best gift you can give your children are parents that love each other.
The inside of me is screaming, so I'll try to remain calm. 1) Dollar Tree 2) Stupid novelty gift 3) The girl is 20 and lives at home and goes to the Dollar Tree in the mall with her mom and many siblings 4) Where she looks at gifts for her parents 5) because she isn't allowed to date and she isn't married yet. 6) Anybody else feeling all kicky?

Oh, and parents that love each other is probably more helpful than parents who love the lord, but what would be most beneficial would be parents who loved their children.

That's all for today! M-Mold Your Children (shudder) is coming up next and I have another Messin' with Mormons on my blog to-do list for the next month. I'm gonna be doing a podcast episode with Brian Sapient and Darth Josh of Rational Response Squad soon, and next week I'll be doing an interview with Cameron Reilly on No Illusions. Thanks to everybody for all your help getting the word out! I'll be sure to post everything here when it's available :D

* I mean scrubbing floors, you perv!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Faith Healing Fail

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The Problem with Religion

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Help or Harm?

Can I ask you a question, Anteaters? Do I seem more or less crazy/depressed/symptomatic over the past 7 weeks while I've been on medications, or in the weeks and months leading up to that? Because I'm starting to think the reason I'm doing (feeling, behaving) so badly is that the doctor who wrote the scripts had no idea what he was doing. so, I cut out the Zoloft on Christmas (because that's when I lost my script at my boyfriend's parent's house lol) and that seemed to decrease some of the worst physical spasms and nightmare visions. But I'm still blowing up at everything, and taking everything my boyfriend says in the worst possible light. So I'm cutting out the Welbutrin starting this morning, and sticking with just the Vistirol/hydroxizine which I've taken before and I *know* made me feel better without any unwanted psychological side effects (the stomach side effects are going to be there no matter what pills I take.)

So, this honest exploration of the process of finding the right coctail of meds continues. I swear I would be doing this under a doctor's supervision if only I could get a doctor. As is, on Wednesday (when kid is in school) I'm going to the walk-in clinic with my medical records & just asking for a refill on the two pills a day I'm taking (and asking her to put it up to three, which is what the only actual psychiatrist I've ever seen prescribed.)

Also, I've gained over 20 lbs in the last two months of being on medication (and going out to eat a lot with Dave) and, uh, it's triggering some thoughts. I spent about an hour hiding in my bathroom looking at real-girl thinspo pictures yesterday. I don't know why I torture myself, I just can't seem to stop the comfort eating without... associating it with something very uncomfortable (vomit or laxatives anyone?)

I will say this, thinking to myself "Is this something I'd be willing to blog about?" helps me make better choices, lses self-destructive ones at least. It's funny, when I was a middle school Sunday School teacher (ha! Just 7 years ago) I used to think, "Would I feel bad if one of my kids saw me doing this?" which, ya know, helped me turn down free coke. Maybe that's a product leftover from the groupthink and groupidentity of my cult childhood or maybe it's just human nature. At Vineyard and in Brio there was talk about "accountability partners" but my partners and I always just encouraged each other to up the ante. We weren't keeping each other accountable; we were keeping score.

All that is to say, in a roundabout way, that I value your opinions. Do I seem to be better or worse since I started the meds, and do you happen to know any free doctors in my area that have appointments before March AND treat adults AND see patients who have no insurance AND don't think that making $250/month means I shouldn't qualify for public assistance? Heh, cause I can't seem to find one. And yet, on a roadtrip with my Chica once, we found ourselves in need of an English-speaking veterinarian who would treat her cat Hannibal (who had just ralphed on my floor rug) for free, while lost in industrial Miami - and we succeeded. I thought God was on my side back then, pulling strings for us or else "leading" us in the right direction. (It turned out Hannibal was fine, just too well mannered to use any of the beaches we had availed him of, and in desperate need of a litter box. One turkey basting dollar store pan & one bag of cat litter later, and we had a *very* relieved kitty.)

I feel like I haven't written as much lately, or what I have written has been more disjointed. It certainly is agonizingly hard to make words flow these days (about myself or my past, not the random things I find itneresting on the internet.) You know what? I haven't done a Messin'with Mormons post in a while. Maybe I'll do one of those to get myself back into the fightin' spirit, or finish that travesty on the woman's role in the home.

I love you guys, gals, and transpeeps.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Home Church

We sat in the Alberts' living room on two tan leather couches and three blue cloth chairs, around an imitation oriental rug. Bill was the loving patriarch and Martha has dutiful homeschooling wife. He owned a successful landscaping business, and their townhouse was one of the nicer homes among the people we knew (far nicer, if smaller, than the single-wide mobile home we lived in.) The Foxes, the Carlsons, the Myers, and the Dixons were there, too. Kids sat quietly in their mother's laps or at their father's feet. Bill and Doug Carlson both played guitar, and we would start each meeting with an hour or so of singing.
As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longether after thee. You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship, thee. You alone are my strength my shield. To you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship thee.
Doug's daughter Chrissy was only a year older than my sister Esther, and Zack, oldest of the three-and-counting Alberts children, was born the day after I was. Kim Fox had been a friend of my sister's for years, and her older brother Todd, who never seemed to attend these home church services, had been my brother's friend before David had been evicted from the family home two years before, when I was eight and he was twelve. Sometimes, if we were lucky, Gig and all the other adults would decide it was okay if we kids scampered off to the other room, and I would go play Jeopardy on the the computer in Bill and Martha's walk-in closet. I knew Zack had a crush on me, and I knew Gig and his parents thought it would be a great idea if we dated (married) but he was painfully good, and I was... not. I loved my Giggy, and I loved my God, and I loved the part of the evening when we sang and worshiped. But I frankly never reached an age when sermons weren't boring.

After the guitars were put away, Bill would read a passage from the Bible, and then discuss what it meant. He and Martha were part of my grandmother's baby ministry, and Doug Carlson built Home in Zion Ministry's first tabled and framed, painstakingly hand-coded website. I think the Fox kids were both born in the hospital, and maybe Chrissy was, too, but the rest of the us in the room were Zion babies. Unfailingly, my grandmother would have a word from God, or a moving of the Spirit to say something, and she would lead us in faith-driven, powerful prayer on the subject. The adults always prayed. Gig's were prayers were usually exciting; she had the cadence of history's great orators, and all the showwomanship of a televangelist. But when other adutls prayed, they just droned on and on and on. You couldn't really feel the Spirit and there was no sense that any demons present were actually afraid of us. Often their prayers were little more than wish lists and petitions. "Lord, bless my business; Lord, bless our family; Lord, bless our family." Me, me, me, bless, bless, bless. I would be squirming desperately, or else in agony because being still and bored was (and still is) such an excruciatingly painful experience.* I knew I was supposed to be still, like the other kids. And home churches that we visited, with families who were larger and had more Biblical lifestyles, scads of children, from 17 to 2, would be sitting cross-legged on the floor, perfectly still and silent, for the entire four hour service. I just didn't see how they could do it.

After the Scripture-reading and prayers were *finally* over we could move into Martha's eat-in kitchen for the dishes each wife had brought for us. Martha Alberts made the best Rice Krispies treats I have tasted at any point in my life. They were amazing, and I wished she would make theme every week. Still, she always made some tasty dessert, and her brownies were certainly still delicious. There would be egg salad, potato salad, pasta salad, or coleslaw, and usually there would be Donna Fox's juicy, lightly seasoned fried chicken. Rose Myers made the most delicious, hot, bubbly, toasty on top baked mac n cheese this world has ever known. If I had to pick my last meal, it very well might have been what I ate with friends and their families every week as part of home church.

Nothing about it seemed weird, or wrong. The furniture around the Alberts' attractive and cozy living room was more comfortable than any church pew, and the food was hands-down better than the dry cracker and shot of grape juice we'd be served at a "normal" charismatic non-denominational church. A Sunday School room full of toys and Bible activity coloring sheets would have undoubtedly kept me more entertained that these hours-long family-style services, but I likeda ll the people and I liked the singing.

And nowhere in the Bible does it say you need to go to seminary, or be ordained, or form a denomination, to preach the Gospel. Where did we get this idea that anything other than the Bible was needed to understand and interpret the Bible? Sure, it doesn't mesh with reality, but we had the solution for that. Anything in reality that disagreed with the Bible was a deception from Satan. Satan was always trying to lie to us and trick us, and so we had to keep our guard up, and not be led astray by things of this world. Two years later, when I heard about evolution for the first time in school, I was ready.

Still, if anything, I think what I remember most about home church was that, for us at least, it really wasn't that different from what I heard and experienced at a charismatic church before, or a community church, Methodist church, Presbyterian church, and evangelical church after. Sure, the milder of those steered clear of demon-talk, and seemed to focus more on things like good works and conscience than on anointing and ministry and deliverance, but they all used the same Bible. They all sang the same Bible verses turned into hymns. They all started with music, moved onto a teaching, and ended up prayer and a meal. So I had no negative conceptions of home church at all, the first time I read about the Attleboro cult, the night I Googled my grandmother's name.

(the Attleboro story coming soon)

Inspiration just ain't flowing today Anteaters, but the tears of a crazy person are. For some reason I've been intermittently acting like a pathological bitch to my boyfriend and falling apart in a crying huddle. After my last experience with the doctor two weeks ago, when the guy threatened to Baker Act me, I haven't exactly been eager to go see a new doctor. I had to borrow *their* phone to have Dave come get me instead of the sherriff (because I don't get to have one) and then stick around half an hour waiting for him (getting there as fast as he could) because I don't have a car. I was going to that shit doctor in the first place, because he was the only guy Medicaid had in my area, and when I went home to try to schedule an appointment with someone else, I found out my insurance was getting cancelled three days later (2 weeks ago). It's possible I may be going a bit too nuts to continue staying on the outside of a facility.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

You Really Like Me!

Honestly, I read every email - here and to my gmail on my YouTube & Facebook & Twitter. I just don't have time to respond to all of them. So what I'd like to do is continue picking the common questions or the most common logical fallacies, historical or scientific inaccuracies, and misconceptions about secularism and humanism and atheism. I'll do videos on these common themes, and maybe that will address some portion of the emails :) Believe me, this is a good problem to have, like having too much money (except I don't have too much money. You should totally give me money.)

Thank you to everybody who's sent me an email telling me about your own experiences in cults or abusive groups. I encourage you to talk with people who have knowledge in these things, whether that's a counselor or self-help book or joining ExCultNetwork. Just continue reaching out and realize you're not alone. It's not your "fault" you got sucked into or were born into an abusive church, just like it's not a girl's fault if her father rapes her (Screw you, unknown Genesis author dude who, by the way, totally wasn't Moses.)

I'm trying to figure out the best approach for "monetizing" my brand and my creative ventures. A couple of my videos have been picked up for revenue sharing on YouTube, and I host pay-per-click ads here* and on my Feedburner. I also set up a new Facebook app Bible quiz. If it goes viral, I'll start getting revenue sharing from that as well, so please feel free to pass it around. If anybody has other suggestions that don't take a lot of maintenance time once they're set up, please let me know! :)

I really love what I'm doing, writing the book and the blog, making the videos and speaking out about the things I'm passionate about, and that other people are going through in silence. I just wish it paid better, lol.

Here's hoping this is the year I finish the book & make a gajillion dollars, most of which I'll invest in the developing world. :D

p.s. Thanks to everyone for sharing my videos and blog posts with others. It means a lot to me.

Today's picture of Marilyn Monroe was taken by Slim Aarons.

* hint,hint

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"The Woman's Role in the Home"

I do love me some counter-apologetics. What can I say, it gets my blood going early in the morning and revs me up. I can almost understand atheists who were raised in secular homes being completely uninterested by religion, but I'm always surprised when former-believing atheists don't seem to give a hoot. Isn't it sort of oddly fascinating to look at your old self through new eyes? I started writing this post a few months ago when I was reading "Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy" but never finished it. I have a feeling this will be a multi-part post so I hope you're as eager as I am to rant on the misogyny of the Bible.

As a small Christian girl, I thought having children was the purpose and honor of women. I was molested as a child, and in the doctor's visit which eventually followed, I overheard the male gynecologist discussing with one of his nurse's the extent of damage done to me, and the likelihood that I might never successfully carry a child to term. It changed how I saw myself fundamentally. Between that sort of "failure" to be an actual woman, to bear children, my non-pure, non-virgin status, and the fact that I had somehow gotten the message that only men abuse and only women are victimized, I decided I couldn't be a good woman, and so I set about becoming a tomboy.

I changed my name to a boy's-style nickname for the next two years, cut my hair short, and joined the softball team. I didn't wear a dress once for four years. I thought if I could just be a boy, that I would be okay. If someone had told me boys were abused, too, I might not have gone this route. It seemed like the best way to keep myself safe at the time.

And oddly enough, it was. I don't know that it played any role in preventing future molestation or rape, but it separated me mentally and emotionally from the "woman's role in the home." I'd never been interested in cooking or cleaning; having kids was the part of womanhood I'd expected to like. Now that I believed that was gone, there was simply no reason to have that kind of Biblical marriage. By the time my grandmother told me she'd found a boy for me to marry (we were both 13; he lived in Montana and was the son of some of her followers - and we had never met), I had already given up on that lifestyle (and begun to experience the fun of secular hedonism).

I'm reading "Quiverfull: Inside the Chritian Patriarchy Movement" and it's disturbing how many of their beliefs match up with the cult teachings of my childhood. I could have been those women. So, let's see what kind of lifetime bullet I dodged, and what that childhood abuse may have actually saved me from. Looking at "The Woman's Role in the Home" by Christian homeschooling mother Rachel Harkins makes me want to wash out my eyes with bleach. Or acid.
I enjoy coming up with acrostics when I'm able, and as I was thinking on this topic the Lord gave me this acrositc for the word "HOME". H – Honour the Lord. In the old Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the definition for honour is – “To reverence; to manifest the highest veneration for, in WORDS and ACTIONS; to entertain the most exalted thoughts of ; to worship; to adore.” Before we, as Christian wives and mothers, can fulfill our role in the home, we must let Christ have first place in our lives. Sometimes this requires God getting our attention by bringing us to our knees until we finally acknowledge that He is “All we have and All we need”. In order to explain this further, I’d like to share a brief testimony. The older I get, the more I enjoy sharing it because I realize the mercy and longsuffering that God has shown me.
Notice that she specifically uses the 1828 Webster's dictionary, and think about how much language has changed since then. Among the "Quiverfull" Christian homeschooling (home cult-ing) movement this edition has been deemed the "Christian dictionary", because as one nut put it, "The English language has changed again and again and in many instances has become corrupt. The American Dictionary of the English Language is based upon God's written word, for Noah Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions." Tee-hee, "corrupt" language that includes new words like internet, drive-thru, electricity, and life support. Yes, I'm sure you couldn't possibly need any of the "corrupted" English from today's version of Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Oh, and who came up with that acrostic - her or the Lord? Seems a shame she can't give herself credit for figuring out 4 words or phrases beginning with common letters!

Now let's look at what she's saying. "Before you can be a good mom or wife, you have to put someone else first in your life, before your kids or husband." Ouchilogical: so illogical it hurts! And notice, too, the controlling relationship this woman imagines she has with God. He resorts to "getting our attention by bringing us to our knees" until we praise Him and give Him an ego blow job. Nice God, huh? Obviously the sort of chap you want to venerate, reverence, and worship.
I was raised in a Christian home where both parents loved the Lord. Since Dad took his family to church “every time the doors were open”, I heard the gospel at a very early age. My Mom told me I came to her when I was very young, wanting to be saved, but I have no remembrance of that time. My earliest memories of the Holy Spirit dealing with my young heart are when I was around the age of 5 or 6. I would lay in bed at night, afraid that Jesus had come back and taken my parents and I was left behind. Many times, I would quietly get out of bed and walk to my parents’ bedroom door where I would stand and call out to my mother. When she finally awakened and answered me, I was fine. Mom was still there. I could go to sleep now.
So, before her earliest religious memory at age 5 or 6 she had already been concerned for the state of her soul. And this is why I hate religion. I "got saved" the first time when I was 3. And remember, this is in a pro-Jesus testimony, this childhood fear of hell and of being left behind at the rapture. This woman didn't just hear the gospel; she was brainwashed into it. Also, at 5 or 6 the Holy Spirit would not have been "dealing with [her] young heart" if she'd been raised in a secular or Wicaan or Buddhist home, now would it? No "Holy Spirit" was leading her; that girl was terrified because her parents filled her head with nonsense about the end of the world, and about a supposedly-merciful God who will leave some people behind. Of course she had fears like this. Really, no supernatural explanation is required to understand the nighttime fears of a terrorized little girl.
It wasn’t until I was 8 years old that the Holy Spirit convicted me of my lost condition. It was on a Saturday night, Dad was at the Saturday night men’s prayer meeting and I was already in bed asleep. That night I dreamed that the rapture had taken place and I was not ready to go. I awakened in fear and went straight to my mother. After telling her about my dream and my fears of not being saved, Mom took her Bible and shared scripture with me. It was on that night that I made sure of my salvation.
The "lost condition" she refers to is her humanity; she was brainwashed and afraid of hell and abandonment. I responded to many alter calls myself, because there was no way to be really, really certain that the warm fuzzy feelings mean you're not going to hell.
In Job 33, starting with verse 12 the Bible says, “Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.”
So, God doesn't have to answer to anybody; who are ye to judge; and dreams are really messages from on high. Got any evidence Job?
And then starting in verse 24, “Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.”
Okay, ew on the fresh flesh. That's just a little too zombie apocalypse for me. Next, let't not forget who created this pit or who made us all born headed there. Gangbangers, junkies, and sex workers, here's the religion just for you. Admit you done wrong & fess up to the error of your ways and you can be a minister! It's just that easy. (Wanna know more? Just send $79.99 US to Angie the Anti-Theist for my introductory DVD "How to fleece idiots for their money in a religious context." Don't wait - Order NOW!)
That is my testimony. After praying with me, Mom showed me the verses in I John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” I remember her emphasizing the word “KNOW”. I’m so thankful that we can KNOW!
That's your testimony? You know there are few *billion* people currently on the planet who don't have the son yet they have life. "Oh it's metaphoric" - How do you know, is there an asterisk? How can you tell which parts are metaphor and which are threats and which are histories and which are made-up bullshit to keep the peasants in line? Basically this girl has been terrorized into having nightmares about being abandoned and rejected at the rapture, so her mom says "Just believe this and you can KNOW you're okay!" Without, you know, actually doing anything to help the little girl BE okay (like assuring her no loving god would cast the majority of humankind into the fiery pits of hell.)
I’m ashamed to say that there was not much growth after salvation. I Corinthians 3:1,2 says “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” Those verses describe me for the next several years. Oh, I had a “head knowledge” of the Bible. I knew all of the familiar Bible stories by heart and could quote many Bible verses, but I had no application of spiritual principles in my life. This immaturity led to my straying in my Jr. High and Sr. High School years. It wasn’t until after Jim and I were married that the Lord began dealing with me about certain things.
So from the time when she was 8 and her mother told her she could KNOW for certain she was getting into heaven (the ultimate life insurance policy, as we called it) till she was a young adult she did not live a serious, adult "faithwalk" and perhaps made more errors in judgment or more impulsive decisions. This is hardly surprising. The prefrontal cortex of the brain - responsible for impulse control, decision making, and advanced planning - does not finish developing in humans until the early 20s. I know I'm much better at those things than I was ten, or even five years ago. My brain's capacity to perform those thought functions has improved, and so have my choices. This has nothing whatsoever to do with a god, much less the specifically misogynistic Christian god, much less her unique personal and denominational version of Christian god. I too knew all the major Bible stories, and could numerous quote verses (and heal the sick and cast out demons and pray in the name of Jesus and prophesy the future, or at least I thought I could.) Dave asked me the other night when we were watching "Jesus Camp" why, if I believed as strongly as those kids did, didn't that stop me from doing drugs or having sex? Because of course, god wasn't real and he wasn't there to help me make good decisions. My prayers begging god to take my "freewill" from me went entirely unanswered; it wasn't until my brain developed further that I began to have some greater degree of control over my choices and actions.
Jim was saved the year before we were married and although I had been saved for several years now, we both were very young in the Lord. After our marriage, God led us to a little independent Baptist church and for the first time that I can remember in my Christian life, I began to hear preaching on the Christian walk. God began dealing with my heart about things that I needed to confess. Many nights, Jim would stay up and talk with me and then we would pray. This repentance brought forgiveness and some growth, through preaching as well as trials where we learned to lean on the Lord. Up until this time, however, I had no consistent personal time with the Lord. I knew I should be reading my Bible daily as well as praying, but my quiet time was more “hit and miss” as I allowed other things to take its place.
Two Christians decided to find a church in their area; they happened across one that put a lot of focus on legalism and following the rules of the Bible (as opposed to just the hippie Jesus message of KNOWING your saved.) They go through some good times and some bad, and put their faith in god to get them through. In reality, they get themselves and each other through. And someone actually had the gall to ask me yesterday if I would still "demean" religion if they didn't rape children, commit genocide, or advocate slavery! It still lies to children, oppresses women, and justifies the worst atrocities with bullshit platitudes about "god is love" and the "prince of peace". Fuck that. (Yes, my original admirable goal of keeping the blog largely profanity-free has taken a nose dive since the video posts, so I'm just gonna go with it. Let me know if it bugs you, Anteaters.
The turning point in my Christian life came in early ‘96. I had just given birth to our 5th child, Bethany, in December ’95 and I guess I experienced what some people would call a major case of “postpartum depression”. Unlike other times, I just couldn’t “bounce back” this time. I felt so overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a wife, mother, teacher, etc. I now had 3 children in grade school (we homeschooled), one toddler and an infant and I just didn’t know if I could do it all! Of course, in my eyes “nobody understood”, not even Jim. (Even though I remember him telling me not to worry about the schooling right then…….."just take your time, rest, start back when your ready".) I really didn’t feel like I could talk to anybody. There were many nights when I would get up, not wanting to disturb Jim, and just sit in a room by myself and cry. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, God was bringing me exactly to the place He wanted me to be.
Post-partum depression *sucks* and I wish this poor woman had been given access to secular therapy, psychotropic medications (if she wanted them), and practical assistance with some of the overwhelming tasks of motherhood. I can't even imagine caring for five children every single day, including an infant. An infant alone is enough to turn the cheeriest parents into wild-eyed narcoleptic zombies covered in spit up and poo. And as for the sadness and loneliness, well I've had more than a few days where I just fell on the floor sobbing - even once this week. Depression is a medical condition, not the action of a loving god. What kind of loving god curses this woman with a (totally naturally explainable and physical) mental illness in order to make her - who already praises him and accepts him and is clearly letting him dictate her womb's opening and closing - be more in line with his demands?
Finally, one night I got out of bed and as I sat there crying, I began calling out to God. In total desperation I cried, “Lord, You’re all I have, and You’re all I need.” THAT WAS IT! That was exactly where God wanted me…TOTAL surrender to Him!!!! Oh, what a sweet peace I felt that night……..a peace that passeth all understanding! I could never begin to try to express the burden that was lifted that night. It was after I gave the Lord first place in my life that I began to have a hunger for His Word like never before. I had such a strong desire to grow and this led to a consistent personal time with the Lord. As I said earlier, before we can fulfill our role in the home, we MUST let Christ have first place in our lives and sometimes this requires God getting our attention by bringing us to our knees.
I've experienced that desire to grow in the Lord; I remember it well. And I remember the release that comes from not being the one making decisions, or bearing responsibility. The "peace of the Lord" is nothing more than completely letting go. I think that's why turning my life and affairs over to god felt so much like taking off for a roadtrip without money or a destination (or a car.) In fact, when I was on such roadtrips - totally reliant on luck, the weather, and the kindness of strangers - I felt the closest I ever did to god, outside of a worship service or revival. To me it sounds like Rachel started carving out a little quiet alone time each day, to sit and read and maybe drink her coffee in silence and solitude. The book is less important than you might think, and there are far better secular books available for getting through depression, loneliness, and the stress of parenting. (Some of the books are even comedies, which have the benefit of making you laugh.)
When we begin to honour the Lord in our lives, it will be evident not only in our words, but in our actions. Our love and adoration for Him will become so strong that just the THOUGHT of bringing a reproach to His name will grieve us. Truly honouring the Lord will change how we walk, how we talk, how we live. And, it will change the kind of wife and mother that we are. Our husbands will begin to notice a change in us. That perhaps “nagging wife” will turn into a “praying wife”. Our children will notice Momma reading her Bible more and more.
The "praying wife" is of course the woman who never expresses her concerns, displeasures, or contradictory opinions to her husband, and instead petitions god to let him know through some other (penis-centered) way. That certainly is a consequence of honoring the god of the Bible. I remember being scared to think blasphemous thoughts, and of not allowing myself to listen to any music with the word "goddamn" in it, because it made me too uncomfortable. (I'm looking at you, Panic at the disco.)
I read a quote the other day by Sis. Linda Townsend, a pastor’s wife, and I’d like to share it with you. “A house isn’t a home without the heart of the homemaker being right with God.” How true this is. We must have our hearts right with God before we can minister in our home as God would have us.
That's actually not true, at all. I live in a home entirely occupied by atheists/nontheists. Not a one of us is "right with God" and, even though I'm home all day and I perform the cooking, cleaning, and laundry functions for the household, I am not a fucking homemaker. I am an underpaid blogger, writer, activist, YouTuber, mother, lover, friend, and funny ass human being. I don't give two flying monkey's poop logs how a god would want me to minister. I'll take care of my family the way I see fit, because I am responsible for my own life.

This post has been brought to you by the letter H. Part 2 coming soon-ish (no promises these days lol.)

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Inside Out

Hypergraphia - the compulsive need to write. I've felt so interrupted lately. It's hard to finish a thought or a sentence, much less write a full post. I'm still sad and that annoys me, but trying to pretend like pushing me will somehow make me less sad or stressed or crazy is just nonsense.

My online life is fantastic. If only the rest of my life went as smoothly. I find more and more that I feel most comfortable with either prepared speeches or written communication. I feel like I'm gonna mess up if I say "the wrong thing" and that fear isn't valid for this time and place.

I cut my arm today. I feel like I should be ashamed, but I'm not. I'd originally wanted to slam my head into the wall or cut my left hand off at the wrist. The few minutes it took to pry apart a disposable razor helped me to focus and to calm down. The few quick shallow cuts were more for the sting than anything else. Pain is remarkable for concentration. Sometimes when I feel like a toddler throwing a tantrum, afraid of my own overpowering emotions and down on the floor crying like a child, a little pain makes it better.

And I'm scared to eat, yet I'm desperate for comfort food. I can't seem to figure out whether I want to "not care" about my weight and just enjoy chocolate and life, or whether I want to forego the sweets and treats of the world (and a good deal of the appetizers and main courses as well) to be a size zero. And I'm tired of having to make this decision all over again every fucking day/week/month/year/life. The combination of going out (a lot) more and being on new medications has added about 15 lbs and I'm really not happy about it.

And i don't have the energy to be a fun mom; I just want my kid to be quiet and not have needs in the other room (kind of how I imagine my mom thinking of me.) Depression fucking sucks and I feel like there's no way at all he gets this. He says I'm acting distant - depression involves retreating inward. D'uh. He seems to want sanity or civility or something else I can't seem to muster right now. And it makes me feel like a jerk, but I really don't want to go out. I want to hide in my room, lick my wounds, burn off this weight, and write until my fingers bleed.

I love you ALL.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

What's the point?

It bugs me that people even ask this question.

Biography post coming later today, as well as promotions & the (belated) Charity of the Month.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Would you still be an atheist...

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

My eighth grade boyfriend Chris (the second one - out of an eventual eight) cheated on me with my friend Amy Christian*. Apparently she gave him a blow job. I heard this not from him, and certainly not from her, but seeing as how she had done it during choir class, on her knees while everyone stood around her singing, I heard about it from quite a few people. (This was before everyone had a camera phone, so I was spared at least from seeing it myself.)

I came to school the next day, filled with righteous indignation and wearing my sexiest dress. I had only just started wearing dresses again that year. I stopped as soon as I quit going to Christian school, and quit being required to wear one on Wednesdays for Chapel.

He knew I knew. How could I not? He stood there in front of me on the courtyard where we had sat together with our friends, where he had felt me up under the table while we laughed and joked and talked about music and how much our parents sucked. Chris stood there begging an apology with his face, and trying to foist a small white teddy bear holding a red plush heart on me. He squeezed it and it let out a high and tinny sound, like a singing birthday card or the music in a Japanese Nintendo game.

I didn't even have words. My rage was primal, animal. It wasn't the kind of rage that spoke; it was the kind that growled. I snatched the bear and snarled at him, then flounced off to my locker. Did he seriously think I would forgive him if he bought me some gas station teddy bear with his cigarette money? Not only was that totally insulting, almost more than the blow job even, but the damn thing sounded annoying. Somehow I made it through that day, and onto the bus home from school. I kept myself busy, watching TRL and talking on the phone or else chatting with people on AIM.

My mom was out of town then. She has gone to at least two conferences a year for as long as I can remember. Even as a grad student, my mom missed Easter every single year, because an annual conference is held that week, and it's cheapest to fly on Easter Sunday. My sister Esther and I weren't very close at that point, and we each sort of kept to our rooms (mine a 10' by 10' office and hers a 10' x 16' bedroom the same size as our mom's.)

Esther and I made and ate our meals separately, like always. We hadn't been forced to do family dinners since I was ten, and we both knew how to use the microwave. It wouldn't have occurred to me that eating the meal with someone would be better in some way. (I still get very impatient after I'm done eating, when people want to loiter at the restaurant. The inner diner waitress in me is screaming, "What are you - French?!?")

At bedtime I started looking for some scissors. I found the rusty orange handled ones we kept for opening boxes in the junk drawer. I took them to my small square bedroom, decorated with letters from my friends, taped open, in a desperate subconscious attempt to get my mother to notice me, and notice the danger I was in.

I set up everything I would need on the bed - scissors, a lighter, a hammer, a cutting board, a box of love letters, a trash can, a mix tape, and the bear. I climbed over the pile to the head of my bed by my dresser, and began.

I ripped open the right side of the bear and yanked the small plastic voice box out. I tossed the bear aside momentarily to focus on the white circle in front of me. I placed it on the cutting board and smashed it with the hammer over and over, till the music stopped and it resembled a squashed bug more than a piece of electronic equipment. I leaned over and put the hammer, cutting board, and carcass at the foot of the bed, and settled back into my spot, cross-legged on my pillows in the corner of my room.

I pulled out all the cotton stuffing, throwing it on the floor off to one side. I had to flip the arms and legs practically inside out to get all of it. Having an idea, I reversed the bear. Looking at it, I suddenly felt much calmer. "Huh," I said aloud. "I invertedted it." I thought my stutter was really funny for some reason and I enjoyed for a moment the sensation of actually being as weird as I felt. I calmly and methodically clipped all the hairs coming through the inside-out bear, and when I got tired of that, I used the scissors to stab and snip the limp and hairless remains. I wasn't sure if voodoo was real or not. I certainly believed in sorcery being both real and demonic. Right then I didn't care. I wanted voodoo to be real. I wanted him to know how much he had betrayed me, but I didn't want to have to tell him. I didn't ever wanna speak to him again.

Once there was really no more bear left to destroy, I moved on to the mix tape. For some strange reason, Chris really liked Phil Collins and the song "Groovy Kind of Love" was on the tape. I hadn't heard it before and that it was uncomfortably cheesy. The only other song I remember being on there was "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N Roses. I pulled the thin, gossamer strand of audio tape, out and out, unrolling it from the spools. Into the trash can it went.

Now it was time for the night's major attraction - the grand finale. I set my small green plastic garbage can, now half full of cotton stuffing, in front of me on the bed, and took his love letters - his painfully misspelled and written in a childish scrawl love letters. He wasn't exactly a wordsmith and I remember not being that impressed even when I felt all gooey about him, before my supposed friend put her mouth on his cock in front of thirty other kids, and before he didn't stop her at any point in all of this, until after he had come and she had swallowed.

I unfolded the first letter, from the origami-like shape everyone seemed to pass notes in at school.** I held it by one corner and flicked the lighter with my other hand. I let the flame climb onto the paper, and twisted it this way and that, getting the ashes to fly into the trash can. I burned it down till just the one corner remained, and blew it out before the fire could singe me. I did it again. And again. On the fourth letter, I couldn't keep the flame moving the way I wanted it to, and it burned my fingers. I dropped the letter and the fire into the trash can.

Whoosh! The teddy bear stuffing might as well have been made out of lighter fluid or pure oxygen. And suddenly, in a moment of crystal clarity, I realized the exact stupidity of what I was doing. Trapped in on all sides, with a fire in front of me on the bed, I started screaming. "Help! Fire! Water!"

My sister yanked open my door and threw an old plastic yogurt cup filled with water in my general direction. Looking exasperated, she stalked off and slammed the door to her room, to try to go back to sleep. I grabbed the sodden, charred, smoldering remains of the trash can out to the yard, and let it continue melting and warping out there, then set about airing out the house.

My sister never told my mom, or if she did, mom didn't act on the information. I set another fire a year later, trying to perform a magic spell and letting the candles catch my drapes. I had to use the fire extinguisher on that one, and the clean up was a pain, but mom didn't know about that one either. It wasn't until she went to check the extinguisher, six or seven years later, that she realized it was actually near empty.

Maybe my mom should have invaded my privacy, just a little. I certainly shouldn't have gotten away with as much as I did, and she's said herself that she knew about a lot more than she's told me. I had my secrets written on my walls, if only she had looked. I could scarcely have made it more plain to her how very not-okay I was.

Disclaimer: No actual animals were harmed in the making of this memory.

* Yes, her name really was Christian.
** Is this a lost art form now that kids have texting?

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Monday, January 4, 2010

The High Cost of Fame

I haven't had much time to write on the blog lately. Partly that's been because of life stuff & a disrupted schedule & a child home from school & starting a YouTube channel, but a lot of it has been that it takes me a couple of hours a day to go through my email. Between comments here (which I've sadly had to add moderation to after a few banned commenters discovered anonymizers), comments on YouTube, messages on Facebook, comments on Facebook, moderating ExCult Network, direct emails, Think Atheist comments...

So, if I take a while to get to your email, I apologize. I'll do what I can. It used to be I could knock out all my overnight emails in half an hour or an hour while I woke up, and then have plenty of time to write. As Angie the Anti-Theist has expanded, uh, I guess I've become a little stretched thin. The whole point of all this is to write the book, to get my story and the story of other cult kids out there. So of all the things on my plate, email is the one that's gonna have to move to the side a bit (and yes, Farmville, too. I know, it's *tragic*.)

In the meantime, check out a few of the less pleasant comments I got on my YouTube channel today (and feel free to drop by & subscribe or vote me up, hint-hint!)

you atheist bitch! REPENT NOW!!!!

on 9/11 i had the biggest fucking wank ever. you stupid fucking american cunts deserved that shit.

i laughed when TJ's dad died as well... that shit was hilarious.... but the icing on the fucking cake was when I found out he had been molested as a child. what a fucking fat loser! lol

when you look at the creation of the universe. you see INTELLIGENT DESIGN. we did not come from a puddle of goo and microorganisms. there is No proof of that. you god awful stupid bitch

ofc it's not a religion you ugly dike!

I feel sorry for the poor deluded maker of this video, not to mention the many young & impressionable kids who will be led into a life of crime and rampant anti-social behaviour after being brainwashed, I mean, indoctrinated, by it.

no Atheism is NOT a Religion its garbage that people think because theyre skeptick
thats who the athest are skepticks who bother the hell out of people who have a Religion and one guy i know laughs if if find out if you belive omg you have a falth how upserd hahahaha
you know what athest (some) belive that they come back as a tree or another person how stupid does that sound

True...they build their whole lives around disbelief. They offer "nothing" in it's place. It's like voting against something, instead of FOR something. Sounds just lazy. ((Like gay marriage, you asshole?))

YOUR ALL GOING TO HELL YOU ATHEIST QUEERS!!!!!!!!!!!! atheist = faggots You're gonna eat your babies!

I am not a troll, I hate trolls. I am here spreading God's love and compassion and you atheists hate the truth so you act like assholes.

You can see what a good God he is. A lot of people have the term "curse" very confused. God doesn't actively curse or damn anyone. A curse is actually what happens to us when we lack God. Because if we push him away and curse him He cannot cover us because we don't allow him. So when this happens we're under a curse...

You have the «Don't believe in God» God.
So, if a christian has a «Believe in God» God, where is the difference?

Real brain trusts, huh?

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Thoughts on Sunday School

I've started half a dozen posts but I haven't had the hours of dedicated solitude I need for real writing. Thankfully tomorrow I can go register Little Man at the new school & soon he'll be outta my hair.

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