Conflicting Message to Christian Women by Christians About Physical Appearance

Conflicting Message to Christian Women by Christians About Physical Appearance

I plan on making a longer post later about how Christian dating and marriage advice often emphasizes the supposed necessity of the importance of a woman’s physical appearance – and how annoying this emphasis is – but this post, I wanted to keep this post a little short.

On the one hand, going back decades now, conservative American churches and other Christian entities have instructed unmarried women that if they want dates or a husband, they have to stay thin and attractive at all times.

This is the type of advice I would expect to see in secular sources pertaining to dating, and it is in fact often mentioned in secular sources, but it’s disappointing to see it on Christian sites, magazines, and so forth, but it is.

We Christian women get told repeatedly in Christian publications, blogs, radio shows, TV shows, and sermons, that Christian men -(really? This sounds more like it would be more true of secular men)- prefer sexy hotty totty sexy sexy women. Ergo, we Christian women must be clones of sex pot movie star Megan Fox or Jayne Mansfield at all times, until we die. We are not allowed to age, get wrinkles, or facial lines.

(By the way, this extreme, sexist, and unfair fixation on a woman’s looks has earned this topic the tag of “Lookism” on this blog, so if you want to see other posts, past or future, where I discuss this, please see the “Lookism” tag off to the side bar of this blog.)

Some pastors or Christian spokespersons, such as Mark Driscoll and Pat Robertson (see this post at this blog for more on that), have said that if a married man cheats on his wife (or is an alcoholic), it is totally understandable, reasonable, or expected, if the wife has “let herself go.” Married men have a right to cheat on their wife if their wife has gained weight or gotten wrinkles, is the implied message from these so-called Christian speakers.

Please, someone, point me to the Bible passage that says, “Thou shall not commit adultery, unless thy wife has gotten overweight, wrinkles, sags, or grey hair, in which case, I, your most Holy God, am all like, ‘Bro, I totally understand-eth! Thou art excused from the whole adultery thing.'”

So anyway, we women are told -indoctrinated and brainwashed constantly- since our youth, that our value as Christian women resides not in God, but in being quiet, submissive, and PRETTY (and as we get older, the characteristics of “being a wife and a mommy” are added), but BEING PRETTY is always on the list.

That message is obnoxious in and of itself, but what gets my goat is that it’s also frequently brandished along side this next sexist chestnut which conflicts with it; here it is:

Christian ladies, don’t be sexy because it might cause your “brothers in Christ” to “stumble.”

On the one hand, we Christian ladies are pressured to remain sexy, thin, and attractive, lest we turn off our husbands (if we have one), or, for those of us desiring marriage, lest we repel the single men out there, but, we should not look sexy because it might cause a man to have naughty, lustful thoughts.

So, according to a lot of conservative Christian authors, television hosts, and bloggers, I’m supposed to look sexy but not look sexy.
(Please click the “read more” link to read the rest of this post. Thanks)

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Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says

Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says

I’m right in the middle of writing a post on another topic for this blog when the hosts of the Christian program “The 700 Club” announced they will be interviewing a male author, Jonathan V. Last, of a book called “What to Expect When No One’s Is Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.”

This was preceded by a journalist on the show doing a brief news segment high-lighting that birth rates for 20-something American women have declined, while births for ages 35 – 44 American women have increased.

I never cared strongly if I had children or not. I wanted marriage, but kids? I didn’t care strongly about having children. That’s my personal position on the kid issue.

I am watching the interview now, as it’s airing.

The author at least concedes that it’s okay if people choose not to have kids. Host Pat Robertson isn’t fully on board with that view.

Now Last, the author, is going on to say what disasters will befall America if women don’t pop out two point five kids each – not enough tax payers to support medicare, it becomes difficult to sustain defense (not enough 18 year olds to join the military), and so forth.

Robertson is now asking the author, Last, about declining population in Japan (and later, he asks about Germany).

Continue reading “Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says”

What Christians Can Learn from The Walking Dead Re: Family, Singleness, and Marriage

When secular sources get it right – The Walking Dead

(I can see disgruntled “Caryl” fans wanting to leave me argumentative comments about this post. If so, please see the “Policy on Dissent on this blog” before being tempted to leave me a nasty gram. Thank you.)

On the cable channel AMC’s hit show about the zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead, the topic of ‘what is family’ is explored every so often, as it was most recently in last night’s episode, “The Suicide King.” The show centers on sheriff Rick Grimes, who leads a group of survivors, some related by flesh and blood (or marriage), but most not.

The character Rick Grimes has a wife named Lori and son named Carl, and a newborn daughter named Judith (the wife, Lori, got killed a few episode ago).

Other characters under Rick’s charge include (but are not limited to) Hershel Greene, who has two daughters, Maggie and Beth. All the other members of Rick’s group are unrelated through birth or marriage (some previous members were killed in older episodes). They have banded together to survive.

One of Rick’s group includes the redneck survivalist character, Daryl Dixon. Daryl has become the show’s most popular character.

Daryl and his older, racist, sexist, violent brother Merle get separated early on in the show. Daryl grew up in his abusive older brother’s shadow. When Daryl was not being ignored as a child, he was being physically and verbally abused by his brother and possibly by his father, when they bothered to pay any attention to him.

In the episode ‘The Suicide King’ (first aired February 10, 2013), Merle re-enters Daryl’s life. Daryl decides to leave Rick’s group to go off alone with his brother again, because Rick refuses to allow Merle to join the group.

Rick tries to talk Daryl into staying (without his brother Merle), but Daryl is still stuck in the idea that flesh and blood ties is what constitutes “family,” or that flesh- and- blood ties should take priority to other sorts of bonds.

The character Glenn, who doesn’t want Daryl to leave the group, tells Daryl that Merle may be “your blood, but not mine.” Glenn explains that the group of survivors, headed by Rick, is his family now, even though Glenn is not related to any of these people through blood ties – and Rick tells Daryl, “you are part of this family.” Daryl still decides to leave with his brother Merle, however.

You can view a video clip of a few moments of that scene, and the actors from the show discussing the concept of “family” in this video clip:

(Link:) (SPOILERS) Inside Episode 309 The Walking Dead: The Suicide King (Video on You Tube)

Rick’s group of survivors have been more of a family to and for Daryl than Daryl’s own flesh and blood relations – despite a few arguments with one or two other group members (such as the late Shane Walsh), the group has treated Daryl with kindness and respect, and they have come to rely on him for protection and defense.

In one of the last few episodes, when Rick falls apart after his wife Lori dies from childbirth, Daryl willingly risks his life to go out in search of baby formula for the newborn.

In yet earlier episodes, Daryl took it upon himself, and puts himself in danger, to go searching alone in a zombie-infested forest for the twelve- year- old daughter of Carol, Sophia, who went missing at one point.

Daryl, despite his racist family of origins, freely and glady, with no prompting from any one, gives up some of his big brother’s antibiotic and painkiller medication to a black group member, “T-Dog,” who was gravely injured.

Remember, none of these people – Carol, the new born child, T-Dog, Rick, Sophia – are Daryl’s flesh and blood family, but he still acts on their behalf anyway.

In another episode, Rick, Glenn, Oscar and Maggie – all of no relation to Daryl – go to the town of Woodbury to rescue Daryl from one of the show’s bad guys, the Governor.

Throughout the series, Daryl has shown himself not to be a racist, sexist jerk like his older brother Merle. He has a difficult time emotionally connecting with other people, but he is, at his core, a decent guy who tries to help other people.

~~~~~~ ASIDE ~~~~~~~~

Before I return to the main theme of this post (which is, ‘who is family’), I wanted to address another issue about this show:

It may resonate with this blog’s particular audience to know that the actor who plays Daryl has said in interviews that in his mind, the character Daryl, who is also in his 40s, is a virgin. The show’s writers have, so far, never given Daryl a love interest or a sex scene – and remember, Daryl is hugely, hugely popular with the show’s viewers.

(Please click on the “read more” link below to read the rest of this post. Thank you.)
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Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians | Re: Marriage Not Happening for Hetero-sexual Christians Over the Age of 30

While conservative Christians keep on despairing that today’s American culture no longer resembles 1950s “Leave It To Beaver” families, the majority of them keep right on ignoring one significant group: unmarried Christians over the age of 30 who want to get married but who cannot find a Christian partner.

About the only Christians who have taken note of this plight are those who are in the group themselves, such as myself.

There are many Christians over the age of 30 who want to get married, but they cannot find a suitable partner at church, through friends, or on dating sites. And their petitions to God on this matter are not working. God remains silent and does not move.

Meanwhile, we unmarried Christians [* please see March 2016 update at the bottom of this post], who want marriage but for whom it remains out of reach…

Stand by and see the never-ending avalanche of blog pages, magazine articles, and booklets printed, or radio shows broadcast, by mainstream evangelical groups bemoaning the fact that 20-somethings are putting off marriage until their late 20s…

Or that they are dropping out of church altogether, with a smaller amount of attention paid to topics such as divorce and how to keep a marriage together.

But there is nothing from the Christian community, no attention, prayers, concern, or material, for those who cannot even get to the altar to begin with (with the exception of a small amount of Christian material which insults us and puts us down).

I was reminded of all this again when skimming over parts of a book online. The book is “Church in an Age of Crisis,” by James Emery White.

In a chapter about marriage (I don’t see any chapters on prolonged singleness among Christians – which is typical), he writes in a sidebar:

— Begin Quote from Book —
The Crumbling State of Marriage

-[1] For the first time since the US began tallying marriages, more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot

-[2] Proportion of married adults of all ages was 52 percent in 2009, down from 72.2 percent in 1960 – the lowest percentage since the US began tracking in 1880

-[3] Cohabitation in the US has nearly doubled since 1990
— End Quote from Book —

As for point 1, (“more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot”), how many of those singles want to stay single? How many of them have intentionally chosen to stay single into their 30s and older? Why is this distinction almost never made?

How many of those singles are like me, who always desired and expected to marry, but it just never happened?

Why do these worried and pearl-clutching conservative Christians always seem to assume that those of us Christians who have remained single past the age of 30 or 40 have deliberately chosen to remain so?

Continue reading “Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage”

Creepy, Creepy and Sexist Pat Robertson

In the future, I plan on doing a post where I will reference this one. For now, here is a collection of links about creepy and sexist things Robertson has said.

I made a post about Pat Roberton’s creepy behavior the other day (here: “Is Pat Robertson of The 700 Club Show some kind of secret perv? He’s Creepy”).

Links (click the “read more” link below to see the rest of the links, and some excerpts):

Awful-Looking Women to Blame For Marital Problems, Pat Robertson Feels

Pat Robertson ‘Shocked’ That Women Watch Porn, Enjoy Erotic Novels Like ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ (VIDEO)

Slatternly-looking wives ruining marriages, says Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson Talks Porn, Makes Everyone Uncomfortable [VIDEO]

Continue reading “Creepy, Creepy and Sexist Pat Robertson”

Reviewers of Dobson’s book about parenting girls confirms it – U.S. Christians fixated on 1950s culture

Hmm. Maybe I should stop listening to Christian radio host Mefferd (her show is online here). The show title was “Mefferd speaks to Dobson,” with no indication of what the topic would be.

I clicked and listened. The show I listened to online is (Link:) here.

Most of her show topics are pretty interesting, but occasionally, she veers off into views I don’t agree with, or she interviews guests whose views make me want to puke.

As it turned out, Mefferd was interviewing Christian author Dobson about a book he wrote a few years ago called “How To Raise Girls.”

I’ve addressed in previous posts how most American churches and Christians are stuck in a 1950s time warp, where they continue to judge all behavior and culture by TV shows from the 1950s.

These types of conservative Christians look upon such television shows or the 1950s itself too, too fondly. I agree that the culture today is vulgar and coarse, and probably more so than it was in the 1950s.

However, and alarmingly, some conservative Christians consider 1950s American culture an ideal one, one to be emulated at all cost – they don’t hold Jesus Christ as the prime example to be emulated, mind you, but 1950s American culture.

Among other topics, I mentioned in the post “American Women Serving in Combat,” that one possible reason Christianity is failing today in the United States and church membership is lagging, is that American Christians spend more time wagging their index fingers at liberals and liberalism, and talking about the evils of contemporary culture (such as the existence of abortion and so on), than in actually helping people – specifically helping other American Christians.

If American Christians spent more time actually meeting the emotional and practical needs of other American Christians, instead of ignoring them in favor of pontificating on abortion, the legalization of homosexual marriage, concern about feminism, or on raising funds (for the billionth time) for rice and beans for starving orphans in Africa, maybe more Americans would find being a Christian more rewarding, practical, beneficial, and want to attend church regularly.

I listened to Mefferd interview Dobson concerning his book “How To Raise Girls,” and was completely turned off.

Gender complementarians (such as Mefferd and Dobson) over-empahsize their view that males and females differ.

Biblical gender egalitarians, such as myself, agree there are differences between males and females.

However, the older I get, I no longer buy the view that males and females are polar opposites across the board.

I think the genders have a lot in common, and both genders are expected by God to imitate Jesus Christ.

There is no “pink” Jesus for girls and no “blue” Jesus for boys.

Anyway, Dobson spent some time telling Mefferd on this radio show that Christian parents ought to raise their little girls to be “lady like.”

That term is rather sketchy and vague, and I don’t recall him clarifying what he means by it. Maybe he was more clear what he means by that term in his book.

I am going to assume for the purposes of this post that I understand what he was getting at with the phrase “lady like.”

I was definitely raised by a “June Cleaver” (1950s fictional television character) type of mom myself – all the way.

I crossed my legs when I sat down, wore panty hose under dresses, did not use cuss words, never wore pants to church services, didn’t sleep around, was never blunt or confrontational – I was a sweet, helpful little doormat who repressed all anger.

I can’t even begin to describe how being raised to be so “lady like” did so much damage to me, how many problems it created.

I am now trying to un-do the years of beliefs and behaviors I was taught was proper, godly, or lady like for a Christian female.

And it’s that very “ladylike” behavior that was so crippling for me (and other Christian women) that Dobson wants other girls to strive for.

There’s this assumption by these Dobson types – the ones who think little girls should be taught to be “lady like” – that if a female is raised to be a gentle, soft spoken, coy, compliant little thing, that this will attract men to her as she ages, and she will be able to get a husband.

I can see how that sort of thinking was true when my mother was a teen ager, but it’s not true for women like me who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s.

Being coy, passive, meek, modest, mild, self-effacing, totally selfless, nurturing, and compliant (“ladylike”) does not guarantee a girl a spouse any more, and is actually a lure for abusive men, which gender complementarians don’t seem to realize – or care about.

Being “lady like” also stunts a girl’s ability to become an independent adult.

After listening to Dobson’s interview with Mefferd about his book about girls,  I went to a book review site and looked Dobson’s book up.

I read reviews by people who read Dobson’s book, and they interestingly echo some of the views I expressed in my post the other day, over conservative Christianity in general.

You will see some of those views here, ones that I’ve brought up before about the state of contemporary Christianity, that these reviewers repeat about Dobson in particular, like how these reviewers notice that….

  • Dobson idolizes 1950s American culture;
  • Dobson, like so many other biblical gender complementarians, portrays un-biblical codependency as being desirable in a female, or mistakes codependency for being some kind of biblical standard for femininity;
  • spends more time complaining and bitching about liberalism than he does in actually dispensing useful parenting advice, etc:

From reviews of Dobson’s book “How To Raise Girls”

Review by Aaron Thompson

(who gave the book a 2 star out of 5 star review):

This review is from: Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women (Hardcover)

I’ll just say I’m not a fan of James Dobson, but I have a habit of reading books even if I don’t think I’ll like them. I got this for free, so I thought I’d give it a go.

True to what I expected, I thought the book was far too negative. The majority of the book is spent talking about how the world is terrible and getting worse by the second. He spends a lot of time recounting “the good ol’ days”, which I assume is when he was a young person. I think it’s safe to say the world was just as bad then, just in some different ways.

I also think he is far too old-fashioned. Call it what you will, but I don’t think it’s necessary for a man to walk on the street side of the sidewalk or order for his date. Those types of behaviors would drive me crazy. In general, I don’t agree with the 1950’s housewife idea he has for women. If a particular woman wants her relationship to work that way, fine. But many don’t.

And lots of men don’t want that, either.

And guess what? We are dedicated Christians. I do like a little romance to be sure, but if my husband acted the way Dobson advocates for, I would feel completely smothered.

Dobson also makes himself sound outdated by comparing piercings to self-harm, such as cutting, and saying that it means you hate yourself.

No, Dr. Dobson, I didn’t hate myself when I got my tongue, nose, lip, and whatever else pierced. I just liked the style at the time.

It had no bearing whatsoever on my relationship with God, and it did not mean I was sexually abused, drank alcohol/did drugs, or had promiscuous sex. In fact, none of those things were the case with me.

I also disliked his assessment on Disney Princesses. He’s a big fan. He says girls love them because they’re beautiful, have it all together, marry Prince Charming, have an unlimited wardrobe complete with fancy dresses, and everyone loves them.

They are the epitome of femininity and represent wanting to feel beautiful and loved as well as secure.

I don’t think those are very Christian attitudes, to be honest.

I would rather be focusing my life on whatever God calls me to, even if it’s hard. Even if it’s dirty. Even if it calls me to be lonely, ugly, poor, or unmarried.

I think the Princesses give the wrong idea that desiring security and beauty is more important than desiring God. Would I completely ban a daughter from playing with Princesses? Of course not. It’s fun to dress them up. But I do worry about her “looking up” to them.

Honestly, I don’t think Dobson includes enough scripture. When he does, the majority is from the Old Testament. That’s not bad, but I would like to hear the words of Jesus and his disciples. To me, the book (and Dobson, for that matter) is about Traditional America first, Jesus second.

There are a few things I found worthwhile in the book. Dobson had interesting information on warning signs to look for in teenagers with things like sexual abuse.

This is helpful, because my husband is a youth pastor. I also appreciated the ideas for daughters and fathers to strengthen their relationship. I know that a lot of girls don’t have fathers in their lives, or if they do, their fathers are distant, so I think this is a great thing for fathers to hear and possibly be convicted about.

All in all, I think there are far better parenting books, but in most books, you can find a few worthwhile things.

(Please click the “read more” link below to read the rest of this post)

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American Women in the Military – topic on Mefferd Radio Show

I’m a little puzzled by radio host Janet Mefferd’s views about American women in combat.

Janet Mefferd is a Christian radio host who appears to be a gender complementarian and Reformed in doctrine (she interviews a lot of Reformed guys and seems to agree with their take on doctrine – unfortunately.)

I did not even want to listen to this segment (so I did not plan on writing about it).

I tuned into Mefferd’s show to listen to her interview some guy over his lawsuit against a preacher who was harassing him (Link: “Bill O’Neil talks about the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit”).

I tuned in expecting to hear O’Neil but instead, Mefferd begins the show discussing the role of women in the American military.

In this show, Mefferd quotes a long piece by someone at Vision Forum approvingly. I believe that “Vision Forum” is into that patriarchy and (Link:) Quiverfull lunacy, if I’m not mistaken.

The piece Mefferd quotes from ‘Vision Forum’ mentions that women are the weaker sex, and she raised other points against the idea of women serving in the military (in combat positions).

I think Mefferd is forgetting that God placed a woman, Deborah, as a political and military leader over Israel. Deborah led the army of Isreal into battle (mentioned in Judges Chapter 4; and (Link:) you can read more about her here).

Another woman, Jael, drove a tent peg through the head of a sleeping Israeli enemy who sought her protection (see (Link:) Judges 4:21). If God doesn’t have an issue with women being violent, aggressive, and going on the attack (and He does not if the situation warrants it), I have no idea why Mefferd of gender complementarians do.

At one point, Mefferd says, “When you place women on the same level as men, men will begin to treat women like men.”

Well, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

For one thing, Jesus Christ sought to ‘treat women like men,’ if you follow the Gospels: back in His day, Jewish culture taught that women were inferior to men, rabbis should not teach women (I think women were permitted back seat access to temple services but that was about it), etc.

Notice that Jesus treated women as equals to men. He did not talk down to them. He taught them serious doctrine. Jesus treated them as moral and intellectual equals to the males of His day… and all of this behavior SHOCKED his Jewish disciples. It was scandalous.

In the book of Genesis, God tells Adam and Eve that an outcome of the fall (sin entering humanity) is that men will rule over women (which was not God’s plan), and that women will seek this out – they will seek to be ruled (and this is called codependency – meaning, women looking to human males to be their saviors, instead of trusting completely in God).

One reason I object to all this hand-wringing over females serving in the military is that there are situations where a woman is going to be alone and without male protection in civilian life, so the whole point of a female being shot and killed in combat is rather moot.

Some Christian women never get married. Such women don’t have a husband to count on, to financially support them, or to defend them.
Continue reading “American Women in the Military – topic on Mefferd Radio Show”

America’s Exodus from Marriage (copy)

America’s Exodus from Marriage

source:
commentarymagazine.com/2013/01/17/americas-exodus-from-marriage/

Some excerpts (with a few observations by me below this; click “read more” to read the entire post):

by Peter Wehner
Jan 17, 2013

…This study [“The President’s Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent,” which is the centerpiece of the latest State of Our Unions report”] focused on the nearly 60 percent of Americans who have completed high school but do not have a four-year college degree.

What we’re seeing is a rapid hollowing out of marriage in Middle America–with 44 percent of the children of moderately-educated mothers born outside of marriage. “We’re at a tipping point with Middle America,” W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading scholar on marriage, told National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, “insofar as Middle Americans are on the verge of losing their connection to marriage.”

We are “witnessing a striking exodus from marriage,” according to the study.
Continue reading “America’s Exodus from Marriage (copy)”

‘Contemporary Christian Virtue’ -Another Blog That Discusses Older Unmarried Christians

Another blog that talks about singleness and older Christians:

Contemporary Christian Virtue, by Shannon Mulvari

One of my favorite posts was this one – which unfortunately only shows up in google cache (she discusses how singles are stereotyped in the church, among other topics, such as how Christian culture exploits celebrity Christian virgins, how celibacy is usually ignored, etc):

Christian Single Adults Not Welcome in American Churches, by Shannon Mulvari (was first posted December 12, 2012)

I don’t know why its author edited or deleted that blog page – it’s an excellent page, and I wish she would re post it.

Here are just a few excerpts:
———————————
Don’t have a wedding band? Don’t have a marriage license? Don’t have children in tow? Played by all the rules and never found that special someone? Looking for encouragement and affirmation? I would not recommend churches today – unless you want to be treated like a leper. They do not welcome single adults, especially those who are older and never married. I’m not sure of all the reasons for this phenomenon. But I can tell you it’s a fact. And it works in both directions. Singles don’t feel needed or included in church activities. And churches don’t include them in leadership roles or welcome them in their congregations or social circles.

… This brings me to [another] reason singles have been excluded — Marriage and the nuclear family have been elevated to the point of representing the highest form of Christian standards. Church members with the gift of singleness who are concerned about the Lord’s affairs as Apostle Paul explains in 1 Cor 7 have been placed in fantasy land. They are theorized as an anomaly so rare, it doesn’t warrant a second thought. They can’t see beyond “the whole world is going to hell.” Instead, churches are hunkering down in fear of the gay lifestyle and circling their wagons tight around their nuclear families – at the expense of every other Christian virtue. I don’t support same sex marriage or the gay lifestyle either. But I don’t let that control my every thought and behavior.

… The fact is, we are no longer living in Mayberry [fictional American town, in a 1960s American television show, where most everyone had Judeo-Christian values] where innocence was taken for granted. There are no rewards for the virtuous Christian single today.
————————————-
[Read the rest of her post]

Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)

As a never-married adult Christian, I am disturbed by the undue emphasis American Christian culture places on “the family,” by which they mean the 1950s standard of man married to woman with one or more children.

Maybe conservative Christian groups are correct and secular culture is hostile towards the nuclear family, but the obsession they have with defending it means these Christians frequently ignore or exclude anyone who does not fall into the nuclear family demographic (married couples with children).

(I discussed this issue in previous posts on this blog, such as: Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville)

I came across this book review which also discusses the topic (copy of a post at goddiscussion.com; source: (www)goddiscussion.com/85000/jesus-family-values-by-deirdre-good/:):

Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good offers challenge to conservative Christian views

[The book review opens by describing how some American Christian groups claim that the nuclear family is under attack, as do some European groups, such as the British “Christian Action Research and Education, or CARE for short”].

…. [I]t is quickly apparent that the family is viewed in exclusive terms as being two parents (of different sexes) and children. But the grandaddy of all advocates of the ‘Christian family’ is without doubt the the behemoth that is Focus on the Family a multimillion dollar ministry formerly headed by James Dobson whose aim is to “help families thrive.”

Anyone would think that the testimony of the Bible was unequivocal given the unanimity with which Christian marriages laud their particular vision of family as the very bedrock of civilization.

But, even excluding the First Testament with its references to polygamy and like exercised by God’s righteous the Second Testament is far from clear. To cite one primary example Jesus in Matthew 10: 35-37 makes the startling comment that his mission is not so much to establish Christian families that will form the basis of a Christian civilization but is rather to “set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (English Standard Version).

Deirdre Good in her book Jesus’ Family Values offers a succinct but powerful challenge to this conservative hijacking of ‘the family’ as being a mainstay of Christian civilization.
Continue reading “Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)”

Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

 

I am not a liberal or a Democrat, and I am not against “traditional,” “family,” or “biblical” values nor the “nuclear family,” nor am I against “traditional marriage,” but I do think the American Christian church of today places far, far too much emphasis on these issues, to the point they make people who are not married at age 25 with three kids feel unwelcome.

I am in my early forties, and I am a Christian female, as well as a conservative Republican, and despite the fact I wanted to be married, it never happened.

Do churches care about me, or people in my stage of life? Nope.

They offer no services or sermons for the older single who has no kids, childless or childfree. We are ignored, or else treated like trash by the Southern Baptist denomination* and by evangelical churches.

*(I refer to it as a denomination, though I’ve seen some folks on social media toss a fit and scream about how technically, Southern Baptist is not a denomination. Too bad, I was raised as one, and I don’t care if you like me referring to it as a denom or not, you’re going to have to just deal!)

So I agree with some of the content in this web page I have quoted below, and I can see its implications for contemporary American Christianity, not just Republicans.

What I am afraid of is that Christian leadership from various churches and denominations will see political stories such as this one about Obama winning the 2012 election and think the only corrective is to go even more into hyper-drive regarding the pushing of “family values,” or cries of “save the nuclear family.”

Why do I find this a concern? Because the conservative American church has already been obsessive about protecting the nuclear family (and marriage) for decades now, which has led to the dating drought in the church, prolonged singleness among Christians, and ostracizing older singles or married couples with no children, because they do nothing to help older singles actually get married, or make marrieds with no kids feel welcome.

Most American church groups fixate desperately on getting singles of teen-aged years and people in their twenties in the church door, so as not to “lose the younger generation,” but as personal experience and Julia Duin’s “Qutting Church” book demonstrate, this unfortunate, nauseating, and age- based discriminatory fixation has led to singles over the age of 30 leaving the church in droves because THEIR needs are not being met – older Christians are being ignored in favor of luring in the kids.

As a result with their disappointment over the Republican 2012 Presidential defeat (I’m not happy with Obama winning a second term, either), I can just see some pastors and conservative Christian groups buckling down even harder on defending heterosexual marriage, sexual purity (which is a bit of a joke; many conservative Christians groups claim they support virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity but do not), and so on, which will only hurt older Christian singles more, or at least not do anything to improve their plight.

The American church, Southern Baptists included, refuse to be dragged into the 21st century.

I do not agree with liberalism, homosexuality, abortion, or any of that, and I don’t know what the solution is to the erosion of “biblical” values, but I know what it is not, and what has not worked: continued obsession with 1950s American culture – of pretending like we are all still living in 1955 America, or that we should return to that era.

I’m tired of being ignored or being under-utilized when I attend a new church because I’m not a wife or a mommy or because I do not have a penis. I am not June Cleaver, the perfect 1950s fictional housewife with husband and two kids who wears pearls while she vacuums.

I want a church that deals with my existence and acknowledges it – I’m over 40, a woman, I’ve never married or had a kid, and I do NOT like children. I have NO interest in working in the church nursery or the kitchen.

How TV Killed the Republican Party’s Family Values

(thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/15/
how-tv-killed-the-republican-party-s-family-values.html)

by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, Nov 15, 2012 4:45 AM EST
Republicans are searching for an explanation as to why voters rejected their vision of America. The answer may be on their television screens, where an ever-expanding, bluer definition of family values makes their nostalgic idea of family values feel like a foreign world.

The biggest loser of last week’s elections may have been the Republican Party’s image of the American family.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, blamed the Republican loss on a dramatic change in our country’s “moral landscape.”

He’s right, but this isn’t new: the GOP vision of America, which includes patriarchal churchgoing families with sexually abstinent teenagers who have no use for birth control hasn’t been a reality since the 1950s

So what happened? As it turns out, one of the most influential forces in changing Americans’ definition of family can be found in the homes of liberals and conservatives alike: their televisions.

Slowly over time, the family sitcoms that Americans have been watching for decades effectively transformed what was once the culturally reinforced American ideal family into a relic of the not-so-distant past.
Continue reading “Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville”

Never Married 38 Year Old Christian Guy Wants to Know Why Churches Treat Him Like a Freak

Click the “more” link below to read the rest of the post

I totally related to this guy’s question. A guy calling himself “John” wrote in to the Christian television show “The 700 Club” and asked the hosts a question about why, as a 38- year- old, never- married man, so many churches have rejected him (or left him feeling rejected).

I’m just a few years older than John is, though I am a woman. I have never been married, but I wanted to be. I don’t know why I’m not married.

I have to disagree with host Pat Robertson’s reply – Robertson tells the guy, John, that the rejection is all in his head and that churches do not “reject” older singles. WRONG!

The letter writer, John, may not be “rejected” per se by churches, but most churches, and many Christians, do treat single or never- married Christians over the age of 35 and 40 differently – and that in a negative fashion.

We older, never married (single) Christians are either ignored by churches, or most Christians and churches assume that everyone over 25 years old is married with kids, or, they assume if you’re 40, you have been divorced at some stage – (wrong again, I’ve never been married).

Some Christians (the married ones) let loose with the gossip and slander against the older singles…. they assume if you’re over 35 and never married, you are some how “flawed,” a weirdo, or homosexual (none of that is true, either).

Here is a partial transcript from today’s show:
Continue reading “Never Married 38 Year Old Christian Guy Wants to Know Why Churches Treat Him Like a Freak”

Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood

Here are a few suggestions as to what I think Christian pastors and Christian talk show hosts should (or should not) preach or discuss when addressing Christian singlehood.*

Sex, Sex, Sex and More Sex

I think sex is one topic that Christian pastors need to stay away from when talking to or about singlehood, or they need to stop lecturing about it as often as they do.

Anytime pastors or Christian personalities (such as people who host Christian television shows) do bother to address singles (usually they’re fixated on married life, unfortunately), it’s usually nothing more than to issue dire warnings about not giving in to sexual sin.

Continue reading “Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood”