Profession or Oppression?

"Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."  CS Lewis


Statue of woman crying-Wikicommons

Dee has another passion besides fighting pedophilia. It involves the pain of human trafficking. I wrote a series on this subject for another group so please understand the references to medical personnel. I am trying to keep these two activities separate so I will not link to that group. Depending on the interest,  I may write more posts on this subject.

Today, I look at prostitution. Is it really a victimless crime? Isn't it just a simple choice made by a consenting adult? As usual, things are far less simple than they seem on the surface. This post deals with one man who is making a difference in the lives of prostitutes who are looking for   a way out. It is meant to encourage all of us that God is in the business of redeeming people and He uses each of us to do important things if we open our hearts to His leading.

"It is a late night in the Emergency Room. In Bed 6 lies a woman, beaten, needle tracks on her arm and a chart that reads like a Who's Who of STDs. She is a prostitute; a crime that is often called a "victimless" crime. You have a full ED and two patients about to code. The temptation exists to just patch her up, give her some meds and send her on her way. But, something, deep down, resonates in your soul.

Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, was sick and you looked after me,I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

Christianity Today published an article about a judge who is making a difference here called Oldest Profession, or Oldest Oppression? Ohio Judge Creates Court for Abused Prostitutes by Amy Sherman.

"In 2008, Paul Herbert was using Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life to disciple his teenage daughters on Sunday evenings. They weren't enjoying it much. One night, they turned the tables on him. "One asked me, 'Daddy, what's your purpose in life?' " After much prayer, he was convicted one day during court when presented with a woman who he could see had been abused. 

"Soon after, Herbert began researching the criminology of prostitution. What he learned stunned him. "Around 87 percent of these women are sexually abused, typically starting at around age 8," he explains. "They start using drugs to deal with that trauma around age 12." The girls run away from home or foster care and are dragged by predatory pimps into the commercial sex trade.

Before, Herbert admits, "I would have said that women engaged in prostitution were involved in the world's oldest profession." Now he considers it "the world's oldest oppression."

"Data collected by the court confirm that 90 percent of women engaged in prostitution are also considered human trafficking victims—meaning that some type of force, fraud or coercion is part of the prostitute's lifestyle. Herbert hopes that as more light is shown on this problem, society will place more emphasis on protecting vulnerable women and girls."

"Herbert decided to establish a restorative justice program for these women, launching CATCH Court—"Changing Attitudes to Change Habits." "Through the two-year CATCH Court, women are sent to residential rehabilitation programs to detox and receive intensive therapy."

"One was sold when she was a little girl by her mother to older men for crack cocaine," he told the Judiciary Committee members. "Today she is in Phi Theta Kappa at Columbus State Community College." Another was kidnapped by a motorcycle gang and raped, then transported to other gangs and sold for sex. "Now," Herbert smiled, "she is two years sober from heroin." Overall, 66 percent of CATCH Court participants have received no new charges.

Here is the bottom line. If you feel a conviction that you need to do something to help the lost, let down or looking who you encounter in your day to day life, PRAY. And then, RESPOND. God is in the business of answering these kind of prayers. Perhaps there is an abused woman out there who is waiting for a tired doctor/nurse to sit up and take notice. With God, we can move mountains!

Lydia's Corner:   Leviticus 25:47-27:13   Mark 10:32-52   Psalm 45:1-17   Proverbs 10:22

Comments

Profession or Oppression? — 201 Comments

  1. Wow – I’m moved to tears after reading the rest of the Christianity Today article. What a great program. The Pacific Northwest (where I live) is one of the largest hubs for sex trafficking. Last summer, I had the opportunity to be a counselor at a Christian high school camp for a week. At that camp, we were encouraged to really get to know our campers. Teens typically give a facade that they don’t need adults in their lives. That’s simply not true. I was amazed at how open and transparent they were with me when I asked deeper questions. Just in my cabin alone I heard discussions of cutting, depression, broken marriages, difficulties with parental relationships, and sexting – and all of these kids came from Christian homes. We need to do a better job connecting and getting involved with teens in our community – that is for sure.

    Thanks, Dee, for bringing attention to this subject. I’ve only been living in my area for over a year and don’t know what my community is doing about sex trafficking. I think I’ll ask around.

  2. It’s not just an issue regarding kids – in many countries in Eastern Europe, adult women are abducted and forced into prostitution. It’s an ongoing problem in many parts of Africa (and other place, I’m sure) as well.

    All of those forced into such a life deserve mercy; those who dragged them into it, well… (the word “millstone” comes to mind).

  3. Wherever there is prostitution, there are always wicked men who are behind it. It is never a victimless crime, the women involved are the victims.

  4. Legalized prostitution is an abomination. It is just a way for businessmen and the state to take advantage of women and girls.

  5. I cannot remember where I read it or what country it is, but one country reports success on a social level with making the buying of prostitute services a criminal offense, but not the selling.

    The non-respectable act then becomes paying for sex, not the position the prostitute is in.

  6. Dee, thank you for having a heart for this issue. There is so much I could say here. I’m not in favour of legalized prostitution – the regulation by the state of women’s bodies. What looks like one thing is really another.

    From the book:
    Sullivan, M.L., 2007. Making sex work: a failed experiment with legalised prostitution. North Melbourne, Vic.: Spinifex Press Pty Ltd.

    – “the liberal language of ‘choice’ and ‘agency’ works to hide prostituted women’s inability to achieve workplace equality – the Victorian government, in facilitating this ‘choice’ perpetuates the economic disempowerment of women

    – the Victorian government remains committed to a policy that accepts the inevitability of prostitution. (pages 334-335)”

    Globalized prostitution (sex trafficking) and domestic prostitution is a highly lucrative industry – up there with oil and coffee. Follow the money.

    Last quote (page 54). This is what dee is challenging –

    “the acceptance that men had a right to prostituted women ensured that the demand for prostitution remained unchallenged…a further impetus for a continued prostitution industry, of course, was the reality that prostitution is a highly lucrative commercial enterprise which benefits individual sexual exploiters or pimps and organised crime alike”

  7. Retha, not sure if you mean Sweden?

    “the most advanced legal model for addressing the problem is Sweden’s human rights legislative approach that defines the practice as a ‘form of sexualised violence by men against women’. The govt’s prostitution legislation forms part of the country’s 1999 Violence Against Women Act – it criminalises the buying of sexual services and introduced penalties including a gaol sentence of up to six months and fines linked to the buyer’s salary. As prostituted women and children are harmed by prostitution and seen as victims, they do not risk criminalisation or other legal repercussions”. page 10

    For the life of me I can’t remember which book I found this quote (I studied this topic last year), it would have been from one of these three books:

    Not for sale: feminists resisting prostitution and pornography
    Eds Christine Stark and Rebecca Whisnant
    2004
    Spinifex Press, North Melbourne

    The idea of prostitution
    Sheila Jeffreys
    1997
    Spinifex Press, North Melbourne

    Making sex work: a failed experiment with legalised prostitution
    Mary Lucille Sullivan
    2007
    Spinifex Press, North Melbourne

  8. I work in Family Planning and I can tell you there are alot of sad stories out there. That is why I never judge or make assumptions about anyone. We simply do not know what they are going through or have already gone through.And Christians who do make those judgements just reaveal their ignorance and or lack of compassion with legalistic attitudes.

    What young people are exposed to these days is mind boggling compared to what my 30 something adult children were exposed to 20 yrs ago.

  9. I came across a blog a while back – can’t find it now, unfortunately, or I’d paste a link – with the following comment on which I wish I’d thought of myself and which I’ll reproduce as accurately as I can remember it:

    Where love is valued above law, people matter more than rules, and believers will break the rules to protect people. Where law is valued above love, rules matter more than people and believers will hurt people to uphold the rules.

    Two choices. ‘Nuff said.

  10. I was greatly encouraged to read/listen to this article.

    Human trafficking has become a big problem in the UK, for two reasons: (a) prostitution and pimping by international gangs, and (b) illegal immigration again organised by international gangs (similar probably to the ones US posters here will know from Mexico). Both are very unpleasant. London, because of its status both as the capital and a very big international air travel hub, has been particularly affected. Police have dedicated a fair amount of resources to dealing with the problem. The full ire of the law here tends to fall on the pimps and gangs as they are the ones normally trading in and benefitting from the misery.

    Prostitution for the most part is *not* a victimless crime. There is an interesting bit in one of Tom Clancy’s novels where the Clark character as a young and recently bereaved man befriends a prostitute. When he finds out about her past and realises she did it mainly because of drug dependency, he burns with shame because of the memories of his own visits to prostitutes when in the Navy, realising he hadn’t given a thought to why the girls were doing this other than for payment.
    T

  11. Lots of the Libertarian Christians I know think prostitution should be legalized. I don’t buy it for the reasons stated in the article and the thread. They claim the women “choose” to be there but then seem to completely ignore drugs and sex trafficking. They also conveniently ignore the fact that every last sex worker who left the business – and thus knows more about it than they do, in their comfortable religious white suburban middle-class lives – disagrees with them. (This includes women who left the porn industry, too, not just prostitutes.)

  12. Oh, and also – some of these people insist that abortion is a great moral evil and should be banned, but want prostitution to be legalized. See if you can figure that one out.

  13. @ Haitch:

    From what I know about it (which admittedly, isn’t much), Sweden’s plan actually sounds like a good idea – arresting the clients instead of the prostitutes, who weren’t there by their own free will in many cases to begin with. I hear it has actually been successful over there.

  14. In many communities, a lot of prostitution occurs when men drive through a reputed prostitutes available area shopping for sex. In my town, the area moves depending upon enforcement, as the women move to a different part of town to avoid enforcement focused on them. Most states and the feds have a forfeiture law for anything used in a crime or resulting from a crime. Why not forfeit the vehicles used by the johns like they do for the drug traffickers?

    Here, first arrest offender johns are sent to john school as an alternative to prosecution. I think their names and faces should be in the paper and their SUVs forfeited. If the cost of an oral became a $10,000 or $20,000 vehicle, I think men would find another way.

  15. Why not legalize and license prostitution including mandatory periodic health exams and facility inspections?

    If I had a choice of going to a licensed sex worker vs. someone on the street, unlicensed and possibly involved in trafficking, why in the world would I choose the latter?

    It would reduce the call for illegal prostitution to the point of making it not profitable. It would make women who want to be prostitutes not afraid of going to the law if and when they needed help.

    Nice model are “companions” on the TV series “Firefly”.

  16. Please visit http://www.thistlefarms.org (sorry, I have no idea how to add a link in comments) for the story about ministry in Nashville that is serving the women who have been victims of the sex trade. Shout it from the housetops.

  17. Oh, and also – some of these people insist that abortion is a great moral evil and should be banned, but want prostitution to be legalized. See if you can figure that one out. — Hester

    Easy. I’m male. I just look down into my pants, go “Come on, Cringer, we have work to do!”, and understand it perfectly. It isn’t a moral evil if you’re the one who wants to do it without interference.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Pretty sure your point would be just as clearly understood minus the visual description. :(

  19. http://waengage.com/
    Juli Anne,
    This is a link to a program in Washington State. I know one of the founders, Rose Gunderson. I believe it is a good program. I plan on volunteering with it. I just found out about it a couple of months ago. It looks like they may have resources such as educational prevention kits that might help you in your area or maybe they know of another program in Oregon.

  20. Dee I think we must share some of the same DNA because this is also a huge concern of mine. As I drive around in my car listening to Bruce Cockburn & sipping Diet Pepsi I think about these things…

    You’ve probably picked up that I work with teenagers, many of whom would be called ‘at-risk’ teens there in the US. I provide sexual health services & advice for young people who are over 16 or pass what are known as the Fraser Guidelines here. I work with 12 yr olds who’ve had over 5 sexual partners on a regular basis, & with 19 yr old ‘men’ (cough cough) who seem to think that picking off the 13 yr old (or younger) little sisters of local young ladies who are liberal with their physical affections is just fair game. I’ve spent a lot of time carrying around a print out of the sexual offences act to prove to young men I work with that consent is not a concept the law recognises, under the age of 13, though we don’t have the same charge of statutory rape that you guys have. Where is all this going? I suppose I just see all this as part of a continuum of sexual exploitation, & devaluing of human worth, with teenage (or younger) girls, then boys, at the apex of exploitation not only from johns or punters, but from older teens & their peer group…

    Because this area has such a massive impact on how we view the worth of others (whether we like it or not, women who’ve had a lot of sex, let alone sell sex, are still seen as lesser, ruined, worthless, disposable by many…& historically absolutely by the church)we should so utterly be storming into this arena to disprove that idea & doing everything we can to give the women/girls/boys (men?) involved in exploitation & prostitution the chance to get out & get away…& to stand up for the human value of all sex-workers, no matter what. I am well known for my big mouth on this in the youth projects I work at, challenging the kind of crap I hear spoken, especially about young women.

    I think you’ll find many churches fail at this because in order to persuade their teenagers to be abstinent they hold up sexual purity as an ideal, an idol in some places, that has the necessary downside of painting the sexually used & abused as failures…how on earth would some of these young people fare in the sugar coated purity (is all that) matters ( if you’re young & female especially) patriarchal churches…

  21. “mandatory periodic health exams and facility inspections?”

    I think all men who want to utilize prostitutes should also be subject to mandatory, periodic health exams. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. After all, how does a prostitute know a john is safe? Then once she gets a disease from some random john, how is she supposed to make money? What are her health benifits in this situation, workers comp, if you know what I mean? Who is going to pay for that? oh, I know who, the prostitute who can’t be a legal prostitute anymore.

    Sorry, I’m not for legalized prostitution (nor am I for the illegal version). The mandatory health checks for prostitutes only makes prostitution safer for johns, not the prostitutes.

  22. “Here, first arrest offender johns are sent to john school as an alternative to prosecution. I think their names and faces should be in the paper and their SUVs forfeited. If the cost of an oral became a $10,000 or $20,000 vehicle, I think men would find another way.”

    Bingo!

  23. @ Mara:

    “I think all men who want to utilize prostitutes should also be subject to mandatory, periodic health exams. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

    Is it medically possible yet to have on-site STD testing and get immediate results? If so, this should happen before the john is allowed to touch anyone – and he should be refused “services” if he fails the test. Also, if he fails, his photo should be put on file so they can automatically refuse him “services” if he comes in again. This would save time retesting guys who think they’re going to get away with something.

    “Then once she gets a disease from some random john, how is she supposed to make money?”

    Two forms of ID for the john sounds good to me…and a form to sign letting him know that he has to pay for every cent of her health care if he gives her a disease…and his contact info so they can send him the bill. If he can’t provide said two forms of ID at the door, he is again refused “services.”

    Of course all of the above assumes legalized prostitution.

  24. Ever since the fall, society in general has tended to blame women for all sorts of situations where they are really victims. It dawned on me a while back during study that Satan really hates women even more. Why? Becasue Messiah would come from a woman. Go back and read Genesis 3 in the interlinear to get a grasp of what I am referring to. See, Adam blamed God and Eve. Eve admitted she was deceived. Not Adam. He was willfully blaming others. And then we have the horrible patriarchal interpretations of Gen 3 where they teach that Eve wanted to rule over Adam so Adam ruled over her instead. that is NOT what it says. It says using “teshuqa” that Eve “turned” to Adam (not to God) and because of that he ruled over her. and after that we see the great sin of ruling patriarchy. But it is taught as virtue making women to blame for thousands of years for all sorts of things such as being raped, sex slaves, etc. And Satan is delighted.

    All of this is why I have no empathy for Patriarchy whether it comes from Islam or Fundamentalist Christians. Christians have less of an excuse because of allowing the horrible interpretation of what really happened in Gen 3.

    And one more thing I have learned in my years on this earth is that self confident, smart men prefer women who are equals in the relationship. They are not intimidated by smart independent women. They are attracted to them. Petty, small men who are insecure love Patriarchy and need constant stroking they are in charge.

  25. Thanks for the links provided – I promise to to read further in a fortnight when I have more time.

    This mainstream media article from last year put the focus back onto the women themselves (a bit like another topic we discuss where we highlight the victims) – it was sensitive but real
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/tales-from-the-street-20110402-1csmz.html

    The liberal position on women considers choice as central to the prostitution debate and does not recognise how the prostituted woman herself experiences prostitution.

    The poor are over-representated in prostitution, as are those who have been sexually abused as children, and drug-takers (of which there is a ‘chicken or the egg’ question).

    Liberal feminist theory says ‘it’s just a job’, a business transaction.
    The World Health Organisation and the International Labor Organisation are on board.

    WHO portrayed prostitution as “dynamic and adaptive sex work, involving a transaction between seller and buyer of a sexual service”. The ILO also has been a major advocate of the idea that prostitution is fundamentally an economic transaction from which both nations and individuals can receive extensive benefits.

    Legalization is about normalising prostitution, fulfilling the sexual demands of men and protecting the consumer. It’s based on an agenda that looks like it’s seeking to empower women, but really it’s just institutionalising their commodification.

    To me, this is the unchallenged factor in prostitution – the assumption that prostitutes provide a ‘safety valve’ for men.

    Last quote from a book:
    “the pro-prostitution, pro-sex work position has gained credibility with support from male sexologists, human rights agencies and strands of the feminist movement. the concept of ‘sex as a service’ was introduced by early twentieth century sexologists who considered prostitution a valid means of meeting men’s sexual needs – they reduced all opposition to prostitution as outdated and moralistic, making a case that ‘in an intelligent society, the service of sex can find a useful and beneficial place’…there even existed a particular class of women who are ‘physicially and emotionally equipped to fulfil the prostitute’s role’ – a view that is indicative of continuing social norms on gender and sexuality (page 22)

  26. Anon 1 – you are absolutely right – it is patriarchy pure and simple. Same old same old. Whenever I hear someone describe prostitution as the ‘world’s oldest profession’ it reminds me of how old patriarchy is too. I was going to draw an analogy between the complementarian position (he!) and prostitution, but I pulled back…

  27. Haitch, In a way the patriarchs in Christianity are “objectifying” women very badly because of the lazer like focus on sex and women’s “roles” which are basically to serve the man. The DRiscolls, Mahaney’s, Wilson, CBMW, etc, etc, the entire underlying premise is about sex and elevating men.

    Sure, it is sex within marriage but they are elevating the marriage bed to “gospel” status. This simply objectifys women. I used to wonder when reading one more ridiculous assumption from Driscoll what would happen if his wife was terminally ill? Mahaney brag about his wife in a sermon giving him sex when she was very sick. I am hearing this sex talk from many pastors even in very small churches where the seniors are freaking out. As one very old woman told me, does this young pastor not realize we were separated for 3 years during the war and survived without sex!

    The church today in many quarters objectify’s women badly and it has been growing worse since the advent of CBMW. And add to that the ignoring of the most vulnerable of our society, the children, who are molested and the church leaders seek to sweep it under the rug and you have a recipe that demands we warn people the church may not be a safe place for them.

  28. Nicholas said: Mahaney bragged in a sermon about his wife giving him sex?

    Here you go, Nicholas:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=2192&cp=all#comment-33980

    This comment is from moderator Kris from SGMSurvivor blog:

    But, the all-time saddest story was once told by CJ in mentioning how Carolyn used to ‘serve’ him even as she suffered from ‘morning sickness’. I’m sure her condition kept her from doing much of anything else but not this. His comments still grieve me. He chose to use it as an example about romancing your spouse. He complained how ‘unromantic’ it was that when Carolyn was pregnant, she needed to get up and ‘vomit’ after intercourse. He laughed loudly and used it as comic relief in his talk. Okay. Here his wife was so sick that all the commotion of ‘serving his needs’ made her so violently ill that she needed to flee to the bathroom to expel her dinner and he was reduced to peels of laughter as he lead the whole room to join him? His needs obviously exceed his wife’s needs. I never looked at him quite the same again.

    Patti: Thank you for that link. I am in WA state and now following that group on Twitter and Facebook and hope to get connected.

  29. Hmm, that CJ story might have not been mentioned in a sermon, Nicholas, but it was obviously at a place in which there was an audience. An audience of one would have been too many people, IMHO.

  30. Haitch – but there are a lot of feminists who are vehemently opposed to “sex work” (or “sex as service”), porn – the lot. They view it as severe abuse.

    so while *some* feminists may see “sex work” as a choice, they do not speak for all feminists, and they certainly don’t speak for most people who are involved in prostitution! In fact, I think that kind of mindset carries with it a great blindness toward the plight of the poor, women of color and those with drug problems.

  31. Anon1, I know of a culture where the men have to wait 4 years for sex after the birth of a child. This is the societal norm and the men who break this have to pay penalties. Western men who conform to our sexualised, commodified culture that tells them how to think and act are just sexual zombies with a wallet. Then you get some churches that copy and adapt this to suit themselves. Give me Schmuley Boteach’s teaching on men and sex anytime – he says if your man is disciplined enough to use a knife and fork then he’s capable of having self-discipline in the sex department. I think that dee can attest that ‘blue balls’ is not a medical diagnosis. Obviously though, Park Fiscal doesn’t use a knife and fork – he’s a grab a bone of raw meat and chew kind of guy.

    Oh, I have to add this. I just googled and found this recent article by Schmuley. I cannot agree more with what he says:

    “The assault on women in our time is serious, concentrated, and deadly. It’s remedy is a more wholesome, more spiritual culture that looks at a women in her totality: mind, body, heart, and spirit”

    http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/rabbi-shmuley-boteach-make-men-more-mature-rather-than-send-girls-under-the-knife/2012/03/28/

  32. @numo – correct

    The liberal feminist perspective believes that prostitution is empowering to women, the radical feminist perspective sees it as exploitation.

    It’s obvious which side I sit on.

    I was trying to keep the word ‘radical’ out of the debate as it may look confusing.

  33. Thanks Julie Anne. This makes me sick. CJ is reminding me of the IFB perverts like Jack Schaap (before the scandal). And I’ll bet that the majority of Mahaney supporters aren’t even aware of this perversity.

  34. Yeah, i know what you mean about words and how they can be misunderstood!

    Insofar as exploitation, I side with the “radical” folks, but not with some of their more extreme views. (cf. the late Andrea Dworkin’s ideas about men, women and sex – even when people love and care for each other. she could never view it as anything but coercive, which is sad.)

  35. Also, I think that when you read work by women of color who are feminists (or, as some say, womanists) there is a whole different perspective – well, multiple perspectives, really.

    Which is a very good thing, imo!

  36. There’s more from Kris’s comment:

    “CJ has always gotten high marks on ‘loving’ his wife. And, he led all but the last retreat on sex. And they have always been well-attended, but still, there was always much pressure to attend. There were mixed main sessions and men and women have individual sessions where they get into much more details, such as sex toys (men) and lubricants (women). Since I wasn’t in the men’s session I don’t know why they brought up sex toys but I heard they did.”

    This is unbelievable! SGM is the same as all the other sex-obsessed seeker-driven churches. Christians have no need for these items.

  37. @numo, happy to follow up further any of those texts you can suggest, they look interesting. I haven’t studied feminism formally – just via sociology and deviance studies. I do already have a collection of unread feminist texts – finding time is the issue. Maybe I should ditch reading TWW and read a chapter of a feminist text a day huh?
    PS They can’t get radical’ enough for me when it comes to prostitution, but I agree with you on some of their other dubious aspects.

  38. I am inclined to agree with Eagle & Fendrel that decriminalization and strict regulation by the state is the way to go. Perfect? No, but I think it would go a long way in drastically reducing the worst abuses of the trade.

  39. “Christians have no need for these items”

    I think that’s up to the couples concerned but certainly the church has absolutely no role to play in making that decision.

    The subordination of your body, your will and your family to the church is breathtaking. The word ‘sacrifice’ takes on its original and true meaning.

    I’m surprised some of these pastors aren’t present when the women give birth – they seem to have broken down all the other natural, protective boundaries around a marriage and family.

  40. I would only be in favour of legalization of prostitution if it meant less mafia management and less proliferation of prostitution. I’m not convinced that this is the case, and I believe that the reverse is what happens.

    Follow the money.

  41. @ Haitch:

    That Schmuley Boteach article you linked to was great. I wish Christian pastors had the cojones to say that stuff whenever Mark Driscoll published an editorial. (Just to ask, has Driscoll said anything about plastic surgery?)

    Also, like you I haven’t studied feminism formally (though I probably should since there’s little chance I’m ever going to remove myself completely from studying gender issues) – I’m frankly shocked that only radical feminists see prostitution as inherently exploitative. I would have guessed that would be a belief common to ALL feminism.

  42. Haitch – Catharine A. MacKinnon is one of the big names re. things like prostitution: http://web.law.umich.edu/_facultybiopage/facultybiopagenew.asp?id=219

    Andrea Dworkin was on the far fringes… though you might want to read some of her stuff just to see.

    I haven’t studied feminism in a formal way, either; mostly kept up on things (60s-90s) via feature articles in publications like the New York Times Magazine.

    As for works by women of color, I’d think that a thorough Google search would turn up quite a bit – again, I have done most of my reading either via websites or newspapers and magazines, and it’s been a while…. so I can’t point you to X or Y article. My memory’s decent, but not photographic! ;)

  43. Haitch = the NY Times ran a cover magazine feature on MacKinnon back in the 90s; should be available in their archives.

    iirc, I disagreed with some of her ideas, but she’s been a pioneer in working on behalf of women who’ve been victimized, and the bibliography at the link I posted looks like a great place to start.

  44. Hester – I think you need to factor in the whole “upper middle class white women” aspect of much first, second and third wave feminism to be able to see some of the reasons that *some* people might think “sex work” is “empowering.”

    Frankly, that attitude has never made one iota of sense to me! If the people who promote it were engaging in “sex work,” their ideas about it would change ASAP. (I think, anyway…)

  45. Re naming and shaming of “johns”, that does go on in the UK (I think – I don’t often read the local papers, admittedly). Certainly in the 70s “kerb crawling” (soliciting) was an offence. As someone else said, it seems to be that in many large towns and cities there is an area known for this behaviour, or at least known for being an area where a person so inclined can find someone to offer them sexual services for payment. Of course the danger for the “john” is that plainclothes police will also be present in the area for that very reason.

    Re the health check on men, I understand (I may be wrong) that in at least one European army in WWII, soldiers visiting official field brothels had to form a queue and urinate into a trough to show they weren’t infected. Presumably this was as much for concern about soldiers catching things as it was for the women’s welfare.

    In the US Army in the same period contracting STDs was made a subject of shame and punishment, again not so much because of moral concerns as because the soldier was then infected. By contrast in some other armies the attitudes towards sex and even rape were unenlightened, sometimes to the point of brutality.

    Beakerj, thanks for your information on the current state of unenlightenment in our country. It is pretty grievous, although I also partly blame popular media for “pimping” kids and trying to get girls into bras and make-up before they’ve even hit puberty. But as you say, the law is very clear in this area. Someone else has pointed out in the Jimmy Savile case that this was the law even in the “Swinging Sixties” and that people responsible for letting him get away with so much should stop blaming the sixties and start taking responsibility for the fact that they allowed the law to be broken.

    My own opinion is that (a) prostitution of any kind is at best sad and at worst vicious and degrading and should not be legalised, and (b) that it’s up to married couples what they get up to in the bedroom but not everyone wants to hear about it (buying a book with a discreet cover might be a better idea).

  46. I don’t have a reference post, Nicholas, but the sad thing about CJ and his following is they do in fact follow their never-so-humble leader. So what CJ does, the rest do. So I’m sure you can imagine the husbands who heard how Carolyn “served” her husband might be inclined to expect the same “serving” from their wives.

  47. Thanks for the tips numo, will follow up.

    Dee, I have a friend who through her church organised to visit a brothel – it was to meet the women, chat and get to know them. They took in a classy coffee machine and made gucci coffees. I can ask her if she ever wants to guest post sometime.

    I’d love to see a guest post also by Muppet affiliate Beakerj about her work.

    Drat it, I’d like to see you all do guest posts okay?

  48. Mara,

    I think that’s a decent idea. Again nothing is going to make sex “safe”, but nothing else in this world is guaranteed to be “safe” either. I think you have a good idea…If you want to use a licensed “companion”, you should also be required to carry an ID of some sorts showing last checkup and result.

    Again it’s not perfect, but it would go a long long way to improving the current state of affairs.

    Muff,

    nice to see we agree on something, even though it’s kind of an odd thing for us to agree on :)

  49. eeeek, the word ‘serve’ will never ever be the same to me again. ugh

    Kolya – yes, the sad story of sex and war. Sex being used as a weapon of war (rape) and the ‘meeting mens needs varieties’. I think there were some studies also as to how the levels of STDs affected fighting capability – in some cases it was quite marked.

    I read recently a story about the end of World War Two when the American GIs were rolling into Greece and the proud Greek mothers who had survived the war prostituted themselves for food to give to their hungry families. I’m sure many countries including my own would have similar stories like this with different players etc but it broke my heart to hear it.

  50. Kolya: “that it’s up to married couples what they get up to in the bedroom”

    Julie Anne: “So I’m sure you can imagine the husbands who heard how Carolyn ‘served’ her husband might be inclined to expect the same ‘serving’ from their wives.”

    The combination of these two things…

    Kolya, yes it is up to the married couple. The problem is, our culture is so sexualized (Anyway you want it, that’s the way you need it, anyway you want it) that it is doubtful that men (or women) are tolerant of any boundaries the other may want, like no oral or no anal or no @ss slapping or the like.

    Then when you have preachers like CJ around, no woman in any marriage will be allowed to have any boundaries without being condemned as displeasing to God. The marriage bed is being defiled by Driscoll (“Jesus commands you to bj”) and CJ (“My wife ‘serves’ me when she’s as sick as a dog.”)

    In times past, when things became oversexualized, some groups turned away from it altogether.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakers

  51. Fendrel, I wouldn’t say we agree.
    But at least you see and respect the point I was trying to make.
    I appreciate that much.

  52. Driscoll said that?! He’ll be in trouble when he stands before Christ.

    These seeker-driven evangelicals are starting to remind me of the Children of God hippy sex cult.

    Obviously the Shakers taught heresy which is an extreme in the opposite direction.

  53. Mara – I think it’s going too far to assume that all men (or even most) act like animals in the bedroom.

    There *are* a lot of decent men out there who would not dream of doing X or Y without consent.

    Please give them a break!

  54. “Mahaney bragged in a sermon about his wife giving him sex?”

    I was racking my brain trying to remember where I very recently heard him relate he and his wife’s “experiences” and it was at the last Resolved.

    He bores those poor kids for the first 5 minutes with his honeymoon story and ends it with this at the 5 min 14 sec mark: (Caps and punctuation added for proper effect)

    “I am…so grateful to… GOOODDDDDD….that she said… YEEEESSS… (inaudible sound) and the romance is still…SIZZLIN'” (said in a rather growling tone complete with accompanying head gesture).

    And the crowd cheers, claps and whooooos. I don’t know…is it just my opinion or is there something not only immature and sad about an almost 60 year old grandfather/professing Christian “leader” saying his romance is still sizzlin’ (to an intended crowd of college aged kids and younger with parents), but overtly grotesque as well?

    http://vimeo.com/44560958

  55. Speaking of “hyper-sexualization,” I fear that a good deal of it – and not jut in fundy xtian circles – comes from telling kids that *any* sexual feelings toward others are “lust” and therefore intrinsically wrong.

    when those same kids get a little older and go out into the real world, they tend to go wild – and because they were not encouraged to develop mature attitudes toward sex and sexuality (their own and that of others), there are major problems.

    Even though mass media bears a lot of responsibility (and blame – networks and advertisers know that sex sells), I believe that extreme restrictions on normal physical reactions, feelings and behavior contribute just as much to some of the perversity that’s part of what MD, SGM and others advocate. Their ideas are NOT those of emotionally mature men. they are male, granted, but men? Not so much.

  56. Numo- you speak total sense in your comment. I didn’t become a Christian until I was almost 18 & I met lots of non- Christian guys before that age who were capable of the kind of sexual self-control & genuine understanding of consensuality that many of these ‘teachers’ seem to think impossible for young Christian men. Then everything becomes collapsed into this single category of sexual touch/lust, rather than the much wider range of emotions & reactions that many ‘unsaved’ men experience as part of ordinary everyday relating. MD & his ilk would have us all believe men are barely restrained animals rather than, you know, humans…

  57. @ Kolya:

    “Beakerj, thanks for your information on the current state of unenlightenment in our country. It is pretty grievous, although I also partly blame popular media for ‘pimping’ kids and trying to get girls into bras and make-up before they’ve even hit puberty.”

    This is hardly endemic to Britain. We have the exact same problem here on the other side of the pond. 5-year-old girls have their own plastic vanity tables and play make-up kits and 8-year-olds wear “practice bras.” Mothers have their toddlers’ ears pierced. And of course, ALL girls want to wear ONLY pink ALL THE TIME. This stuff drives me crazy. It’s even modeled in conservative Christian circles because it’s a “celebration of femininity” (barf), and if you deviate from it you risk confusing your children in the gender roles department (Big Bad Sin of the Hour #1).

    Me? I’m 22, my ears are unpierced and I still don’t wear make-up…I guess that makes me a man.

  58. Addendum @ Kolya:

    This also plays right into the other things I’ve said here before about conservative Christians never talking about/refusing to acknowledge the age of consent. Premature sexualization of girls + missing the age of consent + previously mentioned idea that men can’t control themselves = potentially really ugly consequences.

  59. All I can add to these comments is that……if my husband EVER discussed our physical relationship in public, in front of hundreds of people, whether Christians or not, he would be sleeping alone. Permanently.

  60. Fendrel,

    It’s a good thing when people of faith & non-faith can agree upon things. It lessens the “us against them” simplistic mentality and focuses on the things that unite us as humans.

  61. Retha, I’m glad you linked to Shelley’s site. She’s one of my heroines, after Deb and Dee, of course…very brave and wonderful woman, shattering the fantasy of porn and helping sex workers rebuild their lives. Love watching her speak.

  62. @ Diane:

    OMG I’d never actually watched Mahaney speak before… How is he so awkward/creepy/annoying on stage and got this big of a following? Not to mention his head is so…reflective. : )

  63. (I used to be Jan, in case anyone missed my name change)

    On the whole “men can’t control themselves” thing. This is a heavy burden for a young bride (well any wife, really) to carry. When I was engaged, I remember one older Christian man, who was very close to my husband, telling me that men DESPERATELY NEED SEX, it is a need just like eating and drinking. I was told that if a wife doesn’t fulfill her husband’s needs, she shares the responsibility if he ever gets them met elsewhere. This internalizes as “I am responsible for my husband’s morality,” especially for a young, shy bride-to-be who is a pleaser. And this older man would tell me this sort of thing all the time, along with tragic stories about selfish wives who didn’t meet their husbands’ needs. Why this never registered as creepy to me I don’t know, except that he had shown such kindness to my then-fiance and I really did appreciate what he’d done for him.

    Thankfully, I do have a very understanding, self-controlled husband who is not demanding. But that message was always ringing in my ears and has been a major source of guilt for me. It was an impossible standard to meet because I got pregnant right away, ended up giving birth four times in 5 years (yep, quiverfull), buried two of those children after watching them suffer through terminal illness, and struggled with post-partum depression and health problems for six months after one of the births.

    Guilt and self-hatred defined me for all the years I spent taking in the patriarchal poison. I don’t know if anyone here can even begin to understand this (I’ve never told anyone), but there was a period of time where I actually wished that polygamy was acceptable. For one, because I was overwhelmed by all I felt I needed to do and be as a ‘godly wife’ without any help (being sexually available is just a fraction of it). And second, because I was incredibly lonely and longed for an adult to talk to. I ache to think back on it, such a dark time it has been, and still all such recent history. I still feel so vulnerable to slipping back into it.

    Strange to think my situation hasn’t changed all that much – I’m still a homemaker with little ones at home who doesn’t get out much, I’m still pretty much a miserable failure at ‘godly’ homemaking (ha), I still hurt from my losses (the last one died not quite a year ago) – and yet my outlook on life (and my view of myself) has changed profoundly since God began to show me his love earlier this year. I’m just so grateful to be free of the internal burdens and bondage that patriarchal christianity had me in. The joy of freedom can be… exhilarating! Throughout all the doubts I’ve had about God as I’ve questioned all my beliefs, Love and the freedom from self-hatred it has brought me are the things that keep me believing…

  64. Looking for You,

    I wish I had something good and wise to say, but I don’t. I was just very moved by your comment above. I hope for continued freedom, and that peace that passes understanding. I hope for the tonic of happiness for you (very underrated, that’s fer shur!) I hope for God Jesus and Holy Spirit to be extremely active and interactive in your life, and that all things religious will go the way of foil & flocked wallpaper, never to return.

  65. @Hester “Me? I’m 22, my ears are unpierced and I still don’t wear make-up…I guess that makes me a man.”
    It’s one less slot to equip jewelry, but there’s always pendants!

  66. Looking for You,   

    I understand.  

    (sadface)

    Thanx for sharin’

    Therez gotz ta be a merit badge here somewarez…

    hum, hum, hum-hum…

    Some one’s in da kitchen wit Jesus, bangin’ on da potz n’ pans! Amazin’ grace, amazin’ grace…

    hmmm…

    stuffin’ nuffin’- nothing can separate you from his love!

    You go girl!

    Lord, I keep on praz’in you, till I reach dat higher ground, Oh yeah! Oh yeah! 

    Blessin’s,

    Sopy

  67. From 1 Cor 7:

    … a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband.

    OK; but how about the bit just before that:

    … a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife.

    That second bit is the one that seems to be missing here. In a sense, I don't have a problem with CJ coming out with all That Stuff if Carolyn, in the other seminar, is also telling her audience about how, when she's in the mood for any kind of romance or intimacy, CJ is always there for her however tired or sick he is; then there was the time he had a terrible bad back from lifting paving slabs and after giving her really wonderful sex he had to go and throw up and take painkillers, etc etc. I'm exaggerating to make a point, but I hope you can see what I mean. That's the kind of thing CJ should be bragging about, then saying to the younger married men: follow my example (er… as appropriate, obviously). It's about love, stupid: so if you're a man, it's all about her, not you. As Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, not the other way around.

    This may be an apocryphal story, or it may really have happened; don't know, unfortunately. But a pastor friend of ours once told the story of a minister who advertised a teaching day for husbands entitled "How to get your wife to treat you like a king". A lot of them signed up. When the day came, the pastor began with the great secret: treat her like a queen. And developed the theme from there. That's what should happen in the husbands' section of a marriage seminar, imho.

  68. “When I was engaged, I remember one older Christian man, who was very close to my husband, telling me that men DESPERATELY NEED SEX, it is a need just like eating and drinking.”

    Hmmm…it is okay to demand sexual self-control of men when they are single/engaged…but not okay to ask for self-control after they are married?

  69. Any man who does not believe that his primary responsibility in the bedroom is to be sure that his wife is pleased and happy with their sexual encounters, and finds them satisfying of HER needs, is not being sufficiently loving of his wife to deserve a positive response to his attentions.

  70. @ Hester~

    “@ Diane:

    OMG I’d never actually watched Mahaney speak before… How is he so awkward/creepy/annoying on stage and got this big of a following?”

    :-) I really think that is the million dollar question. The first time I saw him was when watching a video of a conference in late June 2011- it was a panel discussion. I noticed a man who kept interrupting the others and laughing loudly and seemingly drawing attention to himself. Oh–and rocking up and down in his chair and remaining quite bent over in his chair. I thought his behavior was odd. I found out who he was. Two weeks later I read he had stepped down as president of SGM. At that point I was very curious why, having remembered his startling behavior, and started reading here and at survivors and refuge and have not stopped. I have had quite an education since. But I cannot figure out the following he has.

  71. Numo: “I think it’s going too far to assume that all men (or even most) act like animals in the bedroom.
    There *are* a lot of decent men out there who would not dream of doing X or Y without consent.
    Please give them a break!”

    First off, I want to straight up apologize if I came across as believing that all men are animals in the bedroom. I don’t actually think that.

    But I am deeply troubled at how sexualized our culture is becoming and it IS affecting even decent men who want to do right. So let me point out to you a disturbing article on men who don’t use porn. They are very hard to find. The whole article is good but I want to point out these words in the paragraph next to the second picture (a picture of a city street).

    “Newsweek reported that ‘buying sex is so pervasive that Farley’s team had a shockingly difficult time locating men who really don’t do it.’ In Farley’s words, ‘We had big, big trouble finding nonusers.’ Eventually, Farley and her team loosened their definition of ‘sex buyers.’ In the study, she writes, ‘We defined non-sex buyers as men who have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, massage sex worker, or prostitute, have not been to a strip club more than one time in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, and have not used pornography more than one time in the past week.’ Virtually all men use porn, in other words, on a regular basis.”

    Here is the article:
    http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/09/mia_men_who_dont_use_pornograp.html

    Read the whole thing to understand the huge damage the sex trade has done to our men.

  72. the definition of “sex” has even changed. Remember BJ Clinton and “I did not have sex with that woman”? So what he engaged in at the Oval Office was not “real sex” and an entire generation of young believed it. It even spawned what were called “rainbow” parties so young girls could remain “pure”. I am not sure people can see the long lasting implications of making that sort of “not real sex” so accepted by a well loved by many, leader. Talk about objectifying women and the feminists loved it.

  73. Hester, good point about the confusing message being sent to men. Dee & Deb have a link to Lark News making fun of that idea. “If it was holy before, it must be double-holy afterwards,” says Darla.
    http://www.larknews.com/archives/217

    Also, did anyone see that Pat Robertson said Petraeus was just being a man after an attractive woman threw herself at him? Guess it was all her fault. Wtg Pat Robertson! Thanks for your continued suppression of women. Btw isn’t his co-host a former Miss America? And she said nothing.

    http://toxichominid.com/2012/11/13/pat-robertson-david-petraeus-was-the-victim-of-broadwells-irresistible-sex-appeal/

  74. “OMG I’d never actually watched Mahaney speak before… How is he so awkward/creepy/annoying on stage and got this big of a following?”

    Because we have become a people, for the most part, who believe what we are told and are drawn by outward appearances. Charisma over substance. Stage presence is truth to so many now. AS one psychologist told me a while back, we became a Dale Carnagie people who are impressed with image and make important judgements based on outward appearances and empty words NOT logic, reason, principles or character.

    Mahaney had a false humility he marketed like detergent. It is funny now when you think about it. Now it is much more obvious to people how fake it all was NOW because someone CLOSE to him said so. (Nevermind the peasant bloggers who had been saying it for years). It could have been obvious a long time back except all of us tend to “believe the best” like we are told to do or shamed to do or we feel like sinners. I know I did the same thing in other venues. We want to believe they are what they present on stage. We would feel horrible looking at the lifestyle (which is NOT humble in not only living but marketing himself) and asking, does this match the words? I am at a loss as to why I would have felt horrible about asking such questions of the celebs I was around back then. Because I would have been the only one asking in that arena? How very shallow of me. What a coward I was!!! I am very ashamed of it now.

    Our motto should always be as has been said here many times: In God we Trust, everyone else we monitor.

  75. Anon1,

    Let’s not forget Al Mohler’s HUGE endorsement of C.J. Mahaney.  That, I believe, endeared him to the YRR crowd.  Now, almost a decade later, we see things much differently regarding SGM and Mahaney.  

  76. Adding to the comments about Mahaney, I just wanted to say his delivery changed over the years. Not entirely sure why, but my guess is he was encouraged to reign it in and focus more on the bible and spend less time sharing his personal preferences, ideas, opinions about things.

    Funny thing is, he used to always say (and probably still does) that he never had an original thought. He bases a lot of what he says on quotes. Spurgeon was heavily quoted.

    Scripture says the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. The Mahaney’s lack inspiration. Nothing they say is original. It’s all reconstituted and repackaged to make it appear as though they’re being led by the Spirit, when in reality no such thing is happening. There’s more evidence we can point to of them resisting the Spirit and rebelling against the Light. Their godliness is in ‘form’ only. There’s no power whatsoever. I have no difficulty in declaring them false teachers, for that is what they are!

  77. I am at a loss as to why I would have felt horrible about asking such questions of the celebs I was around back then. Because I would have been the only one asking in that arena? — Anon1

    And because all the others would have turned on you like a feral dog pack for asking in that arena. Or like chickens pecking a “defective” to death in the barnyard. Beware Thou of The Mutant.

    And because the “celeb” you blasphemed was a Managawd of obvious Cosmic Importance and Divine Favor/Divine Right…

  78. Remember BJ Clinton and “I did not have sex with that woman”? So what he engaged in at the Oval Office was not “real sex” and an entire generation of young believed it. It even spawned what were called “rainbow” parties so young girls could remain “pure”. — Anon1

    1) Thus originating the term “Clinton Sex”.

    2) That kind of “remaining pure” has a name: “Technical Virginity”. As long as the cherry is unpopped/melon is unbroken, anything goes.

    3) According to an online dictionary of slang, (2) is also called “The Christian Side-Hug”, i.e. non-genital sex indulged in to preserve Technical Virginity.

  79. “When I was engaged, I remember one older Christian man, who was very close to my husband, telling me that men DESPERATELY NEED SEX, it is a need just like eating and drinking.”

    Horny Boi? Male nymphomaniac?

    As in “I HAVEN’T GOTTEN LAID IN TEN MINUTES!!!!!!!”

    (To which my response has always been “I haven’t gotten laid in 57 years. QUIT BITCHING!”)

  80. “When I was engaged, I remember one older Christian man, who was very close to my husband, telling me that men DESPERATELY NEED SEX, it is a need just like eating and drinking.””

    Every time I heard this sort of thing I think of “Tortured for Christ”. And all the other people who have languished in prisons for the Faith. Or how about those off fighting wars? Oh how shallow we have become. Christians should know better….

  81. “Let’s not forget Al Mohler’s HUGE endorsement of C.J. Mahaney. That, I believe, endeared him to the YRR crowd. Now, almost a decade later, we see things much differently regarding SGM and Mahaney. ”

    Exactly. And it gave Mahaney a much larger market share of Christendom. Why? Because Mahaney was “Reformed” and Mohler has been very busy building the Reformed brand. Another reason Driscoll was so acceptable to these “men of God”. Now it is, Mark who?

  82. Nick, Interestingly enough, 1 Corin 7 is the only passage where a Greek word for “authority” is used in relation to the marriage relationship. Funny how that is RARELY mentioned…..because both have equal authority according to the passage.

  83. HA! HUG. That’s what I’d like to say to some of these people… if it is a DESPERATE NEED then shouldn’t men who remain single (and abstinent) have a significantly shortened life expectancy?

  84. Diane,
    I was reading a Titus 2 book for women, and noticed the author kept inserting strange examples involving her pastor-husband. ” I thought her behavior was odd. I found out who he was. Two weeks later I read he had stepped down as president of SGM. At that point I was very curious why, having remembered his startling behavior, and started reading here and at survivors and refuge and have not stopped. I have had quite an education since. But I cannot figure out the following he has.”

  85. Caleb, This Puritan idolatry is startling. Yes, yes, the Puritians “said” some good things but must we totally rewrite their history to ignore some HUGE problems? How could their doctrine be so pure and right to allow such behavior as burning women, wiping out Indian tribes, lording it over people, mandatory church attendance, bannishment in the wilds for those who disagreed with the leaders, etc, etc.

    You cannot even separate good Puritans from the tyrants because the tryants had the power and if you dared dissent, you were banished or put in stocks or whatever.

    All this love affair with history’s “Christian” tyrants blows my mind. Have we learned nothing?

  86. “Hmmm…it is okay to demand sexual self-control of men when they are single/engaged…but not okay to ask for self-control after they are married?”

    Hester, that kind of stumps me too. I think that abstinence before marriage is an excellent training ground for those times after marriage when a man might need to practice self-control for his wife’s sake.

    That said, I should clarify that I DO still think that sex is a need (of a certain type – certainly not on the level of survival needs as I was told) FOR A HEALTHY MARRIAGE. What it is NOT is a need that is unique to men. Christian marriage counselors would do better to convince women that they too have sexual needs and are free to embrace them (as well as to freely communicate when they are too tired), than to waste their breath convincing them that their husbands NEEEEEEED sex. Women should also not be told (as I was, by another pre-marital counselor) that their sexual “role” is to respond – not to initiate. That just reinforces the message that “men have needs, women are there to serve them.”

  87. Caleb: You mention the book gushed over at Gospel Coalition site: A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life

    Pastor Jeff Crippen wrote a bit about this book on his blog: http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/abuse-and-the-puritans-a-puritan-theology-doctrine-for-life-a-new-book-by-beeke-jones/

    Here is a part of what Jeff quoted on his blog: A father must correct his wife and children, but with gentleness, fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal 6:1-2). Samuel Lee (1625-1691) said, ‘Let seasonable and prudent rebukes be administered, according to the nature and quality of their offenses. Begin gently; use all persuasive motives to draw and allure them, if possible, to the ways of God. Tell them of the rewards of glory, of the sweet society in heaven; endeavor to satisfy their hearts, that God is able to fill their souls with such joys as are not to be found in the creatures.’

    At times, rebuke is needed, even rebuke with holy anger if a family member persists in sin. yet even here the Puritans cautioned against ‘passions’ and ‘horrid noise and clamours,’ as Lee said. Rebuke should be administered humbly and respectfully. He wrote, ‘A wife ought not to be rebuked before children and servants, lest her subordinate authority be diminished…. Yea, for smaller offenses in children and servants, if they be not committed openly, rebuke them apart, and in private. But, above all, take heed thou be not found more severe in reproving faults against thyself, than sins against the great God.’ In ruling your family with justice and mercy, Lee counseled fathers to distinguish between weaknesses, sin not committed in blatant defiance, and open, scandalous, and persistent rebellion and to wink at the first, merely frown upon the second, and to reserve sharp and public rebukes for the last.”

    I have issues with this. Notice how the author refers to correcting wives and children, but wives seem seem to be on equal status with children. And what about if the husband needs correction? Who does that?

  88. “Every time I heard this sort of thing I think of “Tortured for Christ”. And all the other people who have languished in prisons for the Faith. Or how about those off fighting wars? Oh how shallow we have become. Christians should know better….”

    Anon 1, Yes. Here in America Christians seem to think that being a Christian is supposed to be all about having all we could want and need, having the perfect marriage, perfect family, perfect ___________. Having and perfecting.

    Christ taught giving and sacrifice. Willingness to let our own needs go unmet others’ sake.

  89. Caleb, Anon 1, Julie Anne,

    I was startled to see a Reformed acquaintance critique the rapper Propaganda on his blog for his song about the “Precious Puritans.” His disappointing argument was basically this: “Unless you’re going to go out and actively try to stop modern sex-trafficking and slavery, don’t bother calling out the Puritans on their ownership of slaves.”

    Julie Anne, I too have issues with that quote you posted. Crippen does not hint at any distinction at all between how a wife is “corrected” and a child is “corrected.” Not a hint that a husband and wife are equally allowed to communicate their disappointment in each other’s behavior for the betterment of their relationship. Though the wife may have some level of authority over the children and servants, she is essentially the same to her husband as they are.

  90. Crippen does not hint at any distinction at all between how a wife is “corrected” and a child is “corrected.”

    Quarter-inch plumbing supply line?

  91. Haitch-eeeek, the word ‘serve’ will never ever be the same to me again. ugh

    I know what you mean. Many benign words have been defiled to my mind because of these sick teachings. It helps to remember that they are teaching wives to ‘service’ their husbands’ vices rather than actually serving them. I didn’t even like referring the word serve anymore when delegating the giving of desert and coffee to my guests. :-/

  92. HA! HUG. That’s what I’d like to say to some of these people… — Looking for You

    At my age and with the corresponding number of run-ins with those types, the “urge to Choke the Stupid out of people” gets to be a frequent occurrence.

    Caleb, This Puritan idolatry is startling. Yes, yes, the Puritians “said” some good things but must we totally rewrite their history to ignore some HUGE problems? How could their doctrine be so pure and right to allow such behavior as burning women, wiping out Indian tribes, lording it over people, mandatory church attendance, bannishment in the wilds for those who disagreed with the leaders, etc, etc. — Anon1

    A lot of those were corollaries on the Puritans viewing themselves as God’s Special Chosen People, a New Israel fleeing Egypt (England) for The Promised Land (America):
    * Burning women, i.e. Witches — cite Leviticus (SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!)
    * Wiping out Indian Tribes — Canaanite HEATHEN who occupy The Land; what did God command be done with the Caananites?
    * Lording it over people, etc — God’s Chosen and Divine Right

    All this love affair with history’s “Christian” tyrants blows my mind. Have we learned nothing? — Anon1

    Doesn’t blow mine, Anon1. When they look in the mirror, they see The New Puritans, Lording it over the Lukewarm, Apostates, and Heathen in the New Promised Land. God Hath Said!

    Just like trust-fund-kiddie Uber-Marxists who see themselves in the mirror as the Commissars giving orders Come the Revolution. The Inevitable Dialectic Hath Said!

  93. Women should also not be told (as I was, by another pre-marital counselor) that their sexual “role” is to respond – not to initiate. That just reinforces the message that “men have needs, women are there to serve them.” — Looking for You

    Like an inflatable doll with strategically-placed holes?

  94. There is one interesting thing about the ‘interview’ that the GC did with the authors of the book. They asked them where the Puritans speak helpfully to the contemporary church AND they asked them where the Puritans are ‘least helpful.’ Apparently you can’t say they were in error. They just weren’t ‘helpful’. The authors’ reply, in part:

    “Political Liberty and Equality. The concepts of liberty and equality now dear to us in the Western world hadn’t yet matured during the Puritan era. Civil powers had established the church for more than a thousand years. Full liberty of conscience was untested, and the disestablishment of religion seemed foolhardy in the context of multiplying heresies and sects. Sensitivity to racism and sexism simply didn’t exist in any developed form in the British and European mindset as it does today. We’d argue, however, that the seeds of truth that would blossom and bear fruit in contemporary freedoms are found in Puritan theology.

    We need to read the Puritans realizing that, while the Reformation had transformed much of their thinking by the Scriptures, in some ways they were more like medieval Christians in their cultural viewpoint than modern Christians. Yet even here they are helpful, since they enable us to step outside our modern cultural box.”

    It seems that the little uproar re: the Puritans got this kind of question asked, even if it framed in very gentle way and the answer is full of qualifications. That is kind of encouraging. Of course its only a minor concession (a glance at the table of contents suggests that there is no discussion of these issues in the actual book) and we protestants need to keep pushing back.

  95. Looking for You:

    Please go to the link I provided. The quote is from the book, not Crippen’s words. I may not have been very clear above. Crippen most definitely defends women.

    Here are Crippen’s words regarding the quote I posted above:

    You will notice that the authors include no mention of how the wife ought to go about rebuking her husband. None. It is my contention that this kind of presentation of allegedly biblical doctrine of marriage and the family is one of the factors that is producing and enabling abuse in our churches and homes. It is what we fail to say that is the problem, and to an extent what we DO say.

    Do you notice in these paragraphs that the wife and children are lumped together? Now, perhaps the Puritans didn’t do so, but Beeke and Jones made these selections, edited them together, and made this presentation. And what you have presented here is a father ruling over wife and children, but no mention is made of his accountability, his being corrected when he needs it, and so on.

  96. Julie Ann,

    Thanks for the link. “Why in the world do we think that God gave Eve to Adam? As a child? Of course not. As part of himself, as a co-regent in creation” – That is a great way to put it.

    Crippens’ excerpt suggests to me that this is yet another book by Christian theologian-historians who leave out one of the most important aspects of good historical practice – critique! I suppose the press that published this book is called “Reformation Heritage” and when people use heritage, critique is usually absent. It is also dangerous to present the theology of early modern imperialists with little/no critique…very dangerous.

  97. Ah ok Julie Anne, thanks for pointing that out. I should have looked at that more closely.

  98. When I attempted to believe the comp view of marriage, sex felt perverted, like molestation. I didn’t connect up the authority figure issue to it until after being convinced that God believes in equality for all people and then that horrible oppressed shameful feeling was lifted. I feel so sorry for women who will never know that true sexual freedom. I feel sorry for the men too. How can the comp men ever know if their wives really want them in that way. I think the hierarchy teaching just fuels their insecurity about being a desirable male which in turn just feeds addictions such as sexual addiction and religious legalism.

  99. But I am deeply troubled at how sexualized our culture is becoming and it IS affecting even decent men who want to do right. — Mara

    Let me tell you how it has affected THIS decent man who wanted to do right.

    I’m from SoCal. Ground Zero of the Sexual Revolution. I have been exposed to porn that would make the Marquis de Sade vomit. I have had only one girlfriend in my entire life, and that was 25+ years ago. All other encounters since puberty have been Rejections. Here’s what it imprinted in the neural net of my brain:
    1) Women are Whores. Period. Women want One Thing and One Thing only and if you don’t give it to ‘em Hard and Juicy, they’ll leave you for some stud who WILL. (I made the mistake of wanting “cuddly companionship” and treating them like ladies.)
    2) Nothing triggers the “OOOOO MY SOULMATE” reaction in a woman as a User and Abuser. (I made the mistake of helping and supporting as best I could — since I was in my early 20s at the time, I was probably pretty clueless.)
    3) Women want Sick and Disgusting things done to them. As long as THEY are the ones in complete control. (I have had to confirm that some of what I heard was actually BS with my writing partner across the country.)
    4) Divorce for Fun and Profit, anyone? Including false accusations of abuse?
    5) Given all the above, The Handmaid’s Tale or the Taliban or QF/P make more and more sense. It’s the only way a loser like me can score and NOT get betrayed or run out on.

    My unicorns have all been beheaded to the cheering of the mob, and my boots are stained with their blood running ankle-deep over the cobblestones of La Place de Revolution Sexual. It has gotten to the point that the only way I can think of a woman as capable of virtue is if she is visibly NOT human. I find myself streaming My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from YouTube, mooning over Twilight (nerdy like me), Rarity (one classy lady), and Fluttershy (shy & gentle), and wishing I could have what those cartoon ponies have — security, companionship, and trust. Without having SEX SEX SEX (and having to perform) at the center of it all.

  100. On the discussion of Puritan homelife:

    http://www.oldpathsbaptist.org/Female_Piety_Full.pdf

    The above is a link to Puritan pastor John Angell James’ book (not article) Female Piety. It is his attempt to synthesize all his beliefs about Godly Women into an instructive manual for pre-marriage young ladies. I suspect he is of a more positive mindset than some of his peers. He has an interesting point about deaconesses and prophetesses and the Puritan Church not allowing them when the early church clearly did.

    When I was a teenager I got about halfway through before he claimed that women lacked the mental capacity to be educated and I decided he had nothing else of any value to say to me if he was that deluded.

    Re-reading portions today, I think that he had some cognitive dissonance going on and some serious romanticising. He seems to simultaneously think women are capable of super human feats at the same time that they are the weaker vessel both physically and mentally. But I have never successfully read the whole book.

  101. Hug, thank you for posting that. You are brave. — Patti

    More like sleep-deprived and flying on Sudafed and Advil from this cold I’ve got. I usually don’t vent like that in a public forum — too much experience with “Anything you say not only can but WILL be used against you.”

    When I was a teenager I got about halfway through before he claimed that women lacked the mental capacity to be educated and I decided he had nothing else of any value to say to me if he was that deluded. — ES

    I had the same reaction to the Unabomber Manifesto and Nesfa Webster’s book on the French Revolution — dry academic and kinda makes sense for the first half, then everything takes an abrupt turn into WTF Weird City.

  102. @ Anon 1:

    “Because we have become a people, for the most part, who believe what we are told and are drawn by outward appearances. Charisma over substance. Stage presence is truth to so many now.”

    But he didn’t have any stage presence! At least not in the clip I saw. It was just creepy and awkward and kinda dweeby all rolled together. Weird facial expressions, weird gestures. He looked honestly uncomfortable up there, as if he only half got over some stage fright or never quite learned how to speak easily in public. And I really did find the reflection of the projected background on his head distracting.

    Maybe Mahaney is an acquired taste…or better in person?

  103. HUG,

    I sincerely hope you find the security, companionship and trust you so wish for. My heart is heavy reading what you’ve written, but I’m glad you shared.

  104. @ Mara:

    “Virtually all men use porn, in other words, on a regular basis.”

    As a single young woman, that’s really not encouraging… : (

  105. “‘Virtually all men use porn, in other words, on a regular basis.’

    As a single young woman, that’s really not encouraging… : (”

    Fortunately, it’s not true.

  106. @ Hester – I don’t think that’s true. I think there are many men who are either not that interested in porn, or actively choose to avoid it. I suppose I’m just going off the evidence of my husband & other male friends who are very open to me about such stuff…given that I do a lot of sexual health work people tell me a lot of stuff they don’t normally admit. Lucky lucky me.

    And HUG – how horrendous for you…I hate the idea that you couldn’t just relate easily to me if we had the fortune to meet (or are married women exempt from this mess?) Do you have close female friends that talk to you about what real women actually want?

  107. A sample of just over 200 from Boston isn’t a great sample size. It is a serious problem but not quite so universal.

    Hester, I agree – I have never understood why people love Mahaney so much. I’ve never seen him in person, but he’s pretty insufferable to me.

  108. HUG, you sound just like my cousin. I had a heart stopping moment when I thought you actually might be ! (wrong country) Problem is he derides women publicly and I feel silence is assent, so it’s anti-feminist verses feminist battleground over the dinner table. btw he’s put the label of ‘feminist’ on me (probably because I argue back) so I have no room to move in the argument department really.

    PS your talk of inflatable dolls reminded me of the film “Lars and the real girl” – I’m fussy with my quirky whimsical films, and I think this one gets the tickbox. I also have no concept of what an American/Canadian community looks like or how you live with such snow, so that was fascinating to me too. You’d probably find it all quite daggy !

  109. Lars and the Real Girl! That’s the name of the movie I was trying to think of when I saw that comment too lol.

  110. BeakerJ, Everybody: I was a kid genius (diagnosed and fast-tracked two years after Sputnik), possibly borderline Aspergers (which wasn’t even a diagnosis at the time), who got the emotional/social retardation side effect BAD. I was the Omega Male of my high school. To top it off, I hit puberty about the time the Sexual Revolution took off, ending up with 1950s expectations in a post-1968 world. With one exception, my entire experience with girls was Rejection. My circle of friends has always been mostly male. And as for “female friends” or “married couples”, I have occasional contact with my sister-in-law but where I am marrieds do NOT associate with singles, especially in a church context. (They say “I Do”, and you’re on the outside looking in.)

    I was also under very high pressure from my family to become sexually active during my college years and immediately after (the time I actually had a girlfriend and caught hell for not trying to get into her pants). The eventual breakup hurt so bad it was years before I tried again — and flushed two-three grand down the toilet of dating services. And then there was Rule 34 all around me.

    The end result was a very deep distrust of RL women. I can relate to them neuter-to-neuter, but make it man-to-woman and the “WHORE! WHORE! WHORE!” alarms all go off.

    My writing partner (a married who DOES associate with singles) is a pastor and counselor, and has gone over my memories of my ex-girlfriend and what happened. He says she fits a pattern called “quiet histrionic”, boy-crazy but unable to bond long-term with a male, without the usual drama-queen symptoms of the “histrionic”. Probably caused by her parents’ divorce before puberty — he says that’s the usual pattern. All I know is that she didn’t bond to me (though I thought she had), but I bonded to her, and nothing in the past 25+ years has been able to break that emotional bond. She claimed to be a virgin too, and to be saving herself for marriage too. (My writing partner said that histrionics tend to chameleon their personalities to what’s expected of them by the male they are crushing on at the moment; I was a virgin looking for a virgin, so she became a virgin. This made her going sexually-active after the breakup (apparently chameleoning to what her next guy expected of her?) especially nasty — to this day, I wonder if I’d have stuck it up her slot instead of treating her like a lady from a Fities romance, she would have stayed with me instead. Remember the “Women want one thing and one thing only”? That was the pressure I was under from my family and others.)

  111. “But he didn’t have any stage presence! At least not in the clip I saw. It was just creepy and awkward and kinda dweeby all rolled together. Weird facial expressions, weird gestures. He looked honestly uncomfortable up there, as if he only half got over some stage fright or never quite learned how to speak easily in public. And I really did find the reflection of the projected background on his head distracting.

    Maybe Mahaney is an acquired taste…or better in person?”

    Hester, Did you not know you can actually market humble and “guy next door” or “just a regular guy” to the evangelical masses? I know because I did just that. There is a big market for that.

    Now, I am not using narcissist in the clinical sense here as in a diagnosis but Watts wrote an article in the HuffPo about “Self Deprecating Narcissists” that described exactly what I had seen and been a part of for too long but had NO idea how to explain it. But don’t bother anyway, the pew sitters are usually besotted with them until they get to see backstage and realize it is all a carefully devised image:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-watts/selfdeprecating-narcissis_b_843434.html

    The first time I saw Mahaney on a video for T4G years back, I was astonished he was so popular and in with Mohler and the others. The guy did nothing but giggle and play the dupe to their smart guy routine on the vid. What on earth did he bring to the table? He was REformed. That is all that mattered at the time.

  112. HUG, anyone comes here and gives you grief over anything you have shared… you have friends here that will give them grief right back!

  113. “‘Virtually all men use porn, in other words, on a regular basis.’

    As a single young woman, that’s really not encouraging… : (”

    Fortunately, it’s not true.”

    Good Jeff! There are plenty of guys left who have class, I know.

    But I have to tell you it was a big shock when a certain mega did an IT check because of ONE complaint and found quite a few male staffers (out of a total of 500 employees) visiting porn sites. What amazed me was the nerve. But then they would have never checked the computers if there had not been one complaint. That was a wake up call for me….if it was that prevelant in that venue, what are we really looking at for the population?

  114. HUG, thank you for sharing a lot if difficult, private things.

    I’ve often wondered if a person can be histrionic without being sexually provocative. My ex fits all of the criteria except for that one, but it seems to be the one most people use to characterize the personality disorder. But when we met I was very clear on where I stood about pre-marital sex, and I’ve often felt it that had been up to me to make sure that we remained “pure”.

    I know you’ve had a rough time of it and a while to process it, but in case you aren’t sure, breaking your conviction to get her to stay would have been worse than what did happen. Being bound up with someone like that is quite painful indeed.

    I hear everything you are saying about sexualization and how it hurts. I bought hook line and sinker into ideas like “married guys should not have female friends” etc. There are all of the warnings and boxes the church draws that virtually causes us to make sex the issue it never would have been.

    I remember fighting for my marriage and being cautioned by my elders to protect myself against having an affair. I told them that having an affair was something beyond me- I couldn’t stomach the thought of cheating on my wife (though divorce was something I WAS capable of). They were quick to tell me “oh, you are capable of it- all men are”. I felt like they were projecting their issues on me.

    All I know is, I related to women a whole lot better and more naturally before the church got hold of me and started teaching me how to control myself. It’s hard not to see women as sexual objects when you are constantly being told not to see them that way.

    Unless they are your wife. Or your pastors wife. You can view HER as a sexual object, just not YOUR sexual object.

  115. @ Anon 1:

    “Did you not know you can actually market humble and ‘guy next door’ or ‘just a regular guy’ to the evangelical masses?”

    Of course I did. But that’s not how he struck me in the video. He didn’t strike me as relatable and “average Joe,” he struck me as weird and awkward with a little creep thrown in. But I’m probably not the person to ask anyway. I never could make it through a John Piper book either – too much emotive verbal gushing. (He seriously should take Strunk and White to every single one of his books IMO, it would probably cut them at least in half.) But everyone else we know talked about how “profound” Piper was and how much the books touched/reached/spoke to, etc. them.

  116. Addendum @ Anon 1:

    I just showed my mom the first ~10 minutes of that Mahaney video. Her reactions were as follows:

    5 min.: still silence (this was where I shut it off from annoyance the first time)
    8 min.: “He really is annoying, isn’t he?”
    10 min.: “Turn him off.”
    3 min. post-video, when I asked her what she thought: “It was like watching a robot…it was like watching Data.”

  117. HUG I’m with Anon 1 here…anyone gives you any grief over this you have me in your corner. And I have a big mouth & a sharp tongue. I wish all this relational stuff had been easier for you,my friend, because I can tell how much it hurts.

  118. Hester, maybe his draw was Christian nerd? I really have no idea. all I know is reading around on the survivors site for the last few years……… they mostly thought his stage persona was very down to earth. I do know that the comedian act…. plays very well in some circles. In seeker mega circles, sermon jokes were discussed at top level meetings and how much of a laugh they got.

    from what I can tell sgm is structured very much like Amway. so you have all these other sgm leaders extolling the virtues and greatness of mahaney. it looks like a lot of people bought it.

    Giggly men don’t do a lot for me. and boy did you hit the nail on the head about Piper and his flowery verbosity. Passion is evertthing, ya know.

  119. I am a man! The following needs repeating:

    Any man who does not believe that his primary responsibility in the bedroom is to be sure that his wife is pleased and happy with their sexual encounters, and finds them satisfying of HER needs, is not being sufficiently loving of his wife to deserve a positive response to his attentions.

  120. HUG, I appreciate you opening up, please don’t be worried about saying too much. I second what Anon 1 said!

    I know how you feel though… I sometimes get a sick feeling in my stomach after posting a personal comment and think “maybe I shouldn’t have said that.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken an hour or more to write a comment, agonized over whether to post it, and then hit delete. Ha.

    I’m sorry about the heartache you’ve been through. Good for you for sticking to your values in spite of family pressure though. That is admirable.

  121. HUG, I’m also with Beaker and Anon 1.
    In addition, thank you for illustrating my point. Porn and prostitution are NOT victimless crimes. They hurt women (Obviously) and they hurt men (much less obvious but no less true). And I feel sorry for men trying to guide their lives through the minefield of porn shoved in their faces every day.

    Everybody else. I’m running into the same communication problem that I had on another board. By pointing out a serious problem, the rampant sex for sale and porn use among men, I’ve stirred up the ire of those who aren’t guilty and those who are married to the not guilty because somehow they feel I’m accusing them. I’m not. I’m pointing out a huge problem. Again, sorry if I ever came across as accusing any of the men here or the spouses of any of the women here.

    Now, listen to what I am saying.
    I would certainly hope that the majority of Christian men don’t engage in porn. However, this is not the case in the secular world. Unfortunately, many Christians live in a bubble concerning how wide spread and engulfing this issue has become.

    Seriously, how many of you read the article that I linked. The study was comparing men who use porn versus those that didn’t and how it affected them. You should look at that also. But don’t miss the side point. They actively looked for 100 men who didn’t buy sex in any form to compare to those that did and had such difficult time finding ANY that they had to loosen the restrictions. The point wasn’t that there were only 200 men involve and this somehow represents all men. The point was they couldn’t find 100 who didn’t buy sex as a control group to compare to the ones that did.

    Again, if I haven’t made myself clear, I’m not saying non-porn using men no longer exist, nor am I accusing any of the professing Christians here or their spouses of using porn. I’m pointing out that Christians live in a bubble and the church has been woefully inadequate in dealing with it. And Driscoll and CJ are only a couple examples of how much of the church doesn’t get it and actually promote the seeping of porn into our churches.

  122. Mara – dinnae fuss yersel, hen, as they say in Alloa. I’m a man and I didn’t feel like you were accusing me.

    Park Fiscal concerns me less for his potential encouragement of porn (I believe he opposes it per se, at least from the pulpit) than for his pushing the belief that sex is about a man getting what he wants. A number of us have commented to that effect; maybe Jeff and I should write a song about it. I’m thinking an Iron Maiden parody (all of their songs are about violent death to begin with).

    (Except “Ides of March”, which is an instrumental. Though somehow the idea of violent death still creeps in.)

    (OK, I listen to a load of stuff Christians aren’t supposed to.)

  123. Mara, I was not remotely offended and my comment was intended to be a comfort to someone who might despair. I apologize if it’s brevity came across in the wrong way.

    I believe it is a large problem and is not victimless.

  124. Thanks guys.
    Sorry for being sensitive about this. As I mentioned, I’ve had this trouble before and must accept, at least in part, that it is my fault for my communication style or lack thereof.
    I appreciate you chiming in to let me know that you understood from the start.
    That’s all I need.
    I don’t have to hammer this point any more.

  125. Jeff S.

    “All I know is, I related to women a whole lot better and more naturally before the church got hold of me and started teaching me how to control myself. It’s hard not to see women as sexual objects when you are constantly being told not to see them that way.”

    I could rant on this topic. In the circles I’ve spent most of my time with over the last ten years, male-female friendships are seen extremely negatively. It is seen as impossible to maintain without sexual attraction. There are men who will avoid being alone in a room with a woman who is not their wife at all costs. Some will give hugs, some only side-hugs, some only hand-shakes, and some won’t even shake my hand! It gets confusing. What this does is turn something totally innocent… say, a conversation that involves more than “hi how are you?” into a nervous, awkward, suspicious encounter (“What is he thinking, asking me my plans this week?!”). It still amazes me how quickly I went from feeling totally comfortable around males to feeling totally unnatural and squirmy, and I still can’t pinpoint exactly why. So many freaking unspoken rules of “proper” conduct… makes sense with all the Victorian admiration I guess.

  126. And I feel sorry for men trying to guide their lives through the minefield of porn shoved in their faces every day. — Mara

    Twenty years in Furry Fandom, where my passion for imaginary upright talking-animal characters put me in regular contact with some really creative, really eccentric types — and exposed me to a LOT of porn. Including some really WEIRD porn. (After a while, you develop a sixth sense when cruising art sites like FurAffinity to avoid the stuff, but occasionally a leaker gets through.)

    Funny thing is, I seem to have the opposite reaction to the stuff than expected. As I understand it, porn exposure is supposed to turn you into an uncontrollable horndog. With me, it’s not a turn-on, it’s a total turn-OFF. As in total asexual for some time afterwards. Like it vaccinates me against sex, period.

    I could rant on this topic. In the circles I’ve spent most of my time with over the last ten years, male-female friendships are seen extremely negatively. It is seen as impossible to maintain without sexual attraction. There are men who will avoid being alone in a room with a woman who is not their wife at all costs. Some will give hugs, some only side-hugs, some only hand-shakes, and some won’t even shake my hand! It gets confusing. — Looking for You

    Remember the segregation between Singles and Marrieds in a lot of church environments. How can us singles figure out what to look for and what makes a relationship into a marriage when the marrieds have turned their backs on us to Focus on Their Families? And you’re not considered a REAL adult or REAL Christian until you’ve joined the Marrieds and are allowed to sit with the other grown-ups? Can you imagine the pressure to grab for the first opposite-sex warm body that comes along just to get out of that? “Marriages of Continence”, whose only reason is to legalize the sex? Marriage-crazy instead of Boy-crazy?

    I have long said that Christians are just as screwed-up sexually as everyone else, just in a different direction.

  127. Hester, maybe his draw was Christian nerd? — Anon1

    I doubt it. If “Christian nerd” was a draw, I could quit my day job and support myself entirely from speaking engagements. It’s gotta be something else.

  128. HUG, Nerds do not extrapolate on the Marxist dialectic. Brill eccentric might better describe you. :-) :-)

  129. @HUG… I did the same thing when I pulled one of my all-nighters. That is, posted here what I later thought was entirely too much, or too personal…but I am okay with it because I know that I spoke for others out there who can relate, but are too afraid to speak up. I just want to tell you that because of what I learned in life, I could have written some of what you said, with these changes:

    1) Men are Whores. Period. Men want One Thing and One Thing only and if you don’t give it to ‘em, they’ll leave you for some woman who WILL. (I made the mistake of wanting cuddly companionship.)

    3) Men want Sick and Disgusting things.

    And so on…

    @Mara, it also hurts children. My abusers were watching porn as they hurt me. Porn was a tool they used to cause irreparable damage.

  130. Jeff & Looking for You,

    “All I know is, I related to women a whole lot better and more naturally before the church got hold of me…”

    “… What this does is turn something totally innocent… say, a conversation that involves more than “hi how are you?” into a nervous, awkward, suspicious encounter … It still amazes me how quickly I went from feeling totally comfortable around males to feeling totally unnatural and squirmy…”
    *******************

    Yes, so many freaking unspoken rules of “proper” conduct. I couldn’t agree more. I have wonderful and free friendship interaction with male friends — but not in church! It’s absolutely ridiculous.

    My husband, kids, & myself were invited to go on a staff retreat with our church (staff) recently at a beach (my software husband is working with them on administration & project management things). It was like a minefield, trying to figure social things out. It seemed they wanted to separate the men and the women for the afternoon free time. The women were to go shopping, the men were to go & be manly and rugged in the waves. I hate shopping, and I wanted nothing more than to be on the beach and in the waves. So I did. It was a very strange experience. Such weird tension. I kept to myself, but what could have / should have been a free and exciting time of fun camaraderie was racked with self-consciousness.

  131. “Proper” conduct, it’s ridiculous! I was on a mission in Japan, and I caught a severe case of the flu. There I was, literally throwing up all over the place, and could barely stand… What I really wanted to do was go to the hospital, but instead I had to somehow walk to the train, get on a bus and survive a very long flight back home. All I asked for in preparation was a drink of water. I was alone in my room, and in walks one of our team members, who happened to be male. Because of what the church had taught him about being alone with a female, he was very hesitant to bring me the water, and once in the room, he looked like he wanted to jump out of the window and run for his life. I was dying but all he could think about was the fact that I was female! He stayed far, far way from me the entire trip because he had a girlfriend.

    Then there was the Christian who never spoke to me again after he got married! I hardly ever showed up at my old church (megachurch). I absolutely hated every minute of being there. But I was there long enough to learn that I could never be friends with any of the males.

  132. elastigirl,

    I could tell story after story… some of them really quite hurtful… of the forced seperation and destroyed closeness in what were once healthy, innocent M-F friendships. Because of rule after rule designed to protect ‘purity.’ I believe that it really, really hurts the church’s ability to have any sort of comfortable, community feel. You just can’t feel ‘at home’ at a place like that.

  133. Hey guys, talking about the separation of the sexes, you have to wonder what they do with Luke 8. Read the first part.

    8 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

    So we have 12 guys plus Jesus. Some married, some not. And women! Some married, some not….all traveling around together. The women providing support!

  134. Hey All:

    I know this is off topic but Al Mohler has written and is now promoting a book called the following: Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters

    The grammatical mistakes in the title above are Mohler’s, not mine. I just copied the title off Amazon’s page.

    So someone who thousands of people have personally cited (and backed up with reputable reports including one published by Dr. Mohler’s own denomination) as not having had the conviction to stop sexual abuse/the cover-up of sexual abuse believes he’s qualified to write about the principles of leadership. And imply strongly, on his blog, that he’s in Winston Churchill’s league as a human being/leader.

    Wonders truly never cease regarding Mr. Mohler’s capacity to market himself.

    I’m genuinely interested in reading this book, when it comes out, because Mohler’s decision to write a book about leadership right now is in the dictionary under “Chutzpah.” I wrote a review to that effect on Amazon.

    However, his followers/PR department are/is trying to squelch my review but marking it as unhelpful. Interestingly they’re not leaving a comment saying why my review is unhelpful – they’re just hoping that Amazon will wipe the comment out if it gets too many “unhelpful” hits.

    Fortunately for democracy and free speech, Mohler and his minions don’t control Amazon.com and therefore the book can be commented on by anyone right now –

    http://www.amazon.com/Conviction-Lead-The-Principles-Leadership/dp/0764210041/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1352943181&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=conviction+mohler

    I’m pre-ordering the book/leaving a preliminary opinion about its content and encourage others to do the same if they’re so inclined.

  135. Oasis, that Japan incident was cruel. Shows how horrible the “rules, roles and pharisetical teaching” can be. He was more afraid for his reputation than he was for caring for a sick sister. That is sicko.

  136. RE: Looking for You on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM,

    Good observation, and you bring up a salient point. Why is it that libido in a woman is tacitly frowned upon in the Evangelical subculture, and yet a multitude of excuses are conjured up for men for the same thing? I see it as another double standard, ok if it’s a man and suddenly not ok if it’s a woman.

    In my opinion, the Evangelical subculture has always had an ambivalent relationship with human sexuality. On the one hand it will exalt it to the level of Christ and his bride, and on the other, it will excoriate it mercilessly if it is not confined within strict parameters.

  137. @ Jeff S. & Looking for You:

    “There are men who will avoid being alone in a room with a woman who is not their wife at all costs.”

    My mom once had a homeschool dad apologize to her for leaving the kitchen to go to the bathroom, thus leaving her alone with another dad (not her husband) for less than 5 min. After all, what if someone had walked in and found them together? What would they have THOUGHT?!?!?!

    I know I’ve ranted on TWW at least twice about the male-female friendships thing… Prob. don’t need to repeat myself. Having gone through childhood and adolescence being the girl who had only one female friend (on the other side of the country) because I wasn’t girly enough, that topic will spin me right up faster than just about anything. Conservative evangelicalism’s attitude on this issue is basically stupid and damaging to the core.

    Oh, and that one female friend? A Democrat who was homeschooled but deconverted from Christianity to became Buddhist. Needless to say no one in our homeschool group except me remembers her. ; )

  138. @ Muff:

    “Why is it that libido in a woman is tacitly frowned upon in the Evangelical subculture, and yet a multitude of excuses are conjured up for men for the same thing? I see it as another double standard, ok if it’s a man and suddenly not ok if it’s a woman.”

    It is a double standard. I’m sure the Victorians were responsible for it somehow.

  139. @ Looking for You:

    “I could tell story after story… some of them really quite hurtful… of the forced seperation and destroyed closeness in what were once healthy, innocent M-F friendships. Because of rule after rule designed to protect ‘purity.’”

    I find this often, that the parents will allow M-F friendships when the kids are prepubescent but get all weird about them post-puberty. But why would a parent allow their child to form friendships that they know they will be forced to sever at puberty? Isn’t this just asking for pain, loss and conflict? If they’re going to sex-segregate, they should be consistent – keep the kids away from each other from the day they’re born, then bring them together solely for the purpose of courtship in the late teens/early 20s. (They will never do this, of course – it looks a little too much like mating season on Wild Discovery, and/or the worst excesses of arranged marriages in Muslim countries.)

  140. Anon 1, thanks. What’s ironic is that I’m the last person to worry about, sick or not, being “stone cold” and having sworn off marriage. Love what you said about Luke 8!

  141. Notamohlerfan,

    Good for you on the Amazon review. You know, a few years back, Stacy MacDonald went to a lot of trouble to get bad reviews taken down over her book, Passionate Housewives. The other side fought back and Amazon finally put them back up. So you gotta be vigilent. Amazon does not want to be known as cowtowing to the authors/followers over reviews. But they will take them down when folks complain.

    Yeah, the irony is that the type of “strong leadership” Mohler likes (As he described Mahaney as having to a reporter when he stepped down– and that bloggers just did not like it) is dangerous to children.

    I will check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

    Oh btw, how does that book writing gig work for an employee of SBTS? Does SBTS get the advance? keep the royalties? Did he write it on SBTS time or take a paid sabbatical? Who is he accountable to? Oh yeah, Phillip Gunn, his trustee. Remember him?

  142. Anon1:

    Thanks for the response. If the Mohler-crowd wants to suppress the concept of free speech indirectly because they can’t dispute what I said directly that’s their call. They’re fast becoming the laughingstocks of the world over Mohler’s pro-Crazy Mahaney position anyway, and Amazon is walking a fine line with these kinds of issues. At least the title of my review will stand-out while it’s up:

    The Audacity of Ignoring Sexual Abuse and Claiming to Know What Conviction Means

    I don’t know how the royalties work for Al Mohler, Inc. but I did browse the book and it’s 100% fluff. His pass-through-non-profit of choice is usually Crossways. He’s devoted to the English Standard Version of the Bible and practically claims that the NIV is from Satan because Crossways publishes the ESV and Zondervan publishes the NIV. In addition to having financial ties with the SBC, Crossways publishes Mohler’s books and gives money to conferences like Together for the Gospel or whatever they’ve named that thing now.

    It’s amazing how the supposed inerrancy of a specific version of the Bible corresponds directly with how much money “celebrity preachers” like Mohler make promoting it.

    Since he’s actually a bright guy my guess is that this latest book on Leadership was ghostwritten via a non-profit vehicle, and Mohler is just cashing in on the profits yet it’s hard to say since financial transparency isn’t something these guys emphasize.

    In all fairness, many non-profits, not just religious non-profits, have become tax havens that do little for the public good, and that needs to be examined generally. But at least most non-profits aren’t doing the reprehensible things the SBTS is doing behind the scenes regarding the sexual and physical abuse or marginalized community members like women and children.

  143. HUG, I understand much of what you said, and I care. Thanks for saying it. It sort of help me to understand some things about people better.

    (I say this an alleged Aspie who also gets turned off by violent porn, who is unhappy with hearing men want only one thing, with the same amount of sexual experiance as you do … Some similarities I prefer to leave unsaid, as I do not use a pseudonym.)

    For a good person who takes things literally, violent pornography is horrible.

  144. Violence + sex has always made me sick. (Literally, at times.)

    Why anyone would want to give violent porn a pass is beyond me – to combine what is supposed to be an act that springs from love for another with violation, humiliation and degradation is … well. I am glad I don’t understand it, and I hope I never do.

    As far as I’m concerned, women (like me) want men who will treat them as equals, with love and respect, in all aspects of life. If someone were to get demanding with me about sex, or to insist on something I didn’t feel right about doing, he would – at very least – be sleeping on the sofa and waking up to a knapsack with his essentials + keys being removed from his keyring while he was sleeping.

    Seriously, there are some things that no one should have to put up with, ever. If it’s not happening like 1 Cor ch. 13, it’s not proceeding from love and concern for a partner’s/spouse’s well-being. And that, per Jesus and the rest of the NT, is not acceptable.

    also… fwiw. I have known a fair few straight men (not “professing” xtians) who had more integrity in their dealings with women – both friends and gfs/wives – than many supposedly xtian men I’ve met. (Goes double for the many nice gay men I’ve known, though with those who were truly gay and not bi, there was, of course, no sexual tension, which can be a very freeing thing in terms of deep friendships… just ask other women who work in the arts!)

  145. NotAMohlerFan:

    Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters

    The grammatical mistakes in the title above are Mohler’s, not mine. I just copied the title off Amazon’s page.

    Maybe he’s referring to “Leadership that Matters” as opposed to “Leadership that Doesn’t Matter”. Either way, there may or may not be anything new in it, given that there are already thousands of books by motivational speakers/writers purporting to “reveal” THE N secrets (where N is usually greater than 3, but less than 7) of leadership, success, wealth, marketing influence or having a big congregation.

    On the opposite-sex-friendships thing… my church-based experience is a bit odd there. When I first became a Christian I was living in Cambridge, so I joined a church there. The town is divided neatly in half by the River Cam, and for a while the church found it convenient to meet in two congregations, North and South. By sheer coincidence, ALL the single men lived north of the river, and ALL the single women lived south of it. (I promise I’m not making this up.) So we had married-plus-single-sex congregations.

    This wasn’t anybody’s fault. But it was somewhat unhelpful to me as I’d been to a boys’ school and was studying at the only all-male Cambridge college, so I didn’t know a fat lot about girls! I only really solved that problem by joining the rock-climbing club at one of the other colleges and doing normal everyday fun stuff in mixed groups. One of several significant life-changing steps I’ve taken over the years by drawing on help outside of any church.

  146. So someone who thousands of people have personally cited (and backed up with reputable reports including one published by Dr. Mohler’s own denomination) as not having had the conviction to stop sexual abuse/the cover-up of sexual abuse believes he’s qualified to write about the principles of leadership. And imply strongly, on his blog, that he’s in Winston Churchill’s league as a human being/leader. — Not a Mohler Fan

    Guy’s got a high opinion of himself, eh?

    (I say this an alleged Aspie who also gets turned off by violent porn, who is unhappy with hearing men want only one thing, with the same amount of sexual experiance as you do … Some similarities I prefer to leave unsaid, as I do not use a pseudonym.) — Retha

    Too bad you’re in South Africa and I’m in California. Especially with your icon of that cute fury lady (bitch or vixen) with the flower.

    Violence + sex has always made me sick. (Literally, at times.)

    Why anyone would want to give violent porn a pass is beyond me – to combine what is supposed to be an act that springs from love for another with violation, humiliation and degradation is … well. I am glad I don’t understand it, and I hope I never do. — Numo

    Yeah. “Tie down and torture to orgasm.” It’s a head-scratcher to me, too, and I’ve written a few heavy violence scenes in my furry fiction.

    It’s also the reason I got REAL disturbed in the Eighties when I heard something about splatter films being used by teens of the time as a background accompaniment to sex. You DON’T want to associate those two things, especially on a deep emotional level.

    On a lighter note, I’ve got to tell you of my wildest experience with Rule 34 in a search engine. (Side tip: When you’re searching for a My Little Pony named Fluttershy on FurAffinity and one of the thumbnails says “Warning: Diaper”, DON’T CLICK ON IT.)

    I was doing Web searches for a couple horror movies I remembered from many years ago, searching by title. Including an older Hammer(?) film titled “The Asphyx”. So I searched for “Asphyx”. Big mistake. Until then, I didn’t know that “Asphyx” is also the name of a category of violent porn dealing with suffocation/strangulation. I do now. Ia, Ia, Cthulhu, Fthagn…

  147. Thanks, Nick. The book is complete fluff from what I’ve read so far. However, Al Mohler can write a book about leadership because even though he’s on his way out and his decisions have already/likely will continue to destroy the SBC, I believe, there’s no doubt that Mohler’s a leader in the sense that many people do what he tells them to do without question.

    What he can’t suggest is that he gives a rat’s a— about having convictions or principles of any kind.

    His true career model has always been Machiavelli, who essentially believed (yes I’m over-simplying Machiavelli’s philosophy) that good leaders were first and foremost pragmatists, not people with annoying moral convictions that get in the way of doing whatever it is you want to do.

    And Machiavelli thought that it was better to be feared than loved. Mohler is definitely feared because he’s a leader that lacks principles, not loved because of his convictions.

  148. Unless they are your wife. Or your pastors wife. You can view HER as a sexual object, just not YOUR sexual object. — JeffS

    Ever notice that a LOT of Celebrity Megachurch Pastor’s Wives are lookers? Some to the point of being cosmetic surgery/silicone ads?

  149. Fell asleep lastnight before I got a chance to respond to this:

    “Remember the segregation between Singles and Marrieds in a lot of church environments. How can us singles figure out what to look for and what makes a relationship into a marriage when the marrieds have turned their backs on us to Focus on Their Families?”

    HUG, I think this laser like “Focus on the Family” may contribute to people turning their backs on each other in general – I think it makes for a lot of lonely individuals, and not just the singles. Though I married fairly young and can’t exactly relate to your frustration with this atmosphere as a single person, I’ve been in a church environment of extreme “Focus on the Family” (Family-integrated church) for nearly a decade and understand how it can be frustrating for attempts at non-familial relationships/friendships in general. It has been a lonely decade for me. My old friends all hit the road when I got into reformed patriarchal christianity (looking back, I don’t blame them), and it left me desperate for new friends. But I quickly realized that it was not going to be possible to have any sort of genuine, close friends due to the fiercely protective, secretive nature of families in this sort of church. The unmarried young women my age seemed almost fearful (?) of me (trembled or blushed if I tried to converse with them) and the other married women were busy keeping track of their “quiverfulls.” And I was too shy (though not THAT shy!!!) to go out of my way to befriend people. The PA Dutch culture (avoidance, unspoken rules, cold shoulder response to missteps, rabbit-trailing small-talk without end, lack of expression/emotion) didn’t help things either. Crossing Reformed religion with PA Dutch culture is not a great idea. So I mostly kind of “hid” silently behind my husband while he joined in theological discussions with the men (for me to join in would have been um… frowned upon). Which earned me complements for being such a “respectful” wife lol. When in reality I was just feeling awkward, out-of-place, and bored. Like a clunky accessory attached to my husband that would have preferred to stay home in a closet somewhere.

    Anyway, my point is, don’t think the singles are the only lonelies in family-focused churches. When families/heads-of-families are catered to while singles/individuals in the families are sidelined, loneliness abounds. You’re “part of a family” or “not part of a family” and neither option gives much space for individuality and the bonding of individuals in any sort of relationship.

  150. Anyway, my point is, don’t think the singles are the only lonelies in family-focused churches.

    And in not-so-intensely “family focused” churches as well.

    I used to believe that getting married would be a permanent cure for loneliness, even though – on another level – I knew that couldn’t be true, due to what I saw in my own birth family + in the lives of others around me.

    it seems as if married people – in this society in general – are under pressure to act as if they find total happiness in their spouse. How one person can satisfy all of their partner’s emotional and intellectual needs is a mystery to me… and I wonder if motherhood provides a distraction from needs that are unmet, for some, at least?

    At any rate, I think the kind of church you were in simply adds all the societal pressure to its unspoken rules and ramps it up to the Nth degree, PA Dutch or not. (and ikwym about some of the things you mentioned above as far as PA Dutch culture, but must also say that I’m PA Dutch and that not everyone acts in the ways you described, or maybe it’s safer to say to the degree that you experienced them. am so sorry you had to go through that!!!)

    (I realize that I might be talking through my hat, as I’ve never been married…)

  151. Tag to my last message: I grew up in – and am now back in – an area that’s a mixture of PA Dutch, Scotch-Irish (read: “irish” immigrants descended from the English and Scots who stampeded over to Ireland after Oliver Cromwell’s brutal suppression of Catholicism there), 19th-c. Irish immigrants, and miscellaneous Italians, later immigrants of German, Polish, Puerto Rican etc. descent.

    Society – in general – in this area is VERY family-focused, regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof. Many local people are extremely clannish and refuse to let “outsiders” into the inner circle, so to speak. That’s deliberate on the part of some; less extreme variants abound, though – and i think that in many cases, if people realized how they shut others out, they would be very embarrassed and not a little ashamed.

    Am saying all that, though, to clarify about the local culture: it’s *not* just people who are PA Dutch who act this way; it’s also the people of Irish and Scottish and English Protestant descent who settled in this area at the same time the PA Dutch did. it comes from *all* of those cultures.

    All that said, i do suspect that a lot of local Mennonites and Amish are examples of exactly the behaviors you’ve describe, LFY.

    (Good grief – i sound like a daggoned sociologist!)

  152. Bridget – not really! But I *am* fascinated with cultures, and how/why people behave the way they do. (part of that comes from my going through extreme culture shock after moving back to this area – includes being treated as an “outsider” due to having lived away from here for decades.)

    fwiw, I studied art and art history in undergrad and grad schools, and am a musician.

  153. Looking for you – you’ve given me a new take on being married in a church environment – thanks for sharing.

    numo – go the subversive sociology – and the anthropology too !

    My bio on being single in the church – it hit home in my late twenties when I realised the ‘young marrieds’ would sit in the same seats each week and when the service was over would turn around and only relate with each other. I don’t blame them – they were married so young they didn’t have much social skills yet anyway. But it got to the point where I’d be lying in bed on Sunday morning, dreading having to go to church. I was trying to psych myself out of bed unsuccessfully. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time and couldn’t put a voice to feeling marginalised or inferior in others eyes. My most liberating feeling was giving myself the permission not to go. No more flogging the dead horse. Sunday no longer felt burdensome.

    btw many years later I did find a small (tiny) mainstream fellowship that broke down all my prejudices of church and was a good place to be – where I felt accepted, valued and wasn’t intruded upon. I don’t have ‘ambitious career woman’ stamped on me, neither am I a card-carrying homemaker. I just like to be accepted for who I am – somewhere in the middle. I’m not a natural extrovert when I first visit church and I value my privacy. At this church they were older folks who were mature, really interesting people. They had their s**t together. And there was an absence of drippy ‘way out there’ creepy guys who get attracted to me (why is that, like attracts like or something? I have had the weirdest marriage proposals from strangers in the past). Anyhow it’s a real pity you can’t take churches like that with you when you move.

    So bio over, personally, I think a lot of the marginalisation that occurs in church is because people get comfortable. They forget to look out for the new guy or girl on the block. Their social skills aren’t challenged due to their comfortableness – they don’t need to.

    Warning – sermon. So all you ‘comfortable’ people out there take heed – spare a thought sometime for those who don’t have it as easy as you. We may have had careers overseas or moved around a bit so we’re not as easily established or grounded as you. We don’t think your way of life is superior, and neither do we think that living single is superior. It’s just folks living in different ways. Maybe think of being a bit more inclusive and expanding your social circle in a sincere and non-tokenistic way. And I’ll be sure to invite you to my all-inclusive barbeque for couples and singles next time I can afford the sausages.

  154. The PA Dutch culture (avoidance, unspoken rules, cold shoulder response to missteps, rabbit-trailing small-talk without end, lack of expression/emotion) didn’t help things either. — Looking for You

    THAT is my father’s side of my family (originally from Watsontown north of Harrisburg). And (on steroids) my stepmother (originally from Harrisburg area) after Mom died and Dad remarried in ’76. Two matriarchs from that culture (Grandmother and Stepmother), plus a little brother with probable undiagnosed NPD and sociopathy, and it’s no wonder I’m so screwed up.

    My writing partner (a PA Dutch preacher-man, S of Harrisburg) has to deal with that culture every day. (He describes it as “passive-aggressive as a fine art form”.) When analyzing my family dynamics from the previous paragraph, his comment was “You didn’t stand a chance.”

  155. Re: singles and marrieds… I was 29 and David was 33 when we got married. I always thought once I got married, I would “fit in” at church. Except by the time we got married, everyone our age had kids so we still didn’t fit in. After nine years of marriage we were finally blessed with a pregnancy. But we still didn’t fit in because now we were 39 and 43 with a newborn and everyone our age had kids in middle school and high school.

    I’ve given up on fitting in. I look for the nice older ladies in the church to befriend. To them, I’m young with a child. :-)

  156. HUG – I like that video!

    As for my moniker, it was inspired by the late Numo – the hedgehog. His person had a really nifty blog for him, but he died a few years ago, her site got hacked very badly, and she never brought his pages back online.

  157. And – as God is my witness – not all PA Dutch people are like that!!! (I know, I know – “The lady doth protest too much…” – but it’s true nonetheless.)

  158. Haitch –

    And there was an absence of drippy ‘way out there’ creepy guys who get attracted to me (why is that, like attracts like or something? I have had the weirdest marriage proposals from strangers in the past).

    I sympathise; I attract patronising people like a jam jar attracts wasps. So, total strangers (and usually small, slightly weird ones) wander up to me on railway platforms, or seaside piers, to tell me that where I’m standing is dangerous.

    Check out this Jasper Carrott clip – if you’ve not already come across it, I think you’ll appreciate it!

  159. Nick – that’s brilliant. I hadn’t heard of him. You’ve inspired me to write about some of my ‘nutty interludes’. Not for publishing though. There are some classics. Someone told me once, ‘it’s because you’re too nice…’. I did try the scowling emo thing for a while, but it just wasn’t me.

  160. Hhmmm…

    And I have the face of a counselor.
    Random people will come up and tell me stories I’m not sure I want to here.

    Once had a teenager sit next to me in a church nursery, never saw her before or since, who told me that her father only had one leg and her mother’s leg was broken when said teenager was conceived. She said it in a tone that said, “I just found out about this myself and I have to tell someone.”

  161. Numo – that little guy/gal is cuteness. Not too many little hedgehogs in my part of the woods. We have other little critters in our home — just no pink eyed ones.

  162. Numo,

    I agree, not all PA Dutch are like I described, if we’re talking about the individual people. But somehow even the really open, welcoming folks seem to get drowned out by the culture.

    And yeah, I guess Amish and Mennonite (Brethren too) is really what I mean when I refer to that culture. I’m also 100% PA Dutch – and my ancestors are all Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren. Fortunately my family grew pretty mainstream by the time my generation rolled around and I never had to dress “plain” or wear headcoverings except at Love Feast (twice a year). :-) But the trait of really having no idea how to handle conflict remained and is still deeply engrained in me. I suspect the hardcore Pacifist teachings have something to do with that. I am also clueless how to express my feelings/thoughts on things except in writing, and even then it’s hard. Can’t get over feeling like I should apologize for talking. LOTS going on in my head, little gets out. Then I married an outspoken, outgoing Marine who is Reformed. It’s a good thing opposites attract because we couldn’t be more opposite! He has helped me overcome my shyness in a lot of ways, but there was a time when we started dating that I was so painfully shy that he didn’t see how we could ever have anything to talk about!

  163. Numo,

    Also, I’m curious. Do you think that studying art and music might have helped you to break out of the PA Dutch culture, as in learning healthy ways to express yourself (and relate to others)? Or perhaps that being artistic-minded by nature helped you to avoid it? My hubby and I have been going to various arts and crafts shows lately and I’ve been fascinated by the self-expression element, the ability to convey messages in surprising ways. Makes me really wish I was artistic. Of course in the culture I’ve grown up in, as well as the Reformed culture I’ve been a part of basically since adulthood, they are all about group/family expression and uniformity – but self-expression/individuality? I think they kind of fear it. To widely varying extremes of course. Like I said above, you’re either a “part of a family” or “not part of a family.” Part of “this group” or “that group.”

  164. Haitch/Nick,

    On weird marriage proposals, I too can sympathize!

    I mean bizarre, awkward, kinda scary ones. I once had a Muslim man (a cook where I waitressed) pester me to go out to lunch with him everyday until I said ok, but I’m paying my own lunch. Why I agreed I will never know, I barely knew him. When we got there he insisted on paying, then as soon as we sat down he proceeded to propose to me!! I said no of course, but was too shy and flabbergasted to just get up and leave. Plus I had driven him there and felt bad leaving. Worse, he KEPT asking, the entire way through our meal and the drive to his house. I finally stopped saying no, zipped my lips, stared straight ahead, and just kept shaking my head. It was probably the awkwardest moment of my life.

    I also had an Amish customer tell me he was going to throw me up on his horse and ride away with me as his bride – with a gun. I refused to ever wait on him again. He was married too.

  165. LFY, hey – avoiding conflict and all of that was part of my family’s life, too, but I think one of the big differences is that I was raised in a family where reading and other pursuits (music, art – even engineering ;)) were encouraged. My mom wanted to be a jazz pianist; my dad loved many kinds of music and used to buy jazz LPs for my mom whenever he was in NYC on business. And both of them loved plays and musicals.

    Also, I grew up in a partly Jewish neighborhood – even though my home town is in the middle of Amish/Mennonite/CotB territory, there was a large Jewish community for many years. A lot of our neighbors came from various parts of NY state… so in some ways, I was around “other cultures” from a very early age.

    I once went to an arts conference that was held at Messiah College, and was startled by what some of the women who worked there (and were attending) had to say about needing to overcome various aspects of their backgrounds in order to allow themselves to appreciate a lot of the cultural things that they loved (and felt guilty for loving). One of them also said something (to another CotB woman) about feeling that their church idolized plainness and made it a higher good than other things that deserved more attention.

    To answer your question, though, I am certain that my involvement in the arts has been hugely therapeutic for me – I think that’s true of most everyone else who does something that they love doing, for the pure pleasure of doing it. *but* my family had its own dysfunctional patterns. Some were from PA German (not just PA Dutch) culture, but you know… there are dysfunctional families everywhere.

    It sounds like you’ve been swimming against the current for a long time, and I do hope you’re able to find respite soon. I’d encourage you to think of some of the things you’d really like to try and then… just follow your heart and inclinations. Take a class just for fun if you can. And if it’s in car repair, then so be it! :) Self-expression comes in many forms.

  166. But the trait of really having no idea how to handle conflict remained and is still deeply engrained in me.

    I’ve had to work very hard to learn to deal with conflict, too… so it’s not just something from your specific background.

    As far as weird marriage proposals, etc., I’ve had my share of them, but will keep them safely off-list.

    btw, you said Makes me really wish I was artistic.

    How do you know you’re not? (Seriously.) And there’s art in lots of things, not just drawing, painting, music, dance – there’s art in gardening and cooking and in so many other seemingly everyday things.

    But yeah, I can see how the conformity issues in the part of PA Dutch culture where you grew up are making you feel restricted. Give yourself time to find what you love to do – and start small.

    (I feel like Dear Abby now; better be quiet for a while!)

  167. Thanks for the advice Numo. :-) Good point about art being in many things. I do have my piano – have long wished to start up lessons again someday!

  168. Glad I could help a bit, LFY!

    I also think that women in our society are generally not encouraged to stand up for themselves in the same way that men are… has much to do with what’s seen as socially acceptable in boys vs. the same with girls.

    and where you’re from, I’m sure that dynamic is greatly reinforced.

  169. Mara & LFY – I was loud laughing and grimacing at the same time if that is possible. Kinda traumatic at the time, but good to have a quizzical shake of the head about it later – some things just cannot be explained. If anyone wants to start an anonymous blogsite called “weirdest confessions” or “weirdest marriage proposals” I will happily contribute. No names of course.

    Numo – the food in your area growing up and now sounds like it would be FABULOUS. I have shamelessly run into Jewish shops and asked for their best chicken soup recipe.

    JJ – there are so many good films out there like ‘Lars’ – life is too short to watch anything but whimsical and quirky I reckon.

  170. Haitch – well, there were no Jewish delis here. The only way you could get good food was either to be friends with someone and get invited for dinner, or else go to New York city and chow down. (or else, as a kind of distant second, Baltimore, Maryland.)

    But yes… I’ve had some good food in my day! Sadly, most of the older folks are long gone, and there are only a handful of younger Jewish people in the area now.

  171. Hey numo,

    Do you like Gefilte fish? I grew up with Jews in the Southeastern corner of Wisconsin, so I know. You can still get a jar at the local supermarket out here in Southern Cal., but it just ain’t as good as the stuff Mrs. Lehman used to make when I was a kid.

  172. Muff – Gefilte fish: not really, but then, a lot of the Jewish people in my ‘hood didn’t like it, either. ; )

    However, I do love chopped liver, which was one of the more indulgent portions of our next-door neighbors’ Seder meals.

  173. HUG, on megachurch wives, alpha pairing, perhaps? — WTH

    If so, it’s the same “alpha pairing” you see in high school.

    Boobalicious head cheerleader armpiece to the varsity quarterback.

  174. It would be helpful to return to the original subject of this post. In 2006/7 there were an estimated 26.8 million slaves in the world, of whom approximately 1.2 million were women caught in sex trafficking. The annual profits amounted to over 33 billion dollars and the annual growth rate was reckoned to be in the region of about 4%. From the Indian sub-continent, to south Asia to Europe and the Americas, organized criminal gangs enslave people for profit. And it’s getting worse.

    One thing that you cannot do is nothing. And in that I disagree with an earlier blogger who finds this to be a weak argument. But the simple fact is this, if you can do something but choose to do nothing then you are complicit in the act of exploitation and the last thing you can do is blame the Puritans or MD or any of your other targets. They contribute to the wrongness of the act in their own setting with their misguided views but it is a worldwide problem and it is cross cultural.

    Locally you can help in rescue shelters, health programmes and by standing across the street to stop the kerb crawlers. You can join national and international aid groups that combat exploitation. You can give time money and publicity. Every little bit helps.

    Intervention can be achieved at law enforcement level, women freed and made safe. They can be treated as victims and helped, instead of being seen as the wrongdoers.They can be supported not deported and their exploiters – the traffickers and the abusers – prosecuted.

    Regards
    Gavin

  175. Gavin

    Thank you. We hope to do more on this issue and make it part of our “hot button” issues, along with pedophilia and spiritual abuse.