Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Something to Rant About

Is this real life?
 If you're feeling a little too happy today, or just looking for something to fuel your frustration; google the phrase "Godly Marriage." This is sure to ruin your day!

I was doing some research today for a blog post I'm working on when I typed in that unfortunate phrase. "Godly Marriage." Most of the articles I found said the exact same things:

Men must lead, women must follow, follow these rules or your marriage will fall apart, etc etc.. This article however, takes the cake. It spells out (in no uncertain terms) what all the other christian marriage guru's were too PC to say. I've included a few quotes, but be sure to stop by the website for the full article. Sweeping generalizations and stereotypes are not enough for Dr. Keith Sherlin. He will not rest until you are thoroughly convicted of your many marital sins. Enjoy the ride folks, and be sure to tie your computer down to the desk or you might end up chucking it at the wall....

"A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation"

"Men must love the wife enough to work and provide for the essential needs of the woman. Procrastination, or being lazy, will damage the relationship."

"The woman must understand that God has designed man in such a way that sexual fulfillment is one of the most essential ways that he understands his mate's love"

"In the cases where the woman neglects her body, appearance, or other detail to make herself attractive to her spouse she has become to some degree a liar. She deceived her mate into thinking she would maintain this appearance in the courting process. Then when she thinks she has won the man she lets her body go to waste, her appearance dwindle with little to no concern to please the senses and eye of her mate. This is deceptive and sinful."
Now granted, this is one of the worst articles I've ever seen, but it was on the FIRST PAGE of my "Godly Marriage" google search. And i found nothing by a Christian that refuted it. Just lots of other well-known Christian leaders saying the same exact thing in softer words.

I really want to believe that Christianity is not really diametrically apposed to equality, but Christian literature is making it pretty hard.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"The Girls"

If you have ever worked in an office, you know how indispensable Administrative Staff is.

 I get up early every morning, put on professional business clothes, comb my short hair, and drive to the office just like everyone else. I unlock the doors and turn on the lights, make the coffee and turn on the phones. I spend 8 to 10 hours at the office every day. I keep the office supplied, I do all the vital paperwork, I pay the office bills, and interact with all our clients.

A job like mine usually requires a minimum 2 year degree and experience. My profession is not easy. It is not fun. It is not a joke. But every day I go into the office to do my job, I am dismissed, talked down to, and marginalized.

My boss consistently refers to the admin staff as “The Girls.” The other two women on our team of three are middle aged mothers. When do they earn the title of “Woman?” What do we have to do to be taken seriously as business people?

Am I the only one who cares about this?

I met a male Administrator once. He was a 20-year-old student who worked part time as a Receptionist. He did nothing but answer phones and browse Facebook. All. Day. Long. His boss (an older man) called him “Sir” and often praised his accomplishment of being a student and employee at the same time. He used words like “young” and “ambitious” and “smart” when he talked about his Receptionist.

But I’m just a girl. Married, going to school 10 hours a week, working full time, indispensable team member, but just one of “The Girls.” It disgusts me.

I mentioned my frustration to a fellow administrator once, and she called me “a crazy feminist.” I asked her to define “feminist” and her only response was that she “doesn’t have a fit when a man holds the door open.” Are American women so ignorant that they don’t see the oppression and discrimination going on before their very eyes? How can I demand the respect I deserve when the women around me don’t mind being marginalized?

I have news for you America: sexism is alive and well. I see it every single day. I just wish there was something I could do about it.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Leaning against the door of my bathroom stall, I closed my eyes tight and counted to 60, 3 times. The box said to wait three minutes for the best results. We’d only been married 2 weeks, and here I was in McDonald’s bathroom in Wisconsin taking a pregnancy test.

 A baby right now would ruin everything;

                   all our plans,

 all our possibilities.

                                                             But somehow I was still desperately hopeful.

When I opened my eyes and saw that tiny pink minus sign, I was shocked at the misery that swept over me.

 “I don’t want a baby” I whispered to myself. “I don’t WANT to be pregnant.”
 I quickly wiped away my tears and went outside to my anxious husband. “Crisis averted!” I joked, but I avoided eye contact. I didn’t want him to see the emptiness in my eyes.

That was the first of many negative pregnancy tests. Every time I bought a box at Walgreens I secretly hoped that THIS would be the time. THIS would be the test that would come back positive. And every time I would throw the negative stick in the garbage and cry on the inside if not for real. I didn’t understand why it made me feel so awful. Until recently, I was sure it was my god-given desire to nurture that made me hate myself for being childless.

In a sense, that is true. But it’s not a god-given desire: it’s just my P/QF programming.  

This is not a post about how Quiverfull taught me to want babies.
 This is not even about how Patriarchy taught me that I didn’t deserve to dream big and reach my goals.
                                                      This is about something deeper.
                                                             This is about identity
                                                                     and value.

Most Christian-raised kids are told that they have no inherent value. I was told to find my identity and value in God alone. I internalized that to mean that God was the only thing that made me worth loving. Without him I was I worthless, useless piece of garbage. As a kid I constantly reminded myself how worthless I was. It didn’t take long for that to sink in. I tried and tried to be close to god, but he was always so far away. I knew he didn’t care about me. And I knew it was because of how worthless I was.

Ashamed, I started looking elsewhere for something to bring value to my useless shell.

“I am valuable because I do my chores faster than anyone else”

“I am lovable because I sing in front of the church”

“I am worthy because I punish myself with a razor blade”

“I am respectable because I exercise 25 hours a week”

I have transferred my sense value from one thing to the next for my entire life. When I got married, it was like all of that was suddenly cut out from under me.
Everything in my life was
                   brand new,
       but I was still the same,
                  and now I had nothing left to bring value to my existence.

I have come to realize what was really going on in my heart every time I took a pregnancy test. I was hoping against hope that a tiny pink plus sign would show up in that window and give me a reason to keep on living.

Every day I am learning to love myself for the first time in my life. I am learning to find value in myself. I am slowly discovering that I have an identity apart from god,

                                              or parents,

                                                         or skills,

                                                              or accomplishments.

                                                                              I am valuable because I am human.
 And so are you.

 I don’t want a baby right now. But someday when I have one, I promise you I will tell them everyday how worthy they are. How precious they are. How VALUABLE they are.

 It seems like a simple lesson, but let me tell you: the older you get, the harder that lesson is to learn.