Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Unexpected sacrifices

Three years ago, when my wife and I began the process to adopt children, we expected sacrifices. It doesn't matter if a child is born or adopted into a family, sacrifices are inevitable. Sleep. Finances. Sanity. Material goods. But recently we have found a sacrifice we did not expect, and it's the hardest, most painful sacrifice ever.

Our social workers thought we were the greatest candidates ever. We had clean criminal histories. We were young. We had a supportive family. We had very few stipulations. After we were certified as a foster home we waited months before we received a call. One of our requests was maximum of two children - they had three; did we want to meet them?

We went to the disclosure meeting with the social worker where they told us everything they knew about the children and their families. Ages. Medical history. Why they were in the system. How long they were in the system. They were what is considered a difficult placement because they were three siblings, and they were black.

When we were in our training classes we learned that a majority of people who are looking to adopt do so because of fertility issues (most people assume that's why we did). They want a baby. If they're white like us, they want a white baby. Asian babies are the second most desired. Hispanic and especially black children are difficult to find homes for. This is why the rules for adoption have opened up to allow placement into homes other than the child's race.

We said we would meet them.

Our three new children were 2-, 3- and 4-years old at the time. The youngest didn't talk. The oldest was shy. The middle one wouldn't stop eating. We loved them immediately. We love them so much more now.

Throughout the training process my wife and I were surrounded by loving friends and family. They all told us how we were doing such a great thing. They promised their support. We had a lot of emotional and physical support.

Things changed almost immediately after the children came to live with us full-time. We did take a small break from the world for a few weeks to get accustomed to the children, and them to us. I can't find fault with anyone because it was right in the middle of the Great Recession, people were moving between homes, jobs, etc. One of our biggest support groups was overrun by a cult so it imploded. But we felt isolated from many of our friends. Some who promised they'd help out were always too busy. Others were moving to other states, or out of the area. Others just disappeared.

We had our children for about a year when the biggest blow came; my wife's family packed up and moved four (Western) states away. They had been our rock. Our biggest support. My mother-in-law quit her job to help us out. My brother-in-law was my best friend. The family would get together multiple times every week. They were what made us so confident we could take on such a huge task - three children - all at one time. And they were gone.

It started at denial, and turned to anger, but ended with acceptance. We were on our own. We now had our own family, and our own responsibilities. We would have to raise our family the way most people do.

A year later the adoption was finalized. When all of our social structure collapsed, we refocused ourselves. My wife went back to school. I worked and took care of the kids. I started following Major League Soccer. Life consisted almost entirely of work, kids, laundry, meals, dishes, soccer and the occasional outing with the few friends who were still in the flesh and answered my text messages. The rest of my circle existed in the cloud: Facebook mostly.

The oldest turned 5. Enrolled in kindergarten. They all entered child care. They're now growing up so fast. Breakfast. School. Work. Child care. Dinner. Bedtime. Repeat.

Their little minds began to notice things. Before they assumed adults were white and kids were black. They would say, "When I grow up I'll be white like daddy." But in school they were surrounded by white kids. Latinas. Other black kids. New ideas started to creep in. "I don't like being brown," she would say. "I'm ugly."

She would draw herself in crayon. White face. Long, straight hair. He would say he looked "dirty."

We were always conscious of the need to have black figures in their lives. Their hairstylist, barber, half-brother - we even tried to keep their paternal grandmother involved. We had black dolls. Sesame Street helped with self esteem. So did Willow Smith.

But it still came. We brought in more famous black people they could connect with: Esperanza Spaulding. Yasiin Bey. Questlove. One night they all had questions, so we pulled out a poster with the images and names of the most influential African American figures: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Hank Aaron, and Barack Obama to name a few. They loved it.

Then Trayvon Martin happened. That young man in his hoodie blew things up. Reliable friends started pushing us away because we said simple things like, "My son does look like Trayvon." They insisted my wife and I couldn't have a rational thought on the topic. We were "too invested" to think clearly. My wife especially got thrashed by what I thought were good friends who belittled her in the most patronizing manner.

With frayed strings of relation, we got over it. We have more important things to do. I've got to teach my kids to swim. I want my kids at least half-way through the year's curriculum before the school year starts.

But it doesn't go away. Facebook makes everything public and not a week goes by when I don't see a friend or family member commenting on some public forum or image with no self-awareness to how racial their words are. Or they're simply in agreement with friends or acquaintances who spew vile racist ideas into the ether because they want to be like their favorite radio personality.

It's not just the blatant racism disguised as political thought either, it's the subtle racism in "politically incorrect" jokes. They say, "Lighten up." The bully's defense. But it hurts. It saddens me. It saddens my wife. The way these people disrespect my children. The way they hide behind might be funny to a bunch of white kids with no black friends but is really dispiriting to my children. They don't know how hurtful it is because my kids are already hearing these things at school.

Sure, you'll bounce my kid on your knee and then say mean things about him when he's not around because it's just so funny. Ha. Ha. Ha.

That's not even the most hurtful thing. It's the defensiveness they take when we make simple comments about how raising a black child in white suburbia is different. We say something about how our daughter doesn't like her hair and it's like we called every white person in the world a racist. "Every girl is like that," they'll say, not realizing the other girls at school are making fun of her because she's different! Every girl isn't the odd one out. I make one comment about how I'll have to teach my sons things about social interaction that me, as a white man, take for granted, and it's like I told the closest people to me that they're hate-filled scum.

When other parents talk about the issues they face raising their children they get sympathetic platitudes or thoughtful advice. We get arguments. Because we're not emotional beings struggling with the issues our children are facing, we're simply political punching bags.

It hurts.

About 18 months after Trayvon was killed, the verdict is in: not guilty. It doesn't matter what my opinion is because what I see are my family making senseless comments about the animal behavior of black people, because we've never seen a white person take to the streets in anger. (Oh, but that's different, these black people are angry over a white man's acquittal; those white people were angry because a sports legend was fired for covering up child sexual abuse, so it's different!) They post articles to the few cases of violence that have sprung up making comments about how the entire black community are responsible for this behavior. But it's not a racist comment, because I"m sure they also claimed every white man in America is responsible for the Lane Kiffin Riot.

It doesn't just stop there, but it keeps building and building. They say they're not racist, but they take to their Facebook pages like a virtual riot. They say they love my children but they continue to criticize black people as a bloc, and even directly insult my family. They say they love me, but they dismiss any and all concerns I have over the very experiences my children are already facing - at 4-, 5- and 6-years old.

Three years ago, when my wife and I began the process to adopt children, we expected sacrifices. But recently we have found a sacrifice we did not expect, and it's the hardest, most painful sacrifice ever. We sacrificed our white identity.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A message to fathers from Louis C.K.

Father's Day was last week, but I love this message so much I want to share it anyway.

Louis C.K. has been a big encouragement to me as a father. He says (indirectly anyway, "We have thoughts and feelings and that's OK, it doesn't make you a bad person. Your actions make you a good person. Just be a good person."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Who is bullying whom?

Object lesson:

Pete goes to school with an almond butter sandwich and Brad takes it from him. This happens every day. The other students know this happens and encourages Brad to take Pete's sandwich. They applaud him and provide moral support. Similarly the teachers and administrative staff support Brad's thievery. They say that Pete doesn't deserve to eat sandwiches like everyone else because the right sandwich is peanut butter. They tell him that he can eat any sandwich he likes as long as it's peanut butter. Pete insists on bringing almond butter sandwiches.

Pete is not a bully. His actions are not equivalent to Brad's nor to those of any other person in the school.

One day a classmate of Pete's named Jessica stands with Pete and calls Brad a bully. She sands with Pete and trying to convince the other students and adults that what Brad is doing is wrong. The sandwich rightfully belongs to Pete, and he's entitled to eat lunch just like everyone else.

Jessica is not a bully. Her actions are not equivalent to Brad's nor to those of any other person in the school.

Jessica finally convinces a group of children of the righteousness of her cause. They all band together to protect Pete. But the school administrators step in and take the sandwich away from Pete anyway. They give it to Brad claiming it's his right to take the sandwich from Pete. These advocate children begin to become more vocal and attempt to stop Brad and the administration from taking Pete's sandwich.

These children in solidarity are not bullies. Their actions are not equivalent to Brad's nor to those of the administration.

Constance is a teacher in the school. She is swayed by the advocate children's cause and she herself becomes a supporter of Pete's right to eat almond butter sandwiches. Over time Constance attempts to sway the rest of the administration to the cause of almond butter sandwiches. Meanwhile several other children begin bringing their own almond butter sandwiches to school. Coalitions form to support the right of children to eat whatever sandwich they would like free from abuse. Some children even bring bologna sandwiches to school.

Constance is not a bully. The children with different sandwiches are not bullies. None of their actions are equivalent to Brad, his supporters nor to those of the prevailing school administration

After many years of these skirmishes, a new school administration takes over which allows all kinds of sandwiches. Brad is no longer allowed to take sandwiches from other students. Brad forms a club which is called "Defense of Traditional Sandwiches."

The new administration is not a bully. Their actions are not equivalent to those opposed to non-peanut butter based sandwiches.

Brad and the Defense of Traditional Sandwiches organization continue their fight to ban almond butter and other forms of sandwiches. They claim that historically sandwiches have always been and will always be recognized as only peanut butter sandwiches, they begin to steal non-peanut butter sandwiches from other students. The school administration expels Brad from the school and bans sandwich theft. Brad and his followers then claim that they are having their rights trampled upon and that they are the victims of bullying.

he pro-sandwich-choice side of this entire object lesson are not bullies nor could they ever be considered bullies. They are actively denying children the right to eat whatever sandwich they prefer and are in no way in the position of denying Brad and his lot any rights at all because they do not have the right to take from others what is theirs.

This shouldn't be difficult. Both sides are not equivalent.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to stop mass murder

I admit, I'm not a policy expert. I haven't done the years of research to know the ins and outs of these issues from a policy level. This post is largely a response to a friend who asked what I think should change from a public policy perspective to try and prevent the next gun-involved massacre like the one we just saw in Newtown, CT.

First to address the axiom, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." This is essentially true, but it ignores the fact that people use tools to do everything from trim their toenails to landing rover robots on Mars. And certainly the tools which people use allow people to kill. Guns, in particular the type of guns used too often in these gun massacres, allow people to kill quickly and proficiently before anyone has a chance to react.

Hypothetically, if I were to invent a little box with a button on it that killed anyone I would like within 100 yards of me, you would expect that I wouldn't be able to sell them on Craigslist to anyone I'd like. While the user of the death box is ultimately responsible, as the acting agent, the box itself would be recognizable as the conduit for such deaths which occur. We as a society wouldn't just throw up our hands and say, "Cat's out of the bag; we can't do anything about it now." And we certainly wouldn't make the scurrilous argument that we should get the death box in the hands of everyone to react against those who would use the death box for evil purposes.

On the matter of gun ownership for self defense, we're talking measures used to abate the level of crime. The argument is that if you were to arm more people, they would be able to defend themselves and others from would-be attackers. So for every number of attacks a percentage of them would be defended successfully. No gun advocate I've ever read has said gun ownership would end all crime 100%. But when it comes to common sense gun regulation that would slow the instance of, and abate the severity of, senseless violet attacks on public spaces, these same gun advocates argue that it's pointless because you can't stop all of them all of the time. They argue that because it wouldn't achieve a 100% success rate, it's pointless to regulate weapons of mass destruction.

Really, gun advocates are arguing that saving a percentage of lives that would otherwise have been lost is less important than the ability for them to own and use any gun at their own private discretion. They're saying losing the occasional classroom full of first-grade students is an acceptable price we pay for our liberties. Those liberties are exclusively: unlimited gun ownership.

I for one am sick of sacrificing children on the altar of gun rights. This goes to the heart of what Destroy:Ideas is all about. I cannot put ideology ahead of people.

But what are these rules? How can we prevent the next school massacre?

The relationships people have with guns vary greatly. People in rural areas have different needs than those in cities. Chicago has approximately 500 murders a year, so people there don't think more guns are a solution. But people who live in rural Montana do know that rifles are important tools to protect their property and livestock from predators such as wolves, bears and badgers. Because of this, I do not think a uniform code will work across the nation. However, there definitely has to be a way to safeguard this difference in law so guns aren't purchased in rural counties and delivered into urban centers where they are not used to ward off wolves but to commit violent crime, as the case of Washington D.C. shows.

The first changes have to be with poverty abatement, and health care access. If we can pretend that our violence here is every bit a threat to our society as violence in Iraq, we could do really positive things. Studies have shown poverty is the leading indicator of violent behavior. Similarly, economic inequality and social stratification are causes of violence and other criminal behavior. While crime rates in American have recently been falling to historic lows, they rose sharply as our equalizing institutions were dismantled in the 70s and 80s, and crime peaked in the early 1990s. (The internet played a large role in reducing crime rates as the internet is a democratizing leveler of social classes, where nobody has power over other people, and everyone can express their frustrations in non-violent ways.)

When it comes to health care, the US government already pays more than twice, per capita, what the average industrialized nation does on health care, yet doesn't achieve universal coverage, and the outcomes are lower. Incidentally, we could solve our long-term deficit problem immediately if we achieved truly universal health care. Providing access to health care can and will lead to lower rates of crime, especially violent crime. As there is a link between poverty and crime, there is also a link between health care access and poverty. Specifically, health care costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy, and send families into poverty every day.

Along with universal health care, we need emergency mental health services. These don't exist everywhere. Those that do exist trend to be nonprofit organizations, and their outreach isn't wide enough. And their resources are too little. I bet you didn't even know there was a 211 number anyone can dial on their phone to reach a nonprofit organization that can help guide people to these resources.

Studies show the majority of violent criminal offenders have mental illness, or mental developmental problems like fetal alcohol syndrome/affects. One study tested 16 death row inmates and all of them, 100%, had experienced brain trauma. What some would call "evil" is being found to simply be mental disordered/impairments.

These previous issues, I'm glad to say, are pretty noncontroversial. Most gun advocates I know aren't for government-run universal health coverage, but they do understand that providing better access to health services, especially mental health services, is an important step in mass murder abatement.

What about gun control?

To be more specific about the gun regulation steps I alluded to previously, we should look at a few common sense issues related to this idea.

In the previous few decades gun manufacturers have deliberately increased the lethality of guns in order to boost their profits. Their industry faced a problem: guns don't wear out and fewer people are entering the traditional gun markets (hunting and sport shooting). As a result, they have begun marketing to urban dwellers and survivalist fear mongers a fantasy of self defense. They increased round capacity, caliber size, and rate of fire in addition to making the arms smaller and more concealable. They also developed more lethal ammunition rounds, including rounds that splinter upon entry which only means the bullets are harder to remove. (A completely unnecessary feature for anyone who isn't a demented freak.)

Foreign arms manufacturers are also playing a larger role in the US market as other markets have been becoming more highly regulated. Surplus Russian and Chinese military weapons would previously be sold in third world countries, but there's now a huge market for these military-grade weapons in America.

Because of this utter lack of regulation, I propose:
  • Ammunition needs to be tracked better, and taxed the way we tax cigarettes. We generally recognize tobacco as a public health concern but not gun violence.
  • Ammunition types need to be regulated to remove unnecessary body mutilation features.
  • Handguns should have limited capacity. Nine rounds is plenty to scare off an intruder - if that is really the agenda. Larger magazines don't create a larger deterrent. Magazine replacement should require two hands to slow reload times.
  • High caliber weapons should be of the single action hunting variety only and limited to five rounds.
  • Shotguns should be limited to two rounds with single action.
  • Military style weapons (long rifles and carbines with high capacity magazines and semi-automatic function) should be kept in community armories or other licensed gun clubs. This should be sufficient to handle the "well regulated militia" clause of the second amendment. Military style weapons are not suitable for home protection nor for hunting, they're strictly for recreational and militia use.
  • Gun owners should be licensed - this is different than the checks we have now which are essentially honor based questions which don't have the answers screened - but a full written test and practical test. These licenses should be given grades for the different classes of guns, just like drivers licenses are given for each class of of vehicle. These licenses should be renewed in person every three to five years.
  • Each gun should also be licensed and registered just like cars.

What about people who don't follow the law?

Yeah, people don't follow the laws at all times, but most people seek to be law abiding, so we could catch a lot of these problems before someone has a mental breakdown, or experiences a transient life event that puts them in enough stress to go off the proverbial deep end.

There is certainly an element of society which lives in an informal economy, or black market. These people don't follow laws. But these people also don't commit mass atrocities like the ones we saw this past week. You also can't really compare the failing drug policies with proposed gun regulations because:
  1. You can't grow guns in your closet
  2. There's a profitable market for drugs
  3. There is no market for mass murder
Over the past 30 years, over 80% of the guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally. This murdered in Newtown, CT borrowed the weapons from his mother. Even if this guy had a history of mental illness and was denied sale of a gun (he would have anyway because he was too young for a handgun), his mother didn't and wasn't. These mass murders are not committed by career criminals, and usually this is their first (and last) offense. We can't exclusively focus on keeping arms out of the hands of "bad guys" when it's not the "bad guys" who are committing these most heinous crimes, but the guy nobody would expect.

Furthermore, we have ~30,000 gun-related deaths in the USA every year. Only about ~10,000 of those are homicides. That leaves ~20,000 gun deaths in our country every year where nobody committed any intentional crime. I didn't go into the relationship between guns and suicide here, but the statistics on that are pretty remarkable.

I'm no expert, but these seem to be common sense solutions. They wouldn't stop every bad event every time, but it could reduce a percentage of them from happening at least. I just can't accept that recreational gun use is more important than the lives of children.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The contempt of men

The following is a letter I sent off to Esquire after reading the cited article. My wife can attest that the article so upset me that I could literally do nothing until I finished writing and mailing this letter. I admit that in hindsight I forgot to mention a few additional points of contention, namely the sitcom genre which has always leaned on stupid men (Married with Children, Home Improvement, etc.), among other issues. But instead of adding them, I'll just post the whole letter as it was sent:

I have just finished reading the article by Stephen Marche titled “The Contempt of Women.” It was such a poorly devised article that I felt compelled to respond. I don’t know who Stephen Marche is, but from the content of the article it appears he’s completely ignorant of the growing body of academic feminist thought. He also shows that this “contempt for men” is a fabrication, and he’s really just showing a contempt for women.

Mr. Marche’s argument begins and ends with comedy. He argues that the self-deprecating humor of male comedians is a sign of how men have acquiesced to the notion that men are idiots to be viewed with contempt. Maybe Marche has never looked at the historical body of work by comedians the world over. Comedians like Charlie Chaplin who epitomized the bumbling fool. Teams of comedians like Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Bros.; all of the comedy from these men showed idiotic men unaware of their foolishness. All of these men pre-feminist revolution, when women didn’t go to college.

And yet Marche will reference Louis C.K. to bolster his claim - a comedian who doesn’t point out the dark side of humanity to wallow in it, but to seek out the positive in the turd sandwich called life. A comedian who encourages men to step up and be men of distinction.

Marche also fails to realize that most of the successful female comedians over the years have had to lean on the stereotype that women are disgusting, irrational creatures who are also conniving bitches. This is hardly evidence that comedy has a contempt for men. Yet the accompanying sidebar suggests self-hating women in comedy are rare!

When Marche references media targeted at women as an example of contempt, he’s really just pointing out that men are treated in these stories the way women are treated in every other story. There is even a name for this: The Bechdel Test. Does a movie have a scene with one or more named women having back and forth dialogue about anything other than men? It seems like a low bar to reach, yet most major movies fail this test. Most movies only have one female lead. Women have always played a subservient role in media, as nothing more than eye candy, or sexual escapades. And when a couple of new stories come out where women treat men like complex beings from a female perspective, Mr. Marche would have us believe it’s because women have contempt for us.
Even in the pages of Esquire, women are eye candy, or they tell jokes while wearing intimate apparel. They can’t be given the same respect men in these pages receive.

As for the economic numbers, Yes, women are making the biggest growth in the job market, but that’s to be expected when there were so few of them previously. The only way for men to grow the same way is to push out women from those numbers. And we’re not talking about a finite number, because the job market is growing. A women entering the market isn’t pushing out a man.

It might be easier to just blame women for the failings of men, but it lacks personal responsibility. Men are responsible for their own fates, and women are attempting to have the same basic rights.

I’m just surprised and appalled such a poorly thought out article would even get written by a thinking human being, let alone past the editorial staff of such a powerful media establishment. But I guess my reaction is proof you did your job.

Steven Kippel

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cause and affect of egalitarianism and sexual violence

The Christian blogosphere has recently exploded with some of the most vicious attacks I've ever seen from anyone, let alone those who are enjoined members of one Body.

It all started when Jared Wilson posted an excerpt from Douglas Wilson's (no relation) book, Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man on the Gospel-Driven Church blog.

The original blog posting didn't take the entire book's context into account, and offered only the context that Jared Wilson found how it should be relevant considering some book named 50 Shades of Grey has become a pop culture touchstone. Jared Wilson pointed specifically to how "sexual pathology is a perverted version of good, God-honoring, and body-protecting authority and submission between husbands and wives."

The quotation argues that there is a natural order of submission between men and women, and that egalitarianism has perverted that order, removing the authority from men and the submission from women, so that there is a new pathology which leads to "bondage and submission games" as well as "rape fantasies." Douglas Wilson is arguing that we as a culture have rebelled against "the biblical concepts of true authority and submission" and have thus brought perverted, violent forms of authority and submission into the culture.

Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the "soon to be made willing" heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.

A lot of people have rejected this claim outright saying that rape has existing long before egalitarianism was ever a majority opinion. Certainly long before the Enlightenment era. As anyone familiar with these subjects know, rapists aren't trying to have free sex, they're seeking power and control over another person. This has been seen throughout history where rape has been used against defeated armies and cultures as an assertion of power and a humiliation of the defeated. To be fair to Douglas Wilson, he's not speaking about rape itself, but rape fantasies, and other sexual fetishes where power or domination are used. In fact, he's claiming that the rape fantasies are indeed about power and dominion.

But, he's making a strong correlation here that these fantasies are the result of a broken authority system he claims the Bible teaches. He calls it "complementarianism," which is just another word for patriarchy. And he may even have some point here if not for the fact that what he calls this "sexual pathology" has also been around much longer than the Enlightenment and egalitarian thought.

Douglas Wilson may even argue against this point by saying those people throughout history had an individual rebellion against the "biblical concepts of true authority and submission" even if there wasn't a cultural rebellion. However, his counter argument would be placed in peril because he's now finding himself moving the goalposts whenever someone criticizes his point.

Which is exactly what he has been doing as he's come to his own defense during this uproar.

The main offense taken by the Douglas Wilson passage is when Mr. Wilson describes the natural mechanisms of "true authority and submission" during sexual congress. He says his description is "the way the world is" (his emphasis), as if a fixed rule. He compares this reality with physics, saying "we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it."

So we come to the thrust of the objection, that Douglas Wilson blames rape fantasies on egalitarianism. (Emphasis mine.)

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

Douglas Wilson is clearly blaming egalitarianism for a sexual pathology which leads to rape fantasies. And I want to write about that more in depth, but I first want to talk about what he's describing as the "biblical concepts of true authority and submission." He describes the man as conquering and colonizing his wife, while she surrenders. This is metaphorical, coloring a picture of the sexual act, but as we should be aware, words matter. Douglas Wilson is using martial language to describe a sexual encounter. The same way an invading force conquers and colonizes an indigenous culture, and that culture surrenders and accepts the invading force.

There's nothing so much wrong with word pictures, but words matter, and describing a sexual encounter in terms usually reserved for a violent military action does trigger parallels to violent sexual encounters. It doesn't hearken to mutual submission, nor to a loving, consensual encounter.

In Douglas Wilson's defense, he compares his terminology to the terminology used in Song of Songs. "Her neck is like the tower of David" for conquer (4:4), and "You are a garden locked up" for colonize (4:12). Of course the Tower of David passage is talking about beauty and adornments, not in conquest (a tower doesn't do much conquering). I'm clueless how the garden image has any resemblance to colonization.

Finally, Douglas Wilson uses the most disingenuous response to the egalitarian phrase I've ever seen. Mr. Wilson flippantly said his critics "need to retake their ESL [English as a Second Language] class", but his shoehorn apology really takes the cake.

The emphasis needs to be placed on "egalitarian pleasuring party" -- the kind of party where the sexes of the participants don't matter, because all that matters is that two or more people come to orgasm. I was by implication lauding a complementarian pleasure party. The term of opprobrium there was egalitarian, not pleasure.

Are we supposed to believe that, given the context, Douglas Wilson was trying to make "egalitarian" into a free love thing instead of the widely accepted and understood term to describe equality of value, rights, opportunity, power, wealth and influence? Nobody has used the term, to my knowledge, to ever describe sexual liberation. And what's even more laughable is that Mr. Wilson himself is not using the term in this manner.

This passage from his book is clearly contrasting egalitarianism between equality and authority. That's his entire point in discussing the topic - the rebellion against authority and submission. He says that the rebellion against patriarchy is causing this pathology. That rejecting authority and submission leads to a pathology which fetishizes authority and submission. The egalitarian is the villain, and the answer is honoring authority.

He directly ties egalitarianism with the male authority and female submissive "in marriage." He's not saying that the husband's failure to act authoritatively nor the wife's failure to act submissively leads to adultery or homosexuality, he's saying the failure to honor "true authority and true submission" leads to " sexual 'bondage and submission games,' along with very common rape fantasies."

To pretend he meant anything else makes his snide comment about lacking English language skills seem hypocritical.

In conclusion, this is the end result of complementarian theology. Even though the Bible directly contradicts this notion. "The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife." (1 Corinthians 7:4) But because of this twisted view of God and scriptures, complementarians like Douglas Wilson oppose egalitarianism, especially between men and women. It gets so perverted that the passage Jared Wilson cites from Douglas Wilson's book ends by declaring,
True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Trusting God or shirking responsibility?

Maybe sometimes when I say I just want to "trust God" and put something "in His hands," I'm really just saying I don't want to take responsibility for something. The feeling of "freedom" in trusting God may just be the freedom from obligation. I'm not so sure that's exactly what God meant when he said to trust Him. The Biblical stories show a God who entrusts men and women with responsibilities and their response is to trust that God had a plan. But now it seems like when we say to trust God it means we remove responsibility from us and place responsibility onto God.