Friday, September 30, 2005

friday's quotes of the week

Heard, read, or said by me this week:

"Women. You'd be wonderful if you'd just stay in your place...."

said to me by anonymous commentator on my blog entry about monstrous women

"None of the women who have responded to me have done so with a feminine spirit. All of you have the spirit of the American woman, which is foul, repulsive and contrary to nature. It is absolutely contrary to Christ's will for you as women......Women have largely destroyed authentic Christianity in America, and the weak men who have yielded to their independent spirit. You are just another in a long line of Feminists who dip themselves in Christianity. God sees through it though.... You are just avoiding the meat of the text, like every other rebellious woman. You are an American woman.Take it as an insult, even if you like the idea."

same commentator

"American woman, stay away from me
American woman, mama let me be
Don't come hanging around my door
I don't want to see your face no more
I got more important things to do
Than spend my time growin' old with you
Now woman, stay away
American woman, listen what I say

American woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be
Don't come knocking around my door
I don't want to see your shadow no more
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else's eyes
Now woman, get away
American woman, listen what I say

American woman, I said get way
American woman, listen what I say
Don't come hanging around my door
Don't want to see your face no more
I don't need your war machines
I don't need your ghetto scenes
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else's eyes
Now woman, get away
American woman, listen what I say
American woman, stay away from me
American woman, mama let me be

I gotta go
I gotta getta away
Think I gotta go
I wanna fly away
I'm gonna leave you woman
I'm gonna leave you woman
I'm gonna leave you woman
I'm gonna leave you woman
Bye bye, bye bye
Bye bye, bye bye
American woman
You're no good for me
I'm no good for you
Looking at you right in the eye
Tell you what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna leave you woman
You know I gotta go
I'm gonna leave you woman
I gotta go
I gotta go

I gotta go
American woman

Lenny Kravitz
(originally The Guess Who . . .)

"The truth, Sir, " I said, swallowing, "is that God's viewpoint is sometimes different from ours--so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things." I knew it was madness to talk this way to a Nazi officer. But he said nothing so I plunged ahead. "In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains, but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a wathchmaker. Or a lieutenant."

from The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, another woman who obviously didn't know her place, although she wasn't American

"We are a priesthood of believers and need no man to bring us to God, save for the new Adam, the Lord Jesus."

me to said commentator

grandbaby photo of the week

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

monstrous regiment of women

I’ll bet you didn’t know this, prairie blog readers whoever you are. According to this film clip that appeared on Vision Forum's blog page on September 23rd, (caution: rated M for misogyny*) the greatest threats to Christian men are as follows:

Hillary Clinton
The View
Equal pay for women
Universal suffrage**
Jessica Lunch
Joyce Meyers

To name just a few.

These are supposed to make grown men quake in their boots, run for cover, and generally respond as though Godzilla and Mothra were about to wage the war of wars in the church parking lot. Of course, this is difficult for me to relate to since my husband is a real man and cowers from little, though he doesn’t much like spiders.

He also likes it that I have the right to vote. And that I went to college. And that I don’t have to wear white dresses or shy away from expressing an opinion to be truly feminine.

But that is for another blog post.

There is more information about this film and the two fellows who made it on their website. They happen to be the same Gunn brothers who took first place in the political film category in the annual independent Christian film festival in San Antonio last year which is run by Doug Phillips. No surprise. After viewing the films from last year's festival, it appears that most of them were written, directed, and produced to pander to Doug's view of Christianity. Our culture is in desperate need of a Savior, not a neolegalist. Too bad a film that portrayed life outside his bubble would never make a first cut.

To their credit, the Gunns did a good job of revealing the radical homosexual agenda in San Francisco in last year’s offering. But how much better would it be if they had addressed the roles of women in such as way that reflected Christians, both men and women, as winsome ambassadors for Christ, struggling sinners who seek to use their gifts to their fullest for His glory in all spheres of life? Those who trust the Bible should know it has real answers for our culture’s real problems and should know better than to toss out roadblocks in someone’s path to make it more difficult to see this truth.

My impression of this video clip is that the only ones who will appreciate the movie will be those who cower at more than women and their roles within the church and the world. Real men want real women, not icons of a pre-Civil War south but women who will engage their culture in all spheres of life, living purposely in the 21st century and raising children who will do likewise.

This movie should be rated M for misguided and moronic.
*Misogyny is defined here
**Universal sufferage is defined by Wikopedia here. Very interesting.

Friday, September 23, 2005

grandbaby photo of the week

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

cultural confusion

This past weekend, the Peoria Journal Star, our local newspaper, did a two-part series on a family that has decided to completely withdraw from the culture. They had been homesteaders in the purest sense of the word and then a few years ago decided that, as Christians, they were showing allegiance to the godless state by having social security cards and drivers licenses so they returned these items to the state along with money they had received through an earned income tax credit.

It all reminded me of an interesting article I saw a while back and happened to reread again this past week. It is so good that I think it deserves wider readership so I am offering a sampling to entice my blog readers to check out the whole article. For me, it has helped to define some of the subcultures that I have seen popping up within the past few years, subcultures that I think are having a great effect on the church today for good and for not-so-good. Check it out.

Authoritarianism and isolationism are often married. Christian isolationism endorses a “godly” subculture, encouraging separation even from other Christians who do not conform to the ideals of that subculture. Isolationist Steve Schlissel states, “The naiveté of modern Christians concerning the religious character of the so-called Culture War is astonishing. Culture, Henry Van Til taught us, is simply religion externalized and made explicit.…We have been raised to believe that culture is religiously neutral rather than religiously determined.”

Religion certainly does influence culture, but this all-or-nothing view sees nearly every expression of culture as a religious statement, either heathen or nonheathen. There are, however, other approaches to understanding how Christians relate, or don’t relate, to the culture in which they find themselves. Professor and author Michael Horton draws from H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture to explain five different approaches: First, Christ against culture holds that “the world is evil, but the realm of the Spirit is good; earthly things are inherently sinful, while heavenly things are inherently virtuous.”

Second, Christ of culture views Christianity as an extension of culture. Niebuhr states, “The movement that identifies obedience to Jesus Christ with the practices of prohibition, and with the maintenance of early American social organization, is a type of cultural Christianity… Christ is identified with what men conceive to be their finest ideals, their noblest institutions, and their best philosophy.”

Third, Christ above culture “suggests neither antagonism nor assimilation.” This is an attempt at neutrality toward culture and is directly opposite Schlissel’s view.

Fourth, Christ and culture in paradox sees the kingdom of God and the kingdom of humankind as “different spheres with different purposes.…Culture can never be an avenue of finding God.…But neither can culture be an object of disgust, since culture never promises to save or redeem.”35 In this view, while not all pleasurable aspects of life are spiritual in the salvific or godly sense, God is still present in them.

Fifth, Christ the transformer of culture is distinct from the Christ against culture and the Christ of culture views by holding that, “The problem is not the world, but the willful opposition of the world to God and His Christ. This frees the believer to participate in the world as a full-fledged citizen and to view it not as inherently wicked [or as an expression of false religions], but as a theater in which both God’s glory and human sin are displayed.”

Isolationists embrace the Christ against culture and also the Christ of culture views, and create their own culture, often based on ancient cultural practices found in the Bible. Horton explains that “there is great danger in mixing a ‘Christ against culture’ and a ‘Christ of culture’ paradigm…this mixture leads us to simply replace one culture with another and confuse the latter with God’s will and kingdom.”Christ against culture and Christ of culture are two sides of the same coin. A true transformer of culture does not seek to create a separate culture; rather, he seeks to transform the existing culture.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

tales from the temple

In case you missed the link provided by my online friend, David, in one of his comments, you MUST check out Tales from the Temple. It is an online autobiography by a young pastor who had attended an independent fundamentalist Baptist college. You will laugh and you will cry and then you will think a little harder about the concept of spiritual abuse and it's effects on you and those you know. And, I believe, you will be all the better for the experience.

Sodom, Gomorrah, and New Orleans?

Doug Giles has said all the things I have wanted to say, and more, to those Christians who are so certain that Hurricane Katrina is God's latest moment of house-cleaning.

"Hey, lunatic-fringe-self-proclaimed-prophet-of-gloom—can you please stop with the “God struck down New Orleans because of Mardi Gras and Biloxi because of their gambling” blather?

With that line of reasoning, how would you explain the hurricane that leveled Pensacola last year? Pensacola is no South Beach, nor does it have a Bourbon Street. In fact, I don’t think you can find a city in the US that has more churches per capita than Escambia County, and yet they got the blunt end of the pool cue eleven months ago.

Go figure."

For more, check it out here.

Friday, September 16, 2005

grant wood

We just spent an awesome day at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The newly opened exhibit of Grant Wood art is fabulous and is in celebration of the 75th anniversary of American Gothic which is on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago for the occasion. Grant Wood became known as the first Regionalist artist, selling his now-famous painting for only $300.00.

If you don't know much about Grant Wood, I would encourage you to make the trip to this wonderful exhibit if you are close enough to do so. It is about 1 1/2 hours drive west of the Quad Cities and the rolling countryside is beautiful, especially this time of year. If not, check out an online gallery.

Grant Wood, who in his 50 short years of life defined midwestern life, is a master of capturing real people on canvas and the most stunning thing I realized today is that he is able to show in minute detail the texture of a blade of grass, a woman's hair, or the fur trim on a coat. He reveled in the ordinary and that is why I so love his works. This was my first time to see an original Wood painting, though I have collected his prints for years.

We also toured the studio where he worked, a remodeled hay loft over a carriage house in downtown Cedar Rapids. Then we drove the 15 miles east to Stone City, Iowa just to drive through the town where Grant welcomed depression-era artists to his colony during the summers. We were in the Stone City painting as we drove over the bridge and wound past the old stone church.

It was a great day.

grandbaby photo of the week

friday's quote of the week

This week I only have one quote and it isn't even exactly a quote but a paraphrase. But first, a little background.

The last few years have brought our family on an incredible church journey. In the process of sorting through exactly what we believe about church doctrine, clergy authority, and the proper response to clergy abuse, we feel that we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

In the past few months, as we have attended a large church, something we had thought we wouldn't ever want to do, we have been blessed beyond measure by the teaching and preaching we have heard, preaching that has brought us through with renewed faith and has provided spiritual detoxification for us.

Last week the pastor made a statement that is worthy of the quote of the week all by itself. He said, "Whenever you see a spirit of authoritarianism, you can be sure that it comes from the hand of Satan. Such a spirit is never from Jesus Christ."

Friday, September 09, 2005

something new...grandbaby photo of the week

friday's quotes of the week

Heard, read, or said by me this week:

"Mom, when I get married, I'm not going to marry a weirdo."

"That's good. What kind of a girl ARE you going to marry?"

"One like you, a girl who tells jokes."

Son to Mom

Grandson, feeling his throat and pointing, "I don't have one of those."

Man at garage sale, "That is called a goiter."

"Oh, " said pensively, "I don't have one."

Grandson to neighbor

"There is no such thing as fun for the whole family."

Jerry Seinfeld

"America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement...No natural boundry seems to be set to the efforts of man; and in his eyes what is not yet done is is only what he has not yet attempted to do."

Alex de Tocqueville

"Even so, our central duty in such times is not speculation, however responsible that speculation might be. We are not called to metaphysics in the first place. True and undefiled religion is this—to visit widows and orphans in their affliction. Everyone who has seen the images of this past week has to have wondered what they can do. We are coordinating with brothers and sisters in that region of the country, and any gifts you give designated for hurricane relief will go directly to those who desperately need it. This too is spiritual worship. Because a cup of cold water given in the name of Jesus is also an act of God."

Doug Wilson

marvin olasky on katrina

World Magazine editor, Marvin Olasky, has written about the response of Americans in the aftermath of Katrina. Here is an excerpt; I would encourage you to read the entire article. It certainly brings another perspective to the story we are getting from the media.

"Before expressing disgust with America, please spend a couple of hours reading through Internet postings like this one: "We are a family of five. ... We have a very small room with a bed and two small dressers that we will offer to you so that you can get back on your feet. You will be welcome at our family table. ... We don't have much money after the bills are paid, but we'll happily share whatever we can. We don't expect you to pay us, and we won't expect you to leave quickly. It takes time to rebuild, and we'll give you that time."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

the godly meter

"For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God."
Romans 10:3

Why is it that my best thoughts, my very best ideas and contemplations come to me when I am in my bed, my head resting on the feather pillow, my entire self trying to be so very still while Clay sleeps soundly next to me?

Adverbs and adjectives race through my head, nouns, all sorts of them, swirl in my mind. I can't decide if I should get up, quietly opening the door, and find a pencil and paper before they disappear, these random acts of grammar, or if I can simply file them away until morning, until the house is quiet and I am sipping coffee. I am disgustingly cheerful and perky at 5:00 am so that seems the better choice. I don't move. Morning comes and even the caffeine cannot bring back the great thoughts of the midwestern world from the night before.

The last few nights I have been troubled by the same reasonings, the same frustrations that have brought so much pain, so much frustration for the past few years. Why are Christians so quick to judge other Christians, to place someone else in their own box and expect others to dance to their tune?

Legalism. Our pastor preached the most amazing sermon on this very topic a few weeks ago. The following week he moved on through the book of Acts, proclaiming God's grace and washing over me, over my soul, words I needed to hear. I am thankful for this because it has been too long since I have heard such gentle words, words that proclaim the truth that I can do nothing to save myself, that my salvation is all by God's choosing and this was accomplished by the death of His son on the cross, words that spur one another on to love and good works rather than beat you into submitting to a list of man's rules.

Readers of this blog who have visited our college girl blog know that I have been challenging those who believe women ought to not attend college, especially those who have dropped the s-i-n word along their hyper-patriarchial paths. What is it about man that he just cannot trust God's sovereignty and the working out of His will in the lives of other people?

Last week I read this statement on a blog and it blew me away:

"Our country needs women who will lead us back to an old fashioned morality, to old fashioned decency, to old fashioned purity and sweetness for the sake of the next generation, if for no other reason. And this is the special role, not of ‘beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women, but of godly women, who can come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else."

I am all for morality, decency, purity, and sweetness, but who says that ugly, dumb, unsophisticated, stay-at-home, untalented, never divorced women are the only ones who can be all of these things, who are the only godly women? And where is the grace in this definition?

I have spent much time ministering to women who made really bad choices, women who are the modern day equivalent of that dear lady Jesus met at the well. Many of them made the choice to abort their children. Their response to that quote would go something like this "If all those things make a woman ungodly, then there is no hope for me."

I also think about two of my dear friends. One of them, after homeschooling her children for more than 20 year, has become a consultant for homeschoolers, where she is making a living as a Titus 2 professional! Is she ungodly because she leaves her home in the mornings? I have another friend who lost her husband in a terrible accident a year and a half ago. She picked right up where he left off on the biggest construction project of his career and brought it to completion a year later, to the accolades of all involved. Was she ungodly because she did what she had to do, her finest act of helpmating posthumous?

My newly found friend, Sallie has discussed this issue far better than I could do in a terrific series of articles on her super blog, Two Talent Living. She has boldly gone where most have feared to tread by challenging some of the newly calved sacred cows of conservative Christians. In discussing her sabbatical articles, wisely called "creating boulders for others to shoulder", with friends over the weekend and around the dinner table, we all agreed that if we, too, are sick and tired of hearing these sacred cows mooing in our direction, we who have been Christians for many years and who want to walk in an upright manner and serve Christ, for His glory alone, then how must unbelievers or even new Christians who are trying to understand a new-found faith, respond?

The godly meter is running and who will have to pay the fine when we don't measure up?

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy has He saved us by the washing of regeneration and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost."
Titus 3:5

Monday, September 05, 2005

official end of the summer

We celebrated Labor Day by nearly finishing the upper deck, the last part of the summer home project, and by having cookouts two nights in a row. We spent Sunday evening with dear friends, including Rachel, whom we haven't seen since her wedding in June.

Then tonight we all enjoyed Mollie's Christmas gift to Clay, her famous Cheesecake of the Month, a delicious rendering of the infamous company cheesecake recipe but drizzled with chocolate. Yum.

Tomorrow we continue with work and school, another extended weekend not coming our way until Thanksgiving. There is a late-evening fall crispness in the air and I swept yellow leaves from the deck twice yesterday. Soon we will say "the frost is on the pumpkin."

Friday, September 02, 2005

one september afternoon

One September Afternoon
by Leo Dangel

Home from town
the two of them sit
looking over what they have bought
spread out on the kitchen table
like gifts to themselves.
She holds a card of buttons
against the new dress material
and asks if they match.
The hay is dry enough to rake,
but he watches her
empty the grocery bag.
He reads the label
on a grape jelly glass
and tries on
the new straw hat again.

friday's quotes of the week

Heard, read, or spoken by me this week:

“It’s never wrong to be kind.”

Annie's Mailbox

"Well, now I'm heading off to the world of electricity where everything just says HHHHMMMMMMMM."

Husband to wife

"Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restess until it repose in Thee."


"If you scatter thorns, don't go barefoot."

Italian proverb

"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed."

Michael Pritchard

"Some things have to be believed to be seen."

Ralph Hodgson

Thursday, September 01, 2005

patronized, disparaged, and not taking it anymore

"Exhort one another daily."
Hebrews 3:13

I have two pet peeves in life. They do not involve toilet seats that are left up in the middle of the night or fingernails drug across a blackboard, though those are annoying. My irritations go beyond irritating and right to the heart of showing love for God and man.

The first thing that I cannot abide is being patronized.

Not long ago, a man I know, not well but well enough to recognize what he was doing, was singing my praises. Interspersed with his ravings about my abilities, he kept saying, “Now, be assured, I am not patronizing you,” which meant, of course, that we both realized that he WAS trying to patronize me. It was at that point that my concerns about this person were confirmed and that trusting him would not be possible.

What is it about being patronized that is so harmful, so offensive? Perhaps it brings temporary peace, in that someone is being appeased, but in reality it conveys distain for who you really are as a person. If you are a transparent or genuine enough fellow, you set yourself up for being patronized, which is probably my problem, Pollyanna that I am. Since you allow people to see who you are, you are an easy target for those who would seek to use you for their own ends.

Patronize: be condescending, demean, denigrate, undercut, belittle, talk down to

The antonym is respect.

Which brings me to my second pet peeve.

If there is anything that will get my dander up, raise my blood pressure, and leave me sputtering for words, a rare occasion for sure, it is seeing someone purposely cast doubts upon someone’s own abilities as they seek to accomplish their personal goals. Parents can be terrible culprits of this, brushing aside even the most impossible of dreams that their children dare to dream. Control freak church leaders and business managers can set the tone for everyone when they do this.

I cannot stand it when I see someone who is vulnerable, who is in desperate need of her own personal cheerleader, being manipulated for another’s personal benefit. I have had much experience with this, of watching people play upon the fears of another in order to further their own agenda. It is ugly, especially when it shows up in Christian circles.

Disparager: being a bummer, a pessimist, a cynic, a wet blanket, naysayer, misanthropist, a gloomy Gus

The antonym is encourage.

All of which, brings me to my real anger of the day. Last spring I heard of a small Christian school in my area that was trying to access the homeschooling conference so they could hand out information about what they could do for homeschoolers. I had a disconnect, as did the homeschooling leadership who refused their access. It made no sense for a school to be at a homeschooling conference. I mean, did they think they could snatch one of the dazed moms who was struggling with baby/toddler/teenager/laundry burnout and promise to make her life easier by offering her the opportunity to pay them so she could haul all her books to their church basement and homeschool there, in what they were calling a parent/teacher cooperative? This school then purchased a mailing list from someone who had the names of local homeschoolers and promptly sent out a couple mailings soliciting students for their school. At that point, I was still willing to give the school board of this school the benefit of the doubt, to put the best construction on their actions. There were other homeschoolers who talked with me who were angry and upset but we all took a wait and see position.

Then I received a postcard yesterday from this school which read:“It’s Last Minute Panic Time! Are you wondering if you can make it through another year of home schooling?” And then it continued with information about applying to their school. At that point, my dander was way past up.

Why would anyone, especially a Christian, purposefully play on the fears of a homeschooling mother, of someone who has chosen to give her life for her children, who is already overwhelmed as it is in most cases? There is no excuse for this marketing tool and these people ought to be challenged.

My day is coming….stay tuned.