Monday, April 30, 2012

2 Timothy 3:16 is not referring to "The Holy Bible"

If the Holy Bible, as we know it today, formed by counsels of men (no women), with agenda of their own, with simple majority votes for what to include and what to discard, were the Scriptures referred to in 2 Timothy 3:16, we would expect that those said Scriptures would make sense.  After all, if the Bible is God-breathed, wouldn't we expect that nothing in those pages would ever contradict itself?

In simple terms, we can declare that a contradiction proves a fallacy.  If a statement about something is true and yet another statement about that something contradicts the first statement, one of those statements must be false.  It doesn't necessarily disprove the something being statemented, but it does prove that the two statements are both false until one of them can be proven true, rejecting the other.

Unfortunately, the Bible cannot, as a single organism, be declared to be contradiction free.  Those who claim it is, are doing themselves a disservice when the time comes to defend their belief system, being that they have to use pretzelified explanations to spelunk through many of their holy book's premises.  If the Bible contradicts itself, then we must reject the Bible as the sole source of truth.  We cannot view it as God's word (I'll explain why, in a bit). 

Does that mean we reject everything from the ancient pages of this book?  Absolutely not!  But it does mean that you can decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong.  You do not have to take the Bible as one organism, but can take away anything you desire from it or nothing at all.  But again, you simply cannot treat it as holy words from an all knowing, all powerful being.  This cannot be true.

Let me explain in six verses:

Malachi 3:6 - For I am the Lord, I do not change...

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

We can use Jesus Christ in this example because, according to John (yes, using the full Bible as a single organism), Jesus was God as God was Jesus.  They both, together, whether they were one or two, transcended all of history, past, present, and future, as God.  Thus, if God does not change and Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, God simply cannot change.  If God cannot change, then nothing in what is considered his word can say one thing about God and then, somewhere else in that same "Word" say the opposite.  If he cannot change, he cannot change.  Now that we have established the iron-man status of God, let's move on.

Deuteronomy 6:16 - You shall not put the Lord your God to the test...

Luke 4:12 - And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Matthew 4:7 - "Jesus said to him, "Again, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test'."

We have now established that testing God is forbidden.  But what about Malachi?

Malachi 3:10 - "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."

Here, we see God telling the Israelites to test him.  Now, it has been argued that God was really just telling them to test him with something good and in Deuteronomy, he was referring to testing him with something evil.  In saying this, the person making the argument misses a key point of logic.

After all, when God tells the Israelites to test him, what exactly is he saying?  Simple.  He is saying, if you give me the tithes you are supposed to give me, as I decreed in my law to you, nothing but good will come of it.  But then, he also tells his people to test him with evil, rob him, don't give him his due tithes, and what will he do?  Curse them.  Not just the individual who isn't tithing, but the whole nation of Israel.

As you can see, God clearly contradicts himself in the Bible, provided you are treating the Bible as an infallible, inerrant, singular organism - the holy and final words of God.

This begs many questions.  What is 2 Timothy 3:16 really referring to?  I have illuminated just one of the many contradictions in the book we know as the Holy Bible.  Is the Holy Bible the Scriptures?  It doesn't appear so.  Then, if not, what of the Bible is true, and what of the Bible is simply fiction, a work of men's minds, attempting to make the best word picture of things not able to be explained by the limited knowledge of their day?  If the Bible is not God's word, can we really stand on any of it as unadulterated truth?  Can we simply use logic and reason and take from the Holy Bible what we desire to live by and nothing more, nothing less?

The Golden Rule is a great example of what I would harvest from the pages of the Bible.  What about loving your enemies?  What about not killing and really not killing.  Take it as common sense, not as an absolute truth from a god who has broken every one of his laws - especially the killing one.  How about giving to others and being sacrificial when people are in need.  Turning the other cheek comes to mind.  What about working your rear end off to be successful?  Many awesome ideas about life can be gleaned from this book's pages.  And yet, many other ideas about life can be discovered in other books, from other people, from culture, from your own brilliant mind.

Think!  Think for yourself.  Grab wisdom and knowledge from every source available to you.  The Bible is an excellent resource for many things.  It is also a miserable failure in many other areas.  Feel free to reject any or all of it.  It isn't infallible.  It's not inerrant.  It isn't God's word.  It can't be. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DFBNM: Part 2a

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the first Basic Need of a Husband, according to Bill Gothard - A man needs a wife who is loyal and supportive. You can read my response to this nonsense here:

Part 1a
Part 1b: Women? Goals?  Who are YOU Kidding?!
Part 1c: Men are Fragile and Women are Manipulative Fools
Part 1d: Husbands are Omniscient and Wives Must Give Sex

Now, let's move on to the next Basic Need of a Husband. 

[#2.  A man needs a wife who honors his leadership.]

In my opinion, Bill is padding the numbers to get to God's "perfect number" of seven.  Honoring the husband's leadership is only slightly different than the first basic need of a husband which was, a wife must be loyal and supportive.  But, let's give Gothard the benefit of the doubt and assume he sees it differently. 

[Scripture instructs a wife to reverence her husband (emphasis Bill's). (See Ephesians 5:33.) What does that mean? To reverence a husband means “to respect, defer to, revere him; to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy him.”]

Bah!  "defer to"?  Looks like Bill did a great job listing all the words in the Strong's Concordance.  Lucky for him, "defer to" showed up.  The rest of the words aren't anything more than you would find in a sappy wedding card.  But, the interesting part here is that Bill is only quoting half the verse.

The verse ACTUALLY says, "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." It's a two-fer.  Husbands, whatever you do to your wife, make sure you would do it to yourself first.  If you wouldn't flog yourself, don't beat her with a stick.  If you wouldn't swear and spit on yourself, don't do the same to her.  If you want to come home from work, walk into the living room, toss your coat on the mantle, plop down on the couch, kick your shoes off, grab the remote, turn on the game, and pop open a brew, don't get angry at your wife for a dirty house.  Oh, and wives, respect that!

Who wouldn't want a tit for tat marriage?  If I'm going all out for my spouse, I'd really like it if I didn't get spit in the eye when I bought her flowers and had them delivered to her office.  We can look back at the New Testament culture and see that the writer was speaking from an era where the husband DID make all the decisions and the wife was really a second class citizen.  I get that.  But, here, I have a suspicion the writer was noting that, if the husband was going to do right by the wife, this unique way of treating her should be met with love and respect.  I don't see it as a rigid principle, though, as many do.  I see it as a great thing to strive for - if I don't feel the love from my wife, I'm going to figure out why, and change.  If I don't work at the relationship because, after all, I'm the MAN!, do I even deserve her?

[Honor your husband's God-given authority.]

Bill just doesn't get it, does he?  Everything is about authority.  Everything.  Reference those hierarchical wall charts baby!

Imagine this:  A woman needs to make a decision on what brand of diaper to buy to eliminate the incessant diaper rash on little Johnnie.  Unfortunately her husband passed away last week.  Her father recently ran away with another woman and became a Zen Buddhist so he's out.  She can't talk to her two brothers because one brother is an atheist and the other has a full body rash, which was obviously brought on by his low spiritual state.  Her pastor just swore from the pulpit last Sunday so he's out.  The only church deacon made a pass at his step-daughter and was promptly beheaded by his wife.  He's dead and Saul didn't get far with God when he hired a medium to call some knucklehead up from the bowels of the earth for counsel.  The chart ends.  The child goes diaperless, poops on the floor and loses the rash. 

Why make it all so complicated!  Life is difficult enough without adding a bunch of rules to it!

[When a wife observes her husband’s weaknesses, it can be difficult to reverence him, but God requires every wife to reverence her husband because of his God-given position of authority as her husband. The Lord will direct your life through your husband’s leadership and protection. As you reverence your husband—voluntarily and sincerely adore and be devoted to him—God will bless you. That is the plan, and it works. Trust God. Reverence your husband. (See I Peter 3:1-6.)]

Weaknesses is a broad word here.  Abuse?  Trust God.  Gambling problem?  Trust God.  Beats the kids?  Trust God.  Cheats on taxes?  Trust God.  Oh, but we must do it because dear ole' Bill says, "it works".  After all, his Scripture reference says so.

The reference is a theory posited by the writer that a woman who does whatever her man tells her to do will be sweet before God.  What does the writer use as proof?  Sarah obeying ole' Abe.  What did ole' Abe have her do?  Pretend they were brother and sister - lie (which, last I checked, God wasn't all that keen on the idea) - so that the rich dude in the land they were passing through wouldn't kill Abe for Sarah, but would take her for a wife without force.  So Sarah obeyed and went.

Let me re-write that story and give you a woman to respect:

Abe: "Honey bags, we's goin' passin' through dis lan'.  Dude over yonder fancies thee.  How 'bout we bro and sis so he think he can get thee fer a matin' and not kill yours truly.  If he belee'dat than, we'll figger da res' out."

Sarah: "mmmhmmm."

Abe: "So, yes?"

Sarah: "Why you such a wimp Abe?  If that god you keep talking about told you to come here and your job isn't finished, why the hell would you be worried about some wimp over that wall?  You think you're going to pimp me out to save your ole' arse?  mmmhmmmm...  Heck to the heyyyyllll no!"  *wag of finger, side jiggle of neck, rest of body motionless.

Now THAT Is my kind of woman.  Sorry Bill, but a woman that can think is much better than a woman that looks at me with a "what the..." on her face and then decides to reverence me and go along for the ride.  I apologize to the writer of 1 Peter too.

In Part 2b, Gothard teaches a woman to flatter her husband.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Mournful Wail of the Train Horn

I grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota, a few blocks away from a major train line.  In fact, Soo Line, now swallowed by the larger Canadian Pacific Railway, had a yard not a half mile from my front steps.  Last I checked, this train yard is currently under development and has been sold off, no longer owned by the railroad.

I remember those nights when I was young.  I would be laying in my bed, thinking of whatever I was thinking of, feeling the soft summer breeze come through the window of my bedroom, lightly flapping the curtains.  Then, without fail, off in the distance, I would hear that mournful wail.  It would start low and last a long time.  Then, it would increase in volume and pitch.  As the train came nearer to our house, the loud sounds of metal on metal would fill the neighborhood, the horn would let out one last distant wail and then break free of it's yonder bonds as the train crossed the bridge over my front street.  The sound of the horn would wash over the whole house, shaking it to it's crumbling foundation.  Then, the pitch would lower and continue on into the distance, leaving only the clackety-clack of the wheels to lull me to sleep.

At the ripe old age of nineteen, I moved out of that house and headed slightly north to Spring Lake Park, Minnesota.  I lived there for a year and a half and never heard a train horn.  I never slept well.

Then I moved to Winona, Minnesota which had a river track across the Mississippi waters over in Wisconsin.  I began to sleep well again.  I would head down to the river just to watch the train drive the miles of track between the bluffs and let the sound of its horn bring back the flood of memories in my head.  I would imagine myself watching the threadbare blue curtains slowly moving toward me in my bed, lifted by the breeze of not the summer winds, but the traffic on Lowry Avenue, oddly heavy for that time of night.

After Winona, I moved to Rochester, Minnesota, and then Pine Island, Minnesota.  I don't remember any trains and I didn't sleep well in those years.

Then, we bought a house in Pipestone, Minnesota where we lived for six years.  This house was exactly two blocks from a major Burlington Northern Santa Fe train line where a train would pass every thirty-seven minutes.  Over those six years, I regained my health and had the best sleep since my childhood.

We sold that house and moved into my brother's home for a year.  No trains, no sleep.  Then, we moved to Eden Prairie, Minnesota where the far off wail of the horn could be heard, twice nightly, across the great Minnesota River.  My sleep began to improve.

Finally, we settled down in Farmington, Minnesota, three blocks from a track where trains are as common as butter on bread.  My life is now perfect.

I can see the real estate agent now. 

"So, I. C., what is most important to you for your next home purchase." 

"The audible, close, mournful sound of a train horn."

They don't list that feature on the MLS listings.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Will it be Corn Flakes or Cheerios?

I love Kellogg's Corn Flakes.  Grab a big bowl, fill it 3/4 full with those delicious yellowish flakes, slice up a banana onto the top, shake the raisin canister and sprinkle thick gobs of them over the rest of the ingredients, then fill the mess up with milk.  Stick your spoon in and enjoy a delectable, homemade breakfast - well...mostly homemade.

On other days, I like Cheerios with the same treatment.  They also make a great snack fried in butter and sprinkled with garlic and salt.  Everyone in my family loves them this way except for Analisse (1), who spews them onto the floor, fully chewed, then grabs another handful. 

But really, I'm a Corn Flakes guy, through and through.

A dear family friend of ours has recently begun writing a series on a subject that certain people find to be quite controversial, judging by some some of the blog comments as the series progresses.  If you read the series, you will understand what I mean.  Pay attention to the comments.

Mellisa writes about her spouse discovering that he is a female in a male body.  The series is very thorough in every way imaginable.  She, a fine author, works the crowd at her leisure, understanding the audience completely.  From the beginning, Melissa sets the table by pleading with her readers to hear her out from start to finish.  She warns them that they may be shocked by what they read, but then asks them to listen to her reasoning with an open mind, even dangling a "let us agree to disagree, but still love each other" carrot in front of their transfixed eyes.  Then, up until her most recent series post, she completely describes the research, culture, and emotions behind being transgender and what it means to transition from a man to a woman, copiously walking us through her innermost emotions as a lover of this wonderful individual and a mother of her spouses children.  It is beautifully written and well researched.

Unfortunately, I don't care.

I know Melissa.  I know her spouse.  I know her children.  I have spent time with them.  They have loved us and we have loved them back.  Our children have played with their children for hours on end.  In fact, when they play together, our children have never been more relaxed and quiet as when they grace our threshold.  I have witnessed them as parents and try as hard as I can to not let them see my imperfections.  They have called me brilliant in full pretense, but made it seem genuine.  Finally, they have made my wife's, Kristine, life immeasurably better in more ways than one.  In short, our lives have not been the same since our first meeting.

And I still don't care.

Why does it matter if someone was born one way or another?  Who cares if the research is conclusive or inconclusive?  If all the studies showed that those who desire Cheerios over Corn Flakes was a personal choice, rather than a genetic mutation, would we chase away the Cheerios people with pitchforks and shovels?  What difference does it make if a friend of mine chooses to buy a red car or was born to drive a Ford Mustang?

I don't care.

I see people.  They are all sorts of colors.  Some people whom society deems as normal, genetically, would never be allowed in the same town as my children.  Others that society may deem as "queer" happen to be the kindest, warmest, individuals on the face of the earth - good with children too. 

Or not. 

People are people. Every person is like a special gift, wrapped up in every which way.  Some have perfect paper, with pristine, symmetrically folded corners, with a perfect bow, only to discover a lump of coal inside.  Others look like that on the outside but with a box of chocolates on the inside.  Some look like how I wrap presents.  Paper every which way, used ends of cheap wrapping rolls, a squished bow pressed onto the top.  But inside, a beautiful necklace awaits the recipient.

The only way to know what is inside your gift is to unwrap it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today, Kristine Turns a Beautiful 30

Today is my wife, Kristine's birthday.  She turns 30 today.  Even though I have not known her for most of my life, the 11.5 years we have spent together have made me the happiest man in the world.  I am so lost on her that some days, my concentration is worthless.  Every day I get to spend another day with her as my wife is another blessing that I feel I do not deserve.

She is a hell of a woman in every way imaginable.  She defines our family and keeps us all functioning like the chaotic clock we are.  Her ambitions in life and her articulated words make me feel small in comparison.  And I think that is good.  I love walking in her shadow, pining for gracious acceptance.

She is my everything.

She is also the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on in every way imaginable.  I love the way she walks, talks, looks, smells, laughs, breathes, coughs, sneezes, eats, loves my popcorn, mothers, kisses, grunts, screams, cries, weeps, blows her nose, and everything else that makes me a happy man.

I only hope I get another 30 years.

I love you, Gorge.

Friday, April 13, 2012

God Burns My Kids to Show Himself?

A week ago, my 1 year old daughter dumped a scalding hot thermos of coffee down the front of her shirt.  It was entirely my fault and I was devastated.  Luckily, her burns were only minor with two small spots where it burned through to the fourth dermis layer.  It has healed quickly and she is on the fast track to recovery.  Unfortunately, the lasting effect is that we have to monitor the worst areas for the next two years so they don't get sunburned.  Then, we're home free.  The doctors do not expect any scarring, which is the most important factor to me.

The outpouring of support we received was phenomenal.  Relatives called from all over the country, friends contacted us from overseas.  Inquiries were made to relatives of our relatives to check up on their little granddaughter.  It warmed me from the ends of my rarely clipped toenails to the tips of my graying locks.

But, my wife did receive one letter that made me fall out of my chair.  I do not hold this person accountable for these words because it is a mainstream Christian concept that they parroted.  I also must say that it did not affect me at all, emotionally.  I have very thick skin and, frankly, arguments like this are so easy to logically see through to the other side, rendering them utter foolishness.

At first, the letter started out with concern about my daughter and was very warm and loving.  Then, it turned weird.  I quote:

"I am praying that God will work through this tragedy to help you feel His comfort, and realize how much He truly loves you all and longs to have a relationship with you if you'll let Him!"

Really?!  So, God caused a scalding hot thermos of coffee to tip off a table onto my daughter, giving her second degree burns and two years of therapy just so he could save me?  I'm not buying it.  Now, since I rejected that little nudge from God, is he going to throw one of my kids over the second floor banister?  If I still don't love him, will he then maim a few more of my little children, whom I love dearly?  Maybe he'll take away my wife next time.  Maybe she'll get cancer or multiple sclerosis.  Or, worse yet, I'll get the dreaded and incurable ALS.  Any way you cut it, God is perfectly happy hurting my child to get himself a believer.

Here is my deepest question:

Why the hell would ANYONE want to believe in a selfish, immature, narcissistic, hateful, murderous, and unloving god like that?!!!  And how is my kid being burned by god "comfort"!!?  That god is not a loving god and I will never even give him a thought.  I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.  My daughter is already well aware of the pain a thermos of coffee can cause and won't even go near an empty one, let alone anything that we tell her is hot.  We have implemented other safety measures throughout the years to keep our children safe and healthy.  We can do it by ourselves. 

Finally, I do not blame the writer of this letter.  I really don't.  If you believe in the god of the Bible, it is imperative to think this way.

"The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." - Numbers 14:18

No amount of pretzelified theology can escape this one.  God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  His character and sense of justice do not change.

Stand by while I go hug my kids and tell them I love them.  They will never have to fear a non-existent being that hates them for my sins.

If You Don't Believe in the Bible or God, Shut Up About It

After openly moving out of Christianity and becoming an agnostic, concluding that the Bible is nothing more than a fascinating mess of paper and ink, I have been asked the following question again and again:

"Why do you bother talking about God or the Bible when you don't even believe in it?"

Actually, it usually doesn't come in the form of a nice question but rather an angry command to quiet my voice.  Of course, I won't pretend that what I write has much of an influence outside of the few who read it, but you would think, by the potency of the words coming at me, I was akin to the Anti-Christ.

I'm not going to lengthily address the question of why people might do this because the answer to that is quite simple.  When someone is wholly devoted to something that completely defines their life, or more importantly, defines their life after death, anything that questions the logic of the crumbling pillars that props that something up needs to be beaten back and silenced.  I love the debate and find that the fight keeps me alive and well.

But, do I write about religion, the Bible, and God because I like to enrage believers?  Do I do it because poking people in the eye gives me pleasure?  Am I a narcissist that tries to belittle everyone who does not see life my way?  At points in my life, sometimes daily, the answers to all the questions above is a resounding "yes"!  But that is not my underlying reason for why I address the subject.

Let's turn the question around.

Why does a Christian, who thinks that all people who are not Christians, are going to hell anyway, not want someone questioning, reasoning, and logically working through the questions that might lead them back into the fold?!  After all, those good Christian folks who are doing all the yelling would be the first to tell me that my non-god is going to send me to hell.  And they do a fine job of it.  But why do they bother talking to me about my non-belief when they are not non-believers?  Makes sense, right?

Ignoring the hell concept, other Christians despise people like me because my voice is out there leading other Christians astray.  Really?!  If that is going to be your argument, I can think of two very fundamental reasons why you should not attack me with that argument.

First, if I, a mere mortal, am splashing my uneducated words onto an electronic page, and God, an omnipotent, omniscient being, does not have the power to render my words meaningless to those that he desires to be with him in heaven, I think that says more about your god than the power of my words.  Words do hold power, but only inasmuch as they form a coherent thought.  If my thoughts are coherent (logical) and the Christian's thoughts are as well, what is the problem with pitting them against each other and having the debate?

Secondly, being that I simply ask people to think logically about what they are believing, using logic, anecdotes, reason, Scripture, common sense, and other sources for my material, trying to silence me plays a hand that I would think no Christian, in these modern times, would want to be associated with - that in order to become and stay a Christian, one has to suspend all reason.

If I conclude that the Bible is silly, argue why it is not.  But if I am concluding that the Bible is indeed silly, don't argue with me by throwing verses my way about how all god haters will go to hell.  I know the Bible.  I was forced to read it from cover to cover, scores of times while growing up, not to mention, the Holy Bible, in all forms, is available for free online, twenty-four hours a day.

Let's have a conversation, not a slinging of mud.  We both have the ability to type.  I use two fingers to do it.  Let's do it well.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DFBNM: Part 1d - Husbands Are Omniscient and Wives MUST Give Sex

In Part 1c, we learned that men are so fragile, anything a woman does that is not exactly what the bloke is expecting will lead to his demise.  Let's finish looking at the first basic need of a husband.

[Seek your husband’s advice first.  A wife should demonstrate loyalty to her husband’s wishes, goals, and standards. Therefore, when a need arises, you should seek your husband’s guidance and counsel first, especially in regard to family issues, rather than seeking advice from other family members and friends.]

When Kristine and I first met, I had swallowed this idea whole.  I knew all the answers to life and, better yet, knew how to find them in all of Bill Gothard's manuals.  The Bible was a secondary resource and yet I wielded it with creative gusto.  This worked very well for the first few minutes of our relationship.  At that point, it became clear that real life was a bit more complicated and could not be mastered by one man.

I had no idea what to do when Kristine had PMS.  When she had her monthly menstrual cycle, I was no help.  If she bled more than usual, it would have been foolish for her to come to me.  I was clueless in the kitchen, only good enough to throw together a pan of canned peas and tuna fish, heated on the stove.  If she wanted recipe ideas, why would she come to me?  When our first baby cried uncontrollably at night, I had no idea what to do.  When she got warts all over her hand, what the heck could I have done?  Why is it necessary to come to me first for everything?  It makes no sense except that it props up the "man on top" position and, believe me, that gets old after a while, if you catch my drift.

But, let's not focus on little details, rather, let's look at Bill's subtle wording at the end where he tells the worthless woman not to seek advice from family and friends, but rather to the husband.  It logically follows that if the husband has no clue, the wife can then move on to the family and friends, right?  Wrong.

[If you have questions about spiritual matters, you should first take them to your husband. If the two of you are unable to find the answers, then request help from wiser, more mature believers, such as your pastor, parents, or other mentors.]

You must ask only believers. Believers that are wiser than you because, of course, every decision in life requires so much wisdom.  Notice the pastor, then parents, then other "mentors"?  You simply cannot ask an expert. 

"Pastor, my wife needs me to decide whether we are a tampon or maxi pad family.  Oh, and she doesn't know what foundation is for but has a few bumps on her face she wants to smooth over.  What brand should she use?  She has oily skin so it can't dry it out too much.  And, pastor, we aren't seeing eye to eye on salt IN the soup or ON the soup.  Which is healthier.  But..but...pastor...another thing...she has trouble sleeping at night and has bouts of depression.  Being that drugs are evil, according to ole' lady guru over yonder, and the next person in line to take advice from is my parents and then a trusted mentor (not a doc), we figure you might be able to help us.  Should we pray about it?"

Additionally, it always strikes me as quite odd that Bill Gothard has such a high view of parents.  Many couples would rather not ask their parents for advice and for good reason.  But, Bill has to maintain his "chain of command". 

[Enjoy the privilege of physical intimacy.  God grants spouses full access to each other’s bodies for sexual gratification. “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other . . .” (I Corinthians 7:3-5; see also Ephesians 5:24 and Colossians 3:17-19). Resistance or indifference to your husband’s need for physical intimacy is the unspoken crushing of his spirit.]

This is cute, but weird.  Yes, this passage in 1 Corinthians tells a person that it is better to not have sex at all (this point alone caused me to reject all of 1 Corinthians).   But if you must, get a wife and then you both belong to one another.  No, you don't just belong to one another, both of you have authority over eachother's bodies.  This is exciting stuff!

But Bill cites this passage that gives a picture of both a husband and wife enjoying sex together even though the spiritual stuff is a tad creepy, and then turns it around to exclusively address the husband's "need" for lovin'.  Unfortunately, I agree with Bill here.  If my wife doesn't give me sex when I need it, my spirit is crushed.  I am very fragile in this area.  If she withholds herself from me when I the use of my property - her body - I pauperize into a whimpering puppy.  Who cares if she doesn't want it.  That's not important here.  All humor aside, the rest of the passages he cites are only addressing the wife.  She is to be submissive to the husband in all things.  Of course, the husband is supposed to deal tenderly with his wife and we all know what that means. 

Bill, by his own admission, has never had sex in his life.  He has no idea what it is to be in a relationship or in a marriage with the complex issue of intimacy with your partner.  The writers of these Bible passages have no clue either.  The only people who intimately understand each others needs, especially in the area of sex, is you or your spouse, if you have confided in them.  But, complex discussions don't go over well with Gothard's simplistic view of life.  He needs to spiritualize everything and force square pegs to fit into his round holes of life.

I say, go discover what the other wants.  You can't get better until you practice.  But, I do have one tip: touch something metallic before jumping between the sheets.  Static electricity is nobody's friend.

In Part 2a, we will look at the next basic need of a husband: A man needs a wife who honors his leadership.  Haven't we been over this already?  Bill is starting to sound like a broken record.  Maybe he needs to get himself a wife and test some of his theory.  I'm thinking someone should match him up with Betty White.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Damn My Coffee Habit!

I was getting the three littlest kids ready to go out shopping so the three older kids could clean the house and Kristine could do her homework.  I made a pot of coffee, poured myself a thermos, set it on the dining room table, and ran upstairs to grab a pair of socks for a kid.

No sooner had I hit the top stair than I heard a crash, a splash, and a blood curdling scream.  I rushed downstairs to find Kristine ripping off Analisse's (2) shirt and rushing her to the kitchen sink, my coffee thermos laying on the floor, swimming in an ever-increasing pool of scalding hot coffee.

We rushed her to the Children's ER where it was discovered that she had 3rd degree burns from her chest to her pubic bone.  The doctors dressed the burn and scheduled follow-up therapy at a Midwest renowned burn unit.  The immediate risk, right now, is infection, then scarring, in that order.

Analisse is cheerful and full of giggles, still lighting up our lives.  The other kids are aware of how they need to treat her for the next week or so.

Keep Analisse in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, April 2, 2012

DFBNM: Part 1c - Men are Fragile, Women are Manipulative Fools

In Part 1b we listened in as Gothard tried valiantly to describe the differing outlooks on life that, according to his understanding, men and women exemplify.  It needs mentioning again here that Bill is relying on no practical experience.  He has never been married.  It makes sense that, being he has propped himself up to be a guru in every area of life, and the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of worshipers at his feet, he would make vast, overarching, easily wrapped up in a square box and neatly tied with a silk bow, conclusions for very complex issues in life. One of those issues is human nature.  It cannot be pidgeonholed, no matter how many verses you abuse.

Let's lean in to hear Bill Gothard describe the perfect cheerleading bear rug - the good wife.


[Be enthusiastic about your husband’s achievements. Sharing his excitement is more important than sharing his work. Your husband needs and wants your faithful, loyal, and enthusiastic support.]

Poor, poor men.  We have no self-esteem.  If we do something good and a woman is not there to jump up and down, clapping her hands in utter joy, we are spent, and cannot continue on in this life.  Even if the woman is exhausted from making meals, doing dishes, washing laundry, cleaning the house, schooling the fourteen children, and otherwise doing everything a stay-at-home perfect wife and mother should be doing, as quoted in a hen-pecked Proverbs 31, if I walk through the door, excited about the penny I found on the street and the subsequent rock candy I was able to buy with it, my wife would be expected to throw her arms around me and give me a thousand kisses, exclaiming her enthusiastic excitement for my success.

All humor and facetiousness aside, the sinister side to Gothard's quote here just jumps off the page.  What does he mean, "more important than sharing his work"?  What is "his work".  Does Gothard expect all women to help a man in his career, never having one of her own.  The obvious answer to that question is "DUH!"

[Believe in your husband—no matter what.]

Really?  Even when he blows the mortgage on gambling?  Even when he liquors up before he comes home every night?  Even when he follows "godly discipline" as put forth by gurus that train you to severely beat and abuse you children?  Even when he treats you like a bear rug?  Even when he has an affair with someone just a little hotter than you, with a smaller stomach and non-poofy hair?  Even when he goes out with his friends and blows a few Benjamins and then becomes enraged when you bring up the fact that the privilege is not reciprocated?  Even when the children begin to fail at homeschooling due to his choice of a curriculum?  Even when he is physically, spiritually, mentally, or verbally abusive to you?

Kristine (my hot trophy wife) and I lived this mindset for about half of our miserable marriage.  At one point, I lost my job at a dealership where I had been selling cars, just waiting for the next big opportunity to come along.  And come along it did, with a glowing job description in the paper - selling Filter Queen vacuum cleaners.  Needless to say, I was exuberant after the sales training and she was more than skeptical.  Two months, $4000 in debt, and thousands of company lies later, I admitted that she was right.  But I was angry at her for even suggesting the possibility that I had made a bad move.  She was supposed to support me even to the family's ruin.  Yep.  What an immature way to live life.

[Loyalty can be demonstrated only in adversity. A husband needs to know that his wife is committed to him no matter what and that she will look first to him for counsel and direction. Use difficult times to reflect the depth of your commitment to your husband, and do not ask others for counsel without his permission.]

Abuse?  Yeah, that'll fly.  "Honey, you're hitting me.  Can I talk to the police?"

[A wife is never supposed to “take over.”  In response to pressures within the family or within a marital relationship, a foolish wife will take matters into her own hands. When you intrude into one area of responsibility, even with the “good” motive of meeting urgent needs, your husband will most likely surrender other responsibilities as well. Initially, it may appear that you succeed in fulfilling responsibilities that should be carried out by your husband. However, in the long run, the decision to usurp or ignore your husband’s responsibility to meet those needs will do much more harm than good. (See Proverbs 14:1.)]

You read that correctly.  When a man is a loser, or even just simply making a bad decision, the wife who rights the ship is a fool.  Why?  Because all men are hanging on the edge, holding every bit of responsibility with the tips of their fingers.  When they lose one area of responsibility, they are helpless to keep hold of the rest.  How fragile are these Gothard lives anyway?

But, the most laughable part of the above quote is the verse Gothard references.  What Proverbs 14:1 actually says is:

"The wisest of women builds her house, but folly, with her own hands, tears it down."

Ok.  I'll give you some time to breath after that laugh.  Bill is actually saying the exact opposite of what this verse says.  It says that a wise woman builds her house (that seems to me to be pretty much anything and everything to do with living) but the foolish woman, in her own power and individual capacity, has the ability to tear that same house down.  Let me throw out an alternative interpretation for Bill Gothard's benefit here.  If a woman does NOT use her wisdom and tell her husband that he is about to make a big mistake, or whatever the scenario, she singlehandedly tears her own house down, not the other way around as Gothard oddly sees it.  This is just another example of Bill taking little unrelated snippets of Scripture and using it for his own benefit.  We caught him in the cookie jar again.

Men, if you need a woman to zip up your pants after you went potty and lovingly tap you on the shoulder every time you get a boo boo in life, you should seriously consider moving back into your mother's basement.  Your wife is a human being and would appreciate all the same benefits that Bill is saying only you, as a man, should enjoy. 

Women, you are free to live a life of independence WITHIN your marriage.  It isn't really that hard.  My wife and I screw it up every day and we're still happy and vibrant.  She tells me when I'm a fool and I desperately try to dish it back but have trouble finding fault.  I have three private detectives on the case and expect a breakthrough any day now.

In Part 1d, we will finish up the first "Basic Need of a Marriage" for men.  We get to talk about the real reason for sex, in Bill Gothard's eyes, who also, allegedly, has no experience in