I go to church. A baptist church. A really conservative baptist church. I go there because even though I disagree with a lot of the people there about a lot of different issues, it is a small church, and there is a certain genuineness to a lot of what goes on there. The people are kind, caring, and generous, and they are real. That last attribute is something I couldn't easily find in bigger churches, where everyone just simply cannot get over how cool christians can be too.
A while back, I decided to join what our church calls a "Discipleship Group." Alls this is is a few people getting together every so often to get to know each other better and to discuss christian-y things. Although it may sound awful, I actually enjoy it...it provides me an opportunity to see how a couple of these very conservative people tick, and I hope it gives them an opportunity to see how a not-so-ultra-conservative person ticks. We discuss things, learn about each other's points of view, the entire thing remains civil and, sometimes, coffee and cookies get involved. It is like a dream.
Our group decided recently that we should read through a christian-y book and discuss it. It was decided that we should read The Mark of a Man, by Elisabeth Elliot. I am only 4 chapters into it, but so far, I love it.
To help calibrate your sarcasmometer, here are some other things that I love:
"I realized how badly things have gotten twisted in the past decade or so when--apropos of my thesis that there is a difference between men and women, that they're not interchangeable--I called for a show of hands of the men who would like to be asked for a date. I was quite unprepared for the response. Hundreds of hands went up. I should have asked then to see the hands of those who would not want to be asked (I wonder if there would have been any), but I was too startled and confused. When I suggested that we post a sign-up sheet at the back of the auditorium, the clapping, cheering, and shrieking (loudest, I suppose, from the single women) was tumultuous. Everybody but me was amused. Children of their time, so accustomed to hearing about equality and rights and personhood, they no longer know what the difference is between the sexes. They even wonder whether it is legitimate to notice any difference or whether it might not be better to pretend there is none."
Oh, the horror. Young men who likely find even speaking with women a nerve-wracking endeavor would like it if a woman should ask them out instead. Oh, what a twisted age! And she's right; the only reason that I ever thought it might have been cool for a girl to ask me out when I was growing up was because of such mind poisons as the ideas of rights, equality, and personhood. In fact, had you asked me back then why I thought a girl asking me out would have been cool, I would have replied, "because we're interchangeable, us and them."
"Everybody knows [there is a difference between men and women]. The biological difference is--so far, at least--an undeniable datum. There is a certain 'unbudgeableness' about simple facts. They won't go away. But science is working hard to change all that. God help us if it succeeds!"
Fucking A. We're not even out of the introduction yet and she's referring to capital-S-Science, that dastardly foe to all good christians, driven only by an insatiable desire to gobble up both our morals and our children. She's right, though. I'm all the time having to fend off Science and its attempts to erase my genitals. Just last night, in fact, I woke up to Science standing over my bed, ready to erase my genitals. I was all, "Science, please. I really want to keep these." It wouldn't leave until I threatened it with my Bible.
And now for the 3-page-long Chapter 1: The Way Things Are:
"We're living in a dangerous time. People are tampering with God's arrangements, grabbing the wrong knobs"
And trying to do what, exactly? Later in the chapter, she mentions treating the sexes as interchangeable, so I guess that is what we're doing that is so dangerous. Who is actually claiming that, though? I mean, sure, feminists appreciate it when you you pay a woman the same as you would pay a man for the same work, but who is trying to say that men and women are, in general, interchangeable? As far as I can tell, most people agree that men and women are different, some even going so far as to say they are from different planets, but they also agree that they should be treated equally. In other words, less dick != less pay. That's a far cry from "men and women are interchangeable."
I'll get to the other chapters later, as I read them and have time to ponder them. I would like to make a prediction now, though. My prediction is this:
This book will spend most of its 172 pages saying nothing of consequence as it rails against Science, Psychology, and those damn liberals. It will make the bold claim that men and women are different, but that they should play nice together, but it will do so with specially crafted language (such as liberal use of the word "submission") to inflame those of a liberal mindset. It is important to keep the other side inflamed, because then when they get angry with us, we can feel good knowing that we're fulfilling our christian duty to piss off everyone who disagrees with us. It's just like Jesus said, "When people are mad at you all the time, then you know you're following my teachings like you should."
Chapter 2: Equal in Being Created:
"When the Constitution declares that 'all men are created equal,' it is not referring to intelligence, good looks, good humor, height, weight, or income."
Oh! I was kinda wondering what all this hoopla over the "Constitution" was about, because after I read that part, I was all like, "Dude no there not! Like, I'm totally hot and rich and have good smarts and I know some frends who aren't lol! This documint is stupid! Haha!" I see now though. Thanks for clearing that up. A side note to other authors, christian or otherwise: don't patronize me.
"Current talk of 'equal rights' covers so many diverse areas that it has caused us to forget which ones the Constitution was trying to guarantee."
So, what, exactly, are you trying to say? There are rights out there that the Constitution didn't specifically mention, therefore men and women shouldn't expect to enjoy them to an equal degree? Ok, fine, but what are they? I'm having a hard time thinking of any rights that one could claim men and women shouldn't experience equally without sounding like a huge dick.
"Men and women, we are being reminded with tiresome regularity, are 'equal.'
Well, yes, but how? Does it mean equally bright, beautiful, funny, tall, fat, or wealthy? Rubbish! Does it mean 'interchangeable'? Surely not."
She's patronizing me again. Aside from that, yes, we get it. Men and women are not interchangeable. Thank you for addressing, again, the argument no one is making.
"They [men and women] were made by Somebody. Theories of beginning, other than the biblical one, require a much more daring act of faith than this."
*sigh* Focus, Elisabeth, focus. We're railing against the feminists here, not the evilutionists. That's a topic for another book you can sell at Mardel.
Chapter 3: Equal in Image:
Actually, I didn't find much of anything objectionable in this chapter. It's only about 1.2 full pages though
Chapter 4: Equal in Moral Responsibility:
"[Different types of feminists] agree that there is no difference between men and women, apart from the physiological one."
Is that true? For awhile now I've thought of feminists as people who strive to ensure that men and women are treated equally. It seems obvious to me that a woman is more than just a man without a penis, and that a man is more than just a woman without a vagina...but maybe I'm just naive in assuming that no one thinks of men and women that way.