Thursday, July 12, 2012

ME AND MY BAPTIST BRITCHES



While sitting in the Tulsa airport with my husband Paul, awaiting flight to our eagerly anticipated Las Vegas/California excursion with good friends, Don and Sheryl Rooks, I passed the time by scrolling Facebook.  As I was looking at pictures and catching up on the social news of the day, I happened upon a very conservative church group’s camp pictures.  
It is one of those camps where girls are required to wear baggy culottes covering their knees and the boys, long pants... even in the intense heat of summer.  I was clicking from one photo of culotte-clad young ladies to the next when I suddenly realized something for the first time in all the years during our time in the Baptist Taliban and since leaving--
I was never really one of them!
I wasn’t!  I wanted to be.  I even tried my best to be.  But really... I just wasn’t.  I wasn’t brought up that way and I was never impressed to believe that way through my own understanding of scripture.  Although I was the first in the church ( mostly due to the influence of someone I highly admired ) to adamantly own the ‘conviction’ that I as a woman should not wear pants and even though I would have argued then that I believed this with all my being... somewhere deep down, 
I knew. 
I knew that there were other reasons--reasons that had nothing to do with it being ‘right‘ or ‘biblical‘ or even a good exercise in discipline.  
Reasons that I really don’t like having to admit to, but high time I did. 
So, the truth?  
The truth is, I was rebelling against my mother’s passionate refusal to cooperate with the church of my childhood’s short-lived ‘no pants on women’ policy.  I guess I just needed to establish my own individual beliefs on this highly volatile, momentous issue... so irrelevant, but so deliciously controversial. 
The perfect way for a young, new-to-motherhood and zealous-to-fix-all-perceived-ills-in- my-realm-of-faith person to feel influential and important. Beliefs that were also being fostered and strengthened by influential people I so admired. Embarrassing to me now. 


What outlandish and unorthodox ideas would spring from that first dive into anti-fashion religiosity!  
Sadly, I see the same tendencies in many of today’s young Christian parents--zealously  committing to current religious trends that glamorize ultra-conservative, ‘godly‘ parenting formulas, ultimately leading to such excessive clothing regulations.   And that scares me for them... given where it led my family. 
How many of them are doing what I did?  How many really believe that stuff?
Now, after all these years, I want to finally reveal what I had always known but would never allow a rise to consciousnes.  And that is: I never really believed girls would become more committed, spiritual, feminine, submissive, sanctified or God-honoring by dressing in the independent, fundamental, pre-millennial, God-fearing, sin-hating, Baptist-preacher-approved (and probably designed) garments commonly known as ‘culottes’. 

AND...I believe-- if the truth were known-- if there was a pill that could force one to be absolutely, perfectly honest....
The ones who promote and practice this strange and unnatural belief would have to admit... 
they don’t really believe it either.    
   

6 comments:

  1. I fell headlong into the complementarian position of the CBMW because they lambasted feminists. In reality, I am a feminist at heart. I agree with equal pay for equal work, a woman's right to control her own body, a woman's equality with men in the civic arena, a woman's right to seek any destiny for which she dares to reach, etc.

    BUT, my mother- who never bonded with me as an infant/toddler, neglected me until I was an adolescent, and then scapegoated me and persecuted me in an attempt to destroy me so thoroughly that all her evil characterizations of me appeared true (loser, whore, drug addict, etc.)- was at times staunchly feminist. That is, when she wasn't manipulating the patriarchy at the conservative charismatic church. She is a very manipulative person, and was whoever she needed to be to get what she wanted.

    So when CBMW blamed *feminists* for all of society's ills, I thought of my mom. When the pro-life movement said feminists hate children and that's why they disparage SAHMs and want to "abort all the babies" I thought of my mom, and it even seemed reasonable. She did hate me; still does.

    It took a lot of growing up to see that feminism had absolutely NOTHING to do with my mom's mental illness, and that CBMW is just as abusive to women as my mom was to me. I do feel regret that I supported the evangelical conservative anti-woman agenda for so long. They managed to equate their position with loving children, loving my husband and loving Jesus- all things I love to do!

    But they are in fact polar opposites. CBMW does not love Jesus- not until they redefined Jesus to mean "the Bible". The Savior of the world as revealed in the gospels has very, very little to do with their lives and doctrine. They really follow Paul and Moses, for the most part. But they claim that Jesus=Paul=Moses, so that's how they get around that.

    They do not love children. They promote violence against children, and training children through punishment rather that peaceful, nurturing teaching of children through support, thoughtful discussion, affection and empathy. One does not need to use violence or punishment, and children are not animals to be trained. They can learn without pain and fear as the motivation, and they are to be taught, not trained.

    CMBW does not really even love men. Those male children being trained by violence and fear on the one hand, and told they are exceptional to God and society by virtue of being born male are also being ripped off by the doctrine. They are being stripped of love and compassion, and filled with pride and entitlement. They will never be able to experience the authentic love relationships we all crave until they get healed from their childhood conditioning and learn to truly value their wives and children as people.

    For conservative men, learning to value wife/children as people is hard, because conservative evangelical culture never valued *them* as people, only as automatons who said, did, believed all the right doctrines. My MK/PK husband knows this well. He learned as a child that if you step outside the lines in any area, and down comes the hammer. Even when they can't spank or restrict you as adults, they can still reject you and shame you- and they will.

    Too late I learned that I was a feminist all along, BECAUSE I love Jesus, love children and truly love my husband. Better late than never.

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  2. Passionate, eloquent and articulate thoughts from the wealth of wisdom you've gained through personal experience! Thanks for communicating so well for the benefit of my readers! I so agree, Shadowspring! I just finished reading a closely related article from Religion Dispatches about purity balls and its not-so-sweet effects on the daughters. Sickening and sad on so many levels. But there are so many 'Christians' who with complete abandon buy into it all because of how it appears on the surface. It frustrates me so and I want to scream the warnings from the mountaintops, but most will simply dismiss them because of how beautifully and biblically it all appears.

    Oh, and what is CBMW btw? I just can seem to get it.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Poor Cindy shes at sea. Go ahead delete this too. Just publish the agreeables.

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    1. FYI, Anonymous, I deleted my own post. It was a link to something else that didn't work so I deleted it. If you have read much of my past posts and comments, you will quickly see that I DO NOT ONLY publish the "agreeables" and have encouraged dissenters to comment. You might want to verify your information before making insulting accusations....

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  5. To Anonymous,
    Typical, speaking before your brain engages. First, NOT addressing anything she says. You have no rebuttal, no scripture, or even scripture taken out of context (which really wouldn't be that hard), Second, anonymous, REALLY?!?!? Typical-no guts, scared behind the shadows of your screen. You should be proud of your stand for "righteousness" and let everyone know the "spiritual" person you are, oh well. Hopefully your screen won't fall down.

    Love,
    Anonymous

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