Saturday Night Live

March 2nd, 2015

I’m not sure anyone who didn’t come of age in the 1970s can understand how important Saturday Night Live was for those of us on the tail end of the Baby Boom. I escaped my life for 90 minutes every Saturday night, and I honed my sense of humor by watching not just Gilda, Jane, and Lorraine, but Belushi, Aykroyd, and Murray. Humor was the lifeline I grabbed onto in high school, even if I used it as both narcotic and anesthetic, and Saturday Night Live provided me with images of where a lonely, funny girl could end up … and although I didn’t end up there, I got to where I am largely because I knew from SNL that girls could be funny. Funny worked. Funny gave me hope. And pretty much everything I know about Funny, I learned from Saturday Night Live.

And yeah, I cried when Gilda died. Stacy Kern, you did, too … so I’m thinking of you tonight.

A Note From The “50 Shades” Picket

March 2nd, 2015

Civil disobedience, like picketing at a movie theater against police orders, is not something to undertake lightly. However, the greater danger is to dismiss it lightly as something that “isn’t appropriate” or “doesn’t work.” This world is not suffering as it is because of the reckless courage of the civilly disobedient, but because of the blithe cowardice of the civilly obedient.

That cowardice, that sense that social change will just somehow work itself out for good without any direct efforts to secure it, makes the civilly obedient not just cautious to the point of indifference. It makes them co-authors of the very conditions they insist will get better, and must get better, without any effort expended on their part.

I find that unacceptable. I always have, and age hasn’t mellowed me.

When Young Christian Classicists Offend …

March 2nd, 2015

Here’s an example for your Monday morning of what constitutes thoughtful social and religious commentary from the uber-patriarchal, neo-Reformed boys in Moscow. The context is whether or not a florist’s refusal to provide flowers for a gay wedding is, indeed, a bold stand for the faith. Here’s the comment that has me already fired up at before 7:30 a.m. It was made half an hour ago by an erstwhile acolyte of the Bloviating One, Douglas Wilson.

“Why is there any difference between two consenting homosexuals and a consenting pimp and cash cow hooker?”

My response:

G, your breathtakingly ugly reference to prostituted women is astonishing in its callousness and hate, even for you, someone whose disdain of women is generally as profound as his disdain for logic and reasoning. This is bad; you managed to set even lower a moral and rhetorical bar that already had been, in my mind, set almost impossibly low.

In an argument that began with your gratitude for what you call the florist’s courage, which you offensively referred to as “balls,” in refusing to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple, you blithely ignore one commenter’s respectful and intelligent argument against your conclusion and arrive, with false triumph, at an insult to prostituted women first, and then to same-sex couples.

The phrase “cash cow hookers,” whose literal meaning is muddled at best but whose true meaning reveals you to be a misogynist of the highest, or lowest, order, is your way of describing real women, including women I know and love, who have been forced into a life whose horrors you cannot begin to understand and whose nourishment is found in the robust heterosexually perverse desires you refuse to question.

You know nothing of the reality of a prostituted woman. You manage to describe the male who abuses her, the pimp, with nothing other than the word “consenting,” ignoring the irony of the woman’s servitude to him, and then describe the woman with language that, in three words, reveals you to be an ignorant and crude, misogynistic and homophobic buffoon. I’ve known you to be an immature lickspittle evidently incapable of generating independent argument, and I’m well aware that you doggedly, irrationally, persist in equating homosexuality with pedophilia. I’m well accustomed to the moral and logical paucity of your arguments; indeed, I’ve prayed that you receive pastoral counsel from someone other than the lockstep sycophants surrounding Doug Wilson.

Still, nothing I know about my having interacted with you prepared me for the revelation that you, a former seminarian and a deacon in your church, hold poor, marginalized, and exploited women in such hideous contempt. I rebuke you as harshly as I do because you are a Christian, or claim to be, whereas your ugliness here is specifically directed to people, already harmed, already hurting, you declare cannot be. You owe every prostituted and exited woman an apology, and you owe gay couples an apology as well — not because you support the florist, but because you echo the argument, blistering in its offensiveness, that same-sex intimacy is analogous to pedophilia.

Your heart is hard and your words, vile. You will equivocate and prevaricate and try to explain what “cash cow hooker” REALLY means. Spare yourself the effort, son. Your words harm not only the people to whom you direct them. They harm YOU, confirming the smug toxicity of your religious culture and distancing you from the work of the Holy Spirit.

Repent. You are way too far on a very wrong track. And do not make the mistake that you are merely dismissing me when you dismiss this. You have the Lover of the marginalized, the ones in whom we see and know Christ, to answer to. I pray for you as you do. Your “balls” have distanced you from your soul.

Stats and Transpeople

March 2nd, 2015

The killing, harassing, and violence against even ONE trans person is wrong, without equivocation.

However, the statistics given don’t appear to mean what people insist they do. Further, here’s one truth that is undeniable:

Virtually every trans person harmed or killed is harmed or killed by a man. That goes for male victims and female victims. Men are the perpetrators, and that’s telling. It also means that radical feminists are not. Check out this blog, which admirably illustrates the problems with the often-proclaimed “1 in 12 transpeople are killed” meme:

culturallyboundgender.wordpress.com

My Crush, Joe Friday

March 2nd, 2015

It’s true that I’m enjoying The Slap on NBC, but what you don’t know about me is that I would have unnecessary surgery only for the opportunity to lie in bed for two months watching … Dragnet.

Yeah, as in Joe Friday.

I am utterly enamored of the 1957-1961 Dragnets, and I love just a little less the 1970-72 shows. I don’t know what it is, honestly. I guess maybe I like just having a neat and tidy, 26-minute-long, moral world. In Dragnet, bad men get taken down, worn to a nub either by prison or by Joe Friday’s endless spitfire patter. I like it.

Please don’t think less of me.

Part Two: Masculinism IS Patriarchy

January 9th, 2015

Part Two, in response to Julie Bell, on why I use “masculinism” as a synonym for “patriarchy,” not as a balance to “feminism”:

As I call myself a “radical” feminist, it’s important to understand how that makes me different from “liberal” feminists, and I think the best way to describe the differing perspectives is to say that libfems look at the law — for example, equal pay for equal work — and changes in individual behavior — a husband becoming aware of the truth of Biblical egalitarianism and acting on it — as methods of ridding the world of patriarchy, which all feminists agree is the enemy. (By the way, my definition of “patriarchy” is this: One man exercising power over women, children, and those men he deems inferior, and THE WORLDWIDE, HISTORICALLY UBIQUITOUS SYSTEM THAT INTRODUCED, ENSHRINED, AND ENFORCED IT as a proper form of social engagement; it is, to me, the root of all evil — even “love of money” has patriarchy at its root, because avarice, ruthlessness, competition, power, materialism both household and imperialistic, are all “masculine” behaviors).

The liberal feminist position, then, places its hope in reform of government, culture, and individuals subject to and living in those institutions; the Christian liberal feminist, of course, adds the church to it. Without question, the liberal feminist view is honorable — but it’s utterly ineffective, in my mind, at getting to the root — from which the word “radical” comes — of the horrors caused by patriarchy.

As I said in my previous post, a radical feminist view analyzes issues from a class perspective and not an individual one. So when a libfem applauds “equal pay” laws, a radfem, while acknowledging individual benefits to individual women, sees modification of the system all women are in, patriarchy, to be lacking in both scope and effectiveness — the difference between retooling and overthrowing. Radfems aren’t satisfied with anything less than overthrowing patriarchy at its root through its fruit, and Christian radfems believe that this, not “working within the system,” to be the earthly mission of the Gospel. We see patriarchy as the evil behind not just rape and genital mutilation, but also destruction of forests, political hegemony/imperialism, gross consumerism, and other things that, at first glance, don’t look at all “male-female.” Radfems are also critical of transgender politics, believing that the trans movement embraces gender — again, that sinful, hierarchical assignment of “masculine” (who GETS TO rape, consume, fight, etc.) and “feminine” (who is SUBJECT TO those who rape, consume, fight, etc.). Radical feminists, while decrying violence to transgendered people, do not believe that gender — how people “present,” feminine or masculine — is something that should be embraced, but rejected; further, the biological fact of being born male or female (sex) is immutable. Males may prefer and present in a feminine manner, and insofar as gender is the enemy that tells them they’re in conflict with their biology, they — male-born people — may not “become” females and thus may not enter female-only spaces — bathrooms, locker rooms, women-only music festivals, rape crisis centers, shelters, etc. Radfems want people, male and female, to prefer/present in whatever non-sinful ways they choose, and we believe that eliminating gender is more important than having healthy bodies mutilated to conform to its sinful, culture-bound expectations. But I don’t want to get off track …

Feminism, then, is the term used by those who see patriarchy as the enemy of women and, secondarily, to the men who practice it, and, not insignificantly, to the planet itself. Properly used, it describes not a set of behaviors — that’s femininity, which radfems reject and label a designation of eternal subjugation to males. (Masculinity, again, is rejected because it is the sinful designation of eternal rule over, and is fed and watered by the “manly” behaviors run amok in this world). Feminism describes a political/cultural analysis that privileges the concerns of females and children in all considerations. Liberal feminism seeks redress by law and personal reformation within patriarchy; radical feminism seeks to lay axe to the roots of the whole tree thereof.

The only Biblical guide — mandate — for proper Christian behavior (what analogously can be called “presenting”) is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5, which is notably absent of sex-specific fruit or gendered behaviors. Radfems like me believe that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, mercy, and self-control are available to anyone by God’s Holy Spirit, are free of gendered role-presentation/function, and, most important, are behaviors that strike at the very heart — the root — of masculinity. I believe that’s intentional. That male who rejects for himself competition, greed, violence, hierarchy, power, striving, avarice, and physical displays of “masculinity” is free to invite the Spirit to fill him with the Spirit’s fruit, but in the world in which he moves, and, tragically, in Church, he will suffer at the hands not only of other guys, but will find himself the focus of distaste, quite often, from women who blindly expect and accept typical “guy” behaviors.

Likewise, females like me who embrace the Fruit but care little about demonstrating “femininity” — prettiness in face, clothes that make them attractive to males, soft voices, limited and lightly-spoken opinions, servanthood not as a choice but as an expectation, primary attention to domestic duties, etc. — will find themselves with few sisters who understand them. Because the hierarchy of masculine-over-feminine is sinful in origin, even from the origin of human beings, as a theology and as a practice that has resulted in every form of sin found on this earth, it must be rejected. There is no “Biblical masculinity” or “Biblical femininity,” just as there’s no “Biblical greed” or “Biblical Hierarchy in Relationships.” The tree is rotten; radical feminists cannot eat of its fruit.

Feminism, then, requires two things: One, a conscious understanding that the world — the “playing field” — is NOT EQUAL but is, instead, utterly given over to sin, the root of which is masculine behaviors we call masculinism or patriarchy; and, two, that because the field is so unequal, and unequal along sex lines first and then race and class, for the same reasons, the female is, in this world, intrinsically marginalized. The female is Jesus’ “least of these” simply because she is female (it’s the same for children), and those males who, tragically, are also poor, naked, hungry, rejected, and marginalized are ALSO victims of patriarchy — a system of power has installed males over females AND over those males deemed “weaker” and “less than” the male(s) in power. Gender — the expression of masculine and feminine — is the evil system that privileges power/subjugation along sex lines over the Fruit of the Spirit. It must be abolished, done away with in favor of a world where females and males live in the Spirit.

Arriving at that will require Christ and Christ only; only the Holy One can overthrow sin. But we who worship Him must cooperate and root out first that evil that has choked the Church and done so in the name of the Christ who defeated that which the adulterous Church has rushed to embrace, and proclaim that gender kills, and that we will no longer, out in the world, enshrine sexual hierarchy. That takes a conscious rejection of masculinity, first, and, in proclaiming feminism, an understanding that such is NOT an embrace of femininity. Feminism is a deliberate recognition of the radical, class-based reality of patriarchy that requires a specific understanding that in a world poisoned by it, justice and righteousness requires a CONSCIOUS consideration of women and children and patriarchy-oppressed males first. Patriarchy creates a visible, identifiable, class of victims: females and children. In Jesus’ words, “the least of these” are those stricken by the mighty masculine hand of masculinity and masculinism, the system that feeds it.

Feminism — and by this I mean radical feminism — must have as its identifying goal the conscious recognition, embrace, and advocacy for FEMALES (and children/oppressed males) first, and it can only do so by wholeheartedly rejecting masculinism. That’s why I cannot use “masculinism” as a “fairness doctrine” counter to “feminism” — it’s NOT an equal, just playing field, and only recognition of what must be embraced (the Spirit’s Fruit) and what must be done away with (masculinity and femininity) will make Christian feminism able to effect lasting change in bringing about the Kingdom of God. As Christians, we are to love those who sin while they’re over us, praying for their redemption — but our focus is ever to be on our neighbor, and in this world of horror and pain, our neighbor is much more likely to be one of “the least of these” whose deprivation was created by sin, enabled by patriarchy, and wrought by patriarchs and their defenders. To put it bluntly: your neighbor, the one who is the least of these among you, is the woman battered by her husband. He needs reformation and renewal to be sure, but rebuke first. Who among us would help him before rendering protection and nurture to his victim? And why, for the love of God, do we encourage him to adopt “Christian” forms of power-over, stoicism, competition, pride in physical strength, self-regard, and capitalistic viciousness? That’s masculinity. It kills. It’s killing women in your community right now, and my theology will always privilege, in its praxis, the women and children the Church is astonishingly –and sinfully — eager to put in harm’s way.

A radical focus on the root of Christ-worship will result in Fruit that is available to both sexes, utterly ungendered in expectation and experience. It will acknowledge as unequal that which the complementarians desperately want us to see as equal, and it will have as its first concern, always, Christ in the form of the least of these hewn from the iron hand of patriarchy.

I welcome your questions and arguments, although I would prefer to have you get ahold of me on my regular FB page, as I don’t check this one as often as some of you. I’m under Keely Emerine-Mix, and if you send me a friend request, even if you hate what I say, I’ll accept it!

God’s peace to all of you, sisters and brothers.

“Masculinism” Isn’t A Proper Balance To “Feminism”: Part One

January 8th, 2015

 

A Christian feminist who also participates in the Christians For Biblical Equality blog asked me why I use “masculinism” more or less as a synonym for “patriarchy,” because she uses it as a balance to “feminism,” in the sense of describing the Holy One’s love for females and males by saying “God is a feminist; God is a masculinist.”  I understand her point, but I disagree with her usage of the word “masculinist.” Here’s my response to her:

I am, as I said earlier, a radical feminist. This doesn’t mean that while YOU’LL, say, write a letter to the editor, I, as a “radical,” will throw a brick through a window — not at all. It means that while liberal feminism strives for equality with men and views things through an individualist perspective, radical feminists work for the end of patriarchy and the end of gender, which is its expression in males and females — sex, as opposed to “gender,” which is how males and females play out immutable hierarchical and thus sinful roles as “feminine” and “masculine.” These roles dictate who rules/gets unfettered access to women and their bodies (males/the masculine) and who is bound and submits/gives up access to men (females/femininity) — sex (male/female). Radfems believe gender — those hierarchical roles assigned by sex, with males at the top and in power and females at the bottom and in subjection — must be abolished, and that masculinity, the “firstfruits” of patriarchy, is something no man should seek or embrace; it’s toxic and provides the root for all evils — even the love of money is aggressive avarice, a typically masculine characteristic. Gender is a result of sin; I pray for its abolition. Most radfems aren’t Christians, so where I say “sin,” they say “toxic social construct,” but we mean the same, I think. So a libfem might say, “Joe raped Susan; Joe has a narcissistic personality and learned from his abusive father that violence was OK. Joe is a bad guy.” The analysis is on this situation, however correct it is, and is not on the class reality — that “males rape females.” Joe may be those things, but, in a radical, class analysis, a radfem would say — I would say — that Joe is acting out masculinity, and Joe should renounce his masculinity and the privilege it brings so that Joe can be free of his familial patterns, narcissism, violence, etc. — all of which are expressions of masculinity. Keep in mind that the Fruit of the Spirit is the only Biblical imperative for the Christ-follower; they refer not at all to sex or gender by being freely available to, and expected from, both females and males. This is Part One …

The Responsibility Of The Traditionalist: Homosexuality

January 8th, 2015

Christians who hold to the traditional Church teaching on homosexuality — the “just the words on the page, no context needed” reading that’s governed conservative Christianity’s views on the issue for two centuries — are not, ipso facto, homophobes who hate their children.

I disagree with their interpretation and believe that a truer understanding of Scripture and context would lead them to accept same-sex relationships with the same respect, joy, and standards (monogamy, commitment, mutuality, etc.) as we do heterosexual marriages, but I understand that desperately wanting to understand the issue from a Biblically correct perspective is likely to be the bedrock upon which their beliefs are founded. However, the culturally-bound Church’s intense disgust for homosexuals and homosexual sex IS sinful, one of the worst toxins of patriarchy and one of the best reasons for Christians to reject it. The “Biblical traditionalist” who simply wants to align her beliefs with Scripture will find me disagreeing with her, hoping to teach her a better way, but she won’t find me automatically believing her to be a homophobic bigot. I won’t separate from a traditionalist; I won’t stop from shining a brighter light on the Scriptures for her, either.

On the other hand, she and other traditionalists must not flinch from, may never neglect, their responsibility to condemn PUBLICLY, SPECIFICALLY, and WHENEVER NEEDED any injustice, violence, degradation, denial of basic civil rights, value, and mockery of Lesbians and gay males — knowing that a great many evildoers who wish violence upon my Lesbian and gay male neighbors and yours hide behind “the Biblical testimony” against homosexuality, counting on and receiving the support of conservatives as they inflict unspeakable acts of specific harm toward homosexuals in and out of the Church.

The world we live in is a world that Lesbians and gays die in, and die in not because the majority of Christians take the Bible literally in what it appears to say about homosexuality, but because the majority of Christians have not, in adopting their view, embraced with equal vigor, or embraced at all, the absolute necessity of honoring Scripture by opposing strenuously any violence and harm against Lesbians and gay men. Their sin in doing nothing to speak and act on behalf of homosexuals may be a sin of omission, but it’s no less a sin — and it enables horrific acts of commission to be inflicted on a community of people deeply loved by God, in God’s name, for God’s honor, by evildoers, bigots, and assassins who love God not a bit and, in truth, esteem God’s Word even less.

So the traditionalist conservative Christian is not, to me, a homophobe because he believes as he does — that homosexual acts are sinful. I disagree; I’ll do what I can to teach them, reasoning and convincing from these same Scriptures that what we see today as homosexuality is not what the Apostle Paul intended and that Christians can, and should, embrace those whose love is homosexual. I’ll do so, humbly and gladly, as their sister in Christ.

But the “Christian” who chooses not to see the harm done, through acts committed or defenses not offered, by others who claim to be traditionalists committed only to Biblical veracity, IS a homophobe, and that person will be, to me, a focus of rebuke or evangelism, and I won’t shrink from reminding them that embrace of the traditional belief is not the same thing as embrace of the bitter bigotry and hate that stems from it. There is nothing more repugnant to me than people who use Christianity and Christian beliefs, even, perhaps especially, those conclusions on which I disagree with them, to do evil. It is evil to hate Lesbians and gay males, evil to deny them civil rights, evil to advocate harm toward them, evil to enact violence against them, and evil — the most common evil, the one conservatives are most susceptible to — fail to cry out when others do.

It’s not your Biblical conservativism that makes you a homophobe, Christian. It’s your sinful application of your traditionalism that does, and this sister of yours in Christ won’t offer you solace or shelter when you’re rightly condemned as a bigot.

Well, You Asked …

January 8th, 2015

I do so love a challenge, and I can’t resist one that comes to me in the form of, “OK, so … name three things you’re conservative about.” I’m going to toss out that I am conservative enough to believe that the Gospels portray Jesus saying and doing things that we ought to take as literal patterns for Christian living, but I think my interrogator would call that “liberal.” So, let’s try these three:

1. I dislike, in church, “praise choruses” and contemporary — and insipid — “Jesus as my boyfriend” songs. I like hymns.
2. I believe someone — father, mother, aunt — from a child’s family should stay home to be with her/him until mid-elementary school, whenever economically possible.
3. I am convinced that the Second Amendment does NOT give individuals the right to own guns, but, nevertheless, I believe that the interests of women and children are best served if women have guns. Disarming women is an open door to continued abuse and murder, and I think that appropriate registration and training, and a complete ban on gun ownership by violent men, is appropriate.

A bonus:

I’m conservative enough that I hate misogynistic gangster rap, misogynistic country music (and pretty much all country music after 1970), and misogynistic pop music — first for political reasons, and only then because the music itself is wretched.

I Am My Foremothers’ and Forefather’s Daughter

January 8th, 2015

From the “How Did She Get That Way?” files:

I’ll likely not read anything nearly as inspiring and nearly as exciting in 2015 as I did this morning while looking through copies of my paternal great-great-grandfather’s letters to his daughter, in which the abolitionist Rev. William Henry Boles recounts the time he was speaking against the Ku Klux Klan just after the Civil War and was shot by a Southern sympathizer.

His wife, Dr. Louisa Spiller, was also a preacher, and Louisa and their daughter, my grandmother’s mother, Dr. Harriet Boles-Stephenson, were osteopathic physicians, temperance activists, and suffragettes. And while I inherited none of their scientific or medical abilities, I know I’m a preacher at heart.

I pray that Henry and Louisa are proud of me.