Archive for July, 2012

The Real Evils Around Us And "Conquering" Sexual Behavior

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Rosemary Huskey writes:

Most of us remember the explosion following the community scrutiny of Doug Wilson’s infamous pamphlet, Southern Slavery As It Was. In many ways it was a defining moment both for Doug Wilson and those of us who recognized (from specific academic training or an informed interest in the subject) the egregious historical and the profound biblical errors in his argument.  Whatever his motivation for choosing to write as an apologist for race-based slavery (possibly a lucrative foothold for his products in the former Confederate states?), it set all of us on a trajectory that remains contentious and unresolved.

A key element in the interactions between those of us who Doug Wilson has baptized as “Intoleristas” is Doug’s overwhelming need to dive deeply into pompous pronouncements deliberately intended to incite and upset others.  Much in the manner of a self-indulgent 16-year-old punk, he chortles with delight at his deliberately outrageous statements while metaphorically making an obscene hand gesture to the world. And now his latest foray, arguably the vilest of his life:  “the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party,” but instead “a man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants” while a woman “receives, surrenders, accepts.”

He continues, “This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed ” [Doug Wilson’s Fidelity ].  Wilson’s own words set up the locker room (we’re all fellows together, nudge, nudge, wink, wink) atmosphere that permeates the first Chapter of Fidelity, cunningly titled “A Blunt Instrument”:

“This book was written for men and their sons.  I suggest that wives read this only when their husbands give it to them, and not the other way around.  The introduction mentioned the issue of “straight talk” – and this means, in part, a rejection of euphemism.  Some of what is said here may be offensive to some Christian women, but the point is certainly not to give offense.  The point is to provide Biblically specific and pointed help to Christian males.”
The “help” that Doug provides is the kind of positive stroking self-talk that talk show psychologists offer men suffering from a plethora of self-doubt and perceived inadequacies… “Just keep repeating to yourself, ‘I am a warrior, I get to take what I want, the woman who serves me dinner also serves me in bed, I am in charge, kill the dragon, get the princess, I am a success, I am a leader . . . . .etc. etc. etc.’ ”
This sentiment leads to the heart of this message.  Whatever claptrap Doug writes , i.e., happy slaves, submissive wives and daughters, bed-wetting feminists, nasty Intoleristas, when asked to clarify his sources, he dodges (ignores) the question, refuses to admit error, rephrases his original argument and NEVER apologizes.  In short, he is not an adult — he is an  ill-mannered, apparently raised-by-wolves, immature boy in old man’s pants.  That said, it is important to consider a singular example of his hubris.  Because actions speak (in this instance SHOUT) louder than words,  please consider the following example of Doug’s behavior and let it guide you in future interactions with him.

On page 85 of Fidelity, Doug explains how pedophiles should be dealt with: “But when we are dealing with young children who are abused by adults (pederasty, child porn, etc.) the penalty for those guilt of the crime should be death” (pg. 85) –  except when it is inconvenient or might prove personally embarrassing. 

Here’s an example of Wilson’s convenient, loathsome inconsistency regarding pedophilic behavior in his midst.

Steven Sitler moved to Moscow in 2003 to attend Doug Wilson’s college, New Saint Andrews.  Like many students attending NSA, Steven Sitler boarded with a Christ Church family.  Unbeknownst to anyone in Moscow, he brought with him a history of pedophilia.

He molested children in his Moscow boarding home until he was discovered in March 11, 2005.  The parents of the victims notified Doug Wilson, who immediately expelled Steven Sitler from New Saint Andrews College and rushed him out of town.  Civil  authorities were notified after Steven Sitler was safely  home, across state lines, in Colville, Washington – thus assuring that local authorities never interrogated him.

The victim’s family retained Christ Church member and attorney Gregory Dickison, who accompanied them to report the crime the morning after it occurred.  Steven Sitler’s family retained Dean Wullenwaber, who is also a member of Christ Church.  In short, the aggrieved and the aggravator  were handled within a small church community which Doug controlled.  (Controlled, you ask?  Of the eighteen Kirk elders, including Doug, twelve rely substantially on Christ Church and its associated industries for a paycheck.  It would be wrong to think that loyalty can’t be purchased.)  Over time, Steven Sitler confessed his crimes to Doug Wilson — but we have no way of knowing if all his victims were named — in exchange for a guilty plea that included a single count of “Lewd and Lascivious Conduct With a Minor Under the Age of Sixteen.”  According to his letter to Latah County Superior Court Judge John Stegner, Wilson had a total of  “about six counseling sessions” with Sitler during the months between the discovery of his crimes and his guilty plea. 

Nevertheless, after only six counseling sessions, Wilson, who has received no formal training in the treatment or counseling of sex offenders, assured the judge that Steven Sitler “was completely open and honest with me.”  Indeed, based on Doug Wilson’s appraisal of Steven Sitler, Wilson had “good hope that Steven has genuinely repented.”  The arrogance of a man who believes he can competently tackle any problem is the most compelling proof of Wilson’s utter incompetence to address the horrendous nature and sheer numbers of Steven Sitler’s crimes.  Indeed, he claims in the letter that Sitler’s crimes were rooted in “underlying issues of his discontent.”

Court documents make clear that the only known victims in this case are those whom Steven admitted to Doug.  Perhaps Steven Sitler’s attorney put it best in one of his briefs that refers to “the volume of Steven’s offenses over the years.”   On September 26, 2005, Sitler was sentenced to life in prison, which included only a few months in a state non-violent offenders’ prison camp and one year in the county jail.  If he reoffends (he will have to be caught doing so), he will go to prison for life.

Doug Wilson elected not to share this horrendous crime with his parishioners “for fear of violating the privacy of the family of the victim.”  His elders may or may not have been aware of these events.  If they were aware, they carefully maintained the secrets he guarded.   Two months after Steven Sitler received his sentence Wilson delivered the news (through another elder at Christ Church) during the “heads of households” meeting that a pedophile had been at work in their community.  Wilson waited eight months to inform his congregation that a serial pedophile had lived amongst them.  Moreover, when he finally decided to notify the flock, he failed to alert anyone to the possibility that unknown predation may have occurred, i.e. that there may be other victims. Rather, he framed it to leave the impression that this matter simply concerned a sex offender returning to the covenant community — and not the damage he wrought and the constant danger he posed.

Afterwards, when called to account for his dereliction of duty by the general public, Douglas Wilson dismissed his failure as a good shepherd as his enemies’ failed attempt to get “handles on him.” The absence of a trial assured that the general public and also many church members would be unaware of any of these events.  Following completion of his jail time, Steven Sitler rented and then purchased property owned by members of Christ Church, transferred to the University of Idaho, and was gradually reintegrated into the Christ Church and Trinity Reformed Church family.

Verification of this tragic story may be found in court documents available here:
http://www.tomandrodna.com/CR_2005_02027/   and here http://www.co.stevens.wa.us/sheriff/sexofflist/sitler%2012-21%20thru%2027th.pdf

Fast forward four years.  My friend, Keely Emerine Mix,  shared on her blog the unbelievably, nasty event that took place with the blessing of Doug Wilson and faculty of New Saint Andrews in June of 2011.  http://www.keely-prevailingwinds.com/2011/05/marriage.html and http://www.keely-prevailingwinds.com/2011/05/marriage-part-2-with-letter-to-ed.html
http://www.keely-prevailingwinds.com/2011/05/marriage-part-3-open-letter-to-ed.html

(Keely writing:  I stand by every word of these three Prevailing Winds posts and others before and after them and believe they are sufficient in describing the horrific judgment demonstrated by Wilson against yet another vulnerable young person).

Of course the wedding took place.  Despite being made fully aware of the nature of this marriage, both by the receipt of court documents and by a personal and lengthy phone call by Keely, the local Nazarene Church pastor, Ed Eby, defended the use of this church for the Travis–Sitler wedding because of  rental contract responsibilities and the “motives” of Wilson’s critics.”  (Rosemary Huskey, July 23, 2012, with thanks).

I’m going to let this sink in; I’m going to go have a good cry to wash the filth from my heart as I remember and bear witness to the ugliness that Wilson presided over last June and the machinations he engaged in to keep the work of a pedophile from becoming fully known.

As I said earlier, sometimes it’s just too much.

A Little Help From My Friend

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
What a week it’s been for Doug Wilson, who’s had to come up with ever-newer ways to avoid accountability not just for his wretched contention that penetrative coitus models God’s will for male dominance and female receptivity, but who’s also had that whole “defense of slavery” thing to deal with, too.  And, of course, a heavy week of controversy for Wilson is a heavy week for his accolytes, who rush to their keyboards to fire off comments lambasting his critics by smirking that Jesus never apologized when HE offended people, that Wilson isn’t a racist because they know him not to be — circular reasoning that ought to cause fits within any classically-trained community, that his brilliance, unparalleled as it is, simply is too much for others to comprehend, and that, by the way, some of his critics are lesbians.

Way to nail an argument, that.

Anyway, it gets a little overwhelming, and sometimes you need help from someone you trust.  I am blessed beyond measure to have in my life Moscow’s Rosemary Huskey, a trained historian and someone who has years more than I of experience in confronting Wilson and his Kirk buddies.  (Remember that, as good Scottish-Presbyterian Reformers, and to further ensure their separation from any other Christians around them, Wilson and his colleagues identify themselves as members of the Kirk, which is Scottish for “church” and which lends to their occasionally be referred to here and elsewhere as “Kirkers.”)

Rosemary has graciously offered to help me with navigating through some past Wilson/Kirk history, and I want to publicly thank her.  With her help, I’ll be able to hammer out an approach that will strengthen the point I intend to make about the savage stupidity of his “power over” approach to sexual intercourse, as well as his predictable refusal to even consider apologizing for any unintended — I’m being generous here — offense stemming from his choice of words.  He could still, of course, believe that God’s creative order regarding gender relations is manifest in the initiator/penetrator and submitting/receptor model of sexual intercourse he espouses — even if he apologized to any women stung or shamed by the imagery his words conjure.

But rather than seeking peace, even among Christians, he pollutes even further his “pastoral” witness by mocking these women — you know, the “feminist bed-wetters,” “fainting couches,” “rugby scrum”language I highlighted earlier — and insisting that the “apologize for not apologizing” dance is one he’s disinclined to participate in, as he says in  Blog and Mablog just today:

“I have already outlined the basic two-step that usually runs. Pick an offense, demand an apology. If you get an apology, pick a new offense, demand an apology. If you don’t get an apology, make that the new offense and demand an apology. You can work your way completely around the ballroom this way — but only if the designated target accepts your invitation to dance, which some of them still do, mysteriously.”  (Wilson, July 24, 2012)

No, that’s not a very Biblical approach to reacting to criticism or rebuke, but with Wilson, it doesn’t have to be.  See, his enemies are wrong; they’re bad (being either atheists, Unitarians, lesbians, God-haters, liberals, or simply perennially aggrieved and disposed to be nasty to him); and they’re far too insignificant for him to practice a merely Christian response to.  And a note to the confused who wonder where on his list of nasties I belong:  Well, I’m not a Unitarian, God-hater, or lesbian, but in the fight against evil, I’m quite happy to link arms with those who are.

Anyway, Wilson’s approach, while childishly stubborn and utterly unbecoming a man whom hundreds here and thousands across the country consider a pastor, does have one flash of brilliance to it:  By floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee in parrying (dare I say “and thrusting”?) with his opponents, he’ll keep ‘em always on the defensive, always just “responding to,” always distracted.  And that enables him and his allies free to ignore some actual, specific ways his views on penetration, initiation, reception, and relationship have affected those in his community.  Because as Wilson has reminded us all before, “words have consequences,” and some of those consequences have washed up, with an unavoidable stench and horrific decay, on the filthy shores of Kirk administration.

I refer to three things that, in hindsight, make his continued use of — and continued defense in using — words that describe what most of us view as a mutual, happily consensual, and utterly bi-submissive endeavor between wife and husband, sexual intercourse.  The absence, were it possible, of these three examples would nonetheless make his language at best unfortunate and at worst dangerously close to prescriptive when read by men of unstable bearing, but their presence in the Kirk within the last decade makes his continued rhetoric more than a little chilling.

I refer to the sexual liberties one of his favored Greyfriars Seminary students took less than a decade ago with the young teenage daughter of a family he boarded with and that student’s subsequent arrest and guilty plea for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor; the 2005 pedophilia scandal that rocked his church, or at least those privileged to be warned of it; and his June, 2011, officiating at the wedding of that pedophile — an NSA student, boarder, and part of the Kirk community convicted who plead guilty and was sentenced on one count but who confessed to dozens more across three states — and a profoundly immature, desperate young husband-hunter whose dreams, she thought, were fulfilled by God when she was sent to a man whose pedophilia disinclines him to be interested in her sexually, and who would be unable, ever, upon penalty of lifetime incarceration, to be alone with his or anyone else’s kids.  

It’s a lot to digest.  And it will make you sick.

Rosemary has compiled official, primary-source documents that can be verified for their truth and analyzed for those who doubt — as well as providing a stark and horrific reminder that Wilson’s refusal to re-tool his language, refine his grotesquely sexist views, and respond with decency to legitimately grieved Christian sisters and brothers comes against a backdrop of almost unimaginably bad sexual conduct by men of his close acquaintance against females.  He is absolutely not accountable for their behavior; he is accountable for his responses to the examples above and for his continued insistence that critics just get over it, and he is damnably accountable for encouraging, arranging for, and officiating at the wedding of a convicted pedophile and a trembling-in-love young girl — a sin for which he has, predictably, never repented.  Far from it.

The next post is Rosemary’s; I stand behind her and everything she says, knowing that she conducts herself with unimpeachable integrity and commands respect and admiration that Douglas Wilson simply does not. I have only lightly edited her words and I am profoundly grateful for her support. 

Sometimes it’s just too damned much to tackle alone.

Don’t Judge His Words — Just The People Who Find Them Disgusting, Femina Girls Plead

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Now that you’ve read why this blog is “so focused on” and “utterly obsessed with” Douglas Wilson, it’s time to turn again to the controversy once again at hand — that is, the swirling tumult in the blogosphere regarding not only Wilson’s “blunt instrument” theory of heterosexual, penetrative, males-as-initiators, females-as-receptors sex, but also his shameful inability to handle criticism from even the most respected, conservative, Christian academics.

Dr. Anthony Bradley, a professor at King’s College, has written at length in recent days about his disgust with Wilson’s paleo-Confederate, putatively Biblical, defense of slavery.  Interestingly enough, I re-read just last week, before the fracas over what coitus says about God’s plan for power-over gender relations, Wilson’s and Wilkins’ “monograph,” “Southern Slavery As It Was,” later sanitized into Wilson’s “Black and Tan.”  I was as sickened then as I was the first time; may God grant that such idiocy and hatefulness never cease to affect me that way.

If you’ve been reading Prevailing Winds for any length of time, you know that Moscow has, since 2004, been alight with anguish and dismay over Wilson’s almost unimaginably stupid discussion of how slavery in the antebellum South was not in every way sinful, in some ways permissible, and in a few ways perfectly laudable, what with the decent health care, warm and affectionate relationship between the enslaved and the enslaver, and the unparalleled, he says, picture of harmonious inter-racial cooperation that Southern slavery brought about.  It wasn’t perfect, he says, but it wasn’t, this owning and abuse of kidnapped Black people, as bad as godless liberals — the abolitionists then and the pro-gay, pro-choice lobby today — have made it out to be.

Yeah, he said that.

And if you’re new to Prevailing Winds, or haven’t heard about this, I’ll give you a moment to recover.  This man, while lacking in formal historical and theological training AND even an apparent semblance of decency and sensitivity, stands solidly behind the most irresponsibly reckless, most anti-Biblical and falsely academic article I’ve ever read.  And now Dr. Bradley, in analyzing Wilson’s apparent inability to acknowledge, much less learn from, past errors, expressed his disgust over Wilson’s view of slavery — not as a Black man, I imagine, and not solely as an academic, but as a Christian man who recognizes, as does anyone else with a quickened soul, the foulness of Wilson’s defense of what must never have been permitted, much less defended.

So now Dr. Bradley has become the focus of Doug and his defenders — including the “Femina Girls,” his wife Nancy and his daughters Bekah and Rachel, who have lugubriously pointed out the cruel injustice perpetrated against their husband and father but who, in the face of such vicious persecution, valiantly assure their other Girls that they’re clinging to God in the midst of their persecution.  These are days of darkness directed toward Wilson World, Nancy says, and only by the grace of God will they survive this new outpouring of nastiness and lies directed, yea again, at Doug.  It’s just that they’re really perplexed as to why such a nice man as Dr. Bradley would join in with the malcontents, God-haters, lesbians, and liars who, after reading primary-source documents in Doug’s own words and the analysis of academics who draw conclusions from Doug’s own words, would be so mean to him — based simply on their disgust over Doug’s own words, regardless of whatever else they may have in common.

Non-defenders of Wilson realize that this embrace of “slander” against him and courage in the face of “persecution” entirely of his own making is a common tactic he assigns to his followers, apparently unaware that nothing that’s true can therefore be slanderous, and things like “he’s a racist, he’s icky, he’s a buffon,” etc., aren’t slanderous, either.  (And when written, the word for what the Girls believe is being done to him is “libel.”)  Either way, though, people’s disgust over his words isn’t slander, libel, surprising, or unjustified — which generally means nothing to those eager to defend their leader.  Nancy, Bekah, and Rachel, however, are more than his “followers” — their family, they’re his Girls, and they’re, well, perplexed.

But confusion wafts from the tidy kitchen of virtue that is Femina. ‘Tis a real mystery, it is, that a Christian academic like Dr. Bradley would join other thinking people in their outrage over Wilson’s claims about slavery and race relations. Nancy says she has “no idea why this nice man thought mining from the other team would make my husband look bad. Any fool could rummage around on the internet to find stuff like this. We expect more of actual professors.”

That’s good, I suppose, since many of us expect more from actual pastors — and even self-designated ones — than we’ve gotten from Wilson, so I can sort of see her point.  But Nancy and the Girls seem unable to imagine a universe in which horrid ideas and sloppy research are reviled both by Christians and by non-Christians — and even lesbians, who occupy a great deal of their Femina consternation.  It appears a horrific thing to them that a man like Dr. Bradley would “hate” Wilson’s position when, lo and behold, some atheists, liberals, and meddlers do, too.  The Girls are bewildered.  Doesn’t he know the political and religious beliefs of some of her husband’s critics?  Isn’t he aware of their sexual proclivities and private lives?  Can’t he see that Wilson’s very own words exist throughout the Internet not as specific, clear, defined, primary-source documents but, instead, hover through a gaseous cloud of Doug-hating that not only obscures but excuses them?

Dr. Bradley, you used to be such a NICE man . . .

It’s time, really, to set the Girls straight.  The thought that obnoxious words would be judged solely on their merit, or lack thereof, rather than by the demographics of those who recoil from them seems not to connect with the classically-trained-and-teaching Wilson Girls.  That makes their defense of Hubby and Dad somewhat more than lacking.

It makes it really kind of sad.

Embracing Single-Minded Pursuit

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I’m preparing another of many blogposts regarding the hatefulness of Doug Wilson in responding to his Scripturally indefensible contention that the penetrative act of heterosexual intercourse confirms God’s intent that men always demonstrate power through initiation and conquest and that women always demonstrate their “power” via reception and submission, but first, an answer to a question I’ve gotten countless times since beginning Prevailing Winds four years ago:

“What’s up with your obsession with Doug Wilson?,” or the variants that suggest that I should be positive and not negative, that I should merely show a “better way,” or that I would be taken more seriously if I didn’t just “react” to what he says, does, and writes. I imagine you, valued reader, have asked yourself some of those questions about me as well during your wandering about the landscape of Prevailing Winds, and, with the assumption that you truly are concerned about the “direction” and “single-mindedness” demonstrated in this blog and in my thoughts, I’ll explain why.

I live at Ground Zero of the personal, not to mention theological, devastation brought by one man, Douglas Wilson, and the metastasizing network of his various business endeavors — “ministries” that purport to teach, represent, conform to and further the Word of God but which are, in reality, opportunities and arenas for a megalomaniac to ply and play out his vision of transforming Church, home, and society in the image he wrongly believes to be God’s.  In lesser ways — endorsing his staff’s bogus University of Idaho “topless lectures,” producing magazine covers with romance-novel figures with battery cables clipped to his nipples, publishing fake reports that he and his have purchased “the hippies’ Food Co-Op, coining silly neologisms (“Intoleristas” is his most famous; “Evangellyfish” his most clever) to describe those he dislikes or who oppose him, playing “Sweet Home Alabama” in the middle of downtown during the uproar over his book defending slavery, and asserting that women who criticize him are “feminist bed-wetters” (when they’re not splayed out over their fainting sofas) — he behaves like an ass.

I have said that to his face. Believe me when I tell you that I wouldn’t say anything of Douglas Wilson — or anyone else connected to him — without being utterly willing, even eager, to say it to them first. While I believe public error allows for public rebuke, I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying to Wilson personally what I say about him publicly.   It’s made for some interesting conversations, but honor and integrity require that I not hide behind my blog nor speak out anonymously.  And if the limits of his effect on the Gospel, in our community, and throughout the Church were simply the effects of an ass, a buffoon, a jerk, or a doofus, I wouldn’t bother all that much to try to set him straight.   Especially because he’s so damned thrilled that we “Intoleristas” see him that way.  He sees our “slander” and our “feminist bed-wetting” as a badge of honor, and it’s become part of his stock in trade.

But while Wilson is a buffoon and a snake who gleefully sees himself as a puckish pundit and “skylarking Trinitarian,” he also fills, and publicly embraces, other roles.  Wilson sees himself, and is seen as, a serious, Godly, discerning, reasonable, and mature pastor, teacher, innovator, and statesman of the faith — positions he embraces as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It would be nice if a man who holds the title of pastor, superintendent, academic senior fellow and influential Christian author and who, tragically, is tremendously influential in a great number of Reformed, “Christian” libertarian, homeschooling, and complementarian circles, behaved in a manner that reflects Jesus Christ, honors the Gospel, does it no harm, and models spiritual fruit for those he influences. 

He does not.

The inflammatory and destructive effect that Wilson has on the Gospel is not solely in what he writes, says, does, and embraces, but also in how he treats his critics.  This man cannot engage with women, egalitarians, progressives, unbelievers, or anyone else who has cause to dispute or rebuke him.  While he’ll show a measure of respect to the very few men he considers his academic or spiritual equals, the rest of us, and the two or three of us in Moscow, who criticize him have experienced his torrent of targeted hatefulness and unending mockery.  When called out, the first weapon he turns to is vitriol; after that, he pours out his arsenal of obfuscation, denial, and dissembling either to dance around or to defend things any sentient being would agree are offensive. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for them; Wilson teaches that to demonstrate, like the Psalmist, that we “hate those who hate (Yahweh),” we can and should pray harm on them.  A theology like that isn’t likely to result in positive, fruitful discussion with non-believers, and any believer who criticizes him is guaranteed a full measure of sarcasm, vitriol, and mockery — which, apparently, is too much for individuals, pastors and laypeople alike, who worship the Trinitarian God and who do so in Moscow, Idaho.

Put another way, Wilson has gotten a free ride from his fellow evangelical pastors.  He won’t, never has, and most assuredly never will, get one from me. 

I didn’t start this blog to offer tips on canning, RV travel, or embracing life as an empty-nester.  I intended to write about my faith and how it’s transformed me, and that would have necessitated anywhere that I write about culture, feminism, justice, the social egalitarianism required in the Gospel as part of the outpouring of the Spirit promised in the Word.  But I live in Moscow, Idaho, where Doug Wilson’s empire, church, and home are located.  That doesn’t just make him relevant, either by a coincidence of geography or a collision of minds, to the things I’m passionate about.  There are no coincidences; there is no “pass” I get to take to make my life more comfortable and less marked with grief or despair.

I write this blog in obedience to the Holy Spirit, who has given me a prophetic gift — forthtelling and truth-telling, not foretelling and future-predicting — that, as one of my pastors once told me, both gifts and burdens me to see in a broken world the things that others choose not to and to say the things others don’t want to say.  Another pastor of mine (and these men were both ordained by denominations not of their own making) put it another way:  That I say the hard stuff God wants the Body to hear.  An elder of my once said the same thing, and added that when it comes to the spiritual gifts, there’s no “going back to the exchange counter.” 

Every church body has someone like this, so let’s all recognize that I mean “prophesy” in the normative New Testament sense of the word.  It doesn’t make me anyone more “in tune” with God, nor does it mean you have to do what I say.  It does mean that I’m responsible for exercising the use of that gift — not to recklessly fan it into flame, but not to muffle and tamp it down, either — in the place my God has put me.

That’s here in Moscow, Idaho.  And when a woman of God lives among the evil that flourishes here in Christ’s name, that woman is going to speak out about it.  I’m not above your criticisms nor your correction — far from it — but it would be beneath the sacrifice the Lord requires of me in service to Him to turn my head, shut my mouth, and walk away because it gets ugly.  My hand is made strong by the Hand of the Almighty, not the passion behind my keyboard, and ’til my dying breath or Wilson’s death or, better, repentance, I’ll continue to do what I do.  The degree to which Wilson continues to behave badly will continue to prompt a corresponding response on Prevailing Winds.

It’s the righteousness of Christ that captures all of my attention, not Doug Wilson.  Unlike some of his followers, I cannot confuse the two nor ignore the differences between them.

Wilson’s Antenna For Seeking Out Ways To Offend Remains Steadfastly Erect

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Offended by the title?   Squirming a little at the use of the word “erect”?  Really?

It’s either because you live in a world where the sexually penetrative is rarely discussed publicly, and, rarer still, used as a battering ram against “bed-wetting feminists” who object to Doug Wilson’s assertion that the male’s penetrative and the woman’s receptive roles in heterosexual intercourse illustrates the Creator’s intention that men be initiators and women be receivers — that men start the act of initiative penetration and the woman cooperate in it by passively receiving the penetrative instrument — or you’re simply overwhelmed by the three-day long imbroglio Wilson has once again cheerfully started in online Christian circles. 

Sorry.  He “initiated it,” and I understand if, male or female, you’re tired of receiving it, either because of the frightfully phallocentric theology, or the lilly-livered lugubriousness of the ladies who take him on.

Check out Blog and Mablog and the various links therein and from without; I imagine you’ll understand the nature of the firestorm he’s gleefully ignited with the long, strong, torch of ill-advised, poorly-reasoned, and about as effing indefensible hermeneutics as anything he’s done.  That includes last year’s marrying off a desperate young girl to a serial pedophile, who, by virtue of his status as a serial pedophile, is not a man whose sexual preference is for anyone other than children.  Really hard to top that one, and almost unfathomably hard to top the malevolent stench of “Southern Slavery As It Was,” which lauded slavery as Biblical, benevolent, and beneficial to Black slaves. 

But I’m going to get off my fainting couch — the place the Potentate of Prickly Pomposity regularly consigns “feminists” who, while saying that he surely doesn’t intend to use what some women, this one included, see as “rape language” in reducing the sexual act, or one of the sexual acts, or even the most desultory of the possible sexual acts, as a conqueror/conquered game — and respond in a series of posts, beginning with:

A Primer On Why You May Reduce To Impotence Any Expectations That Doug Wilson Will Ever Respond To Criticism From A Woman:

1.  Doug Wilson, in the ten years I’ve followed his media empire here, has never, as far as I’ve ever seen, apologized, acknowledged error, or backed off from even the most factually erroneous, snarkily inflammatory, and blatantly inane pronouncements he’s made on the very many subjects in which he is an unimpeachable expert.

2.  Because he presumes that women who do disagree with him in public are just disgruntled, unloved feminists, their complaints, particularly, as we see now, in areas that are especially in their provenance as women, are silly — again, the products of “bed-wetting” hysterics who, either from their fainting couches or their rugby scrums, simply cannot understand complicated metaphor.  Or clear metaphor, or any other Deep Thoughts he has.

3.  Wilson, who famously has said, in reference to gender equity in the military, that a nation defended by its women is a nation not worthy of defense, is the subject of frenzied-but-feminine-furor from his wife, Nancy, and his daughters, Bekah and Rachel, who together blog under Femina.  I wonder, as the smelling salts clear, if a man defended by his girls meets his own standard of a man worth defending.

4.  Regardless, Douglas Wilson as a man of integrity, a minister of any demonstrable competence and compassion, and a purveyor of a publishing and darn-close-to educational empire, is a man not worthy of defense and is, I believe, a man instead worthy of the harshest of rebukes and greatly in need of the Holy Spirit.

5.  In joining those complementarians who see the presumed, eternal subordination of Jesus Christ, apart from the Incarnation, to the (non-metaphorical) Father in the economy of the Trinity and, as such, see the Savior as a model for the “ontologically equal, functionally different” (read “subordinate”) role of women, he errs in his understanding of the Trinity by wrongly using it as a defense of patriarchy.

6.  Allowing himself, then, carte blanche to perpetuate the pillared mansions of patriarchy on the shifting sands of wrongful, un-Orthodox theology, he fills that structure with notions of sexual intercourse that, while correctly — albeit mechanically — describing the what-goes-where of coitus, use language that is uncomfortably close to the dominant/receptor, active initiator/passive recipient, and conqueror/conquered language that ought to make all women wince, and that makes rape victims, this woman again included, shudder.

7.  We shudder not because he has the power to flood us with painful memories of our attacks, but because his language perpetuates the top/down, power-wielding, take/give up nature of sex and gender relations that encourages — even if he doesn’t intend it to — a perverted view of sexual intimacy, mutuality, and the beauty of unbridled marital passion.

8.  My having just told you that he doesn’t intend to promote “rape language” won’t matter to him, because when another Christian feminist who objected to his language and asked him to apologize made it abundantly clear that she was certain he didn’t intend to promote sexual violence, he reduced her to one of the silly little feminists who aren’t smart enough to understand the penetrating analyses he offers.  He thinks even less of me.

9.  That his supporters would suggest on line that his apology would be like Jesus apologizing for “hurting people’s feelings” by, say, turning over the moneychangers’ tables in the Temple, or “rejoice” that Papa’s being “slandered” by the ignorami — but have not evidenced empathy, concern, or even civility to those for whom the “taker” and “taken” images some women draw from his words ought to be proof that the Holy Spirit is not Lord in the patriarchal, complementarian, Reformed circles Wilson travels in. Neither is even the most tender shoot of perspective or rationality.

10.  A simple apology acknowledging that his words unintentionally offended, even frightened, some women, many of whom are his sisters in Christ, is beyond him.  That he could make the same points — points I still believe are not correctly drawn from Scripture — and even amplify upon them after righteously making peace with his audience is too threatening to a man so desperately needy of adulation.

This will continue — from him, throughout the Christian blogosphere, and most certainly on this little corner of it from me.  In coming days, I’ll review the “care for women” he showed to the woman now married to a pedophile, to the adolescent raped by one of his favorite Greyfriars students, and other examples of male power unleashed and unbuckled against his sisters in Jesus Christ.

For now, though, I’ll end with this:  That man can sure read a lot into a penis.

Prayers For Colorado

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The horror of the “Dark Knight’” theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, is cause for profound grief and dismay, and I hope prayers for the victims, their families, the witnesses and for the gunman and his family continue for a good long time.  I hope we remember that his family is suffering a loss unfathomable to any of us and need support, nurturing, and sympathy.  I hope all of us commit James Eagen Holmes to the temporal workings of the court system and to the eternal care of the Lord Jesus.  If the redemptive, reconciling grace of the Lord Jesus isn’t strong enough to reach him, it’s not strong enough to cleanse any of us from any of our sins.

And I hope that those on the left and on the right suspend for a significant length of time any arguing about gun laws.  I have some pretty strong views about gun rights and gun control, but now isn’t the time.  Now is a time for truth, for justice, for mercy, and for healing.  Discussions about gun policy can and should take place, but now isn’t the time and Aurora, Colorado, isn’t the place, right now, to be exploited for those discussions.

My youngest son was at the Moscow Village Center Eastside’s midnight showing of the same film during the same time as the massacre, as were many other mothers’ children.  You can bet we’re going to all be hugging those kids a whole tighter tonight and tomorrow as we feel, however minimally, the crushing grief of the victims’ families.

Lord, have mercy.

A Part Of My Childhood, Gone

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

I just read of the death of Donald Sobol, the author of the Encyclopedia Brown series that I devoured in my childhood — an experience that sometimes convinced me that I was really, truly, smart, and other times confirmed that I was thick as the proverbial brick.

But Enyclopedia Brown, The Happy Hollisters, and every Nancy Drew book I could find formed the triumverate of my pre-pubescent literarary canon, which, lamentably, fizzled once I delved into things not appropriate for my age group, like Eldridge Cleaver’s “Soul On Ice” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” These, in a disheartening departure from serious social discourse, I abandoned when I discovered David Cassidy and Tiger Beat magazine. Hormones and a desire to fit in took over from my radical beginnings.  But I always had a fondness for Encyclopedia Brown, whose female friends were as smart as his guy friends, and whose confidence that any mystery presented him could be solved with just a little thoughtful detective work made me feel, in some ways, very much empowered.  After all, if a fictional kid could make things right by solving crimes, then surely I, a real, flesh-and-blood girl, could do even better.

I’m not sure I did, but I learned a lot from Encyclopedia Brown, and I’m grateful for the hours I spent poring over the mysteries that entered his life.  If I know nothing else, I know that oblong-shaped paint droplets mean that the suspect was running, not walking, while carrying the paint can.  You can’t imagine the dilemmas that’s gotten me through.

Thanks, Mr. Sobol.

The Two-Sentence Summation

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

When Christians proclaim that the taxes used in helping the poor are the result of the government stealing from them, and their brothers and sisters in the faith don’t, after recovering from their horror, quickly rebuke the one saying that, it is clear that majority Christiandom and the Body of Christ are two entirely different things.

True disciples of Jesus Christ weep as mere devotees of Christiandom stand utterly condemned and a hurting and lost world regards the Church as nothing more than the home of the hateful, the greedy, and the privilege-choked.

A Manifesto on the Proper Role of Christian Liberty

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

(Part Two — please read Part One, below, before reading this.  Thanks!)

A few months ago, I was talking to a nonbeliever about pacifism, and I said that if she and I were together and she were attacked, I would fight to the death to protect her; if, however, I were the object of the attacker, I’d hope that I’d have the grace and courage to not respond to a violent assault with violence.  In other words, I would hope to choose pacifism for myself, but would never choose it for her. My acquaintance, somewhat easily provoked to belligerence, was disgusted with what she called my “low self-esteem.”

This led to a fascinating Safeway deli talk about my ultimate faith that my life is held securely in Yahweh’s mighty hand — the temporal part of it will end when it ends, and perhaps by the violent hand of a human being, but the eternal part rests, and it does, with my Savior.  Further, I tried to explain, the Christian disciple should always hold her or his rights — all of them — with a loose hand, which frees them to fight all the harder for the rights of the people around them who are in peril.

I counted it a most meatloaf-sandwich worthy talk, even if she went away thinking I was, if possible, even more annoying than she had thought.

But it’s something I believe, and something that I’ve gleaned from the Bible, and something that puts me at direct odds with Doug Wilson, my current opponent, and the larger Christian community that holds the securing of their rights — again, given by God and only confirmed by the Constitution — as a characteristic of utmost importance in the face of what Wilson and others call “tyranny.”

The issue this plays out in currently is the “tyranny” of Obamacare and, especially, its individual health-insurance purchase mandate, which will force all Americans to secure coverage or pay a fine.  It is a requirement, for the first time in history, that the citizen buy a product, and the presumed infringement on people’s civil rights has sent Wilson and others into Full Eleven on the Reckless Outrage Meter.

This “infringement,” however, has some precedent, albeit imperfectly, in State-mandated purchase of auto insurance by those who drive.  Further, this horrible violation of all that’s good and decent will encourage the already-insured to keep policies they’re happy with while providing some 30 million people with coverage previously out of their reach.  More starkly, this toxic tsunami of treasonous tyranny will save the lives of countless millions of people — simply by insisting that everyone who will someday need health care (everyone) act responsibly and secure coverage before the catastrophe that would otherwise send them to the ER or other provider, costing the rest of us other untold millions per year.  So reasonable is this that the right-wing Heritage Foundation, the GOP presidential candidate, and one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices has endorsed it, implemented it, and defended it.  Seems there’s a distinctly Kenyan Socialist flavor detected in the Affordable Care Act that makes its virtues non-existent and its violence to the Constitution and, indeed, the Person of a Holy God extreme beyond measure.  But it does take some freedom — an infinitesimal freedom that will accomplish phenomenal good — from the consumer, and it can only, therefore, be defied by Godly men armed with their Constitutions and Bibles.

There is no greater example of the departure of the Christian Church in the U.S. from Biblical values than this, and with that in mind, here is my Ten-Point Manifesto On The Proper Role Of Christian Liberty (Even When Everyone Around You Thinks You’re Crazy, Weak, a Socialist, or an Apostate For Caring More About The Rights Of Others Than Your Own).  I dedicate this to the man, Douglas Wilson, who defends the denial of rights to the women in his congregation and who supports the right of “Christian” slaveholders to own other human beings. The Biblical references are from a few of its books, sections of which, when read in context, strengthen their individual assertions.

1.  God is sovereign over all human affairs; there is no act of Congress or opinion from the Supreme Court that can confound the Almighty.  (Isaiah 44)

2.  The Savior, fully God and fully Human, left us with words of testimony and a life of example for how we are to treat others around us and how we are to respond to governmental authority. (2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 13:1-5, 1 Peter 2:13-14)

3.  Those words and the life he lead are written for us in the Bible; it is the only handbook for Christian thought, practice, and belief, and to disobey it is to sin.  When that sin visits harm on others, we are accountable for their suffering. (2 John 1:9, Romans 13:10, 1 Peter 2:16)

4.  The New Testament provides the testimony of Jesus’ life, words, and example; the Old Testament and whatever it says about private property and individual rights must be read in light of the NT.  When there appears to be a contradiction, the NT Gospel’s commandment to lay down our own rights for the betterment of others takes precedent.   (Philippians 2:3-4, Ephesians 5:21)

5.  The purpose of the Gospel, of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and the Bible is the saving of the believer’s soul; the believer’s acts of righteousness have no salvific value but do offer evidence into the state of their heart.  God is pleased when we believe in the Son, obey His Word, and practice acts of righteousness that conform to His express will. (1 Peter 1:9, 2:24-25, 1 John 2:5, 1 John 3:5-6 )

6.  While the Church in the United States generally isn’t obedient or righteous enough to receive the persecution that comes upon the Godly, the Body will experience inconvenience, troubles, injustices and threats, and those may appear to come from an unbelieving world.  These difficulties and even injustices can strengthen the Church as it casts its hope on Christ and seeks to respond in grace, love, and patience. (1 John 3:1b, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 2:12, James 1:1-4, Romans 12:9-21, 13:7, 16:17-19)

7.  The continued insistence on the securing of our own rights often causes detriment to others, assuredly causes detriment to the witness of the Gospel, and defies the spirit and Spirit of the very words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount; Philippians 2:3-5, Ephesians 5:21)

8.  In our relationship with the governing State, we will be accorded certain rights and privileges; it is not sinful to embrace and profit from them unless doing so causes harm to others or harm to the Gospel.  (Romans 13, 1 Corinthians 8). There is a time to insist on the exercising of rights we have when the exercise of those rights furthers the Gospel of Christ (Acts 16:37, 25:10-11).  Otherwise, we must, if the situation is presented, be willing to give up our freedoms for the betterment of those around us in imitation of Christ Jesus.

9.  We have no choice but to strenuously but peacefully resist the State if it demands or practices injustice and harm to others, if it compels us to do evil by committing injustice or harm upon others, or if it forbids us to do good to others or otherwise live out our Christian lives.  (Acts 4:19) Obedience to a State dictate that results in greater specific and necessary wellbeing to others, even if it costs us, inconveniences us, or curtails some of our freedoms, must be expected from the disciple. Willingly and cheerfully.

10.  The payment of a tax or fee is a reasonable consequence of disobeying the State in matters like these that are not a direct violation of Scripture; refusal to do so, thus contributing to the tangible wellbeing of society’s — and Christ’s — “least of these” is not only a gross violation of Christ’s call on our lives, but also a profound fouling of the Christian witness.  The act of paying a tax or being compelled to buy something that brings immediate and specific help to others is a sacrifice the Christian ought to embrace gladly.  This submission to the State is, in reality, a submission to God — and a tangible example of submission to the poor, a giving up of our liberties for the greater good for which God will bless not only the one who submits, but the State that asks for it as a remedy for the poor.

Clearly this is not the product of a classically Christian mind, for which I thank God.  It also reveals no particular wisdom on my part.  Rather, it’s the simple call of the Word of God to Christ’s disciples.  That it’s simple is its beauty, for in its simplicity no one can presume to not understand it.

May God be glorified — through the Affordable Care Act, certainly, but especially through the willingness of a Spirit-led Church to cheerfully set aside some of its rights for the health and wellbeing of those around them, who may be believers or who could become believers in the face of this response of Christian kindness, generosity, and humility.

Submission — says the feminist! — is something we desperately need more of.  Lord, may it start here.

An Exposition of the Proper Role of Liberty In An Age Of Sinful Selfishness

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

(Part One)

It’s an unwieldy title for a blogpost, certainly, but I hope it begins to make part of my point for me.

The recent outrage by some Christians over Obamacare reveals something very, very wrong with the Church’s embrace of the rights, freedoms, and liberties granted by God and only affirmed by the Constitution that the individual, governed by the State, enjoys.  The hue and cry over the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act, which for the first time in U.S. history compels the individual to purchase a product from a vendor, centers on the idea that this individual mandate represents a grotesque overstepping of the bounds of Godly government and an egregious violation of the civil liberties given the citizen by God and guaranteed by the document the Court interprets.  In this case, most conservatives say, the court got it wrong and sided with the Obama Presidency that crafted the Act and the Congress that voted for it — as well as, judging by the level of anger and hysteria directed at the Court, all manner of agents and agencies of government evil.

Now, I disagree with their take on Obamacare; I think that it’s reasonable that one hundred percent of those who ever need health care act responsibly and obtain it rather than spreading the costs of their insouciant rolling of the dice — that is, foregoing health insurance — on the rest of that society.  The demand is not unlike requiring those who own and drive a car to buy automobile insurance, although I recognize that those who find that constraint on their “right” to act recklessly so unbearable that they may choose, then, to simply not drive.  The choice to refrain from driving a car is a proper response to the State’s insistence that drivers obtain coverage, and the individual has to determine if his or her moral outrage over mandatory automobile insurance is greater than the inconvenience to them of not driving and, therefore, not being in that class of mandated individual purchasers of car insurance.

But people can and do go without driving, although their numbers are small.  People cannot, however, live without some kind of access to healthcare, if not for them than for the people dependent on them.  Life being what it is — that is, sinful and full of decay — every human being will, at some point in their life, ideally beginning in utero and unarguably continuing until death, need to see a nurse practitioner, dentist, doctor, surgeon, lab technician/phlebotomist, radiologist, OB/GYN, urologist, or ER doctor.  To be alive is not only to be in the process of decay, but also, more obviously, to face acute or chronic conditions for which medical care is necessary or even simply a good idea.  Denying it is like denying that you cannot receive all of your nutritional needs simply through basking in the sun — you may sincerely wish it to be so, but your unwavering devotion to your belief will result in the death that proves you to be terribly, irredeemably misguided.

Obamacare’s individual mandate, of course, is more objectionable to many conservatives because it’s part of an Act designed by him and his staff, and that fact, while uncomfortable to accept, is made clear by the mandate’s origin with the conservative Heritage Foundation, its embrace a decade ago by GOP conservatives, and its status as the health care blueprint for Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney’s governorship in Massachusetts, a state that voted Romney out but professes to be pleased with his version of what now has been taken nationally.  In a political world, and, more tragically, in an ecclesiastical one suffused with hatred and suspicion of this man as an African-born socialist, anti-colonialist agitator, and dangerous usurper, Obama’s declaration of support for lemonade in the summer would send millions into an anti-Country Time frenzy.  Anti-Obamacare activists, of course, would deny this.  It really IS just about freedom, they say, and it really IS part of standing up for the rights of the individual in the face of a dangerous and marauding government, and, further, it IS the only Christian response — defiance and outrage as twin chalices of worshipful offering to the Lord Jesus.

This is what’s desperately wrong with Christiandom in the United States — an insistence that the securing of those rights and liberties that affect me, no matter how it affects others around me and especially not the poor, sick, and outcast, is a primary Christian virtue in our private lives.  This, of course, translates into millions of rights-defending believers who enter politics, influence politicians, and train millions more to honor Jesus by making sure that their liberties — their property rights, gun rights, their individual mandate-defying rights — be defended unto death in His name.

It’s an abomination, and one that, in the case of Obamacare, directly affects the wellbeing of millions of other souls for whom Christ died.  The Christian insistence on the Christian man’s rights (the rights of women, of course, matter little here) is a direct and vile contradiction of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and my next post will be a manifesto — because we seem to do a lot of manifestos around Moscow — for the gracious laying aside of our rights, when called for, in order for those around us to prosper.  My declaration:  I will hold my rights with a loose hand so I can better defend those of my neighbors.  My thesis:  Righteousness, not liberty, is the highest calling and most profound blessing humankind can strive for.

My hope?  That Wilson, et al, will be called to repentance, and, on a larger scale, that the Church that calls Jesus Lord would obey Him in this and in every area.  Not doing so in some areas, I suppose, causes little to change in the lives of others around us — but in our vehemence in securing our rights, we wreak enormous damage throughout the lives of those whose conditions plead for us to turn to them in the gracious humility Christ-followers must exhibit.