Really? Kirk Cameron, Esteemed Evangelical Statesman?

November 24th, 2014

Kirk Cameron has recently been spotted in Moscow, Idaho, chillin’ with the Reformed cultural arbiters of culture at Christ Church and NSA and currently starring in a movie whose sole point, evidently, is that the meaning of Christmas — Jesus, on which we agree — is under attack.  The best defense, evidently, is lots of decorations, ornaments, food, fudge, presents, and, I’m guessing, sweatshirts with “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season” sweatshirts.

Bah humbug to the martyrs of old.  Whining about “Happy Holidays” is clearly evangelicalism’s idea of a bold, costly, stand for the faith.

 

But let’s be clear:

Kirk is like Styrofoam to brick — lightweight, artificial, employed only to protect something perceived more valuable, and, significantly, as white as white can get. He is a ridiculously insubstantial man, and building any kind of “evangelical” case with him at the foundation is destined to fail.

The Birmingham Church Bombing

September 16th, 2014

It was 51 years ago today when a cadre of white men rigged a Birmingham, Alabama, church with a bomb that killed four little girls — elementary-school aged covenant children — when it detonated.

Vicious white males who made hatred of Blacks and Jews their religion, and who were fervent in their devotion, bombed a place of worship, a Christian Baptist church, and killed four little girls — in the name of Jesus Christ, their God and the object of their worship.

And it was virtually risk-free for them to do it. Why?

Because other people who worshiped Jesus Christ as God either sat back and did nothing in the midst of the pernicious racism of the era, or applauded those who fed it.  These people, who exist today both in the Klan and other “more benign” organizations like the League of the South, persist in their belief that God has favored them, and done so over other groups of people whose marginalization in society they believe is deserved. It’s no exaggeration to say that an apostate Church made the Civil Rights Movement necessary, and a faithful remnant of that Church ended it. White people cannot overlook the fact that the former was largely white; the latter, largely Black.

What horrors is the majority Church feeding today that the faithful remnant will bear on its back tomorrow?

The “Humor” Of Doug Wilson (And Why His Critics Just Have Hurt Feelings)

August 24th, 2014

If there’s any person Wilson has hurt, it’s Jesus Christ, whose message he has turned into a hateful, smug, error-filled, bigoted primer on how to be irrevocably “predestined,” unless it turns out you’re not, while still taking pride in exhibiting rotten fruit contrary to those listed in Galatians 5.

He’s then managed to hurt thousands of people in Moscow, Idaho, who don’t want anything to do with a Jesus who’s in any way like Doug Wilson, and he’s been a heat-seeking missile of personal and direct harm to those unfortunates who find themselves in his flock. He can be, I’ll grant, a witty, puckish guy — in spite of or because of, depending on your level of overall maturity, his past fondness for what the Ancients called Titty Humor.

But, sadly, there’s not a damned thing funny about any of it — not even the lemming-like, lickspittle loyalty he demands from otherwise sane and/or intelligent men and their women who are champing at the bit to employ pretzel logic and heartbreaking earnestness to prove themselves worthy to their Master. The real Master, the LORD who asks us, lovingly, to not even try to impress Him, doesn’t find it amusing. The Day Doug Wilson and his feckless, beholden toadies are called to give an account of their lives to that LORD will, I guarantee you, not feature a shred of anything less than a heartbreaking, soul-crushing tragedy of profound loss as devoid of humor on that Day as his ministry is of wisdom and compassion on this one.

On Forgiveness

August 19th, 2014

Forgiveness coerced, forgiveness presumed, forgiveness-or-else, forgiveness as forgetting — none of these are righteous.

They’re the cudgel by which the offender keeps the offended in line. But forgiveness freely offered from a strong soul, a healing or healed soul, proffered from a position of strength that refuses to deny or diminish the original harm caused, refuses to countenance the self-serving lies the offender tosses out to mitigate what can never be lessened, is a powerful weapon. It’s not dependent or conditioned on the response or acknowledgement of the other; it’s made with full understanding of the wrong and its severity. This forgiveness stares unflinchingly at the truth, even as the forgiven scrambles to evade it or mocks the importance of it.

In the Christian story, it’s the forgiveness of Christ freely offered to those who sin against him; it’s also the standard for the forgiveness I am called to offer. I have been harmed by episodic offenses, while those whose experience with the filthy violence of patriarchy is more immediate and constant. It’s only in the Spirit that I’ve found strength to forgive. And it’s the Spirit, not me, not well-meaning bromides about the burden of nonforgiveness, that must provoke a person’s pardoning of the other. When that happens — when it’s Spirit-power and not political or personal pressure that draws forth forgiveness — reconciliation and restoration is possible on the personal level. And when that happens, when souls are restored and hearts are awakened unto peace, revolution happens.

And revolution is a good and necessary thing, like a cleansing breeze through rotten, dusty temples.

On How NOT To Counsel Rape Victims

August 10th, 2014

I’m really pretty sick of hearing anything from Doug Wilson, Moscow’s paleo-confederate patriarch supreme, because I find that his cluelessness only feeds his pomposity, and his pomposity only fuels his and his followers’ delusions of importance and relevance. But I will say this, in response to a recent article on his execrable Blog and Mablog:

When a woman is raped, she not only has the right but ought to be encouraged to view the evil of patriarchy as the motivating factor in her assault. She cannot afford the luxury of thinking that one bad guy harmed her and that such a thing, while tragic, is simply an instance of bad fortune — “hard providence,” in Wilsonspeak. She ought not be comforted with the false notion that rape is rare enough that she’ll never be assaulted again, and she must never be told that any fear of males that she develops is sinful. In short, she must never be even more inculcated in the idea of “benign masculinity” that, only in hers and a few other womens’ cases, spawned something evil. Above all, her recovery and response to what happened to her should never be, but, as Wilson demonstrates, too often is, overseen and evaluated by anyone other than Jesus Christ, for whom Wilson and other masculinist pastors are a miserable substitute.

Instead, and I write this as a woman well recovered from her rape in 1980, she must be surrounded by people who truly, in their hearts and heads, understand what happened and why. The “what happened” isn’t simply that a male person chose to violate her sexually; it’s that he chose, on his own volition and in response to his masculine socialization, to “colonize, penetrate, and conquer” a woman who didn’t want him. The words quoted above come from a horrid piece Wilson wrote about a year ago, words that illustrate perfectly that even “benign masculinity” and “Biblical patriarchy” are evil — never benign and never Biblical. Masculinity, which Wilson and his ilk defend almost to the point of obsession, is simply that part of the cultural hierarchy of gender that decides who is to rule and who is to be subject — or, who gets to rape and who gets raped. That is the “why” of rape: Males who have been socialized, either by a bombastic ass of a pastor or a knuckledragging secular bad-boy bully, into cultural masculinity feel absolutely entitled to “take” women, to harm them, use them, abuse them, and kill them. The difference between promoting a masculinity that says it abhors rape and the brotherhood of rapists, abusers, molesters, and murderers, is one of degree, not of kind.

My healing from what happened to me came through Jesus Christ. His Godhood, not his maleness, healed me; for a time, even that Incarnational reality — that he was born male — was hard for me. I am now, as you all know, on the cusp of my 30th year of marriage to a man I adore, a man who rejects the cultural socialization of masculinity that he was raised with and who strives, like all other decent males, to live a life of love, peace, and humility. Nevertheless, my husband wouldn’t dare counsel a victimized woman on how to respond to or heal from her rape, because, unlike Wilson, he knows that he is not qualified; his advice is neither invited nor welcomed. Rather, my husband lives a life that is in every way a conscious rejection of patriarchy, and while he’s aware that the world is nevertheless geared toward his success over that of others, he does what he can to mitigate his privilege.

Wilson, of course, believes that his white male privilege is a gift from the gracious hand of God, not the refuse of a toxic, polluted, patriarchal world. It doesn’t occur to the happily penetrating and colonizing moral dwarf that Wilson is that rape, like every evil, happens in context. That context is not, as he would say, a homosexual-accepting culture or a feminized Church. It’s not “father hunger” or “bitterness,” the two things on which he blames everything but — perhaps — the Challenger disaster. And it’s not one rogue reprobate, a bad seed who commits the violent fornication that is rape.

No, the context from which rape springs is exactly the context Wilson thrives in — a world of strict sexual hierarchy that celebrates what must never be celebrated: The conquering of a woman by any man. He is as much a part of the puzzle called “Why Do Men Rape?” as is the zipper fly that unleashed the weapon. A woman raped or otherwise abused by a man MUST recognize and reject the model of patriarchy and masculinity that, for millennia, has cheerfully dictated that she, by virtue of being born female, is the One Who Gets Raped, and the one born male, Covenant or reprobate, is the one who, satiated on the rape culture Wilson embraces, Gets To Rape. And expressing regret that he did so, and expressing anger that he sinned that way, is rather like raising your child in a candy store with no restrictions and then lamenting that he ends up with rotten teeth.

I would turn to Doug Wilson for advice only if I ran out of pejoratives for people I don’t like. That he counsels young women, and has influence over young men, is utterly chilling. That he would dare analyze rape and advise women to not drift into questioning the context that brought it on is horrifying. There is no healing brought by Wilson and his merry masculine men. Only the Human Holy One, Christ Jesus, who came to reverse the effects of the Fall, is able to set unsteady feet back on stable ground and to nurse broken hearts unto health.

And he, the Lord Jesus, won’t use a defense of masculinity to do it.

If You’re Gonna Talk About Mark Driscoll, You Must Consider Doug Wilson

August 3rd, 2014

There’s been much chatter about revelations that as disgusting and wrong Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll is when he’s playing bad-boy megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, he’s even worse when he’s online, writing vile and misogynistic things under a pseudonym.  Sane people ought to readily agree that this man ought never to have been a pastor in anything even remotely connected the Gospel, but too many leave it at that — Driscoll is an undisciplined jerk, and sometimes you get one like that. But the Driscolls of the world don’t emerge from a vacuum, and they’re never alone in their commitment to offense. And as someone who has engaged with another “bad boy” of evangelicalism, Doug Wilson, I can say that the same foul, bitter, twisted tree of patriarchy has given us both men.

Of course, Mark Driscoll shouldn’t have been ever considered a minister of the Gospel, ever, under any circumstances, and yet for the past decade he’s been celebrated as a welcome breath of masculine fresh air. Note: Masculine fresh air has never brought anything good. But those of us in Moscow, where Driscoll has spoken at the invitation of Premier Patriarch Douglas Wilson, know that Wilson has been a blight on the Body of Christ for much longer than Driscoll has. Wilson, in fact, has been an encouragement to Driscoll; it would not be too far out to suggest that Wilson has provided a lot of the fuel the wreck known as Driscoll has run on. That Driscoll’s star is falling, as it ought to, simply means that Wilson will disavow any particular affection or connection to him.

So why mention, in an article about one disgraceful “minister,” another one? Because most of you don’t know about Douglas Wilson and thus don’t know why I write about him as much as I do. But for every pseudonymical comment Driscoll makes as William Wallace II, below, Wilson has an equal — and under his own name. Male homosexuals are, in Wilson’s twisted, warped world, not only an obsession, but favored with words like “sodomite,” “catamite,” “fudge-packers,” “gaytards,” and those who “do anal honors.” (Notably, during his debate with gay activist Andrew Sullivan last year, he chickened out when I challenged him, in front of 800 people, to show some integrity and call the man standing next to him one of those names). Wilson has called liberal women ugly because our men don’t love us; female pastors are nothing more to him than either the smartest lesbian in seminary, or hermaphroditic amoeba-types. While pretending to defend the hard work of Mexican laborers, he laments “the halcyon days when we could just say ‘wetbacks.’” He wrote a book, Southern Slavery As It Was, that defended slavery in the antebellum South as a positive experience for the slaves, who were provided “excellent health care,” “paid” extra on holidays, and were experiencing, through the benign example of their Christian owners, the “most harmonious” multi-racial society the world has ever seen — and who were generally better off than Black families are now. I’ll give you a moment to run to the bathroom and vomit, and if you want to read this piece of shit, I’ll happily provide a copy of it. Wisely, perhaps, his vanity press has discontinued it.

Oh, and it was just over three years ago that he performed the lavish wedding of a pitiful young woman who just wanted to “have it” — courtship, engagement, and wedding — to a serial, convicted pedophile, Steven Sitler of Moscow, and who did it knowing that the court had deemed Sitler to be at high risk of reoffending and that he would be sent to prison for the rest of his wretched life if ever left alone for even a few minutes with his own children, should he be able to father any, or any others. Katie, who pleaded with one of Wilson’s elders to help her find someone, was swept off her feet by the dashing pedophile and agreed to marry him after their second date. Search “Sitler” on my blog, www.keelyprevailingwinds.com, for my five-part rebuke of Wilson.

So while I would place myself in front of anyone who wanted to visit Driscoll’s church, I’ve got a far worse example here in Moscow. Just this week, I’ve been called a stubborn, bitter old donkey for taking him on, I’ve been called on to produce “the fruit of my life” to a Wilson supporter, and told that I’m obsessed. I’ve got the biggest church organization in my life convinced that I’m a deranged, apostate, sodomite-loving, ugly, unloved, unhinged man-hating sentimental, feminist, loon, and the field of nanotechnology cannot even measure how little I care.

My life is a witness for Jesus Christ. I’ll fight to the death those who in His name say and commit atrocities. If that surprises any of you, I guess you haven’t been paying attention. But if you live in Moscow, you’d better wake up. There’s a snake in our midst, a wolf roaming the streets, and the Jesus he represents and imitates isn’t anyone you want to know.

Paraphrasing Augustine: The Church Hates Women, And It Is My Mother

May 29th, 2014

After the horror of the Santa Barbara shootings, there’s a plethora of articles now on misogyny, violence, and naming the problem. I can read those. There are also a lot of articles, secular and Christian, on the inevitability of male violence and further female subjugation that comes from patriarchal/masculinist — “complementarian,” in Christian terminology — theology, which I and other Christian feminists contend is an affront to the Gospel.

These, I can’t read. Not today. Not for awhile.

The damage wrought by my Church — by the masculinists within and the people within who don’t give a damn or who are too afraid of “getting it wrong” to speak the truth — is incalculable. It looks nothing like Jesus, makes a mockery of his message, and yet represents him to a watching, waiting world. The Gospel is more important to me than anything in this world. Contending for justice between females and males is at the heart of it; the message and person of Christ overturns all evil, and patriarchy is the worst. I live to speak and defend Christ’s work, and do it with all my strength. I am a radical feminist because I am a radical Christian; to me, the Gospel demands nothing less than an uncompromising hatred of patriarchy. Because it kills women. Because it sucks the spirit, courage, wisdom, and strength out of women. Because it gleefully rejoices in our destruction.

My heart, though, is overburdened — broken, clouded, in need of a Sabbath. The story I share with every single other girl-become-woman in the world, albeit to a lesser degree than others of my sisters, is a lifelong reminder that the rulers of this world wish me harm, feed on my harm. I saw the Church look away when it wasn’t applauding, and I feared and was suspicious of the God it proclaimed, the God I now know is neither male nor female, yet both Mother and Father.

Some other time I’ll write about the details of my conversion in the Spring of 1981; that’s not for now. For now, I trust the God I encountered in the New Testament, my Savior Jesus Christ, and while I fear many of those in his Church and distrust most of the rest, seeing that those who want me to call them “brother” are entirely satisfied with the oppression of their sister, I acknowledge that the Church is, faithful or not, my people.

And today, probably for tomorrow, probably for a long time, the sins of my people toward my sisters are too many, too much, for me to explore again. Maybe it saps my strength for the fight; maybe it’s just horrifyingly repetitive. Or maybe I’m just embarrassed, ashamed — the Body of Christ, actively supporting the oppression of and harm against its own sisters, ignoring or defending the nightmare women and girls everywhere make their way in, as omnipresent as the oxygen we breathe.

Today, I think, I need rest from confirmation that my people care so little. I need to draw, drum, sing, sleep, and pray — because there is much to proclaim.

That “abolish patriarchy” thing? The Christian can, and must, joyfully blame it on Jesus . . .

Memorial Day

May 28th, 2014

Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day don’t always bring out the best in the uber-patriotic, a community to which I don’t belong, and the anti-war, anti-American imperialism crowd, to which I do belong.  I got into a heated argument with another anti-war activist whose response to Memorial Day was unkind to the troops — and unprintable here.  What follows is my explanation of why I cannot hold men and women in the armed forces in contempt, even as I hold in profound contempt both the ideas behind their current mission and the cowards who blithely send them off to fulfill it.

Here is my side of the exchange:

American imperialism and the death toll it brings to others and to our own is an abomination. But the troops were drafted in Vietnam and before, and unable to wiggle out of it like Cheney/Rumsfeld/Limbaugh; no volition there, just orders from the empire. Not nearly enough went CO or ran to Canada. I wish they all had. With Iraq and Afghanistan and a crashing economy, too many young people wrongly felt the military would save them, and young men saturated in masculinity and misogyny had been primed since birth to fight something, even if it’s wrong. That’s not to excuse them, but to offer an explanation for my belief that it’s the men who love war but are too cowardly to actually place themselves in harm’s way who are the focus of my anger.

And that anger is profound.

War makes killers out of young men who were raised in this world to believe that being masculine is the single pursuit that ought to define them. War kills mother’s sons, if that mother is American; if that mother is anywhere else the U.S. Empire extends, she risks losing everyone she’s ever loved or known, all in service of the voracious appetite of war. But “fuck the troops” accomplishes nothing. Direct that anger toward the Empire and its bloodthirsty minions. Direct that anger toward patriarchy, without which there would be no war. Direct that anger toward those young men who signed up because war is a socially acceptable way to kill people in the service of masculinism. But I can’t bring myself to direct blind rage toward “the troops,” especially when so many are beginning to realize that they’ve been royally used and discarded.

On Being Generally Liberal, Not Specifically Feminist

May 26th, 2014

You’re not a feminist if you’re idea of righteous social activism is doing the “most leftist” thing you can think of, and if you view the tension between two “leftist” beliefs as an opportunity to embrace the one that appears nicer and more tolerant to everyone than the other, you don’t understand the female-centeredness of true feminist thought. Feminism will always defend women first in its fight against the patriarchy that threatens us daily.

Uninvited

May 20th, 2014

After an unfortunate exchange on FB yesterday that left me angrier than I have been in months, I feel the need to set some things straight:

I have been criticized in private for writing openly about the fact that 33 years ago, a man raped me. I understand that’s hard for people who love me to read, and I understand that’s hard for everyone else to fathom — why would I not just keep such a horrific and personal experience to myself? But I’m a Christian; my life isn’t for “keeping to myself.” It’s solely and entirely for the glory of God, and if going public with my experience opens the door for some woman to ask me for help, or feel empowered when she feels utterly stripped of power, or come to understand that there’s a name for what she’s experienced, then I’m glad for it, and no self-inflicted loss of privacy matters in the face of any good that might come from Surviving Out Loud. I write to anyone who reads, but I write FOR women, and I obey the Holy One by doing so.

But here’s what happened yesterday, and what must never happen again: Some man, a FB “friend” only because that’s how even hostile correspondents are described, took that information, mangled it, and then used it to diagnose and explain what he insists is my “bitterness.” This pompous little twit dared to suggest that what he called my “having been molested when (I) was younger” is the reason behind my criticism of his minister, their shared patriarchal theology, and his hero’s grossly un-pastoral conduct. From a perch of privileged masculinism that he presumed gave him the OK to use my history to analyze and then correct me, he concluded that so bad was the trauma of rape that it left me unable to follow or embrace beliefs that he believes to be unswervingly correct. Not at all surprisingly, those beliefs privilege men over women.

I wanted to tear his little throat out.

Thinking that he had revealed something I had kept private, he immediately apologized. I explained that he was way out of line NOT because he revealed a secret, but because he referenced the incident at all — something that wasn’t his to use, and especially not his to use in an attempt to plumb the depths of my heart and mind. More than most men, even, he isn’t qualified. He sure as hell wasn’t invited.

He still doesn’t get it, but I’m pretty sure he gets that I was livid. I doubt he even has the capacity, morally and relationally, to grasp the degree to which he violated boundaries — boundaries that even the grossest of males, as well as most reasonably intelligent toddlers, would respect. Any defensiveness will be met with a face-to-face encounter he’s not likely to forget, and I hope he simply accepts the forgiveness that I offered and goes home aware, perhaps for the first time, that being in possession of a penis qualifies him for not a whole lot, and definitely not for the right to use my history to his advantage.

Because he’s a Biblical literalist, he will, I’m sure, understand that my life’s pearls are freely offered to those I choose. I don’t choose to cast them before privilege-bloated, pompous, swine, and I will react strongly if one of the swine presumes to help himself to them.