Church Tonight.

This will probably be poorly written until I go and edit it (if I ever get around to that).

Tonight, my church (which I LOVE) talked about “Parenting.”  The reason that is in quotations is because it moved from a talk on Parenting to gender roles, with a bit of parenting advice/biblical parenting thrown in for good measure.

To get them off my chest, here is a list of quotes / communicated ideas that I took note on (partially because I was offended or confused by them, partially because if I don’t make note of something that offends or confuses, I end up dwelling on the idea and cannot focus on the rest of whatever is being said):

  • The home of one of the pastor’s “father figures” was “too maternal

too maternal? Really? Because the man you were referring to consulted with his wife on things?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know exactly what kind of relationship that this man and his wife had in their family, perhaps she did rule the roost too much, but please don’t make a maternal home sound like a sin.  It makes me feel like being a woman is a curse, like I am a failed version of a man and my maternal instincts are wrong.

  • “Nowhere in scripture do women sit at the gates,” as a proof that women have no main leadership role in the family.

does what men do in society really translate exactly for what they are supposed to do in the home?  Also, wasn’t ancient Jewish society mainly patriarchal?  Wasn’t a lot of ancient society mainly patriarchal? How do we separate society from what God is actually saying through scripture?

  • idea: “The single mom needs to rely on the elders in the church as father figures for their children.”

The idea itself really isn’t bad at all, but the way it was communicated implied that she must do so or it was bad for the children and her to have to have all the responsibility of both parents.

  • Call to single women: “Look for men who will lead your house well.”

Yes. I want a man who will lead my house well.  I also want to lead my house well.  I want to be a co-Leader, not VP.  Also, why is the call to single women to always be looking out for a man?  Seriously?  I think this is something churches get very wrong and it hurts us.  I want to be enjoying my singleness, seeing it as a gift from God to grow in areas that I may not be able to grow in when I’m married.  “When I’m married?” If I get married, if.  Not that I don’t want to (I would very much like to be married, one day), but, if you build up my hopes and make me believe that I will, no doubts about it, get married one day because that is what God is calling all singles (not just single women) to, and I end up never being married, how much will that A) suck, and B) be a waste of my time, emotions and effort to be seeking after marriage and putting my hopes in a husband when I could be focusing on what God really wants me to be doing.

  • “America is becoming a maternal society- we can’t blame the women because we’ve left them…America is declining because men aren’t [standing up].” Continuing, he equated “America’s downfall”  to the destruction of Europe due to the Black Plague.

The Black Plague.  THE EFFING BLACK PLAGUE.  I wish he would have expounded on this more, just because I don’t understand how America becoming a maternal society (yes, because men aren’t standing up, I do agree there, that’s part of the reason that there are so many single mothers, also, because people are having sex outside of marriage, before they’re mature enough to be in a relationship at that level and because they don’t have Jesus, but it’s not only because men aren’t standing up) is killing 30%-60% of America’s population.  Also, again, femininity, maternal things, are bad(he didn’t say bad, but, if something isn’t good, it can only be bad).

  • His wife (because this was a duo sermon) “When you peel those carrots and feed them [your family] nutritious food, you are giving them love.” (After talking about spending 2 hours on a meal that will be eaten in 20 minutes, leaving you with dishes and a kitchen to clean- presumably by yourself.)

First of all, I’m not cooking and doing all the dishes.  My kids are going to do the dishes.  Mom cooks, you clean.  Dad cooks, you clean.  You cook? I’ll clean. It’s only fair.  Secondly, yes, feeding your family nutritious food is giving them love.  But I don’t want to just cook my family love.  I don’t want my job to be reduced to love-cooker (okay, that sounds scandy, but you know what I mean).  I don’t even think that domestic house-work is a bad thing, I just don’t want the only (read: main) way I show my family love to be through nutritious meals or washing dishes. Sorry.  [And guess what? One of my top spiritual gifts is service, I want to open a cafe’ one day, and one of my love languages-in showing love to someone- is Acts of Service.]

  • A quote from my journal that I wrote in response to all of this in the middle of church because I couldn’t concentrate any longer without crying out to God about this struggle in my soul:

“God! I have to come back to the next session in this series [it’s a two part Parenting sermon- Fathering and Mothering], I need to talk to Van Zandt [my Contemporary Women Writer-read “Feminism,” professor].  God! Why do I need someone to lead my house? Why, why, why?  eff [Why, yes, I do abbreviate curse words in my prayers]. This is crushing my dream of a family.  I don’t want to be stuck serving, subserviant, in my home.  I want an equal, contributing relationship.  Please, God?”

Honestly, I need someone to help me with this, I do not understand.  I’m going to talk to

  • Sally- good friend and co-struggler
  • Daena- friend, smartest girl I know, and daughter of the pastor and his wife who talked tonight
  • Dr. Van Zandt- favorite prof, mentor, co-struggler, wealth of knowledge, Contemporary Women Writers prof, cause for all of my thoughts on this topic.
  • Joanna Jung-female Bible prof, who has hopefully struggled with this issue as well.

sincerely,

m.

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Feminism. The Prequel.

* Disclaimer: I wrote this last night, (or most of it).  I know things about me that you don’t know, ie: I wear dresses almost every day.  I rarely wear jeans, I just don’t really own any jeans or pants, or shorts, for that matter. I wear heels, when I can, with said dresses.  I bake, constantly.  And I’m a pretty damn good cook when it comes down to it. But even the last two sentences describe only things that have been genderized, and they’re not things that are inherently male or female, nor are dresses and heels, but, for some reason, I’m drawing the fine line there.  And here we go–

**Second Disclaimer:  This is the beginning of my search for Truth in Feminism and in gender roles.  I want Godly truth, not worldly truth.  This is just my beginning. I’m praying through this and researching scripture and plan on researching more commentary and the historical realities that impacted the Church’s traditional views on gender roles, though I haven’t yet, and you won’t find anything about the Church’s role in gender-roles and why they hold certain views in this post.

 

I begin:

 

 

I think I wear my dresses in defiance.  I do my hair & makeup to look good, but my dresses, I feel, are a defiance.  As are my heels.  I used to think I work them to be “girly,” to be pretty, but I don’t think that anymore.  I wear my dresses to say “I’m a woman and I can do what you can do.”  Not to put men down, not to angrily equate myself with them, but, I think, to visually convey (as if my breasts and hips don’t do that enough) that I am a woman and I can do exactly what you can do.  In my dresses and heels, I scale walls, rocks, and fences, I run, carry heavy loads, drive my car (seriously, try driving a car in high heels, see if you can do it), I bike and I lead.  I walk over hills, in sand, dirt, grass, and through bushes in my stilettos or wedges.  I take care of my business in pink, lacy dresses with sailor-ish blazers.

I am called a “lesbian” by many of my male friends.  The fact that I was on my varsity softball team, was battalion commander as a junior in h.s., managed women’s volleyball, placed 2nd in my Far East Women’s Marksmanship competition as a 16 year old, participated in my school’s Boxing Club, and have served in leadership positions since my sophomore year in college, as well as know how to tie a double-windsor better than most men, apparently makes me a lesbian.  [interesting fact:]  The first boy I ever kissed actually called me a lesbian, he still does, actually, every once in  a while, though playfully.  (I might add that I would take more offense, probably, if he didn’t also poke fun at himself and call himself “gay” for his love of showtunes, musicals, his knowledge of baking, his wonderful cooking skills  and his ability to dance, well.  He at least realizes gender-roles and stereotypes are ridiculous.)  And, considering he liked and kissed me after calling me “lesbian” kind of means I should probably take that as a grain of salt coming from him. I, however, am not a lesbian, do not have lesbian tendencies, and I like men, very much.  I just don’t see the problem with being a “strong” woman.  In fact, I don’t even understand why I have to classify myself as a “strong” woman because I am capable of doing a lot of things that most men can do.

I think the balance of gender-role stereotypes, or a large lack-there-of, in me comes from my parents.  My parents encouraged my love for playing war with the neighborhood boys.  In fact, my mother would dress me up in my dad’s old BDU’s (and his paratrooper beret) and send me out to play with them.  Actually, I think the first time they played war, I wasn’t invited, but my mom took me in and dressed me up and told the boys that I was the CO because of my beret, and the fact that I was the only one dressed in Army BDU’s (they were in their dads’ Air Force BDU’s)  and we were playing “Army.”  My dad, who never called me his princess, would play catch with me, teach me how to bat and play the infield positions that I loved.  He bought me my first Swiss Army Knife, he never brought up the fact that I was a girl when he was worried for my safety, when I talked with my mom about his reaction to my first boyfriend (this was via phone during my first year in college), she said he wasn’t worried, that he knew I made good choices, there was never a double barreled shotgun or scary fatherly phone call waiting for the guy I dated.  I was never my dad’s princess, but I was valued, priceless, nonetheless.  My dad was gone for work often, and my mom had to fill both roles, good cop and bad cop, mom and dad.

The women in my family have been let down by men, but none of them have blamed the whole of man-kind for it. I definitely don’t blame all the world’s men for it. All of the women on my mother’s side, her sisters and her mother, have been divorced.  They all chose abusive relationships with very handsome men and suffered through them until realizing they were worth more than what they had.  My mother, grandmother and aunts suffered under my mentally abusive grandfather, who we now believe had some mental disorder.  Through this hardship, and how the women in my family have handled it, each in their own way, I’ve learned that it isn’t bad, it’s beneficial, actually, to be independent, capable, and I value relationships like my mother’s and one of my aunt’s in which they are both equals with their husbands, and they are respectful and not manipulative.

In highschool I noticed a trend among most Christian woman that I knew.  Many of them, so many of them, were “sinless,” their shit didn’t stink (excuse my language), they were perfect.  They were overbearing control freaks who wore a smile, praised the Lord and submitted to their husbands, unless they could manipulate them.  I hated them.  I abhor manipulation. It makes my skin crawl, in any form.  These women made me crazy and scared.  I hated Christian women, but I was Christian, and a woman.  What was I going to do? It appeared to me that I had to grow up to be like them, and so I didn’t want to grow up. These woman, starved for power and living up to the curse in Genesis 3:16, “…Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you’…” women desiring to rule and so, when put in a position with power and authority, they wring every last drop of power out of the situation.  I hated it (as if I haven’t made that point clear).  I wasn’t until I realized I didn’t hate the women involved in an international ministry in Tokyo that I understood that I could be a Christian woman and not be manipulative and cruel and power hungry.  This ministry that I have been involved with for roughly eight years has women in leadership, a woman as the head of the Japanese ministry and a woman as the temporary head of the international ministry.  Amy Wood and Ami Shibuya, as well as Chieko Suzuki.  I’m still not at a point where I can articulate exactly why my feelings have changed, but I do know that these women were the first to make me question if what I was seeing at church was what it really meant to be a Christian woman.

This is all so important to me because I grew up with Christians surrounding me who believed that all that young Christian girls should draw from the story of Esther was that she spent months making herself beautiful for the king, that we shouldn’t date, and if we had a desire to date, we should “Date God,” and wait for the right Christian “man” to call us up and pursue us.  An acquaintance I knew (purely from talking to him as I made his sandwich from the other side of the sneeze glass at Subway) lent me some books by Don Miller, after finding out that I loved to read.  I told him I loved Shakespeare and George Orwell and he give me a Christian self-help book, based purely on the fact that it was, in fact, a book and I had said I loved reading.  First, he lent me Blue Like Jazz, and I actually loved it.  So, he brought me a few other books by Miller and he slipped in a rosy, pale pink book with the worst cover ever, titled On Being a Christian Woman or something to that effect.  I never read it.  I never once cracked that baby open to read even the reviews. Needless to say, he didn’t impress me and I think I didn’t even contact him to give his books back, I think I gave them to the base Caplain, just so I wouldn’t have to see Specialist Matthew James and his ideas on pasty-pink female Christianity again.

Back to why this is important.  We are teaching our young girls in the church that they should be submissive, and a majority of the time this is translated to weaker, lesser, less opinionated, less able to make a difference, less of a person, not as important, more soft and quiet and gentle.  I’m not soft, quiet, or gentle. Please! I break things and fall and laugh or talk too loud constantly. I’m not weak, either. Does this mean I’m less of a person?  No. No, no, no! We are teaching them that they should be emotionally weaker, cry more, that they should make unintelligent arguments based on feeling rather than fact, based on perception rather than reality.  This does no good for women, no good for mankind (which, oddly enough, I have no problem calling the whole of the homo-sapien race “mankind”) no good for Christianity.

It is good for us, good for Christianity to banish gender roles.  If we could, we would be allowing men and women to grow and be at their fullest potential.  Everything we are doing to our women, we are also doing to our men and we’re causing this crazy never ending cycle.

I need to figure this out because I’ll be going back to Japan within the year.  That’s not much time.  I’ll be working with youth, most likely, youth who are growing up in the very least, a dual culture- Japanese and American, if not a tri-culture, if they’re not American or if their international school isn’t American.  I’ll probably be doing Accountability Groups with girls and mentoring them.  I need to know what I believe and what is right for them.  I want these girls to be all that they can be and to know that they are valued for important reasons.   I have so much work to do. I’m very thankful to my professors and the women in my life who are teaching me and guiding me in this process.  They are God-sends.

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Change it up.

I have a problem with blogs.  It’s a paradox, really, and I am not one, but thousands of living, breathing paradoxes wound up into my exterior form.  Peel away my skin and what will you find? I bleed paradoxes.

Back to what I was saying.  I have a problem with blogs.  The mere existence of a blog means you want someone to read what you’ve written.  It’s the total opposite of the mentality behind locking your journal. Basically, what blog writers (and myself included, however stubbornly) are doing are either circumventing conventional publishing procedures, or (what a majority of us are doing), whining to the universe, hoping someone will agree with you or think that you’re amazing because of how you think.

This is my problem, and it’s similar to my problem with poetry (which I think I wrote a poem about), is I don’t agree with why people have blogs, I think blog writers, unless you’re doing it to inform and basically to not have to send an email but to have family/friends/supporters check up on you, are doing it as a weak cry for attention.    I started this blog as a place to put my poetry and projects, thinking, naively, that I was “different” from all those clowns who post what they think or do for attention.  My stuff was “legitimate.”  Yeah, right.

So, while I figure this out, I’ve just decided to suck it up and just blog.  A friend of mine who shared his url with me recently does a really good job of that.  I don’t feel like he wants everyone to hear, he just writes about life and why he thinks the way he does.  It’s actually because of one of his posts that I realized I’m just as whiny as everyone else with a blog, so, why not use it in any capacity I want to?  I’m not writing for a following or to impress.  Seriously.  I’m just writing because, as I read my friend’s stuff, I realized, he’s lucky.  He’s sorting his thoughts out while he writes this.  He’s expressing himself better than I can because I won’t swallow my pride and write.

So, a few disclaimers and I think I’ll start on another post:

If people read this, cool.  If not, it’ll still be here.
I still have a stigma against bloggers.  That includes myself.
I believe in the honesty and better understanding of myself that will come about because of this blog.  I’m really just doing this for me because I understand myself better when I write, and I want to write better.
I’m still going to post poetry and art, and, hopefully it will get better because of my public thinking out loud that will happen here.
I just fell in love with my blog name again. I really just think it’s the apocalypse part. Or both, because (you can tell I didn’t put much thought into it before because I’m having to interpret what exactly it means, over a year later), in calling it Eve’s apocalypse, I’m singling this blog out as a blog written by a female.  And right now, I think I’m a feminist (which will be the first topic of this newly turned-over leaf.)

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Salt, Lucille Clifton

he is salt
to her,
a strange sweet
a peculiar money
precious and valuable
only to her tribe,
and she is salt
to him,n
something that rubs raw
that leaves a tearful taste
but what he will
strain the ocean for and
what he needs.

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Summer of Frankenstein

My friend Robert and I will be creating a poetry club and “Summer of Frankenstein-esque” club this summer.

excited much?

look out for new poetry and short, scary stories.

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She’s Grounded Til War Commences, Tom Holmes


The wingéd girl shakes her feathers
in a heavy English fog
wafting like perfume
from a flattened rabbit in May.
She’s a medical student
who sings of traipsing through hell.

Today there is not anywhere a war
and Henri has sculpted the sky.
Castle Altaforte rises
like a whoreson dog’s bark.
The wingéd girl licks her wings.

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I Am Always Pregnant

1.

Dear Sister,

Remember when I gave birth in a tub in the living room?

I was in high school and you took my baby, in a basket,

and sold her to the tree-nymph, for neocash.

I had to walk down the Alpha hallway and out the fire escape

To argue with the purple tree faerie and get my preemie-baby back.

2.

I was standing on a chair

Clutching my belly in one hand,

A mason jar in the other.

I gave birth and put the baby in the jar

For safekeeping, along with fine wool

And feathers.

They sit on top of my powder blue hutch,

Beautiful to look at- never to get dusty

{these are an excerpt from a series titled, horribly and intermediately, “Dream Poems”}

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