Thursday, March 15, 2012

The one where her brain exploded.

It has been one of those weeks that makes my brain hurt. There is so much going in and swirling about up there, that if you have had a coherent conversation with me at any time in the last 5 days, consider yourself lucky.

PS If you aren't a Christian this post might piss you off.
PPS If you are a Christian this post might piss you off.

This is what is breaking my brain:

-- We have had heavy kid issues, the kind that require us to pull out the Bible and sit down and have real deep, honest, awesome discussion about forgiveness, faith, grace, humility. All amazing and wonderful, but it can take a toll on the old brain cells to explain humility to a six year old and grace and forgiveness (but not forgetting) to an eight year old. Helping a kid understand stuff I struggle to understand hurts my brain.

-- That Kony guy. The video wrecked me, the discourse that is following is wrecking me (and yes, I have added to it by posting links to all kinds of articles on all sides). I am thrilled that through it all, my almost 13 year old sister wants to join in and help somehow (and if you want to join us April 20, I have a big car). However, the process of becoming informed and reading as many sides of the story as I could, so I can make the best decisions for myself and how I want to help hurts my brain.

-- This article on modesty and the corresponding comments. This article is actually a letter to a 16 year old girl answering her question of how to keep unwanted attention from "creepy older men" while still wanting to be attractive for guys her own age. The jist of the article is that women and girls are devalued in our culture, and therefore no matter what we wear some level of disrespect is going to occur. We, as women, (and men), as humans, as believers in Christ, are not responsible for someone else's behaviour. That said, we all should feel the freedom to dress how we feel comfortable. 

On its face I believe the statements, but at the core I am struggling with the subject of modesty (for women and men) and how that plays out practically in relation to my faith (ie. I am not responsible for your sin, but I am responsible for mine). One side of this issue is saying "I should be able to wear what makes me comfortable, how you respond is your issue." and the other side answers with "I know that certain outfits accentuate my [butt, breasts, legs, back] and men may struggle with that so I should never wear [skinny jeans, v-neck shirts,bikinis] lest I cause anyone to sin."  The either/or of this discussion hurts my brain.

-- Marriage and the issue of biblical submission. Now, lets be clear. I am 100% comfortable with the husband being the head of the household. I also am incredibly blessed with a husband who loves me as Christ loved the church. In our almost 11 years of marriage he has never made a big decision (that included me or not) without discussing it with me first. I feel valued and honored and loved on a daily basis by my husband. I 500% (I know, 500%, wow) trust that he will always make the best decisions for our family, even if the decisions differ from what I would do.

And yet I struggle with my own wants and desires. And before my feminist friends object - hear me again. I feel heard and respected a I wonder what that means for them, their marriages and the effects it will have on the church hurts my brain.nd valued in our marriage and am 100% comfortable with the biblical doctrine of submission in marriage. But my husband makes it easy by modelling leadership in a way that mimics how Christ led the church. He is sacrificial, Godly, and worthy of my respect. But still. I want what I want. And what if he wasn't any of those things. Would I be as 'ok' with wifely submission? So many young Christian married couples are rejecting the idea of husbands being the head of the household, because generations of men have and continue to suck at being biblical, Christlike leaders. The fact that I wonder what that means for them, their marriages and the effects it will have on the church and my own family hurts my brain.

 -- I am reading Francis Chan's book Erasing Hell.  Oy vey, people. OY. VEY. That book alone would cause brain melt. I highly recommend it. Francis Chan hurts my brain.

I would love it if you watch, read and feel like responding to these articles/videos in the comments to any of this mess. Frankly, I love it that anyone reads this at all, so hey, thanks.

Pat yourself on the back for making it this far. This post only took me two hours to write.


  1. Oh Claire. I think I know exactly where yore coming from. This from someone who could best be described as secularly Christian. The Kony2012 has thrown me for a loop for sure. The modesty issue is something I've seen played out through friends who have teenage daughters amd having a preteen daughter who I have near daily discussion about sex or "sexiness" being used to sell (American Apparel ads on the back of buses, let me tell you!) they are both thorny topics. And even though I might not see eye to eye with you on the roles of husband and wife, i know I need to take a step back and assess/ be forever grateful for the husband I have. I think that faith and critical thinking can exist, maybe not in total harmony. I think that religion sometimes can take a one-size-fits-all approach. Now I'm rambling. Anyway, I m glad to read you words and thoughts, if that means anything. Wasn't that a part of the Kony2012, that it's a basic human need to connect and communicate? Well there you go then!

  2. I so appreciate your comments, Sonya.

    The fact that sex is used as marketing I think changes the modesty issue. It isn't a "religious" thing. It's how we see each other as human beings - women are objects who can control men with their bodies and men are the poor, stupid shmucks who can't control themselves around women. Either way it's a bleak picture.

    Faith and critical thinking can definitely coexist, and yes, many times disharmoniously. I love that Christians are talking about their faith and rejecting "one size fits all thinking". My biggest fear is the pendulum swinging the other way. I see many young people who, in frustration with a "one size" approach reject faith altogether. There are absolutes. Not so many as our parents think and not so few as we think.

    Love the conversation!!

  3. Claire - on modesty, have you seen this video by CJ Mahaney. I haven't had time to read the piece you referenced, but I LOVE how he ties this issue to the GOSPEL!

  4. Oh Claire- The fact that you have 3 youngin's to keep alive, teach to say please and thank you and most importantly go to God's word as their template for how to live, astounds me, no one would blame you if you were content just to hunker down and survive, and let those with more free time figure out painful brain stuff. Thanks for being willing to try to figure all this out, I really appreciate your thoughts.

  5. In response to the modesty issue, for me it is about dying to self, am I willing to button up one more button, even though it's "fine" so as not to cause my brother whom I say I love, to stumble? Am I willing to look not quite as "current" and even if perhaps I could pull it off, to be on the safe side? Especially for the men I know who are tall, and have to figure out where to look. What is really disconcerting is seeing women in their 40's and above dressing imodestly, maybe they are trying to recapture "their best life" but it is truly distracting and sad. I love expressing myself with clothes and try to look current at 54 without causing those whom I profess to love stumble.

  6. Thanks for this. I smiled. And all those things swirling through your brain has also been swirling in mine. :)

  7. Really good articles, and tough stuff to think over. I appreciate your willingness to look at all sides of an issue. (I did the same over the KONY sorta wrecked me a little bit too.)


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