Bruce Springsteen and the Veterans Day Shuffle

As you probably know this week marked the 96th observance of Veterans Day here in the United States. It was a day set aside by then President Wilson who said,

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…

In more recent years “Armistice Day” was changed to Veterans Day, a day set aside to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. This year HBO, Starbucks and Chase sponsored a concert on the National Mall to commemorate the occasion called The Concert for Valor. There were 10 acts scheduled to perform from various genres, including (the very american) Bruce Springsteen (incidentally, my husband’s all time favorite).

During his set, Bruce, accompanied by John Fogerty himself, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown sang the Fogerty classic, Fortunate Son, a well known Vietnam era song.  Do you hear that? It is the sound of all conservative hell breaking loose. Of course all the outraged conservatives took to the interwebz and the airwaves to begin accusing The Boss of being disrespectful, unpatriotic and downright anti-american. Which. Of course. Is nonsense. John Fogerty probably said it best when asked about the song choice.

“Years ago, an ultraconservative administration tried to paint anyone who questioned its policies as ‘un-American,’” he continues. “That same administration shamefully ignored and mistreated the soldiers returning from Vietnam. As a man who was drafted and served his country during those times, I have ultimate respect for the men and women who protect us today and demand that they receive the respect that they deserve.”

Unamerican? You don’t say. Sounds familiar.

In case you are unfamiliar with the pro-soldier, anti-war hymn, here are the lyrics:

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, oh

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Shockingly, Bruce hardly caught any slack for singing Born in the USA which expresses essentially the same sentiment. In the words of Greil Marcus

Born in the U.S.A.” is about the refusal of the country to treat Vietnam veterans as something more than nonunion workers in an enterprise conducted off the books. It is about the debt the country owes to those who suffered the violation of the principles on which the country was founded, and by which it was justified itself ever since.” Given that the takehome message of the Concert for Valor was to not forget our veterans after they get back from combat — celebrity emcees spent much of their speeches pointing viewers to foundations aimed at employing and aiding vets here at home — “Born in the U.S.A.” is a perfect fit for the theme.

Now, this is where the fun actually begins ladies and gentlemen. These same ultraconservative government folks who are the first to decry songs like these decry them because they are the people the songs are about. Let’s have a little look see and find out the many times Republican lawmakers have stood squarely in opposition to the best interests of veterans. Some examples:

S.1982- Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. The $21 billion legislation was supposed to improve health, education and other benefits for veterans. Instead, it failed to get the 60 votes needed to stop a threatened filibuster. That same month, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimated that “close to 200,000 veterans are among the 2 million unemployed workers who’ve lost access to federal jobless benefits since Congress allowed Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to expire at the end of last year.

H.R. 466-Wounded Veteran Job Security Act: A bill that would have prevented employers from terminating veterans who were getting treatment for injuries suffered while fighting for our country.

H.R. 1168-Veterans Retraining Act: Would have helped veterans find jobs and provide training for them while they sought employment.  

H.R. 1171-Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization: Would have helped homeless vets get back on their feet by providing temporary training for employment and programs to help them get off the streets.

H.R. 1172: No fancy name, would have just put a section on the VA website of schools currently offering scholarships for veterans.

H.R. 1293-Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009: Would have helped those overcoming injuries sustained while fighting for our country improve their living conditions.

H.R. 1803-Veterans Business  Center Act: This would have set up centers veterans could have visited that would have helped them better plan our future employment and business opportunities.

H.R. 2352-Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act: A combination of other bills killed in Congress by Republicans—that was once again killed by Republicans in Congress. –

Honestly, I think Bruce hit the nail on the head with his song choice for Veterans Day. It seems to me that it is the Republicans who like to play the Veterans day shuffle. In the imortal words of the patriots Springsteen and Fogerty, “

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes.
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord.
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, oh

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Comment, Response & Bending the Arc

This week I re-posted a couple of posts from my archives seeing as I thought they were relevant to current events. One of these posts was one I wrote back in March of 2013 called The Bible trumps the law of the United States?  You might want to go read it right now so you know what Melissa and I are talking about. Go ahead, I’ll wait….

Back? Alrighty then. Now that we are all on the same page, this morning I woke up to find the following comment in my inbox:

Melissa commented on The Bible trumps the law of the United States?

I enjoyed reading much of what you had to say here. I used to believe a lot of what you are referring to: i.e. the OT law. Until I educated myself, properly, on it. Many misunderstand OT law, so this is not finger pointing…

Remember when Jesus said things like, “You have heard it said”… Those ‘rules’ were put there TO protect women. Moses allowed many of these relationships, as the leader, and Moses sinned many times. God never condoned any of this: rape, incest, concubines, etc. For example: Men were not allowed to rape, and leave. They were required to own up to their responsibility. Imagine if that happened today?! There would be a LOT less rape, I think? I could happily explain all these, but I’ll only do one more: The brother-in-law marrying a widow, if no child was born. The women back then were married to the family – as such, she wanted to be taken in and protected. Much like we don’t understand lots of tribal marriages today, similar thing. However (and this is the biggest part that is missed) – She had to agree to the marriage. If she did not, she was not obligated. He also had to agree to the marriage, too, btw… :( It’s even in the text.

Remember, a lot of the Bible is what happened Historically. Much of it was not, “The Bible says so, so let’s all have 20 spouses…”

Lastly, you stated that you believe homosexuality to not be sin. You also claim to be Christian. Unfortunately, the Christ that you say you follow does not agree with you. You must therefore not be following the Jesus of the Bible, or you must study it and repent. You are teaching others to denounce the very Word of God.

Disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle, does not mean you are a phobic or a hater. Homosexuality is equal to beastiality and lying and witchcraft… We all sin, but one who chooses to do so in the face of God, boasts and is habitual to it – Let’s sum it up with a great quote from 1 John 1:5-10
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

None of us are made right with God by being perfect. None of us are or can be. Let’s praise Him for being gracious, and loving us at the place we are. And let’s not condone sin to make the sinner feel better about himself. God can take care of that. He’s big enough. :)

This was my response:

First, as far as OT laws being there to “protect women”, You state,

“Moses allowed many of these relationships, as the leader, and Moses sinned many times. God never condoned any of this: rape, incest, concubines, etc. For example: Men were not allowed to rape, and leave. They were required to own up to their responsibility. Imagine if that happened today?! There would be a LOT less rape, I think?”

Oh joy! Men were not allowed to rape and leave. Yay! Now I get to marry my rapist. I feel so protected and valued! Do you actually believe this would lead to less rape? I hardly think so. Under this system, if a man saw a woman he wanted he would just rape her and then she would have to marry him. Lovely. How about this solution. Keep your effing hands to yourself, no means no, yes means yes, and you do not get to rape anyone for any reason even if you plan to stick around and marry them. UGH.

Last in this section, you state:

“The brother-in-law marrying a widow, if no child was born. The women back then were married to the family – as such, she wanted to be taken in and protected. Much like we don’t understand lots of tribal marriages today, similar thing. However (and this is the biggest part that is missed) – She had to agree to the marriage. If she did not, she was not obligated. He also had to agree to the marriage, too, btw… :( It’s even in the text.”

Why were women married to the family? Because they were property and not considered free moral agents. Indeed they were not considered equal in any way.

Okay, next topic…

On the subject of simultaneously being a follower of Jesus as well as an ally you say that Jesus does not agree with me. Hmmm. Really? Can you provide the chapter and verse where Jesus says ANYTHING at all about homosexuality? You cannot. Why? Because he never discusses the topic even one time. For more on this point I recommend checking out my series on the subject which addresses every passage in the Bible that “Christians” use to condemn gay people or at the very least “gay behavior”. You can find links to all the posts in the series on the conclusion post found here: I will not go into all of them on this thread one by one as it would take waaaay to long and I have already written on this subject extensively.

Second, the phrase “disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle”… I would like to challenge you on that. The “gay lifestyle” is as varied and individual as the “straight lifestyle”. When you refer to this “lifestyle” are you referring to my sister-in-law and her wife who both go to work every day, pay their taxes, enjoy eating out and doting on their two cats and one dog? I am thinking no. Hugh Hefner and Pope Francis are both heterosexual. Does that mean they live the same lifestyle? It is time we retired that phrase as the “nice”, “Christian” way to say, “Ewwwwwwww.” For more on this I suggest the tremendous post by Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network called, No I am Not in the “Gay Lifestyle”. and Neither is Anyone Else. You can find it here:

Next, you say, “Disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle, does not mean you are a phobic or a hater. Homosexuality is equal to beastiality and lying and witchcraft…” Really, do you seriously not believe that statement to be hateful? I am guessing it sounds pretty freaking hateful to almost any gay person you ask. Why? Because equating who someone loves to beastiality, lying and witchcraft is not only inherently hateful is is also just plain mean. To push that off on God by saying, if God said it in the Bible it is the loving thing is not only a cop out it is a slander against Jesus.

Lastly you assume that I am condoning “sin to make the sinner feel better about himself”. I am doing nothing of the sort. I already stated I do not believe homosexuality to be a sin. How then can I be condoning something I do not believe to be sinful to make someone feel better? Ironically it seems more like you are condoning your own prejudices by justifying them with scriptures never meant to condemn the LGBT follower of Christ.

I do sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read and comment and I do hope that you will read the links I suggested. I wish you well and pray that your eyes would be opened, that you would be filled with empathy for your fellow human beings and that you would “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”.

I am so tired of well meaning Christians slandering Jesus by saying he condemned LGBT folks and that he views their loving relationships as exactly the same as beastiality, lying and witchcraft. I cannot stand by without speaking up and attempting to help bend my little part of the invisible arc of human history toward justice. To quote Dr. Larry Brilliant (great name, right?) in his commencement address to the graduates of the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013:

Whether it was Dr. King or someone else who first imagined the arc of the moral universe bending towards justice, you can be damn sure they did not mean that history bends toward justice all on its own. Look around you. It is far from automatic. It is a battle for the poor, a battle for justice, a battle to lift the health of the public.

Here is what I ask of you: Imagine that arc of history that Reverend King inspired us with. It’s right here. The arc of the universe needs your help to bend towards justice. It will not happen on its own. The arc of history will not bend towards justice without you bending it… I want you to leap up, to jump up and grab that arc of history with both hands, and yank it down, twist it, and bend it. Bend it towards fairness… bend it towards justice!

The electorate has spoken and they are old -or- We must wake the sleeping giant.

Last night Kent and I sat at our local watering hole with three of our friends who are in their 20s and 30s. One of them voted, two of them did not. My friend Josh, who did vote, explained that he totally understands the people of his generation who stay home even if he feels compelled to vote himself. Honestly what Josh had to say reminded me a lot of the lyrics from John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change:

Now we see everything that’s going wrong

With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change
It’s hard to beat the system
When we’re standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
I do understand that feeling of apathy and helplessness and part of me occasionally wants to give in to the fatalistic voice that whispers that we are powerless to change the status quo. However, as I pointed out last night, we must fight the urge to remain uninformed and uninvolved. Young people most of all must fight the urge to let the older generations take the wheel while remaining content to sit in the back seat. I tried to explain that when young people, in this case millennials, stay home from the polls they allow the older people to make the choices for them about how the society is governed.
This year is a shining (and very current) example. Today Dylan Scott posted an article on in which he stated that,
The disparity between the under-30 and over-60 was the widest it’s been in a decade…The seniors comprised 37 percent of the electorate; young people made up 12 percent.
You guys that is a 25% difference. 
Wake up people under 30. Once upon a time you wanted to get out on your own so that no one could tell you how to live your life. Now that you are out on your own you seem content to allow others to decide what kind of country you should live in without even so much as a peep at the voting booth. How does that make any sense? How will things ever change? Why do you insist on withholding the wisdom and passion of youth from the rest of us. Make no mistake, the world (and the country) need to hear from you.
Interestingly, in Presidential election years the percentages of young and old voters are much closer together. For example, in the 2008 election there were 23% over 60 and 18% under 30. In 2012 those numbers were 25 & 19. I think this is because people perceive the presidential election to be more important even though local, state, and congressional elections often have a much bigger impact on day to day life.
I have news for you under 30s, you have way more power to affect change than you know and the establishment wants to keep it that way. When you, the younger generation realize the power you have you will shake the political world. And the world and dare I say it the United States is in desperate need of a shake up. Personally, I love the millennial generation. They are full of passion; however, they, like the rest of us, want to be inspired~want to feel there is hope. After all, without hope it is easy to despair. Despair soon turns to apathy and apathy to inaction. And inaction? Well that is what the people in power want most of all from those under 30. Why? Because those in power have it pretty good under the current system and there is no reason for them to want things to change. It is up to us, no, it is up to you to make it happen. You are our best hope.
Sadly, I think many in my generation (I’m 45), and even those older than me have given up on the dream of change. We, like you, have begun to allow the idea that we cannot affect significant change to take hold. But here is the secret. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THINGS. You can change things. I know this because I have seen it. I know this because I have experienced it. I know this because I have lived it. The problem is it will take all of us. As we discussed in the pub last night, it will take the whole generation banding together and saying, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”.
I will leave you with this, lovelies. I honestly believe the Democratic Party best aligns with the values of inclusiveness, liberty, justice and equality that this generation cares about. But if they want to have any hope of mobilizing the untapped passion and brilliance of this generation, they need to stop marginalizing, patronizing and underestimating them. They will also need to stop preaching to the over 60 choir and start speaking directly to the heart of the millennials. Honestly, I believe that if you truly get what matters to millennials and can articulate it you will be reignite the passion of the progressively minded of every generation. We want to believe change is possible too. We want to hope too. We once had the advantage of being young. George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I like to think that isn’t true. To me youth is only wasted when we fail to see its value: passion, energy, and a fresh perspective.
And now a note to the politicians, I feel I must warn you. The bullshit meters on this generation are really strong, they can spot a con job a mile away. And, when you do wake this sleeping giant you better be ready for the ground to shake under their feet.

The ordeal of progressive Christianity in America

word of a woman:

Yesterday I got to sit down for an interview with my friend Marc all the way from France! I hope you all enjoy it.

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

I recently had the immense privilege to interview the fantastic progressive Christian blogger Michelle Morr Krabill, author of the blog WordOfaWoman.

She confessed me she also has a chaotic mind so that our mutual dialog won’t necessarily be always well structured :-)


Hi Michelle, thank you so much for having joined me! Could you please tell us more about your background?
Good afternoon! Thanks for inviting me. I have a long and interesting background but I will try to give you the shortened version. When I was a very young girl my family was involved in the Methodist church. However when I was about 5 my parents became involved with The Way International. After I got married, my husband and I left the Way and kind of were on our own, occasionally meeting with other people who had left that ministry. After a few years we began…

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Rape Culture, High School Boosters, Church Fathers, and You

martinshirtDid you hear the one about the high school booster club (a group made up of parents mind you) that printed up a bunch of rapey t-shirts to amp up school spirit (and the football team)? No? Well, it happened right here in the Bible belt where I live – or is that the porn belt? – oh, I forgot, those are one and the same.

Why is that do you think?

The shirt in question, pictured above, was approved by both Bob Wager, head football coach at Martin High School and booster club president Kevin White who said that “they never considered the message on the shirt to be potentially inappropriate, with each adding that if they had they would have never allowed it to be made or worn.” This should come as no surprise to anyone. This is the problem with rape culture; the first rule of rape culture is don’t talk about rape culture. “Rape culture is a concept that examines a culture in which rape is normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.”  Normalized. That just means you don’t notice it anymore. It has become normal, like the sky being blue. You see, the attitudes and systems we were born into have people programmed to be desensitized. It has gotten so we are able to read the text on that shirt and NOT EVEN SEE that it could be read in a way that glorifies rape.

Back to the Bible belt/porn belt thing for a minute. What do you think that has to do with this entire ruckus? In a recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior titled, Do American States with More Religious or Conservative Populations Search More for Sexual Content on Google? by Canadian psychologists Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson, it states:

[W]e observed moderate-to-large positive associations between: (1) greater proportions of state-level religiosity and general web searching for sexual content and (2) greater proportions of state-level conservatism and image-specific searching for sex. These findings were interpreted in terms of the paradoxical hypothesis that a greater preponderance of right-leaning ideologies is associated with greater preoccupation with sexual content in private internet activity.

In both the 2011 and 2012 Google data sets MacInnis and Hodson studied, they also found that:

increased state religiosity was significantly associated with increased searches for sex, gay sex, porn, free porn, and gay porn.

It would seem that the Bible belt has been unbuckled and the fly is now open. Heck, the pants may even be down around the ankles.

These facts, like the normalization of rape culture are also not a surprise given that the dominant religious (predominantly evangelical) male dominated culture of the Bible belt buys in 100% to either Complementarianism (fancy Jesus speak for “Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Men are just more equal.”) or even worse, flat out patriarchy. Let me share with you a few of my favorite quotes from modern day evangelical prophets.

Now that’s one kind of situation.  Just a word on the other kind.  If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.  - John Piper

Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture. —Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill

“I don’t think a pastor can give a woman “permission” to do Bible teaching before the church, because the Bible says not to do that. Would we say a pastor, or a board of elders, could give a woman “permission” to violate the command, “You should not steal”, or to violate any other command of Scripture? No pastor or elder board has authority to give permission to anyone to disobey the Bible. It’s God’s Word and we need to obey it. – Wayne Grudem

But I still think that a woman who serves as a pastor, preaching to both men and women, is disobeying the word of God. There are always negative consequences to that. First, there will be an erosion of trust in the Bible and obedience to the Bible, generally in the congregation, because the methods of interpretation used to justify what she is doing often involve misinterpretation of scripture or eroding of the authority of scripture. – Wayne Grudem

Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. – Pat Robertson

I knew that if you married a woman when she was fifteen, she would pluck your ducks. If you waited until she was twenty, she would only pick your pockets. Now, that’s a joke, and a lot of people seem to laugh at it, but there is a certain amount of truth in it. If you can find a nice, pretty country girl who can cook and carries her Bible, now, there’s a woman. She might even be ugly, but if she cooks squirrels and dumplings, then that’s the woman you go after.”  ― Phil Robertson

The Holiness of God is not evidenced in women when they are brash, brassy, boisterous, brazen, head-strong, strong-willed, loud-mouthed, overly-talkative, having to have the last word, challenging, controlling, manipulative, critical, conceited, arrogant, aggressive, assertive, strident, interruptive, undisciplined, insubordinate, disruptive, dominating, domineering, or clamoring for power. Rather, women accept God’s holy order and character by being humbly and unobtrusively respectful and receptive in functional subordination to God, church leadership, and husbands. —James Fowler, Women in the Church, 1999

I can see your wheels turning. And you are thinking okay, but what do these guys have to do with the early “Church Fathers” ?

Well, let me tell you.

They are where all of this craziness in Christianity–and by extension the Bible belt–got it’s start. They sure as shootin’ didn’t get it from Jesus. It seems that most Christians have no idea where they get their theology about male/female relationships.

First lets hear from the Protestant reformers:

The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. —Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there. – Martin Luther

Women are ashamed to admit this, but Scripture and life reveal that only one woman in thousands has been endowed with the God given aptitude to live in chastity and virginity. A woman is not fully the master of herself. –Martin Luther

No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise. —Martin Luther

Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband….For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior. —John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten CommandementsPuritan guidebook first published in 1603

Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me….of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now. Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God. —John Wesley, founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791), letter to his wife, July 15, 1774

Yet consider now, whether women are not quite past sense and reason, when they want to rule over men. –John Calvin

Woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man. –John Knox (1505-1572)

Now lets move further back to the really early “Church Fathers”:

[For women] the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame. —Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian  

In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. —Tertullian, the “father of Latin Christianity” 

Woman is a temple built over a sewer. —Tertullian

Men should not sit and listen to a woman…even if she says admirable things, this is of little consequence, since they came from the mouth of a woman. –Origen

Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God. —Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius 

What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius

Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one. —Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)

Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. —Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century

As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. —Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century

In a world where our church fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers passed down a view of women that is so vile, so condescending and so hateful is it any wonder we don’t recognize the mistreatment of women, the use of them as a punch line, the view of them as subordinate or their position as one that men are glad they do not have to occupy as normal? Almost any man in any church in the Bible belt will tell you that he believes women are equal to men in the eyes of God. However, the proof is in the pudding and when you have a culture where porn is ubiquitous, women are seen as having the greater role in causing sexual sin, and we have become so blind that we cannot notice a statement so obviously rapey as “We take what we want…Shhh just let it happen,” it is time for us to start breaking the first rule of rape culture and start talking about it.

Beauty, Ugliness & the Meaning of Life

I began writing this post once already and the Internet ate it. For a few minutes I was quite upset as I really liked the direction the post was taking. But now that the mourning period has ended, I have decided that perhaps those words were for me and me alone, and that because of their death, the evolution of my thoughts will have new life and I will be able to communicate with greater clarity.

Just a quick note: This is not a post about Frank’s book. This is a post about Frank and Genie (This ain’t no book cult after all – see what I did there Frank?). The book is all well and good and taught me a lot, however why would you sit with your nose in a book when its author is in the room and you can speak to them face to face?


frankeddiedeens This weekend Kent and I had the rare privilege of mingling lives with Frank and Genie Schaeffer as they stayed with us in our home. They were in town to promote Frank’s most recent book,
Why I Am An Atheist Who Believes in God.
Frank Schaeffer (son of evangelical royalty,
New York Times best seller and erstwhile architect an purveyor of the Christian Coalition and the Moral majority) and his lovely wife are among the most gracious, generous, unassuming and fun house guests we have ever had the pleasure of hosting.


This post is my attempt to allow you a glimpselilacs into the joy of this weekend in the same way that Frank’s painting of lilacs can transport me to my childhood backyard and the smell of spring. While it is a mere attempt to mimic the beauty, no painting can be spring and nothing I write can take the place of having been here.



f&gFrank almost always travels without Genie, as most groups do not choose to spend the money required to purchase the extra plane ticket or they somehow do not find value in having the spouse of the speaker at their event, I do not pretend to know their reasons. However, I can tell you that Genie Schaeffer is an endlessly interesting person and if you have read any of Frank’s memoirs like Crazy for God, you already know that. Genie is a pure delight and I feel very confident that Frank would agree that she is his “secret sauce”. By that I mean that without knowing Genie, you will never truly know Frank. Without her, he is an incomplete picture, as am I, without Kent. She is his muse, his greatest love and his anchor in a stormy sea. She is, as he says, the only person who truly understands him and knows with a knowing that only comes with experience what complexities of life have made him the man I now know.


As I mentioned before, Frank was in town to promote his book, and though we only brought together a whopping 30 people at most, Frank spoke to us with all the passion of a person who was in town (as Frank was in a former life) via a flight on Jerry Falwell’s private jet to be introduced as the keynote speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention by Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. And although Frank Schaeffer has held court with many, many famous and “important” people, he was most at home on the floor of the bar where we meet, building a castle of blocks with a 6 year old little girl. Why? Because, as he says, that is what is real and important. And believe me, Anika knew she was important to Frank. You could feel it.


IMG_8752My children who are 12 and 13 also knew that they were important to Frank and Genie. Do you know why? They took the time to see them­–to focus on them. They were never an afterthought to be ignored or talked down to. That is why my daughter’s lock screen now glows with the inspiration of the picture she took with Frank. When he heard she wanted to be an actress, they spent time one on one discussing Shakespeare. Frank challenged her and connected with her over her dreams. He recommended readings and movies and agreed to Skype with her to talk more about it after she read or watched. Frequently during the weekend when I would be looking for my son, I would finally find him sitting and talking with Frank and Genie in the backyard or showing Frank funny YouTube videos and Frank calling Genie over to watch too. “You have to come and see” he would IMG_8751say. One morning I even found Frank in the driveway feeding Caedmon the basketball so he could practice his shooting. When Frank or Genie were with them, they were the only thing that mattered. It was pure magic.

As for me, this weekend was transformative. We drank wine, we broke bread and though we did not call it communion, that is what it was. We talked about beauty. We talked about art. We shared music. We spoke honest words and we shared empathy. This weekend helped me along in my evolution. After all, life is about becoming not simply having the “right ideas”.

One thing Frank did say while he was here is that he tries to look at every situation and ask “Is it beautiful or is it ugly?” Does believing it help me behave in ways that are beautiful or ugly? Does saying it, or doing it make the world a more beautiful or a more ugly place? I will tell you this, Frank and Genie Schaeffer came to visit and they made our world more beautiful.



How Many? Updated

word of a woman:

I updated this post today to reflect the additional shootings that have happened in the days since I first wrote it.

Originally posted on word of a woman:

Yesterday I posted a shocking statistic as my Facebook status. Since the Sandy Hook shooting there have been 74 87 school shootings. 74 87. Seventy-four.  Eighty-seven. That averages out to about one a week. And those are just the school shootings.We are currently on target for gun deaths to overtake automobile accidents as the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24 in 2015. WTF people? Seriously? How are we not outraged as a society? Why do we continue to elect people who show no signs of doing anything about it As President Obama said yesterday, “We’re the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it—it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this,” and, “Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up…

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