Don’t ask me if you can marry my daughter.

purityballMy husband never asked my father’s permission to marry me. We also didn’t ask for his blessing. Not only that, I have a feeling if Kent would have asked him he would have said it wasn’t his decision to make.

Because it wasn’t.

It was mine. My life was mine to join to someone else’s. My future was in my hands. My heart was mine to give.

Once Kent and I decided that we were going to get married we told both my parents together. Simple.

My parents, wise as they are, knew that even though they had given me life, raised me and protected me, they did not have ownership of my heart and could not give the naming rights to whomever they chose as if I were a sports arena. They knew that even though they had dreams for me, and thoughts about how my life would turn out, those were not necessarily my dreams for myself. They knew that they had raised me to be independent, wise and trustworthy and they knew that they had given me more and more freedom to make choices, to try and fail and to try and succeed. They knew that if at some point I found the one person I wanted to give my heart to, that they had already done what they could to help me make the best choice. They knew that if I wanted advice I would ask them for it. And I did. Plenty. But they also knew, lovelies, that it was my decision to make. My heart. My future. My life. My choice.

Recently the topic of so called “Purity Balls” (hee hee) has been back in the news. (I think maybe because it is spring? Not really sure. Is that when these things traditionally take place? Or possibly on Father’s Day (um, ewww)? Thank God I don’t know from first hand experience.) The first ball was put on by the Wilson family in Colorado Springs in 1998. Randy Wilson is a field director for the Family Research Council, which was originally part of Focus on the Family until 1992. The recent Nightline feature which ran March 22nd, featured Randy Wilson, Ron Johnson, the Pastor of Living Stones Church in Indiana and their daughters. Johnson, is quoted in the program as saying to the young women (who typically range in age from 9-14),  “You keep this [ring] on your finger and as this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” Seriously? Seriously? Does this creep anyone else the eff out?

The Balls, according to Wilson’s Generations of Light web page, now take place in 48 states. The ceremonies themselves resemble wedding receptions. The fathers give the daughters a ring (often they wear a ring themselves that they later gift to the future husband at the wedding), there is a father daughter dance, the girls wear white dresses and the father and daughter exchange pledges. The amazing thing to me is that these balls are considered “godly” events by their participants.

On Saturday night I shared this story with my Dad. He was disgusted and appalled and I thank God every day that I was raised by a father (and mother) who respected me as an individual, and never believed it was his job to be my “boyfriend” and who never taught me that I, individually, was to be married to Jesus. Ewwwwwww.

I am proud to say, my husband and I are carrying on the proud tradition my parents started. We are our daughter’s parents, we are raising her to be strong, brave, independent, discerning and trustworthy. When the time comes I hope we don’t know about her proposal before she does. If her future spouse does come to us first, I know exactly what I will say, “She is not mine to give. Her heart is her own. You will need to ask her. It is her choice.”

 

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Guest Blog: Why I Need to Go to “Church” on Sunday

1540494_10151980790463387_1120622399_oToday’s post is by my incomparable husband Kent Krabill. Enjoy.

I have read all the blogs, and I get it. I get that the church is about much more than going to an event called “church” on Sunday. It is much more than a meeting where we sing and pray and give and listen to a sermon and take of communion. It is a living, breathing, spiritual body of people. I get it. And I also get that I don’t have to go to the event called “church” on Sunday to be a committed follower of Christ. In fact, I get it so much that as one of the pastors of the church I attend, I voted, along with the other pastors, to eliminate regular Sunday gatherings.

With that said, I need to go to church on Sunday. Really, I do. And it isn’t because the music gives me a certain feeling, or the preaching is fantastic, or it is a quick and simple way to ease my guilt. Nope, it is simpler than that. I need to know, on a regular basis, that I belong to a movement of people who are dedicated to loving God and caring for others.

I need to know that those people are committed to something bigger than themselves. And when I see people gather on Sunday morning, when they could be sleeping in or lazily enjoying a cup of coffee on the couch, I know, even if just for an hour, they are committed to something bigger than themselves.

I need to know they recognize that God is worthy of regular worship. And when I stand with others and sing songs to Jesus, it helps me see that, although this is simply one way of expressing our devotion to and adoration of our God, there is magic and wonder and peace when humanity joins together to praise their creator.

I need to know others are sacrificing along with me. And when I see people dropping their hard-earned money in the offering box, I know that, at least in a small way, they are trying to sacrifice a little for others.

I need to know that others are committed to learning more about Jesus and how we are to follow him and love our neighbors. And when I see people listening to someone share out of the Scriptures, I know they are attempting to learn, to grow, to evolve.

I need to know that others are with me in my brokenness and my belief that Jesus is going to make everything right. And when I see others line up and eat the bread and drink the wine or juice, I see that they are broken and placing their faith in the same person I am.

Each of these rituals are imperfect. And how could they be otherwise? It is us, after all, who are performing them. But for me, at least, there is beauty and hope and comfort in all the imperfection.

I need to go to church on Sunday. Why? So I can be reminded, on a regular basis, that I belong. That others are committed to something bigger than themselves. That others recognize that God is worthy of regular worship. That others are sacrificing for their neighbors. That others are committed to learning about Jesus and attempting to learn, grow, and evolve. That others are broken and believe Jesus is going to fix everything.

Yep. I need to go to church on Sunday.

In which [love looks like] a real marriage

I am out of town this week and am reblogging some favorite stuff from the web while I spend time with my family at the happiest place on earth! See you on the other side.

Today’s installment comes to you from Sarah Bessey and was originally posted on 1/4/12.

There haven’t been too many marriage books or sermons that sound like what we have together.  But that’s okay – we don’t mind that. We’re used to being a bit out of step with what every one tells us to do.

It’s been nearly thirteen years since we fell in love, slow-dancing and kissing on the backroads of Tulsa, two teenagers crazy in love. Nearly eleven years since I ran down a chapel’s tiled aisle to you and nothing in our life looks the way that we thought it would or should because it’s all better than that, our dreams were too small, weren’t they?
You make me laugh and you make me think hard and new, your eyes follow only me when we walk through a crowded room, we can have entire conversations using just our eyebrows and the corner of my mouth, we laugh about how tired we are sometimes. We have gone to the high places and the low places, crossed the deserts, gained and lost and still we are dancing.
You have forgiven me when I could not forgive myself for how I had hurt you. I have held you up when you were sinking in the mires, praying joy into you. We are not perfect and sometimes, oh, I know we infuriate each other but there is that bone-deep knowing that we, this, all of it, is meant to be.
So this is what we do, we make each other better at being ourselves, better at being like Jesus, we slow-dance, my head on your heart, your breath in my hair, your hands on my wider-than-they-used-to-be hips, our feet slower perhaps because we’re moving together.
Sometimes the questions people ask or judgments they imply can make us chuckle, don’t they, my darling?
Well, who is in charge here?
We are.
Yes, but if push comes to shove, who is the leader
We are.

But then who is the spiritual head of your home?
Only Jesus.
It’s a slow-dance still, isn’t it, my luv? You lead and I lead, we are both following His music, no hierarchy here. We move together, one body, all for intimacy and beauty, the dance of lovers that know every curve and lean into the unknown parts with full trust in the hands they hold.
I trust you completely, with every bit of our life, not because I must, not because any book commands it, not because God told me to submit, but because you earned it by loving me. And the thing that amazes some people is that you feel the same way for me, honoured among women, we submit to each other because we follow Him, we both practice playing second fiddle.
When it comes to the end, we both bear the responsibility for this love affair, for our family, for the work that we are both called to do and the love we are meant to spill out to show the God we know as Love.
You follow when I step out to a new place and I know when to slide into your new turn as a shadow and you lead us both through but usually, it’s just us, always us, trusting each other’s heart for the other, moving seamlessly, together.
It’s our embrace masquerading as a dance, our real marriage, accomplishing only loving as a picture of grace drawing near.

10 reasons why i’m an advocate for women’s liberation

I am out of town this week and am reblogging some favorite blogs from the last couple weeks while I spend time with my family at the happiest place on earth! See you on the other side.

Today’s installment comes to you from Kathy Escobar and was originally published 3/9/12. Enjoy.


yesterday was international women’s day.  and like usual, i’m always a little late to the party.  some people think i’m a broken record when it comes to women’s equality. i’m glad. i want to use my voice & hands & feet in any small ways i can to shift the tides of inequality & injustice that strip the dignity of women.

here’s why i’m pro-woman, pro-equality, pro-liberation-of-half-the-population:

1. i think Jesus was.  every interaction Jesus had with women was to set them free and lift their burdens of bondage.  and he said we were supposed to be like him.  i don’t know why the church built on his name has done the exact opposite; it still baffles me.

2. women’s wisdom will make the world better.   it’s said that the same way of thinking  that got us into our problems can’t get us out.  it’s time for some new minds & hearts to get in the mix so that more creative, peaceful, collaborative solutions can be considered in our families, cities, churches, ministries, and organizations.

3. it’s good for men, too.  i don’t want things to shift to women on top & men beneath them, either.  i’m pro-equality.  our freedom is tied up together. when we learn how to be equals, alongside one another as partners, brothers & sisters, teammates, and friends, it reflects God’s image in all kinds of beautiful ways.

4.  the church should be the leader of restoring dignity and equality, instead of dragging along behind.  so i may not be able to change the whole big church but i can play my part in cultivating equality & freedom in our little one.

5. others need us to fight for their freedom.  many can’t fight.  we have liberties others don’t.  our freedom is all tangled up together.  if we stay stuck, others stay stuck. if we get free, we can participate in setting others free, too.

6.  i have to look in my daughter’s eyes.  i have a responsibility to do whatever i can to make sure she has every opportunity she deserves inside & outside of the church.  i can’t tolerate someone telling her she is less because of her gender.

7.  i have to look in my son’s eyes, all 4 of them.  they deserve equal partners who will show up, and participate in relationship instead of remain silenced and diminished.  they deserve to be set free of the bondage of male stereotypes that limit and damage.

7.  yeah, the next generation needs us.  we can’t leave them hanging.  we have to keep paving the way, like the brave men & women before us, to make their path less & less bumpy.

8.  when we are silent, we stand on the side of the oppressor. it’s easier to play nice. it’s easier to follow the status quo.  it’s easier to stick with the crowd and keep supporting churches & the media & systems that strip dignity and freedom.  but when we do, we condone inequality and align with oppression.

9.  we must be the change we want to see.   i can’t sit around waiting for the church to change.  the kingdom isn’t going to drop out of the sky.  God uses people to change the world.

10.  freedom isn’t just a bigger cage.  liberation means full freedom in Christ, not just lesser-oppression.

happy international women’s day, one day late.

may we keep playing our part in liberation.

what about you?  what motivates you to keep advocating for freedom?