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This morning I woke feeling very lonely.  For the past several days the sense of loneliness has edged into my life from different directions.  I’m happy for my friends out of the country (or soon to be), energized for the moms with new responsibilities and challenges everyday, and interested in the things people are learning in schools and jobs and ministries around the country.  They’re just not home.  I ridicule the texting culture, for what it has done to social lives and the English language.  But the teenagers I know who text, have friends that will communicate with them at all hours.  My friends are so busy, and of my opinion about texting! 
 
There’s a different kind of loneliness, and more profound.  After all, in most circumstances, I can find people, and engage in conversation.  There’s blogging and reading blogs, usually a one-sided conversation either way.  Where I feel the impact of loneliness the most, though, is when I am surrounded by people and voices believing and advocating things with which I disagree.  Such was the case this morning. 
 
Last Friday I heard on the radio the eager rumors spreading that John McCain had selected the governor of Alaska to be his running mate.  I was excited, as I have said, to find out about Sarah Palin, to have the thrill of being the first to report facts I heard or read to the less initiated.  However, I had no intention of voting for McCain, even with this selection.  If I had agreed more with the policies of McCain, believed him to be truly pro-life and of good honest character, a man who rightly understood and upheld the Constitution, the pick of a wife and mother for Vice President would have rattled my willingness to vote for him. 
 
Since the announcement confirming her candidacy, the media has worked overtime to find information on this unknown political figure.  Naturally they choose the juiciest and most controversial items to publish first and loudest.  And I don’t want to be a part of attacking a candidate and holding them accountable for the mistakes of their family.  I do, however, wish to make a wise judgment on the capabilities of a candidate.  The way a person parents their children is an indicator of their leadership, and so facts about their level of success in raising moral and obedient children ought to be considered. 
 
Additionally, those who for years have been promoting the feminist agenda are scrambling so much for a word against Sarah Palin that they argue she ought not take such a big job as the vice presidency because she would necessarily be neglecting her five young children.  These people are using the position as an ad hominem.  I would make the case on principle, principles I have held and by which I have tried to live for years. 
 
I have a list of reasons why Sarah Palin should not be the Vice President.  Most of them have to do with being female.  Am I anti-woman?  Absolutely not.  I believe women are given a calling to be influencers and helpers rather than leaders, and that they are most effective and the people being led and influenced are better off when women fulfill that role and men are the leaders and representatives.  This is arguably the structure on which our federal representative government was founded.  That America has as of yet not wholly abandoned the model in their representative government has spoken to the preservation granted America’s morality and faith as a result of the conviction of its earliest pilgrims and statesmen.  The rest of the world has abandoned male leadership in the family and the state, simultaneously departing from a representative government and moving to a socialist mommy state system. 
 
Am I inconsistent?  No.  In the past week I have heard Palin supporters demand, “Would you tell a woman she can’t be CEO of a company because she has a family?”  Of course if I were doing the hiring, I would not hire a woman to neglect her family in order to give feminine leadership to a business.  But I have no CEO for which I am making decisions, and I do have a vote and a voice in this election.  I will not be responsible for putting Governor Palin in power, even though she is a good person. 
 
She is a good person, I believe.  Her whole life has been spent as a feminist, though, and she’s been so busy running after achievements that there has been no time to consider whether the towers of her life are built on the same worldview that she claims to believe.  McCain knew exactly what he was doing in nominating her.  If people ask me what I think of the choice, my one word answer is “Strategic.”  She is female to appeal to women, both “conservative” women and disenchanted former Hillary supporters.  At 44, her youth counters both Barak Obama’s appeal to students and twenty-somethings, and arguments that McCain is dangerously old for office.  Her experience as a governor outweighs any other executive experience offered in this campaign.  Governor Palin has a large family, and has been married (unlike McCain) to the same person her whole adult life.  By confession, she is pro-life.  Her policies as governor were fiscally responsible and pro-reform.  We all witnessed her speaking abilities Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention.  And lately the big campaign issue has been energy independence and costs, on which she has long held what recently became an astoundingly popular position. 
 
McCain, as I said, knew what he was doing.  He also knows that she is the complement to his less popular ideas.  She is, he believes, his ticket to getting conservatives to vote for him.  He is using her to manipulate us, the grass roots Republicans who have been feeling pretty abandoned in recent years.  Enjoy this campaign while it lasts; I say we’re liable to feel pretty abandoned again come February.  McCain will still be the president, proudly going his own way on his own wisdom which he has demonstrated is in opposition to some values that are very important to me.  If he was unacceptable as president before, he remains unacceptable.  Choosing Governor Palin was not a sign of a change of heart in the presidential candidate: pragmatic as ever, he was making a shrewd move to buy your vote. 
 
A great number of people have been dissatisfied with McCain as the only apparent representative of Judeo-Christian values this election cycle.  In that I did not feel lonely.  But I was surprised by an even greater number of people who put SIGNIFICANT differences aside in order to endorse, campaign for, and cheer John McCain.  All they want is to see a Republican in office rather than a democrat, rather than Barak Obama.  Acting out of fear and under manipulation, these true conservatives are willing to “Get drunk and vote for McCain,” as Ann Coulter says.  So much excitement at the Republican National Convention bodes well for the Republican ticket, and very badly for the greater of goods.  Why are people so pleased to be voting for the lesser of two evils?  Our country was founded with the opportunity to vote for the greater of many goods. 
 
So I feel lonely now, abandoned even by most of the formerly dissatisfied voters.  When I turn on talk radio, or read editorials from places like Townhall, they are filled without exception with promotions of Sarah Palin and defenses of her womanhood and parenthood.  These havens of logical thought and biblical values have begun to vehemently criticize and rile against the stand I have taken for femininity.  Though I found a handful of Christian blogs (Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, Generation Cedar, Ladies Against Feminism) sharing my views, I still feel very lonely. 
 
Those of us who agree (same position, same reasons) on the issue of women in government, have begun resigning ourselves to being radical right-wing fundamentalists.  Funny, since these values are those that were mainstream Christian tenets as little as sixty years ago.  What has happened to cause the middle ground to shift so far away from us?  Have those changes been good or bad?  (The answer to the last question depends on your standard.  If you think the goal of society is to achieve equality between men and women, the past fifty years has been very productive in the short term.  However, reality and truth will ultimately win out.  We will reap what we sow, and no amount of aiming for or pretending to equality will actually produce it.  Those who usurp the created order will end up in worse situations, even by their own standards.) 
 
My radical right-wing fundamentalist case against and concerns for Sarah Palin as vice president are as follows:
 

  • Women are created to submit.  God made the world this way, and revealed it in His word.  Evidence bears this out as true and effective.  A world in which women are in charge (much like our own) has serious inter-generational issues resulting in psychological instability and even death.  Don’t believe me?  See the next point. 
  • Sarah Palin’s pro-life example is promoted as being something abnormal.  It is abnormal according to today’s statistics, but it ought not be abnormal.  Going through with a pregnancy is not heroic.  It is natural.  The fact that millions of babies die each year legally and for convenience is a sign of decay well associated with the break down in the family and the abandonment of nurturing and education of their own children by women. 
  • Women are emotional and social by nature.  God made us to sympathize and nurture, to meet needs like hunger and shelter.  The Proverbs 31 woman even extended her hand to the poor in these areas.  When women run governments (or even participate in elections), the emphasis of government is diverted from justice and defense to social causes that ought to belong to individuals, households, and churches.  I hope that the danger to a nation with less interest in justice and defense is evident to you all. 
  • Families need moms.  Todd Palin’s family needs Sarah.  They need her to nurture and guide them, to support Todd and unburden him with household affairs that he may fulfill his role as man, husband, and father.  As possible evidence of the effect of Sarah’s feminist choices so far, her seventeen year old daughter rebelled against her parents’ principles and became pregnant out of wedlock.  There is forgiveness for that, and the Palins are offering it.  There ought also to be support and direction, restoration of the young woman.  Who is offering that? 
  • Along the same lines, the Palin family has utterly sacrificed their privacy.  The youngest daughter, Piper, seems to be enjoying the life of a celebrity, waving like a little movie star and smiling shyly at cameras, all while trying to help with her baby brother.  Child stars have rough lives.  How healthy is it to expose the good and bad and neutral choices of all to the critical eye of the media and public?  Is blame for any hurt to be laid entirely on the public?  I don’t think so.  As I said before, the conduct of children is an indicator of the responsibility of a parent.  The Bible requires the children of deacons and elders to be obedient and under control.  Why is this except that the behavior of children is relevant to the leadership of the parent? 
  • As a member of “Feminists for Life,” Sarah Palin is promoting circular reasoning.  Feminism promotes abortion – yes, inherently.  When women are made to believe that work and public achievement is as valid a goal if not more so than being a wife and a mom, children are robbed of their high and exclusive place in the attention of women.  Once devalued, the slope is slippery in leading to abortion.  Also women who deny that God created them fundamentally to be wives and mothers will be much more tempted to use their sexuality in immoral ways.  Promoting abstinence and abstinence education as she does, Sarah Palin is being inconsistent with the values of feminism, which asserts choice above goodness. 
  • Sarah Palin, by being a mayor, a governor, and a vice presidential candidate, is promoting feminism, a fundamentally anti-God, counter-biblical philosophy, to an emerging generation of young women. 
  • Though she is forty four, Governor Palin just gave birth to a baby boy.  At such an age that was considered a high risk pregnancy, and the risks were produced in a handicapped child.  For these reasons, Todd and Sarah may already have plans to prevent future fertility.  Is this biblical?  Surely their decision will also be influenced by the difficulties of pregnancy while holding public office.  Is that fair? 
  • What if she does get pregnant, then, while vice president of the United States?  It isn’t as though she can appoint a regent, or take a maternity leave.  She already risked Trig during her last pregnancy by taking an airplane three days before her due date and returning home in labor during the flight.  No doubt there would be more obligations to fulfill than a voluntary speech, were she vice president. 
  • John McCain betrayed his first wife for Cindy (his wife of nearly thirty years now), a beautiful woman twenty years his junior.  Now he has voluntarily chosen a woman he named his “soul mate” to serve in intense team situations, who is beautiful and ten years younger than his wife, Cindy.  Granted, he’s in his seventies.  Isn’t this playing with fire? 
  • The vice president has some specific jobs granted by the Constitution, and most of Sarah Palin’s qualifications have little to do with the responsibilities enumerated there.  She would, if elected, be first in line to the presidency behind a man whose health and age give reason to believe in its frailty.  And a vice president is offered a position of counsel to the president.  How much he depends on her views will be entirely up to him.  What I’m saying is that all of Sarah Palin’s conservative values may be wasted on the vice presidency, should John McCain choose to ignore them. 
  • What is Todd Palin supposed to do?  There are many conflicts between his position as head of the household and her aspired-to role as second in command in the United States.  I think he would be expected to move to Washington, D.C., and take care of the kids and grandchild.  And certainly the couple discussed the possibilities before his wife accepted the nomination.  But I think that for him to defer to his wife as leader would be wrong, and for the kids to be given almost entirely to the care of the father and professionals would be unhealthy. 
  • Finally, just as I find it confusing and isolating that liberals wish to attack Palin on the same grounds that cause concern in me, the double appeal to evangelicals and Hillary feminists is suspicious.  Are our standards so low that we can agree with Hillary supporters on a candidate whose qualifications and expectations are deep and varied?  Can a stream give fresh and salt water? 
     

The loneliness I feel saddens me.  So much of our world is suffering.  First of all this is because our world needs the gospel.  Life comes from Jesus, who died as substitute for us, who have earned the wrath of God for our sins.  Repentance from sin is the solution to these problems.  There is also common grace given to those who function in the world as God designed.  They sow and reap, for God made the earth to yield harvest in that way.  They marry and bear children, for God created humans that way.  Yet our world suffers because we are too foolish even to acknowledge the way the world properly works.  In our mass rebellion against all things instituted by God, we have cut the floor out from under ourselves.  I see everywhere hurting people, people who have no imagination that there is anything better than the existence they have experienced.  I speak up today to direct people back to some of the principles by which God created society to work.  As always, I pray that my words will direct people to the wise God who loved us even while we rebelled against His ways and Himself.  How marvelous.  That is the only hope I have for our nation.  It is the hope I cling to for myself. 
 
To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Everyone is talking about Sarah Palin. I’ll admit that I was incredibly excited to wake up to the news of the surprise pick. Partly this is because I was dreading any of the popular names people had been predicting. There is hope in the unknown. (Such is my life.) Anyway, excited is not always a positive thing. Friday offered a lot to discover, and more to discuss. Comparing coverage between news stations was interesting.

After about fifteen minutes of consideration, I realized what a genius choice she was. Some people have actually ridiculed John McCain for making a choice that merely meets everything he needs strategically. Think about it. Disillusioned Hillary supporters wanted to vote for a woman. Now they can. Younger voters who related to Obama have a young candidate on the other side. Pro-lifers can cling to the touching anecdote of Governor Palin’s decision to give birth to her fifth child who has Down’s Syndrome – for my part I think this is a horrible testimony to the perspective of Americans that we think it is exceptional when a woman chooses NOT to abort. The big-family crowd is appeased because she knows what it’s like to have a big family. Those who have been skeptical about the lack of executive experience in prospective presidents are relieved to hear she’s been a mayor, a governor, and a MOM. For once there is no scandal in her marriage. She’s pro-gun, appealing to the constitutional conservatives that McCain sometimes forgets. Her face looks good on a campaign ad. She’s graceful. And she has a record of winning elections in unconventional circumstances.

Never mind her actual qualifications for doing the actual job of a vice president. Sarah Palin is the choice McCain made to get into the White House. After that they’ll manage.

And never mind the strange consistency of these conservative, pro-life, pro-family Americans that John McCain has once again proven are beyond his experience and comprehension. A less obvious mistake than Obama’s “above my pay grade” answer to the beginning of life question in a Southern Baptist sanctuary, McCain failed to realize that we disgruntled conservatives prefer to vote for men. We prefer men to be willing and able to lead. And we believe strongly that women, especially those with families, need to be home with their families, coming alongside their husbands even more than their communities, country, or president.

Voddie Baucham expresses my concerns very well. In fact all this writing has just been to introduce his essay on the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin: Did McCain Make a Pro-Family Pick?. So you have to click the link and read it.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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My oldest younger sister’s birthday was last week, but my dad was in Texas (of all places in this heat!) on business, unexpectedly there a week longer than planned.  So she made the decision to put off her celebration until he got back.  We left the presents in our living room, wrapped and ready, with a mylar balloon and everything (good thing they’re long lasting!).  If you could see our living room, you would feel the oppression of the reduced space. 
 
Last night my dad finally got home, and so today we celebrated.  And we were informed by the birthday girl, with some indignation at our lack of memory, that today is the day my sister was due to be born, though she had the presumption to arrive over a week early.  So instead of Happy Birthday, our greetings are: “Happy Due Date Day.”  Say it.  The phrase is rather fun. 
 
Since I’m all about extra reasons for celebration, I thought that I might take up the custom.  There should be some special happening on one’s Due Date Day, don’t you think? 
 
On a side note, my sister has the smallest room in our house.  She has filled it with furniture and shoes, including a bunk bed not of twin size, but full.  Imagine our bewilderment when one of her requests on her birthday wish list was a couch.  Indeed.  A couch.  And while I was at camp, she actually got one.  She removed the matress from her bottom bunk and maneuvered a couch beneath the top bunk, so she has her own little loft apartment in there, now complete with a refrigerator as well as a TV and a laptop.  Her genius for maximizing space is incredible. 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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I finished a couple books that I haven’t reviewed yet.  One was by G.K. Chesterton, a genius who despised Protestants without ever really disagreeing with them.  Ok, but that’s not why I was reading him.  He wrote about marriage, home, and family, with great common sense.  Sometimes we say insight, and we mean something little.  I want to say prophetic in that intangible, surreal sense, but that’s strange.  He got into an issue and saw outside of it so that he could make points that should be so obvious, but none of the rest of us could see because we were busy arguing the points the wrong people were making to distract us from our strongest case.  So that was good, and beautiful, and challenging. 
 
Side note here to transition into the next book review.  I love reading books because they inspire me, make me think, or challenge me.  Books, unlike the majority of people I know, will tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I ought to do.  This is why I read books about relationships.  Maybe I’ll be burned by thinking I have all the answers, but in the mean time it makes me want to live a life preparing for the ideal romance and marriage – if I could just figure out what ideal was.  And for the moment, I have no firm idea of what an ideal man looks like to me either.  I think I have to meet him.  It’s like The Witch of Blackbird Pond says: Kit had to stop planning and start waiting.  The reason was, she would find out, a lot of these details are not a lady’s to figure, but the gentleman’s.  Letting other people make the decisions when they affect you is hard, but relaxing.  I did a lot of that this week. 
 
So I did just finish The Witch of Blackbird Pond, making a whole two books I’ve read with “Witch” in the title.  The first was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a book that my mom probably first read to me, and then I read it.  When your mom gives you a book as a kid, you think there could be nothing wrong with it.  That’s a good reason for rereading books when you’re smarter.  (So many people like CS Lewis, but his theology wasn’t always biblical; he never bothered to study the Bible, I think.)  Anyway, I would never have picked up this book either, but for a friend recommending it and saying how real the characters were.  It came from my library’s young adult section, which I think is sad because adults are not encouraged to read these really good books that would do them more good than they do kids.  It was short, though, so it would have looked strange next to the three hundred page hardbacks in the adult section. 
 
I’d say the book is about making choices, and the freedom that comes from doing the right thing even when you don’t understand what’s going on.  And it has to do with contentment and waiting and hard work.  I see my friend, who recommended the book, in the pages.  It’s the kind of thing she would like and live – and the kind of thing I would like and try to live. 
 
So some people think I’m perfect.  I don’t know what I have to do to convince them I’m not.  What’s more, they think I’ll despise them for their weaknesses or desires.  All my life I’ve determined not to forget who I was and what it was like to be younger.  For example, I remember how very serious everything was in my life, and how sure I was of my ideas, and even now it isn’t so much that I was wrong as that I didn’t see the whole picture.  I desperately wanted someone to help me out with the big picture, but I guess not enough because I wouldn’t ask anyone.  This to say that I wanted to remember feeling those things so that I could relate to young people.  And I never wondered how I would clue kids in that I knew: that I hadn’t forgotten, that even though I’m not entirely normal, I had some of the universal experiences. 
 
I think of some of my friends not so much as perfect, but as good.  They love Jesus and they are willing to make right choices – the kind that don’t radically mess up their lives – but they struggle with the choices, and sometimes fail.  My friend who likes Blackbird Pond is one of those.  And now that I think about it, that’s probably one of the things I’m looking for in the man I’ll marry: that he’ll be good (but as Anne says, with the capability of wickedness which he denies) but struggle, and sometimes fail.  I’ve never loved a person before I knew some of their faults.  Weird, huh? 
 
So even novels I read, even the romantic ones that send me to long drives talking to God about waiting and “Where is he?” – are challenging.  Because The Witch of Blackbird Pond was about waiting and serving and looking at what is and what I can do instead of what might be or isn’t and what I can’t do (yet), and because it came packaged in a daydreamy story, I’m inspired.  Now if only I wasn’t so exhausted from a trip across two time zones… 
 
And the number one question on my mind is what to read next.  Seriously, I have a stack.  But I didn’t have to tell you that again, did I? 
 
Hey – in case you’re one of those people who thinks I’m perfect, I’m going to confess.  Maybe I should have confession Fridays or something.  = )  How’s that for a blog series?  Anyway, we were at the beach and I was feeling dreadful, but our group was taking pictures, and as I threw down my hat and jacket on the sand, I exclaimed that I had no idea how I looked, and asked a dear friend if I looked beautiful.  The other night she’d told me I did when I, a reflection recently refreshed in my memory, did not think so.  But honestly.  How immodest.  To beg for flattery even just privately from her would have been wrong.  In front of everyone?  Arg.  Not perfect.  Proud.  Vain.  Immodest.  Quick-tongued.  Self-focused.  Didn’t do personal devotions all week either.  I thought it was ok, and it was in an anti-legalist sense, but I think it would have helped to hear from Jesus. 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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