I must sing my joy

T.W.O. works hard to provide a roof and food for us, for our livestock and poultry, and for our household employees.  He even finds the time to lift big and post gains, when not indulging in other bagatelles.

I often feel frustrated, but it’s only because I have to complete the progression from planning 36 hours per day of work to planning merely ten.

I write about problems online because I have the resources, support and love to talk about them and occasionally make it to discussing possible solutions and strategies for coping when solutions aren’t possible or feasible.

I do what women have always done when they have that privilege.  And I rejoice in the fact that I get to be one of those women when my ancestors (of both Nordic and Negro sides, quiet as that’s kept) were often the women providing the means for other women to do so.

The Pornographic Missing Stair Shaped Elephant in the Marital Bed

I have a half-finished post briefly outlining that men bringing pornography consumption into their marriages has been part of American married life since World War II.  This of course goes against the narrative that men are “driven” to seek out pornography because mean mean wives are withholding sex as a tool of control and dominance.  But the historical evidence is on the side of the man bringing the habit into the marriage and retroactively blaming the wife when the sex life goes awry.

“Missing Stair” is a reference from a promoter of deviant sexuality discussing the shocking fact that when you devote your free time to obsessively pursuing a sexual fetish, the subculture you create attracts predators and abusers like flies to fresh manure.  The missing stair is the way that the subculture coalesces around the abusers to work around their abusive tendencies and still keep pursuing the other forms of deviance as a group.

This working around a bad actor can occur outside the world of sexually deviant subcultures, and it does occur in settings that are not themselves “missing stairs” to the culture at large.

Which brings me to this post.  Pornography is a huge elephant in the room regarding sexual marriage dynamics and pretending it’s harmless or trivial because “it’s just pictures/video” illustrates just how deep the corruption and protection of evil to feed unrepentant depravity goes.

One of the issues with 2016 marriages is that they involve men and women who came of age just as pre-teen pornography exposure became something that was easy to do accidentally and very easy to do intentionally.

From the male side, when men are exposed from age 9 or 10 to frequent graphic sexual imagery of women, it’s disorienting at best for them to step outside and go to a shop.  The female store clerk isn’t…behaving correctly.  Neither are the women chatting to each other by the cereal aisle wearing the…right clothing.  Or…behaving correctly.  And forget talking to a girl, it’s almost offputting because she just isn’t behaving according to what you are used to women doing constantly for hours per day in multiple browser windows and screens.

And this is at best.  Many men respond to this disorientation by resenting or even hating regular women for not acting like erotic automata.

Christian ministries around pornography are trying to grapple with something that is in some ways more serious than regular brothel visits or having a mistress.  The ladies in the brothel and the mistresses are, after all, actual women who will slip up and act normally sometimes in the course of things.

The missing stair here is of course the idea that the plastic unreality of the porn women is safer, less sinful, perhaps even not a sin within a marriage.  I certainly hope one might see the problem with this reasoning.  Women doing that sort of thing are at best having natural feminine impulses distorted all out of human recognition and reduced to strange and increasingly perverse transactional assaults on the senses.  And at worst they’re being drugged and physically coerced into participation.

Any Christian man saying that some women should exist in this plastic evil world so some men can pretend their wives are the obstacle to an ordered and chaste married sex life is promoting sin and evil and maneuvering around an entire missing staircase of sin.

Gene Stratton-Porter and me, Introduction and the Song of the Cardinal

I have been working on several approaches to talking about the writing of Gene Stratton-Porter, one of the most fascinating and idiosyncratic American writers of the early 20th century.  I clearly can’t write reviews, so I’ll just talk about her fictional oeuvre.

She loved nature and was purely self-taught, not even finishing high school.  She wrote romantic fiction novels often called “sentimental” these days so that her publishers would let her put out the nature books.  Her fiction is mostly available in ebook form, so I’ve read nearly all of it that way, but I haven’t purchased the picture books or her later in life religious work and poetry.  She was very influential in the nature-worship sort of Christianity that one can see little strands of through the decades in America.  It is part of the frontier mythos.

She was one of the many intense, idiosyncratic women of the frontier generations who wielded a huge influence on American feminine culture that got memoryholed by both liberal and conservative sides of the aisle.  She is currently only known for being omgraciss in one of her later fictional books (which is super awesome and funny and has AMAZING recipes, and in which anti-Japanese sentiment is one minor subplot) and for being a nature-lover who saved vast tracts of her beloved Indiana swamps and forests.  She died unexpectedly in 1924 in her early 60s when her car was hit by a trolley.

But this post will be about her first official fiction book, which doesn’t even feature a human couple being romantic.  (She published something else anonymously, but I haven’t read it and I like to read things in publishing order, and it wasn’t published under her name until after her death).

  • The Song of the Cardinal (1903).  It’s a short little novella length story of a young cardinal looking for love.  It’s also about the animals and plants she adored in her native Indiana, and about people having love for the wild things and protective feelings towards them as they try to farm the land but also keep safe spaces for the wild things.  It is very charming and is a word picture of what later became her preferred work, elaborate nature books with excellent photos and illustrations.  It’s interesting that she started out this way, with the love story being between two young cardinals.  It allows her to get highly descriptive about their lifecycle (and accurate too), and she begins to introduce the humans as people bonded to nature, almost like nature spirits.  She straddles that line between pagan sentiment and Christian faith and this is a major ongoing detail of her work.  In this early work, she doesn’t tip over too much, possibly because she’s talking about animals as the main protagonists, with the people as observers.

The Poison Red Pill, Mother-in-law edition

One of the reasons I am no fan of “Red Pill Women” is their blithe disregard for historical social norms around family relationships while claiming to have rediscovered “Red Pill Truths”.

This post is a case in point.  My responses are in bold

A friend of mine lives with her son, daughter in law, and their two kids aged 4 and the younger is 8 months, both boys. They have the average blue pill life going, and while they are frantically trying harder and harder to work the script, it’s just not working.

They both have better than average jobs. They live in a ritzy neighborhood in a brand new house they just built. They drive brand new cars, wear name brand everything, and from all outside appearances they are a success. Living the American dream.

Except it’s really a house of cards. The couple spends every penny they have and then some. They are fortunate to have my friend living there and taking care of the kids, the cooking, and the cleaning in exchange for room and board because if they did not have that, they would be thousands even more underwater a month than they are.

The blogger “Red Pill Girl” (who is in her 40s) is friends with a mother in law (husband’s mother) who is serving as full time live in household help.  This is important.

Despite this they are busy spending, spending, spending anyway. Planning a two week vacation to Hawaii. Buying a boat. Impressing their friends with their latest and greatest aquisitions.

But the cracks are beginning to show. He confessed to his mother that he hates his life, feels trapped, wants to run away to Hawaii and leave it all behind. He’s even hinted at suicidal thoughts, feeling he is in over his head and despite working 60 hours a week, just can’t get ahead.

This is a classic unhealthy dynamic between an adult son and his mother.  This kind of thing isn’t supposed to be for your mother once you’re a married man.  There used to be broad social norms about how this was inappropriate for his mother to dish to her friend “Red Pill Girl” that Red Pill Girl would have been very aware of and nipped in the bud.

His wife shows little interest in her children, leaving the majority of their care to her mother in law. She pops pain pills and laxatives and despite being rail thin worries that she’s fat. She’s constantly going to doctors, insisting something is wrong, but they can’t seem to figure it out. (I wonder if she tells them about the pills? That may be the problem…) She works in a medical office as an assistant, but she says she wants to do something else, from home, but she doesn’t know what or take any steps to make it happen.

We are not told how interested the wife was in having her husband’s mother move in and take a role as a backup wife, but Red Pill Girl is very quick to note the wife’s lack of child caring as a negative, along with presenting her hypochondria in a negative light and not at all connecting it with the fact that the mother in law does everything house-related, making a point to leave absolutely nothing to her son’s wife except fretfulness and discontent.  The wife is in a bind.  If she’s at home too, what’s the utility for mother in law now?  As long as mother in law makes wife feel constantly insecure and desperate for identity via work, she can continue to be the main woman in her son’s life.  Notice that mother in law makes no suggestions or offers support to getting wife into a work at home position.  And mother in law apparently is too busy talking smack about her son’s wife to her friend to include the wife in the running of the household.

Yesterday, a box arrives in the mail from Blue Apron. Despite the fact that my friend is a gourmet cook who makes everything from scratch, even putting entire meals together ready to just put in the oven and bake, the daughter-in-law decides what they really “need” to make life worth is this dinner in a box that all her friends are doing.

I suppose it’s convenient, it all comes packed together, just what you need, ready to assemble into a “home cooked” meal. But that convenience is expensive, about $40 a day and she’s signed up to get 6 dinners a week. The amount of packaging is another issue, there is an incredible amount of waste associated with keeping all the fresh ingredients cold and protected in transit. All that — trash.

Gee, the wife desperately flails at something she can do for her family that mother in law can’t and isn’t familiar with and she still gets sneered at for doing “what her friends are doing”…by her mother in law’s friend.  Hm.  Interesting.  Also note the complaints about expense when both parents work outside the home and don’t have free time, just income and credit access.  And a mother in law very set on maintaining her role as the household manager and lady of the house instead of the actual lady of the house.

I would predict this couple will soon crash head first into some serious financial problems, and their marriage likely will not survive. Another broken family, thanks to the blue pill. I hope not but all signs say they are hell bent on barreling down this path right toward their doom. Sad.

My friend advised her son, “Finish the landscaping around the house and then SELL IT. Get out from under all this mess and live a simpler life and be happy.”

I hope he listens….

The reason I picked this tale of a dishy, manipulative mother in law to discuss the problems with Red Pill thinking is that this entire post is presented to us by the mother in law’s friend as *#(%@)%)% “Blue Pill Problems”.  What colored pills have to do with your mother in law moving in and taking over your house is apparently not on the radar of this Red Pill Woman.  That is, this has very little to do with sexual dynamics of the normal sort.  And in times past, let’s call them Blue Pill days of yore, what this mother in law was doing to undermine the household and marriage would be considered socially unacceptable and she would be judged poorly for it by other women, not lauded as some kind of saint.  

What’s going on here is well known as a mother-in-law problem and there are several different approaches by culture for dealing with pushy and domineering mother in laws, but when one is blinded by the poison of Red Pill thinking, it’s impossible to see the actual problems that family has (as presented in this post from a third party) and instead it all becomes about how the husband is too beta and the wife just isn’t submitting enough.  Which is not quite what the problem is there.  

In which the blogger Deep Strength illustrates my points about exercise, health and idolatry

Apparently when I reblogged his post, wordpress interpreted it as a comment on his post, and so I got a response notification.  Having finally had a chance to look it over, I’m going to blog the comment, because it so perfectly illustrates all the points I already blogged and noted.

My responses are in bold, since he’s fisking my commentary.

And as usual, TPC proves my point by making random assumptions that aren’t true.

Another Christian falling prey to the idea that lifestyle-identity is great when it’s also idolatry.

Healthy living is now an idol. You heard it here first.

Yes the phrase “healthy lifestyle” is correlated with idolatry in the form of identifying with something that doesn’t require a distinct identity in the first place.  Pursuing more physical activity and eating wholesome foods should not be labelled “healthy lifestyle” because that is a consumerist view of the matter, which should be holistic for us Christians.

Going to a gym is not the only possible healthy lifestyle and the entire concept of healthy lifestyle is consumerist, not Christian. Living a life where physical activity is just part of life is the historical human norm and wealth means most people now have to spend money to live that way. But sneering at them for not adopting that particular mode of consumption (which in the case of this blogger happens to be self-serving “I work in the fitness industry”) is not exactly Christian or loving.

What consumption?
Gym membership? It’s certainly easy to work out at home. I’ve done it for years before.

It’s not easy to work out at home if you’re exhausted from a 3 hour roundtrip commute.  Or four kids under age 6.  Or taking care of your husband’s father with dementia and three kids under 5.  Or any number of other typical examples of what Christian families face as obstacles to working out even at home.  And that’s not getting into equipment (how to afford it and where to put it), since bodyweight exercises alone are not remotely enough to maintain physical capabilities into old age. Funny how these single men with no responsibilities always say the same old thing about how it’s soooooooo easy.  Yes, if you devote yourself to your idol, you mysteriously have plenty of time to spend worshipping your temple-body. 
Nutrition? It’s easy to buy cheap healthy foods if you look for sales, use your local co-op, and buy cheap starches like rice and potatoes. Eating junk food may be slightly more expensive at best, and is definitely more expensive in the long run when you run into health problems.

Cheap nutritious food requires a lot of cooking time, time which can’t be spent exercising and often not child-caring for the Christian SAHMs who tend to carry a little extra around.  People who home cook are sometimes quite fat despite using fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.  And speaking of making random false assumptions, notice how Deep Strength is quick to assume I support or think people have to have junk foods, and how he also assumes a false binary between “junk food” and “cheap healthy food”.  He also assumes a co-op is readily available all over the country, in every county, city and town, which is a completely false assumption.  Most conservative Christian married couples with children (the people I am primarily concerned with and a big part of the group “Christians” Deep Strength was saying hatehatehate eating decently and being physically active) do not live where they have access to a co-op for food purchases in bulk.  

And I am not going to delve into the bitter hilarity of this single guy handwaving the logistics of shopping with little kids for bargains as “easy”.  

 
Ah, yes, working in the fitness industry is now “self serving.” I see where this is going.

Instead of “working in the fitness industry” helping people near him do more physical activity in their daily lives without going to a gym would be another option.

Already give free nutrition and training advice to those in the Church that ask for it.

“I hector people who need real solutions about how it’s super easy to work out and eat cheap nutritious food and then pat myself on the back for a job well done.  Wait, isn’t that what you said I did, but I got mad about the way you put it?”

Get back to us when you’re doing shopping trips, meal planning and cooking for the people who ask you for help.  Or when you’re giving them free personal training and spotting on equipment.  Or lending out exercise equipment you’ve moved beyond or aren’t currently using.  Or opening your home for people to come work out in, which is something that happens among men who don’t write screeds about how “Christians are allergic to health, except me!”

Mostly people have real obstacles to getting more physical activity, like working very long hours and/or care of others and living where it’s very difficult to do much physical stuff outside or inside.

Already give work-around advice, such as meal planning (mentioned above), brief workouts, bodyweight training, and motivation.

“I already SAID I HECTOR PEOPLE.  Isn’t that enough woman!”

This is particularly the case with Christians, who are more likely to be caring for little kids or old people, including the men.

Being “busy” is not mutually exclusive from being a good steward of your body. Another false dichotomy.

“Those people are obviously just lying about how hard it is to wrangle kids, get meals together that everyone in the house can eat and still find time to do physical activity for themselves.”  

It actually is very nearly mutually exclusive in a car-based society.  Which again, most Christians are stuck in.  I’m also quite upset by Deep Strength’s dismissal of real labor caring for the bodies of others with his sneering little quote marks.  Way to tell SAHMs how you really feel about their work as women, how valuable and womanly you think it is while promoting the notion that Christian women should want to do it.

Anyway I reblogged this because it’s an increasingly common knife jabbed in the ribcage of Christians by (usually single, childless, responsibility-free) men. I hope to do a bit more of a post later, we’ll see.

You know what responsibilities I do and don’t have… Interesting.
This is your only warning for being deliberately antagonistic and assuming evil of others. The next offense is a ban.

lol, just lol.   I think we’re done here.

 

Perhaps Deep Strength is out there shopping for ten SAHMs per week and doing childcare for their 35 children so they can all go to the gym as a group or something.  Or perhaps he’s organizing group cooking sessions of healthy cheap foods like the Mormons do with their canning centers.  

Somehow, though, I think someone who was concretely pushing against the major obstacles to healthier eating and physical activity would have written a very different post instead of “Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles”.

But I’m just a housewife who tosses the occasional hay bale when my health permits and whose household typically eats locally produced meats, vegetables and produce, with very little grain consumption (we are a Primal household, to use a consumerist term to describe our overall diet).  And my children are in great physical shape and wear out all the adults around them and all the other children around them as well.  But the adults aren’t at that youthful level of vigor despite eating well and running around with them.  That’s my point, I guess.  We went to a lot of trouble to raise our kids somewhere that they could develop great habits and build a “lifestyle” if you will where being physically active and eating delicious healthy food was “my normal day after I wake up”.  And the costs for us and the many Christian families we know that made similar choices are that we can’t have that life for ourselves because there are things called learning curves, physical impacts of sitting in a car or on public transit for hours per day, and the idea that we’re all allergic to being as robust as our kids is the real evil-assuming.    

 

FINALLY Geneva Bible Prayers in full online

It’s a pdf, but someone else typed them up, so I don’t have to finish that project, hehe.

http://www.indymissionary.com/library/GenevaBiblePrayers.pdf

Share and enjoy, with all sincerity and affection in Christ.