Unto the Least of These

A place for all of my random musings. Added accountability for my choice to be gentle. An online reminder that how I treat those around me - especially the children - is how I treat the King of Kings.

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Location: United States

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Food for thought....

Here's a few names for what people do to kids, in the name of "discipline."

Since most of my readers are adult women, I'd like you to do something. Imagine these actions being performed upon you by someone 3 times your size. Imagine if this could be done solely upon the whims of that person. Imagine that person giving your boss and your friends the right to do the same to you.

Now imagine living in a world where you are told "that is not abuse! cry and I'll give you something to really cry about!" Imagine living in a world where the authorities said that you belong to the other person, and they won't get involved unless there is visible blood. Imagine going to your pastor for help, and being told "God says in His Word that this must be done to you."

And then, look around you. This is the world our children live in. This is their reality.

From Here

hit

v. hit, hit·ting, hits
v. tr.
    1. To come into contact with forcefully; strike: The car hit the guardrail.
    2. To reach with or as if with a blow: The bullet hit the police officer in the shoulder.
    1. To cause to come into contact: She hit her hand against the wall.
    2. To deal a blow to.

slap
n.
    1. A sharp blow made with the open hand or with a flat object; a smack.
    2. The sound of such a blow.
smack1
v. smacked, smack·ing, smacks

n.
  1. The loud sharp sound of smacking.
  2. A sharp blow or slap.

swat
tr.v. swat·ted, swat·ting, swats
To deal a sharp blow to; slap.

n.
A sharp blow; a slap.
switch (
n.
  1. A slender flexible rod, stick, or twig, especially one used for whipping.
  2. A flailing or lashing, as with a slender rod.

v. switched, switch·ing, switch·es
v. tr.
  1. Chiefly Southern U.S. To whip with or as if with a switch, especially in punishing a child.
spank
v. spanked, spank·ing, spanks
v. tr.
To slap on the buttocks with a flat object or with the open hand, as for punishment.
n.
A slap on the buttocks.
beat
v. beat, beat·en, (btn) or beat beat·ing, beats
v. tr.
    1. To strike repeatedly.
    2. To subject to repeated beatings or physical abuse; batter.
    3. To punish by hitting or whipping; flog.

Where to Start?

There is so much I want to do these days. And I just don't know where to start!
I want so much to do *something* for the children of the world. More specifically, for the ones who are growing up with what I went through - the ones who are being abused in God's Name.

I know, change begins at home. It has. My home is a violence free zone. My child won't grow up with the terror.

But much like those early abolitionists, like the uppity women who demanded women's suffrage, like the women who paved the way for women's equality - I see a change that needs to take place. I'm not able to just be content with changing my small sphere.

I want to, need to, be part of something bigger. And not with any grandiose delusions of fame or fortune, not with any desire for acclaim.

But something must be done about the child abuse that goes on. I think it's going to be a coming together of all the grassroots organizations. If all of us band together, this cause can triumph.

I don't think child abuse will ever totally cease. Humanity is too depraved.

But I want to at least see honesty and clarity brought to bear down on this.

Just as women brought the true reasons behind minority oppression and the injustices toward women out into the open - it must be done with child abuse as well.

In my lifetime, I've seen the progression toward greater civil rights. I've seen domestic violence (spouse to spouse) decrease as people are better educated and more choices for women become available.

I'd like to see child abuse decline as well. I want it to be no longer socially acceptable for it to be said "God wants me to hit my kids." After all, mysogynistic comments are no longer welcome. The usage of words such as nigger and spic are decried by 'polite society'. Women can now be so much more than the office eye candy.

It's a big goal. I firmly believe it's an achievable one.

I just don't know where to start.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tongue in Cheek...

A bit of sarcasm in reaction to the only books that seem to be written these days ;)

How to Write a Romance Novel

Man meets Woman.
Use words like instant, overwhelming, sizzling, and fate.

Man and Woman endure peril.
Use words like danger, fear, and palpitating.

Man and Woman fight attraction, but give in.
Use words like simultaneous, ecstasy, arching, and moan.
Use at least five descriptions of male anatomy.
Bonus points if you can manage to avoid the words “manhood” or “maleness”.

Man saves Woman from peril.
Use words like hero, muscles, sweaty, and shimmer.

Man and Woman succumb to attraction once more.
Good luck finding words you haven’t used the first scene.

Man and Woman have a horrible fight.
Use words like leave, horrid, abominable, and frustrating.

Man and Woman make up.
Use words like happy, ever, and after.

Congratulations! You’ve just written a Romance Novel!

Monday, April 10, 2006

So, I guess I'm a feminist?

*sigh* That's a big, loud, exhale down to one's toes kind of sigh.

Apparently, I'm being labeled as a feminist now. And in my neck of the woods...in my portion of religious tradition...that's a bad thing. Women are supposed to be MEEK and SUBMISSIVE and QUIET! And men...of course not. They are THE HEAD OF THE HOUSHOLD and the AUTHORITY and have RULERSHIP.

yuck.

It's some very putrid stuff.

And some of it was expressed in church yesterday morning. I have such a hard time with it. It's the same as when those nudge-nudge wink-wink references to spanking are brought up - that kind of 'good-ole-boy' chuckle from a lot of the men, and a lot of the women look all pouty but cute and nod their heads.

The problem is, I must be reading a different Bible. I don't find anywhere that a man who is loving and cherishing his wife as Christ loved, gave, etc. will find humor in openly mocking his spouse's gender. I don't find anywhere in my Bible that a man is to be threatened by a strong woman, or a woman who is allowed to participate in church functions.

Mutual submission, people, loving and cherishing. Total giving over of one's self to another. That's what it's supposed to be about.

My views aren't exactly a secret in my circle. And so now, I'm labeled a feminist.

If I must be labeled, I prefer 'reformer' or 'advocate'. Those terms express much more clearly who I am.

I'm devoted to my church. I embrace her teachings. But it needs reform - desperately - in the overall attitude toward women and children.

My husband? He's a feminist too, I guess. So's my pastor. Because neither of them feel threatened by women.

Some of the others? They feel very threatened. And maybe they should! After all...when the day comes where the women and children are given a voice, their version of patriarchy will be overturned.

Oh Happy Day....

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Confessions of a Former Spanker...

I was talking to a relative-by-marriage yesterday. One of those unavoidable (unless you're prepared to cut ties entirely) extended family gatherings.

Anyway, MIL brought up 'breaking the will' and 'using the rod'. Maybe she thought I wouldn't say something in front of the extended family? I've used Bean Dip until I'm blue in the face. (I think I'm missing the part where I say "end of discussion" and leave ;) )

So, I tried ignoring it. She persisted. I smiled sweetly and bean dipped her. She persisted. So I looked at RBM and said "My husband and I don't use any sort of physical discipline. That's why MIL is peeved."

RBM got all teary-eyed. She confessed to spanking all of her children, some more so than others. She even broke a broom handle over the back of one. But she said "I cried every time I did it. It brought back memories of seeing my brother abused. And I break down crying now every time I see a child get spanked. And it didn't work on my son - it turned him into an angry man who beat his girlfriend. But I know the Bible says "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child." It's just so hard to do that!"

My heart was breaking as I listened to her. And I felt anger, too. Anger at the injustice of a world where the most sacred of all writings is used to mandate child abuse. Anger at the churches who preach such garbage in the Name of God.

Don't worry, it's not the sinful kind of anger. It's righteous anger. It's anger that motivates me to do everything I can to get our world to the day where this kind of trash is not promoted. It's anger that makes me want to protect the helpless ones.

And it also fills me with compassion - toward every single mother and father who looks back on their career as a spanker with sincere regret. To those of you who are there now - remember - God's Grace can cover that too. He has forgiven you.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The dark side of extremism....

That's all I can think of to call it.

An assistant pastor, a young man. Younger than I am, actually. And he's just proved that he is made from the same mold as his family.

"God doesn't want you to have anything to do with anyone in your family who is lost. Especially if they are a 'backslider'. Even more so if they now attend another church than ours. If you don't agree with me, just pray and God will reveal it."

For the record, that zinger came from my in-laws. They attend a church that my husband and I are thankfully no longer a part of.

My mother in law agrees. It's Bible, she said. When I asked for chapter and verse, the best she could come up with was "well, a man of God said it, so I have to obey it."

And I watched my sister-in-law cry, as she realized that she was no longer welcomed at family gatherings. That she wasn't good enough to be part of the family. All because she doesn't live by some man's rules.

I know of at least 10 homes that have just shattered apart over this in the last week. Grandparents who will no longer visit grandchildren, because that would be 'condoning the sin in their lives.' Children kicked out of the home.

How long, Lord? How long will abuse be perpetuated in Your Name?!

What a mockery of the Gospel this is....when rules govern everything from the color of one's hose to the marriage bed.

When a church school won't let a graduate receive a diploma during graduation, because they didn't have a 'verified salvation experience.' When the length of women's dresses becomes an issue to kick people out of the church. When a church builds a 'discipline' room and hands out TTUAC.

It's spiritual abuse. And it's deadly.

I know, because I just watched a woman's spirit wither and die today over it.

It's an abomination before the Lord.

And I'm struggling to pray as Jesus did..."Father, please forgive them. They know not what they do."

The sins of the father?

I get so very annoyed by this assumption. I ran into it again today..."so and so is having a hard life because his family is no good. We all know the children suffer because of generational sins."

I get angry when I hear this. To me, that theology negates Calvary.

Some would say (and have said, even recently) that I am stuck in my past, and that I am reaping the results of my parents' sin. That somehow, the guilt for their choices is upon my head. That's just not so.

I was victimized, yes. It does shape how I respond to my son. But it's not the totality of who I am, and I certainly don't bear the shame of it. I speak of it here, because I hope to point out the repercussions of certain mainstream-within-fundamentalist-american-homeschooling-deeply religious-families child rearing tactics.

But I do not answer to God for anyone else's sin but my own!

(And mine is covered by the Cross, thank you very much!)