Saturday, December 31, 2011

my religion podcast with david bazan from pedro the lion

Non-blog-post post: Last week I was on a special religion episode of the Grapes of Rad podcast with David Bazan. He was my Bible study leader ten years ago and isn't a Christian anymore, and we talked about that and the ways that being preacher's kids (which we both are) have come into play. In Part One we all talked about leaving our faith and growing up as preachers' kids and why Newt Gingrich has a chance in hell, American Girls, non-practicing evangelicals (which Dave identifies as), questioning, hating, bitterness, grief, Joseph Campbell, how not knowing is scary, and I also told the story about how Carman grabbed my ass one time. That was in part one and it is here.

In part two we talked about Santa’s influence on Bazan’s view of God, masturbation, how I was in a Dr. James Dobson video in 1991, grief, Christians and therapy, WALL-E (twice!), using “Bug Me Bucks” to deal with ideological clashes at family gatherings, tits and ass, how Aaron and I met at one of Bazan’s Living Room Shows, underdogs and Malcolm Gladwell, abandonment and those you turn their backs on you if you stop believing their religion, Morning Loaf with The Rev. Jeff Breakfast, how being a parent changes things, Bazan and I both attended the same church for awhile, sex scandals with pastors, and leaving church. So part two is here.

It was weird being so open about crazy personal stuff but I hope it helps people, maybe. It'd better or it's all for nothing! Ha.

Friday, November 4, 2011

#223 Scheduling sex

Who does this? Well, it’s a common practice among married evangelicals and is usually performed at the behest of the pastor who did their premarital or crisis counseling.

It’s even common to even hear suggested in a sermon. Unlike high chuch and mainline denominations, Protestant pastors of the evangelical stripe love talking about sex from the pulpit (the married and heterosexual elements always carefully emphasized). The pastor will say “We schedule other important things like quiet times and oil changes. Why not this?” You get the idea that he knows a lot of people in the congregation with near-celibate marriages and you have a sneaking suspicion he’s doing the men a solid.

Christian culture’s take on sex has caused no shortage of self-loathing, book deals, vaginismus and divorce. They aren’t sure how to hold power and danger and carnality alongside personal histories, spirituality and the whole person, so they hedge its pedestal with awed suspicion and then they're bewildered that sex isn’t better. In the grand tradition of Christian culture they once again put the cart before the horse. Not the position, but metaphorically. The wives silently seethe and wield it like a weapon. It’s the best way to exert control over that relationally passive horndog they’re married to. Their church’s Song of Solomon series gets the husband’s hopes up. Maybe she’ll put out if God says to? They resort to scheduling marital congress like the Zondervan books suggested. The husband waits for the appointment panting and wagging. The wife is grateful for each day that isn’t the designated Sex Day and when it arrives she wonders what’s wrong with her. He’s just so eager and unable to connect unless it involves their junk. But the sex date is as good as it gets. At least they’re doing it. A soggy potato chip is better than none at all. Again, this is advice given from the pulpit. Taken at face value (Christian culture's tendency) it’s another way of Doing Things and Avoiding Relationship.

Monday, October 10, 2011

#222 Steve Jobs

Photoshopped or not? It seems like something that would actually happen.
Answer upside down at the bottom of the page. Kidding. It's photoshopped.

With the passing of Steve Jobs an e-tsunami of worshipful eulogies flooded the interwebs, many of them from the major stakeholders in Christian culture. 94% of pastors, seminary students and church planters were moved to eulogize him this week via Facebook, Twitter and sermon illustrations. Much of the Christian sentiment towards Steve credits his technology with unprecedented gospel-spreading and says God used Apple in spite of Steve's Buddhist leanings. (Being Buddhist would normally frighten evangelicals away from someone’s product, but Steve invented some wicked fun toys so his eastern contemplativeness got a Christian culture hall pass.)

Evangelicals don't seem to be asking after Foxconn, Apple’s supply chain in China with bad working conditions and a worker suicide rate so high that employees have to sign pledges that they won't kill themselves. Christian culture also doesn’t seem very concerned that Jobs never addressed the worker suicides at the company that costs Apple only $6.54 in labor per iPhone. The question “who is being affected by this product?” is difficult to ask, so we don’t ask it. If we did, the answer that would move us to change would also be really difficult.

Let's go dancing on the backs of the bruised

The fervor and sheer volume of Christian culture’s sentiment towards Steve Jobs feels like something close to deification. But what exactly is that, and what’s it look like when it happens? When memorials are built outside of stores and such heavy and careful eulogies are written, we can at least say that’s what we do when we ascribe worth to something. When a corporation makes its billions on the backs of slave laborers, planned obsolescence is destroying our ecosystem and no one in your faith community speaks to this, we can at least say that’s what we do when we don’t ascribe worth to something.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#221 Saying "I'd like to invite you to..."

"I’d like to invite you to" is a standard phrase in Christian culture. It frequently surfaces during the pre-sermon announcements or the post-sermon wrap-up, and it is a staple in the vernacular of church planting pastors, especially within Acts 29. It is used most often when the pastor is soliciting such things as prayer, church event attendance, and tithes. It is a subtle way to apply a remarkable amount of pressure. The subversive hard sell, if you will.

"I’d like to invite you to" is often followed by the words "prayerfully consider." It manages never to feel like a true invitation, however. "I'd like to invite you to" is too often churchspeak for "This is what you should do if you're on God's side."

(Can be used interchangeably with "I would challenge you to," though this usually references immaterial things like quiet time schedules, attitude adjustments and Every Man’s Battle meetings.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

#220 Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is the financial guru of Christian culture. He is to American evangelicals what Oprah is to the untoward penurious masses who lean to her, begging her folksy utile wisdom, except Dave is Oprah in this scenario and he mainly talks about money. In that sense he’s like evangelical Suze Ormon but 100% less lesbionic and his advice is coated in Bible verses. This makes him irresistible to Christian culture.

Dave Ramsey: credit card assassin

Every evangelical worth their salt has at least one copy of Dave’s books, usually Total Money Makeover, and has partaken in his Financial Peace University one of the times it was hosted by their church. Most protestant churches in the U.S. have Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University posters somewhere on their walls. They are very, very excited about him. He tells you how to attack your debt and ratchet up your emergency fund using proverbial (literally) gazelle-like intensity.

It’s common sense and really pretty rad. You do your debt snowball and dart around like a gazelle and soon you have a nice little pile of financial peace. Well, maybe. There’s always something, isn’t there. Some people say the more money you have, the more problems go along with it. I think that’s how Biggie put it. Dave has probably figured that out by now with everyone after him about his expensive houses and cars, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The patented gazelle-skin Dave Ramsey Wallet™

One way to identify a Dave Ramsey devotee is by their Dave Ramsey branded wallet (see above). It isn’t cute, but that only bothers people who are capable of getting upset about accessories. Maybe Dave should have a follow-up workshop called The Total Wallet Makeover. I would like to suggest this one:

Dave likes to say that while you're paying down your debt "If you will like no one else, later you can live like no one else." This could be taken to mean that for now you're living strangely by budgeting so that one day you can live strangely with financial peace. By this logic, financial peace is equated with having a lot in savings. It sounds about right, and no one seems to wonder if it will actually bring financial peace.

Dave Ramsey isn’t just for Christian culture anymore. He’s branching out and crossing into the mainstream like Amy Grant and Jars of Clay by buying advertising on celebrity gossip pages and such. You can hardly go to a nice stupid site like PerezHilton without seeing Dave’s visage leering at you like Jack Nicholson through a splintered door, holding a dastardly credit card whose seconds are numbered. That credit card has been up to no good. Time to get yourself some financial peace.

People have been talking about Dave Ramsey even more since he bought a $4.9 million house. The opinions are pretty polar; everyone is either proud of his success or disappointed that he professes Christianity from his 13,000 square foot home with a bath that has an alleged 18 shower heads. I will let you absorb this. When people ask him how this aligns with the faith he professes Dave has responded with "Most of the patriarchs in the Bible were wealthy,” “You're managing money for God” and “The Bible doesn’t tell you to be poor.” [1]  Christian culture seems to swallow this just fine.

Casa de Ramsey

In the comment thread for this article on Dave’s house a woman named Melissa said: “I can't believe he could not come up with something better to do with his money…I have 340 poverty kids that need help where I work - what's the chance. Food banks are over burdened by the needs, I'm trying to find a way to get handicapped access playground equipment…18 shower heads, shame on you.” To this some of Dave’s supporters replied “Melissa, stop being a HATER!” “Dave Ramsey has worked his butt off for everything that he has.” “Get a life, just because you don’t have the common sense to save doesn’t mean you can bash someone who does.” “Can we say jealous?...I’m sorry, but this is America, if you work hard and succeed you may do as you wish with YOUR OWN profits. You people who point a finger and say selfish and wasteful, take a look at how much percentage wise Dave donates and how much you yourselves donate and I feel the three fingers pointing back at yourself will clear up who is in the wrong” and “He earned it. If he wants to live in a 10 Million dollar house, thats is fine. This guy gives more money to charity than a host of Americans.”

Dave responded to some of the criticism in this article, saying it's none of our business but that he tithes ten percent and has a family foundation to which he gives a huge percentage. This kind of answer is plenty for Christian culture. Their thinking goes something like, “Hey, he has been more than generous to tell us he tithes the Old Testament mandate of the first ten percent so everyone get off his godly hind-end.” (While they're thinking this they think hind-end, not ass.) Christian culture doesn’t tend to wonder whether it really isn't their business what another Christian does with their multimillions. They have flexible boundaries when it comes to talking about sexual purity with acquaintances and inquiring after strangers' eternal souls, but fellow Christians' finances are a different story.

It’s reminiscent of that one time (at band camp) when the rich young ruler asked Jesus how to be his true follower and Jesus said “Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. Then come, follow me." Because he was so rich he got really sad, and seeing his reaction Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God's kingdom? I'd say it's easier to thread a camel through a needle's eye than get a rich person into God's kingdom."

So basically, it sucks to be a rich Christian. Or could getting rid of your stuff also get rid of a lot of your problems, like Biggie said? There’s got to be a reason monks take vows of poverty and can have joy. If you don’t have a bunch of money you have to trust more and that isn’t a fun activity for humans. It’s also just weird. If we don’t go with our straight-line way of thinking and use the paradoxical power Jesus taught that looks for all the world like weakness (what Luther called left-handed power), it seems illogical. Or did Jesus’ weird directives and backwards ways of teaching with parables actually show us some of who he is because they are so counter-intuitive? If you say you follow the teachings of someone who said his followers must give what they own to the poor, you've got a dilemma because no one wants to take that literally. It says the rich young ruler walked away very sad because he was very rich. Of course he did. Can you really have that kind of material wealth and follow someone who said to give it all away?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#219 The word "hubby"

"Hubby" isn’t often said by neurosurgeons, rocket scientists or most self-respecting intellectuals, but within Christian culture you hear it all the time. It runs rampant in Young Marrieds ministries, amongst pastors' wives, and on stay-at-home-mom blogs which feature lots of Bible verses and recipes.

"Hubby" is rarely spoken in seriousness by anyone outside of Christian culture. Most people outside Christian culture have only heard it in the context of Ben & Jerry's or from British tabloids, and in extreme cases, from an older, socially-challenged female relative. But in the Christian culture vortex you are subjected to this word and all its incarnations ("hubs," "hubby hubs," "hubski") and qualifications (most often "hunky," "hot" and "godly") early on and very often.

The one hard and fast rule concerning "hubby" is that it is never uttered by a man. Christian culture does have its pride, however ambiguous.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#218 Michele Bachmann

Christian culture is so excited about Michele Bachmann. A self-proclaimed constitutional conservative and founder of the House’s Tea Party caucus, her presidential candidacy nomination has given them renewed hope that America might be reclaimed from the liberal left who are about to capsize this country with their secular socialist agenda.

Christian culture believes that only a born-again leader can keep this country from combusting like the Roman Empire, but the leader must not just say they are Christian (like a certain president who's probably Muslim). They want a leader with all the Christian cultural markings, and Michele has got them: great hair, Oral Roberts degree, lots of homeschooled kids, Republican congresswoman, Tea Partier, global warming skeptic, Obamacare opponent, intelligent design enthusiast, same-sex marriage contender, and a gaydar-enacting husband who runs his own Christian counseling practice. This political résumé is the stuff of which evangelical dreams are made.

Michele says she's committed to fixing Washington’s broken ways by advocating for America’s adherence to the Constitution and would like to bring God back into our government. (This of course presumes that he at one time was there and was ousted.) Christian culture believes God was a sort of honorary founding father who's been kicked to the curb and that the Constitution is based on Christian principles. They generally won't acknowledge the absence of Christian thought in the Constitution, much less any evidence that the founders didn't intend to create a Christian nation. (Christian culture does not like discussing the Deist, Freemason and Unitarian beliefs of the founding fathers—and the Catholics and Anglicans are often put in the non-Christian box as well—nor that separation of church and state means anything besides keeping the state out of the church’s influence within public institutions, but that's another blog post for another day.)

With Michele's MILFy goodness leading the way, Christian culture has renewed hope that this country can be wrested back from the organized resistance groups who have succeeded in undermining their cherished American values and have publicly ridiculed any reliance on their Creator as the sole source of all our national blessings and prosperity. Because to allow that wouldn't be constitutional at all, now would it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

#217 The Ungame

The Ungame is a non-competitive non-game that enjoys rabid popularity in Christian culture. It exists solely to spark conversation, permits no losing, and is basically a G-rated version of "Have you ever?” in board form. The Ungame manned the helm of Christian culture social gatherings for the entire length of the 1980s secondary to James Dobson’s enthusiastic recommendation.

Christian culture's Good Housekeeping symbol

The Ungame board features a bucolic microcosm of various emotions and life trials rendered in idyllic cartoons. To play you draw cards that dispatch you to places like the Cheerful Chalet and Worry Wharf, and once you get there you are asked things like “When do you get angry?” and “If you had to move and could only take three things with you, what would you take?”

Fearful Forest, Worry Wharf and Friendship Farm await you

Your game piece hops around garnering introspective questions and though you're assured there are no wrong answers, you know better than to answer “Do you like to pray?” with “not really.” If the card asks if you've been unhappy today and you answer in the affirmative, you are sent to the Happy House for a time-out and must forfeit a turn. Such mixed messages, this Ungame.

White people playing white people games.

For the evangelical on the go there’s a travel version. Speaking of mixed messages, at first glance they look like boxes of condoms.

Though Christian culture finds the regular Ungame adequately edifying, there is an actual Christian version in case you really want to get down. The Christian version has two sets of question cards, one for junior highers and one for mature Christians. These questions include “If Jesus knocked on your door today what would you do?”, “Name three significant advantages a Christian has over a non-Christian,” “What is your strongest Christian virtue and how do you use it to advantage?”, “What part of the Christian’s armor was the most valuable to you today?”, “Make a statement about wine” and “Identify a spiritual lesson that can be learned from a fox.” I am not making this up.

The board says “answer honestly” all over it, but can you imagine if you did? Question: “Tell of a time no one else knew about when you were tempted. What did you do and what you would do differently if you had it to do over again?” Better not answer that one out loud in mixed company. “Who is your favorite New Testament Bible character and why?” New Testament, you say? Social decorum demands you say Jesus. “What weakness in Christians most hinders non-Christians from accepting Jesus and why?” Um, maybe believing that you have at least three significant advantages over non-Christians has something to do with it. And you want to know why? Maybe because Jesus didn’t quantify people in that way. “You serve on a philanthropic organization board and recommend Christian ministries worthy of support. What criterion do you use?” Well. They definitely can’t support anything remotely gay or pro-choice, but if they say they give at least 10% of their firstfruits to charity even though their founders live in huge houses, that meets all of Christian culture’s criteria for support worthiness. And last but not least, “Talk about something you like to eat.” As. If. Have a straight guy answer that honestly and Christian culture will rise up and break his ass in half. Let’s work it clean, people. Christian culture says they want your truth but studies show they cannot handle it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#216 Things that edify

Christian culture wants to edify and be edified. Edification is mentioned several times in the New Testament, basically saying we should do stuff that edifies ourselves and each other. It’s a lovely concept and Christians want to take it seriously. But the Bible doesn’t give a whole lot of specifics as to what is edifying and what isn’t. Christian culture wants to know exactly what that means, so they have filled in the blanks.

Christian culture has guidelines about which sorts of things are edifying and which aren’t. There will be instances in which you find something to be edifying that your Christian culture compatriot does not, and you’ll be afraid to tell them because they are swift to express their concern. In the same breath they are likely to cite Romans 14:19, I Thessalonians 5:11, II Corinthians 12:19, Philippians 4 or Ephesians 4 as scriptures which reference edification. This is a good start to an edifying conversation, for real, but should you persist in your contrasting opinion then they are likely to pull out I Corinthians 10:23. Christian culture likes to keep this verse holstered. It’s their trump card. It says “all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial” and it’s often the last word in a ruction such as this. Christian culture doesn’t give much credence to the “all things are permissible” part. Surely Paul didn’t mean that. He says we have freedom in Christ but that is kind of ridiculous. They give weight to the “not everything is beneficial” bit. It usually ends the discussion (and puts a damper on any relationship that was taking place) by quieting the mistakenly-edified party with a familiar dose of shame.

Everyone within the wide expanse of Christian culture knows exactly what is considered edifying. The ideas are so specific and far-reaching that you’d think they’d sent out a memo, yet they’re mostly unwritten and the whole of Christian culture holds to them with remarkable tenacity. For one, everyone understands that you need to choose your friends carefully. This is a big one: you need edifying friends. Common sense dictates this anyway, but when Christian culture says it it’s code for “Christian friends,”or more specifically, “friends active within Christian culture.” The unwritten rule says you may speak with unsaved people or Christians of a weaker stripe but you shouldn’t linger except for intentional, directed witnessing. You should also be an edifying fixture in your workplace. Your coworkers should be aware that you are a Christian, otherwise any edification you might bestow on them would not receive its due as being explicitly sourced in Christ.

Edifying movies and television programming are insisted upon. Edifying speech is another big one. There is to be no gossip (except by the prayer request loophole) or coarse joking. Dick jokes are verboten. Helen Keller jokes are pushing it. Your speech is to be edifying in the manner that Christian culture says they are edified by. This is why you hear people say “I’m really ticked” or “P.O.’d.” (Christian culture knows nothing of the Greek word scubula aka shit which Paul used with the Philippians, but that’s another blog post entirely.)

Edifying music includes Christian radio, new country, Celine Dion and Coldplay. Carrot Top is edifying. Neil Hamburger is not. The Stuff Christians Like blog is edifying. This one, not so much. Worship leaders work their tails (not asses) off to bring you the single most edifying worship experience every Sunday. At conferences they urge fellow worship leaders to examine the songs they lead. First off, they say, are the words Biblical? Does it teach about the Gospel? Is it Christ-o-centric? Does it stir my soul to worship God? Have I myself worshiped the Lord in listening to this song? I guess NWA and Gwar are getting crossed off the worship roster. No gosh-darned way. The worship leader says he is opening up more to other styles “but if the end result is that if I’m not worshiping the Lord as I listen to this song, if it does not stir me one bit, if the truth isn’t solid, and if the melody doesn’t match well with that truth, I don’t know why I would lead it at my church.” They really say that: the melody must match well with that truth. Bet they won’t be singing “Come Thou Fount” to the tune of “Killing in the Name,” even though that’s a well truthful song.

Abstract art isn’t considered edifying. The abstract scares Christian culture. They aren't edified by anything not overtly literal or immediately accessible. They prefer art that is easy to “get,” especially if it represents creation. Talking about one’s sinful past does not edify unless it’s for the sake of sharing your testimony, never for the sake of reminiscing. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling? That seems a little crazy. Better stick with the culture’s ideas of what’s edifying just to be on the safe side, and school those who get it wrong. You can’t possibly be edified by that. Would you use that language if Jesus were here? You’d watch that movie if Jesus were sitting next to you? No you would not. Christian culture is sure that they know. It’s what they do.

Here are some handy graphics to guide you in your next interaction with Christian culture.

Here's one more thing Christian culture finds edifying:

...but this picture makes them nervous.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#215 Not secular humanism

Humanism is the most fearsome philosophy known to Christian culture. The only thing more frightening than humanism is secular humanism. It is right up there with socialism and voodoo.

Secular humanists are considered by Christian culture to be extremely dangerous. Once someone is called a secular humanist by an influential entity in Christian culture (i.e., famous pastor, head of your household, a book by Zondervan) anything they have to say will be dismissed out of hand. It’s a perfect example of ad hominem reasoning.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

#214 The Dove Awards

If a Christian tree wins a Dove Award in the forest and only Christian trees are there to hear it, did it make a sound?

The Dove Awards are Christian culture’s version of the Grammys. Grammy Awards are given to secular artists and Dove Awards are given to musicians in the Christian music industry®. But as we’ve discussed in previous posts, when Christian culture makes their own version of something secular it turns out a bit gimpy. It kind of hobbles around like a clone of a clone of a clone.

If people within Christian culture think the quality is inferior, they don't say it out loud. But non-Christians are baffled by the quality and content of contemporary Christian music. My atheist friend said today, “I just never understood why contemporary Christian music has this weird slick sheen over just always sounds so sterile and soulless. Seems like an odd way to express spiritual hunger. Jars of Clay should be called Plastic Jugs of Urethane.”

Sometimes Grammy and Oscar winners refuse their awards because they don't believe in ranking beauty and art. Maybe that is more spiritual than Christian culture award ceremonies. Because in the kingdom of heaven, my worship song about God is no better than anyone else’s song about God, because in the end it is about God, right...? Why are they ranking and awarding each other?

This is a Sears commercial, right? Not professional enough to be JCPenney, but A for effort, gang.

Monday, April 18, 2011

#213 Forbidding your husband to have female friends

Married men in Christian culture commonly experience wifely pressure to lose their female friends. Many married men outside of Christian culture feel the same pressure for the same reasons, but with different enforcement tactics.

When married couples suffer spousal insecurity or distrust the standard methods they employ include threatening, ultimatums, and passive aggression. Christian culture couples do all of these too but can also play their trump card: divine retribution.

When men of any religious or non-religious stripe get married their female friendships often become endangered, but it’s a certain breed of endangerment that’s exclusive to Christian culture. Christian culture has submerged them in the thought that all women pose a threat to fidelity and therefore to a marriage. Either by wifely influence or of his own cautious volition, the newly-minted husband becomes standoffish with the female persuasion.

Once married the husband is rarely seen without his wife hovering at his elbow. Saying little, she shadows him in the foyer before and after church and stands extra close if he talks to girls. Opposite sex relationships in Christian culture become strained around junior high, when the youth groups are segregated by gender and warned against the wiles of the other. From that point on they view each other with conflicted suspicion. Under the right circumstances they could be overtaken by their sin nature and destroy their entire future in one moment! Hence the extreme caution. The newly married friend soon becomes almost impossible to even say hello to. Once he’s unfriended you on Facebook, you’ve officially lost another friend to the marital abyss.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

#212 Growing Kids God’s Way aka Babywise

96% of parents in Christian culture own a copy of Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. The alternate version, On Becoming Babywise, is the secular edition, written by the same people but with all the God stuff taken out.

Growing Kids God’s Way enters your house by way of a church friend who loans it to you with ecstatic recommendation. “You can finally get some rest once your baby sleeps through the night! It just takes some discipline at first but it pays off!” The exhausted parent likes the sound of this. That baby sure is needy. Wakes them up every few hours to eat and stuff. The parents would like some sleep too so they don’t feel like fried hell all day. Plus, it’s God’s way. It says so right in the title. The Ezzos’ infant management plan (as they call it) enacted that very night.

It sounds reasonable enough. Put your baby on a schedule, what’s wrong with that? Schedules make children feel secure. But to schedule-ize your newborn you must let it cry. A lot. The Ezzos instruct you to be strong and not give in. They believe babies begin to show their sin nature early by crying for multiple feedings and encroaching on the parents’ schedule. They say that if you feed the baby when she cries, you are teaching her that the family revolves around her. And that’s not God’s way. (Or is it?)

Earnest Christians in the subtle trappings of Christian culture want to follow everything their church recommends, especially if it’s deemed to be God’s way. Per the counter-intuitive Ezzo guidelines, the baby is not fed when hungry but is woken from sound sleep so it will get on the mom’s schedule. The Ezzos reassure you that eventually the baby won’t cry so much and you’ll get eight hours of sleep a night by the time she’s two months old. But…why? The book’s implication is that the rest you get and control you’re exerting over your household will make it worthwhile. No validation is given to the primal mothering instinct. You can’t explain instinct. To the black-and-white thinking that sovereign in Christian culture, instinct is to be mistrusted and if at all possible, disregarded. There is no discussion about why God would endow mothers with such a strong instinct, either. No thought seems to be given to the emotional connection between parents and their children that is formed through “inconvenient” nighttime feedings and the like. No assertion that Jesus said serving others, especially the least of them, is serving him. No credence is given to the ways parents grow as people through the trials of parenting. Christian culture wants themselves a schedule and by golly, a schedule they shall have.

People enjoy books on what the Bible says in lieu of reading the Bible itself. It’s a daunting study, the original languages and contexts at all. People are content to believe what they are told about contexts and interpretations rather than go to the actual texts themselves.

Babywise may be the epitome of Christian culture mentality, coaching you to change your instincts or at least ignore them.

Further reading: Reviews and professional analyses of Babywise, Growing Kids God's Way and other Ezzo-authored material here. LHJ article here. Salon article here. Two YouTube videos from Babywise-endorsing mothers here and here.