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 it...it 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.