Monday, March 21, 2011

Not a Happy Camper

Most kids like it when you mention summer camp. Right? My son went to camp for two different summers and attends Boy Scout Camp sometimes and he really seems to like it. When I hear about camp, I inwardly cringe and have to keep my negative camp views to myself. Why? Because camp, for me as a teenager, was nothing but an anti-woman brainwashing session.

My most vivid memory of my Christian camp experiences is not of me cruising the lake in a canoe or falling in love with the cutest boys. Nope. I actually remember that I felt TORTURED that we had to attend a “church” meeting every day 3 times a day. How boring! Girls sat on one side of the outside (i.e... miserably hot in Florida) auditorium and boys sat on the other. (I guess they thought there would be too much temptation if we sat next to one another?). Many times we were broken into groups. The girls would go listen to a woman talk and the boys would hear a man.

The one session that stands out in my memory the most is one that was called something like “Women of God.” We were told that we were to save ourselves for our future husbands. We then talked about what a good woman of God does. Here is what I remember:

1) You should remain pure until God’s choice finds you and asks you to marry him.

2) After you get married, you should always strive to make your husband happy. He is the head of the household and he makes the rules. You follow his lead.

3) When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is get dressed, smell nice and put on makeup for your husband. He deserves a woman who does not “let herself go.”

4) You should plan good meals and find out what your husband likes.

5) Limit time with girlfriends and others who will take time away from your husband.

6) We should always aim to be pure in actions and dress. Always dress modestly! (Which meant, as I said from other blogs, dresses or “Culottes.”)

7) Never argue with your husband. When he makes a decision, you should back him up with a smile on your face.

Well, I could go on for a while, but I think you get the idea. We were supposed to turn into Stepford Wives and become robots for God. I remember thinking at age seventeen while I sat there at camp… Wouldn’t my husband love me even if I did not wear makeup? I honestly got stressed out and wondered if I would be able to keep a man happy if I changed, gained weight, forgot my makeup or neglected to make dinner.

As time went on, I began to become bitter about these camp lessons. (Which were also reinforced in church and Sunday school as well)

Here is what these lessons failed to consider:

1) What if I did not like God’s choice?

2) What about my happiness? Shouldn’t our relationship be a mutual respect for one another?

3) If my husband loved me, he would not care if I was wearing makeup.

4) Both people should cook and care for the house. Why was I a housemaid? Because I had a vagina? Grrr

5) Not having a relationship with other people outside of my relationship felt like torture and solitary confinement.

6) Men in religious “cult-like” churches always worry so much about what “their” women wear. The only conclusion I had for this was that they had personal problems with lust and did not want the women to “tempt” them by wearing something that actually showed they had a shape.

7) If a woman is told to not argue with her husband and that he is always right, where will she ever gain confidence in who she is as a person? What if he is abusive? What if he is an alcoholic? (as my first husband was) What if he is just a control freak jerk? Why should a woman “submit” to a man like that?

8) What about what SHE wants? What if she wants to be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a military pilot, or a bank executive? Why are the woman’s needs not considered?

9) Okay, I know this one is obvious, since if you know me at all you know I am in a relationship with a woman…but what if we don’t want to be with a man? Then what?

I raised my daughters completely opposite from any of this bullshit and I am glad to say that they are both very intelligent, kind, loving women who have a voice, an opinion and their own mind. I would rather have had them be a bit on the “sassy” side growing up, knowing they have a voice and their own identity.

I am also raising my son to respect women and to know that they are his EQUAL, not beneath him. He calls me a “Femi-Nazi,” which annoys me, but I would rather have that label than one in which I am subservient to men. I tell him that a feminist is a woman who wants EQUAL treatment. Nothing more. Nothing less!

The problem with Christianity and most religions is that they fail to see the worth of women. They fail to raise their daughters to believe that they are special and worthy of equal treatment. This kind of message tells girls and young women that they don’t deserve anything good, that they should settle for the first schmuck that comes their way, and that their lives are to be controlled by others. I don’t know about you, but that is NOT what I want for my daughters, or anyone else’s’ for that matter. Christianity, to me, was mostly anti-woman! As time went on, the messages that they tried to put in my head began to change. I realized my worth and I began to see my life as a better place without religion.

11 comments:

  1. my mom stayed in a marriage with my dad for many years longer than she should have because she was such a "good christian" and divorce was NOT AN OPTION for a christian. in the end, my dad took his abuse so far he caused permanent damage to her body. eleven years later, she is still unable to work and relies totally on social security disability.

    i hate the christians' views on divorce.

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  2. I honestly don't know what I exactly believe in. I haven't read a single story in the bible yet, and don't really know much about anything the "Lord" says. I do know some man wrote that bible and it isn't direct.
    I DO know, I couldn't agree more with your statements. I'm a firm DIS-believer in love, so this isn't really an issue for me. But, I have a grandmother who stands at the door waiting for my grandpa with a drink, makes/brings him his dinner and lunch, cleans all of his clothes...she'd basically wipe his ass if that was ethical.
    Secondly, if this is how the bible elaborates a marriage... I'm kind of glad I haven't picked that book up yet!

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  3. I meant to add with the whole grandmother thing... I'd rather bring myself a drink, make my own dinner, and wash my own clothes... never having to worry about another person for the rest of my life, before I lived like that!

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  4. Otherworldly AppleApril 4, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    I have no problem submitting to men. So long as they're the GODS they claim to be. Unfortunately, they seem more proven to be a lot more DENSER than woman (due to overdose of testosterone) so, I'm sorry, if that's the case... they are not fit, by nature, to be 'leaders' or 'infallible.'

    Also, what's with the anti-scientific bullcrap? "For man did not come out of women... but woman of man..." clearly men who wrote the bible were PISSED that women were (quite literally) the CREATORS of man. So they had to invent a little myth to back up their penis propaganda.

    Woman came out of a man... yeah right! And faeries do my laundry every night. Sure... there's evidence that I do it MYSELF... but hey, anti-science/mythology is always like that right? The point is to believe the ridiculous lie over common sense. ;)

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  5. Otherworldly AppleApril 4, 2011 at 7:37 AM

    Sorry for the vent. Lol It was a lovely post, truly. And I'm sorry you had endure such indirect insults your way.

    It is unfortunate that your son would call you a 'femiNazi..' clearly he's pleased with the way the world caters to men (and with reason.) However, weren't nazis MEN? Hmm... sounds like he's trying to blame women for something men have done (oooh, yet again. lol)

    You should remind him that, unlike the man Hitler, you're not trying to suppress, kill, murder, or humiliate those who oppose your views. Was a nazi someone who made valid observations? Or destroyed? If so, are men nazis when they commit crimes in the news? Are philosophers nazis for making observations? XD

    Just irk him right back with thoughts like that or something.

    Blessings!

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  6. That church's advoce to young women was downright toxic -- a recipe for unhappy women, unhappy marriages, and potential abuse.

    Why weren't men being encouraged to make their wives happy? Shouldn't spouses support EACH OTHER and try to make EACH OTHER happy?

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  7. that's a problem with alot of churches apparently. They focus so much on the woman's role they forget or neglect to say what God expects of men. Right after the woman's role is defined it says a man must love his wife to the point he would die for her. for what man would ever harm his own body? Even after this it says parents should not tease their children. It's easy to drive people away from Christianity when a fallible being decides he knows best.

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  8. God's true church here under the formations of the nations. Sorry to all of the wounded warriors who find their way to this blog.
    He knows of the pain and hurt you all have endured. May the Holy Spirit reveal his love and not that of failed father's and people in authority who mis- used their positions in a church that is being re- formatted to align with the return of Jesus Christ.

    http://www.bibletribes.org/


    garry

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  9. First, I understand where you're coming from. Not only did I attend "Christian" camps, I also had the wonderful pleasure of attending a private "Christian" school before going to a public high school.
    The reason I put quotes around the word Christian in the above context is because I also was taught the same elements you were, and as a result, was not a big fan of Christianity until I learned one thing: they were all wrong.
    The Bible is very clear that as women we are to save ourselves for our husband, as he is for us. It is also clear that the wife should honor her husband and the husband will honor his wife.
    The points you mention for reasons to leave Christianity are not valid points. They are a rejection of the false rules that unfortunately, many Christians have created themselves. Christianity is not rules. We are ALL made in God's image: women, men, all races, all genders and even all sexual orientations: we are His image. The Bible does give a guideline for how to live our life, but it also points that the most important thing in life is love.
    Those people who preach Christianity as strictly as you and I both experienced are false prophets in my opinion.
    You don't like the fake rules, but did you actually look at what the Bible says? You couldn't have, because if you did, you would understand that those people who preach what you mentioned above took the scripture out of context and for that, will have a high price to pay.
    Fortunately, if you accepted Christ at one point in time, you can't get rid of Him- though you think you may have. Like I always say, some of God's children will be brought to heaven kicking and screaming. What I do strongly urge you to do is to go back and actually build a valid conclusion for yourself as to whether or not Christianity is a legitimate faith. I believe it is.
    Peace and Love, and I pray you will find the answers you are looking for.

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  10. Its funny isn't it - i grew up in a totally non-religious liberal family - my brother is gay, and I was bi-sexual for years, it was never a problem - in fact my mother seemed to relish that we were different.
    I have since found Christianity, to great relief. I have noticed something among the many people I know - those that were raised christian a lot of the time reject it. I'm not sure why but sexuality seems to be a major reason - not necessarily the need to explore same sex attraction - but just the desire to explore sexuality full stop.
    Yet having immersed myself in the world of sexual exploration - I can honestly say hand on heart I have never met ANYONE to whom it is a long-term satisfying lifestyle choice. Although many claim it is when you peel away the image they present and reach into their heart - you find many many hurting people - even if their life is interspersed with sexual pleasure.

    I believe wholeheartedly we were designed to be in a life-long pair bond, that never breaks. I also believe this pair-bond was designed between a man and a woman. It is up to us to choice wisely who we make this pair-bond with, before we bond fully with them. This takes time - and we must re-learn the art of courting.

    Just because we have desires outside of this does not make them right, as one could argue it does not make them wrong either.

    I have co-created two broken families, I have had sexually transmitted diseases, and had an abortion at 18. On could say I did not practice safe sex - which at times I did not, but this dramatically misses the point. Safe sex can not protect the heart. I see this pattern, and worse all around me. I, as have many people from other liberal families have experienced a tremendous amount of suffering and pain that this so called pleasure/freedom search has induced - practicing safe sex or not.

    I know what I would prefer - and if I could go back in time and take a different path I would in a heart beat.

    I have soaked many pillows with tears.

    I am now freely choosing to not have sex before marriage and it has helped me regain some kind of sanity - in a totally insane world - I dont want to be someones pleasure doll - or to use others for pleasure even if it is in the name of love and freedom.

    I want to be in a life-long bond that reaches deep into my heart, touches my very soul and lasts a lifetime.

    Of course making the choice I have does not guarantee this, but it offers me a great protection that my past life did not.

    Sex bonds us whether we like it or not - when that bond breaks down it can hurt badly. Children that come through this broken bond also get hurt very badly.

    God designed us the way God did - we can rebel against that with fervent might or we can submit to this design and heal our battered souls.

    There are many perversions that most people know are wrong, and we do not try to justify them. Same sex attraction is a perversion of that I am sure.

    You seem like a very hurt, angry woman - desperate to find freedom from your conditioning. I understand as much as I can. But unfortunately I do not believe for a second that the path you are currently on will bring you the happiness and pleasure you seem to be searching for.

    As women God did not want us to abused by men, and many many men - Christian or otherwise abuse women - God wanted us to be deeply honored by men - Christian or otherwise.

    We are not born equal to men - this is an erroneous concept that is obvious - we are the 'weaker vessel' and this is not a bad thing - but a good thing. Men need to honor, protect, nourish and love us for that. Not batter us verbally, emotionally, or sexually because of this - this is a mis-representation of what God designed. The world will be a lot happier when we submit to Gods design and men honor women in the way that encourages them to feel safe and loved and protected

    warm regards

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  11. Dear Author,
    I think you allowed men's perception of God to cloud your way to finding and following the real God. I'm a Christian and a mom of two, and I don't believe God wants me to be a robot and follow my every husband's command. He does/says/commands a lot of dumb things. I also have a chronic illness and I don't feel like looking like a Stepford wife every moment, and I'm convinced that God is okay with that.
    God gave me a brain to make my own decisions.
    God didn't tell you to pick an arrogant jerk who thought he could lord his authority over you. Who really told you to do that? Parents? Church? Pastor? Some human being, no doubt. Not God.
    Our job is to follow God, not man. And what are his commands? To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
    Cheers!

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