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Thursday, November 16, 2006
I am a Damned Good-looking Woman and Proud of It
from a thread on the ooze a fella who identifies himself as a pastor says:

Men are designed to be visually stimulated by women's bodies.



Yes, that is the Truth as we keep being told.

My response: You know what, I'm pretty durn good looking (for a woman of my age, and for a woman not of my age) and I don't give a rat's ass how that bothers you. My being blessed with good genes and keeping fit is not the issue, and I sure as heck get sick of people acting as though their temptations are my problem.

How much easier would it be for you poor, struggling, overly-tempted men to deal with life as it is if you were to put the same work into the discipline (could we call it "maturity?") of finding alternative, healthy ways to cope with sexual tempation as you put into the work of telling everyone how sexually provacative you find women? Get over it.

Good looking women are not the problem. The problem is men who buy into the idea that they are powerless to find more effective ways to recognize and respond to temptation.

You, who glibly decree that men who are sexually tempted by other men are guilty of not excersing self-restraint, excuse your own temptation when it comes to women. Talk about a double standard.

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posted by Don't I Know You? at 11:11 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


74 Comments:


  • At 11/16/2006 12:10:00 PM, Blogger lydia

    I wonder if this isn't somehow related to the Madonna-Whore Complex?

    You know - some women are marriage material (and thus "good"), others are sexual material (thus "bad"). You're either one or the other.

    Maybe I'm completely off on this, but as I read your post I wondered if there was a connection here .

     
  • At 11/16/2006 12:31:00 PM, Blogger gerbmom

    Amen.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 01:10:00 PM, Blogger Sally

    I suspect you are right about the Madonna whore complex- but I also believe that the old chestnut of temptation and behavioral requirements directed at women to "protect"! men has been used to surpress and control women through out the ages...

    Get over it guys!

     
  • At 11/16/2006 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    I'd be interested in seeing the quote in context - can you provide a link please?

     
  • At 11/16/2006 01:44:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I agree about the madonna/whore, either/or thing, though I certainly cannot relate to that kind of a dichotomy. I became a mother at age 21, and I certainly wasn't done being spontaneous and sexy. I hope I'm never done being spontaneous and sexy. It's just a matter of find ways to be expressive and uninhibited in responsible, respectful ways.

    There's a huge difference between communicating to the world, "I'm a sexual being and happy about it," and communicating, "I'm available to be your sexual sidekick."

    An attractive woman being happy in herself is a totally different matter from an attractive woman seducing my husband. Or me being happy in my own sexuality versus seducing someone else's husband.

    Because one dresses one's children nicely and other people think they are cute doesn't justify people with fertility problems stealing other people's babies.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 01:53:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    it's in the middle of a long conversation. Message #318851

    http://www.theooze.com/forums/discussions.cfm?forumid=16&topicid=317901&bookmark=141

     
  • At 11/16/2006 01:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Well said!

    Also, how about the double standard of women have to look good for their husbands so their husbands won't cheat, but not so good that they'll tempt anyone else!

    I pointed out once to my wife that I noticed how many ostensibly Christian couples consisted of a very attractive woman paired with a pretty dopey guy, and my conclusion used to be, "Ah, another poor Christian woman settling for some dunce of a man because 'God told her to.'" Not to say that some couples have that magic loving bond regardless of their outward appearance, but you know what I'm saying...

    Bottom line is, you can't use evolutionary biology to justify weakness, especially when it's in an area that is well-articulated and well-defined. I mean, I may as well just say that since I wasn't evolutionarily designed to have so much dietary fat available to me, it's the fault of Snickers to tempt me with shelves full of chocolates, as opposed to using self control and getting help if I need it.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:21:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    it reallys gets to me that women have to be the ones shoulderig the blame. Either we are too sexy and cause men to stumble or (as has recetly come up) we are not sexy enough and cause our husband to wander. Asking men to take responsibility seems like a lost cause - its easier to blame women, intimidate us, and make us feel guilty than to change.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:24:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    do you feel that conversation was as lost on "them" as do?

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:24:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    i mean, as I do?

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I think partly it's a hangover from our semi-recent patriarchal past [and in some places present] such that women, being unequal to men in social, legal, and necessarily cultural, status, became objectified by default.

    We need grassroots movements instructing respect for women, backed up by legislation that has teeth.

    Ah, the days when women were revered and in charge of the money, and men were muscle-bound drones. Seriously though, as a man, I really think the world would be a much better place for everyone if there were at least an equal, if not slightly greater (say, 60/40), female guidance to the direction of humanity.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    You said it, Medium Guy.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    okay so I just realized that the comment was in "THAT" thread and was written in respose to me... I am so sick of that conversation and the manipulation, intimidation, and name-calling that went on there (and the condesending "I Love Women" thread that spun off it) - I'm not planning on responding. If the guys don't get yet that what they are saying really is offensive then there is no point. They just keep repeating the most offensive things and telling us we are wrong for thinking they are offensive. Why bother?

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Another aspect to all of this in terms of female sexuality I think can be elucidated by a dynamic I observed when living in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu state. Women were considered untouchable during menses [like Leviticus reports] and in order to protect girls' reputations for arranging marriages, they were kept on a tight leash, as it were, socially until they were "married off."

    I came to understand that these are manifestations of the male psyche insofar as men fear the power of women's sexuality and are jealous of women's ability to give birth. Men can't help but be attracted to women, but feel both insecure and powerless to (and perhaps guilty of) their sexual desire for women, so as a result they feel that women need to be controlled. Also, since women have the monopoly on bearing the next generation, the whole maintaining blood-line thing of inheritance gets thrown in, just sautee and cover on low heat, and you've got yourself one oppressive patriarchal system!

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:44:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    preach on sista!

    it's like I said awhile back - we're supposed to be beautiful so our husbands don't go astray but we're to blame when other men go astray because we're beautiful? good grief.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Medium Guy, can I just have a stir fry instead :)

     
  • At 11/16/2006 03:01:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    Julie,

    oh good, i was beginning to think i was the only thinking person on that thread.

    what frustrates me the most is that the oozecrew thinks it is so bright and sensitive yet consistently shut down when confonted by anything that's not in their playbook.

    and n7 is right: they do it with the same tools of steering the conversation away from anything that threatens their stance. (HAH. I said that the men use their tools. Is that a profound statement or what?)

     
  • At 11/16/2006 03:52:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    okaaaay. I read THAT post, but none of the others and as far as what HE said in that post - I agree with him.

    He said that many pastors wives have 'let themselves go' -- that is probably a fair statement.

    he then said he's guilty of the same. okay.

    He then said this:

    It is not my wives fault if I am tempted or sin. That is my SOLE RESPONSIBLITY. And I think "but she may not be helping him either" is a fair statement. We both sexes need to be desirable to our/for our mates.

    ----
    I agree with that as well.

    He then said this:

    one of the hardest things for the boys was when a girl would wear skin tight clothing or dress provocative (sometimes swinmsuits that barly covered anything). This person is suppossed to be a sister in Christ and at the same time is showing her body off to the guys, who are trying to learn to control their hormones. The girls dressing that way were not helping out thier spiritual brothers. Much like I would not take an alcoholic to a bar to talk.
    We need to try to make sure we are "making our brothers and sisters stumble"
    --

    And I can't tell you how much I agree with this.

    Seriously. Yes there are all kinds of lines to be walked -- on both sides of the fence. But the way many women dress....unless a guy is walking around with a blindfold on. Its gonna be hard, moreso for some than others.

    Imagine if a 'hot' guy walked around in a speedo. Thats what some miniskirts or tight pants could correlate with.

    I'm not saying the 'she made me do it because of the way she dressed' is right. I'm just saying that I think there is enough blame to go around on both sides and this particular post didn't seem that 'off' to me.

    he went on to say this:

    Not all women after childbirth and the stresses of life, are as attractive as they used to be. It does not change how much you love them. It can change how much you are sexually attracted to them.

    ====
    I agree with that too.

    I didn't read the entirety of his post or the thread - I stopped there....might go back at another time and read the whole thing.

    Thanks for providing the link. :)

     
  • At 11/16/2006 04:11:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    you know, as i re-read the posts it reminds me of the guys at the gym where i work out.

    some of them are very easy on the eyes. some of the women who go there are very easy on the eyes.

    how does this very secular place handle it? the men work out. the women work out. it's not that people are unaware that they are sweating next to hunks and hunkesses.

    it's that they choose to recognize the situation for what it is. they choose to respect each other's right to be present and they choose to internally move away from issues of sexual attraction and interest.

    this does not say that those interests or attractions or temptations aren't there. it says that they choose a response.

    it seems that in a secular environment with more flesh and curves showing than usual, it's easier to deal with sexuality than it is in the so-called holy environment of church.

    hmm. kinda makes church look even less attractive. maybe this difference exposes some churches and pastors to the naked truth that they are the ones with the roving eye—not "the world."

     
  • At 11/16/2006 04:56:00 PM, Blogger John Lynch

    I'm not familiar with the original Ooze post, but from Julie's description it sounds like they've been rough on women. And though I don't even read their page, I'm sorry for the offensive comments on behalf of guys in general.

    There's no doubt that patriarchal culture has used the lame reason of "temptress" to excuse a lack of responsibility & self-control in guys. Beyond our own borders, I know of horrible stories in other countries where even sexual crimes are blamed on victims' dress or body language... not on the offender or his violent self-indulgence.

    Jesus makes it clear that men are accountable for their thoughts (Mt 5:28) & eyes (Mt 6). Saying we cannot control ourselves is an insult to men everywhere & to the God who made them. It's like calling us mindless animals driven by instinct; & it's a slap in the face of our Creator who made all humans in His image.

    There is also Scripture, however, that indicates we are to "bear one another's burdens" (Gal 6:2) & take care with our liberties for the sake of those with weaknesses in various areas (1 Cor 8).

    My wife's a total hottie, an artist, European, & way stylish. Even so, I'm glad she considers how her clothes might affect brothers in Christ or guys in general because it shows sacrificial love. She's not catering to their lame excuses or lack of self-control... She just cares about 'em.

    There's something precious about caring for others more deeply than caring for our own freedoms or rights. Even in the American cultural wake of oppressive patriarchal traditionalism.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 06:09:00 PM, Blogger erudit

    do you feel that conversation was as lost on "them" as do?

    You are misrepresenting and being pretty disrespectful here. I agreed with a great deal of what the guys said in that thread, and they made good points about how you and Julie were handling it. Because people do not draw the same conclusions as you do does not mean they are clueless, do not care about women, etc. And if the guys resort to some humor to blow off steam, you too have been condescending, sarcastic, and dismissive both here and there. Consider that a person tends to be treated with the measure they dish out.

    -Gina

     
  • At 11/16/2006 06:55:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    Let me see if I can articulate this effectively without getting too verbose.

    The main problem I have with these and similar issues is that the "solution" doesn't really impact the "problem".

    The perceived problem is men (since it is the men who are the focus here I will use men as the example) who are tempted to lust in their minds or even carry out their desires with behavior that is inappropriate at best and sinful at worst and that women who bare too much skin or behave in a sexually alluring manner either cause, contribute or at least don't help the situation (depending on how politically correct the person is trying to be when they talk about the issue).

    So we as women are told to keep ourselves modest in dress and behavior and make sure we are not putting men into situations that would be compromising.

    That might sound all well and good, but here's the problem - women should be instructed in how to dress and behave in a way that brings GLORY TO GOD and also in a way that allows them to fully shine in the gifts and talents God gave them for the purpose of advancing His Kingdom.

    Women should not be encouraged to do something for the purpose of helping a man control his roving eye or thought life. THAT is the problem I have with these kinds of approaches.

    When the subject of lust or infidelity or whatever comes up, the only person who should be spoken to is the person dealing with the lust. When the subject of glorifying God with dress and behavior comes up, then it should stay limited to the issue at hand.

    We have to make sure we're dealing with the root issue in this situation - a woman who knows her worth in the eyes of God will be led by the Spirit of that same God to dress in a way that glorifies him and allows her to shine. Let's deal with that instead of the idea that she should be careful around her brothers because she doesn't want to cause them to stumble.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 06:59:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    and on the issue of women who are married told to keep their men faithful by keeping themselves fit and attractive? the same thing applies - wives to feel loved, appreciated and are encouraged to fully use their gifts and talents desire to glorify God by taking care of themselves. Wives who are in a mutually loving and serving marriage desire to please their husband with their bodies both sexually and in other intimacy ways.

    So to tell a woman that she needs to keep her husband faithful by not letting herself go is NOT addressing the root issue - WHY are pastor's wives letting themselves go? maybe it's because pastors tend to work obscene hours, are rarely home and are pulled from both ends by anyone and everyone so much so that they have nothing left for their families? Let's get to that root problem before we infer that the pastor's wife has something to do with the pastor's lack of self control.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 08:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Quoting Doxallo:

    "Not all women after childbirth and the stresses of life, are as attractive as they used to be. It does not change how much you love them. It can change how much you are sexually attracted to them.

    ====
    I agree with that too."

    The fact that this idea was expressed, and further that you agree with it, is very disturbing to me. The implication is that with normal healthy physiological processes [ie if no women gave birth, we would become extinct...actually, given the current state of affairs maybe that's a good thing, but that's a topic for another thread...] a woman becomes less sexually attractive to her HUSBAND. First of all, that's a pretty pessimistic view of what it means to be one flesh, for richer or poorer, yada yada yada. Second, aging ain't too kind to us XYs either, you know? Another dimension to consider is that, as a gross generalization, women value intimacy and that her husband/partner/significant other knows her, listens to her, and accepts her for who she is. The mentality that one's wife becomes less sexually attractive over time is exactly the kind of thing that drives women to have unnecessary surgical procedures, spend all kinds of money on unproven, dangerous, addictive, harmful chemicals to try to look younger, and basically create what is not. The problem is, our culture is so awash in media that portray waifs and even nowadays 13 year-olds made-up to look like 20 year-olds and air-brushed that we don't even know what a normal human body looks like anymore, except if we look in the mirror once in a while. So we have absolutely unrealistic expectations of what bodies should look like at certain stages of life and the forever young industry is capitalizing on people's fabricated and reinforced (by people like yourself) insecurities and neuroses.

    Let's just accept and be grateful for what God gave us.

    Ciao.

     
  • At 11/16/2006 08:17:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    It really saddens me to see women sort of attacking each other over this issue, when we could be offering one another support rather than judging each other or other women for either not being attactive enough or being too attactive. We need each other as sisters. We all experience heartbreak and experience challenges living in our culture and living for God with other people, both men and women.

    I agree with Makeesha, we need to look in our own hearts and ask how we can glorify God with our bodies, hearts and spirits.

    I believe we become what we focus on; that's why philippians 4 (I think) says to look at whatever is lovely and praiseworthy and else where we are encouraged to fix our eyes on God. If we focus on lust, we'll just get more lust. If we focus on judging how other women dress or how we don't measure up, we'll just get more cattiness and insecurity and depression and probably won't reduce infidelity, which usually is either a character problem or a deeper marital problem. If we focus on respecting one another and serving God and loving our neighbor, then we will naturally want to bring excitement and joy to our spouse, but we will also trust that they will love and accept us on the days we are too tired to be sex kittens; And if our passion is faithfulness and love, petty attractions and passing temptations will have no hold on us and we will run free in Christ.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 12:23:00 AM, Anonymous Mary

    Cultural history has shown that no matter how much or little women cover up, men are "tempted" by what is not covered up. When it's everything but the eyes, particularly beautiful eyes are tempting. When skirts were down to the ankles, the glimpse of ankle when a woman walked was considered sexy. When women were still covering their hair, the daring fashion of allowing the hair just above the forehead to show was considered enticing. And so forth.

    Any abiyah-clad woman beaten by the morality police can tell you that a pretext WILL be invented when a man wishes to castigate a woman for being "too tempting."

    No, I don't believe women should dress to "show off" their bodies. I don't believe all women dress to do so, even non-religious women. I believe some women, even some Christian women, may well dress to "show off" their bodies. That is between them and God. I agree that we ought to choose our attire, as in deciding how to behave in other areas, with a desire to please God. *God* knows we're not primarily the bodies we inhabit; they're simply tools provided to us to fulfill God's purpose for our lives. We can waste, squander, imperil, and objectify them, others' as well as our own. But none of that is God's will for us.

    I wish that more men in the church would recognize, as many already do, that a woman "has authority on her [own] head" and is responsible before God for how she presents herself. Women do not need for men to regulate our dress codes! If women were free in all parts of the church to take the authority God gives us to fulfill God's purpose for us, a great deal of the bickering about women's attire and men's temptation over same would resolve itself. But it's the same old power struggle the human race has engaged in since time began. Which is unfortunate, since God calls us to serve one another and prefer others to ourselves; the greatest among us is the servant of all. Those grasping for the power to dictate to the women how they must dress for the sake of men, are NOT behaving as Christ taught us we should. And IMO, it leads to exactly this kind of grief between men and women.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 01:23:00 AM, Anonymous paul

    I hear you! The degrading sexism you note is why a few of us have taken up the cause of ousting Mark Driscoll from the Mars Hill Seattle church. We'd love your support.

    http://www.endfundamentalism.org

     
  • At 11/17/2006 04:19:00 AM, Anonymous Mary

    Churches have the pastoral leadership for which they pray and which they're willing to support. Honestly, as long as people like Fred Phelps "pastor" churches, people are going to wonder what's so bad about Mark Driscoll or any other outspokenly misogynistic (or otherwise hate-driven) religious leader. Until a church decides that they simply won't tolerate the anti-biblical, unchristlike bigoted rhetoric their pastors spout, such pastors will stay there. Why wouldn't they? Think about it: where else could they get paid to hold forth as they do?

     
  • At 11/17/2006 08:10:00 AM, Blogger MTR

    Ladies--

    I'd love to get your view on my thoughts:http://fromthemorning.blogspot.com/2006/11/marital-safety-zone_12.html

    [FTM: Marital Safety Zone]

    My wife generally disagreed, but I stand by my words, and I wonder if there is any more gentle way to say it... I mean, submission is a two way street.

    Here's the thing: as a man in our culture, I do feel like it's revered. I feel like men are expected to deal with wives who hate submission.

    I also sense that your experience has been otherwise, so so I suggest these things in total respect. I hope the dialog can be good.

    [FTM]

     
  • At 11/17/2006 09:20:00 AM, Blogger Doxallo

    Hello Medium Guy - 'disturbing' ? really? Many pardons I'm sure.

    Its actually NOT a pessimistic view at all - its reality. *shrug* And PLEASE note what the post says, not what you are reading into it -- the man said:

    Not ALL women - i.e., some women may look the same, some women might not. He stated this has nothing to do with LOVE...it MAY however have something to do with physical attraction.

    Ok, so you've got not all women, then in those smaller numbers than all SOME husbands may have a lower physical attraction to their wife.

    I believe that is a reality and as someone else stated - we should be looking at the underlying individual issues. Those couples in those situations should address their issues.

    I disagree that this thinking is what drives women to have numerous surgical procedures. But I won't go into that here, you have touched on it with your commentary on the media and culture.

    Let's just accept and be grateful for what God gave us>>>

    I couldn't agree more. :)

    Makeesha, I agree with you. I believe there are individual issues at hand and was hoping the conversation would begin to turn in that direction. You've stated what was on my heart so I won't go on and on here. :)

     
  • At 11/17/2006 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Wow - lots of comments here...

    to respond to a couple.

    Doxallo - I think you are right that men losing interest in their wives is a reality, but I agree with MG that to always view it that way is pessimistic. Its not the way it should be and also ignores the wholeness of marriage. So perhaps finding ways of chaging this and helping couples overcome wrong views of marriage would be a good outreach.

    Mary - thank you for your thoughts here.

    Gina - we had our responses to the thread and the way the guys there behaved and you had yours. please don't tell us our experiences were wrong or invalid because you don't agree with them.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Sally

    I've just read through all of these comments and it seems to me that the one thing that is being sought for is respect.

    Women it seems cannot "win", they are either too attractive and should cover up more, or have let themselves go and should make more of an effort for their husbands.

    A few points- how about making the effort for ourselves- that cuts both ways- it is good to be fit and healthy- good to wear attractive clothing- and on occassioon to really push the boat out!

    But- it is easy to go over the top and sometimes clothing is unsuitable- falling into line with the latest fashions is not necessary- and even if it is something we like to do we must decide between what is and is not decent.

    That is having respect for ourselves! Respect for self often produces respect in others towards us.

    Also we do need to be aware of and respect the way that we might be percieved by others. Men are made differently, and do react to visual stimulus more than women- to deny that is to deny difference- and that is plain ignorant.

    But guys- don't use us as an excuse! Respect for yourselves surely demands that you own who you are and don't pass the blame in an effort to control!

     
  • At 11/17/2006 11:09:00 AM, Blogger Doxallo

    Julie - this is the problem with the way people think...

    Who said anything about always viewing it that way?

    I'm not even sure what you mean by that...?

    Instead of reading into what people write - which is exactly what I thnk was done with the post at the ooze. . . . people ought to read what is there and ask questions if they don't understand.

    So I'm asking you - what do you mean by :

    "I agree with MG that to always view it that way is pessimistic. "

    And please expand on how you are relating this to 'wholeness of marriage'.

    And what are you proposing we overcome and what are the views on marriage that you think should be changed? Unless I know your view I can't help you get to where you want to go.....or contribute. :)

    TIA. I'me ager to hear your thoughts. :)

     
  • At 11/17/2006 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    I think it's a disservice to women to say that (paraphrasing) "Men are more visual than women." Probably a majority of men are more "visual" than a majority of women. That hardly means that women aren't visual and men are. That's the problem with these kinds of stereotypes. And whe we get right down to it, it's a matter of sin. Are we going to own up to our own sin, or are we going to play the Genesis 3 blame game and try to shift it onto others?

    If I am enticed visually by a man, regardless of whether he's in a Speedo or a shapeless work coverall, that is MY problem to deal with. If he's wearing that Speedo specifically to call attention to his body, then that's his problem to deal with, but it still doesn't negate my responsibility to deal with my own sin of sexual temptation.

    That's what I think was so damaging about Driscoll's remark about pastors' wives "letting themselves go." He reduced those wives to being sexually attractive or unattractive objects, and judging the latter to be somewhat complicit when their husbands commit sexual sin.

    It's kind of like the cold hard reality of any sort of sexual abuse. If the one you abused paraded naked before you or did just about anything else, if you forced sex on that person, you were guilty of rape. Your guilt or innocence is a different matter than the guilt or innocence of the other person. Neither negates the other, nor minimizes it.

    The fact is, we're EACH as human beings designed to be attracted sexually to others, the vast majority to the opposite sex. To a greater or lesser degree, visual stimulation plays a significant role in that attraction. It's neither accurate nor helpful to make these sorts of claims, that there's "men's" attraction and "women's" attraction (or lack thereof, as some would try to claim). We're all sexual beings, as well as physical beings and spiritual beings and human beings. We're all responsible to be good stewards of the body, mind, and soul God gave each one of us. I don't think it's all that difficult to understand. It seems to me that some refuse to try to understand how it might be to be a woman who hears the lies about sexual behavior being put forth as though they're straight from the mouth of God.

    Sorry, but I've read the CBMW and other complementarian books and articles, and find that they have a consistently appallingly bad understanding of God's design for men and women, including the sexual aspect of marriage. This "initiator" and "receiver" stuff is just so much cr*p.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 01:04:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    I also think that books like "His Needs, Her Needs" contribute to this lousy understanding of relationships. If we're human beings, we all need all the following in marriage:

    -Affection
    -Conversation
    -Honesty and Openness
    -Financial Support
    -Family Commitment
    -Sexual Fulfillment
    -Recreational Companionship
    -Physical Attractiveness
    -Domestic Support
    -Admiration

    What's with these pop authors' penchant for making men and women so totally different? (BTW, the first five things on the list are supposedly the things women need, while the second five are supposedly what men need.) Hello?! We're all HUMAN beings. First and foremost, that's what we are. Each one of us is in some ways different from every other human being. Being female or male is only one way we're different. Why must we make two molds, one pink and one blue, and force all people into one or the other. Female and male are a given for (just about) everyone (and may we show true Christian compassion for those rare individuals who are physically and genetically both female and male). Why should we make that the dividing/sorting criterion? Sadly, it's our human sinful bent for judging the outward appearance that has made this OK for such a long time, despite Scripture's teachings that God's way is very different.

    (scratching head at how we so proudly insist on doing things that divide us and wrongly claiming they're God's way.)

     
  • At 11/17/2006 02:02:00 PM, Blogger erudit

    Julie: The value of hearing someone else's perspective who has seen things differently is that you may be able to see your own blind spots. I have on at least one other occasion shared my own experience of these issues and you took this as negating or invalidating other women. That is itself unfair, and seems defensive.

    He reduced those wives to being sexually attractive or unattractive objects, and judging the latter to be somewhat complicit when their husbands commit sexual sin.

    The last statement is something he specifically denied in the Driscoll's post. The first is an interpretation, and one I find to be exaggerated. I have read the very same things Driscoll said written by women to other women.

    I have no interest in defending the man, of whom I was barely aware before all this, but the furor over his statement is perplexing.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 02:11:00 PM, Blogger erudit

    Excuse my typos please. :)

     
  • At 11/17/2006 02:24:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    He still has not backed away from his stated belief that a woman who "lets herself go" creates an environment that makes it easier for her husband to sin sexually. Yes, he "clarified" what we all know to be true: if he sins sexually, that is HIS sin. But even mentioning wives "letting themselves go" as contributory in any way, in a statement supposedly for other male pastors, is pretty unambiguous. She contributes to the problem, but not the sin? Come on! We CAN read.

    Time alone, according to Western culture, makes women less sexually attractive to their men. Women in Western culture find it difficult not to be bombarded with this message. When a relatively young male pastor insists on commenting on the sexual unattractiveness of his male peers's wives, it's going to be noticed by women and those men who are committed to upholding the dignity of all people, including women. Driscoll simply should have kept that inappropriate observation to himself. He did not, and in his "clarification" he tried to excuse it. That's why people are reacting negatively.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 02:30:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Doxallo - thanks for the response.

    youe wrote - So I'm asking you - what do you mean by :

    "I agree with MG that to always view it that way is pessimistic. "

    And please expand on how you are relating this to 'wholeness of marriage'.

    And what are you proposing we overcome and what are the views on marriage that you think should be changed? Unless I know your view I can't help you get to where you want to go.....or contribute. :)


    What I meant by "to always view it that way is pessimistic" was that to assume that since it is a reality that men lose interest in their wives after the birth of a child then its the only way it should be forver and always. I fully admit that it happens, but I still hold that it isn't the way it should be. Marriage should be about so much more than physical appearance and sex. (the whole for better or worse, sickness and health... thing). What happens if a spouse can't have sex any longer (think Christopher Reeve) - does that give the other spouse an excuse to wander or blame the unable spouse? That's where the "whole marriage" thing comes in. To help bring a healthy perspective of the many aspects of marriage (emotional, spiritual, and sexual).

    Yes sex is a big deal in marriage. But is a two way street. To blame women because their biology doesn't match up with airbrushing and plastic sugury and eating disorders doesn't seem to accept that wholeness. Everything just seems a lot more complex than its being presented as.

     
  • At 11/17/2006 08:02:00 PM, Blogger erudit

    Mary, I should have clarified that I'm not perplexed about why people are upset, but rather at the ferocity of it. I have my own thoughts about why that is, but more on that in a moment.

    He still has not backed away from his stated belief that a woman who "lets herself go" creates an environment that makes it easier for her husband to sin sexually.

    But she does! Let's be clear- what's not being talked about is that most of us are not knockouts or that we won't grow older and change, but rather a lack of caring on the part of some women about their husbands' needs, taking them for granted, etc. And conversely, men who don't pay attention to their wives' needs are not making it easier for them to stay faithful, either. This is common-sense stuff, why is this controversial?

    My thoughts as to how such conflagrations arise: Feminism has penetrated our thinking such that many people walk around chronically offended. It's like a low-grade fever, and it only takes a small spark and people are burning crosses in Mark Driscoll's yard. And I deliberately choose that imagery, because this controversy and others like them take on all the tone of a religious crusade.

    Never mind that all of us as women have legitimately suffered to some extent in our self-esteem and in forming a healthy sexual identity. Ann's post was about taking responsibility for one's own reactions, right?

     
  • At 11/18/2006 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    I would not blame feminism for the strong emotions this thread has tapped into. I would suggest that the intense emotions are a result of the wounds that have been inflicted by a culture of sexism. Feminism is one response to those wounds, an attempt to raise consciousness about them and to identify their source. And women are not the only ones who suffer from sexist ideas in society. We ALL do, just in different ways.

     
  • At 11/18/2006 11:14:00 AM, Blogger MTR

    So a basic question: Is it okay for a wife to "let herself go?"

    I'm not talking about getting older nor am I talking about pregnancy weight. I'm talking about women who decide to dress and care for themselves according to comfort and ease rather than a desire to remain attractive for their husband. Is that wrong?

    [FTM]

     
  • At 11/18/2006 11:47:00 AM, Blogger wilsford

    may i suggest that a slight rephrasing of the question might generate a more fruitful response?

    So a basic question: Is it okay for a spouse to "let him or herself go?"

     
  • At 11/18/2006 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    or what about women who decide to stop wasting money on make-up, clothes, hair coloring, gym fees... Decide to stop living by the worlds standards. Decide to wear organic clothing and stop using toxins on their body. Because of a religious conviction.

    are they letting themselves go? or living by their convictions?

     
  • At 11/18/2006 01:12:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    Reality check: What was that comment doing in an article supposedly intended exclusively for an audience of male pastors?

    The fact that it WAS in there, he's defended saying it, and apologized only for others' "misinterpretation" of the comment, tells me he thinks it's perfectly OK to objectify OTHER PEOPLE'S WIVES in that way, in a publicly released article.

    Sorry, but it's inappropriate and reveals an appalling attitude about women. In an article addressed to male pastors, perhaps he instead should have held forth about THEIR need to romance and "keep themselves hunky" for their wives. As it is, it's simply vintage Mark Driscoll, with a P.S. non-apology that used surprisingly non-inflammatory language but changed nothing about the original message.

     
  • At 11/18/2006 01:15:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    IMO, it's time for Christians to stop using "feminism" as though it's the F-word. Feminism is a philosophy centered around the fact (a biblical one at that) that women are fully human, just as men are, while remaining unique human beings, just as men are.

    It's nearly as bad IMO when people blame whatever it is they are uncomfortable with on "feminism" or "feminists" as when the blame various things on women in general. Neither claim is ever true, and both are a twist on Adam's "the woman YOU gave me...".

     
  • At 11/18/2006 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    I don't see this as so simple. While I believe people should dress and care for their bodies just as they please and feel is a fit with their own values and sense of self, I also think we each do have certain hygiene and grooming preferences. If our spouse/partner made choices against that preference, it could certainly diminish physical attraction. I doubt this is just a guy thing or a woman thing and would vary a lot across individuals. For example, I'm very sensitive to smells and if my husband smelled like road kill every time he wanted to have sex, I'd be turned off in a hurry. And if he wouldn't change his ways, over time, the marriage would soon be in a state of conflict and distress.

    So, if your goal is to enhance or maintain an enjoyable level physical intimacy with your partner, I'd think you would consider preferences (both your own and your partner's) and make decisions accordingly. I doubt any of us need a whole lot of direction from people who don't even know us and our turn ons and offs to tell us what that should or should not be.

    Driscoll simply allowed us a peek into what his own preferences might be. His error is in asserting that HIS preferences would reflect the preferences of the larger group of pastors everywhere. Finally, I don't see the parallel between Haggard's situation and what most pastors are doing when they cheat on their wives with another woman. Who knows what Haggard's deal is but I doubt it had anything to do with whether his wife was over her ideal body weight or disliked thongs in the bedroom.

     
  • At 11/18/2006 02:48:00 PM, Blogger MTR

    "are they letting themselves go? or living by their convictions?"

    I don't know. How does her spouse feel about it?

     
  • At 11/18/2006 02:53:00 PM, Blogger MTR

    May I sound nasty for a moment? You might take this the wrong way, and if so, I'm sorry.

    Look at it this way: How many women do we see who have the "I don't give a damn anymore" hairdo.

    You know the one: Short, perm, low maintenance.

    Okay, I just sounded like a jerk, but I don't want my wife to give up on looking pretty for personal convenience. Nobody said pleasing your husband or wife was ever going to be (or should be) convenient.

    2 years ago I was 45 pounds overweight. I had low energy for my wife's emotional needs. When I came home from work I was tired, and I didn't want to engage in any kind of conversation. So I changed my life. I started running, got in shape, ate healthier--fixed myself.

    That's a good thing! I didn't it for my wife because she deserves a husband who isn't going to have a heart attack in 10 years.

    I want a wife who isn't going to stop caring about her looks in 10 years. I want a wife who understands that I married her for many reaons, one of which was because she was so very pretty.

    We've changed the rules. It seems men aren't supposed to want their wives to stay pretty. We make that seem wrong or something. It's not wrong. I want my wife to be pretty. Simple as that. Thank God she wants to be pretty for my sake as well as her own.

    ftm

     
  • At 11/18/2006 03:00:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    Look at it this way: How many women do we see who have the "I don't give a damn anymore" hairdo.

    You know the one: Short, perm, low maintenance.


    no fair! except for the perm, you just described my hair, which is short but only looks low maintenance!

    ok, hijack over, back to the serious stuff. 8-)

     
  • At 11/18/2006 03:14:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    mtr,

    interesting post. one year and and six months ago, my husband and I agreed to get back into shape. for ourselves, for each other, and for the future we envision together.

    (i told him i should write a post titled "My Man Is a Damned Good Looking Man and I'm Proud Of It.")

    because i know that for us to lose 35 or 40 pounds between us it took commitment to each other and that future we're working on. for him especially, it meant completely changing his attitude toward food and exercise. for us both, it takes a daily commitment to honor the decision that either one of us could freely abandon. straying into new territory, topic-wise...but this new committment is about working together in ways we never have before.

    it's a whole lot about my food and body-image values, which he adopted as his own. it's also about me being more accepting of his values as well.

    but the one thing it is not about is defining our behaviour into a biblical decree, and then using it to hammer our overweight acquaintances.

    all that said, yes, now that we have found the path to spiritual enlightenment (j/k) we do have to be careful about the temptation to tell others that our solution is the one-best solution.

     
  • At 11/18/2006 03:20:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    Hmmm...let's look at this another way:

    How many men keep their hair buzzed short, consider it a chore to have to keep their facial hair (if any) groomed neatly, never do squat to care for their skin, have never even considered how scratchy their leg hair is to their wives, trim their nails once in a blue moon, shower once daily whether they need it or no (and it lasts no longer than 2 minutes), have never even looked at their toenails, and wouldn't know what size underwear to buy if their lives depended on it (since their wives buy it for them)?

    A lot of men make a virtue out of being "low maintenance," regardless of how their wives feel about it. Sorry, that's not "manliness," that's carelessness about one's personal appearance.

    So what gives about women keeping a hairstyle that requires relatively little maintenance? Not having to be preoccupied about whether every hair is perfectly in place, is one aspect of modesty. When one takes basic care of one's appearance in such a way as to not be preoccupied with it most of the rest of the day, that's a wise economy of the gift of time.

    IOW, there ought to be a balance in good grooming, and both husbands and wives (IMO) ought to exhibit some self-respect and good stewardship of the body.

     
  • At 11/18/2006 04:37:00 PM, Blogger MTR

    "How many men keep their hair buzzed short, consider it a chore to have to keep their facial hair (if any) groomed neatly, never do squat to care for their skin, have never even considered how scratchy their leg hair is to their wives, trim their nails once in a blue moon, shower once daily whether they need it or no (and it lasts no longer than 2 minutes), have never even looked at their toenails, and wouldn't know what size underwear to buy if their lives depended on it (since their wives buy it for them)?"

    LOL! That's me! However, my wife seems to like it.

    ALso, my wife, who always askes me how she should get her hair done before she goes, alos enjoys it low maintenance. There's a good middle ground, methinks...

    And as someone who grew up with a single mom as a parent, I appreciate you women, so please don't take offense.

    [ftm]

     
  • At 11/18/2006 06:54:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    MTR, do you mean you appreciate us as long as we don't sport what you choose to call "the 'I don't give a damn anymore' haircut"?

     
  • At 11/18/2006 11:04:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I am a damn good looking woman and I have a low-maintenance hair style because time with my husband (when I am not exhausted,) my children, my writing, serving my church and other forms of worshipping God are more important to me than an "up do" or a pedicure. I buy cute clothes in the off season when they go on sale, and sometimes at goodwill (there's one near by where rich people dump hardly-used designer clothes.) My husband thinks I'm a hottie when my legs aren't shaved and finds me extremely attactive after children, despite increased physical imperfections in my body. Beauty and passion are about alot more than perfection. Lots of "perfect" looking people are miserable and have cheating partners. Really getting into your sexuality, your playfulness and your relationship is alot more important in terms of attaction dynamics than spending tons of time grooming EVERY DAY that could be better spent in other ways. I primp occasionally -- it's fun and special, but I know my husband digs me sexually in the raw too. That's an important aspect of holistic marriage is about for me.

     
  • At 11/18/2006 11:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Well said Jemila Monroe! As for me, if my wife were judging me by my day-to-day physical appearance, I'd be in big trouble. No seriously, I am so thankful that my wife appreciates when I get all snazzy and decked out for a date, and that the rest of the time, I can relax and she accepts me however i appear. I have to look good for people in a professional and certain social settings, so if I felt I had to keep it up at home 24/7 to be appealing, that would be way too much pressure. Plus, my wife and I have the kind of relationship where we don't take too seriously telling each other "Hey, you need a haircut," or "Your toenail scratched me!" But just have fun with it and share, you know?
    I agree 100% with the "whole marriage" concept and terminology. It's not "angry feminist" or reactionnary in any way shape or form, it's about what marriage should mean in the context of being one yet two yet one in the eyes of God - soul partners for life, not pieces of meat oggling each other!

     
  • At 11/19/2006 01:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I find it highly ironic that people are accused of thinking like feminists because they have a problem with what Driscoll said but they don't see that maybe the real problem is the thousands of years of sinful thinking coming from the other direction?

    Where does it teach all this secular crap about men and how they were "made" by God?

    I am really tired of it being okay for women to be viewed as objects. That isn't feminist thinking.

    MD once said in a sermon that he told his wife Grace to go out and buy new clothes because she was looking too much like a mom. Huh? She IS a mom and she is not a teeny-bopper any more, either.

    What is the line that women are supposed to follow? It is so confusing.

    We have to be pretty, fit and sexy enough to keep a husband but not too sexy, pretty or fit as to cause a man to stumble. I am sorry. But, when I dress up for a wedding or special event and wear a modest but nice dress, I draw a LOT of attention to myself. It isn't because it is tight or even sexy. It is just that I stand out. I tend to think that if I am going to Walmart and going about my "mom" business, I should dress appropriately. Not sloppy. I always make sure I am showered, my hair is fixed and I look as good as I can. But, I do it for myself. My husband could care less. He ACTUALLY loves me if I don't wear make-up and throw my hair up in a pony tail. I can't get him to leave me alone if I tried! LOL

    I am tired of being labeled a feminist when that is not even the problem. The problem is the long-standing sinful traditional view forced on us.

    Marriage is reduced down to some silly and immature list of shallow rules. If a man finds his wife physically unattractive because of stretch-marks or c-section scars, well then that is a sure sign that he doesn't really know what true love is all about.

    Let's think biblically for a second. Christ loves us no matter what. Christ is to the church as a husband is to the bride. The Bride of Christ is transformed into a beautiful person because of Christ's love.

    As Christians, I would expect a LOT less emphasis on the outer and a LOT more emphasis on the inner. So, please stop making this into a feminist issue. The roots of this are shallow and immature and unbiblical thinking concerning marriage.

    Mary, great thoughts. Thank you for thinking biblically.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 01:40:00 AM, Blogger Corrie

    Medium Guy, I am laughing about the toenail thing! That is so true. I like the thoughts that you have brought to this discussion. It is refreshing to hear it coming from a guy, too. I am married to a man who thinks like this, too.

    The "anonymous" post was me. I forgot to sign in.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 09:42:00 AM, Anonymous prodigal journey

    As Christians, I would expect a LOT less emphasis on the outer and a LOT more emphasis on the inner. So, please stop making this into a feminist issue. The roots of this are shallow and immature and unbiblical thinking concerning marriage.

    In this conversation within the church, we almost never hear the wholeness and completeness of marriage as the union of two into one, but as a list of simplistic and childish rules and behaviors that are supposed to create a “godly” relationship. This, to me, seems like trying to create great art using a “paint by numbers” approach.

    For better or worse, our marriage relationship is not a “paint by numbers” relationship. It is a complex and changing emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual, and intellectual landscape that we create together. There is no single event or activity such as “letting herself go” – instead there is the wholeness of the ongoing relationship that led to our current state.

    In this relationship, generalizations become useless at best, and harmful at worst, because none of us fit the profiles perfectly. In the most intimate of relationships, how can we pretend that a few chapters in a book can fully describe us? Instead, we have the opportunity and responsibility to understand and to be understood at our deepest levels. This includes how we chose to live, how we look to the outside world and to each other, what drives us, what needs we have to be filled, our fears, desires, pain, and joy. This complex work is what creates a Godly relationship. And this work can only be done by the couple together. You cannot determine what my landscape should look like and I cannot determine yours.

    So, in this context, don’t tell my wife what she should wear or how she should look. She will look and act like the wife we create together, and I will look and act like the husband we create together. And if either of us is unhappy with the landscape that we have created, then it is our responsibility to work together to re-create it, understanding how and why the landscape came to be as it is.

    As for advice; if I am unhappy with my wife or our relationship, I should look inside my self before I look to her or to other women for improvements or fulfillment.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Aptly stated, PJ. Now, tell it to Mr. Driscoll, which is where this whole conversation started.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Whoever said feminism is a response to injustice toward women is correct: the manifestations of this response are not always the best. But no one is perfect. Not even women.

    I think the reason the Driscoll comments and related ones upset so many of us is that they foster a fear-based pressure and implicit finger pointing at women, as in, "You better look pretty or else your husband's more likely to go out and cheat." That is a totally different message from, "Husbansd and wives should both love each other in ways that turn each other on and bless each other's days and nights, because doing so creates intimacy, strength and a form of worshipping God." We need positive messages that promote healthy attitudes -- not more guilt trips. Women carry alot of that already. Guilt usually keeps people in destructive patterns and as someone already pointed out, hurt self-esteem. Women who feel happy and confident are much more likely to also feel sexual and like sharing their beauty with their husbands and giving their gifts to the world.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 02:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Thanks for putting a God-centered approach to this dialogue, Jemila, Mary, Julie, and Prodigal Journey! And Corrie - thanks and right back at you! It's an honor and privelege to be a part of this, despite my XY genotype and resultant phenotype. This is by far the best blog I've ever encountered, and the level of thought, sophistication, and even consideration in the face of differing opinions is quite unique.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 07:41:00 PM, Blogger Corrie

    Please excuse any typos or errors....I am trying to nurse my 6 mo. old and balance my laptop on my lap at the same time...

    I was reading in Genesis 19 today. I came across the situation with Lot and the angelic visitors. He invited them to his home and insisted they come there. It was too dangerous to stay in the city at night. Then, the crowd of young and old men came and demanded that Lot send out the two men so that the crowds could defile them. Instead, Lot told them that he would send out his two virgin daughters and he told the crowd that they could do whatever they want to his daughters. But, that they should leave his male visitors alone since they were under his roof for safety.

    Ha! And, how about his daughers? Weren't they there for safety too?

    I was thinking about how if I could take my laptop back to that time in a time machine and I would blog about my reaction to this horrible, horrible behavior and attitude of Lot towards his two virgin daughters, I would be accused of being affected by feminism.

    If I could blog about the concubine being thrown out to the gang of perverts by her own husband so that the man extending hospitality wouldn't be incovenienced, I would be accused of being a feminist.

    MD's blanket statement (it was NOT advice nor did it adress women in any way, shape or form) is nothing but a different angle on this sinful view of women.

    They are objects for sexual gratification. They are too look pretty and be sexy and be gratifying sexually and if they are not, they just might have to look elsewhere.

    I am sure MD doesn't mean to portray this at all but it is an underlying current in his words. Not just in that infamous post but in other things he has said and written. When he writes about his wife having to go shopping because she was looking too much like a "mom", you have to think what his views on women really are. After all, she is in her mid-thirties and she is a mom to 4 young children.

    When I was single and before kids, I could wear silk blouses and dry-clean only tailored skirts and suits. I wore heels and pearls and always had my hair done.

    Now, I have lots of little ones (10 in all) who spit up on my, pull my hair if I don't have it up and wipe snot on me as if I was kleenex. It is just not practical or economical to dress in clothing and styles that are not conducive to my role as a stay-at-home mom.

    He wants it both ways. He wants women to return to their roles but he doesn't want them to look as if they are actually in those roles.

    I am not a feminist. I am tired of sinful masculinism in the church and it being taught as biblical. The attitudes of masculinists are harmful to women and they are utterly unbiblical

    I like what prodigal said about looking at marriage in a biblical light. Why don't we hear about the Bible when it comes to marriage? What is the purpose of marriage? To keep the husband happy and the wife in grateful submission?

    When many Christians approach the topic of marriage, they suddenly go secular in their thinking.

    I just do not get it.

    And what happened to prayer, fasting and watching when it came to temptation? Anyone read the book by John Owen on Temptation? It really gives me a picture of just how far we have come. It is NOT external that keeps us from sinning. One look at the purpose of the Law will tell you that. Just look at our culture. People are free and sexually expressing themselves but perversion and unfaithfulness are at all time highs. If free liberties sexually were an antidote to sexual immorality, one would think that we would see a decline in immorality.

    The problem with sex addicts is that no one is pretty enough and there is never enough sex and it is never satisfying. It is just like someone who is a glutton or a drug addict.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 09:46:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    julie,

    you said:
    Marriage should be about so much more than physical appearance and sex. >>

    I agree. thats why its no big deal for me to think that there will be times when one might not have as high (or any) physical attraction to their spouse. Thats not what defines a marriage.

    What happens if a spouse can't have sex any longer (think Christopher Reeve) - does that give the other spouse an excuse to wander or blame the unable spouse? >>>>

    No, and neither does 'letting oneself go'. As stated repeatedly already. :)

    To blame women because their biology doesn't match up with airbrushing and plastic sugury and eating disorders doesn't seem to accept that wholeness. Everything just seems a lot more complex than its being presented as.>>>

    Well, I think people aren't understanding what others are saying and I personally think alot of people are reading their own persepctives into it.

    I'm also surprised at what people mean when they define or talk about letting oneself go....

     
  • At 11/19/2006 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    Maybe the problem is in presuming to set standards such as length/style of hair or a nebulous "sexually attractive" for anyone except myself or, in Christian marriage, for working out what those standards are for myself and my spouse, together.

    I don't need anyone else to tell me I need to wear my hair long--or short, or my skirts shorter--or longer--or forego trousers because I'm female, or any of the many, MANY things I've read and heard Christian men say to Christian women they don't even know. I am a mature Christian woman. Not as mature today in Christ as I pray I will be tomorrow--who is??--but mature in years of life lived as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit in me, in conjunction with a covenant faith community to which I am accountable, is a much more reliable guide of what is appropriate attire and grooming than Joe Blow in Christian e/blogdom could ever be! So where does any man get off saying that a woman whose hair is short and permed "doesn't give a damn anymore"? And though I meant the stereotypes of the "letting himself go man" in fun to illustrate how inappropriate it is to make such judgments about others, I dare not ever judge any man in that way for real. His standards are not my concern. Mine are not his, if he's not my husband.

    That is why I found Driscoll's remark so inappropriate. IT IS NOT HIS PLACE to tell other people that he thinks some of their wives are "letting themselves go." It's even worse to draw conclusions about the state of those women's marriage based on such judgments.

    It's time that we as Christians were truly supportive of marriage as it is ideally portrayed in the Scriptures: two becoming one flesh, each sacrificing self for the sake of the other, with Christ as the source of their marital unity. They have the Holy Spirit in them. It is their responsibility to keep their marriages strong. We ought not to meddle in those marriages. Instead, we ought to pray for them and as God calls and equips us, serve as their churches and friends to be wise counsel and good teachers as their individual situations would require of us. These blanket condemnatory statements about "wives need to" and "husbands need to" are just not good on any level. PEOPLE, including married people, need to trust in the goodness of God to lead them in the way of righteousness, even in their bedrooms. We shouldn't presume to be little holy spirits or all-seeing gods in the most intimate of human relationships. We sure as shootin' can't fix our own marriages without God leading the way; why pretend we have all the answers for others' marriages?

    And for us single folks, we should be focused on pleasing God. That ought to keep us way too busy to pontificate about what's wrong with the married peoples' relationships.

     
  • At 11/19/2006 10:21:00 PM, Anonymous Mary

    Oh, Corrie, I meant to send a big "hi there" your way. I so appreciate the perspective you've brought with your comments. Good to "see" you.

    As so many others have also, your comments have both blessed and challenged me to think more faithfully about these issues. I thank you.

     
  • At 11/20/2006 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Corrie

    Doxallo, what exactly did Mark mean when he said "letting one's self go"? Could you please explain what that means so that we stop "reading things into it"? So far, I have heard speculations on what that means but no one can tell us what that means.

    I did a google search on that phrase about a week ago. It seems that the people are accurately understanding that phrase. Dr. Dobson said that a woman who lets herself go looks like a rhino on huge haunches that has spent a night in a tornado.

    I do think that Mark was defining that by his own standards. He has a very HIGH standard concerning looks for women. He repeatedly tells his congregation that his wife is "HOT". He tells them that he made his wife go shopping for clothes so she wouldn't look like a mom.

    Mark looks at pastors wives to judge them. If someone doesn't fit the bill, they have let themselves go. Do we really believe that a bunch of pastors confided to Mark that their wives had let themselves go?

    He just returned from the "Desiring God" conference at John Piper's church. I really wonder if he thinks that John Piper's wife is an example of someone who has let herself go?

    To be fair, he really should have defined that term. It is his fault entirely if people have blown it out of proportion. He is supposed to be a professional communicator. He used a term that has some serious connotations and to accuse people of blowing it out of proportion when they are using that phrase exactly as it is understood in America is to be downplaying what he said.

    Fact is that many of these women that he has observed looked like that before they married. There are very few women, in my experience, who truly "let themselves go". Yes, having small children puts a cramp on the clothing and hair budget and also makes it impractical to dress in "hot" clothes. Also, if Mark wants women to return to the role God has for them, that means they are doing all the dirty housework, too. When is the last time you saw a cleaning lady wearing her best clothes to clean in? And he has stated that Grace does almost all the housework.

    We have 5 pastors in our chuch and all of their wives are beautiful women. I can think of one pastor's wife that I know, personally, in another church who is a bit overweight but she was like that before she married. I also know that she is working at losing it. But, her husband is quite overweight, too. Can Mark make statements like this and really be accurate?

    How come I don't read about ugly and fat women being one of the causes of cheating husbands in the puritan books that I read on sin and temptation?

    And I don't really care that someone throws in a "but women aren't to blame" after they make such statements. The implications is LOUD and CLEAR.

    It is like the man who beats his wife and the pastor asks the wife what she did to provoke her husband to beat her. The implication is there.

    I am more concerned about the attitudes and philosophy behind Mark's comments than I am about the comments themselves. Underneath is this the same idea Lot and the Concubine's husband and even Abram had with Sarah- women are less valuable then men and they are objects to be used for gratification.

    Having sex between a husband and wife is an act of worship. I wonder if God is tempted to cheat on His Bride because some of us are so ugly and fat and have let ourselves go? These men have made the sex act into something about them. It isn't.

     
  • At 11/20/2006 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Corrie

    Mary, nice to see you and I enjoy reading your perspective. You bring a lot to the table.

     
  • At 11/20/2006 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Doxallo

    Corrie,

    you said:
    -Doxallo, what exactly did Mark mean when he said "letting one's self go"? Could you please explain what that means so that we stop "reading things into it"? So far, I have heard speculations on what that means but no one can tell us what that means.-

    I can't speak for someone else and I was commenting originally on the comments the OP brought over from the ooze.

    you also said:

    -He has a very HIGH standard concerning looks for women.-

    Oh really? So THATS what a high standard is? You agree then with that worldly definition? If you don't agree then take a look at how you wrote that and what it says....you may choose to rephrase that in the future. (?)

    Mary said:
    -Maybe the problem is in presuming to set standards such as length/style of hair or a nebulous "sexually attractive" for anyone except myself or, in Christian marriage, for working out what those standards are for myself and my spouse, together.-

    Much agree. Not to mention individually, we know in our hearts, when we've 'let ourselves go' even when its not visible on the outside or to the watching world. Its easy to put on appearances when we step out the front door...

     
  • At 11/20/2006 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Mary

    A visiting preacher gave the sermon at my church yesterday, giving us an excellent biblical survey of gratitude (how seasonal!).

    Here is one provocative concept I remember especially:

    When we relate to other people with gratitude to God and to them for being the gift of God that they are, we assume our proper place in a godly relationship with them, in which we cooperate in Christian love to do the will of God. When, however, we view them through the lens of being the most important person in our own worlds, we invariably attempt to subsume them into ourselves, creating hierarchies in which we attempt to keep the power for ourselves and control them with it.

    I've thought a lot about that concept. I think it's accurate. I've tested it with a lot of different kinds of relationships: political, neighborhoods, churches, families, international relations, marriage...and it fits every time.

    Another point was that when we live in genuine gratitude to God, we live with integrity. A grateful person cannot present him/herself as someone s/he is not. Again, I tested this idea in various arenas, and it's true.

    Just a semi-related thought to toss into the hopper here.

     
  • At 11/20/2006 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Thanks Mary. That is a profound reminder.

    Anyone who would like to grow the conversation about women's sexuality in a more woman-centered, positive, healing direction is welcome to hang out over at

    www.spiritualsensuality.blogspot.com

     
  • At 11/20/2006 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Corrie

    Dox, good point. I see what you are saying. Yes, I shall like to rephrase that. He has a worldly standard of beauty for women (ie., "hottie"). Thanks for pointing that out.

     
  • At 11/21/2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Doxallo

    Hey Corrie - I think we all probably have some measure of that whole cultural and worldly mindset in matters like this even when we consciously are trying to turn from it- its sort of 'ingrained'...your post really made me stop and think - when I read that word - it just hit me.....we carry around 'notions' in our venacular. It really did make me stop and think and hopefully I will choose words more carefully day by day. Its good reading and talking with you all. :)

     
  • At 11/23/2006 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Trisha

    I think that each person, men and women, should appreciate what they find beautiful. But it's so disturbing when men think that they have the right to flirt or ask out a women they find attractive--because they can't help it!? I'm married and I take offense at strangers, or even friends, who are forward in that way.

     

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