the transformed wife–teaching us to love or hate?

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Since the article Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos went viral, I’ve been following the posts of The Transformed Wife.  Lori Alexander, the author of the blog, is an older women writing to teach younger women the ways of God’s Word and Biblical womanhood.  She says there are many things she regrets about her past during the younger years in her marriage, and she writes now hoping to spare women her mistakes.

There was a time when I wanted so bad to have a mentor.  I wanted another woman teaching me, leading me, guiding me through the labyrinth of life.  In what felt like a famine of real-life women to learn from and talk to, I found myself drawn to ministries like No Greater Joy and books like Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl.  At the time, I was desperate for concrete advice that would actually produce desired results.

There was something different about the teachings of Debi Pearl–the same woman who also taught and inspired Lori Alexander. Her words, though often blunt and straightforward, felt like a long lost, needed common sense.  In a world where adults seemed to possess zero competence, at least pertaining to the subject of child-rearing, she actually had standards—and high ones.  She didn’t offer me the “lower your expectations” softness I was quickly growing weary of, if only because they felt like the obvious code words for things like weakness, failure, giving up, and defeat.

All this to say, I understand why people might follow and appreciate Lori.  It’s too long of a story to get into right now, but for me, in the end, these teachings ended up doing more harm than good.  The more I continue reading her, the more my heart aches.  I’ve been blubbering around in a Word document trying to come up with some kind of coherent, respectable response.  I tried to leave a comment on another man’s blog, which wasn’t allowed through.  I also tried to leave a comment yesterday on Lori’s What Men Thought of My Viral Post, and then again today on her Has Jesus Become a Post-Modern Hippie?

Am I being censured?  Is what I am trying to say offensive?

Dear Lori,
I tried to leave a comment yesterday but I haven’t seen it posted.  Your teachings are breaking my heart.  You are displaying no heart or compassionate love for young women or the world.  You relish these men approving of you at the cost of them disapproving of other women.  Please stop hurting the world this way.  Only true love can overcome evil.

It is too long of a story to get into right now, but in the end, I don’t believe teachings like those found on The Transformed Wife are helping spread the message of true Christianity.  In the end, I found myself hating women more than I ever loved them.

The world is messed up right now, there’s no doubt about that.

Jesus Christ is the lover of humanity.

As a Christian, I love women, and I love men.

There can be no other way.

milestones

The heat finally broke this past week.

This little corner of the world has been running a fever since May.  Working at camp the first time, I think, inoculated me against the hot and humid weather.  It doesn’t seem to bother me, other than to get me dreaming about fall. The buildings here don’t have air conditioning, so you just get used to sweat dripping down your stomach while eating in the dining hall and sitting around the benches during evening trading post. It would be nice if it wasn’t oppressive at five in the morning.

But you also know that day will come.

tell the truth

Jordan Peterson wrote this book called 12 Rules for Life that I’ve been working my way through this summer.  I’d requested it from the library several months ago, and was put on a waiting list with 72 other people ahead of me.  Since the library didn’t own their own copy of the book, they’d had to request it from another library.  At some point, they must have decided to just buy a copy for themselves, because the one I have now actually belongs to our library, which means I can renew it as much as I need until I’m done.

Does anyone actually care about anything I just wrote there?  Probably not, but for me, it was the first thing that started coming to mind when I sat down to type.  I don’t know how I feel about the book, even though I’m just about done with it.  I thought it was too long, and that Peterson went off into too many rambles.  On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with it.  I get the need to just get the words out, to have so much on your mind that the only way to stay sane, healthy, and whole, is to put the words somewhere. If that was the book he needed in order to tell the truth, then good for him for writing it.

Tell the truth–or at least, don’t lie.  I think of all twelve of his “rules”, this is the one that spoke to me the most, and is going to make the most difference in my life.  When Peterson talks about telling the truth, he says something along the lines of not saying anything that your inner voice would disagree with. For example, don’t say something just because that’s what you think you’re supposed to say.  I do this a lot.  I never considered it to be not telling the truth, but trying to stick with what “the truth” is, no matter what I think.  Isn’t this actually the faithful and courageous thing to do?

Not according to Peterson. Not telling the truth is destructive, and literally starts to eat you up inside, eventually eating up the outside too.  Tell the truth.  Be honest.  Sometimes though, being honest feels wrong to me, and in those cases, I don’t think you should do it.

I’ve been trying to write here and there for a Lutheran women’s blog that started a few years ago.  I appreciated the chance to be able to write in a more “official” setting, as well as get experience working with an editor.  I think that has been the best part of the whole thing.  I love seeing how collaborating with another person can make a piece so much stronger.  I’ve also been learning about give and take in the editing process, when to click “accept edit”, when to add/delete what the editor suggests, and also when to stand up for myself and say “I’d prefer to leave this part exactly as is, and here’s why…”

That being said, I’ve also had some disappointing and frustrating experiences, and I really just want to give up sometimes and be done with it, thinking it no longer to be a good or productive use of my time.  I feel a loyalty to my Lutheran sisters, and yet, at the same time, I don’t seem to be able to connect much with them.  Writing for me is still very much a therapeutic process, but when I try to formulate it into an article that other people are actually supposed to read, it comes out too different.  Or it doesn’t come at all.

One of the worst feelings I’ve had with writing for the public is when something with your name on it ends up saying something, no matter how small, that your inner voice did not agree with.  That, and when you didn’t say the one thing you really wanted to say, because you doubted it.  I think this is part of what Peterson is getting at.  He uses more serious examples, like the people in WWII who let Hitler get away with more and more stuff until, before you know it, people were being exterminated in concentration camps.

All because people didn’t speak up,

or rationalized away something that bugged them,

or, in other words, because they didn’t tell the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer camp

Summer is a time for me to read and to study, to rest and to watch the little boys play.

Every day we swim together.

Every day we’re happy here.

There’s a permanent hole that’s been left in my soul.

Every day I feel it.

Every day I know it’s there.

There’s a song in my heart and a smile inside

A path finding me here on the outside, too

There’s a wonder in the week of arts and crafts.

There’s a square times four on the basketball court.

There’s a quiet in the shadow of a pitiless sun

A remembrance of the One who gave the summer

every painted sky

I sometimes regret abandoning my blogs.

The first time, I do believe, was necessary.  There were some serious soul-issues needing healing and intervention in my life, and neither of those things could happen by staying where I was.  So I moved to another blog (here), where I could start over.  I personally contacted a handful of readers/friends and invited them to “follow” me here.  They did, and I was grateful, for if there was one thing I had learned from blogging, it was that life isn’t meant to be lived alone, and you never are actually as alone as you feel.  I wrote one last post and left the others behind.

I never even said goodbye.

Then I did the same thing here.  Silly as it sounds, I continue to doubt whether or not writing here is good or bad.  I simultaneously need to be open, vulnerable, and in community with people, and at the same time, I am afraid of the internet.  I cannot completely trust the unknown.  I also despise the loneliness of it.  You can connect, but not really, not in a way that is lasting, deep, true and in person.  So I get frustrated and leave.  The thing is, I can keep quiet for a while, but only for a while.  After a while, I cannot keep quiet any longer.  I need to write.  I need to connect.

a brave-hearted canyon to catch the ideas

watch from the edges

and wait for the echo