A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Exploited Miss America, Empowered Miss America

Thought this post was par excellent! I remember seeing the 1968 event on t.v. and that my mother slapped her hands over my eyes when the women started burning their bras! LOL! This is just proof that feminism has really not taken femininity very far. It's one thing to be a woman, but a whole other thing to be a lady!

I was wondering yesterday why there is the outcry of shock and surprise over finding that those crowned have sexual prowess in their pasts! They've been raised in a culture that glorifies sex and tells women that sex is empowering. And the nature of the contest itself is sexual! What hypocrisy! And honestly, are the qualifications for Miss USA really representing what American women have become or what American women should be? Maybe the whole contest thing ought to be rethought!

Exploited Miss America. Empowered Miss USA.
May 19th, 2010 • By Mary KassianPrint This PostEmail This PostShare

In 1968, a group of “women-libbers” protested the Miss America Beauty Pageant. They argued that the pageant symbolized the cultural problem of men chauvinistically defining and exploiting women as sex objects. The protesters crowned a live sheep “Miss America” to parody that men treated women like animals at a county fair. They chained themselves to a life-size Miss America puppet which was paraded and auctioned off by a woman dressed up as a male Wall Street financier. “Step right up, gentlemen, get your late model woman right here–a lovely paper dolly to call your very own property … She can push your product, push your ego, or push your lawnmower …”
The highlight of the afternoon was the famous “Burn Your Bra” Freedom Trash Can. With elaborate ceremony and shouts of joy, the protesters threw away what they identified as male-promoted “instruments of torture”–high-heeled shoes, corsets, girdles, padded bras, stockings, false eyelashes, curlers, and copies of Playboy, Cosmopolitan, and Ladies Home Journal. They shouted “Freedom for Women!” and “No More Miss America” and hung a banner from the balcony reading “Women’s Liberation.”

The display marked the cultural launch of feminism—the philosophy that women have the right to define their own existence. Feminists argued that women had been wrongly defined by men as housewives and/or sex objects. They reasoned that women would find happiness, wholeness, and self-respect when they had the freedom to define themselves. And culture promptly set about giving them the power and right to do so.

Fast forward to 2010.

Last week, Miss USA released the official contestant photos of 51 pageant hopefuls. The look? Lacy black lingerie, fishnets, smudged kohl eyeliner, knee-high boots, stilettos, voluptuous cleavage, and naked flesh, the like of which have traditionally been associated with prostitutes and porn stars, not beauty queens. The photo shoot, entitled “Waking up in Vegas,” featured steamy, seductive Playboy-like poses on a large bed and other bedroom furniture.
Rima Fakih made history as the first Arab-American to win the pageant. Besides being crowned Miss USA, she also has the dubious distinction of procuring top honors in a pole dancing competition. What’s even more startling than her lewd behavior, is that this behavior is supported by women. It’s women who uphold the right of Fakih and other contestants to break the “princess, good-girl” stereotype. According to female organizers, princess is passé – but the woman who exerts her sexual power is smart, sophisticated, and worthy of a Miss USA title.

What was once considered exploitative is now considered empowering.
How did this happen? The feminists of the past protested against the sexual objectification of women. Thus, it would appear that modern women have rejected the tenets of feminism. Ironically, however, quite the opposite is true. The raunch culture of today is due to the fact that young women have so thoroughly embraced feminist thought.

Feminism taught the new generation that:
Men have historically deprived women of power and freedom
Women need to reclaim their power and freedom
Women exert power and freedom by rejecting the restrictive, male-defined roles and boundaries of Judeo-Christianity
Women have the right to define their own behavior
Women have the right to define what womanhood is all about

The daughters of the feminist generation were raised on these ideas. They embraced them and took them to heart. Since sex is power, what better way for women to exert their power than through sexuality? They concluded that Girl Power is best expressed by throwing off all boundaries and becoming brazenly sexual. The Spice Girls, The Sex & the City stars, and celebrities such as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan all modeled the idea that empowerment equals the right to be raunchy. The idea quickly caught on.

Joe Francis, the Hugh Hefner of Gen X and founder of the Girls Gone Wild porn video series, capitalized on the trend. Accompanied by his camera crews, Francis visited beaches, nightclubs, and parties across America seeking “everyday” college-age women who would flash their breasts, make out with each other, and be sexually lewd on camera in exchange for GGW-emblazoned T-shirts or hats. Francis raked in as much as forty million dollars a year from the sale of these videos. When asked why he thought thousands of young women were so eager to exhibit themselves for his cameras, so willing to objectify themselves in exchange for trucker hats and tank tops, Francis simply said: “It’s empowering. It’s freedom.”

This generation thinks that raunch equals power and freedom. Newsweek has dubbed this, “The Girls Gone Wild Effect.” Nowadays, raunchy sexuality has become the prevalent expression of a woman’s freedom and power.
Joe Francis sees the Girl-Gone-Wild phenomenon as the ultimate expression of feminism. Muzi Mei, the Carrie Bradshaw of Beijing who became a superstar by blogging about her sexual conquests, agrees. She told a reporter, “I express my freedom through sex. It’s my life, and I can do what I want.”

It’s the ultimate irony that the foundational beliefs of feminism have contributed to the increased sexual objectification and pornographication of women. Society’s thorough acceptance of feminist precepts is one of the reasons why behavior that was seen as destructive in 1968 is celebrated as desirable in 2010. When Miss America 1968 appeared in an evening gown and swimwear at the bequest of men, feminism identified her as “exploited.” But when Miss USA 2010 appears in fishnet stockings in sexy bedroom porn, and boldly rejects social convention by entering a pole dancing competition—and does so of her own choice, self-determination and exerting her right to freedom—she embraces and lives out feminism’s core tenets. Given a feminist belief system, culture has no choice but to identify her brash, immoral behavior as“empowered.”

Feminism didn’t provide the answer for woman’s happiness, wholeness, and self-identity. It’s just led us further away from the truth. Girls, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…. I think the time is ripe for a new movement—a seismic holy quake of counter-cultural men and women who dare to take God at his word, those who have the courage to stand against the popular tide, and believe and delight in God’s plan for male and female. A revolution of women embracing God’s design is the needed antidote to counter the self-deterministic feminist mindset that unwittingly justifies the Miss USA type of madness.

© Mary A. Kassian
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Friendship by Lydia Brownback

The following was taken from "The Purple Cellar", Lydia Brownback's blog. http://www.purplecellar.com/2010/05/friendship-part-2.html

There may be one more entry, but I thought these two were so good, they couldn't wait. Friendships between women seem to be more complicated and certainly more dramatic then friendships between men. Perhaps it's because of our emotional make-up, how we define friendship, or my favorite excuse, menopause--just kidding, but suffice it to say, you usually don't see the soap opera-ish developments in friendships amongst men that you do between women. I have seen a lot of shipwreck in church bodies due to drama in friendships because proper guidelines for friendship were not followed. Unfortunately, it not only affects the "friends" but everyone around them as well, and can be devastating! Lydia offers some very time tried advice--hey, it's Biblical advice--for women when developing friendships.

"What is a friend? A friend is more than a simple association. It is someone we choose to trust. Trust is implicit in friendship because when we choose a friend, we are placing ourselves in a position to be influenced. That’s why we are wise to base our closest friendships on more than common-ground defaults. We naturally bond with someone who “gets” where we are in life or with someone we work with or who has a similar schedule. But although commonality makes for friendship, it isn't enough. That's because the choices we make in friendships are always a direct reflection of our relationship with God. Here are two general principles for spiritually healthy friendships:

1) A friend is not meant to take the place of God. If we find ourselves overly dependent on our friend’s advice or presence or voice on the phone, or we find ourselves jealous of her involvement with others, it’s time to consider the possibility that the proportion of the friendship is off.

2) A friendship is never just about what we get out of it. God didn’t give the gift of friendship so we could gratify ourselves. Sometimes we grow dissatisfied with our friends because we are seeking to get something rather than to give.

Friendship—godly friendship—is something we’re considering this week (scroll down for the first post). The sort of friendship in view here isn’t “friendship,” the kind with quote marks that alludes to “romance.” We’re talking about platonic friendship. Here are some friendships don’ts (next time we’ll look at some friendship dos):

1. Don’t get too close to someone who claims to be a Christian yet is consumed with the pleasures of the world. Sometimes we can be an influence for good; often we cannot, but discerning which is which can be terribly hard. One way to know: Am I drawn to God after spending time with my friend, or pulled away? Paul also wrote this: “I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother—or sister—who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person (1 Cor. 5:9–11).

2. Don’t give away your heart to an unbeliever. Proverbs 24:21 says, “Fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise.” This doesn’t mean we don't reach out with our lives and actively love unbelievers--just the opposite, in fact. What we are talking about here is linking ourselves emotionally to them so that they hold influence over us. “Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals'" (1 Cor. 15:33).

3. Don’t get close to someone just because she admires you. This is a very tempting thing to do. The best way to detect whether this motive underlies a particular friendship is simple: we are drawn to a particular friend primarily because we know we are admired.

4. Don’t think that just because you’re popular, you have a lot of friends. It’s easy to collect a lot of people, but some are going to fall away when our brains or looks or talents no longer benefit them in some way. True friends love in the face of weakness, disappointment, and seasons of low-benefit friendship payoff. Do we love our friends the way we want them to love us? Or do we drop them when they fail or do something stupid or something that gets you irritated?

True friendship is never conditional, apart from the condition of holiness.
What is a friend? That's what we've been thinking about over the past week. A friend is more than a simple association. It's someone we choose to trust. Trust is implicit in friendship, because when we choose a friend, we place ourselves in a position to be influenced.

We’ve looked at how to choose godly friendships primarily by contrast—a shortlist of friendship don’ts. Now let’s spin that around. Are we in the do category or the don’t?

In other words, how can we be a wise choice for someone else? Here are five suggestions.

1. Do guard your words. “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Prov. 11:13). This gets to the heart of gossip, doesn’t it? Gossip includes not only what we say but what we listen to. Someone who gossips about one friend to another reveals an unfaithful spirit toward those friendships. The result, Proverbs tells us, is relational brokenness: “A whisperer separates the best of friends” (16:28). No matter how strong a foundation a relationship has, gossip will bring it down. No matter how close your friendship--the shared memories, secrets, hopes, and disappointments--Proverbs teaches that gossip has the power to wipe all that out.

2. Don’t be clingy. “Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house, lest he become weary of you and hate you,” advises Proverbs 25:17. Clinginess shows primarily in a possessive spirit. Do we find ourselves jealous of the time a friend spends with others, or when she reveals confidences to a different friend?

3. Don’t get mixed up in other’s friendships. Know when to stay out. “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears” (Prov. 26:17).

4. Do hold your friend accountable for godly behavior. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6).

5. Do recognize that even the best of good friends will let you down. Don’t drop a friend when she fails you; real love is offered with no contingencies. The only way to love like this is to remember we have an ultimate friend in Jesus. He is the only one who will never fail us.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Signs of Life Change

Hanging over our back deck are the limbs of a large poplar tree. This tree and I have a love-hate relationship. In the summer I love that fact that it cools the back of our house, it gives almost an awning type feeling over our deck, and it keeps the birdie droppings that would normally cover our patio furniture to a bare minimum.

But just before this summer love relationship begins, a time of intense hate ensues. Every spring while the forsythia is blooming.....

...and the dogwoods are filling the eye with their delicate beauty

And the violets are coloring the garden with sweet smiling faces

....I'm thinking that the tree is in need of Paul Bunyan because there is not a single sign of life on it anywhere.

Then, as instantaneously as a miracle can happen, it undertakes a total transformation- all in the space of 6 days. I never cease to be amazed at how much the tree changes from one day to the next. So this year, I decided to catch it all on film.

Signs of life

At the end of what seems to be a dead twig sticking out of a dead tree, a bud suddenly appears. The bud is covered by a reddish pod. This is the first sign that the tree is still alive.
The bud appears to be covering a leaf.

Surprise, surprise!

But instead of a leaf, these things that look like the red woolly bears appear. Not anything like what I expected.

And they start to grow........


And longer.....

...until they fall to the ground, joining the pods that once held them and creating quite a mess! Now these woolly bears are quite annoying! The only joy we get from them is when we have a dinner guest who would like to eat outside and one of these caterpillarish looking things falls from the tree onto their head and they scream in terrified fright! Of course they are expecting to have a creepy crawler pulled from their head and then they find that it is nothing more than a tree dropping. Every year, we manage to find at least one squeamish victim. This year it happened to be our friend Liz.

At the place where the caterpillars resided, a shoot grows out. I honestly think that if I would stay up at night and just stare at one, I could actually see it grow because in the morning, I awake to find this....

...another sprout and another bud in another pod (#2), but this time the pod is yellow. Along with the appearance of this newest pod is a sweet fragrance which fills our whole property. I could sit for hours under that tree breathing in that sweet smell if it wasn't for the fact that the pods covering this new bud are covered in yellow sticky stuff that gets EVERYWHERE! And I mean EVERYWHERE!

It ends up on my patio chairs, and gets on our clothing. It sticks to our linoleum and nothing but clorox will remove it's stubborn stain. Pretty soon, the sweet smell of it is more of a sickening reminder that I will not be able to walk through my house without picking up a pod or two. I will not wake in the morning for at least a week without finding a pod stuck somewhere on my body.

But the worst part of the sticky pods is that they end up here....

And here...

And here!

As you can see from this next shot, the dog is not so happy with these pods. This is her recovering from yet another feverish session of pulling pods from between her toes and spitting them onto my carpet. They are a bit like Christmas tree droppings. You really don't want to run them through your vacuum.

Meanwhile, while I'm busy inside frantically trying to keep up with the pods, the tree is in yet another stage of it's total metamorphosis.

Inside pod #2 are..........................LEAVES! FINALLY!

In a matter of two days, they go from these tightly curled anemic looking leaves to this....

and then to this!

Now when I walk out my door and look up I see this....

And the love that I have for this tree returns! Once again I can spend hot afternoons under the shade of these wonderful branches with my feet propped up on a chair, a glass of lemonade by my side and a good book in my lap! HA! Who am I fooling! That NEVER happens.....except in my dreams!

Our tree is very tall. No matter what direction I am coming from, I can look and see our tree and know where home is. I can see it from the interstate and I can know, that is home! I can enter the neighborhood from town and immediately see our tree and it's branches gently waving us home!

I not a real "tree hugger" type of person, but as I spent time taking photos of the transformation of our poplar tree, I couldn't help but compare it to the transformation that God undertakes when He saves us from our sin. We start out just like our tree, dead, no signs of life.

Then God infuses us with life all the sudden something appears in our lives that wasn't there before. It's the new nature, and all of the sudden it is evident to anyone looking that we are alive like we have never been before! What was once us has passed away and something new is on the scene! We, like the tree slough off the old nature!

Now usually, what appears is not what we were expecting. Just like I was surprised to see those those woolly bears, we are often surprised at what appears in our lives after we are born again. Some of it is pleasant, some of it is not.

We undergo a time of quick transformation and change just as those woolly bears nearly quadruple in size in just a few short days. Before we know it, God is allowing us to see that we are a sweet aroma of Christ to Him and the joy and peace that floods our life is like the sweet aroma of the poplar tree that fills our home, our vehicles and our property.

But at the same time, as God begins to illumine our hearts, we see that there are some sticky habits, some hidden faults, some stinkin thinkin that needs to fall away from our lives, and we have the tendency to think that we don't smell so nice as we once thought. But as we endure this stage of growth, we soon come to find God has a way of removing things from our lives that are hindering the growth that He desires for every believer and soon we find wonderful gifts starting to be revealed in our lives, just as those leaves uncurl, welcoming the warmth of the sun that is coaxing them to full maturity.

The final result? We too get to a place where we can bring shelter and relief to others. We can stand as a testimony to the plan and power of God to take us from a dead twig to a tree, planted by the stream, whose leaves do not wither! We can live strong, weathering whatever might come our way, without breaking. We can stand, as our tree does, gently waving to those who are seeking home. We can bring them in and shelter them and refresh them and show them the way.