It’s the end of 2015, so like before (2012, 2013, 2014) it seems fitting to dig into the vault that is the site stats and pull out what is the most viewed posts. That said, here we go, along with some summaries and reflections. Here are the top five most viewed posts of the site for 2015, irrespective of authorship date:
The list has changed incredibly for this year, and this one heads up the list. It’s a review of an article done indicating that the trad fems still aren’t figuring out why marriage is being rejected, and can only direct shame to the men.
Part 1 (Part 2, Part 3) of my review of a talk given by Glenn Stanton of Focus On The Family Female. In this talk, he describes an arrangement of female domination within marriage, fostered by his feminist beliefs that women are without sin and “civilize” men. He provides further proof that traditional feminists have arranged all marriage to be a prostitution arrangement where conditional sexual access is given by the woman in exchange for unconditional slavery on the part of the man.
This post is dethroned from the top spot, but continues to endure as a heavily accessed post on this blog that focuses on the church environment and the fact that church officials can’t seem to get past their blaming of men to see the factors that are on them to deal with that push men away from dating in church continues to be a favorite in terms of views.
My post about the release of 50 Shades of Grey as a movie, and how…just somehow… its not pornography. Because it’s something women like. Another post illustrating the double-standards in existence in Christian circles when it comes to how pornography is dealt with.
A repost of a web comic I found which illustrates the dynamic of “submission” in traditional (feminist) marriage – one that is best defined as “Driving Miss Daisy” style submission. A standard deception even in the so-called “red pill” manosphere that still sees marriage as a thing untainted by feminism.
A post I made describing how the actions that have been undertaken with marriage, as supported by those who believe in defending “the sanctity of marriage” have fit the pattern of Romans chapter 1, rendering the acceptance of homosexual marriage an inevitability.
I conclude this post by thanking all of you who have read this blog and those of you who have supported this blog by linking to it in your blog rolls and link fest posts. I offer the prayer of the hope that 2016 will bring much glory to God and blessing to all of those involved.
With life and human failings come the tendency to prejudice and negativity. In re-reading the comments to that thread afterwards I noted a lot of it. Some of that negativity came from the typical expectation, some of it from how the movie was pitched. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this movie, compared to my impressions from the trailer and the review. Where the Kendricks are inept when it comes to film making, the writers and producers of this one are much more accomplished.
(spoilers afoot from here)
While functioning in the backdrop of “dating” or a “romance”, Old Fashioned functions as an examination of the individuals involved in this journey, more than anything to do with marriage or romance. This said, the Christian themes of this movie have nothing to do with marriage, courtship, or dating.
The primary themes are ones of Law and Grace.
We are introduced to a man, Clay, who is working in an antique shop, named “Old Fashioned”. Occasionally, he repairs old furniture. Amber, the free spirit, comes into town. She has run out of gas and out of money, so she decides to stay and rent an apartment. This turns out to be the upper loft of the antique shop, where she meets and takes an interest in Clay.
Pretty quickly, we find Clay is very closed off to interacting with Amber, preferring to keeping her in a separate room. However, he is not closed off to sharing his “theories on dating” with anyone who will listen, explaining him doing this. Notably, these rules turn out to be an accurate view of the courtship movement, including the lack of recognition that borders can exist in dating. We also meet his friends, Brad or Lucky Chucky who is a radio jockey (think Leykis clone), and David, who is “living in sin” with a woman that he knocked up, who are annoyed pretty consistently by Clay’s “theories”.
As the movie progresses, we find out about the pasts of both Clay and Amber as the barriers begin to fall between them. We have these things revealed to us as they and the townspeople interact, most notably by Amber breaking things in the apartment so she can get time to interact with Clay. Clay has a certain past that he’s repented of when “Jesus found him”, which we find later involves being a PUA who produced Girls Gone Wild type audios with his radio jockey friend.
Amber has a past of chasing after “the warm fuzzies”, leading her to deal with multiple men, and running away when things get “messy” and her gas money jar gets full. This is shown to us by her broken hand, which we learn was done by the last man she was with over her decision to wear some nail polish.
Much of the focus of the movie is on Clay and this world he finds himself in which is hostile to his beliefs, not much affirming his views. We find out in the talk between Amber and her friends, and directly through Clay’s decision surrounding his friends. However, we find Amber falling in love with Clay’s rules and structure before she does him, finding a man that knows what he believes and upholds it to be different than what she previously knew through their “not date” dates into their first real date at a marriage counselor (again courtship). Eventually the ice thaws enough between them that they take a trip to his house along with his Aunt. This leads to a trip to church, a first for her (“spiritual but not religious”) and a long absence for him (“others not perfect so he didn’t fit in”). This leads her to find a testimony of love that she hasn’t gotten before, and allows her to let Jesus find her outside of Clay.
The crisis point of the film involves issues of temptation to faith. One is Clay standing up for his faith where he rejects being in David’s bachelor party when he finds a stripper has been invited. This leads him to plead to David over it, David agreeing, and the party being broken up. But not before everyone else involved has words for him, and the stripper’s bodyguard comes to blows with him. Then his old girlfriend, Kelly, shows up at his door. Amber’s involves Clay continuing to not be open with her (she has extended an incredible amount of grace towards him on this point in the movie), coupled with his unwillingness to confess his past when she confessed hers, at the prompting of the marriage counseling question guide they got, leading her to watch one of Clay’s old videos. She then goes out and her friends help her to pick up Brad which leads her back to his motel room.
This leads to a happy ending, where both resist the temptation to follow through. But in looking for each other to talk, they get mistaken notions of what the other did. Clay’s aunt’s talk at the end, coupled with Amber ridding herself of her “memory board” and the “gas money jar” drives home what was going on fully: Clay was unwilling to forgive himself for his past and allow grace to get into his life from God’s forgiveness, while Amber was running from her past instead of dealing with it. We get one final scene of real “romance” at the end, which functions as a proof that both were listening to each other all along.
As I noted above, this movie was done by film makers much more able than the Kendricks and it showed all the way through. That a film maker powerfully got across the concepts of law and grace without using The Sledgehammer of Plot(tm), was refreshing. The choices of symbolism, lighting, and the expression of the actors expressed the emotions and gravity of the situation and many of the Scriptures that could have been referenced. The ones that were quoted were non-intrusive in the dialogue.
Outside of Amber being the initiator so much, which will be objectionable to some, it provides a wonderful example in Amber to those women who have been trained to not be active of IOIs as the actress playing her uses them constantly.
The fact that Clay was presented as a Christian man with true convictions that he never wavered on despite the opposition, who gained respect from others (notably Amber and David), was refreshing as well.
The confusion between romance and love exists within this movie, but outside of a few things I could nit-pick on, as a Christian message, I found this movie to have a very affirming and positive story line, with a distinct minimum of true feminist thought in it. I know nothing of the other movies from this studio, but as for this one, it was a definite step up from the Kendrick’s fare. While not anything approaching a “classic”, it is definitely worth watching if you are looking for such fare.
The Personal Jesus is there to fight for wives in their marriages.
While it shouldn’t be a surprise that the gospel presented in this movie is consistent with the Personal Jesus, the movie covers more intimately the role the Personal Jesus has in the proper “God-fearing marriage”.
(For those that really care, thar be spoilers afoot from here)
We are presented with a couple, Tony Jordan and his wife Elizabeth (most notably played by “Christian” feminist teacher Priscilla Shirer, also notable that her colleague Beth Moore makes an appearance in this movie). We are first confronted with the thoughts of war and battle early in the film and the comparison of it made towards marriages. This made the title of this post seem apt to me. So, as the movie says, it could be said that:
Marriage is the battle of a woman to claim domination over her husband and gain his submission to her.
Tony: So I just got a notification that you moved $5,000 from our savings into your checking account. That better not be so you can prop up your sister again.
Elizabeth: You just gave that much money to your family last month. And my sister needs it more than your parents do.
Tony: My parents are elderly. Okay? Your sister married a bum, and I’m not supporting someone who’s too lazy to work.
Elizabeth: Darren is not a bum. He’s just having a hard time finding a job.
Tony: Liz, he is a bum. Look, I can’t even remember the last time he had a job.
Elizabeth: Can we talk about this later?
Tony: No, we’ll talk about it now. Because if you want to give them what you make, that’s fine. But you’re not giving them my money.
Elizabeth: Your money? The last time I checked, we both put money into that account.
Tony: And the last time I checked, I make four times what you do. So you don’t move a cent out of that account without asking me first.
In other words, she wants to help her sister, who happened to be married to Harley Rockbanddrummer, despite the counsel of just about everyone, especially her husband. The tension behind the argument is immediately given in the very next scene, the idea of wifely control couched in “communication”. Doesn’t he know who he belongs to, who OWNS him? This leads into the usual “lack of submission” category by a man who just doesn’t know his place (house slave), which will lead in the natural feminist mind to the notion that the husband is abusing her! This, and the whole dynamic of what marriage is, is shown by a scene about 15 minutes into the movie (brackets are my comments, noting this is Beth Moore’s whole appearance in the movie, as “Mandy”):
Elizabeth: And he thinks it’s my sister’s fault. Can you even believe that?
Mandy: Well, if my man said that to me, I’d be angry, too. We don’t fight that much anymore. After 31 years of stalemates, girl, it just is not worth it.
Third woman: Oh, I wouldn’t put up with it. His money became your money the minute he said, “I do.” So I’d give it to my sister anyway. I don’t even like my sister.
Mandy: Just be careful Elizabeth. You do not want World War III to break out in your home.
Elizabeth: No. No, I don’t. But there are days, Mandy. There are days. It’s hard to submit to a man like that.[who won’t submit to her own Personal Jesus!]
Mandy: You know what my mama used to say to me? She used to say that submission is learning to duck so God can hit your husband.
All marriage has always been Marriage 2.0. There is no difference.
Now to continue our story, Elizabeth gets the “Love Dare” moment in the form of an older woman selling a house who brings prayer up in introducing Elizabeth to her “war room”, the closet she has laid out as her “quiet area” (ironically taking this Scripture quite literally, while ignoring the others endemic to female rebellion). Naturally, while this message may be good in isolation, it’s done in light of goals that are clearly anti-God, as proven out by Scripture (the avatar clearly held up within the movie). Meanwhile in all of this, the Courageous portion is presented in the daughter, of whom the husband “ignores” in favor of working. There really isn’t much to say about this part that couldn’t be dealt with in Courageous, as it’s a tack-on part of the plot.
Satan is out there and exists to keep her from attaining her full glory before God!
Satan is the one that keeps her from following the deceptions of Eve! The one who keeps her from her rightful place by assaulting her heart and keeping her from what she’s destined to be! The one that keeps her from becoming the true feminine God that she was made to be by her Personal Jesus! All it takes is just forgiving and accepting the Personal Jesus, who will enthrone her in the proper place. Because She is the Princess. She is the Queen. Even God is her mere servant, there to romance her, and make her feel good. This is the true feminine god, worthy of a prideful woman, the one who puts her as head over all. After all, she is Woman. She is the Crown of Creation. God is there to serve her and please her. Along with man, who is commanded to commit the sin of Adam against the one true Lord. Along with man, who is the one who always does wrong, and as in the previous movies it’s only the man that is at fault, and women are to never bear responsibility for their own actions.
Elizabeth illustrates this in the screaming fit she makes towards “Satan” in this movie – if there was any better statement of the rebellion that “Christian” women are exhibiting, this is it. Calling the one true God, “Satan”, and then following after her sister Eve in rebellion. But in this movie, “God” is the one she casts out, and “Satan” is the one she lets in. The old woman commanding a robber to put down his knife in Jesus’ name and him doing it is another illustration. In bringing the action of God into this, one clear message is sent:
You better know who your true lord is on this earth (your wife), or have God against you!
Naturally, “God” answers Elizabeth’s prayers, so we come to the moment that causes Tony’s change of heart. It’s not impending divorce, as he pulls away from the woman he is with right before the opportunity to cheat, but the company he was working for discovering he was stealing from the company, along with a nightmare he had of being the robber. In the aftermath, Tony discovers his wife’s “war room”, with all her prayers written out about wanting him “to be the man God called him to be”. This veils the original intent of Fireproof, casting his “evil” elsewhere other than not worshiping his wife as his lord. Elizabeth even says “I’m His [her Personal Jesus] before I’m yours”, but this is never to be the case with men.
She becomes his spiritual head, as he finally listens to her heart and prostates himself before her (literally!) asking for forgiveness. Later on, we have him doing the same with the kid, and joining in with her activities. Most of the rest of the plot involves Tony dealing with the aftermath of what he had done at the job (he stole), and involves a good Christian example of dealing with wrongdoing, though all at his wife’s direction. But it serves to cloud the real wrong doing: He didn’t submit to his wife and serve her as he should have. The change is that he is now doing everything his wife says.
Also, notice something absent? He’s not looking for work, and the wife didn’t care (he ended up finding work for half what he made before, and asked the wife for permission beforehand). Naturally, this lends to credibility issues, as what woman wouldn’t care, and wouldn’t want him making as much or more as before! That’s the whole purpose behind marriage! Women just don’t think like that, but like the dialogue above!
Of course, what story for women wouldn’t be complete without the “happily ever after”? In the last scene, the husband arranges for the child to stay at a friend’s house, we find out the sister got the money, and she gets her dream (a sundae and a foot washing and rub).
As mentioned last time, I have the intent to go through some of the anti-courtship literature that’s been produced. The fact that it has been produced is interesting in itself in light of a lot of the attitudes that exist within the modern churches. Given the path of one of those pieces of literature, an observation of what exactly has happened with the mating process will be interesting.
In a chapter titled ” Unleash Your Libido or Real It In” he talks about at least one situation where he has counseled people that were involved in a church where dating is frowned upon . He found that with this person “this ’spiritual’ teaching was covering the fact that he was hiding from sexual problems, insecurities, and lots of weirdness”
He then states his opinion on the affects of a non dating policy:
In the name of purity, chastity, and good morals, singles have been desexualized. The are often repressed beyond normal decency, and as a result they are in a “presexual” stage of development.– what psychologists refer to as “latency/” In other words, out of a fear of sex, they have regressed to preadolescents, and they are feeling and acting like twelve-year-olds instead of adults who have gone through adolescence and figured all of that out.
He additionally states later in the chapter:
Keeping one’s sexuality in an immature and unintegrated state makes it neither holy nor ready for real relationship. … It keeps them out of what God designed as natural attraction, and it keeps them sexually disintegrated from the rest of their personhood.
He also goes on to state that he is not advocating “sexually acting out.” He was advocating sexual ownership as part of who you are. He also quotes Col 2:23.
The courtship movement eliminated dating and replaced it with nothing.
Or, put another way, they replaced dating with engagement. The only tangible difference between an engagement and a courtship is the ring and the date.
If anything, the way a dating system should be evaluated is if it functions well in bringing members of the opposite sex together, and it produces candidate pairings for marriage. Without a doubt, courtship has failed to hit this mark. As Umstattd points out:
Young people are expected to jump from interacting with each other in groups straight into “pseudo-engagement”. This is a jump very few are prepared to make. The result is that a commitment to courtship is often a commitment to lifelong singleness.
If you wanted to eliminate and inhibit marriage, courtship is a great way to go. If you want something that works, go elsewhere. Unfortunately, given the state of what marriage is, what that dating has been turned into, and the misandric conditions of all of it, nothing is really functional anymore.
The History of Mating Since the 1950’s
The weakness Umstadtt exhibits in his work is primarily a lack of focus in defining the way things have gone. I decided to start from the 1950’s because Umstattd did. As well, most of the tradcon feminists I’ve encountered like to harken back to the 1950’s as some dream state utopia. Umstattd describes this sufficiently, in terms of dating, going steady, engagement, marriage. This also describes it in good detail.
The term “hookup culture” — often alcohol-fueled sexual encounters with no strings attached from either side — has also emerged from the buzz. For some millennials — anyone born between 1982 and 1994, though some stretch that to 2000 — having several intimate relationships, open relationships and casual sex are all viable options, albeit personal choices for the individual to make.
“Dating” has taken on a different meaning for today’s generation of students. And for many, it means too much commitment for comfort.
“Dating is way too serious. Dating is like being married,” Stepp said. “Your generation doesn’t have a good word for between hooking up and being married.”
Now, young women cannot only show their faces on Friday night sans dates, but they are also less likely to be considering men as marriage prospects. With improved gender equality, many women in college are preparing for self-sustaining careers and are more likely to be scoping out Mr. Man-for-the-moment rather than Mr. Marriage material.
The hookup culture has its pros and cons. Among the pros: “It’s allowing women to go out and have a good time,” Stepp said. “The girl doesn’t have to sit at home at night waiting for a boy to call.”
Today’s romantic relationships are often perplexing at best. As my therapy clients often struggle with understanding what to make of different relationships, I too find myself struggling beside them trying to make sense of their stories and concerns. The television storyline today looks much different. Boy meets girl (or boy). They text, message, or “talk” (which is apparently some sort of code for not quite in a relationship, but not out of the realm of possibilities either). They may or may not “hook-up” and the definition of this may vary depending on region and other sociocultural factors (for more info on hook-up culture and friends with benefits, see previous article here). Dating may occur, but will more likely be referred to as “hanging out,” although it can be challenging to tell, as it may literally mean just hanging out, but can also mean more. Also important to note is that being “asked out” on a “dinner date” is exceedingly rare among contemporary millennials.
How two individuals may find themselves in an exclusive dating relationship with one another is often the great mystery. Actually, I jest here, but not entirely. The more I ask couples how they came to find themselves in a relationship, the answers vary greatly from “it just kind of happened,” to matters of convenience. As Generation Y is often touted to be that with the highly fragile self-esteem, “fail” is one of their greatest four-letter words. It makes sense then that putting themselves out there to ask someone out can seem terrifying. The harmless equivalent of “hanging out” however, not so much. Often young women will decide to take matters in their own hands and turn the tables of the waiting game altogether. And yet, young men and women alike still seem to find themselves lost in inaction.
A state of confusion gets generated of how things get there, and the boundaries fall between meeting, relating, and relating. It seems only natural that those who created “courting” have confused “hanging out and hooking up” with “dating” and further compounded the confusion by removing this step entirely, which has been documented above, and in the other parts, along with actively desexualizing their children. Unfortunately, this has only served to confuse matters much more, and increase the control that parents exert over their children.
In conclusion, I present a diagram, which will be useful to the visual learners here:
Overall, dating is a cultural construct more than anything Biblically-inspired, though anything of this nature should honor God in *all* things. The premium in “fixing” dating comes out in the question of whether it works or not. Unfortunately, fear and other devices have conspired in making people adopt their own ways to the death without looking at whether things are working (How many church marriages do you know? I’m aware of exactly 2 in the entire time this blog has been live), and working out for the best interest of everyone involved.