This blog has largely been a small percentage of random catch thoughts that have been percolating and carefully barfed out with a bit of thought. However, something strange has come over me, recently. I sense God is urging me to write about this topic I would, on my own, very much like to stay silent about. When the right things just fly out of your mouth, started as a post for humor has turned quite serious for me this past weekend. Wisdom is calling my name, telling me I should do something a little odd. This past weekend I was blessed enough to hear some hard words of wisdom and instruction that illuminated and expanded some things for me.
Even though I am single, I was dragged to a marriage conference by a trusted friend, who insisted I go. I went with my activity bag under my arm but… Let me just say I caught some things along the way, which make sense out of things that I’ve been observing in clips around me. My eyes have been opened to the terrific fragmentation between genders and the scale of the present war between the two.
Yet, I was blessed to see many people decide to pound their pickaxes into amulets as I witnessed couples publicly confessing to the other for the ways in which they had disrespected and hated the other, while other men and women confessed to the other gender at large for the disrespect and rage they had leveled at the opposite gender. Communal confession—ah ha I have found it! All this after a thorough lecture on the trends and messages of culture at large. I have never seen anything like this since I stepped outside of the Mennonite church’s doors. Forgiveness! What is that? Confession? Repentance? Everything that I do can be explained and I make no apologies for it. Either it was my father’s abuse that made me hate men or it’s my depression that makes me lash out at people. Alrighty! Enough!! We understand psychological transference but enough already! It solves nothing! It only makes the passing on of evil more understandably permissible. Nobody takes responsibility. Courage is required of nobody. Nobody says, this stops here. These are not Christians. These are pagans and heathens.
While it may be that a cultural faux pas was committed in my scenario of the Menards employee, there is now, more obvious to me, a larger issue overshadowing the entire scenario, rendering my post in the milder categories of angry feminazi. I think I am better equipped to deal with the embarrassment and offense I feel at the comment of someone trying to appreciate beauty. Even someone who attempts to possess the beauty he sees with tainted eyes, deserves only pity, not anger and distain. I believe Amish culture has done much to suppress “praise for the beauty of God’s creation” as it is displayed on the body and soul of a human person. And I am blessed for those who have taught me to accept graciously a compliment about my person given in the spirit of worship to my creator.
Yet there is a bigger issue here—bigger than cultural differences—and that is the double face women at large show to men in a culture of image worship. The carefully revealed bodies displayed on the centerfolds and the images of starved femininity and ridiculous masculinity plastered everywhere are the images both men and women are conditioned to lust after and loathe, playing us into the hands of merciless advertising industry. As women we try to make ourselves look like the images, so men look at us and then when they do we lash at them…sometimes, and love them other times, essentially becoming a personified slot machine, operating on the variable ratio schedule towards a conditioned response, which is the best way to response condition someone. It’s insane! And I don’t care who started it anymore.
At the conference, I was prompted to stand in the place of confused, bipolarish women everywhere caught in the lie, confessing my sin of participation. I know I have worn the face of disgust and anger in response to lewd looks, comments etc. I confess I have sinned in my harsh reaction and perpetuated the cycle of transference of evil. My sister Joanna and I both used to be scathing in our “counter-attacks.” They were hilarious. Yet we were wrong. We carried distain and disrespect in our hearts toward men. I recognize now how wrong we were. I recognize our participation and by the grace of God I will have nothing more to do with it. From henceforth I renounce my old ways, as evil and call forth a new era of reflecting a furtherance of God’s image in the world establishing a partnership/familial relationship with men that truly reflects God’s image—as was the original intent.
And I will continue to stand by my mantra… The question was asked of me once, how do you hit on an Amish girl? My answer: You don’t hit on Amish girls, you make promises to her. And when you have proven you can keep those promises, you might just win her heart. And when you win her heart then you can hit on her all you want for the rest of her life. (There might be something here that applies to all girls.) I believe the culture has it turned around. Flirtation is the suggestion of a promise that you begin with. Then perhaps there is the official promise (in an expensive accessory) which renders flirtation useless for the rest of one’s life—leading to a lifetime of bitterness and resentment and frustration as a result of all those little unfulfilled promises.
Perhaps that all is way too old fashioned and prudish for people now days. But I have lived to see the incredible suffering of broken humans breaking all there is left to break because they were broken by people who were broken. I’ve seen people under the stranglehold of the lies that have become their sustenance. And I have had quite enough. When my computers hard drive gets messed up, and I call the IT people to come fix it. They usually clear the hard drive and then install a previous set-up. Perhaps it would be sensible for us to do the same.