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A Call For The End Of Feminism November 26, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Philosophy/Religion.
5 comments

A Call For The End of Feminism

 

It’s time. Feminism has had a good run of it and has made its mark on history. Nice work; applause all around. But the time has come when the term has simply run its course. Anymore and it runs the risk overplaying its hand, if it has not done so already. So, this essay is a call for the end of feminism. The rationale for such a call, especially at this time, takes into consideration the historical and contemporary context of feminism and the prospects of the future as context as well.

 

Feminism was started by women. Although this fact might shock many, the term itself, feminism, indicates a gendered leaning to the thinking associated with the term. Of course there is nothing wrong with a leaning or even a biasT that is not the problem with feminism. The problem is that even though it began by women, about women, and for women, the scope of the movement has transcended itself and is so pervasive beyond gender that the need to hold on to the label seems almost laughable.

 

Feminism has found such success throughout so many of the sciences and has mainstreamed so well with the philosophical shift from modernism to postmodernism that the name itself betrays the essence of what it is. Feminism is a movement to include more than just men in whatever conversation is going on. That is terrific. Women have been second class forever and need not be anymore. However, in order to keep the term feminism relevant, it requires women to be subservient to men. What I mean by that (as I am ducking and dodging some pretty terrific rhetoric) is that once women have enough power that they no longer are a power minority, then the term feminism is no longer inclusive. To be a power minority and a feminist is fine, but once enough power or most power is assumed, then it is tyrrancical. It is in turn exclusive in out-grouping men. The philosophy and theories might not be exclusive, but the term itself is. It is hopelessly gendered. Gender-bias plus power creates the exact opposite effect that feminism was intended to create in the first place.  

 

Furthermore, there are many men who would and already do in many ways live by and employ the beliefs espoused by feminism, but would not be caught dead being called a feminist. Why? Maybe it’s homophobia and maybe it’s misogyny, fine, there’s a few men who fall into those categories. But I think most men are more practical than that. They are not women. Period. End of discussion. How can a man be a feminist? The very fact such a question can be asked and would have to take a super long time to answer for the average man means that the term is poorly suited toward inclusion. A movement meant to include people should not have a label that immediately appears to exclude half of the people who exist.

 

Feminism is a victim of its own success. It makes so much sense and serves more people better than many other philosophies and theories that its limiting name needs an overhaul. I think it deserves its place in history and should always be referred to historically as feminism. But I think that a new name should come in and help to accelerate the advancement of the ideas, values, and principles that already exist under the name feminism. Perhaps one day people will say something like this: “de-centering theory, with its roots in feminism, actively deconstructs centers of power toward the end of a better global good…” or something like that.

 

OK, I have more to say, but I think that the point is clear. The theories and philosophies are good, but the name is a relic.

 

What do you think?

Congregation of One November 19, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Philosophy/Religion.
6 comments

Jeff Arnett studies what is called emerging adulthood, the age group from 18-25 who are mostly single and getting educated in college. Arnett’s study on emerging adult and religious beliefs is interesting, but not exactly shocking.

In short, emerging adults are not likely to swallow whole their parent’s religion. Furthermore, their is a sort of religious integration (syncretism) going on with this crew. They might be Christian, but that doesn’t keep some of them from believing in reincarnation and other eastern religious beliefs. They are not likely to have a strong or any allegiance worth noting to denominations and institutions (Mormons are going to be an exception here).

Interestingly enough, though, even though their religious practice on a corporate level is low, they do maintain that they are in some ways connected and still religious. So, they have not lost their religion so much as they have set it aside, perhaps in order to accomplish some other tasks – graduating from college and getting married.

Arnett’s study shows a big difference between married and non-married emerging adults. When the tasks of college graduation and marriage (having kids might be thrown in there) are accomplished, then religion seems to reappear from the back burner. However, it’s not the old time religion they are returning to, but rather a more losely affiliated and individualized religion. In fact, their personal religious faith and their corporate religious participation may be very different and at the same time pose no sense of dissonance. In a sense, they are a congregation of one.

Let this inform ministers and parents alike. There are powerful factors acting on the religious faith of adolescents who are moving into adulthood – and it’s not necesssarily that they are going to Hell in a handbasket. They are accomplishing some tasks required by our society. At the same time, the coherence of their faith is strained in many regards.

It could be that these emerigng churches who seem to do well with ambiguity and exploration might be a good home for these emerging adults. Comments?

Religion is not immunity November 15, 2006

Posted by fajita in Philosophy/Religion.
4 comments

When religious people are so cock sure their religion makes them immune from, well, just about anything, they set themselves up for personal disappointment and public disgrace. Furthermore, they set up a situation of spiritual perfectionism whereby dishonesty becomes a necessary ingredient in order to perpetuate the notion of spiritual immunity. When a kind of spiritual immunity is communicated or asserted, then the discrediting that goes on when someone screws up (Haggard) is huge. When religion is oversold, it is always bad – eventually.

As a Christian, I really need to watch out for this. Why? The history of my religion has some dark spots. I have some dark spots. For all of the good Christianity has done over the years, the advancements in literacy, education, health – there is no need to to oversell. In fact, there is no need to sell anything. Just be.

Many Christian groups progamatize and institutionalize certain promises into consumables toward the end of immunity against depression, poverty, stress, weight loss, discontent, immunity to sin, thisthatandtheotherthing. Yes, healthy religious and spiritual life can bring a lot of good things, but are these things what Christianity is all about?

What about self-transcedance? What about self-confrontation? What about sacrifice? What about the discipline of finding the pathways of joy through giving oneself away? What about humility?

Religion is not about immnuity. It is not about being the strongest. It is not about being the best. It is not about market share and beating out the other religions.

Blame: False hopes perpetuate injustice November 1, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Philosophy/Religion.
3 comments

One of Satan’s best and most powerful tools that wears against good people is blame. Satan himself (itself or whatever) assigns blame, but what is even more devious is that he entices people to blame each other or blame themselves. Then he doesn’t even have to take do it himself.

Why blame is bad. Blame is bad because there is no good end to it. The only thing it does is give this sense (false as it may be) that the person blamed can be treated badly with full justifucation for the bad treatment. Blame, in a sense, gives the nonblamed (or less blamed) a right to abuse the blamed (or more blamed). Therefore, since blame offers up an apparently good reason to abuse someone, people are challenged not to take up the opportunity to heap some abuse, whether it be to the other person who is blamed, or even to himself or herself if they are the blamed.

Taking responsibility is different than receiving blame. There is no punitive side to taking responsibility and also not the perceived need to punish the person taking responsibility. There is no hostility with responsibility, but with blame there is this inherent sense of hostility. Blame seeks to make things “fair” without virtue of an agreed upon measure of fair and without virtue of any sense of compassion or generosity. Blame seeks to get to fair by unfair means – an intrinsic hypocrisy and logical fallacy. Taking responsibility is merely doing the tasks that make the needed difference.

The hope (false hope that it is) of blame is justice. Blame never, “NEVER” I SAY, produces justice. It only perpetuates injustice in another direction. Doing the tasks that make the needed difference is what moves toward justice.

Responsibility actually does what blame hopes, but fails, to do.

Postmodernity Doesn’t Need Any Postmoderns October 21, 2006

Posted by fajita in Philosophy/Religion.
4 comments

I have been involved in conversations wherein people tried to assign postmodern philosophy to people. For example, I have heard people say that someone who doesn’t understand movie Napolean Dynomite is not postmodern. In other conversations I have heard people talk about postmodernity like it is a genetic trait.

So, are people postmodern? If they are, do they know it? Are they trying to be that way? I don’t, maybe they know it, maybe they are trying to be postmodern. Maybe not.

It’s not that I am doubting that there is a postmodern philosophy that is pervasive in American society, because I think that it is. However, I think that it is more pervasive on the macrolevel than on the personal level.

Let’s see if I can make any sense of this. All postmodernity needs in order to proliferate is increasing diversity, even if the people comprising the diversity are themselves not very diverse or even open to new ideas. How’s this?

Well, imagine people grouping together in like kinds of groups. Whites with whites, gays with gays, and farmers with farmers. Now, imagine that there are lots of these groups and the number of these different kinds of groups increases. Imagine that these groups often don’t agree with each other or often mingle with each other, but at the same time refuse to be violent toward each other. The number of different groups increases that there is no majority group or group powerful enough to always gets its way through policy, economic, factors etc.

Power decentralizes and then localizes; morality does the same. Truth becomes local as well. People in the groups realize that there are diverse views out there, but also realize they are limited in their ability to pursuade people that their group is better than other groups, and eventually give up trying so hard to pursuade, however, at the same time they do not hold their belief any less.

No one in any of these groups is”postmodern” in that they believe in postmodern philosophy. They all think that they are right in the most modern sense. And yet, the society they live in is trending postmodern.

Comments?

The Sin of the Believers September 24, 2006

Posted by fajita in Bible/Meditations, Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion.
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In Joshua 22, we find Israel having completed the task of occupying the Promised Land. They were one people, following God’s plans, hearing god’s voice, and consulting God at every turn. Here we have Israel at he height of its power and obedience up to this point.

Three Israellite tribes, Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh decide to settle east of Jordan and erect a monument to show that they are faithful to God and with the rest of Israel. The rest of Israel doesn’t like it and instantly decides to kill the 3 tribes. They cite book chapter and verse why they should kill the 3 tribes. They want to keep Israel pure.

Fortunately, they had a talk and didn’t go to war.

Here’s the sin of the believer, the people who have been closest to God, the people who have lived most in god’s blessing and protection: bypassing God.

The 10 tribes bypassed God in assuming they knew what would please God. Only people so close to God can commit this kind of sin. When people get too comfy cozy with God such that they can make decision for God without consulting God, there is bound to be trouble.

Ever seen this sin?

Church Upsidedown September 6, 2006

Posted by fajita in emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement, Solomon's Porch.
8 comments

Tonight was the Solomon’s Porch “membership class.” It was more of a conversation. A group of about a dozen of us listened and talked about what life was like at Solomon’s Porch.

It was all good, but here is the best part: When a person decides to become a part of Solomon’s Porch, that person changes the church.

OK, think about that. If you are not looking into it you might miss it. Most churches are established, so when someone enters into the church, the goal is to get that person plugged in – am I right here? These people are assimilated. Assimilation is the stated goal. Some churches have ministers of assimilation. When a person enters the church, they are changed to fit into the system of that church. The system is set, some a re so closed that change is impossible.

What would happen if the church was required to change as much or more than the new person? What if the church was excited about the idea that they would need to change because a new person entered in? What would it be like if the church was an open system rather than a closed system?

Think about this: the old way gives power and privilege to make things happen to the people who have been there longest. When that happens, the older a church becomes the harder it is to fit in and matter – unless of course you are assimilated. The new way is different. The power and privilege is given or at least offered to the new people. change is dependent upon new people coming in changing the system. This way, the older the church becomes, the newer it becomes.

Doug Pagitt, the pastor, was pretty open about how it is difficult this is when a churhc grows in numbers and years. However, he made it clear that new people entering the system matter. The evidence for this is (will be) in the change that actually occurs.

The second best thing was the decentralized power structure – or unstructure as the case may be.

So, we are now “members.”   

Unchurched/Postchurched Christians August 27, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion.
5 comments

It used to be that Christians went to chuch and non-religious people didn’t. Now that clear cut distinction cannot be made. There is a growing group of unchurched, or should I say post-churched, Christians. They haven’t lost their faith in Jesus, but they have lost their faith in church as we know it. Or maybe they have seen so little utility and mission that they no longer find it meaningful.

People are making a difference by exiting the church that they cannot change from within. This is a statistical fact.

What I want to do here in this post is to get some feedback about the postchurched Christian movement. Is this a problem? Is it a statement to the organizaed church? What does the organized church need to learn from this phenomenon?

Your thoughts?

Christians, Not Consumers II August 25, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion.
5 comments

I don’t put all of my religious eggs into the restoration movement, emerging church or any other basket. Anyone who does is a consumer or something worse. For any Christian, the eggs go into the Jesus basket. If it is not about following God in the way Jesus did (does), then it isn’t worth it.

Dwiggy was wondering in the comments section of my last post on this topic why changing churches means being a consumer. I thought that the question was really good and helps to deeper approach the topic of Chrisatian consumerism.

The central notion here cannot be the local congregation, but rather a person’s role in the larger story of God. That may or maynot mean sticking with the current local congregation or denomination for that matter.

This is a question of motives, not behavior. A person heading off to a new, relevant, postmodern engaging, hip church might be a consumer while someone sticking with his or her stuck in the mud denominational church might be very much in the center of what God has in mind. Behavior does not determine motive.

Certainly each context is highly influential upon individuals and families. Whatever context a person places himself or herself into also has  a set ot expectations and options that go along with it. So, choose your context and you choose the parameters of your available options. Choose your church and you chose your parameters – for the most part.

My point in all of the is that Christian people must not get infected with consumerism such that we make spiritual  and religious choices with a consumeristic mentality. Breaking free from consumerism as it relates to church, God, faith and so on is crucial. Consumerism must be the servant, not the master.

Shop for a car to get the best deal? Sure. Shop for a church to get the best services that make you feel happy? Better think about it. Buying the car might be about you (although I could argue that the other way as well), but church isn’t.

We must acknowledge the influence of consumerism upon us and how it affects our decision making processes and then we must be diligent to notice when these processes are out of place with the topic of decision making. We must find better reasons for making the decision we make than the base and mere “better mousetrap” mentality that consumerism reduces us to.

Knowing God’s Will August 16, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement.
2 comments

How do you know what God’s will is?

Does God micromanage every choice people make only allowing the illusion of choice?

Is there unbounded free will?

Is there limited free will?

How close is God and how far away is God?

How much of God is revealed in the Bible and how much is revealed in other ways?

What are those other ways?

Does God’s will work the same for everyone? (Moses got a burning bush with clear instruction)

If God did have a plan for your life, how would you (or have you) come to believe you know what it is?

How would you advise someone struggling with coming to know God’s desires or plans?

Where is God’s will when evil or sickness or disease wreak havoc in people’s live?