Saturday, June 1, 2013

Please Tell Me More...


I've decided to respond to these comments in a post and plan to do the same with similar comments in future. If I have time, I may do this with all anonymous and cranky comments in the future. However, I'm still moderating the comments and all the rules in the comment form still apply. Normal commenters are still safe from trolls and are welcome to have open discussions. 

So trolls, you have been warned. Comment at risk of being made an example and given a nickname you'll probably hate.

Dear Warmly, my own personal troll of the week,

(Since no name was provided, I dub you Warmly, after the convivial valediction in your comments.)

Thank you for providing several perfectly, articulated examples of trolling. Seriously, that was grotesquely impressive. In the course of a few hours, I think you managed to commit every one of the things that I find disturbing.

I’ll be honest: it is hard for me to see this from your point of view. I found your tone to be very accusatory, invalidating, and at times, downright bonkers. I’m going to try to address some of your points but, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, what right do you have to be so upset with me? I’m not talking about you, in fact, I’m writing about very personal issues and hurts in my life. I have been personally injured by the patriarchy movement and I don’t want others to experience the pain of legalism and false teaching. That’s why I work on this blog. Maybe you don’t agree with that but I think you could respect it. I’ll admit it, my writing isn’t perfect―I openly admit that it’s always a work in progress. Still, that does not give you the right to act in this manner.

Of Trolls and Hatemail

You wrote, “it's impossible for you to know their hearts and by slandering them with your one-sided research is childish and ungodly.” I never claim to know the hearts of these leaders/teachers nor judge their faith/salvation. However, I can see their fruit and I will point it out when I can clearly see that it is rotten. (Matt 7:15-20)

“It's just plain wrong for you to be saying most of what's on this blog; you have no right, so quit whining when others criticize you and buck up if your going to continue your pharisaical rantings. [sic].” To quote you again, “This is a free country and conservative Christians ought to be given the same right to living as they believe God is directing them.” I am a conservative Christian and I believe God has called me to write on these matters. Why will you not give me the same rights you claim for yourself? Are you given the right to decide who can speak up and who can’t?

“If you're a Christian, as you state,” It is impossible for you to know my heart just as I cannot see the hearts of the leaders in the patriarchy movement.

You wrote, “people…don't need a professional research assistant to do it for them.” I disagree… and you took my meaning out of context. Busy homeschool moms and dads don’t always have time to pull all the pieces together and do the research required to present a wider picture. I compile the information and provide background. Yes, I include my own analysis but I encourage people to think critically about all the information presented. My words were never meant to suggest that I think people cannot find these things or interpret them on their own. I know nearly everyone could find all the information but some people simply do not have the time to do so. Plus, if these leaders continue to post things and then take them down, it is important that someone holds them accountable by saving the information.

"I feel sorry for you, Ingrid. You must be miserable; I'll be praying for you." How touching! Please refrain from praying the incendiary Psalms down on my head.

Learning to Fly

“You're grossly mistaken, Ingrid. Unless someone has specifically explained to you that that is the reason they ask you how you're doing with your sister's marriage, you should not make premature assumptions (which are extremely biased, I might add) as to what people mean by their questions. Now, I'm no expert on reading peoples' minds as you seem to qualify yourself; so this is my human opinion….” I find it intensely amusing and weird that you believe yourself qualified to not only read my mind, but also explain how I was wrong in interpreting a personal experience/conversation. Were you there? Did you see and hear the conversation? Did you examine the non-verbals and the feedback? What did the kinesics show you? Tell me more about your “human opinion” of something that happened to me since I clearly can’t interpret conversations without your help.


"Think about it: you and your sisters are probably really close; one of you is getting married; can't you put two and two together and realize that most of the time a sister's sister is marrying the other sister is, excited, yes! But also a bit saddened?" Oh, now you're telling me how I should feel! Thanks so much!

"Maybe I'm wrong and your relationship with your sisters is not a very good one, so perhaps you instinctively knew that there were unspoken, hidden meanings behind their questions after all." Nope. My sister and I have a good relationship. But even if we didn't, I doubt my friends would try to pry into it.

“But I don't think that is a good topic to be covering here if it's your own personal relationship and trying to apply it to other unmarried young women is unfair.” Your sentence structure makes this hard to read but again, I find it amusing that you’re telling me not to write about my personal experiences (which, as any writer will explain to you, is the best source of all) and that I have nothing in common with other young women. Wow. You must know so much about me.

“Then, you go on to describe and critique what these single girls are THINKING. Goodness! You must be a mind reader! Or, perhaps you've spoken with girls who tell you these things, and even in that case, why are you trying to put all of us single girls in a box and assume that we all have the same problem?” *sigh* Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Let me just say that I used my own thoughts and struggles for this article and wrote to help other girls like me. If none of it applies to you, then don’t put yourself in that box and don’t read about my experience.

“Honestly, Ingrid, when I read your posts I only need to read through two paragraphs to write an entire article on.” It’s probably a good idea to read each article in it’s entirety before writing a rebuttal. But if you don’t want to do that, you could stop reading them altogether.

“Have you EVER considered doing something "honest and true" with your life? ... You have grown a deep, deep root of bitterness in your heart, Ingrid, and trying to find comfort in nit-picking other people's personal decisions as to how they dress, live and love is never going to make you feel better.” Since you don’t actually know me and all the different facets of my life, I think you should stop before you embarrass yourself. And then you go on to describe and critique what I'm THINKING. Goodness! You must be a mind reader! Sound familiar? It works both ways you know.

“First of all, Ingrid, why do you so readily assume that girls in conservative Christian homes live and breathe only for the goal of marriage?” Because it is such a clear focus on blogs, in books, and in the conferences that these families read/attend. There’s a whole book titled “Before you meet Prince Charming” and discussions by the Botkins of “How to occupy ‘till he comes.” Why did Anna Sofia Botkin write an entire article about her issues with turning 25 and not being married? (Maybe she shouldn’t write about her singleness and try to apply it to other girls? Isn’t it unfair of her to try to apply her struggles to others? :-D You see, Warmly, it again works both ways.) And if marriage isn’t the goal, why in heck are all of you preparing to be “helpmeets?” If you never get married, how do you justify all this training to be a “helpmeet?” Spending your whole life serving your father is not in the Bible, it's just not there and those who believe it is are taking Scripture wildly out of context.

“But where do you get the idea that if we never marry we think our life to be worthless (maybe these are your thoughts and you feel that way)?” Haha. No. I love not being married, it gives me freedom to travel the world and write all the time. But I wouldn’t mind getting married someday if the right guy asked me.

“From my perspective within a loving, conservative Christian home (not fundie, not part of a Patriarchy "Movement", not bewitched), life is about serving, loving and ultimately glorifying God in everything we do, say and think. Do you not agree? It's not about marriage.” Yes, I do agree. I’m glad you have this perspective.

“So when you see a 30-something single woman joyfully serving and living with her family, stop to think: maybe, just maybe she is doing God's (not Ingrid's) will. Maybe God has other plans for her than marriage, or He's using her in other ways before marriage and she's passionate about those things. Maybe, just maybe, Ingrid, God's right and you're wrong...just this once.” I’m sorry but I would probably stop and feel sorry for any woman who is 30+, single, without a self-supporting job, and living with her parents.  Maybe, just maybe she is living out her father’s will rather than God's? I find this an extremely narrow idea of God’s calling for women and refuse to believe that it is God's will for most of the young women involved in the movement. "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27)

“What "system"? Scriptural Christianity should not be considered a ‘system.’” Scriptural Christianity? Really? Where in the Bible does it say that women cannot go to college? Where does it state that they must serve their fathers until marriage? Where is courtship? Where is militant fecundity? Where is the family integrated church? These things are a system. The gospel of Jesus Christ is Scriptural Christianity and it is a relationship, not a list of hoops to jump through and visions of men to fulfill.

“Oh, and you're right- this is a "tricky situation"; for you. Because you can't seem to wrap your mind around the "whys" that girls are choosing to stay with their parents at home until marriage. And if that is the case, you have no say on the subject.” I live with my parents. Mostly to save money and save for travel and my future. However, I will move out eventually, married or not. Is that what you’re asking? It’s nice to know you won’t let me have a say on the subject, but then, I can choose not to listen to you.

“…the only thing that truly cuts it in God's eyes is who we really are; deep down inside, are you really saying these things for Him?” Yes.

“Or does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy to put others down?” No.

“Is your goal to truly help and love conservative Christian girls and their families?” Yes.

“Or are you trying to take revenge on them for past hurts and disappointments?” No.

“It's not your job; let it go.” Yes, actually it is and no, I will not stop. Who are you to tell me God’s will for my life? Do you really think He would tell you and not me? Stop and think: What if God has called me to write these articles? Would that change how you respond to me?

Grace’s Story

I will respond for Grace as she is lately married and also, I don’t want her to have to read your hurtful words right now. I cannot believe how you invalidated her experience. Not cool.

“Grace, I'm sorry that you took godly books meant to be used as guidelines (not law) so legalistically.” Was that meant to be kind? It didn’t sound like it.

“But please don't slander the Biblical wisdom laid out in them.” Biblical wisdom ? Are you crazy? You think these books contain biblical wisdom? Again, show me in the Bible where it talks about courtship and where it explains the concept of emotional purity laid out in these books.

“God wrote the Bible; not you. So no matter what went wrong in your thinking, God's always right.” What does this even mean? Grace isn’t talking about the Bible but books written by fallible human beings. You do know the authors could be wrong, don’t you? Are you getting these books and the Bible confused or equating them on the same level?

“And those of us who live by His Word are living vibrant lives.” So we didn’t follow the system correctly and that’s why we were so hurt? Ouch. You just completely invalidated this deeply personal experience. Do you go around saying this to other hurt and broken people? Do you think you’re only blessed by God if you do everything right? That sounds like a prosperity gospel. Further, how do you explain Job’s situation?

Have you ever considered the minute possibility that YOU were wrong and not the books/authors? That YOU took things too literally and YOU are the one to blame for your difficulty in conversing with young men?” Certainly, there is a margin for error on Grace’s part… but don’t you think the authors of these books could also have made some mistakes? Do you think they might have overstepped their authority and made up rules not found in scripture? Do you really think giving impressionable fourteen-year-olds these books is a good idea? While I don't like to think of myself or my sister as victims... don't you think it's wrong to blame the victim?

“I think you and your sister must be incapable of taking responsibility for your own actions, thoughts and decisions in the past and are attempting to play the blame-game on Christian authors and single girls who "actually" choose to save their first kisses for marriage and take seriously the amount of influence we have on young men's fight with lust (oh, I do hope you believe Matt. 5:28; otherwise I see how it would be hard for modesty to be an important issue to you).” Wow, that was a long sentence. As for blaming others, we do take responsibility for our own actions. However, those who have set themselves up as teachers are here being held accountable for their words. If they set up stumbling blocks and tie up heavy burdens for others then they are very much accountable for these actions. (Matt 18:6 and 23:4). I think that filling a young person’s head with false teaching is just as bad as dressing immodestly and produces a similar stumbling block. Finally, what’s wrong with you? Just because Grace and I don’t agree with legalistic approaches to relationships doesn’t mean we’ve gone off the deep end and are kissing every guy in sight and dressing immodestly. Not everything in life is extreme and dramatic. To quote my own article, “Please stop acting like a hormonal teenager and realize that there is indeed a middle ground.” In fact, Grace did save her first kiss for the guy she married; she just didn’t make a big production out of it. And I’m still saving mine and I’ve been complimented and thanked many times for my modest apparel. These things are just a part of my life—they don't define me—and I just don’t make a big deal out of them.

Really though, it’s probably not going to do any good that I just refuted your words. You have your opinions about me and frankly, will anything I say change them? All I can say is that “by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.” (1 Cor. 10) I’m a sinner, saved by grace, and that’s all that matters. Even if I am all that you believe me to be: miserable, bitter, controlling and etc.; God still loves me, accepts me, and will never forsake me. I don’t know what happened to you to cause you to respond to me this way. I’m sorry if you have been the recipient of such words… it’s not an enjoyable experience. Yet, God is greater than any of the storms we face and He will never let us down.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom 8:31-37)

Ingrid
P.S. Your warmth burns like fire... maybe you should reconsider your valediction in the future.


10 comments:

Grace ;) said...

Bravo my dear sister!! :) Thanks for defending me :) Love you lots, Grace

Shelby Courtney said...

Ingrid, I have to say that even if you're right about the things you say regarding fundamentalists, the *way* in which you present your case does not make you any better than them. I have experienced more pain from the fundamentalist camp than you can even fathom and getting down in the muck with them and bashing them in the same spirit which they oppress, is not doing an ounce further the Gospel.

Reflecting a tender heart never did anyone an ounce of harm...

Anonymous said...

Ingrid, I'm sorry my responses hurt you. I don't mind that you believe differently about how families should live, in fact, it's important that we discuss those topics we both agree and disagree with as the Bereans were applauded for. If we were all cookie-cutter copies of each other something would be wrong :).

The reason I have responded to your posts is because I feel you are giving a one-sided story of your experience with Vision Forum and other conservative individuals. I admit that at times I've written too harshly; I'm sorry. Hatemail, though, is an extremely exaggerated way of tagging my responses.

When you stoop to name-calling (the return of the zombies and many many others)your witness for Christ is greatly reduced in the eyes of those who are unsaved; anyone can name-call.

Also, I want to point out that I don't agree with everything about any book or person. I disagree with many things from Vision Forum, the Botkins, Before You Meet Prince Charming, etc. But I have used them to aid in forming my worldview among many other forms of teachings. No one should agree with everything from anyone; that would be placing them as yes-men and ultimately- legalists.

And before calling me a troll for remaining anonymous, I'd like to point out your own decision to remain anonymous: "I go by Ingrid for security reasons because I started Semper Eadem when I was sixteen and my parents didn't want me posting my identity." Maybe I have the same reasons.

Throughout scripture, the recurring, normative example of the role of women is either under her father's authority and protection or her husband's. Marriage is, like I stated in an earlier comment, the greatest form of human-human relationships which God created from the very beginning with Adam and Eve. If we are to reach the ends of the earth with the gospel of Christ we must begin in our homes; this is a huge responsibility and that's why I'm preparing now.

I hope you will understand one thing, though: the standard for all Christians everywhere is God. We all interpret His words in different ways - we're human. God is directing each family and we're all aiming to attain to His will for our lives. We all have the right to lead our lives how we believe God wants us to; that means you and me and everyone else. Again, I don't think it's wrong for you to state what you believe and to refute that, but the way you go about it is shocking.

Warmly,

A passionate daughter of God

Ingrid said...

Shelby,

Again? *sigh* I thought you promised never to come on my blog again. But… since you have violated that promise many times, it’s pretty much a wash anyway. :-D In any case, I reject your censure of me. As for your thoughts that I am, “getting down in the muck with them and bashing them in the same spirit [in] which they oppress,” I must disagree. When I am writing posts or responding to comments, I do not engage in the behaviour detailed in “Of Trolls and Hatemail” which is the modus operandi of the fundamentalist crowd. Yes, I am firm and at times, pretty blunt. This particular post is mostly written with a light, humorous tone that does not resort to name-calling, salvation questioning, and threats of church discipline. Thus, I do not find evidence for your belief about my writing.

There is a time to be soft and a time to be firm. Just because I am firm in my statements does not mean that I do not have a tender heart. There are many times when I have chosen to let angry comments go so I don’t say the wrong thing. Yet, sometimes one has to be direct to make a point. Look at how God spoke to Job and how Jesus spoke with the Pharisees. In speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus was patient and kind but with other Pharisees and at other times, He was very forceful. If commenters wish to question, discuss, and learn, I’m all for that and I find it enjoyable to converse. However, if their only desire is to threaten, take scripture out of context, and accuse me of not being a Christian; then I do have a right and maybe even a responsibility to counter them. In these cases, my tone can be very firm and very honest. And, sometimes I use sarcasm and humor to make points which doesn’t seem to sit well with fundamentalists. Sitting around and letting people present untruths and make a mockery out of the Gospel doesn’t further Christ’s kingdom either.

I think it is mistaken to try to compare hurts. Each person’s pain stands alone and cannot be compared to another’s. "Each heart knows its own bitterness,and no one else can fully share its joy." (Prov 14:10) I don’t know what happened you but I have watched as close friends, who despite warnings, have walked into the patriarchy movement, become different people, and stopped being my friends because I didn’t fit into their mold. And, most painful of all, I lost the guy I loved. I was sixteen. I didn’t choose for his family to be in the movement and I had absolutely no warning. I thought I was completely safe and I wasn’t. It was awful. Yet, I’ve moved on and I trust that God is working all of this for good.

I’m really sorry that you’ve been hurt. I have no idea what happened but it must have been upsetting. Perhaps we now have more in common than you’d like to admit. I have to say, I did warn you and you didn’t listen. Have you considered that I might have been right in my warnings to you? That maybe my concerns were well-founded? Do you think that perhaps I and those who have supported me aren’t crazy after all? I rather sense that even though we might be on the same page now, you don’t want to admit it. I get it; it’s kind of awkward for you. If you ever change your mind, I’ll still be here.

Ingrid

Ingrid said...

Warmly,

"I'm sorry my responses hurt you. I don't mind that you believe differently about how families should live...."

Thanks for sort of apologizing. However, I really wasn’t hurt. Amused and baffled are more the words that describe my reaction to your comments. I meant what I said when I wrote that I have developed a very thick skin. And, really, my life is too full right now for me to get all distracted about comments on my blog.

"The reason I have responded to your posts is because I feel you are giving a one-sided story of your experience with Vision Forum and other conservative individuals. I admit that at times I've written too harshly; I'm sorry. Hatemail, though, is an extremely exaggerated way of tagging my responses."

I will say that your responses were centered on posts about much more personal experiences and didn’t have a lot to do with Vision Forum or others. I found this rather odd since most commenters focus on posts like “By their Fruits you Will Know Them” and “Portrait of a Lady,” which tend to get under some people’s skin. Thus, it was easy to term your correspondence “hate-mail” as it was of a very personal nature and attached to some of my most personal posts.

"When you stoop to name-calling (the return of the zombies and many many others)your witness for Christ is greatly reduced in the eyes of those who are unsaved; anyone can name-call."

I believe the ONLY post where I employ name-calling is Return of the Zombies. It is mostly used for comedic/satirical effect and as it is a review of a documentary, all is fair. Film reviews are traditionally free from rules that govern other written works. The only exception to my name calling is Voddie Baucham. For some reason, he seems to give me Tourettes syndrome every time I listen to him. :-D Oh, and if Return of the Zombies bothered you, why didn’t you comment on it instead of focusing on my more personal posts? Again, I find this rather strange.

Continued below...

Ingrid said...

"Also, I want to point out that I don't agree with everything about any book or person...."

Glad to hear it.

"And before calling me a troll for remaining anonymous, I'd like to point out your own decision to remain anonymous...."

You are not referred to as a troll for remaining anonymous… it is for leaving multiple scathing comments in the course of an hour. Such behaviour will grant you this label on any internet site, not just this blog. My comment form makes clear my relaxed view of anonymous commenting.

"Throughout scripture, the recurring, normative example of the role of women is either under her father's authority and protection or her husband's. Marriage is, like I stated in an earlier comment, the greatest form of human-human relationships which God created from the very beginning with Adam and Eve...."

I disagree that the “normative example of the role of women is either under her father's authority and protection or her husband's.” What about Deborah (married but her husband doesn’t enter her story much), Ruth, Esther, the Widow at Zarephath, the Samaritan woman, Mary, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Eunice, Lois, Lydia, and all of the women who supported Jesus ministry and that of the early church? Plus, just because something’s in the Bible, doesn’t mean that it is “biblical.” Genocide, polygamy, and slavery are all “normative” in the Bible but that doesn’t mean that they line up with the Gospel. And if marriage were the focus of our lives, why did Paul tell the early church that it is better to remain single than to marry? Don’t get me wrong, marriage is an important and beautiful thing… just maybe not as imperative as many Christians think.

"Again, I don't think it's wrong for you to state what you believe and to refute that, but the way you go about it is shocking."

Shocking to you perhaps. For others, it is a welcome relief. I like to make people think and I like to make them laugh. (Unfortunately, self-deprecating humor seems very lacking in fundamentalism… as is a healthy appreciation of satire.) Again, this blog is for those who have also been injured by the patriarchy movement and those within the movement who are willing to think more deeply about their beliefs. I don’t really promote the blog. I don’t go on pro-fundamentalist blogs/sites and argue or post links. I don’t feel the desire to do so, nor do I have the time. Semper Eadem is just here for those who search for it and have a desire to learn more.

Ingrid

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing what you do. I am researching VF and Patriarchy as our church has been taken over by these teachings and we don't have any answers. It all seems biblical -- but from what I'm reading the Scriptures are being taken out of context.

I am so grateful for voices of reason who can clearly articulate the things that have been bothering us, that we can't exactly put a finger on.

thatmom said...

Anon, please listen to the podcasts I have done on these groups. At the top of the page click on the podcasts button and scroll down. I believe they will help you make connections between all you have seen . And you are absolutely correct in that there is an incredible punt of misusing Scripture!

www.thatmom.com

D.L F said...

I just found your blog and I think that it is marvelous. Don't let the negativity get you down. One thing that I've noticed is that more right leaning Christians have a way to shut down anyone who points out the wrongs that their leaders do or teach.

Anonymous said...

Ingrid,
Keep up the good work!
An older Christian sister,
MJB