Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year! I'll be back to blogging soon.

The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:1-20

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. The Shepherds and the Angels And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Rantings of a Single Male Part III: Rant C

The part of this rant that I am going to discuss is essentially about equality.

This section was pretty difficult to write. Not necessarily because the material is difficult, but because sometimes I just don't want to wade through the hyperbole. But, there are some things I want to say, so I may as well get on with it.

Ellis makes an interesting observation when he states “Women think it is men who insist on being recognized as superior. Using male oppression as justification, feminists have counterattacked with an unending salvo of female supremacy. Women are emotionally and morally superior. Women are more caring, sensitive, and nurturing. Women are not ruled by their hormones like men. Women have superior verbal skills….In spite of all the female supremacy propaganda thrown at them, women still require men to be superior to themselves as a condition of acceptance and respect and for consideration as sex partners. Women still demand men who are superior to themselves and strength, knowledge, skill, height, success, determination, aggression, and just about everything. ” (p.20)

While I appreciate the juxtaposition of the ideas Ellis puts forth, supposed female supremacy versus women desiring men who are superior to them, as a woman it seems natural to me to think that there are some things that men are better at than me. And that also there may be some things that I am better at than a man. This does not seem illogical to me, but rather the nature of things. So, I'm not quite sure I understand the point he is trying to make here. Skills and characteristics such as sensitivity, nurturing, and verbal ability are seen as stereotypically feminine, whereas skills such as determination, aggression and strength are seen as stereotypically male. Simple observation will tell you that some qualities and abilities are more prevalent in one gender than another. Some obvious examples include physiological differences such as height and physical strength. The average man is taller than the average woman and the average man is stronger than the average woman. That is not to say that there are no individual women taller than any individual man or that there are no individual women who may be physically stronger than an individual man. There are always exceptions, but there are also some general trends. Perhaps, Ellis’s disagreement is with the stereotypical nature of these characteristics. On that count, I must agree with him. A great deal of the time, I think it makes more sense to judge people's abilities on an individual basis rather than on the basis of their gender. Or perhaps, it's about the whole "anything you can, do, I can do better” competition that feminism appears to engender.

The author further clarifies his point of view stating “even though women seek out men they perceive as superior, they've been conditioned to demand the appearance of equality." (p. 21) On this point, I definitely agree. Feminism does attempt to condition women to the idea that they can do anything as well as men and there are many cases in which this is not true. One time, I went to visit a friend of mine in Michigan and she and her roommate were moving into a new apartment. Her roommate was a self-proclaimed “Christian feminist”. My friend’s roommate was highly insulted when a male friend offered to help her move the couch that she was struggling with because she felt that this meant he thought she was incapable. This completely baffled me. After all when I'm in the grocery store attempting to stretch to reach an item on the top shelf I'm not insulted if a taller individual offers to help me. It's a simple anatomical fact, I am only so tall... it doesn't make me less of a person. It's also a simple anatomical fact that I can't lift the couch (though I will admit to being more of a wimp than the average woman). So why should I be insulted if someone, man or woman, offers to help me? When did life become a competition?

Ellis goes on to discuss the concept of “different equalities".

“Women are now a confused mutation of old and new privilege. Old privilege is that of previous generations. Ladies first. Men are supposed to support women. Men are held responsible for the happiness of their wives. Men must risk of their own safety to protect women. Men have to pay. Women don't have to register for the draft. Old privilege is females getting whatever they want because they're so damned cute. New privilege is affirmative action. It is hundreds of women's commissions promoting women's causes and expanding female entitlements. New privilege is an express lane to success for women. New privilege is women getting credit, but no blame. New privilege is making it hazardous to your job to openly disagree with gender politics that favor women. Women want all the old and new privileges and to call it equality." (p. 22)

I'm not sure that the "old privileges" were actually due to the fact that women are "so damned cute". I think it more likely that they were due to a different understanding of the roles of men and women. An understanding that was closer to a Biblical model that was patriarchal in nature. If feminism wants to do away with this understanding then I think it is completely fair to question the equality of maintaining the privileges that came from that understanding. I believe this is one of the ways that feminism has hurt women far more than it has helped them. Personally, I think the concept of "equality" between men and women is a fallacy. While I believe that all humans are equal in basic value we are not the same in terms of our abilities, aptitudes, and God-given roles, so why pretend that we are?

The author then goes on to ask the question "Should women be able to pick and choose what they want to be equal with men about?" This is a good question. True equality would mean that women are subject to the same responsibilities as men. Ladies, do you want to register for the draft?

Ellis goes on to discuss a quote from suffragette Susan B. Anthony. "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less." This, from a woman, who is purported to be a champion of equality? I had never heard this quote from Anthony before but it certainly does back up Ellis' claim that the agenda of the women's movement “has always been about winning rights as well as special privileges for women.” (p. 23) He goes on to say "I'm not questioning the right of women to vote. I'm saying that because women can vote on issues involving war and are also exempt from ever being forced to participate in actual combat, they have equal rights with fewer responsibilities than men.” You know what? That's true.

Ellis goes on to outline the idea that if women want to be considered equal, then they should go out and acquire the skills that men have. I agree with this to a point. If a woman wants to be considered “equal” or the same as a man then yes, she should compete with him based on skill.

Humorously (to me anyway) Mr. Ellis chooses to use the example of accomplished musical ability, particularly the ability to play electric guitar to illustrate his point that women don't compete on a skill level because they don't feel they have to because they can rely on sex appeal. Ellis postulates that women feel they don't need to become proficient musicians because they are able to get what they want through the use of their appearance, stating “wearing a short skirt is a lot easier than practicing. That's certainly why adult women never take up instruments.” (p. 26)

Okay, I have to be honest here and say that when I read this I thought “what?” and laughed. I do know women who have taken up musical instruments as adults (harp, piano, cello). However, they pursued those instruments not to "get what they want" but rather for the enjoyment that musical expression brings them. Also, I think it's entirely possible that there are other reasons why you don't see a lot of women striving to become the best at playing electric guitar. Maybe they prefer other interests? My female friends pursue excellence in creative skill acquisition and coordination in areas such as quilting, ballroom dancing, jewelry making, soldering leaded glass, and writing etc. Or perhaps it's because some women place less value in skill acquisition than they do in other things such as their relationships to others. Now, I realize that is not true for all women, but I do think it's true for lots of women I know. Just for fun I did an informal poll of eight women on the subject. Five of these women were believers and three unbelievers ranging in age from 22 to 46. I asked them, "Why don't you play the electric guitar?" After they finished laughing, most of their answers went something like this: either “I guess I just was never interested in it” or “that sounds like fun, but I've got my hands full with “X” (my family or school)”.

Ellis furthers his thesis with the idea that women don't pursue skill acquisition because they don’t see the need to since they "see men as easily controllable." (p. 27) When I read statements like this I am often puzzled. I believe the author that some women think this way, but I wonder how many. Ok readers, I want to know what you think about this. I know you are lurking out there reading and not commenting….well here’s your chance! (I know you were holding your breath waiting for an opportunity, weren’t you?) If you are a man: do you think women see you as easily controllable? If you are a woman: do you see men as easily controllable? You can leave your comment anonymously or even make up a fun name for yourself like Spanky or Betty Boop…won’t that be fun! :)

Feel free to comment on anything else you desire too…like why my blog background is sooooo boring…or why that safety from the Steelers can’t keep his mouth shut about the Patriots….or where did the word “yule” come from anyway?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Rantings of a Single Male: Part II

Rant B

This rant begins by introducing an individual by the name of Petra who will be referred to throughout the book. When the author was 21 years old and traveling in Europe he met a young German woman by the name of Petra. The author then carried on a two-week affair with Petra while traveling through parts of Europe though they were unable to speak to each other because of the language barrier. At the end of the two weeks there was a pregnancy scare. In response to this Mr. Ellis states, "On the trip she had just ‘hoped’ she couldn't get pregnant while leaving it for fate to decide. From this experience I learned that you cannot that trust women to take responsibility for their own bodies. They prefer to wait until responsibility is thrust upon them." (P. 12)

Several weeks after Mr. Ellis returned to the United States, Petra came to live with relatives in Connecticut. Plans were made for Petra to come and live with Mr. Ellis in Ohio during the summer. When she arrived with greatly improved English Mr. Ellis discovered that Petra was actually a radical feminist. Petra made it her mission to indoctrinate the author in radical feminism. The affair disintegrated when Petra refused to engage in sex with the author when he disagreed with her feminist ideas. Ellis states, “A the time I didn't understand that her opinions were emotionally grounded, and I tried apply my male logic to her ideological assertions. I wanted to teach her how to analyze and reason. She would have none of it. I never told her what to think or believe, I just challenged her. That only infuriated her.”(p.13)

Some of the issues Petra demanded the author’s agreement with included:
-Women should be granted jobs in fields where they are underrepresented, even if they were not qualified.
-Women should make at least as much of men in all lines of work even when men are more qualified or more experienced.
-Alleged rapists this should be sent to prison on the word of the alleged victim alone.
-It is wrong to use words such as chairman or freshman or to refer to females as girls and not women.

In response to this attempted indoctrination Mr. Ellis stated, “But I don't think a man's role in a relationship is to simply validate the views of a woman. Why does it always come to that?" (p. 15)

At the end of the summer Petra returned to her relatives in Connecticut. The author stated "... our whole relationship was based on a big misunderstanding. But then, I suppose that's nothing unusual" (p. 15) The author reports that even though it was a difficult summer he didn't think it was a complete waste. "Had it not been for her endless stream of irritating drivel, I would still have only a vague awareness of feminism. I had just been presented with the vision of the future insanity of women. Little did I know Petra’s irritating drivel here would turn out to be prophecy." (p. 15)

The author has many good points regarding the feminist ideas that Petra expected the author to agree with. The ideas Petra attempted to convince the author of which I detailed in this entry are illogical. Part of the deficit in logic is due to the broad generalizations that some of these feminist ideas put forth. Generalizations such as the idea that women have been oppressed by men for thousands of years and so are now deserving of preferential treatment above men. But then, broad generalizations are often illogical.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ellis repeats the mistake of many feminists by using broad generalizations as well. For example, “ From this experience I learned that you cannot trust women to take responsibility for their own bodies. They prefer to wait until responsibility is thrust upon them." (P. 12) I suppose this is true in some cases, however, it certainly is not true for all women. Mr. Ellis, however, is correct in thinking that all adults should be responsible for their own bodies.

Or “But I don't think a man's role in a relationship is to simply validate the views of a woman. Why does it always come to that?" I wonder though, does it really always come to that? If a woman was looking for a "yes man" Mr. Ellis is right, that would not lead to a healthy relationship. I think one of the good things men and women have to offer each other are our differing perspectives on issues.

As I've mentioned previously, hyperbole is often used when discussing a subject that one is passionate about. I suppose any expression described as a "rant" could likely contain some hyperbole as well. When hyperbole is used to express ideas there are dangers on both sides of discussion. Many women who read this may react to the hyperbole thinking, "But I am responsible for my own body, this guy is full of it." which is not going to predispose her to listening to his other ideas. A man who reads this may develop the opinion that, indeed, most women are untrustworthy, and only want a "yes man" which can lead to the inappropriate judgment of the feminine gender as a whole.

Nonetheless, as a woman, when I read a broad generalization in this book I am trying to consider if, in fact, I too am guilty of the sorts of things Mr. Ellis tends to accuse women of. I think it is a good idea to ask myself, “Do I tend to only associate with people who agree with me?” Or "Am I willing to listen to others' ideas without mentally planning how I will refute them?" Hopefully I can learn from this and share what I learn with you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Politics and Eternity

The end of the semester is a very busy time so I apologise for not posting often. I will get back to writing about "The Rantings of a Single Male" soon but tonight I wanted to post about something different I have been thinking about recently.

I don't really like politics but I feel that it is my responsibility to make informed decisions when I exercise the privilege of voting. So, as we get closer to the presidential primaries I have been examining the positions of some of the presidential candidates. The candidate I am most impressed with at this point is Ron Paul. His positions on taxes, border security and immigration, personal liberty, abortion and national sovereignty make a lot of sense. But, I am having a tougher time accepting his position on the war in Iraq and foreign policy.

From the Ron Paul Website :

"Too often we give foreign aid and intervene on behalf of governments that are despised. Then, we become despised. Too often we have supported those who turn on us, like the Kosovars who aid Islamic terrorists, or the Afghan jihadists themselves, and their friend Osama bin Laden. We armed and trained them, and now we’re paying the price."

I see the truth in what Ron Paul says on the subject and understand that things we have done in the past may have contributed to Islamic terrorism. But, I am not sure that if we withdraw from Iraq that Islamic terrorists will simply leave us alone. Is the cat already out of the bag? Is it too late for that? I just don't know...

In church recently my pastor was talking about the fact that the most important aspect about any individual is their relationship with God through Jesus. Not their gender, race, nationality, marital status, or political affiliation, but their relationship with God. Because our relationship with God is what is eternal. Eternal.

And you know what? God has eternity in HIS hands.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Rantings of a Single Male:Part1

In the introduction to his book “The Rantings of a Single Male. Losing Patience with Feminism, Political Correctness, and Basically Everything" Thomas Ellis begins by discussing his motivations for writing the book. Ellis states, "As men we must make a serious effort to educate ourselves about the ideas feminist literature is cultivating in the minds of women…. We must also expel the residue of feminist misinformation from our own systems." (Ellis, 2005, p. 1)

I agree with Mr. Ellis that many people, both men and women, appear unaware of the effect that feminism has had on society. For myself, I believe I have been vaguely aware that the notion of “equality" between men and women was a fallacy. This was true in part because I have eyes in my head and could easily see that there are differences between men and women. Also as a Christian I believe the Bible is clear on the fact that men and women are different and are meant to occupy different roles in life. But even though I had essentially rejected many of the tenets of feminism there were (and perhaps still are) subtle attitudes of feminism that I have held. I think there are many women, who do not call themselves feminists, but still maintains some subtle attitudes of feminism. So it is for both myself and hopefully other women who read this that I want to explore these issues. I don't consider this to be a “men's problem" because I believe as a member of the body of Christ that it is important that we be open to the issues that affect each other and society in general.

Thomas Ellis says that he doubts that many women would be willing to listen and consider his point of view. “I also doubt whether women are willing to consider change even if it's laid out in terms of why and how, and even if they decide to try. They enthusiastically avoid responsibility for their actions with trendy denial therapies and philosophies. The only things women are willing to change are their hair, their clothes, and their breast size. And a lot of times not even their hair." (Ellis, p.3) Perhaps he is right. To be honest, I should say that since I began looking into this matter, more often than not, I have been disappointed by the reactions of other women. I will say though, that I find it very difficult to believe that there are not other women who want to understand this and be open to change.

Ellis concludes the introduction with the following thought: "I should not have to compromise my rights as a man to make anyone feel equal. I can make compromises, but not on things like maintaining my own identity, being able to express my own ideas without female approval, or refusing to tell rhetorical lies to maintain a relationship. After many years of being unable to conform to the female vision of man as docile servants, I just want to be myself and speak my mind.” Let's see what he has to say.

Rant A: The Learning of Ignorance

There are essentially two main ideas that Ellis puts forth in this rant that I would like to address.

Ellis begins this rant by talking about his first experiences with recognizing that girls were different from boys in a physical sense. He refers to a little girl he was friends with stating, “We had a play room together, where I had a pretend job building bridges and rail roads. Susie had a pretend house set up and she was my pretend girlfriend who would pull down her pants for me whenever I wanted. At age 6, we already knew what we were supposed to do, so why do adults step in and mess everything up.”(p.5) Ellis voices a belief typical in the secular world stating, "All I know is that anyone who tries to suppress their nature runs into some serious inner conflicts." (p.6) he goes on to talk about the innocence that young girls of his acquaintance had regarding exposing themselves to him or other boys before they “had the concept of guilt drilled into them." He blames this on religious training and Queen Victoria. I'm not sure why he blames Queen Victoria since the concept of modesty was around long before the Victorian era, but nonetheless he does.

Mr. Ellis is an agnostic so I don't expect that he would have positive views of any religion, and he doesn't let me down. He rejects the Biblical model of sexual morality by stating that “They (women) seem to embrace their own sexual suppression. Just like they were taught, they grew up to regard sex as deviant and abnormal unless within the confines of commitment." As a nonbeliever I'm not surprised that Mr. Ellis holds this view, in fact, I'm sure it is the common view of most people who don't follow a Biblical model of sexuality (and maybe even some who do). The purpose of this discussion is not to prove the rightness of Biblical teachings on sexuality but I am curious about this thought regarding women who believe in these standards. I don’t regard premarital sex as deviant or abnormal, I just believe it is against the commands of God. While I am not concerned about an unbelieving man’s opinions about Biblical sexuality a variation of Ellis’ views appear to be held by some believing men as well. I have the impression (and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong) that single believing men are sometimes concerned that their future wife will not desire sex (or will not desire sex as often or in the same ways as they do) because they think that she thinks male sexuality is deviant because she has been taught this in church or through some other means of religious training. What are single Christian women to do about this?

I recently read an essay over at Scripturally Single where the author states "Where were the Christian women with Debbie Maken's level of desire when I was in my twenties? I suppose that today's Christian woman is more in touch with her sexuality than women of the past, and yet I wonder if Mrs. Maken is an exception to the rule just the same.” I imagine that the author is not alone in his wondering. Certainly it is healthy to discuss such things when considering marriage with a specific individual, however, my question would be: Before the point that marriage is being seriously discussed how would you know what the level of an unmarried woman’s sexual desire is if she is being obedient to God? Can you tell by looking at her? Or, is she expected to go about announcing “Hello single Christian dudes, I just wanted to let you know that even though I am committed to waiting for marriage before having sex, I have a lot of sexual desires…yes, indeed….just in case you were wondering” ?

On a side note, after finishing reading the book “The Rantings of a Single Male. Losing Patience with Feminism, Political Correctness, and Basically Everything" I felt the need to read a more Christian perspective on sexuality. The essay I refer to in the previous paragraph from Scripturally Single fit the bill well. While I may disagree with or wonder at some of the thoughts that the author expresses (such as "Sex is never safe, even when sanctioned by the church.") it remains for the most part a positive and Biblically-based discussion of abstinence. Thanks Anakin, I needed that.

The second idea that Ellis discusses in this rant that I want to address is the idea that women don't like men. He states, "They want our attention and they want our money, but actually liking us is not something women deem necessary" (p.9) And, "If you want a girlfriend, you'd better show her minimal respect….Girls yearn for that challenge. They want to show they can tame even the most dominant, uncontrollable male and put him back beneath her where he belongs. Confuse him. Make the bastard grovel and show some respect. Sweet. But now he's useless and pathetic. Dump him." (p.8)

I know that women like this do exist, even in the church, because I have a brother and other male friends who have described similar experiences to me, and I have witnessed them myself on occasion. But, is this really the way most women are? This is so outside of my experience and some of my female friends’ experiences that it caused me to think about why that may be. My guess is that women who are not conventionally attractive and not often pursued by men are less likely to behave like this. Is my hypothesis correct?

I have heard Christian women complain that many Christian men are too "passive" on one hand and then on the other hand's complain when the man is more assertive that he is controlling. This is a symptom, I suppose, of the feminine culture within the church which can discount masculine qualities all the while actually being in great need of them.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Rantings of a Single Male

In my quest to learn more about issues related to men and women and feminism I recently purchased a book titled "The Rantings of a Single Male. Losing Patience with Feminism, Political Correctness, and Basically Everything" by Thomas Ellis. This book was recommended on a blog or website that I had visited (I can’t remember which one) as an excellent book on the subject. So I went to Amazon and ordered a copy. When it arrived I did what I always do with books and began to page through it a bit.

If I picked this book up in a bookstore and glanced through it I probably would not have purchased it. Mostly, that is because of the discussions about sexuality in the book. And since, according to what Mr. Ellis says in this book, I am “sexually repressed” I'm not really comfortable reading about some guy’s sexual experiences. However, since I had already purchased the book I decided I could skip over the parts I didn't want to read and see what I could learn from the parts I felt comfortable reading. The good news is there really was much more material that I was mostly comfortable reading than there was material that I was uncomfortable reading. That being said I did skip/skim chunks of the book so I should be clear that I may not have understood some of what he had to say. Of what I did read, some of it confused me, some of it enlightened me, and some of it made me laugh.

From what I can tell based on this book, in most ways, I am about as different from Thomas Ellis as a person can get. Perhaps the only characteristics we share are being single white Americans. Certainly, our worldviews are radically different. Still, there was much he had to say that made sense to me. So, over the next weeks I'm going to spend some time discussing some of the ideas from this book.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with those you love.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Now for Something a Little Different

Have you heard of “the Flying Spaghetti Monster”?

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or Pastafarianism) was founded in 2005 by a guy named Bobby Henderson in protest of the decision of the Kansas State Board of Education requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design (ID) along with the theory of evolution. Henderson sent an open letter to the State Board of Education claiming a belief in a supernatural creator known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster and calling for teaching of the so called Pastafarian theory of creation to be taught along with ID and the theory of evolution. Henderson has said that he has nothing against religion except when it poses as science. The Flying Spaghetti Monster gained popularity on the internet as a source of parody of religion, and particularly in relation to ID. miscellaneous

How very clever, no?

Recently you may have seen the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the news again because Pastafarianism is actually to be discussed at the national meeting of the American Academy of Religion this month.

Because of this recent discussion I was treated to an editorial segment today during, of all things, a sports talk show on the radio...between segments about Barry Bonds and the NFL. The host said he “loved” the whole Flying Spaghetti Monster business because “religion has no business masquerading as science” and “schools should stick to teaching proven science like evolution!” He said that he believed that everything is understandable through science and the scientific method. The host theorized that if people from a thousand years ago saw cell phones at work they would think it was miraculous too but that would only be because they did not understand it. “Science and the scientific method can explain everything eventually!” he claimed. How very clever, no?

I find the host’s thoughts on the subject quite funny in a way I am sure he did not intend.

First of all, what if people from a thousand years ago saw something they did not understand, like a cell phone, at work? Perhaps some of them would believe that the cell phone magically came together and began working through chance and random variation. And perhaps others would believe that there was some intelligence behind the design of the cell phone. Hmm……

Secondly, the idea that evolution (not variation in genes within a species, but the formation of all life through chance) has been or even could be proven by the scientific method demonstrates a lack of critical thought and understanding of basic science. The scientific method begins by observing a phenomenon, theorizing an explanation of what you observe (a hypothesis), predicting what you think may happen based on your hypothesis, and then testing your hypothesis in an experiment. Observing a phenomenon such as the different species on earth or the fossil record and then theorizing an explanation of those phenomena (such as in the theory of evolution) would indeed be part of the scientific method. So would someone looking at all the different species and the fossil record and theorizing that there must have been some sort of intelligence behind all of it. However there is no way to test the hypothesis that all life came into being through genetic mutation and chance or that life sprang into existence through the design of a creator. The fact is that there is no more proven “real science” in evolution as the basis of life on earth than there is in intelligent design.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mea Culpa!

When I hear the preferences some women have for a man sometimes I cringe at how petty some of them sound. I recently read the blog of a 50 year old single woman who is looking for a husband. She admits that her child bearing years are most likely behind her but wants to find a man who wants to have children with her and rejects men who don’t want to have children. Huh?

However, it would be a huge mistake for me to feel superior. There is a significant preference that I held in the past that over the last year or so I have come to recognize was definitely wrong. What preference?

“I want him to be a committed Christian.”

Some may wonder, “What is wrong with that?”

Since it is my desire to be in submission to my husband if I marry it only makes sense that I would want to be assured of the spirituality of the man who I will trust with that, right? On the surface that sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

But really, it wasn’t reasonable.

It wasn’t reasonable because my ideas about what constituted being a “committed Christian” were from an entirely feminine perspective, as I believe is the case for many Christian women, both single and married. I judged the spirituality of men based on things such as church attendance and involvement in Bible study or a small group which are all things that women engage in and often grow through (though actually it is a poor metric to measure anyone’s spirituality by). These were things that my then church (and many churches and ministries) touted as measures of spirituality. However, these are not necessarily things that define spirituality for a man. Single Christian Man recently referred to this phenomenon as a “false metric” in a comment over on the Scripturally Single blog.

I think what helped me recognize this in myself was first learning about the feminization of the culture and the effects of feminism on the church. Once I was able to recognize the feminine bias it quickly became abundantly clear that my former way of gauging a man’s spirituality was deeply flawed.

I still have a preference for a committed Christian man, but the metric has changed. What is the new metric? What defines spirituality in a man? Good question... I have not entirely figured this out yet but I am keeping my eyes and ears and mind open.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I have a lot of respect for the man who first called my attention to the feminization of the church and society. I’ll call him T. We dated briefly last winter and have remained friends. He lives a few hours away from me now but I still call him with my theological and computer questions. I ask T questions like, “what is the difference between amillennialism, premillennialism, postmillennialism, and preterism?” Or “how do I make my laptop not read an accidental tap on the touchpad like a mouse click?” The man is a saint!

I grew up in a traditional home with a stay-at-home-mom and never considered myself a feminist but some of the ideas he presented were very surprising to me. Like most Christians I had noticed that there seemed to be more women than men in church but had no idea why that may be. Being a woman I am comfortable in feminine surroundings, so comfortable in fact that I didn’t even notice the surroundings were feminine, let alone that this feminine edge would be alienating to men. When I challenged T’s ideas he patiently tried to explain them to me. I am very thankful for his willingness to do this. In fact, there are lots of things we have talked about that still have me thinking.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oh! Hyperbole.

My taste in music is pretty eclectic (ok, some have said odd or weird) so my ipod is loaded with everything from Mozart, Puccini, and Yo-Yo Ma, to Queen, ELO, and Rush (What can I say? My teen years were during the 80s) to the O.C. Supertones and P.O.D. One of my all-time favorite songs is “Beautiful Letdown” by Switchfoot, a great band. Check ‘em out. The title of this post is a nod at the title of their latest CD, Oh! Gravity, though it has nothing to do with music.

Hyperbole (hi-per-buh-lee) is over statement or intentional exaggeration. When people feel strongly about a subject they tend to use hyperbole. To make a point they end up exaggerating. I have done it myself. Often though, I think hyperbole can limit the effectiveness of a good argument.

Sometimes what happens when people use hyperbole to make a point is that those who read or listen to their point may get caught up in that exaggeration. The listener may then respond by refuting the exaggeration instead of listening to the main point and considering it’s validity. This does disservice to both sides in a discussion.

As I have mentioned before I have been reading some blogs and message boards, both Christian and non-Christian, regarding the issues of the feminization of the culture and the church, and men’s rights issues. As is the case with most things people are passionate about, there is some hyperbole in these. When I first began reading these sites it was very difficult for me to not get caught up in the hyperbole, but, at the same time I could see a lot of truth, which was very enlightening, and some of this truth was quite convicting as well. So, I have tried to keep on listening and learning though there are some things that I still struggle with. Mostly it is things like the use of pejorative terms that refer to women in sweeping statements, the mockery of less attractive women, and some off hand comments about rape. I can understand how these kinds of things could flip a switch in the mind of a woman reading them such that she doesn’t consider the truth in what is said.

For example, some women do behave in a deplorable manner so I can understand how a man may want to refer to these women in a pejorative way. That said, I still cringe when women are referred to using a four letter word that starts with “c” and I don’t suppose that will ever change for me. Also if a woman insists that a man must find her attractive even though he does not, I can understand why a man may feel this is worthy of scorn since he does not owe her his admiration. At the same time this sort of thing can be alienating to women. I can also understand the anger of men at the false accusation of rape. It can truly ruin a man’s life. To add insult to injury, there is often little consequence for the false accuser. It is wrong and unjust to be certain. But statements like the one I read recently, which to paraphrase said something like “innocent women are unlikely to be raped” is sure to send even somewhat sympathetic women off into an angry response. The very idea that a women who is attacked sleeping in her own home by a stranger, or the child who is abducted and raped is in any way responsible for what happened to them reeks of exaggeration that many women will struggle to look beyond.

But ladies, if we want to understand the perspective of men we have to get beyond it. It doesn’t matter that the hyperbole in some of the statements render them untrue because the heart of the statement is often true. We need to stop and consider that even though the delivery may not be gentle and sensitive that does not negate the truth in a statement. That truth is what we need ears to hear.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just For Fun

If you enjoy cooking check out The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

Beauty: Nature versus Nurture- Part C (because I don’t know how to spell 3 in French)

I have been thinking about this issue more.

When someone says men are made by God to be attracted to women who are beautiful there ends up being more to that line of thinking if we follow the thought logically. It is my understanding that God designs a big part of how any individual woman looks. By this I mean that a large part of her appearance is due to her genes…facial features, body type, hair color and texture, eye color, the shade of her skin etc. (Understanding that some women work with what they were born with better than others).

So if God designs men to be attracted to women who look a certain way (remembering that I am not saying that God has not made men to be visually stimulated, I believe He has done that. But rather that God designed men to be specifically stimulated by and attracted to women who embody the current idea of what beauty is) would that not then mean by extension:

-That God designs some women to be unattractive to men?

-That God designs women to be rejected by men?

-That God puts the desire for marriage and children in a woman’s heart and then puts her together in such a way that the desire is unlikely to be met?

There is more to this idea than a person’s right to be attracted to someone else for their own reasons. When we say it is God’s design or plan then I think we are also saying something about the nature of God. In my limited understanding all of this does not seem to go with what I know of His nature.

That being said, I think it an extraordinarily bad idea to argue or insist that a man (or woman, though the men seem to be getting the worst of this kind of admonishment) should or should not be attracted to anything (outside of what God tells us in scripture). Other than that, I believe an individual can prefer what they wish though I do think it is wise to individually examine our preferences in the light of scripture and to submit to God if He directs us on the subject.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Random Halloween Observation...

Halloween in a college town = lots of young women dressed in revealing and inappropriate clothes called "a costume". We had “nurse”, “cop” , “witch” and “dominatrix” among others(yes, I had a student who dressed as a dominatrix…whip and all).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Random Thought # 4 (RT4)

4. I don't think that men are evil, even men who open doors for me.

Not only do I not hate men….I like men. Yes, I do, and I am not speaking in just a romantic sense or because they can open jars and lift heavy stuff.

There are lots of reasons why and these are just a few of them:

I love to be around men because they think so differently than I do and I enjoy hearing different ideas and perspectives because it makes me think.

Men are also great to be around because they seem to have an ability to boil things down to the bottom line and separate fact from emotion. That is a skill I am in need of.

I greatly prefer to have some men in my classes. I teach people how to practice a profession that has been traditionally female so the gender mix in most of my courses is about 10% male and 90% female and sometimes even 100% female. I consistently find that even a few men in a class cuts the estrogen enough to make the group as a whole much more pleasant and easier to deal with (less drama and complaining). The male students will also volunteer to do things for me generally more often than the girls.

Men make me feel safer. If I am frightened or nervous about something and as much as I love and respect my female friends and relatives I’d much rather be around a man. There is something comforting about the presence of a man who you trust.

I like men because they call me out on my crap when lots of women won’t. I really like the ones who even put up with my sometimes emotional initial reaction to that and are willing to go through it all over again the next time.

I like men because lots of them are still willing to take the chance of helping a woman even though she may repay their kindness and concern with rudeness because of some perceived threat to her “power”. A few months ago I was in an auto accident where my little car was squashed by a huge pickup truck when I was stopped in traffic. As soon as the accident happened both the man in the vehicle in front of me and the vehicle behind the truck who hit me stopped. The guy behind the truck immediately called the police whereas I would have been inclined to let it go. It turned out that the guy who hit me had an expired license and the wrong insurance information so it was good for me that the police were called. The man in the vehicle in front of me jumped out of his truck and gave the guy who hit me a “look”, asked me if I was ok, then talked to the man who called the police about which of them was going to stay with me till the police came (and neither asked me if I wanted them to stay, they just assumed they should). When I kept insisting I was fine, even though I wasn’t, the one who stayed with me took my arm and led me to the guard rail, sat me down, and listened to me nervously prattle on without getting visibly annoyed with me for the 30 minutes it took the police to get through traffic. How can you not respect that?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Thought # 3

Regarding Random Thought #3 (RT3):

RT3- I don't feel at home among those who think it is righteous for church goers to condemn homosexuality while winking at materialism, vanity, and gossip. No wonder so many unbelievers say we are all hypocrites. I am thinking about this sort of thing alot lately.

I was raised in a religious home (including 12 years of Catholic school) but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I came to an understanding of the real meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection and I began to follow Him. I remember that in the early days of my walk with God that I cried a lot because I was just blown away by the truth of the gospel and the grace and mercy of God. I also remember that I spent a lot of time alone. I was home from college for the summer and away from most of my friends and feeling overwhelmed by all that I was coming to understand so I just wanted to be alone, read the Bible, pray and think. I was stunned. Hopeful. Strangely at peace.

In the Fall I went back to college and my friends. None of my college friends understood because none of them were believers. In fact that summer was the first time any one ever explained the gospel to me and, other than the friend who witnessed to me, I didn’t really know any believers. I began to participate in a college ministry, met some believing friends, and began to read books like C.S Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”.

I developed a very black and white sense of how things should be and a sense that life as a Christian and relationships between believers would be much better than it was as an unbeliever. In short I had the idea that all believers would be holy and sinless and above all nice….perfect (after all we were all following the same perfect God, right?). I suppose that was due to my new believer euphoria, the sense of utopia I initially perceived in my beginning fellowship experiences, and also due to my age at the time. When people first learn new things we tend to want rules, standards, and guidelines for how things should be. It is hard to see the gray areas and become comfortable with what we don’t understand. I see this kind of thought all the time with my students now. They want me to tell them exactly what to do to get an “A” and I want them to learn to think for themselves. Part of this is because people don’t really fully develop the higher level analytic thought that allows us to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty on an intellectual level until our mid to late 20’s because certain parts of our brains are not fully myelinated (think “wired”) until then.

After the initial euphoria of my conversion I began to learn that it wasn’t all going to be perfect and that lots of believers didn’t seem to be any different than many unbelievers I knew. I began to “grow up” and understand that it wasn’t as simple as “christian”=good and ”non-christian”=bad. In fact in the intervening years often times I have experienced lots of “christian”=bad and non-christian=good. (The good news, though, is that I have also experienced that God=good. Not because He only brings good into my life but because who/what He is defines what “good” is.)

I used to think that when believers and nonbelievers disagreed on what the right thing to do was that it was because God’s way doesn’t always make sense to the world. Sometimes that is the reason. But sometimes I think it is because we believers are so busy trying to follow rules that we ignore justice and mercy. Last year I was injured and confined to bed/home for 3-4 weeks and who do you suppose came and sat with me, and brought me groceries, and drove me to the doctor? It was not a believer, it was some non believing friends who came to help me. Who was more Christ like?

We look like hypocrites and the world notices.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just for Fun

This always makes me laugh.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Beauty: Nature versus Nurture- Part Deux

Today I want to discuss the science and research that Anakin Niceguy (NG) referred to in his blog references in my last entry. Interpreting research can be difficult for the general public who often rely on media sound bites and the ethics of the authors of the study in honestly explaining the outcomes of the research. Unfortunately the public is often exposed to just plain false conclusions by the media and unethical researchers more interested in proving a point than being objective. As a researcher (not of sociology specifically but in a field that examines human behaviors and health) I can tell you that there is no way to carry out research that excludes the effects of the culture that the research subject is a member of. So it is extremely difficult to say what is biological drive and what is culturally determined. We can look at preferences across cultures and see if there are any similarities among all cultures and that may give us a clue about some general trends. However, we cannot scientifically prove anything based on cross cultural studies because especially in the modern technological age the world is becoming smaller so there are fewer cultures that are not influenced by other cultures. AN states that research has proven that biology determines what we find attractive. I can see how he may come to this conclusion based on the ideas circulated in popular culture, and even written by Harvard psychologists, however it is far from scientifically proven because there is no way to remove culture from the equation. At least no way that any institutional review board that governs human subjects research would ever approve. We can, however, examine what evidence we do have from science and history.

For example let’s examine a specific physical quality mentioned in the essay I quoted as well as in the links provided in AN’s response to my comment: body weight. The few large scale studies that cross cultures and study what people find attractive appear to point to several factors that are in common across cultures such as symmetry of facial features or a .70 waist to hip ratio for a woman. Obviously symmetry is not excluded for women (or men for that matter) who are not of the culturally ideal body weight and neither is the .70 waist to hip ratio as this is the ratio between my waist and hip measurements though I am not within the culturally ideal weight range.

We can get other cues by examining historical depictions of beauty or desirability. The current ideal of beauty has not always been the cultural ideal. Look at depictions of beauty and desirability represented in places such as the primitive art forms of fertility idols of both ancient Europe and ancient Africa, the art of Renoir or Rubens, (or Rembrandt, Giorgione, and Jordaens) descriptions of some desirable women by writers of the 19th and 18th centuries such as Charles Dickens, or the more contemporary (20th century) writings of playwright August Wilson which depict or describe women who would be considered as at least overweight if not obese today as attractive.

The idea that a preference for thinner women is a God established preference because men are looking for healthy women is a commonly mentioned theory as well. The idea that health is evident if a woman has an ideal body weight, however, is not entirely proven by science. Sometimes thin = good health and fat= poor health but this is not always true. Now, I know that this idea goes against current cultural ideas about health perpetuated in the media but hang with me while we examine some research on the subject.

While some research has demonstrated that a woman’s excess body weight is associated with higher risk for things such as heart disease, that increased risk of heart disease is actually less than the risk associated with being a man or being an African American. (It should also be noted that correlations and some expressions of risk cannot “prove” anything scientifically because they are statistics that report on studies that are not experimental in nature. I’ll write more on this at another time but know that there is no way to know how two correlated factors actually influence each other or if they actually influence each other at all). While being overweight increases risk factors for some diseases (though not by as much as is generally believed by the population as a whole) and certainly increases stress on joints (that’s just simple physics) being overweight and even obese also actually lowers the risk for some types of cancer and diseases such as osteoporosis.

The assumption that thin=healthy also is not reflected in mortality statistics. If one examines epidemiological research that explores the relationship between the body weight of women and mortality (as in the famous longitudinal nurses’ health study) it has been demonstrated that the group with the best mortality (least chance of dying) are those with a BMI of 25-30, also known as “overweight”. Interestingly enough once factors such as smoking, weight loss due to illness, and activity level are accounted for, mortality for “morbidly obese” women (BMI over 35) who are not sedentary is better than the mortality of women with BMIs under 20, otherwise known as your average Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, who are sedentary. Mortality is equal when both groups have the same activity level. Research demonstrates that activity level is actually a much better predictor of health than body weight is and it is not always apparent from looking at someone how active they are. For example at my gym I would estimate that at least half of the women that I see there regularly are overweight or obese yet there they are being physically active 3-4 times a week.

Does this mean men should prefer overweight women to all other women and morbidly obese women to super models when given a choice because they have better mortality stats? Nah, I’m not saying that at all. LOL I am not saying you should or should not be attracted to anyone. I am just pointing out that it would be more intellectually honest for men to stand behind their preferences as simply their preferences (or the current cultural paradigm of beauty) and not as some divine mandate, especially since it is not a Biblical mandate, historical fact or scientific certainty. I think so many of the issues being discussed are so very important and I don’t want women who need to understand this stuff to get hung up on other assertions which are based on weaker assumptions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Beauty: Nature versus Nurture

I recently commented on the Scripturally Single blog regarding standards of beauty and want to write some on the subject here as well so that I don’t post an excessively long comment there. The author of the blog who has taken the pseudonym of Anakin Niceguy (I’ll use AN for short) has put forth the idea that what men find attractive is innate and has claimed that the basis for this is both scientific and scriptural. I find this idea problematic and more importantly I think it may create unnecessary controversy which I explained in a comment there.

I do want to make clear, however, exactly what I am NOT saying. I in no way believe that any man owes it to any woman (me included) to find her attractive (and vice versa). I also understand that men may feel insulted by church leaders who lecture them regarding these issues. I don’t think anyone should tell you who you should be attracted to. I have always said that people have a right to their preferences regarding who they are attracted to and I still believe that is true. I also think all believers should be open to what God has to say to them as an individual about their preferences, myself included (at some point I am going to write about how I have erred in this area myself ).

Back to the point: While I do agree that we know from research that men tend to be stimulated far more than women by what they see. It isn’t the fact that men are visually stimulated and that God made them that way that I would disagree with. It is the idea that what a man finds visually stimulating is biologically innate and God ordained rather than culturally defined that I disagree with. My contention is that generally speaking standards of beauty differ from culture to culture and over the course of time. So the subject of this blog entry as well as the next one will be to address this question: Are the current beauty ideals and standards biologically driven and God ordained or are they culturally determined?

I recommend you read what AN wrote on the subject both in the post I commented on and in the linked entries (1, 2 and 3) in his response to me to understand his perspective. I don’t disagree with some of what he has said, and I confess as well that I may not have quite understood all of what he said so I am open to having my mind changed in the presence of appropriate evidence. AN gives various reasons for holding the views he has about attractiveness and beauty including scripture and science so in this post I am going to discuss why I believe these reasons are weak, or at least that adequate “proof” has not been provided. First I will discuss some of the scriptures AN refers to.

AN refers to the Song of Solomon as proof that visual stimuli is important in attraction for many people and I believe that this is true. The Song of Solomon does express attraction based on how the beloved and the lover look, or as AN refers to it: their “body parts”. However, there are no specifics about what kinds of body parts are being found attractive or acceptable. For example the woman’s waist is referred to as “a mound of wheat encircled by lilies”….um, ok, that does not really tell me what body type is preferable though the term “mound” leads me to conjecture that her stomach wasn’t exactly flat and that, however it was, her lover liked it that way. The woman’s skin is also referred to as dark and lovely though it is clear that dark skin is not the cultural standard of beauty at the time as the passage refers to her being scorned because she is dark from working in the vineyard. So does scripture back up the idea that visual stimuli important? Yes, but it does not define what is beautiful in terms of appearance.

AN also argues that attractiveness is referred to in the Bible with certain persons being referred to as attractive or not and this is true. However the passages he refers to give no specifics about what makes a person attractive or not. Leah and Rachel are mentioned and the Bible does tell us that Leah was considered less attractive than her sister Rachel because she had “weak eyes” whatever that may mean. Interestingly Jacob’s marriage to both sisters produced no end of trouble for him and in the end it was Leah, the less attractive sister, who bore the child (Judah) whose descendants included King David and Jesus. What that means, I don’t know, but what I do know from this is that the Bible does not specify what features (blue, green or brown eyes?), shapes of body parts, or other physical features should be viewed as the ideal of beauty. If anyone knows of any please share that information.

I will address some of the science and research issues in my next entry.

Random Thought #7

Regarding random thought #7 (RT7)

"7. I am confused by the fact that non Christian men seem to be far more interested in me as a person, attracted to me, and less critical of my body than my brothers in Christ. I am even more confused by all of the apparent "men vs. women" discussion about and among Christian singles online."

I have been reading a lot about the feminization of the church and of society the last 7 months or so. I have found much of what I have read to be very enlightening and at the same time very depressing because it has caused me to wonder if there is any way out of the mess.

What does this have to do with RT7 you ask? Well I have had a hard time with some of the stuff I was reading and hearing, especially at first, because it was so different from much of what I have been exposed to. I am very thankful, though, for the man who first started me thinking about a lot of this stuff even though I argued with him about some of it because I didn't understand...I'll have to write about that at another time.

My point (and I do have one) is that I am eager for my sisters in Christ to understand about what has happened in our culture, the relationships between men and women, and in the church, to see what feminism has wrought. We need to grasp this ladies! For our own good, for the good of the body of Christ, for the good of society. I am convinced that this. Because I am so eager for this understanding to happen sometimes I get frustrated with some (actually very few) of the points made by those blogging about these issues. Some of the stuff that gets discussed I think is a roadblock to the ability of some women to understand. One of those issues is the concept of beauty or desirability. This seems to get discussed a good bit by those exploring the issues. Some of what is said led me in part to RT7.

Back to RT7. Today I have been thinking that RT7 may in part be a numbers thing...I mean there seem to be lots more men outside the church than in the church. If only a certain percentage of men find me attractive, lets say 10% to make the math simpler, and I have met 100 Christian men and 700 non believing men of course that would mean that there would be more non-believing men who find me attractive to the tune of 10 vs 70 (hmm.......that probably means the actual percentage is lower than

I suppose I could do as some men who participate in the online discussions I have been reading do and choose to engage in romantic relationships with unbelievers. And in truth I have actually tried that in the past. Didn't work for me. Besides being unable to relate to each other about what is very important to me, faith in Christ (you know the results of the often mentioned unequal yoking), there was always pressure for premarital sex (don't get me wrong....I don't think sex is wrong or dirty at all, just that God means sex to be within marriage.....marital sex, that's the ticket!). Sex appears to be an expected part of most contemporary dating relationships. The few non believing men I was involved with lost patience with my desire to wait for marriage and did so pretty quickly. So for me this is not an option.

I hope that one day I will meet one of the minority of Christian men that are attracted to me and that I will be able to enjoy being some one's wife. I acknowledge that the likelihood that I will marry is not great, but I still have hope ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In the beginning...

I am new to the world of blogs, well, not exactly new... I have read other's blogs for a few years and tried to start my own once. That did not go so I was far from consistent.

So, why try again? Well, I am going through a period of reflection, questioning and growth of late and I want someplace to give my thoughts a voice.

What have I been reflecting on? Here is a random sample:

1. Sometimes I feel like I just don't fit in anywhere. I am a fairly conservative Christian who works in higher education. I am surrounded by people and ideas that clash with each other.

2. I don't feel at home among those who think Al Gore is brilliant and ignore the majority of climate scientists for the sake of a political agenda.

3. I don't feel at home among those who think it is righteous for church goers to condemn homosexuality while winking at materialism, vanity, and gossip. No wonder so many unbelievers say we are all hypocrites. I am thinking about this sort of thing alot lately.

4. I don't think that men are evil, even men who open doors for me.

5. I think feminism has screwed up far more than it ever resolved and even worse, that I have no idea of exactly how much it has screwed up.

6. I don't think having a PhD makes you smarter or better than anyone else (in fact I am certain working on mine has resulted in the loss of at least 10-15 IQ points).

7. I am confused by the fact that non Christian men seem to be far more interested in me as a person, attracted to me, and less critical of my body than my brothers in Christ. I am even more confused by all of the apparent "men vs. women" discussion about and among Christian singles online.

8. I think science can be amazing and enlightening but that often the media exposes the public to sound bites of research outcomes that are so agenda driven that they bear little resemblance to the raw data published in the study (like some epidemiological correlational studies about nutrition).

9. Even more depressing than #8, is that scientists themselves who are not objective, but rather collect raw data and write articles whose conclusions have no basis in that data to push an agenda.

10. As a single woman over 35 I am growing more and more tired of feeling out of place in the American Christian church where the family is the focus and single people are marginalized, pitied, and seen as threats to others' marriages.

That seems like a good place to stop, besides all that thinking is bumming me out.