“Normal Childhood Sexual Exploration”?

Not all “normal childhood sexual exploration” is harmless and okay. “It’s normal for children to do that” should not get an act off the hook. It is normal for adults to have sex, too, but that doesn’t mean sex is never exploitative or coercive. To state it directly, it is normal for children to want to see each other’s private parts, but childhood private part looking can also be exploitative and coercive, and can in some cause longterm feelings of violation. I think this is why I have found defenses of Lena Dunham based on the claim that childhood sexual exploration is normal so troubling. Read more

Election Day Open Thread

Today is the midterm election in the U.S. This year’s election lacks the pizzaz of a presidential campaign, but that doesn’t mean it is unimportant! So get out there and vote, everyone, and feel free to weigh in here on which races and issues you see as especially important. And feel free to pop some popcorn and join discussion as the results come in tonight! Read more

Science, Privilege, and Power

Organized atheism has a love affair with science. It’s not just that science offers explanations for things that have often been explained supernaturally, it also provides many atheists with a sense of awe. But it’s something more than that, too. For some, science seems to replace religion. I’ve had atheists tell me, for example, that science will show us the way forward, let us know how to live, and give us solutions to the world’s problems—never mind that, as I have pointed out, science does not come with built-in ethics. Read more

The Courtship Mask

If you want a long-term relationship with the person you are courting, you need to fake it, and fake it, and fake it all the way to the alter, and then and only then will the parents take their hands off and let you actually get to know each other. When you’re courting, you can’t be vulnerable with each other, or real with each other. You have to keep your mask on. And so, Shoshanna did not get to know her husband James until after they were married. I don’t find that surprising, but I do find it sad. Read more

Karen Campbell: Cover for Your Abusive Parent

Campbell has in the past spoken against some elements of the patriarchy movement that pervades Christian homeschooling circles. She has set herself up as a reasonable voice against abuse, and so she seems to see herself. But her insistence that children of abusive parents should cover for their parents and only ever speak of them with love and respect makes all of that a lie. Read more

Matt Walsh Doesn’t Get Historical Marriage Rate Trends

Today, the median age at first marriage for a man is 28.5. Yes, Walsh married three years younger than this, but so did lots of men—that’s how this sort of statistic works. If you line up all the male ages at first marriage, the middle one will be 28.5. That means half of men who marry do so before they are 28.5. That’s how medians work. Furthermore, male age at first marriage has historically been in the late twenties. Walsh’s grandparents were actually an abnormality—the 1950s saw historically low marriage rates not seen in the United States either before or since. Read more

CTBHHM: Blessings and Vessels

Every marriage advice manual should include things like learning to communicate, practicing compromise, and the importance of mutual respect. Debi’s book has none of these things. As for what it does have, well, I want to spend some time trying to pull together the overall themes that have come out in this series, and we’ll go from there. Read more

But What If Your Husband Tells You Not to Submit?

When I write about submission, especially in the context of Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet, commenters frequently ask what Debi would say to a woman whose husband told her not to submit. I think we have our answer, or at least as close as we’re going to get to an answer. It’s an article by Debi’s daughter Shoshanna Easling. Read more

Why I Never Went Trick-or-Treating as a Child

I mean, it’s not that I don’t know what the issue was. Growing up in an evangelical home, Satan and his demons were very real. We believed that they were at their height on Halloween, in a way, prowling around and wreaking devastation—spiritual warfare at its worst. In other words, the forces that led my parents to hold us back from trick-or-treating year after year were not tangible but rather invisible. I no longer believe in those invisible forces, and having seen the holiday for myself, it seems incredibly harmless. It’s sad, in a way, how easy it is to create boogeymen where none exist. Read more

“If we had known you were going to be a writer . . . “

I’ve seen people talk bloggers like me to task for airing our families’ “dirty laundry.” How could we do this to our parents, they wonder? Don’t we realize how ungrateful we’re being? Personally, my response is that I’m trying to help other parents avoid my parents’ mistakes—in a sense, I’m trying to bring something good out of my parents’ mistakes. If everyone was silent about their parents’ mistakes, how would we identify overarching problems, patterns to avoid? Read more

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