What a get! I just found out from my RSS reader that Melissa of Permission to Live is moving to Patheos. She grew up in a very Quiverful/Patriarchal strain of Christianity and has told the story of her journey in a very brave and beautiful way. Here’s an excerpt from her “Why I blog” tab:
I find it ironic when I get input from readers and other people within the Christian home school community on how my parents were so extreme. The comment will often go something like this. “Wow, you’re parents were crazy. They spanked to hard and to long. I always limit myself to 5-10 swats with a switch, I would never use a spoon like your parents did.” Or “It’s so silly that your parents didn’t allow you to go to college, I encourage my girls to go to college as long as they understand that they will have to find contentment in their god-given role as submissive wife and homeschooling mother someday.”
Yes, my parents were extreme, still are in some ways. But these comments come from people who are also extreme in almost any society, even if they can feel “liberal” in comparison to the people they surround themselves with. I’ve written about this sort of denial before, it’s easier to see oneself as balanced when one compares themselves to someone slightly more extreme than they are.
We all struggle with balance. I know I struggle to find balance in my own life. I don’t write about my experiences with punitive parenting so that everyone who is slightly less violent in their own parenting can pat themselves on the back. I don’t write about the inequality between the sexes in the patriarch movement so that anyone who merely pushes wifely submission instead of female submission can feel good about themselves. We should all be uncomfortable. I write to challenge myself to re-evaluate my own balance. I write to challenge anyone who is brave enough to travel that road with me.
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And in other promotional news, blog reader Ubiquitious let me know about a Catholic sidewalk ministry in Portland that thinks street evangelization can actually strike a balance between hectoring and bland. Huzzah! Here’s their self-description:
Enter St. Paul Street Evangelization, a new lay apostalate dedicated to “less heat and more light.” We are directly opposed to reading loudly from the Bible at nobody in particular, or pointing fingers at strangers, or shouting condemnations from a soapbox. Whether this approach of “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal” ever worked we aren’t competent to say. What we can say is that this approach certainly doesn’t work these days. In this noisy world of ours, only the quiet approaches are loud enough.
This is not to hate on our fundamentalist brother on the street corner. While disagreeing with his version of Christian witness, we admire him for his unwavering committment to what he knows to be true, his steadfast determination to denounce falsehood. We want that same firmness, but without that unhelpful tone and with the fullness of truth. Just like our evangelical brother, we are in the strongest possible terms opposed to comprimising truth with any error.
They’re doing fundraising to expand to other cities, but I have no idea why, since this photo from their site makes it clear that Portland is the place to be.