Welcome Permission to Live to Patheos!

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.

You can read through her family’s story here.


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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.

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  • George

    Only in Portland could Catholic street evangelization involve Darth Vadar on a unicycle…

    • …with a bagpipe.

    • cjspartacus

      Just FYI, that’s actually just a passerby in Portland. He’s not actually affiliated with the St. Paul Ministries.

      However, the point still stands…only in Portland.

  • Nice! I just blogged about the St. Paul group here:

    “Help Evangelize Darth Vader”

  • John

    Catholicism is unremittingly patriarchal… only at the same time it is unremittingly matriarchal as well. In the East we have stunning titles such as Theotokos. This is the dance between God and Creation…. between I AM and I BECAME. If someone is going to lodge a complaint that contingency will never be satisfied with not being non-contingent, well then tough. Eve is from Adam, an equal partner. “Her prayers and requests are so powerful with [God] that he accepts them as commands.” — St Louis de Montfort

    • John

      And, the New Adam is from the New Eve… 🙂

  • Ted Seeber

    I think I need to invite St. Paul Street Evangelization to take a walk with Barb Lescher of Our Peaceful Place. She’s got a form of evangelization they’ll like. No Bible at all. No mention even of Catholicism or Christ. Just a pair of socks for the guy who never gets to take off his shoes, some oragel for the gal who can’t afford a roof let alone a dentist. A sleeping bag for the guy who just came to town. That sort of thing.

    • Another example of the Catholic both-and: Christian witness and Christian evangelization. Have one at the exclusion of the other and folks will always get the wrong idea. Have both and you have St. Paul.

      • A pastor I know said something like, “When asking the new converts why they converted, I never get, ‘Oh, the beauty of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.'” Isn’t this a flavor of confirmation bias? Of course you never get that — because you never talk about it in the first place!

        So many Protestants remain so because the Church doesn’t seem to consider herself worth preaching about on street corners. (At least this is the excuse, the last refuge.)

    • Not to spam comments, but if anyone doubts the ways and means of this organization, look to this photo and commentary for evidence. Patient, these guys.

      The evangelist actually doing the talking to the couple wrote a solid chunk about their conversation, which in an hour really cover a lot of wild ground.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    That’s the best kind of Evangelization and dare I say very much the sort of “street evangelization” as practiced by Catholic lay and religious groups, down the ages. Following the example of Christ — God who incarnated and “set his tent” with us, evangelization works best when it involves “setting the tent” where one is preaching/serving, not driving into town , banging the drum and driving out again. I actually wrote something similarly back in 2008: http://pjmedia.com/blog/christians-and-gays-behaving-badly/

    Leah, Permission to Live looks fascinating. Thanks for the heads up.

    • We’d always appreciate another link! (Links are the currency of those online, you know, and they cost you nothing but your approval!)

  • Steve Dawson
  • Oh, and Leah: the geek in you might appreciate this other link, first linked to me by one Rolf Andreassen over at John C. Wright’s place.

    It’s an explanation, by way of narrative, of the principles of open-source development, complete with “rules,” and it’s called The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Fascinating stuff, even for the non-programmer.

  • Christina

    The Portland Evangelization reminds me of Ask a Catholic a Question, started at Texas A&M. With that you go out wearing a T-shirt that says you’re Catholic and open to questions and wait for people to come to you. It’s great and I loved doing it not at A&M but at another university where we tried to get it going – unfortunately it’s hard to get volunteers to do something that seems so crazy.

    • leahlibresco

      Atheists have done this one too, and I think it’s a great approach.

    • Alexander S. Anderson

      We’ve done similar things at Iowa State, mainly cribbed from our friends in the Atheist and Agnostic Society. We did an “Ask Me Why I’m Catholic” table, to varying levels of success in eliciting questions. My laptop is currently sporting an “Ask Me Why I’m Catholic” sticker, proudly displayed over my Iowa State Cyclones Skin-it.