Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods September 8, 2013


by Calulu cross posted from her blog True Love Doesn’t Rape

True Love Doesn’t Wait author Von Ohlman has been taking on the writings of one Michael Pearl, author of “To Train Up A Child” and founder of No Greater Joy Ministry.

You remember To “Train Up A Child” don’t you? That child training book that has been blamed for the beating and starvation death of adoptive child Hana Grace Williams and the deaths of a few other children?  The trial of Hana’s adoptive parents started last week. They’d been charged with murder, as they well should be. Michael Pearl and his cruel book also hold some culpability in my mind. But back to the subject.

Michael Pearl said something that just offended me beyond all reason in the bit Von quoted about purity, sexuality and waiting for marriage –

The modern concept of betrothal is a long overdue swing of the pendulum away from the licentious practice of recreational dating. The liberties taken by “Christian” couples in the modern dating game would have been viewed as philandering or immoral in former generations.


 Most “Christian” young people are “damaged goods.” Church youth groups are hotbeds of immorality. And I am not limiting my evaluation just to those that have copulated. Would you buy a candy bar that had not been eaten, but the wrapper had been partially removed? What if it had not been handled, just displayed in a partially unwrapped condition? Would you buy the candy bar if it had not been eaten, but just licked? After all, licking by one or more persons would leave the proud, new owner plenty of candy bar to take home for his own.

The idea of sexuality and purity as a fungible good, like purchasing a pristine, sealed shut candy bar is every bit as much objectifying a person as pornography is said to do. People are not objects, people are living, breathing, imbued with souls and humanity, prone to making mistakes, prone to loving the wrong people, giving and forgiving.

When’s the last time a candy bar said to you “I love you” or comforted you when you were down, did something nice for you? Never and it never will.

But that broken, imperfect “damaged goods” person you might have judged as not good enough could possibly do all of those things.

Reducing humans mentally into commodities or things is a very dangerous thing indeed. It makes it easy for you to detach and do them harm without regrets. It makes them easier to abuse, to murder even because they are things, not humans in your mind.

We in the church need to knock off thinking of anyone as ‘damaged goods’ and start giving everyone a chance. Rahab in the Bible, who is in the line of Jesus, was a prostitute, about the ultimate in ‘damaged goods’ using Pearl’s analogy, yet she was important in bringing about God’s promises. There are other instances in the Bible where God ordered someone to marry ‘damaged goods’

Von took Pearl’s words and went to what Michael skipped. –

 It is inappropriate, before or after marriage, to treat anyone in a way that is only appropriate to treat ones wife.

He proceeded after that to state that controlling your thoughts is important as well. For one of those rare times I have to agree with Vaughn, you can’t be married and fantasizing about what it would be like with someone else. It’s not healthy for the marriage or the person doing it.

Controlling your thoughts is sometimes necessary. I have to do it somethings, not for lust but for other things, e.i. when I having a panic attack following a severe asthma attack. It’s chemical and I have a choice which way to go with it. I can either allow the panic to overwhelm me and go into where I am fully convinced I am dying, or I can deal with it, take my meds, take steps to calm and distract myself from what is happening, while keep telling myself to relax because this is just temporary, it’s not forever.  In that situation I have to control my thoughts or I’m make it much worse.

Don Draper on the television show “Mad Men” isn’t a very good role model for marriage but he has said some very wise things over the years. “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation” being one of his quips. That can be applied to thinking too.

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Read everything by Calulu!

Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blogs are True Love Doesn’t Rape and  Calulu – Seeking The Light

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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