Thursday, October 26, 2006

how is this any different?

before the technology snafu i had posted a comment by wendy cooper i saw on another blog regarding the evangelical proclivity to blame women for men's inability to control their thought life, and haven't since commented on it myself.

i awoke this morning to the bbc news and heard the report of this article where a muslim cleric in austrailia uttered this:
Australia's most senior Muslim cleric has prompted an uproar by saying that some women are attracting sexual assault by the way they dress.

Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali said women who did not wear a hijab (head dress) were like "uncovered meat".
i see very little difference (other than the degree to which we are to be "covered") between this and the christian fundamentalist belief that women are responsible by their dress for men's inability to control their thoughts and themselves sexually.

i was raised with this. i know that i have 100 lbs. on my body of extra weight because i still believe to some extent that this is true. i somehow was responsible for the rape in my childhood and i must protect myself from it ever happening again.

how and when did we begin to blame others for our own personal responsibility. i'm sure this has it's roots in victorian and puritan thought. it needs to be purged if we are ever going to get to the place where women and men can dwell together in unity.

by blaming someone else for my inability to control myself i am never going to be stronger than i am today.

i am raising a son and daughter in a world where it will be very hard for them to keep their self whole. but it is their responsibility to build those muscles mentally (just as it is for me) that prepares each of them to navigate our culture without being diluted by it or sequestering ourselves in fear.

this is a learning curve for me. i want to wrap them in gauze and lock them away. but i can't do it. there are billboards on every highway in america that promote strip clubs. lewd, nasty, larger than life images set amid the countryside that call to our hearts and minds to escape and come away. i'd love a couple pair of blinders, but i don't have them for myself, and can't install them on their heads either. they are each told that their thought life is their own.

if they begin now to 'take every thought captive' they will be building muscles they will need later in life to navigate adolescence and adulthood.

i also teach them to dress modestly. but not for the reason that they will stumble others. it is for themselves. knowing that they are responsible for their own bodies and how they present them to the world helps them understand that they are navigating culture too.

when we try to use external controls for internal change we will never receive the empowerment and healing we so long for. a head scarf or even a one piece bathing suit will never give my son the self control he needs to live a life of wholeness. if he (or me) needs others to comply to his/my sense of morality to succeed we fail before we even begin.

guarding our own hearts and taking our own thoughts captive is truly the only way we will ever be able to bring healing and wholeness to our sexuality, and have the respect we need for the sexuality of others.

UPDATE: ze frank has some thoughts on this subject here (not for the faint at heart)


Matt said...

Hey Bobbie,

I've been following with great interest your posts over the last few months that have explored the theme of what's going on inside our heads, both in terms of sexual addiction or blaming others for what I'm thinking about.

You're right when you say that it is about, "guarding our own hearts and taking our own thoughts captive".

I'm preaching through 1 Peter and last night I was thinking about the "sinful desires that war against our souls." Scott McKnight did a great series on 1 Peter earlier this year and when he pointed his readers in the right direction when showed how Peter wasn't talking primarily about sexual stuff when he wrote that but about power and position as expressed through relationships.

As I was thinking I made a connection to what you've been writing about. What if, as a society, we've become so consummed with the sexualization of everything that we've forgotten about the other lusts that wage war on our souls.

The pastor who is struggling with sexual addiction could be blinded to the truth that he is letting other lusts (power, control, prosition, acclamation) run rampant in his life.

I'm not diminshing the reality of the sexual stuff I'm just wondering to what degree are we missing the other battles.

If I'm writing about this it's because I've seen too much of these battles and I fully agree with you that "guarding our own hearts and taking our own thoughts captive" is the serious work that we are called to.

Thanks so much for talking about what we don't like to talk about.



bobbie said...

YES! that is it - i LOVE this connection matt!

i truly believe that the imbalance of power (especially in the church) distorts everything.

i can trade my lust for sex for lust for food, lust for consumer goods, lust for power - i truly believe that when we say the word lust it should conjure up EVERYTHING that we look to meet our needs apart from God's provision.

you have made a great connection here, i will have to look through SMK's archieves to find the posts you are speaking about. (he's so prolific in his posts i can hardly keep up!)

i truly believe that this happens when our theology is messed up. we believe something to be true about god or creation that is a lie and it works itself out into our lives in distortion.

i don't have the time to do this justice this morning, do you mind if i use your comment as a blog post later this weekend?? it has stirred a lot of thoughts here.

thanks for interacting with it matthew, it means a lot to me!

Sarah Louise said...

Amen and amen and amen!!

Guarding our hearts and our bodies helps us build muscles we'll be using for the rest of our lives--YES!!

Because ultimately, the only response we can guarantee is our own, and even we are fickle, all the time.

bobbie, keep writing on this. It is so important and so misunderstood. Thank you and thank you and thank you.

Matt said...

Feel free.