Thursday, October 19, 2006

rules against everything

i was reading over at scott's blog the other day and came across this post where he quotes a comment wendy cooper left on another post. i found it really thought provoking and remembered my youth, time at camp and bible college and i think i even heard myself make some of these rules when i was "in charge" at camp or various youth groups. i think it merits some further thought:

Growing up I was taught that it was always the women’s fault. When someone was molested, raped, or whatever… she must have done something to provoke they guy into doing it. The idea that a man would have the ability to control himself was alien. At church this kind of attitude was reinforced by hearing guys say they couldn’t worship if a women at church looked “too hot” or something similarly stupid. When I got to college, I was told that and off the shoulder sweater that showed a bit of my one shoulder should not be worn as it turned on some of the other students. Again the idea was reinforced that men could not control themselves and it was my fault..

In college, the topics of sex, masturbation, and pornography was talked about openly but very little if any was talked about healthy interaction between men and women. Even if it was, it was undermined by the rules against how women should dress or rules against sweat pants just in case a guy got aroused (I am serious). Instead of talking about it, they just created rules against everything.

what do you think?


Sandra said...

I think creating rules for everything prevents any kind of open discussion since people are less likely to questions rules in case they want to avoid looking like a bunch of infidels.

It's like that line in the Derek Webb song: "Don't teach me about moderation and liberty, I prefer a shot of grape juice."

Now he's talking about booze, true, but he's really talking about that tendency to create a bunch of rules instead of trying to strive for understanding.

Apply that to the male/female thing, everyone knows that men and women of the church are only supposed to speak to one another if they're in a committed relationship, preferably marriage (please note sarcasm). However, I myself would like to be free to wear that off-the-shoulder sweater 'cause it looks cute and not be worried that it's causing a man's mind to stray.

So I think I'm agreeing with you (I think), by saying that rules are in place to protect people, but when the rules prevent honest dialogue, that's not good. And yes, a man that possesses self-control is a godly man, as both Jesus and Paul speak repeatedly about self control, and yes that even extends to keeping the hands off the womens.

My name is Sandra, by the way. I found your blog through Junkmail for Blankets. I don't know Jeremy though, I just read his blog. Nice to read your stuff.

Trudging said...

Good post

Robert said...

excellent point bobbie!!! At the Bible College i attended we didnt have too much trouble with rules in this regard because it was southern california and girls were wearing what was in fashion and showd off their tan lol. I really think location plays a big role in this area as well. What is acceptable in LA might not fly in iowa not saying thats how it should be but just how things play out. Very much agree the whole *men cant control themselves* is a bum rap. Rules just hinder relationship in this type of setting.

lisa said...

That sort of extreme fundamentalism is a ripe set up to create male perverts with no self-control, guys titillated by the mundane and basically taught from an early age to have a dirty mind. It's perverted and crazy and no, I don't have much of an opinion about it! Ha! (I went to a strict Christian school growing up as well as 3 semesters at a strict fundamentalist university, so this isn't coming out of thin air. Just so you know! :-D)

Julie said...

I experienced the same thing at my christian college. At first it made me feel guilty, but then I was just mad. And after learning from a spectrum of guys that just about any type of clothing a girl could ever wear could turn on a guy, I was just disgusted with the conversation.

I wish we could be more open about these things instead of creating rules and playing the blame game...

Erin said...

I read somewhere that pay-per-view movie companies rent the most porn ever, when pastoral conventions come to town.

Seems to me we aren't doing boys/men any favours by failing to teach them healthy ways to deal with their sexuality. Instead we seem to create breeding grounds for supression and damaging closet behaviours...

Even when the discussion is open, I've seen some really distorted accountability groups, very alpha-male/humiliation driven.

What would it even look like to address this in a healthy way, I wonder?