The Wishbone Incident: A Thanksgiving Retrospective

Two and a half decades ago I met a family in north Texas at Thanksgiving. .

There were more people from an immediate family in one place than I had ever seen at every-ten-year family reunions when I was growing up. And half the number were little children of the age where they needed assistance constantly. It was noise and chaos, chaos and noise.

I got married and added three to the collective brood of our friends right away, beginning 9 months and 3 days after our wedding date, and repeating at interval thereafter. In groups of people that large, and with that number of other children in those families, we had lots of help making decisions about raising the kids. Once I became a Christian I was prone to embrace the well intended advice of those family members.

So, we home schooled and we filtered everything and we joined the right organizations through church and we set out to raise good Texas Christian kids.

Others in the group went further, by year, in their auto-sequestration. One group had something happen that is still lore. One child actually dialed 911 and told the operator that her older sister was listening to non-Christian radio. That always bugged me.

Another thing was the tendency to dote on the children at the expense of everything. The kids sucked all the air from the room. I was not raised that way. It was and is not my way. My wife can go that direction time to time and its troublesome. Dropping anything as a kid says “Mom”.

Years went by, we stopped home schooling for a plethora of reasons. Families grew and grew up.

Things started going badly wrong. I will not list off specifics except the one I close with. Suffice to say that pretty much none of those doted filtered kids, which number well over 20 souls, turned out lacking dysfunction. Some to heavy degrees. There are lots of illegitimate kids, divorces, drugs, suicide attempts, etc. This from the highly sanctimonious.

So, this Thanksgiving I was yet again surprised by a turn for the worse of another. A girl who, now 30, went to Bible college, married a nerdy young man from there, did all the right things I am sure, entered ministry together, textbook dream of the Texas home school subculture, well, she ultimately frivorced. I wrote about her in a comment at SSM’s this summer, that she is 31 and an exotic beauty. That she had separated from her husband. And that she had everyone convinced that the guy was working too much and not paying her enough attention, and that everyone was A-OK with her split.

I found out today she remarried. The divorce was not even filed in July, so it must have been finalized inside the Texas 60 day minimum. She (31) married a 19 year old Air Force airman who her younger brother, also in Air Force, brought home on leave. He is a super stud, very handsome, very muscular, and very much not like her now ex husband.

If ever hypergamy was to be in evidence, if ever the sexual nature of 30 something hot young women was demonstrated, it is in this rapid meltdown. If ever the idea of not holding women to account was to be shown as factual, it is in the rationale I’m hearing from the family. One sibling is upset. The rest, in total, are lamenting how badly the ex was ignoring her. “Its abandonement!” they say, hence divorce was called for.

I harken back to the kid calling 911. The girl who remarried is the one who was listening to scandalous pop music. The parents were the ones with the most sage parenting advice, and a healthy superiority complex about it. I wonder about churchianity and how, the harder it is adhered to, the more it correlates to dysfunction. Now those parents have a new son-in-law.

And this young man, well, he is a dedicated member of the armed services.

He also must have made her tingle so hard you could see through her body.

I am calling it the Wish Bone Incident.

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27 thoughts on “The Wishbone Incident: A Thanksgiving Retrospective

  1. @Empath

    I wonder about churchianity and how, the harder it is adhered to, the more it correlates to dysfunction. Now those parents have a new son-in-law.

    Can you expound on this for me, please? I don’t always know what people mean by “churchianity”. Rather, I don’t know where my boundaries overlap with the area they are describing.

  2. Welcome back Empath, I enjoy reading your writing very much.

    Well that story you’ve shared sure tells the picture. A very powerful anecdote indeed.

    We’re in a terribly sad place when ‘working too much’ is seen as abandonment rather than provision to be grateful for.

  3. Cane

    The things I describe are not the churchianity parts. Home schooling, for example, is great, I am an advocate, But churchianity has carved her niche in that movement. Its clubby and cliquish. Its task list oriented and churchian focused. The things to avoid by avoiding public school are being duplicated in home school groups. Its more the spirit behind the thing than the thing.

    I suspected you’d have questions, especially based on the lastest exchange at your place about media. Know thagt churchians can take anything good and make it churchian.

    That you and I may disagree where to draw certain lines is fine, and not a part of what im getting at with the points I make here in this post. These folks I wrote about, they have adopted the life by Christian cliche aspect of churchianity, the talk list aspect of man being spiritual head, the woman as tacit titular head of the home, etc. These are the folks who will fill the theaters when the next Fireproof comes out, and fill their lives with the trinkets of churchianity. Literally coffee mugs and tee shirts, promise rings and whatever other cute little natural world things that can amass to show off like merit badges. They adopt evangelical feminism by osmosis, using clever quotes from scripture, they are personal Jesus people, the men are the moms and dads to the kids except for those things that have some value in the eyes of others. The moms ignore the dads , its past even asking, the dads look after the kids….period….while the moms make a show of doing so and barking commands and course corrections at the dads. The dads ate lonely, I know, they are my friends, tired, bored, frustrated.

    These churchians exaggerate things that look miraculous. They conversationally assign the trivial to God by saying “God told me to” before just about everything. They are model Texas/Southern Baptists. They are quintessential southern protestants. Gals like Jenny and Ashley from the Dalrock piece would have been raised this way.

    That help?

  4. Hannah, the working too much was also, at one point, seen as quite pious because his employer is a Vineyard church. If I could post a pic of the couple folks would say, “Oh….I see”. Interestingly, they took a mission trip somewhere, cannot recall where, and ended up in Rome for a weekend in route there or back. The pics from that trip are them in cafe’s them in rain with umbrellas, them among pigeons near the Spanish Steps, trendy well done tourist photos in other words. She seemed extremely happy while walking Rome’s streets. But they had little money, and a little abode, and he is a nerdy looking acne scarred skinny pale young man whose infatuation was with A/V production. Quite talented, He is a 5/6……she a 8/9, truly a head turner. It was not hard to see what happened. I suspect they were virgins when married. I suspect sex was cool for some time. I then suspect she received LOTS of male attention in a normal day. I have to guard my eyes around her, I confess. In the end she had no tools to resist with. She had churchian cliches, which include prominently ways to explain marital unhappiness so as to win empathy.

    Later yesterday I heard someone say she claimed her ex “wouldnt give her a baby”. Also that she and the new guy ran away to get married, and that he has been cut from the military due to U.S. budgets. They have no job, no place, and Id bet she held him off the sex until they married, which she will get very high marks for. Now, he will give her a baby, and they will have no way to care for themselves or the baby. But she will be sexually sated daily. For awhile. Perhaps the next move will be an older stud, maybe a fit and successful 40 year old finally to raise the baby she has with Captain Wishbone

  5. @empathy,

    “…went to Bible college, married a nerdy young man from there, did all the right things I am sure, entered ministry together,

    Did she see herself as a co-minister with her husband? Did she work at the Vineyard church with him? Did she work at another ministry?

  6. @Empath

    Its more the spirit behind the thing than the thing.

    Amen to that.

    Honestly, I don’t think most Christians know what “spirit” is, and so even if they wanted to be transformed, they couldn’t.

  7. No, bee, she was not seen as a co-minister, but I believe she wanted to be. She aspired to recognition. She was the A student through school and college, the bright beauty, one of the oldest in the cohort I mentioned above from that early gathering, and her parents instilled a healthy sanctimony in her.

    She did work at the Vineyard, but not in the same capacity. Why do you ask? Just curious.

  8. It is the spirit. The list of husband as leader tasks….nothing there that is a problem, but the spirit behind it is. Home schooling, separating, joining clubs, etc., nothing wrong about any of it. Ironically these are the people who say its not religion its relationship, while making these outward things a form of religiosity. That religiosity will not ground you, it will not make you steadfast in faith, will not barricade the urge to divorce the less than tingle inducing man, will not give courage tom others to speak disapproval. It will plaster over the incident and recreate the image of a new and better God honoring couple, and it will tarnish the victim…the ex….as perpetrator. Its very wide and very shallow.

    Having women just admit what they are doing, even while persisting, would be a huge improvement even as their actions followed the same track. Having others openly condemn the behavior even if gracefully continuing to love the woman would not fix anything temporal but may have an eternal impact on someone else in the periphery.

  9. @empath,

    Theory based on personal observation. My theory; a woman being a co-pastor, co-missionary, co-worker, etc. is not the best way for a wife to be a helpmeet to her husband.

    I went to a Christian college for 2 years and then transferred to a state school. My wife’s parents both met and graduated together from a church school (BA & MA for each). He became a pastor and she saw herself as his co-pastor; she led the choir, played the piano, and trained the Sunday School teachers. She was very competitive and probably clashed with him on how to run the church. They got divorced when my wife was a teen. Christian college did not train or encourage her to be a good wife. Christian college did not train or encourage her to be a good mother.

    F. Roger Devlin says that women do not automatically become good wives and good mothers! He thinks they have to be trained for those tasks. The home schooling movement, churches, bible schools, and Christian colleges are not training young women to be good wives and good mothers.

    Evangelical and charismatic churches and their schools emphasize that young women should aspire to find or found their own ministry. They should focus on becoming like Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Sandy Patti, Rebecca St. James, etc. Being a good wife and good mother falls off the radar. Perhaps this emphasis is good for the approximately 1% of Christian women that have the gift of celibacy.

    I grew up in and have always gone to Protestant churches, but I think the Catholic Church has a better, more clear, frame in this area. They channel the 1% with the gift of celibacy into the priesthood and the nunnery and encourage the rest to get married and have babies. For young Catholics the focus of adult life should be clearer than for young Protestants.

    I understand that this one issue was not the only factor for your 31 year old frivorcing relative. The lack of shaming by her family and church/school is a big factor. The acceptance of “abandonment” as a Christian reason for divorce is also huge.

  10. That is an excellent exposition on what I was getting at. These things have been co-opted by evangelical feminism as the over arching point. Girls are STILL held above boys in that educational realm.Girl power is a kind of “see we got grls back in here the same way they do out there but these grls are better, because they put Jesus first and they have that personal relationship with Jesus that will guide them as they become wives”

    This creates the spiritually superior women that I tried to describe to Russel Moore in my post that was an open letter to him. In fact, I should have added all these things you describe to what I said to him.

    They will accept anything as reason for divorce. Divorce is effectively off the table as a female sin.

  11. @Empath:
    “Divorce is effectively off the table as a female sin.”

    Well the husband LEAD her to it right?!…..
    So really it doubles back to the male if you look at it that way, which is nauseatingly how many Ken Nair/Joel and Kathy followers will see it.

    Wife as ‘Sin-Revealer’ really means that no matter WHAT happens, it’s all the husband’s fault.

    I’ve just skim read another useless book called ‘Love Busters’ by Willard F Harley – have you read it? He also writes ‘His Needs, Her Needs’ and ‘5 Steps To Romantic Love’. To me they appeal very much to the feminine mind… all this talk of ‘love tanks’ and encouragement to write lists of annoying habits your spouse has and then reviewing the lists together…. yawn.
    It seems highly destructive to go down this path of ungratitude… at very least it sows seeds of discontent into the lady reading the book, even if she never manages to convince her husband to get on board with list-writing.

    Empath have you heard of another husband/wife ministry by Paul and Jenny Speed? Our friends who are right into Ken Nair have also travelled to the States to see them. The overall gist of their mission is to teach about ‘Secret Sin’ (read men’s tendency to lust and how it robs the house of blessing) Here’s a link to his testimony if you’re interested:
    http://witministries.com/2013/05/14/freedom-from-bondage-pauls-testimony/
    What bothers me about it isn’t that he felt convicted to repent, it’s that his wife is now his own personal litmus test for sin, in a very similar vein to Ken Nair’s teaching. In fact it doesn’t just bother me, I hate it! Can some things not be between himself and God?!

    About the frivorced couple, a picture would certainly tell the story very quickly, but so did your words – I can really imagine it. What a shame that people stand back and applaud the search for ‘happiness’ instead of rebuking the woman abandoning her vows. Good on the one sibling for being upset about it. Although the herd always ‘wins’, so even this will pass given time. Not enough people are willing to pay the cost of truth.

  12. @Empath:
    “She aspired to recognition. She was the A student through school and college, the bright beauty”

    Mmm…. seems her expectations of life would be through the roof.
    Discontentment will be right around the corner if so… this is a girl who’s been primed to think she should become Miss Christian Universe with Superman as her sidekick hero.

    Parents and churches are very much guilty of instilling this sort of pride into girls these days.

    Heck, when I became a believer I was transparent about having been the worst of the worst… a dirty rotten sinner grateful for God’s mercy and grace, I was already my husband’s although not yet married. He invited me into his world at the age of 22 – I’ve been there ever since.
    Anyway my point was that despite knowing these things, people at the church (Hillsong Australia) encouraged me to leave my unbelieving man so that ‘some handsome Christian’ could sweep me off my feet instead!!! They did a good job of trying to convince me that a girl like myself deserved MORE.
    See to me, this is ludicrous. But I’m pretty sure that I have a different logic than the average female brain… so this advice would likely be followed under the licence of ‘born again virgin covered by Grace’. Not sure if the ‘handsome Christian husbands’ ever find out….

  13. @empath,

    “This creates the spiritually superior women that I tried to describe to Russel Moore in my post that was an open letter to him.”

    Your letter to Russell Moore is excellent. I have read it 3 times. I am still digesting insights from that letter. I plan on reading it a 4th time.

  14. That’s kind of you to say Bee. I think its one of the best things on this blog even though hastily written like all my posts are. Maybe I should redo it, make it less a targeted letter to Moore, and tab it as a manifesto or something because almost everything I write about arises from somewhere on that spectrum.

  15. @empath,

    “…..see we got grls back in here the same way they do out there but these grls are better, because they put Jesus first and they have that personal relationship with Jesus that will guide them as they become wives”

    This is the false guarantee/bad hook/false advertising that churches use to sell Christian guys on marrying a girl from their church or denomination. The “personal relationship with Jesus” is the easy, wimpy, non female threatening basis for building a better church wife to be. But this is false advertising because the “personal relationship with Jesus” does not prevent a high percentage of these girls from becoming bad wives and/or frivorcers.

    Building a better church wife to be is shunned because it would entail teaching young women the hard, embarrassing, uncomfortable truths from the Bible regarding; men and women, dominance and submission, marriage and duty and service, sex, divorce, motherhood and babies, and homemaking.

  16. That and the fact that The Personal Jesus is not really the complete real Jesus. The Personal Jesus is bendable, pliable, ready to listen to “her side of the story” and adjust truth, even plainly stated truth from the bible, because he will see things from her side and empathize.

    For me this is repetition, but it is important repetition. Its the crux of the matter, of whats the matter. I restate, unless and until the bold truth is spoken to and at women things cannot change. This does not just mean from the pulpit, this means every man, you, me, all of us, start being who we are on these blogs when we are out among the folks. I confess, I do not do that 100% of the time because it feels too much like being confrontational for confrontations sake. But the reason it feels that way is that its so incongruent when we do it. Its not something they hear rarely, its something they hear never, so it feeds the line that we are misogynists etc.

  17. this story is so sad and sadly all too common. I see it all the time (well, I see the seeds of it) in the young people I work with. There is sort of a default notion of the superiority of the woman when it comes to all things spiritual. Once you couple that with the traditionally matriarchal southern family structure, you have quite the recipe for disaster. Churchianity has its international headquarters in the southern United States for this very reason — southern matriarchs are legendary and have always ‘ruled the roost’, even while their husbands and fathers theoretically exercised power outside the home.

    I suspect what this woman has found in her Captain Wishbone is another, albeit ‘hotter’ man who worships her — and in time she will tire of him, though she may not divorce him. She may simply cut him off from sex whilst she busies herself with ‘ministry’ activities and being the matriarch of the home.

  18. Mrs. Bee befriended a young wife and mother at church. Young wife and mother confided to Mrs. Bee that she could not wait until her youngest was grown and out of the house because then she would have time, “to serve the Lord.” Mrs. Bee was appalled and angry that no one at church and no one in the Christian media had taught this woman that serving her husband and her children RIGHT NOW was serving the Lord now!

  19. That is yet another churchian manifestation. Serving the Lord must mean volunteering at church, and taking short mission trios, and doing holiday service at local charities….an of course keeping to the task list of readings and devotions. Glad you raised that example.

  20. Pingback: Juxtaposition is a word I like to use | Feminism is Empathological

  21. gdgm…..is that post at Lydia’s really a year old? I tried to comment then saw her admonition to those nasty manosphere ner’do wells and the date on it was Jan of ’13. She seems a bright lady, too bad she is stuck in repeating conventional wisdom, but worse, with such an academic and heady tone

  22. @tbc

    “Once you couple that with the traditionally matriarchal southern family structure, you have quite the recipe for disaster. Churchianity has its international headquarters in the southern United States for this very reason — southern matriarchs are legendary and have always ‘ruled the roost’, even while their husbands and fathers theoretically exercised power outside the home”

    What would you propose in order the break the power of the matriarchs and to institute real patriarchy?

  23. Empath:
    “if ever hypergamy was in evidence…”

    I have to disagree that this was ‘hypergamy.’ It was the ‘very much not like her ex husband” She picked a man who was his opposite to inflict psychological pain on her ex-husband by highlighting issues that she probably knew, he felt sensitive about. I’ve seen the Bitches do this very thing dozens of times.

    Really, the 19 y/o Air Force punk is probably just a spoiled frat-boy who spends a lot of time in the gym and would get his ass kicked by a real soldier. If he’s such a ‘bigger better deal’ why does he need to chase after some married Cougar?

    Personally, I disbelieve anything like female hypergamy exists. The only way that women can keep their hands off thugs is when the culture keeps them in line. But ours values only trashy, worthless males—hence they have all the sex they can handle while the real men do without.

  24. Law driven churches spawn out people prone to dropping off the deep end in the same way helicopter parents do. When listening to rock music is a sin, and you are a sinner anyway, might as well go whole hog. What’s the difference when you are going to hell anyway? Was raised in a plain church, and when they go off the rails, they go way off.

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