Monday, October 01, 2007

Gender and Design

Have you ever experienced God in spite of stupid preaching?

I visited a "prayer center" over the weekend that I'd heard a lot about. Apparently, in the year it's been running, they've seen forty-some miracles--healings, I presume. The prayer center wasn't an actual church, but a place staffed by multiple denominations where prayer and worship take place 24/7. On Saturday nights, they have a service, sort of. This is what I went to. I was not disappointed. I could feel God's presence during the music time, felt like I could almost go to sleep--not from boredom, but from this sweet feeling that God was very close, almost like I was wearing him as a jacket zipped snug across my chest. When the music ended I wanted to lay myself out on the floor and just sit with that feeling I was having.

I tried to keep my eyes open, though, for the guy who was speaking that night. His topic was somethign about beign dependent on God and how our culture fosters independence, which seems, in a sense, counterintuitive to the idea of following Christ and trusting him to meet our needs. I don't think this dude was in any way advocating blowing all your rent money on an LCD screen TV because Jesus can take care of the rent. Rather, his focus was on the way our attitudes are shaped toward independence, without acknowledgement of God's ability to care for us. We were designed for dependence, he said.

Then he tried to give an illustration to show how badly things go when we are not fitting our intended design. He said he hopes his daughters will continue to live with him until the day they are married. Because God designed for their husbands to meet all their needs. What's the point of them moving out and learning all this independence they'll "have to undo" once they get married? Wouldn't that be counterintuitive to send them out in the world to be somethign they're not designed to be?

What did he even mean? Here are the things I can think of that you learn when you live on your own: balancing a checkbook, grocery shopping, taking out trash, doing laundry, cooking.

Are these things he means will be good for a woman to unlearn when she gets married? As far as I know, with the exception of balancing the checkbook and taking out trash, these are all the stereotypical roles a woman will take on during marriage--domestic work, regardless of whether she has a job outside the home as well.

Not that I am in any way advocating these stereotypes, but does he expect them to sit on their asses and eat bon bons or something? These chivalrous metaphors of marriage people subscribe to seem to run away from them at times. The metaphor might serve some need to make romantic sense of the world, but when they start talking about what it looks like practically (laundry, trash, groceries) it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't serve them even in the way they think it does.

"Do you guys get me?" He asked

I shook my head no.

The guy a few rows in front of me nodded his head vehemently yes.

With some relief, what I concluded after my visit was: God is truly alive and well in the Midwest. Hence, the miracles, his sweet presence, and the peace I felt.

Additionally, I concluded: Dear God, he is in THE MIDWEST, working his way through in spite of stupid stupid cultural paradigms.

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