For everyone who will be waiting on long lines at restaurants next Sunday, I wish you well. I also wish you'd find a way to honor mom that also honors God by not placing His people in bondage. Most mommies I am acquainted with don't know and don't care whether or not their child is acting out of love or guilt, but it really should matter. Only one of those motives actually honors her. Our motives matter to God, and it is His divine example that we should emulate. I certainly wouldn't want anybody doing something for me because I guilted them into it. That kind of love is cheap and shallow. Real love can't be defined by a calendar.
I suppose I celebrate Christmas, but not in a traditional way.
A midnight mass, a candlelight service. I celebrate
Sunday if there's a sunrise service somewhere or some occasion
that omits bunnies and colored eggs. And, I think that's about
it, all the holidays I observe. Even
Christmas is iffy,
considering Christ wasn't born in December. I don't celebrate my
own birthday let alone yours. Pastoral anniversaries are
shameful rackets, pastors assessing congregants in order to line
their own pockets.
Thanksgiving commemorates the wholesale
genocide of an indigenous population. So, no, I don't celebrate
much of anything. Once upon a time, every six weeks—and yes, I
counted—I was on my way to some mall to shop for some useless
junk to give somebody because Fill In The Blank Day was coming.
I know people so invested in these ridiculous and arbitrary
dates they treat them as sacrosanct. October—time to pull out
the pumpkins and paper skeletons. February—time to hang up foil
hearts all over the place. Robots. We are absolute robots.
November, time to spend tons of money on airline tickets and
gasoline rushing across the country to sleep on the pull-out
sofa bed in the den and argue with your cousin.
Mother's Day is, likely, the worst of all because it exploits women, preying on the sentimentality of a certain generation. It divides families by forcing women to expect certain behavior or certain acts on a certain day. A woman's self-worth can often be injured by the measure of the demonstration of affection (or lack thereof) she receives that day. Mother's Day encourages vapidity and codependence in women. Like children at Christmas, the commensurate value of the Mother's Day gesture becomes the proportionate measure of external validation these women receive. I know, for a fact, my mother suffered greatly every second Sunday in May, and I hadn't done anything to cause that. They—whomever "they" are—did, by enacting this insipid holiday in 1914, a ritual my mother and, just as likely, yours, have bought into wholeheartedly.
The pernicious element of the supposedly benign day is guilt. Guilt sends us to the mall. Guilt has us squeezing into crowded restaurants and blowing wads on florists. What I love most about God is that He responds not to our acts but to our motives. Christians should not be a people motivated by guilt, but by love. There's nothing wrong with buying your mom flowers unless you are doing so out of obligation to some date on a calendar. That is bondage. It would be better to make your own Mother's Day. How's the 3rd Sunday in September? That seems to be free.
Anna Jarvis, who created the holiday first in Grafton, West Virginia, later became so incensed by its commercialization that she spent her entire fortune lobbying Congress to repeal it as a national holiday. She failed and died broke in an asylum.
Take me seriously as an equal while I highlight my vanity, childishness and insecurity.
Bondage is not God's plan for us.
God does not want His people to be slaves to bondage. The
church, black and white, tends to dismiss and oppress women,
based largely on our pastors’ failure to liberate the Word of
God from the cultural norms in place at the time it was written. Most
women I’ve ever met suffer from a kind of feminist
schizophrenia, challenging the church’s position on, say, women
preachers while also allowing (insisting, demanding) they be
treated like children as they incorporate unbiblical, oppressive
slave culture like Saint Valentine’s and Mother’s Day into
church liturgy where such things have absolutely no place.
Sisters: to be truly liberated, you’ve got to let go of this
mess. Sister’s violent reactions to not being remembered on
Valentine’s Day, or their despair at not being honored on
Mother’s Day, reveals an inherent codependence and, therefore,
separation from God. For, to truly know God and to have God
dwell within you is to be a whole and complete person, someone
who does not require external validation, let alone this
foolishness that infantilizes you and cements in our culture the
idiom of the woman as stupid and dependent, naïve and vulnerable
and easily manipulated. Valentine's and Mother's days equates
femininity with weakness, vulnerability, childishness and
vanity. Our sisters should desire to liberate their God-given
gift of femininity from those attributes. What we have instead
is schizophrenia: the brassy woman preacher in the loud, flashy
outfit and big hat. Her vanity is at cross-purposes with her
mission to deliver God's word to His people. Preachers, male and
female, should dress as plainly as possible. They should desire
to decrease that the people may see and hear the Lord.
There’s no way I’d want anyone like that in my pulpit. But this is what we’ve got: our dear sisters wanting it both ways, women demanding to be taken seriously while behaving like children: respect me as an equal, but also allow me to be needy and childish and wear loud clothes and too much makeup that just screams my insecurity to the world. No thanks.
For everyone who will be waiting on long lines at restaurants next Sunday, I wish you well. I also wish you'd find a way to honor mom that also honors God by not placing His people in bondage. Most mommies I am acquainted with don't know and don't care whether or not their child is acting out of love or guilt. But it really should matter, because only one of those motives actually honors you. Our motives matter to God, and it is His divine example that we should emulate. I certainly wouldn't want anybody doing something for me because I guilted them into it. That kind of love is cheap and shallow. Real love can't be defined by a calendar.