All I wanted was to sit in my car, sip my coffee and read some Keating. So, I’m sitting there staring off into space for a moment and I decide that, before I pull out my book, I’d make a quick Twitter detour. This was a very unfortunate choice.
The tension was already building in my neck because that click lead me to visit marshill.com, and you know, I’m not exactly what one would call a fan of Driscoll so I do try to avoid anything related to him or to Mars Hill, but since this article was directed toward women and would no doubt be shared thousands of times by women and men I “needed” to check out the latest dish of Driscoll approved propaganda.
Have you seen Silver Linings Playbook? I morphed into a kind of Tiffany Maxwell all over Deacon Jen Smidt’s post.
A few days have gone by now, and I’m still disturbed by what Jen says in the post. Did she make some good points? Perhaps, I could give her some credit for the things I did agree with if I went there in a really broad way, and that’s my greatest grievance with the article. It was so incredibly narrow. The fact that it has been shared on Facebook 2.4k times also concerns me. People are loving what she has to say.
But not me. I don’t love it; I’ll tell you why and then have a little fun with her eight points. I promise to keep my Tiffany Maxwell –self mostly in check.
In her list, Jen Smidt leaves absolutely no room for a woman’s unique experiences with God, relationships, or with the world in general. Women and men bring many, many experiences, expectations, dreams and fears into relationships. I hate check lists and mass approved suggested questions for this very reason; you really end up denying some portion of a woman’s humanity when you size her up by bullet point questions.
Perhaps you think I’m being a bit dramatic? I don’t. I chose that phrase “denying humanity” because I feel like that is exactly what happens when men are encouraged to gauge the quality of a woman based on questions which encourage a narrow vision for gender roles which, at best, creates a place for soft patriarchy to reign and at the very worst could foster abusive situations.
First of all, she starts off with a silly caution to men to keep their visual interests in check because “hot” is not a good destination kind of like “hell” isn’t a good destination. Maybe that was funny for some people out there, but it wasn’t funny to me. I don’t think men are that stupid that they need guidance to choose a life partner based on more than looks alone. Maybe a new kind of man is evolving from Mars Hill churches? I guess it’s possible.
She goes on to list eight crucial questions to discover if a woman is of good character, which I have restated, with sarcasm, in my own words.
1) Have you been regenerated and is there clear evidence to prove it? If not, you aren’t dateable for a godly man. The process of being made holy is a little too gray; we need some black and white indicators.
2) Your favorite book is the Bible, your favorite place to hang is church and your favorite people are those who love Jesus (and probably read the same translation of the Bible and go to the same type of church). If you have friends who don’t share your faith, you’ll be the one in power, wooing them to God with your very presence whenever you get together, but these occasional meetings should be very rare.
3) If you wrestle with God, maybe yell at him sometimes, or can’t always tell if you’re tracking with the Holy Spirit, then you’re questionable marriage material. Work on exhibiting a tender heart when you are wrong- practice your sad face a little more, okay? You need to be convincing during public acknowledgments that you’ve sinned.
4) If you don’t have a lot of intimate friends who also intimately know guys you’d want to date so that your friends can vouch for how well they know you as an intimate friend to your potential partner, then you are SOL. Confused? Yeah, me too.
5) Learn a lot, but you have to be teachable, humble in your learning process. Most likely be willing to be led to other types of learning if your interests don’t please your man friend or measure up to his expectations of what you should spend your time learning about.
6) Evidently the truth of Christ is able to control, define and settle people. Funny, I don’t think I’ve ever observed that in another human being, but what do I know? I’m a young, untamed woman, and a Catholic woman, at that.
7) Don’t be scared of scary things. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, mental or physical sufferings of any kind that cause fear in your life may potentially render you an unsuitable partner because you’ll just be crying in the corner all the time. Feelings matter, but not that much; find some big girl panties and make sure they’re sexy too. You know how Pastor Mark LOVES to tell women how important it is to be sexy.
8) Use your words well. Don’t ever write something like I just did, and you’ll get a boyfriend and maybe a husband…
Alright, let’s talk about the widespread, original post. What’d you think? All joking and sarcasm aside, do you think there are some better messages to send to people about marriage, dating, and friendships? When talking about relationships, how can we shift towards questions which honor the uniqueness of every individual?