The Jealous Mom

Jealousy seems like such an ugly word, doesn’t it?In these undiscerning times, we’ve learned to equate jealousy to its illegitimate half-brother, covetousness. Many times when you see a person accused of jealousy, that person is being defrauded of his rights, often brazenly to his face. As an example, a young man who is engaged to one girl might accuse her of jealousy when she becomes irritated at his attentions to another. By accusing her in that way, he deflects attention from his unfaithfulness by making her feel ashamed for caring that he is unfaithful.

 

She: Why are you talking so sweetly to my adversary while she twirls her hair in such a fetching manner?
He: What are you, jealous? If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a jealous woman!

Likewise, our God is a jealous God. Much atheist ink has been spilled over the spurious objection that jealousy is a petty and ugly thing that would be beneath the hypothetical God who, since He doesn’t exist, must take on whatever characteristics the atheist assumes would be most fitting for an Almighty God. Conveniently, he can then argue with this Being from his imagination instead of facing the real Almighty. But atheists don’t get to define God. He is Self-defining, and if He says He is jealous, then we’d better pay attention to what He means by that.

Jealousy is not a petty emotion, but a protective and loving one. There is a distinction between jealousy and covetousness: Jealousy has a right. Covetousness has none.

So, what does this have to do with mothering, you ask? Well, lots, actually. One of the most effective tools that Satan has used in our parents’ generation and ours to separate children from the influence of parents is the accusation of jealousy.

You think that a mommy’s kiss on an injured knee would be more fitting than a teacher putting a sterile band-aid on it? Why would you be so controlling? So involved? So jealous?

You don’t want other women raising your children? Tsk-tsk.

You don’t think Sunday School teachers can catechize your children better than you can? What do you think you are, some kind of theologian?

You won’t allow your kids to watch certain “kids’” programming because it blatantly indoctrinates children to believe that parents are at best cluelessly irrelevant, and at worst sinister killjoys?

You think that the public school version of sex education, history, and literature will corrupt your children’s morals, misinform their choices, and ruin their lives? That they would be better off learning about, oh, everything really, in the context of a loving home?JEALOUS! You are jealous, like that mean old God of yours!

Moms, don’t fall for this!

The World will try to convince you that you are a petty, small, and controlling person, if you think that you are the person to whom your children should turn for their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. We’ve been made to feel ashamed of our God-given, natural longing to be our babies’ first and best companions and friends.

Why is that? Are we not the possessors of the right and duty to nurture and guide our young? Are we not the ones who know both first and best what our children need? Of course we are!

But Satan is as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And do you know what prey is the easiest to devour? Unprotected young. They are weak and inexperienced, delicious and tender morsels for a hungry but cowardly enemy.  All intentional, thoughtful Christian moms are belittled by the world as “helicopter parents” for the high crime of demanding to know what their children are being taught, wishing to teach them their own faith, and wanting to control the influences that are brought to bear on those young lives.

This belittling is done for the same reasons, and in the same ways, as the cheating husband. The calumny is meant to shame us into surrendering our rights and privileges as the rightful participants in that intimate relationship. They intend to usurp our thrones as beloved Guides in our childrens’ lives. While allegations of jealousy are hurled at our heads, accusing us of “controlling” our children, the truth is that for a parent to willingly give up control of a child’s upbringing to a stranger employed by a godless State is the true dereliction of duty.

A woman who allows her husband to flirt with other women without rebuke is not an open-minded and loving girl, but a dupe and an abused woman. Not only that, but she encourages his sin by winking at it.

A God who doesn’t mind if you worship other gods is a cuckold, not a Being with the inherent dignity of Yahweh.

So what is a mother who allows the State and its propagandists to make her feel that her interest in her own children’s well-being is somehow dirty, abusive, or petty? They are the abusers. She is being defrauded of her family by a covetous and thieving “society”, and made to feel that she is wrong for objecting.

So, moms (and dads, but I speak to moms), know this: It is not only OK to be a jealous mom, it is a holy calling. Guard your children’s hearts. Guard their minds. Guide their choices. It is a father and mother’s duty, not the state’s, to ensure an education in righteousness. Don’t let the accusation of jealousy put you on the defensive. Do what God has given you to do.

(Note: This is a repost from December 1, 2014.)

To Cover, or Not to Cover

I spend a good portion of my life bewildered.  

It seems like no matter where I go, I’m never quite up to speed on what other people are doing, let alone what they’re thinking. Bring up any topic, and you can just about count on my punk brain coming up with a completely different angle than everyone else around me. This is extremely uncomfortable.

I don’t want to to call this quality that I’m lacking “conformity”It’s not a willingness to conform that I lack. Believe me, as a shy person, I think it would be lovely to just do it, whatever “it” happens to be at the moment. It would be cool to, for once in my fringey little life, jump right in and blend with the crowd. I’d like to be respectable for a change. It’s not the desire, but the ability to conform that seems to have been left out of the warp of my soul.

So let’s just call it alienation. I am continually alienated from the people around me by my (apparently uncommon) convictions. Whether others have felt the pull of similar convictions and ignored them, or they just don’t have the same convictions is entirely between them and God. I wouldn’t even want to know. None of my business. Since we’re all reading from the same Bible, though, it really is a wonder to me that I can be so predictably orthogonal to the rest of society. Every. Single. Time. I am clearly broken.

I’ve worn a hair-covering while praying and studying the Word for several years now, even though no one else I know does this. I don’t believe it’s strictly mandated, but it is a symbol whose meaning everyone can discern. It’s a mark of submission of a woman’s own (meager, in my case) physical beauty, her glory, to the headship of her husband, who is in turn a symbol to her of Christ as He heads the Church.  There’s also that whole mysterious thing about “because of the angels” which I don’t need to fully understand in order to recognize that it is a concern. In addition to the positive reasons for it, I can’t think of any reason hair-covering would be inappropriate, so I do it.

The apostle Paul thought the covering was a good idea, and fitting in its symbolism, but “if anyone seems to be contentious about it, we have no such custom.” Let them do what they think best, in other words.

But, I note, they are being contentious.

Symbolism matters, except when it doesn’t. 

Some time ago, our pastor made a joke in passing about how we wouldn’t “be having a burka sale in the lobby” later on. I can’t remember for sure, but I think he was talking about ecumenism and that weird beast called Chrislam. Certainly he was not preaching from 1 Corinthians 11 that day, so the joke was an aside, not an attack. The fact that covering one’s hair as a gesture of modesty isn’t anything like covering the full face and form because of the supposed shame of being female didn’t stop me from flinching a bit, though.

The symbolism of the hair covering means very little to this particular pastor. Fair enough, I guess. That’s pretty much all the pastors these days, after all. It bothered me enough that I still recall the sting of the joke, but not enough to ruin the rest of the message. I mostly got over it, and the joke in context was kind of funny. But there was that shameful feeling of being seen on the fringes, yet again.

I’ve continued to cover my hair because the social pressure is the only negative thing about it. There’s no biblical or practical reason not to do it.

And that brings me to my current problem: Masks. 

Actual photo from worship service. I guess it would be rude to give them mouths when we’re not allowed to have them ourselves.

It occurs to me that the same man who wouldn’t dream of telling women to cover their heads is fully on board with having everybody cover a large portion of their imago dei so they won’t spill their newly toxic breath all over each other. Granted, the Bible doesn’t say anything about surgical masks, but I do think on an intuitive level, this ought to give thoughtful Christians pause. If covering up the faces of God’s children, muffling their voices, and keeping them from greeting one another with a “holy kiss” doesn’t seem creepy and perverse to you, I just have nothing left to say.

I can’t get with the program. I’ve talked myself around in circles on this. “Just put on the mask. It won’t hurt you, you know. Not if it’s just for an hour, anyway. Everybody else is happy! It doesn’t seem to be bothering them. They look fine. They can still sing. I mean, it’s a little strangled, but they’re being absolute troopers about it. The governor and the town council say you have to! You don’t want to get other people in trouble, do you? You’re not affecting anything by sitting it out! You’re going to get fined!”

And you know what? God bless them for being able to let go and just do it, I reckon. I wish I could see it that way. But I cannot get past the thought that our breath is not just a mechanistic thing. It’s a spiritual thing. God breathed life into the first man, and we are all ensouled with that same breath. To stifle it invokes a symbolism that I can’t participate in during worship. (Or most any other time, though there are times I don’t mind masking up to keep the peace.)

Just as the only reason I can come up with to take off my hair-covering is to relieve the discomfort of being different, the only reason I can conjure to put on the mask is to relieve the social pressure. I would be wearing a mask just to make the pressure stop. That is a very bad reason to do anything.

Masks don’t do anything discernible to slow or stop the spread of a virus by healthy people. But there is something they do very well:

Masks separate us.

They remind us not to touch one another. They keep us from fully reading each other’s emotions. They prevent us from even recognizing people we don’t know very well. They give us something to hide our thoughts behind. They act as a constant reminder that nothing is allowed to be normal right now.

Possibly the worst thing they do is to leave a blank spot in the impressions our smallest children should be forming right now of interacting with other people, especially strangers. As we’ve learned from studying feral children there is a window of opportunity for children to learn certain things, and those formative years cannot be reclaimed. Who knows what social effects this unprecedented year-long mandate might have? Perhaps there will be no negative effect. I hope and pray that’s so. But would you want to be the guy that signed off on that experiment?

Human beings cannot live under this kind of stress without changing their relationships with one another. And they can’t do that without affecting their souls. 

And in spite of the purported benignity of the coverings, masks do make us breathe differently, whether too deeply or not deeply enough, because they bring the usually unconscious act of breathing to our constant attention, where it becomes less efficient. I know for a fact that many people get panic attacks from focusing on their breath this way. Asthmatics are very familiar with the phenomenon. We can have perfect oxygenation, and yet our very breathing is causing us to feel like we’re suffocating. There are ways to overcome these panic attacks in the short term, but it’s a powerful indicator that we should not be doing this all day long every day.

Even while failing to prevent viruses from riding out on our breath to reach others, masks can trap enough of our vapor to cause us to increase our own viral load. They definitely make us rebreathe bacteria, as well as collect it against the skin. It’s highly impractical to change or wash masks frequently enough to prevent this when we’re wearing them as an 8 hour clothing item for work. I doubt that more than a tiny percentage of mask-wearers are doing it in a sanitary way.

Breathing freely is important to human health–body and spirit! Because I know this, I am reluctant to join the rest of society in wearing a mask, even though after nine months of the madness, I am painfully aware that I’m offending some pretty strong social norms.

Here, strangely, symbolism becomes a valid argument.

Because, as you know, you have to wear the mask to show you care. The argument from science is scarcely ever even attempted, for good reason. There is very little science to support it! Instead, we’re socially shamed for even questioning the practice. Masks are there to make everybody around you feel like you care about them, even though nobody is in any greater danger without them. Comforting, ineffective symbolism is now the approved way to show you care. And don’t you dare try to hug your grandmother. ( Don’t click that link if you don’t want to cry. I had a mild confrontation with a nurse over this back in June. My grandmother was visibly upset, and I went around the table and gave her a big hug and a kiss, and I’m not sorry.)

We’re told that wearing a mask is to keep you from passing the virus on to others, not to keep you from getting it. Never mind the complete lack of understanding of such a simple thing as circulating air. Here’s a clue: if I can breathe, a virus can get out of my mask. There’s a demonic little trick in that tactic, in that the mask doesn’t show how much I care for myself, but how much I care for others. It doesn’t make me healthy. It makes me a good person. Nobody wants to go out in public and make everyone else think she’s a bad person.

I am downright allergic to that kind of manipulation, so I guess that’s my medical exemption from mask-wearing.

And that is the source of my bewilderment. After nine months of being told that good people wear masks, that breathing freely means you’re reckless or rebellious, and that you just don’t care if other people die, how is anybody ever going to be convinced by mere facts to go back to normal? And be treated like a pariah? They won’t. They’ll just wait until the powers that be tell them to take it off. I despair, because if people will fall for this–not just for a couple of weeks until they figure out the trick, but for as long as they’re commanded to by an illegitimate authority–what else will they fall for?

As someone who is used to feeling like an oddball no matter where I go, I seem nevertheless to be far more sensitive to the alienating effects of these face-coverings. Maybe it’s just the last straw after living so many years going against the flow. I’m tired. Maybe I will finally learn to love Big Brother, if this goes on long enough.