Suzanne Venker explains it all for you

Suzanne Venker's article "The war on men" has been causing a considerable amount of buzz and some division, including among Christians. Her premise is that, if there's a problem with men these days, it's all women's fault. A sample:

"It’s all so unfortunate -- for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever. . . .

"So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.

"Fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature -- their femininity -- and let men surrender to theirs.

"If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork."

Really? Because the woodwork around here, for me and my fellow celibate traditionalist Christian singles, looks awfully quiet.

Venker's intentions are honorable, I'm sure. But like most pundits who believe they've found some sort of magic solution to the world's ills, she grossly oversimplifies. The truth is, being feminine and celibate these days is no guarantee that you're going to snag yourself a husband. The current singles scene, including among Christians, is far too complex for any one-size-fits-all answer to solve the problem of women who want to get married but can't.

Don't believe me? Consider this: The Botkin sisters have made a career, literally, out of being feminine and elevating men. They were trained from birth -- and I do mean from birth -- to submit to their future husbands and to become the mothers of many. They are, quite possibly, the most feminine women on the planet. And now here they are, rapidly approaching 30, still stuck in the same boat with the rest of us celibate Christian single women.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Our obedience does not control God. We're to obey Him not for what we can get out of Him, but simply because He told us to obey Him. We can follow Him as closely as humanly possible, but nothing we do will either force Him to give us what we want, or control the behavior of any other human being (let alone an entire gender). Christians, of all people, should know better than to pretend that it will.


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As far as what Venker was saying, Gina, think of it this way. Suppose a body of soldiers starts to panic and flees. Any given soldier might not want to flee, might no he is actually safer it the unit puts on a good front, and might have little desire to be buried with a wound in his back. But because other people have fled it really doesn't matter; he is just caught up in the stream. It is an inexplicable collective error not an individual one which is why the Greeks attrubuted it to Pan enchanting them with well "panic".

In the same way involuntary virginity is a result of large numbers of other people making errors, some large, some small, some malicious, some merely foolish but all culminating in other people besides the guilty party being hurt.
Since we're doing Hee Haw
Where, oh where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and I thought I'd found true love.
You met another and pfft! you was gone.
Ok. Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

Is that a good gripe?

How about,"The whole world is filled up with unhappy folks. The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles. Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch. And I don't like anyone very much."
Jason, whether you feel the need to gripe more, or feel like you should gripe less, I'm here for you.
Thank you, Lee. I do gripe to much.
Jason & Gina
Jason, you DO know somebody who's not miserable? Who, you ask? ME! I refuse to be miserable in my marriage, and I'm successful at it BECAUSE my life, my hope is not in my husband, or in the state of marriage: it is in GOD! And, who can be miserable with God as the center of your life???

Gina, I did not mean in any way to say that you who are single don't know what miserable is! Or even that married life has its own fears and frustrations! Both of those things may have some truth in them, but that's not where I was going. Where I was going was my final paragraph: God has either PUT us or ALLOWED us to be in the state we are in FOR OUR GOOD AND HIS GLORY! I had to learn the hard way to get my head out of my "miseries" and into God if I wanted to be "happy". God gives us graces for whatever state we're in. If we use them we grow closer to God. If we don't, we become bitter, angry, and frustrated with no place for God in our lives. I'd rather be the "grace-filled" woman than the bitter one. (And, thanks for the article recommendation. I'll read it as soon as I can.)
In addition to all your other powers, G? That just wouldn't be fair.
Lee! I was just this moment wondering what you've been up to, and then there you were! I wonder if I have some kind of weird superpower. :-) It's great to hear from you, and great to read of your kindhearted commitment.
Old joke:
Q: What's the penalty for bigamy?
A: Two mothers-in-law.

A woman just walked past me using a cane. I instinctively got out of her way, but she needed the hallway wall to steady herself, so I had to get out of her way a second time.

Christians wouldn't dream of treating the physically "handicapped" with less than the fullest measure of grace. We've so internalized that principle that we read in Luke 1 that Elizabeth "was barren", and we need to have it explained to us that there was a deep stigma attached to this situation. (A friend of mine is in a cult where having children is critically important. Barren-ness can cause enormous problems with feelings of self-worth.) Our graciousness is altogether good.

Why, then, would we not extend the same grace to the socially "handicapped"? It's one thing to weep with someone who has no husband, or no feet, and wishes they did. It's another thing entirely to make them feel left out, or that their particular pain is somehow not as important as another's.

I'm committing to do all I can, this Christmas season, to affirm my single friends.
Well they do say that a good portion of the population of Asia is related to Genghis Khan, so I suppose it does have some effect on demography.
Hey, Jason, if you behead all your prior wives, you're a monogamist!

I'm not advocating polygamy, but I understand how it can seem like a practical solution to demographic imbalances. And frankly, there's a lot more historical and natural-law justification for it than same-sex pretensions. But it seems pretty obvious from the warts-and-all record in the Bible that polygamy is inherently unstable (not for nothing is the Hebrew word for "second wife" also translated "rival"), and is certainly not God's best.
Fortunately, my boys haven't been bad on the vomit side. Spit-ups in early feeding days, of course, but not the belly-emptying, projectile stuff. (Probably the worst part of vomit is that there's no diaper on the top end of the body...)
More seriously Kelvin, polygamy tends to be dehumanizing and reduces people to toys.

Besides it wouldn't do me a heck of a lot of good, would it?
Why did Paul discourage polygamy, Kelvin? Maybe he thought that psychopathic sultans didn't deserve to be rewarded for beheading two thousand wives in a row with a princess who can tell stories in bed for one thousand and one nights?
I have to agree, diapers really aren't that bad. Now vomit, on the other hand . . . well, I won't get into that. :)
A couple of late hits on this:

Jason, as a recent father who always hated to get his hands messy (I never liked fingerpainting or mud cakes), I can tell you that I had no problems changing the diapers on _my_ kids. (And now it probably wouldn't bother me on any kid; you do get inured to it.)

Given the demographic reality, I sometimes wonder why Paul discouraged polygamy; that would be one solution! Then again, I can't give my current family the attention they deserve; I don't know what I'd do with another set. (Somehow I doubt that Warren Jeffs' children saw much of him.)

More seriously, the situation is an example of the many where an individual can't do much of anything, but a solution depends on each individual acting as if their action matters. It didn't make any difference on the national vote whether any particular person voted on Nov. 4, but the choices of each individual elected our leaders. Gina can be doing all the right things, but if her sisters (in the metaphorical sense) settle for minimal manhood, they all lose out because too many men are satisfied to sink to the lowest level that will get them what they want. (And let's be honest, virtually every man wants sex. Most also want companionship of some sort.)

The fault lies with the men, but while some will respond to Promise Keepers-like exhortation, others need more of a prod, something to make them dissatisfied with their current situation. And if women as a group hold out for better behavior, they're all more likely to get it, even though for any individual woman there are benefits to breaking ranks (not in getting a well-behaved man, but in getting some sort of a minimal man who at least helps with the bills and provides fun at night).

But let's remember: God never promises anyone that life will be perfect. Married or unmarried, we will all live with unfulfilled desires (absolutist readings of Psalm 37:4 notwithstanding).
Quite true. That is a better way to put it.
Jason, maybe a better question would be, "Is there anyone who doesn't have problems and need the love and support of the body of Christ?"

If we ask it that way, then it reminds us of our own responsibility and helps us learn how to relate to others better.
Now that you mention it, that does sound awful, Carol.

Is there anyone I know who is NOT miserable?
Carol, you might want to read this. I was going to recommend it anyway; it's the best article I've read on the subject lately. (Don't miss the comment section!)
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