January 27, 2007

A Biblical Critique of Debbie Maken's Book "Getting Serious about Getting Married" (part 12)

PART XII: Chapter 11 - "A Few More 'Easy' Answers" (Including a Few from Mrs. Maken)

With Chapter 11, Debbie Maken concludes the second major portion of her book Getting Serious about Getting Married. This short chapter focuses on a series of statements that Mrs. Maken terms "'easy' answers." Supposedly, these are "answers" often used to rebuff the concerns Christian singles raise about getting married. What follows is my own commentary, given partially in response to Mrs. Maken's reply to the "answers":

1. "You have to be the right person to meet the right person."

Mrs. Maken is correct in taking this mantra to task. While a modicum of maturity is necessary for marriage, human beings are not perfect (not even for each other). Our world is full of mediocre people who have somehow managed to find loyal mates while more mature people go without spouses. And as far as being the "right person" is concerned, I think self-improvement is best undertaken for its own value and not for pleasing a member of the opposite sex.

2. "It's better to be single than to wish you were." ("Marriage is hard.")

I agree with this statement. Mrs. Maken, on the other hand, has an interesting response: "Life is hard. So is work, so is having a baby, so is parenting, so is being alone. Their are trade-offs in every station of life--challenges and benefits" (p. 138). Indeed. I therefore wonder why Mrs. Maken and others portray marriage in so lofty a manner as if no other mode of existence can bring one happiness.

Mrs. Maken goes on to mention that people should look to happily married Christian couples as a form of encouragement. She also avers, "We cannot pretend that a good marriage is a random, luck-of-the-draw event, and so it's better to avoid marriage as a solution" (Ibid.). Yet we cannot deny that there are a lot of people who are unhappily married as well. Granted, Mrs. Maken is correct in saying that a good marriage is not an accident, but there are many good people who still have difficult marriages for all their effort and best intentions. People cannot predict the changes that will occur in fortune, their mates, or themselves. It is utterly foolish to think that marriage is game of fixed rules wherein one can "beat the odds" by sheer skill (Eccl. 9:11). Making wise decisions can reduce some risks, but not all of them.

3. "As soon as you stop looking, you'll find the right person."

To some extent, I can see why Mrs. Maken takes issue with this statement. Passivity is not going to get one closer to matrimony. However, I do believe that spending too much time looking for a spouse is not a good idea, either. One should never act out of desperation. For one thing, desperation tends to drive away the very people we want to attract. Secondly, acting out of desperation causes one to make foolish and rash decisions. If the idea of being single for the rest of your life frightens you, then you are making yourself vulnerable to problems down the road through your own fears and passions.

There is no need to waste time casting a net if the fish are not biting. If there are no good prospects for marriage, then one should concentrate on self-improvement in spiritual and temporal matters. Fretting and obsessing over one's singleness is a useless waste of energy. Just as worry cannot change one's hair from white to black, worrying cannot change one's marital status. The command to "seek ye first the kingdom of God" is applicable today as it was thousands of years ago (Matt. 6:33).

4. "You'll get married in God's perfect time so just relax!"

Like Mrs. Maken, I disagree with this idea, but for a different reason. Mrs. Maken's objection focuses on the need for Christians to be proactive in their lives and not wait for God's "perfect time." My objection is that it is presumptuous to assume God has a spouse for us at all in his "perfect time" or otherwise. Everything I have written thus far bears witness to the fact that none of us are entitled to marriage anymore than we are entitled to $100,000. In fact, many marriages will cost at least that much.

5. "My sister got married the other day, and she's thirty-seven."

In response to those who optimistically point to the prospect of later marriages, Mrs. Maken remarks: "Yes, marriages do often happen later in life, but it's hard to know why Laura didn't marry sooner. Will she now have trouble conceiving and having children?" (p. 140). Mrs. Maken raises a valid concern here. Perhaps the woman she mentions may have a problem conceiving. I admit women need to take into account when their prime childbearing years are if they plan to bear children. Of course, there is no biblical mandate that a married woman must get pregnant (although some have misapplied the scriptures to make a case to the contrary).

I note that Mrs. Maken fails to acknowledge the alternative for older couples: adoption. If some religionists really believe children are a blessing and that Christian homes have a part in the spread of God's kingdom, what prevents them from exercising this alternative? The act of adoption by devout Christians has the unique advantage in translating a young soul out of an ungodly environment into a godly one. When religionists unduly focus on procreation as the means by which Christian women celebrate motherhood and by which Christian homes are established, they betray a shallow and narcissistic view of family life. In such a case, one must ask if many of the paeans sung to motherhood are merely window-dressing for emotional self-interest. Family isn't about genetics as much as it is about nurture, training, admonition, and love (Eph. 6:4; Titus 2:4).

In essence, I grant there are probably shortcomings to getting married at a later age, but I have already indicated (and Mrs. Maken has conceded) that there are "trade-offs" for many decisions in life. Getting married young poses it own set of challenges. Don't let Mrs. Maken or others fool you into thinking otherwise.

6. "It's God's will that you are single right now."

Once again, I agree with Mrs. Maken in rejecting this statement, but for a different reason. Someone who says it's God's will that a given person be married or single is essentially claiming a form of special revelation of which the Bible says nothing. Mrs. Maken declares, "Protracted singleness rarely glorifies God and cannot save you, sanctify you, or justify you in God's eyes" (p. 141). I respond that this is no more true than saying the same thing about marriage. In this regard, one's marital status, per se, has little if anything to do with one's standing before God. It's the grace of our Lord and obedience to his revealed word that ultimately matters.

7. "There is no shame in being single."

Obviously, Mrs. Maken doesn't agree with this statement, and obviously I do. Mrs. Maken doesn't say much in response to it in Chapter 11, but she does state that being single is an "abnormal state" (p. 142). Indeed, it is so abnormal that by even by conservative estimates, 39% of women aged 30 or over are single (Michael Medved, "Journalistic Malpractice in 'Marriage is Dead' Report," January 18, 2007, Accessed from www.townhall.com). But seriously, I think I can honestly say it is more abnormal for someone to be engaged in "biblical courtship" than it is to be single. Is the integrity of an action based upon how "normal" or "abnormal" it is?

8. "Dating is fun!"

I agree with Mrs. Maken that many times dating is not fun. Mrs. Maken says it is "unfair to women" (Ibid.). Perhaps it is, although I think some qualifications are in order on that point. At any rate, Mrs. Maken takes this matter up in more detail in the next chapter of her book, and accordingly, the next part of my critique will address what she says there.

57 Comments:

Blogger wombatty said...

Mrs. Maken declares:
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Protracted singleness rarely glorifies God and cannot save you, sanctify you, or justify you in God's eyes (p. 141).
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Wow. This statement is so many things; intellectually (and Scripturally) vacant, presumptuous, absurd, etc, etc. I have NEVER heard anyone, even the most strident proponent of GoS thinking, claim that singleness either can save or justify you. Are we to suppose that Mrs. Maken is promoting marriage as a means of salvation and justification?

Your response, Anakin, is so plain, sensible and logical that I wonder how Maken's assertion made it through the editing process.

Mrs. Maken does fairly well when she is deconstructing GoS theology, but when it comes to constructing and defending her own thesis, her powers of reasoning seem to abandon her. She should have just stuck to debunking GoS theology.

Mrs. Maken is a lawyer; if this is typical of her intellectual prowess, I feel sorry for her clients.

1/27/07, 6:21 PM  
Blogger Philippa said...

Warning: long post coming up.

2. "It's better to be single than to wish you were." ("Marriage is hard.")

I agree with this statement. Mrs. Maken, on the other hand, has an interesting response: "Life is hard. So is work, so is having a baby, so is parenting, so is being alone. There are trade-offs in every station of life--challenges and benefits" (p. 138). Indeed. I therefore wonder why Mrs. Maken and others portray marriage in so lofty a manner as if no other mode of existence can bring one happiness.


Because most people who fall in love and start a family think that the trade-off is worth it. The best things in life are those worth working for ... including marriage. My single life now looks sterile and futile compared to the glory - and agony - of having children. So love hurts (as does having children.) But you know what? - at least you know you're alive.

My objection is that it is presumptuous to assume God has a spouse for us at all in his "perfect time" or otherwise.

Anakin, can you be serious? Given the importance God places on marriage, given the fact that it is normative, why is it presumptuous for a godly man or a godly woman to hope that they will meet and fall in love with a godly spouse who will love them back in return, so that they can build a life together and serve God together? What on earth is presumptuous about that, given that we are hard-wired to be attracted to the opposite sex? It's how God made us. Blame Him: it was His idea! ;)

You have been taking the marriage mandaters to task for sometimes overstating their case. Well, I'm challenging you on what seems to me a super-spiritual attitude to something that is absolutely normal, the desire to get married and have kids. If all other people in the world thought it was 'presumptuous' to expect God to give them a husband or wife, the human race would die out pretty quickly.

Everything I have written thus far bears witness to the fact that none of us are entitled to marriage anymore than we are entitled to $100,000.

You can't compare the most important relationship between two human beings to mere Mammon. And, you know, I doubt that you would say that we are not 'entitled' to having employment. Getting a job involves a lot of hard work - sending out a CV, doing one's research. We take great care with those sorts of things in our lives, so it seems pretty careless, not to say extraordinary, to have a more cavalier attitude towards the most important relationship all of us will ever have ... marriage.

You see, I've now read Debbie Maken's book and find myself broadly in agreement with her. Not 100% ... some of her more sweeping statements still make me raise my eyebrows, and I'm not convinced by some of her solutions to the problem.

But we do have a problem with extended singleness in the Christian community, a massive problem - especially as the Church expects its singles to be magically asexual, something I find ludicrous - and I think she has done the church a favour by exposing this ... even if she has ruffled a few feathers in the process. And that included mine!

And the thing that bugs me, Anakin, is this: why WOULDN'T someone be serious about marriage?

You see, people in the Single By Default Not Design Club (of which I am a veteran member) assume that marriage will somehow happen to them along the way. If it doesn't, then what has gone wrong? Apart from regretting our mystical wishy-washiness, does that mean that many of us are indeed not taking marriage seriously enough, in a culture that has infected us with its equally cavalier attitude towards marriage?

PS. Protracted singleness rarely glorifies God and cannot save you, sanctify you, or justify you in God's eyes (p. 141).

Er yes, this is one of Debbie Maken's famous sweeping statements that do make me go "oy vey." However, I think she says things like this because singleness has been so super-spiritualised. Her methodology in deconstructing certain myths about singleness can be a bit crude at times, I admit.

But then I had a similar exasperated reaction when I read about Elisabeth Elliot extolling the virtues of virginity for a never-married woman. What the dickens does Elisabeth Elliot know about extended virginity? She's been married three times!!!

1/28/07, 12:39 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Phillipa:

I agree with most of your post; I do not think there is anything necessarily presumptuous about expecting God to provide a spouse. On the other hand, I think it is beyond presumptuous on Maken's part to claim (in not so many words) that God, definitely and without doubt, has a spouse waiting for all but a select few of us and we better act accordingly or we'll be sorry.

I also agree with alot of Maken's arguments against the GoS stuff, and to the extent that 'wakes up the Church', that's a good thing. However, elucidating the problem is only part of the task; offering a solution is the other.

As you point out, Maken's methods are a bit crude, but so are her solutions (not to mention sometimes silly and irresponsible) - and that's a problem. If someone is going to take upon themselves the duty of taking the Church to task on an issue, they need to be careful and responsible about it. I submit that much of Maken's approach (not to mention her exegesis) is downright sloppy.

Despite her protestations to the contrary, Maken's book isn't much more than the opposite extreme to GoS theology. She has pointed to a legitimate problem (good), deconstructed contrary arguments (good), and offers unrealistic advice on how to solve that problem (bad). Maken would simply have us abandon one error for another.

1/28/07, 1:35 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

To clarify and expand on my previous post: Maken seems to assume the existence of 'soul mates'; that God has a specific person for nearly all of us. By not pursuing marriage, we flout God's will and deprive our soulmate of a husband (hence her citation of Calvin's words to that effect). I don't remember her offering much scriptural support for this, just a quote or two from the early Church fathers. I think this is presumptuous. Basically, she tries to guilt men into marriage.

I can just imagine a woman's reaction to the revelation that this or that man is chasing her, not because he wants to, but because he has been guilted or shamed into it. I'm sure that would make her heart flutter.

More crudeness and wrong-headedness:

- Exalting the concerns of women while stridently dismissing those of men. In other words, women's concerns are legitimate, men's concerns are not. This will just confirm in our minds that these women are just 'in it for themselves'.

- Insisting that women are all but blameless regarding the marriage deficit. This is not only presumptuous, it is arrogant.

All of this not only alienates men, it can also lull women into false sense of self-righteousness on this issue. If Maken wanted to alienate men, it’s hard to see how she would be doing things differently. I think when all the dust settles, Maken's book will do more harm than good.

1/29/07, 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maken seems to assume the existence of 'soul mates'"

Whaaaaaaat??? She does nothing of the sort! If anything, she tries to get people away from that kind of magical thinking, erring (some might say) on the side of human agency.

Really, Wombatty! Now you're starting to sound hysterical!

1/29/07, 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One look at Dr. Helen's blog (and insight from her posters) is enough to confirm my stand on remaining single.

Granted, we may be hardwired for the opposite sex, but one wonders how many sexless marriages there are even in the Christian community.

1/29/07, 8:39 PM  
Blogger Philippa said...

Wombatty,

I think you’ve got Debbie Maken wrong. I too think her book has flaws ... but I don't think they are the flaws you think they are. Actually, I think the book has both big weaknesses and big strengths. One of the strengths, as the first Anon said, is that Debbie Maken’s approach to love and marriage is pragmatic and grounded, not mystical and magical.

The missing link in Getting Serious About Getting Married is that Debbie M doesn't critique contemporary feminism and its impact. This is the element that makes her book off-kilter and makes her sound too hard on the men at times. But it's still a stretch to say that she 'exalts the concerns of women while dismissing the concerns of men'. Indeed, some of her statements about older single women put my teeth on edge! I’m not about to thank Debbie for resurrecting that ghastly word ‘spinster’ (which is an insult to all the attractive, intelligent single Christian women I know.)

One of the silliest criticisms I've seen is from male critics (some of whom seem to have a real problem with any Christian woman expressing a strong opinion) who accuse her of being a quasi-feminist. They have to be kidding! If they think Debbie Maken is a feminist, they've never met one! She is exceedingly conservative in her views on marriage and family life. What feminist advocates that adult women move back in with their parents????

What I do like about her book is its earthiness and honesty. The best part is the second section, chapters 5-11, when she so neatly skewers the singleness myths. Made me chuckle ... and nod my head in agreement.

You say her book might do more harm than good. We'll just have to see, won't we? One of the more positive effects is the response of people who've read her book and are now determined to be prayerfully proactive about marriage and not sit around passively waiting for the Lord to drop Mr or Ms Wonderful (as if by magic) into their laps. If an increase in Christian marriages is the result, it is immaterial whether we agreed with Debbie Maken on every single point. I don’t, and I would challenge her on some of her views … but I’m still glad I read her book, because she has challenged some of mine.

Granted, we may be hardwired for the opposite sex, but one wonders how many sexless marriages there are even in the Christian community.

Anon, it is hardly news that married people can have sexual problems. But the unhappiness of other people’s marriages is no reason for any Christian to adopt a defeatist attitude. The fact that we all have the potential to mess up doesn't negate the original good design of God.

1/30/07, 3:47 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/30/07, 4:14 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/30/07, 4:28 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Anon wrote:
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Really, Wombatty! Now you're starting to sound hysterical!
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Oh, please, give me a break. The fact that Maken quotes Calvin approvingly to the effect that my not pursuing marriage deprives a woman of a husband presumes that I am the only one God has for her. I didn't say that Maken believes that God will magically drop 'the one' in your lap, just that she seems to believe that there is a special one for each of us (you still have to hunt them down).

Philippa wrote:
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The missing link in Getting Serious About Getting Married is that Debbie M doesn't critique contemporary feminism and its impact.
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It's worse than that. She doesn't simply fail to 'critique contemporary feminism and its impact', she dismisses it as a Bogie!

Phillipa wrote:
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But it's still a stretch to say that she 'exalts the concerns of women while dismissing the concerns of men'.
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This comment refers more to her blog than to her book (I should have clarified). When men say they are happy and content single, she replies that they need to grow up and find a woman marry. When men raise the prospect of feminism's impact on our culture, she dimisses it as a bogie. When men voice concerns over losing contact/custody of their children and much of their wealth in a capricious divorce, that is also dimissed as all but irrelevant.

Perhaps I am a bit guilty of overstatement on this point, but show me in her book or on her blog where she has acknowledges that men have legitmate concerns and seriously addresses any them

As to the long-term effect of her book, only time will tell.

Anon:

I read Dr. Helen's post yesterday - how utterly depressing. Sometimes (not always) I'm more than just content being single.

1/30/07, 4:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>> I read Dr. Helen's post yesterday - how utterly depressing. Sometimes (not always) I'm more than just content being single. <<<

Exactly. It's not about a defeatist attitude, I think. It's about contentment and measuring risk vs. reward. I don't care whether it's military strategy vs. an opponent, Las Vegas gambling, or marriage, when the odds are greatly out of your favor, it's time to either back away or choose an alternative plan that will achieve the greatest success.

1/30/07, 6:02 AM  
Blogger Philippa said...

This comment refers more to her blog than to her book (I should have clarified). When men say they are happy and content single, she replies that they need to grow up and find a woman marry. When men raise the prospect of feminism's impact on our culture, she dismisses it as a bogie.

Wombatty, I have some sympathy with your concerns here. And some of Debbie Maken's more harsh and sweeping statements about singleness still annoy me. I don’t agree with her equation of the gift of celibacy with the automatic removal of sexual desire: does she really know anybody of whom this is true? I’ve never met an asexual person, but I do know some single people who are happy and fulfilled in what they do for the Kingdom.

But I must challenge you on this:

When men voice concerns over losing contact/custody of their children and much of their wealth in a capricious divorce, that is also dismissed as all but irrelevant.

Wombatty, come now. How many Christian women do you know have practiced 'capricious divorce'?????

I know none. I don't know any Christian men who have practiced 'capricious divorce' either. Thankfully, most of my married Christian friends have happy marriages. I do have a couple of friends who had to divorce their husbands under the most agonising circumstances: these so-called Christian men had committed adultery and sexual abuse. These women went through hell.

I don’t know any Christian men who lost custody of their children because of the vindictive behaviour of an ex-wife who professed to be a Christian. I do know one Christian woman who did not forbid her ex-husband access to her children, even though he had fallen into sexual sin. However, he was still their father and she acknowledged that. An ex-husband should only be denied contact if the children are actually at risk from him. This doesn’t seem to have been the case.

1/30/07, 7:31 AM  
Blogger Philippa said...

Oh, and I had a quick look at Dr. Helen's blog, and it's clearly not a Christian one.

So, er, isn't this blog called Scripturally Single? What is scriptural about taking your cue from a secular blog?

I’m not being naïve. Of course Christian couples can experience sexual dysfunction. But Christians believe in a biblical and redemptive view of sexuality.

Dr. Helen and her unhappy clients are not the final authority here.

Thank God!!

1/30/07, 8:03 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Philippa:

I can't say I know any Crhistians who have divorced capriciously. However, given that divorce is just as prevelant in the Church as it is elsewhere, and given that the vast majority of divorces are initiated by women. Add to this to severe handicap men are faced with in the courts & divorce industry and it's not hard to see that men have good reason for caution.

Maken and her followers are also fond of accusing guys who voice concern over the divorce problem as just being fearful (as if fear is an illegitimate factor). Yet, there is just as much fear on her side of the fence. Women who fear remaining single, missing out on the pleasures of sex, not having children, etc., etc. I acknowledge that such fears are understandable and valid. It would be nice if Maken and her acolytes could extend guys the same grace.

1/30/07, 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mrs. Maken is a lawyer; if this is typical of her intellectual prowess, I feel sorry for her clients."

Wombatty, this is quite hypocritical of you considering you whine about personal and “ad hominem” attacks all the time.

1/30/07, 9:41 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Anon:

First, I was not attacking Maken personally, I was addressing her poor logic. Regardless of how wonderful she might be as a person, this example does not speak well of her reasoning skills. I would expect better of a lawyer. If I heard my lawyer making such an argument, I would probably fire them - no matter how wonderful a person they were.

Second, I hardly 'whine about personal and “ad hominem” attacks all the time.'

1/30/07, 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, separating the wheat from the chaff, right, Philippa?

Very Good. Much of what you have posted is true. I agree. This is a Christian blog. Dr. Helen's is a secular blog.

However, I do not believe that Christians are as Counter-Cultural (especially in these times) as you give them credit. Actually, utilizing the word "Christian" is a relative term when so many are breaking bread with the secular world. The sad part is -- many don't even realize it their own hypocrisy, or are in denial. Hence, I don't think Christians should be so prideful that they can wash their hands clean of the whole affair.

It is a laugh that American Christians think they are Counter-Cultural, and nowhere can you see that better than on a walk through a "Christian bookstore". We have Contemporary Christian Music bands that match the styles of popular "secular" bands and get themselves published on "Christian labels".

All the material is out there: N'Sync wannabes, Britney Spears wannabes, Megadeth wannabes. There is even Spiritualism For Dummies. And if you want a really good example of so-called Counter-Culture just look at the "Christian T-shirts and bumper stickers" that rip off popular corporate slogans.

Today, "mimicry is ministry".

Sometimes the "we are counter-cultural" message becomes more adamant and aggressive. Take the book, Harry Potter, for example. Everything about the book has to be bad. Indeed, if the book does have any virtues, that makes it worse, because all the goodness will lure the reader all the more into the evil. The reader could not possibly have the discretion to distinguish between the good and evil, let alone fantasy and reality, contained within the book. Oh, no.

They ignore the many other media productions that arguably promote violence - (video games, rap music, any number of movies starring Sly Stallone, Chuck Norris, Arnie S., etc.) - greed - (Survivor, Big Brother, Fear Factor -- people willing to take foolish risks or betray others for prizes) - sexual license - ("teen" movies, many popular TV sitcoms) - irresponsibility - ("reality" shows, "Funniest Videos" shows, many sitcoms) - or questionable theological content (Touched By An Angel, the Left Behind books).

In fact, most of the time, productions that include magic or spirits are also ignored: Any number of Disney films - (Snow White, Bed knobs and Broomsticks, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) - the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Casper, the Narnia Chronicles, Lord Of The Rings, good grief, they are all "magical". To follow this rule consistently, you have to have no - (or very few) - books, no radio or TV, or much of anything else.

And, finally, these people seldom offer "Christian" alternatives that are superior in quality to the criticized originals. I think much of their criticism of popular culture is due to two things: Envy and Fear. The Envy part is easy to figure out. The Christian critics cannot come up with more successful things on their own, so they trash what is out there and, incidentally, sell lots of books and tapes exposing the evils of this or that.

The Fear part is much more common, and just as dangerous. Many Christians are stuck in the Christian circle, afraid to step out, because they have been taught Christ does not exist outside the circle. They learn to be comfortable inside the circle, because even though it is small and cramped, it is safer than being outside in the unknown.

If Christians are going to strike at our cultural mudslide, then the best place to start would be to strike at the root, not the branches. Take the Christian discussions of sex, remarriage and divorce. The divorced and the remarried are given pats on the back and told they are "okay" - (forget the legal implications) - while those past thirty who have remained single are held in question, or their lifestyle is held "suspect".

We call for conferences and discussions and studies on the subject of divorce, trying to see if there is a way to interpret the Scriptures so that there are some "loopholes" that would allow divorce, and the remarriage of divorced persons (whose partners are still living). Many in the church have pussyfooted around with this issue, and have said, "God can cure an alcoholic; God can cure a drug addict; God can take away a prostitute's desire -- but oh my -- if there has been a marital problem that leads to separation, you can't expect a young wife to go through life without a husband." And so the search for loopholes continues. 

I think I have an idea why this is done. Church attendance and roll calls and "other stats" have prioritized our Sunday worship. Quantity and convenience overshadows Spiritual Quality and Harsh Truth. Thus, we do not want to hurt other people's "feelings". That would turn them away. "Consensus" is all about compromising toward "group-think" not God think.

Therefore, the church becomes handcuffed to the pop culture warriors and modernity of 21st Century lifestyles.

I must confess here that it really becomes difficult to write about these problems, because many Christians who disagree with what I have to say will not only condemn me to hell, but they will also make claims that God is on THEIR side. And "back it up" with scripture, no less.

I view the "illegally" remarried and divorced as particularly selfish and gullible people who defend the indefensible if for no better reason than for the demands of carnal lust.
No doubt what I am saying is unpopular. Just as unpopular as when John the Baptist told King Herod that it was wrong to take his brother's wife.

Christians have embraced the gospel of self-esteem, psychoheresy, and the Recovery Movement within the Counter-Cultural Church. We live in a society marinated in the philosophy of the Self-esteem Movement. In American churches, the Bible has come to be seen as a guide to self-improvement, rather than the story of how God's sovereignty acts in our lives for His purpose. This cult of spiritual self-improvement has nothing to do with the Cross. More so, it flatly contradicts the Cross by contending that mankind can supplant the Lord's grace with our good works.

We Christians have ourselves to blame for this. Pagans, heretics, apostates, and anti-religious bigots cannot be expected to behave in accordance with the law of Christ. You and your parents and grandparents, who have professed Christianity and gone to church every Sunday and still live rotten, self-indulgent, toxic lives, you are the problem. You failed to get the point, to work with God in transforming your heart, to be a Christ-like example to others. You did the easy things and the outward things, but you shirked the really hard work of true self-denial and humility and charity.

Any church that required an annual tithe of time and talent as conditions of membership would empty out quick, don't you think?

And this is aimed toward my Christian brethern:

Whether you like what I say or not, if you think you are a Christian just because YOU go to church, go to Bible studies, you are a Sunday School teacher, complain about gay marriages ruining our culture, Harry Potter books and violent movies destroying our youth, etc., etc, yet you have no problem embracing adultery, divorce, remarriage, or any other form of immorality or cruelty in your daily life, then you have got a corrupt priority. I am not talking about people who are uncertain about what they are supposed to do, or who are trying to do the right thing, or perhaps are victims of the bad behavior of others. I am talking about those who are not trying and do not care, or worse. My suggestion for you is to get out of the church.

If you are not going to condemn divorce and illegal remarriages, feminism, in the same breath as homosexuality and Wiccan beliefs, then get out! In my opinion, do not bother going to church. Do not give me the crap about which is the greater sin. The reason you shut your trap on the matter is because you have family members and friends - (possibly even yourself) - who are on their second or third marriages, and you do not want to hurt anyone's feelings. But what you fail to realize is your moral responsibility and accountability to the Truth, and your sullied attempts through smoke-and-mirrors and logic fallacies to avoid that Truth.

We have become "Pharisee intoxicated".

If it were not for the justification of divorce amongst people who consider themselves Christians, and the widespread proliferation of infidelity and promiscuity, and yes, even today's permissive remarriages under illegal trappings, watching Oprah and Dr. Phil shows (Dr. Helen's blog is tame compared those two secular beast), then we, as Christians, would have no need to concern ourselves with the issue of same sex marriages, and that includes the discussion of relationships in general and marriage in specific within the confines of this blog.

1/30/07, 10:29 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Anon:

I sometimes find the whole 'ministry is mimicry' thing a little annoying myself. However, it's not all bad; Paul used such an approach in Athen's himself.

As to the whole 'Christian versions' of this, that or the other; there is nothing new under the sun - it's kinda hard for anyone to come up with something truly origninal - it's all about substance. For instance, I love heavy metal music and so do alot of other Christians. Should we just pretend we don't and listen to something we don't like? Or should we set out to make good metal music that glorifies God, entertains and edifies people like me, and has the potential to draw secular metal fans to Christ?

I think in many ways (not all) the whole emphasis counter-cultutalism is a bit mis-guided.

1/30/07, 11:12 AM  
Blogger gortexgrrl said...

For once, I actually agree with you here Wombatty. So emphasis on counterculturalism is misguided and once again, gets us off track from the real issue, which is singleness.

Can those of us who have not been married agree to stop de-railing the dialogue so much on whole divorce-phobia bugaboo?? Let's face it, both sexes have just as much to lose when it comes to divorce. There are men who lose their shirts to golddiggers and women generally face a larger drop in their standard of living. Some of us have friends, siblings or parents who divorced and don't want to go through the same thing. OK. So what decreases the risk of divorce, according to John Gottman?

For men: availing yourself to being influenced by your wives decreases the risk (and usually increases frequency of sex!), but belligerence and resistance to wife's influence increases the risk of divorce. For women: making sour faces during conflict increases the risk of divorce, so do "harsh start-ups" and "kitchen sinking".

OK, so can we all just put our pre-emptive divorce anxieties aside for a bit and just carry on with the discussion?

1/30/07, 12:43 PM  
Blogger PuritanCalvinist said...

Wombatty

You said:
To clarify and expand on my previous post: Maken seems to assume the existence of 'soul mates'; that God has a specific person for nearly all of us. By not pursuing marriage, we flout God's will and deprive our soulmate of a husband (hence her citation of Calvin's words to that effect). I don't remember her offering much scriptural support for this, just a quote or two from the early Church fathers. I think this is presumptuous. Basically, she tries to guilt men into marriage.

I agree with most of what you have said, but I would just add these things:

John Calvin is not an early church father. He is a reformer. In fact, what is funny is that Debbie Maken leaves out a study of the centuries before the time of the reformation as they are utterly destructive to her position. In her "response" that she wrote to me, she admitted as such.

Second, because she is a libertarian, I wouldn't say that she thinks God has a soulmate for everybody. I think that what she would say is that, because man has libertarian free will, if man pursues marriage unsinfully, then God will automatically give him a spouse.

I brought this out in my dialogue with her. What this amounts to is saying that marriage is something that can be demanded from God. In other words, you can demand something from God by virtue of what you do. I pointed out that the Bible nowhere says that marriage, or anything else, can be demanded of God. God is under no obligation to give anyone a spouse. I had to agree with Andreas Kostenburger when, at the end of his dialogue with her, he said that Debbie Maken's position is man centered. In other words, God does not have the freedom to give marriage to whomever he wishes, and do as he pleases. Instead, the process of marriage is all up to man.

As I said before, this does not mean that we should not pursue marriage, as God uses means. However, what it does mean is that we must trust in God as to whether or not our searches will be successful. He has ordained both that young people will search for a spouse, and whether or not that search will be successful. He has the right to give and withold marriage at his own pleasure, and I think that this truth is deadly to the mandatory marriage movement.

Finally, I have not been able to find the quotation from John Calvin. She said in her book that a minister cited Calvin to her in a conversation. We now have to trust that the minister was citing Calvin accurately [probably from memory], and that Debbie Maken is correctly citing his recollection of what Calvin said. I am not saying the quotation doesn't exist. Just that I would be interested to know the exact wording and the context of that statement to see exactly how accurate that statement was passed down to her book. This methodology is hardly foolproof.

1/30/07, 12:50 PM  
Blogger Philippa said...

Anonymous,

I have no intention of separating the wheat from the chaff. That's God's job, not mine.

OK, so can we all just put our pre-emptive divorce anxieties aside for a bit and just carry on with the discussion?

Hey, no pre-emptive divorce anxieties from me, Gortexgrrl! :)

It's the men who are getting all twitchy. ;)

1/30/07, 2:37 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Thanks for the correction and prespective PC.

Gortexgrrl wrote:

------------------------------------
OK, so can we all just put our pre-emptive divorce anxieties aside for a bit and just carry on with the discussion?
------------------------------------

To suggest that the divorce issue is irrelevant to this discussion is a bit myopic. People respond to incentives and disincentvies - it's just human nature. It is a fool who doesn't consider all the risks before embarking on an adventure; it's better to count the cost.

I'm not saying that divorce is the biggest issue here, but it is part of the equation.

Nevertheless, I have a proposal: Guys will drop the pre-emptive divorce anxieties as soon as the women in this debate put aside their anxieties about never marrying, never having sex or children, etc, etc. Deal? (I am referring primarily to many of the commenters at Mrs. Maken's blog).

Singleness isn't the issue per se, it is whether or not 'pronlonged singleness' is biblically illegitimate. I don't believe that it is and Maken's case that it is is, in my opinion, not convincing.

I'm reading Laura Smit's book 'Loves Me, Loves Me Not' right now. In one of the chapters (I think it is chapter 4), she, among other things, makes the case that we should regard singleness as our 'default mode' and suggests that you should remain so unless you have a very good reason.

I really don't agree with everything she says in this chapter, particularly the 'single default mode' thing (as I believe marriage is an issue of liberty). Despite that, I think she makes a solid case for the legitimacy of the single lifestyle.

I'm not a theologian or anything, so I can't speak to her treatment of biblical languages or anything, but I think she makes a good argument.

1/30/07, 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Gottman, Praise HIS name.

Selling love used to be done on street corners and in the parlors of tarot card readers, but since the 1940s in the United States, it has been the province of psychologists. Indeed, the last three words in Gottman's title --Making Marriage Work -- was the title of a popular psychologist's column from over half a century ago.

Though psychological advice from that era has been largely discredited, the claim that psychologists can fix relationships, rekindle love, and so forth, persists to this day. In 1976 John Gottman published A Couple's Guide to Communication. Like the present book, that book was based on clinical research involving hundreds of couples. Today, however, Gottman calls the premise that communication is the key to a happy marriage a "myth." That approach, he says, doesn't work.

In many ways, John Gottman's career recapitulates the career of many psychologists. The relationship cure we were selling a decade ago and two decades ago doesn't work. But the cure we are selling this year really does.

1/30/07, 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do women believe that nonsensical passive-aggressive pronouncements are a reasonable substitute for actually making a coherent case?

1/30/07, 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I could ever deconstruct Debbie Maken's book as well as Anakin, but I think most of us see what is happening very clearly.

Maken's approach to dating and relationships is toxic to men. So many Christian women are cheering her book and not realizing how many Christian men are turned off by it.

If you look at what the vast numbers of Christian single women want, it matches what secular women want; a handsome and wealthy man with no baggage - but nevermind any of his concerns, his views, his beliefs. Just snagging that man is the goal.

I'm wondering if Debbie Maken is nothing more than Carolyn McCulley on steroids. The goals are the same, yet Maken has no inclination to consider the feelings of men on any topic or area of concern. The women who cheer Maken's book most vocally seem also to be the same women who have incorporated a lot of cultural feminism into their Christian beliefs. So much so that I've seen a Maken supporter say "I'm all for being submissive, but I'm in control when I feel God wants me to be in control."

Put simply, Maken is giving the wrong message to the wrong crowd. The women who embrace her message are killing the remote chance they have to possibly form a romantic relationship some day. Following Maken's advice will keep the men away. How satisfying that must be for Debbie. She'll be like the other singleness writers; assuming her leadership position over a growing flock of lonely women.

Women would do a lot better by simply communicating with men. Maken is not helping.

1/30/07, 8:06 PM  
Anonymous otter said...

Phillipa said..."It's the men who are getting all twitchy. ;)"

And with very good reason Phillipa. You, Maken and all her supporters can keep trying to pretend that biased feminist inspired divorce/family/child support laws dont matter but it just makes men trust you even less.

1/31/07, 8:18 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Otter:

I don't really think it's fair to lump Phillipa in with Maken. In my opinion, Phillipa is far more willing to listen to and consider contrary opinions and arguments whereas Maken and her ardent supporters usually just dimisses them as 'bogies' or manifestations of male immaturity, irresponsibility, etc.

1/31/07, 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Otter. Maken and her supporters will not listen to the concerns of Men. Men are concerned about women's very non-Christian approach to marriage, about divorce and loss of children.

If women will not even consider men's concerns, it is akin to men dismissing a woman's biological clock or fear of living alone as mere "women's issues".

Maken is now suggesting that pious Christian "suffering" is the reason why men aren't marrying.

One can easily see why Maken is an attorney. She argues all around a problem without getting to the point. When women get serious about marriage and begin to make men feel safe about commitment, things will turn around. However, with leaders such as Maken, McCulley and others, women are leading themselves to lifelong solitude.

I'm very disappointed.

1/31/07, 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maken is now suggesting that pious Christian "suffering" is the reason why men aren't marrying."

Did you read her blog. She is doing no such thing.

1/31/07, 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got it off her blog:

"I am afraid that we are now going to find yet another inapplicable doctrine, i.e. suffering, to obviate the lack of marriage formation in the Christian world."

1/31/07, 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to see Maken speak in London. 90% female crowd. Nothing about men except how un-gallant and un-masculine they are these days.

Of course everyone cheered the anti-GoS parts, but the few men in attendance were uneasy with some of the shaming language.

Before Maken, most of those men weren't willing to marry. After Maken, it is a guarantee they will never marry. She is a disaster. Unless of course, the goal was to reinforce the image of Christianity as an all-girls club. Maken advances that goal very well.

1/31/07, 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Maken’s latest blog entry, she voices her surprise and disappointment at the skewed female to male ratio of about 3:1 to 4:1 at her London event.

All I have to ask is: What else did she expect? If you’re an older single man, why in the world would you want to go to her event? To be blamed for (most) everything? To be called a eunuch? This is silly.

I mean, on the flip-side, how many women would one expect to attend a meeting where women are blamed for everything? Not many, if any, I’m thinking.

A big problem I see with Maken and her supporters is that they will alienate even the men that (mostly) agree with them. Heck, if her own would-be allies are getting a slap down treatment, why would even they go to this event?

C.S.

1/31/07, 2:24 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

C.S.

My thoughts exactly.

I also noted her parenthetical label of 'Guilt Gestapo' applied to the GoS crowd.....

pot, kettle

kettle, pot

1/31/07, 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I mean, on the flip-side, how many women would one expect to attend a meeting where women are blamed for everything? Not many, if any, I’m thinking.

A big problem I see with Maken and her supporters is that they will alienate even the men that (mostly) agree with them. Heck, if her own would-be allies are getting a slap down treatment, why would even they go to this event?"

Well, well...looks like that's exactly what's happened here, with genders reversed. Phillipa and GG are nowhere to be found.

2/2/07, 1:26 PM  
Blogger JH said...

It is sad. Lots of women will do as Maken advises: be confrontational with men, denounce good men as eunuchs and immature "little boys".

I personally know of a woman at our church who has rejected several dates because they didn't pass the "Maken Test".

Perhaps Debbie's book is a very necessary message to keep women single through their fertile years. I cannot imagine how increasing the animosity between men and women does anything to advance marriage.

I think perhaps Debbie Maken is working for the "dark side" of the Force...so to speak.

2/2/07, 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real tragedy in all this, I think, is that Maken's efforts, to some degree, have thoroughly been rewarded. Yes, they have. Too many men (this board included) have tried so hard to defend their bachelor or celibate Christian lifestyle when, in retrospect, no defense is necessary. None!

Gentlemen, my advice is to pick your armor up and move on with what God has planned for you.

To those poor little gals who DON'T understand why you're not married, no explanation will suffice; to the good women who DO understand what's going on with the genders, no explanation is necessary!!!

No real man should feel compelled to give an account to the harridans who are spiting their pretty little faces, no matter what the circumstances or agenda. If a man is confident and secure, why does he feel he has to prove himself to the Matriarchy? Why must he give an account? Why? There is no reason. Why does he snivel to female approval? There is no reason. This is the worst way to attract a female, trying so hard for acceptance and validation, and to prove to the naysayers, once and for all, that you're a man, "that you're a real Christian single man ... with purpose."

Your pleas will only get a snicker

A real man doesn't need to confess all to a skirt; he's only answerable to God.

Gentlemen, if you stoop down to a level of trying to prove yourself at every beckon call (you can tell yourself it's a discussion if you like, but I doubt the sistas will carry a straight face), THEN you HAVE GIVEN her every reason to believe she was right about you all alone.

The best way to defeat this paradigm of Makin's is for men to just smile and walk away. Stop baiting yourself THROUGH her web of manipulation. Let the women crow and congratulate themselves. What you don't do is feed the flames with gasoline.

In reality, the real eunuchs are the men who would marry these "gals like Makin", who would put up with this vitriolic nonsense.

Life is too short to be cowering in the foxhole, dodging venom from skirts. A man should seek his dreams through the vision of God. A man should seek a life first before he decides to seek a wife.

2/2/07, 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maken's ideas are the wrong ones. Read the comments on Maken's blog. Her supporters firmly believe men are exclusively the problem. These are women who will never marry and seem to thrive on finding new ways to push men away and out of the churches.

Don't forget, lots of women in the Maken crowd don't want to marry. They are activists and enjoy being activists; rehashing the same arguments over and over, dwelling on the old GoS debate month after month - then of course reverting back to blaming men before repeating the cycle.

Many of the Makenites have impossibly high standards. It's no wonder they aren't dating or meeting men they would consider marrying. But do they want to marry? I don't think so. I think many of them will be very content to be arguing these same points at age 55. Meanwhile, the men who could have made them very happy will move on with no regrets.

In a way, Maken has done a service to men and women. She has clarified what Christian single women believe; that men are to blame, and that absurd GoS messages are not helpful. Now men know where women stand. Men understand this message now, but they do have a place in the discussion, don't they?

Oh, they don't? Sorry. We'll just start dating non-Christian women. At least they will listen to us once in a while.

I'll come back to the discussion in ten years. I bet I'll see the same women arguing the same points; unmarried of course.

Cheers.

2/3/07, 5:25 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Anon 10:25 PM:

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think there is anything wrong or counter-productive in pointing out where she is wrong.

Anon 5:25 AM:

I don't think it's fair to lump all Christian women in with Maken. I do agree that her book can be helpful though.

First, she does a respectable job of debunking some of the GoS stuff.

More importantly it has alerted me to the existence of such women in the Church. If and when I try the dating scene again, I'll be on the look-out for 'Maken-esque' attitudes and dispositions. If I find them in my date, I'll just move on to more promising (and pleasant) prospects.

2/3/07, 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://christianandsingle.blogspot.com/

2/3/07, 7:45 AM  
Blogger PuritanCalvinist said...

Anon,

The reason we are dealing with Debbie Maken's arguments is not to convert people from her side to our side. From what I have seen, these people have such a single-minded idolatrous view of marriage that it is, in the end, going to have to be either the Holy Spirit changing their hearts, or seeing some of these people get married and ending up having a worse life then when they were single before they will realize the silliness of this argumentation. It just seems that it doesn't matter how bad the argumentation is from her side as long as they get what they want, namely, marriage.

I think an interesting point has been brought up, though, and that is that, if these folks keep engaging in ad hominem, and do not address our arguments, it is going to mean that they are going to be left standing alone in their position. That is really what I hope happens with this movement...that people realize they can't answer the criticisms levied against them, and they are, therefore, no longer able to make people come to their position. In other words, no one is going to take them seriously if they keep engaging in this kind of behavior.

However, I am not saying that everyone in this movement just attacks the other person when they cannot answer their arguments. There are people out there who agree with Debbie Maken in principle, and do not like the personal attacks that go on from both sides. I can only hope that these people will hold Mrs. Maken accountable for her actions.

2/3/07, 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>> I understand what you are saying, but I don't think there is anything wrong or counter-productive in pointing out where she is wrong. <<<

Although be reminded there's only so much exegesis you can place on a "stop sign". How much longer before you begin splitting hairs?

2/3/07, 1:14 PM  
Anonymous otter said...

I agree 100% with anon 10:25.

2/3/07, 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 10:25 too.

But I cannot feel schadenfreude over the dating scene for single Christian women. Maken is simply warmed-over feminism peppered with misused scripture.

It is tragic when seemingly intelligent and attractive women reach age 40 with no prospects for marriage. Maken is giving them someone to blame for their predicament. I think it is sad that Maken is creating even more distrust and blame-games between the sexes.

If any practical result comes from Maken's book, it will not be more marriages through the "shame Men method". It will be more men backing away from the women who agree with Maken.

I know this is a radically inappropriate suggestion, but the Maken women might try listening to men. Just a suggestion, ladies, please don't be angry!

2/4/07, 5:13 AM  
Blogger PuritanCalvinist said...

Anon,

You said:
Maken is simply warmed-over feminism peppered with misused scripture.

Woooooah, I don't think I would go that far. Debbie Maken is the extreme opposite of feminism. Rather than view marriage as a travisty [as the feminists do], Debbie Maken views it as a necessity. I would say that Debbie Maken is the extreme opposite of feminism, and that her position has the same result as feminism.

Whether marriage is suppressed to nothing or exulted to an idol, you are putting marriage into a place where it should not be. When you do that, you are being disobedient to God, and it is easy to see why you would end up having this kind of vitrol against your brothers in Christ.

Of course, I wonder how nasty Debbie Maken would be if she had to defend her position in public with someone who really knows the issue. That is why the internet is such a tough place. Ordinary people can spue out acid, and they don't have to be accountable for it because they are hiding behind their keyboard. That is what was so frustrating about my dialogue with Debbie Maken. I kept on bringing things up, and she kept skirting them. Many times she would bring up an objection, and I would proceed to answer it, but she would never give me a rejoinder in the next post. She did this to Andreas Kostenberger as well [as he noted in his last response to her].

Of course, if you are in a public setting, you can't do that. The person will stop you, refocus the question, and then say, "now will you address this?" It will be interesting to see if Debbie Maken does a public debate on this topic.

2/4/07, 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

puritan calvinist,

Perhaps I did use a bit of colourful language in my last post; and perhaps Debbie isn't a classical feminist, but she is doing some un-Christian things.

Her fans were so ready to embrace a good debunking of the GoS that they have swallowed all of her views on men without thinking things through. Maken has rallied the girls - so to speak. If the "girls" are going to listen to Maken and not to the men who otherwise would have wanted open communication, then she has done some damage.

No?

2/4/07, 8:34 AM  
Blogger PuritanCalvinist said...

anon,

I can't disagree with you as far as her doing some ungodly things.

Here is what I am thinking. Something she wrote on her blog really struck me:

As far as looking for another church that is more pro-marriage, where would you go? The reaction of your pastor represents the status quo. The change sought by the book is going to take a bit of time. As much as you hate to wish singleness on anyone, sometimes I wish God would cause some of these ministers' children to be indefinitely single, barren and deny them the privilege of being grandparents, so that they could begin questioning the new order of things that their very words have wrought. It's almost like until it strikes home, no one is really concerned.

She is talking about someone who showed her book to their pastor, and he said it was "extreme." Notice that Debbie Maken seems to be comparing singleness to rape, or some other violent crime. However, again we have to ask why it is that she says that. The reason we consider things like murder to be violent crimes is because we all believe we are created in the image of God, and to violate God's image is grevious sin. However, notice that, to her, not getting married and being single into your thirties is something which violates marriage, and has nothing to do with the law and commandments of God.

Something else also struck me. In her book, she says that she did not come to these conclusions in the scriptures until after she already felt the discontentment with her singleness. I thought that this was dangerious, because you can fall prey to reading the scriptures in the light of your feelings. I guess that here, she is coming out and just saying that this is what happened. Here she seems to be saying that a person must have certain experiences before they will agree with her. What this says to me is that she is reading the scriptures through the lens of her emotions and experiences. That is a very dangerious thing. It makes the meaning of the text subjective to the person reading it.

I would say this is another example of the thinking of the mandatory marriage movement in making marriage the god of their lives. Worse than that, doesn't she imply that anyone who does not support her position is not "pro-marriage?" In other words, it doesn't matter how many times I have defended marriage against homosexuality, abortion, or adultery, if you don't hold her position, you are not pro-marriage.

What I also found funny is that she said to this man:

As I do not know you, I do not know how to test your inclinations for the Air Force?

And yet, she felt at liberty to know my modivations to address her work. Talk about a double standard!

I am beginning to see this the more she writes. I can only hope that girls will learn how to think rationally, and apply the rules of Biblical exegesis, and the laws of logic to her position. I am thankful that people like Anakin are helping women to do that.

Second, I am not so concerned that they are not listening to men. There has to be a standard outside of both men and women [namely, the scriptures] to which we can appeal. Otherwise men and woman can engage in all kinds of immoral behavior, and then just say, "let's talk about it." What I am concerned about is that they are following Debbie Maken's interpretation of the scriptures hook, line, and sinker without any second thoughts as to whether or not her interpretations are correct. This is dangerous. For one thing, Debbie Maken is not trained in this area, and for another thing she does not interact with any of the classic interpretations that are out there.

In other words, this movement is simply a by product of the church's unwillingness to teach the principles of Biblical interpretation. If anything, this should tell us that we need to be a member of a church where the principles of Biblical interpretation are taught, and when we get married, we should also train our children in the same way so that our children will be able to recognize these kinds of fallacious interpretations of scripture.

2/4/07, 11:49 AM  
Blogger wombatty said...

I have to agree with PC on whether Maken is a feminist or not. I think she comes off that way because of her stridently female-centric attitude.

She insists that we take female concerns seriously while she dismisses male concerns.

She blames nearly the whole 'marriage mess' on men and claims near innocence for women.
In Maken's world, the only legitimate contribution that a man can make to this conversation is a confession of complete male culpability and a willingness to 'pile on' the men who have the nerve to disagree.

The impression that I personally get from her is that she views men as little more than a means for fulfilling female goals and desires.

I feel sorry for the man who marries a 'Makenite'. These women blame it all on men and there is little reason to believe that this would stop after marriage. Chances are that she would persist in this attitude and he would be blamed for nearly every problem in their marriage - a failure of male leadership, no doubt.

Now, I know this will not be true in every case. However, when looking for a mate, you want to maximize your chances for success. In my opinion, a man has a much better chance for success with a 'non-Makenite' than with one. Many men will probably come to the same conclusion. This will decrease the chances for a 'Makenite' to find a man.

2/4/07, 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks PC and Wombatty,

You both perfectly summed up my feelings toward the "Makenites". I was in a relationship until recently. After a few happy months, she got the Maken book and nothing I said or felt meant anything anymore. I think I validated everything I agreed with in the Maken book, but I wasn't willing to "rush things along" according to Maken's "3-months or dump him plan".

Oh well, life goes on. I do hope my ex-girlfriend comes around and realizes not everything works on the timetable of Debbie Maken.

Having some time to think about things is helpful, though. One thing I have realized is that love between men and women is a completely natural thing; not an interview process, not a 3-month scheme or religious-qualification ritual, just a natural coming together. I am uncomfortable with too much analyzing or preparing for marriage as many Christian women tend to do. Hopefully, that tendency isn't present in all singles.

Thanks again.

2/4/07, 1:36 PM  
Blogger PuritanCalvinist said...

Anon,

You said:
You both perfectly summed up my feelings toward the "Makenites". I was in a relationship until recently. After a few happy months, she got the Maken book and nothing I said or felt meant anything anymore. I think I validated everything I agreed with in the Maken book, but I wasn't willing to "rush things along" according to Maken's "3-months or dump him plan".

Ouuuuuch, well, another example of how beliefs have consequences.

I would consider following Jesus' plan in Matthew 18:15-18, mostly because this is probably not going to be the first guy to whom she is going to do this. First of all, you might ask why she considers Debbie Maken to be a reliable source of information considering that she has no training in Biblical or historical studies. Not only that, you could point out to her that people who do have the background in this area have strongly criticized her work [take Andreas Kostenburger for instance].

If that doesn't work [which it probably won't], take one of your friends along, just as Jesus says, so that you can both go to the church authorities if need be. If this doesn't work [which, again, it probably will not], you can go to your elders, and tell them what is going on. I know if a girl pulled that at my church, she would be disciplined very, very quickly. Let your pastor know what is going on, and tell him that this movement is infecting your church and it needs to be dealt with.

This is certainly one area I have thought would be very successful in stopping the mandatory marriage movement, namely, in the churches. By and large, it is still a minority in most churches, and if we can make elders and pastors aware of what it is and its teachings before it comes in, we can prepare church leaders to be ready for it.

I hope this helps.

2/4/07, 4:36 PM  
Blogger wombatty said...

Maken's 3-month plan is kinda the cherry on top of her grotesque marriage-mandate sunday. If a 'Makenite' manages to catch a guys interest, the 'three month demand' will drive most of even those guys away.

2/5/07, 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Makenites already control London Christians and a few other church singles groups.

This too shall pass... I think the Maken attitudes are like spiritual food poisoning. It will work itself out, but there will be a bit of unpleasantness in the meantime.

2/5/07, 3:32 PM  
Blogger Gordon Hackman said...

For those who are interested, I have begun a series of posts on my own blog relating to theology and singleness. I will be posting excerpts from various Christian writers and thinkers relating to a theological view of singleness. My goal is to present some different perspectives on singleness from those usually heard in evangelical circles, and to provide some encouragement for single Christians by offering some alternative views on singleness that will allow people to re-imagine the meaning and purpose of their singleness.

At this time, however, I am not really interested in debating or discussing the merits of Debbie Maken's book or position. There are other places (like this blog or Debbie Maken's own blog)where that discussion can take place. I don't feel the debate is all that productive and my own observation is that it tends to create more heat than light.

Anyone who is interested in reading some different and interesting perspectives on singleness is welcome to stop by. Those who want to fight, or be snippy and rude, however, please stay away. I don't want my blog to turn into a place for men and women to take pot shots at each other or engage in the blame game. Comments of that sort will be deleted.

www.gordonhackman.blogspot.com

2/5/07, 5:24 PM  
Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Gordon,

Thank you for advertising your blog. As for my blog and others, I there is room in the theological ecology for them. :-)

2/5/07, 7:29 PM  
Blogger Gordon Hackman said...

Anakin,

Thanks for the acknowledgement. I like the phrase "theological ecology." :)

Gordon

2/6/07, 4:24 AM  
Anonymous ehartsay said...

7. "There is no shame in being single."

Obviously, Mrs. Maken doesn't agree with this statement, and obviously I do. Mrs. Maken doesn't say much in response to it in Chapter 11, but she does state that being single is an "abnormal state" (p. 142).



*rolls eyes*

By that token, EVERYTHING that one does in accordance with the dictates of ones own personality and one's own ecclectic drives and desires, instead of in accordance with some idealized view of the 'natural' desires and drives of the AVERAGE (and constructed) representative of the human animal, is 'abnormal'.
Give me a break.

7/11/07, 10:57 AM  
Anonymous new dating said...

Having some time to think about things is helpful, though. One thing I have realized is that love between men and women is a completely natural thing; not an interview process, not a 3-month scheme or religious-qualification ritual, just a natural coming together. I am uncomfortable with too much analyzing or preparing for marriage as many Christian women tend to do. Hopefully, that tendency isn't present in all singles.

5/16/09, 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quote: " That is what was so frustrating about my dialogue with Debbie Maken. I kept on bringing things up, and she kept skirting them."

She did the same thing to many people and if you had the misfortune of being an unmarried single man especially she would ignore or belittle your comments. I quoted extensive scritpures to her very patiently and wrote them out and posted them to her blog. She refused to post them but instead answered arrogantly that "Im not posting them because you don't have a blogger account" huh? Her account allowed anon posting --who cares if I dont have a blogger account--I dont want one as I have too much problems with surfing the net as it is (time wasting!). I found it sad that she set up all kinds of clear deceptions and outright excuses (lies) when she dealt with people who didn't agree with her.

Now that her book is out of print she has stopped updating her blogger blog--hmm I wonder why?
Maybe because she doesn't need to promote something she is not making money on anymore?

Meanwhile honest bloggers will continue in their work. Love your new blog http://biblicalmanhood.blogspot.com/

Maken's book is, like I said out of print, let's hope it stays that way before she decieves more people.

John

3/18/10, 12:51 PM  

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