Saturday, February 28, 2009

Change of scenery

I took a quick trip up to Sioux Falls, SD, on Thursday afternoon to babysit overnight for a friend and to get a change of scenery. The trip up here was awful, with extreme winds blowing across the flat SD fields(Who says NE is flat? SD is flatter!), icy highways and blowing snow. I've been told that every time I come to Sioux Falls, it snows. It must be true!

The babysitting itself went fine. The only annoyance was an inside dog, which I am not used to. And I don't like dog hair- I guess I have dog-hair-phobia, which I don't know the scientific name for. I got to take care of a little girl for once, though, and she was really cute until about 2am last night after several hours of her crying hysterically every ten minutes. I would go comfort her, she'd go back to sleep, and ten minutes later we would repeat. Around 5am I just took her into my room. So it's gone well, and even though we got more snow yesterday I am hoping to get home safely in my tired state and go to bed early.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What NOT to do in your free time: watch this movie

I recently saw part of a movie on TV called "Iron Jawed Angels":
"Iron Jawed Angels is a 2004 film about the American women's suffrage movement during the early 1900s. It was filmed in Virginia, produced by HBO Films, and released in 2004."

I have to say that the filming was good and the actors were good, but beyond that not much of the movie was what I would call good. The heroine of the movie, Alice Stokes Paul (1885 –1977) "was an American suffragist leader. Along with Lucy Burns (a close friend) and others, she led a successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920."

Born into a Quaker family, Paul was well educated(or some would say, brainwashed), spending almost ten years in different colleges and eventually completing a PhD in political science in 1912. Her dissertation topic was titled "The Legal Position of Women in Pennsylvania".

Some history from Wikipedia:
Paul's "focus was lobbying for a constitutional amendment to secure the right to vote for women. Such an amendment had originally been sought by suffragists in 1878. However, by the early 20th century, attempts to secure a federal amendment had ceased. The focus of the suffrage movement had turned to securing the vote on a state-by-state basis. When their lobbying efforts proved fruitless, Paul and her colleagues formed the National Woman's Party (NWP) in 1916 and began introducing some of the methods used by the suffrage movement in Britain. Tactics included demonstrations, parades, mass meetings, picketing, suffrage watch, fires, and hunger strikes. These actions were accompanied by press coverage and the publication of the weekly Suffragist. In the US presidential election of 1916, Paul and the NWP campaigned against the continuing refusal of President Woodrow Wilson and other incumbent Democrats to support the Suffrage Amendment actively. In January 1917, the NWP staged the first political protest to picket the White House. The picketers, known as "Silent Sentinels," held banners demanding the right to vote. This was an example of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign. In July 1917, picketers were arrested on charges of "obstructing traffic." Many, including Paul, were convicted
and incarcerated at the Occoquan Workhouse. In a protest of the conditions in Occoquan, Paul commenced a hunger strike. This led to her being moved to the prison's psychiatric ward and force-fed raw eggs through a plastic tube. Other women joined the strike which, combined with the continuing demonstrations and attendant press coverage, kept the pressure on the Wilson administration. In January, 1918, he announced that women's suffrage was urgently needed as a "war measure." Wilson strongly urged Congress to pass the legislation. In 1920, after coming down to one vote in the state of Tennessee, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution secured the vote for women."

The history of Woman's suffrage is something I had not thought about a great deal until now. I tried to find out if the movie was historically accurate or not, and the only thing that seemed to be inaccurate about it was Paul's love-interest, stuck into the movie, for what reason I don't know. You'd think in a feminist movie they could do without men. It disgusts me that the 19th Amendment was brought about through political pressure and antagonistic tactics, not by any reason or logic, and Congress passed the legislation just to get off the hook.

And I do disagree with the idea that women should have the right to vote. When America was founded, though the qualifications for voting differed from state to state, only land-owning male citizens could vote. John Adams was an advocate for responsible voters:

"The same reasoning which will induce you to admit all men who have no property, to vote, with those who have,.... will prove that you ought to admit women and children; for, generally speaking, women and children have as good judgments, and as independent minds, as those men who are wholly destitute of property; these last being at all intents and purposes as much dependent upon others, who will please to feed, clothe, and employ them, as women are upon their husbands, or children on their parents..."

The qualifications for an eligible voter was a State's rights issue, and by 1850 the last state had repealed the land-owners only law. But the point is, our founders didn't want mob rule, or a Democracy, where every individual votes, but a Republic, a country full of little family and state governments.

But which is the Biblical view: for or against votes for women?

"Reformed churches have generally believed that the New Testament presents voting as a leadership/representational issue that was only appropriate for men(1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-12, 1 Cor. 11:3-16) and this New Testament practice was simply the continuation of the Old Testament practice of voting by heads of households."
(Download the free PDF booklet "Universal Sufferage" here)

I think it hurts the family to undermine our Biblical family leadership- the Dad. And while I did learn quite a bit doing research on this topic, prompted by watching this movie, I think its messege is not worth two hours of anyone's time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Recent Reading

God moves in mysterious ways,

His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

Last week I finished book two of John Piper's Christian biographies series, "The Hidden Smile of God":

"John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd suffered in the midst of their kingdom labors. For Bunyan it was prison and danger for preaching the gospel. For Cowper it was life-long depression and suicidal darkness. For Brainerd it was tuberculosis and the "howling darkness" of American forests.

In these three biographies, John Piper explains how their steadfastness through trial sweetened and intensified their song of faith. The stories of how they suffered, how they endured, and how their affliction bore fruit will ignite radical Christian living, God-centered worship, and Christ-exalting mission.

Consider their stories and be encouraged that no labor and no suffering in the path of Christian obedience is ever in vain. As Cowper wrote, "Behind a frowning providence God hides a smiling face.""

I should have written my thoughts on the book last week, when it was fresh on my mind. The chapter on William Cowper was the most thought-provoking for me. The lifelong depression he endured was incredibly intense, so overwhelming, that I don't think I can comprehend how hard life was for him. The small experiences I have had with depression, though very small, makes me very sympathetic for him. Reading the chapter on his life brought back a question to my mind that I've discussed with people before: Can Christians commit suicide and go to heaven? If anyone has some good thoughts on this, I'd like to hear from you.

The part I liked best in the David Brainerd chapter was the line from his journal, "Oh, that I might never loiter on my heavenly journey!" I seem to be at a loitering stage in my life right now and it annoys me. The chapter on John Bunyan just made me put "Pilgrim's Progress" on my reading list. It was a good book, worth reading.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

-William Cowper