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Old 10-29-2007, 03:31 AM   #121
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Excellent discussion here regarding the evangelizing and conversion stuff, guys, some great points being made.

I guess another thing I would point out too is that if I'm a member of a church (or involved with any other group of people for whatever reason) I would prefer to have people there that truly wanted to be there. They honestly chose this path for themselves and genuinely want to be part of the whole thing. If you force somebody to go there, they're not really all that into it, they're just pretending to make you happy, and that's not really good, is it? It's always more fun when you can genuinely share the enthusiam.

Angela
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:48 PM   #122
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Originally posted by Irvine511




i do too. Memphis loves her even more.
You and Memphis sound like my kind of men..

You know what I mean.
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Old 11-02-2007, 05:26 PM   #123
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Somewhat back on the initial topic, though concerning a much younger set of females, and having nothing to do with religion...

Quote:
Seventies Something

by Judith Warner (columnist)
New York Times, Nov. 1


I never thought there was going to be any sort of nostalgia for childhood in the 1970s, a time of skyrocketing divorce, “latch key kids” and newly liberated adults who sometimes behaved rather badly toward their much less with-it offspring. Yet now, with middle age encroaching upon the girls who cut their hair like Dorothy Hamill and carried lunchboxes that sported the face of the original Bionic Woman, the seventies are coming back to life, and looking a whole lot better in retrospect.

Last month, American Girl introduced Julie of 1974, the latest doll in the company’s “historical” line, with a set of accompanying books, written by the children’s author and seventies girl Megan McDonald and filled with fun facts about Shirley Chisholm, the ERA, Title IX, Billie Jean King and the etymology of Ms. This week came The Daring Book for Girls, the work of two almost-middle-aged writers whose goal, they told me, wasn’t just to complement the mega blockbuster The Dangerous Book for Boys, but also to offer an escape route out of the high-pressure, perfectionist, media-saturated and competitive world of girlhood in our time. The way they do it: by offering up an alternative kind of girl culture that looks and sounds a whole lot like…life in the 1970s.

The Daring Book for Girls teaches the art of playing jacks and handclap games, roller skating, darts, jump rope, gin rummy and daisy chains. There’s fun and old-fashioned feminism: “Putting Your Hair Up With a Pencil” and “A Short History of Women Inventors and Scientists.” Instead of email, instant messaging, group weigh-ins or slumber parties organized around “America’s Next Top Model,” the authors offer instructive chapters on “Clubhouses and Forts,” “Writing Letters,” “Telling Ghost Stories” and “Fourteen Games of Tag.” There’s “How to Negotiate A Salary,” “Every Girl’s Toolbox,” “Public Speaking” and “Finance: Interest, Stocks and Bonds” (favorites of mine). My daughter Julia--a target “tween”--went wild over “Reading Tide Charts,” “Vinegar and Baking Soda” and “Making a Willow Whistle.” “We looked at what we ourselves enjoyed doing,” said author Andrea J. Buchanan. “We asked ourselves: what should girls know?” added co-author Miriam Peskowitz. “And we went from there.”

Unlike The Dangerous Book for Boys, which harkens back to a prelapsarian state of boyhood that some have dated to the 1950s and others to Edwardian England, The Daring Book for Girls can’t be too backward-looking. After all, the 1950s weren’t really a heyday for girl power. The 1970s, too, Buchanan and Peskowitz acknowledged, had their frustrations and limitations for the girls on the very cusp of social change. But the era of their girlhood, the authors believe, was, overall, less toxic. “Girls have more opportunities now,” Peskowitz said. “But the culture is more horrid. Girls jump into womanhood at nine. It may have been more fun in some ways to have been a girl in 1963 or 1973 without the pressures.”

The Dangerous Book for Boys spent 20 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and is slated to become a Disney film. If the Daring book does anywhere nearly as well, then it could mark the start of a pop culture re-imagining of modern girlhood--one, perhaps, with an emphasis on doing rather than seeming, on growing rather than shrinking, and on exploring rather than shutting down.

That would be nice. If only.

If only, with its faux-antique binding, black and white etchings, and Girl Scout Handbook-like straightforwardness, Daring didn’t have the persistent feel of a reliquary. If only my own tween’s enthusiasm for it (“Will you help me put up my hair with a pencil?”) weren’t a sign that it’s not going to play well with the Hannah Montana crowd. If only my own admiration for it wasn’t, pretty much, the kiss of death: the Geek seal of approval. (“Girls,” I breathed, misty-eyed, in the car recently. “Just think: one day you’ll have a lot of homework and we can all go to the library together and share a table!”)

Peskowitz, who has a Ph.D. in ancient history and religion, may find it a thrill to apply her professional knowledge to teaching girl readers about “Queens of the Ancient World.” Other mothers may find similar ways to communicate the passions of their lives--poetry, or chemistry, or camping--to their girls via the Daring book’s pages. Yet, while all this will undoubtedly strengthen individual mother-daughter bonds, I wonder if it will have any wider effect. What power can any of us--moms and daughters, adrift in the cultural mainstream--have against the hugely seductive, hypnotic machine that has brought us Paris, Miley, Lindsay and more? Not much--unless there are a whole lot more of us out there than I think.

A family counselor I heard speak last Spring said she believes that young girls today who get caught up in skinniness, fashion, popularity, pop culture and boys are, essentially, “underemployed.” Their brains, she said, need to be engaged by things larger than themselves: things like hobbies, sports, art, music or community service. If they’re not, there’s a vacuum, and all kinds of wretched stuff comes to fill their minds instead. I thought of this woman’s words on Halloween, catching glimpses trick or treating of the tweens dressed in this year’s much-talked-about “bawdy” attire or simply in costumes that were more fashion-y than fun. These girls were striking. There was a self-consciousness to them, an inward-turnedness, that was joyless, and disturbing. It was way too adult-like and way too heavy a thing for their young and (invariably) skinny shoulders to bear.

I don’t know exactly how we can relieve them of the burdens of toxic girlhood. We can’t--and shouldn’t--raise them in a total media vacuum. We can’t simply preach at them, or badger them, or cloister them or dress them in the kind of puppy-dotted turtlenecks that are now showing up in some nostalgia-stoking holiday catalogues. The only thing we can do is provide some sort of inspiration--of a kind of womanhood that makes them want to connect to the better aspects of the girlhood we once knew. And then, give them the space and the time to make it their own.
I'm a little puzzled by some of the things being characterized here as "70s" (jacks? handclap games? darts? gin rummy? daisy chains? were there really that many girls doing those things in the 70s? and, uh, how is putting your hair up with a pencil "feminism"?), and there's something faintly hilarious about the idea of picking the 70s as the perfect compromise between 50s models of girlhood and, as Warner puts it, "the Hannah Montana crowd." And of course one could question whether it's a good response to the times to have sex-segregated "Daring/Dangerous" books to work through with Mom/Dad at all (do you get a badge for completing it?). But the implicit point about the risk of pop culture filling the vacuum for you, so to speak, if you don't consciously try to provide a tangible alternative seems worth considering.
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Old 11-02-2007, 06:13 PM   #124
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It seems like each generation goes back 30 or so years to what they thought was a safer time period. In the eighties it was the fifties, now it's the seventies. (The 90s seem to have pretty much passed without too much nostalgia for the 60s, apart from the Woodstock experiments.) It will be interesting to see how these times are viewed in retrospect.

I have to agree though about the Halloween wear. I went out with my wife and daughter on the 31st, and while my little 3-year-old was very content in her Supergirl costume, I feared for the day when the perception will be that the amount of skin she is expected to flash becomes synonymous with how mature she is.
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Old 11-05-2007, 02:00 AM   #125
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I know we wandered a little off-topic on the subject of public evangelism a page or so back, so I thought this might be the appropriate place to mention that I've written an essay that critiques the topic at my faith issues blog Faith Journeys.

www.movingfaith.blogspot.com

There's also pictures and stuff of the actual evangelism at my regular blog at

http://www.thejournalonline.blogspot...11/kagman.html

Feel free to comment on either one of the blogs. I always appreciate the feedback.

Both entries are written from a Christian perspective for what I assume will be a largely Christian reading audience, but I welcome any comments, questions, or arguments from anyone regardless of belief.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:54 AM   #126
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I thought I'd post my response to sean's blog here as well, in case some people want to discuss the issue here instead of or including on his blog. It's so long.

WOW! I feel like you literally peeked inside of my head this one. You've said everything I've been feeling and trying to articulate to those around me lately. I can't tell you how many arguments I've gotten into lately when I've brought up the "hipping up Jesus" mentality that's so common in churches today. We try so hard to make Jesus cool that He and we end up becoming hollow. There's nothing there but a bunch of people trying too hard to make Jesus everyone's "homeboy", if you will. When you talked about the sales techniques, I almost jumped out of my chair, excited. I am that lame. I go to one of those megachurches (about 5000 members, I've gone there for 7 years. My dad used to teach at the school affiliated with the church.) I really no longer like attending there and disagree with much of the philosophy, but I'm hardpressed to find a real grace-based loving church around here. My friends Aura and Doris, who have been feeling the same way I do lately, usually end up sitting in the back of the balcony now and whispering about our struggles and new beliefs and how we feel outcasted from our other friends there. We're all right around the same age (19). Anyway, when we were talking yesterday Aura said something that has stuck in my mind ever since: She said, "Pastor Ben runs this like a business, not a church." She's right. Our church (and the popular face of church all over at the moment) have turned our churches into businesses, trying to make them profitable, putting gyms, bookstores, etc. on the grounds. I can't tell you how many times I my pastor use business terms to talk about the church. It makes me extremely sad and disillusioned. It's so far from what God wants us to do as a community of Believers. The fear tactics are something else that stuck out. My church doesn't do that so much as to get people saved, thank God. However, we do use it to keep them there. For example, the past few weeks our pastor and his wife have been "team teaching". Last week, they spoke and showed a video roll-in, featuring members of the church, that freaked us all about the dangers of Harry Potter. Ouija boards, etc. I'm not a fan of Harry Potter is simply a style of books I don't enjoy, and while Ouija Boards are not something I would suggest buying your kids for Christmas, the tactic of the devil will enter your home and terrorize your family if you bring these things in it just hurts me. I don't even have any of these things in my house, but it hurt me to think people who are now bringing anything they deem "occultic" to our church to be put in 60 gallon drums and thrown away (yes, our church is seriously doing that right now)thing they're pleasing God and living right. From my experience, things like this just lead to self-righetousness and paranoia about the "godliness" of anything that doesn't come from the Christian Book Store. It's so far from the Gospel. I agree with the point of thinking God needs us to evangelize. In my youth group in high school, I was told that by showing how moral and "different" I was, I could "win my school to Jesus." My pastor costantly exhorts us to "bring people to church", "invite them to this hip-up Jesus outreach," etc. However, I've noticed myself getting into this trend lately, thinking I have tell everyone how the church needs to change, and how we're missing the point. It's important to have that dialogue, but only God can change hearts. As you said, we can show Jesus to others, but that's usally by living a life of love. When I hear the morals police preachers getting on TV (or in my church's pulpit) preaching about how the world will be saved through our great morality, I want to scream. I don't recall Jesus saying, "This is how they will know you're my disciples, you'll try and prevent rights for homosexuals." I don't recall him saying "This is how they'll know you're my disciples, if you never drink a drop of alcohol, and never have sex until you're married." All of that is wonderful, but it doesn't show Jesus to a world that is thirsting for love and grace. Love is how we show the world we belong to Jesus, the kind of love Paul writes about so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13. It's unconditional. It accepts people right where they're at, and doesn't withold itself until they conform to our pious, human standards. If we're serious about evangelizing, living lives of love, in quiet opposition to the culture of winning and performance is the only route we can take. I fear for the future of the church if we keeping going in the direction we're heading. Thanks for writing this sean! It really helped me get some stuff off my chest.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:57 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2isthebest
It really helped me get some stuff off my chest.
I can see that!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you can find a church that more in line with your perspective on what it means to be a Christian..
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:27 AM   #128
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I wonder if this toy is a pre-requisite...or perhaps it is taught that the mothers should buy this for their daughters.
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