Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Good (enough?)

I’m having one of those days. I’m supposed to study (catch up on some readings) and I just.can’t.get.myself to do it. I’m constantly staring at the wall, the air, check something in my room (did I put the pants away?), walk to the kitchen, open the fridge, stare at the fridge, close the fridge. I just can’t work today, but I really should. Readings are due tomorrow.

These are the times I can’t help but wonder what on earth made me believe that I’m good enough for this. My own behavior frustrates me so much. I can’t concentrate, I can’t read. I wish I knew a way out but I don’t.

Often times I believe that my obsession with “being good enough” has a lot to do with my religious past. Growing up, being a certain way was a central element. They always say christianity isn’t about being ‘good enough’ or ‘doing good things’ to get to go to heaven, but at the end of the day it is. It’s about behaving a certain way, wearing certain things, saying and thinking them. The constant pressure to be good enough, even if only for your parents, if not for God, is something that never quite leaves you.

I wish I could be better. I wish I could study harder, memorize more, know more. When I don’t, I blame myself. It’s because I didn’t try hard enough, it’s because I wasn’t good enough. But God – or teachers – don’t tell us to do things that can’t be done, right? If I fail, it must be something about me that isn’t ok.

And what does failing mean, anyway? What standard do you have to meet to ‘succeed’? Perfection? In our world, perfection is the only valuable standard. Everything but perfection is failure. No matter the reasons – you should’ve thought ahead and avoided the things out of your control, somehow.


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Because she’s an addict (of course).

I was browsing Michael and Debi’s blog for new articles and came across one post that I had read previously, but today it kind of inspired me. (http://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/safeguarding-your-children/)

The article is about children, prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and everything else that’s evil. What struck me was the tale of the prostitute. Let me quote:

Once during a trip to Memphis with our family, I recalled seeing on a downtown street a half-dressed woman being jerked around and slapped by a man in a pink suit.
“She’s a prostitute,” Dad told us. “He’s a pimp. She works for him, selling her body to lascivious men who will burn in hell, so that she can continue to buy drugs to satisfy her addiction. God hates prostitution and pornography, kids. It destroys lives and families.” We kids stared in horror at the man and woman who were now stumbling into a building with neon signs and blacked out windows.

Apart from the fact that apparently, pimps have a thing for pink suits, what struck me most was how Michael, the Command man, reacted to this. Hate the sin, love the sinner, they say. Women and children must be protected, they say. So, let me ask you this: What would you do if you witnessed a woman getting beat up on the street by a guy? I certainly hope you would call the cops. I would. Apparently, Michael doesn’t think that’s necessary. Why? Let’s read on:

“Do you know what pornography is?” Dad persisted. We stared at him, still shaken by what we had just seen. “It is photographs of naked men and women… and other things I won’t even tell you about.”
“Why do those women let people take pictures of them when they are naked?” we asked.
“Most of those women were molested when they were kids, by their uncles, their brothers, friends, or even by complete strangers. They have no self-value. They feel worthless, and so they don’t guard their bodies. Instead, they sell their bodies for money to other worthless men who are molesting other women and girls.” We all swallowed hard and shuddered.
“God hates this kind of sin so much, that when the children of Israel went into Canaan, he told Joshua to kill every man, woman, and child because they had all been involved in sexual sins.

Right, because obviously they are sinners engaging in perversion and since God commands to kill them, well, why bother calling the cops? Right? Right?

This part of the article contains another piece of important information: All prostitutes and porn stars were molested as children. Now, I looked this up and I found that this is, in fact, true to some extend. Depending on the study you consult, you will get around 50% of all prostitutes have been sexually abused as children. Interesting additional info: Over 80% of them have experienced physical violence during childhood (Hello Pearl Family!).

Of course, many prostitutes did not choose to do that job. There are various reasons why women get into the red light scene (drug addiction and abuse being two factors, but not the only ones). Does that give us the right to sit here, judging them for their possible addiction, their possible background and experiences? The fact that the woman may simply be a single mom with no chance to feed her kids otherwise? According to Michael, it does. Sitting by watching people getting physically abused is perfectly fine if that person is a “sinner”.

But what does that, in the end? We get to sit on our high horses watching the misery of others, and what we really do, what we really do in that moment, is contributing to their abuse. We allow it to happen. We enforce it. Michael Pearl, by leaving the supposed prostitute alone with a man who is physically abusing her, has sanctioned further abuse.

Christian communities speak of healing and getting over past traumas. How is that going to work if we watch the abuse, if we sanction it as self-imposed choice?

What would really help is decriminalizing the victims, giving them the legal means and ways to defend themselves, to join groups and really change something. Help doesn’t mean watching and preaching how awful it all is. Helping means getting out of your car and helping victims leave the cycle of abuse – more abuse. That doesn’t mean that abuse wouldn’t happen, but it certainly would help those affected by it. So all that talk of protecting the “weaker vessel” would finally make sense in a social reality that is, in fact, reality for many.


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The evolution lie

Disclaimer: SARCASM INTENDED! I know my argumentation is, of course, not valid (or even in any sense on par with the evolution theory). This post was inspired by a recent facebook comment in which it was argued that evolution cannot be real because new scientific results which cause minor changes in how evolution has progressed would invalidate the entire theory. 2000 years is not enough time to really bring forth visible changes (as far as I know) and also, I want to note that the dictionary definition I used was of course just one option and not the ‘basic’ meaning of evolution. No worries!

Growing up I believed that everything was God’s creation and that the earth was around 6000 years old. That seemed to make so much sense. There was all kinds of evidence, too! Like those guys who calculate population growth and find that the earth couldn’t be more than 6000 years old lest we be stacked on top of each other by now. I’m sorry for not looking this up in much more detail, it reminds me how much this frustrated me as a kid. I never really understood these things – my science classes weren’t advanced enough to really ‘get’ it.

Either way, I recently thought about creationism vs evolution. You see, after leaving I got some more into the whole science deal and found that evolution isn’t so bad. It actually kind of makes sense.

But there’s one thing, one major flaw in the evolution theory, and this I can’t get over.

If you look up the word evolution, you’ll find the meaning described as something like this:

“A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form”

So, by default, if evolution were true, we would expect humans, and all other living beings, to develop into something better.

When I read my Bible, I read tales of adultery, crime and anger, of cowardice and violence and whatnot. The woman who cheats on her man. The warriors who kill their enemies. The man who can’t wait to slit every baby boy’s throat. The calls for a stoning here and a stoning there. For bringing kids and women into subjection, for allowing parents to do as they please when it comes to their kids. You know the story. It’s all there, the lies, the slander, the awful ways people act.

Fast forward 2000+ years later. I read calls for the stoning of rebellious children. I read stories of ‘betrothal’ in which the opinion and will of a woman is neglected to a point to (borderline-)rape as a form of marriage promise. Of people hating those different from themselves (e.g. gays, muslims, and so on, google is your friend!). Of people demanding a ‘christian nation’ and punishment of ‘sins’ by civil law.

We haven’t changed at all! We haven’t become better people. We are still those evil, filled-with-hate bigots who fear everything outside our own comfort zone. Evolution tells me that humanity should develop. I don’t see it. In fact I wish evolution did what scientists say it should do, because then we could finally get over all of these awful ideas and believes and just live happily ever after. But as long as narrow-minded believers block all forms of evolution into better human beings, I don’t see that happening.

Can I get a Q.E.D.?


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Life… happens!

Life can be so intriguing. There are so many things happening right now. With christmas approaching fast and school and work and friends and all, I had way too little time to get anything done really. I’ll tell you a secret: I bought stacks and stacks of holiday decorations, and they’re still sitting in the corner of my room because I didn’t get around to actually decorate. I guess I could be doing that right now, but I figured I’d rather post on my blog!

I’m studying like crazy and I’m enjoying the results so far. It really feels good to know that the work you do is progressing. I enjoy the hours I spend reading books. Somehow, I consider that “me-time”.

In all this fuzz, I completely forgot getting home sick. I’m not home sick often anymore these days, but sometimes it hits me. Especially christmas is hard, when I miss baking and playing with my siblings. The excited eyes and the special air, kind of as if there were a well-kept secret in the room.

Here, christmas is different. Not worse, just very different. There’s mulled wine everywhere (literally, EVERYWHERE!), staining your lips black and blue after the second cup. The air is already icy, your ears will feel numb within a few minutes, lights everywhere.

Growing up on the country I enjoyed the few occasions we went shopping in a bigger city during christmas. The people, the lights, the overload of everything at once, it all fascinated me. Now I live in one of those “bigger cities” (well, I study there at least, but isn’t that kind of the same?), I learned to hate holidays in the city. I’m saying that with a smirk, and some genuine anger. The people, the lights, the overload of everything… it’s awful! I hate shopping, I hate wanting nothing but a pair of pants and instead getting beaten up by a horde of rabid shoppers at h&m because I grabbed the last pair of those pants that are on sale! I hate going to the inner city grocery store to get a small bottle of coke for my purse, standing in line for 20 minutes, just to end up smiling at the cashier who is, and I’m saying this as nicely as I can, in such a bad mood that I’m wondering if she is a close relative of the Grinch. Not even saying ‘hello’ to your customers is not friendly. Not replying to your customers’ friendly ‘hello’ is so unfriendly that I would bet my wallet on you sprouting green hair real soon. I would love to meet you with a “I won’t come here again!”, but matter of fact, this is the only place to get a bottle in the whole city – at least in walking distance – minus the drug store. So, why not go to the drug store? Well, because if the cashier at the grocery store is the Grinch’s close relative, the cashier at the drug store is his evil mother-in-law (who possibly turned the Grinch himself into a fur coat, evil as she is) and the lines at the checkout, oh, the lines… they’re even longer. I know where I won’t be buying any christmas gifts. Once you made it out of the coke-bottle hell, you stumble back onto the street just to bump into the next little hut that proclaims to sell “the best mulled wine in town”, as they all do. Now, you get to fight your way through the masses of people standing happily around with their steaming mugs as if they rented the place. And don’t even dare to touch anyone while making your way through, lest you’ll be gifted evil looks and hisses of “Watch out! My wine!”. Yeah, I get it, christmas is that time of the year where everyone gets to get drunk in the middle of the street – at 11 AM.

Either way, I recently found a solution that makes shopping much more pleasant. Why fight your way through the wine-drinking crowds when you can be a part of them? Instead of trying to beat my way through angry shoppers, ditching angry cashiers and trying not to spill other people’s wine, I just have 3 or 4 cups myself (but only one  before 11 AM, cause, you know, getting drunk too early is totally inappropriate!). Once I’m sufficiently funny to deal with the angry hordes again, I start skipping through the streets, into h&m, where this time I simply won’t care if that mean blonde pushes me to the side to steal the last jacket that’s on sale right now (that is, after I threatened her that I will literally and genuinely bite her if she takes the last one, my rabid eyes glittering angrily and just a touch of purple-colored spit emerging from my growling lips). Nah, I’ll just laugh it off and start singing “Who neeeeeds a jaaaacket when wiiiiiiiiiine keeps me waaaaarm!” and have another one. That will also stop me from going into that god awful grocery store again. The guys selling the mulled wine are so much nicer anyway.


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My Sympathies – A letter to D. Phillips

Dear Mr. P.,

my family is a follower of you and your teachings – and also of your friends’ teachings. I hear you engaged in an affair with another woman. I read your heart-wrenching statement on the homepage of vision forum.

Dear Mr. Phillips, I understand your situation. You have apologized and you should be forgiven. It’s the Christian thing to do. I understand how it all came down to this. It’s always the same. It is known that a woman is the one who builds up the house, and also the one who tears it down. I understand, and I know you do, too, that problems in marriage are more often than not caused by a wife’s unruly behavior towards her authority appointed by God himself. It is of utmost importance that you deal with this unruly behavior in appropriate fashion. You must immediately tell your wife that she is a stumbling block, causing you to commit sin, and that she must fully and completely repent of her sins before your behavior can be changed for the future. I have thought about this in detail, and I want to give you a short summary, according to your own convictions and teachings, what your wife is doing wrong. I hope that this will help you when you talk to your wife about the problems she has caused in private.

First, your wife probably didn’t dress as pretty as she used to. She should have. Does she not know that you deserve that, after a long day at work? She should have done more to look pretty for you. She chose not to do it. That is her fault, and her sin. Instead of those feminine dresses, she wore things that were suited for her daily life. She made you look the other way.

Your wife was not submissive enough, I’m sure. She should have done as you said. She should have cleaned the kitchen when you told her guests were coming over. She should have obeyed when you told her you didn’t like that skirt on her, or that new lipstick. But she got rebellious and unsubmissive, and we all understand that no man can deal with a wife like that without looking for something else.

Then, your wife most likely didn’t respect you the way she should have. She didn’t praise you enough for your success. Maybe she didn’t talk much at all anymore. She chose to give you the cold shoulder. That’s unfair, and that’s not what God called her to do. She should have obeyed God.

But things get even worse: She told you that she had a different opinion, didn’t she? She shouldn’t have any opinion to begin with. She should have kept quiet, should have acted meek and gentle. She did not. She drove you away with her rebellious behavior. One day, when she disagreed on that thing in that one Bible verse, you could just feel that she wasn’t your suitable helper anymore. She chose to be a feminist. We all know feminists are evil old hags, spitting their poisonous opinions around and turn men into wimps. Looking for another woman who didn’t commit these sins was the only option you had left. A man needs a feminine woman in his life.

Yes, your wife turned into a real Jezebel – unsubmissive, disrespectful, unloving towards you. She knew that she would make you cheat, and yet she accepted this outlook to follow her sinful emotions.

In the future, you should check all her contacts and relationships. It is very possible that part of her sin is the sin of gossip. Unsubmissive wives are very likely to talk bad about their husbands behind their backs. This fosters the idea that a man is not fully capable of leading the family. Often, there is a person (most likely a feminist) who supports them in their view that you are not Godly enough. She should take action to limit her contacts and relationships. If some of these cannot be cut, make sure your wife is under constant surveillance by an accountability partner when she communicates with possible intruders.

I believe your wife’s behavior is, at least for the most part, caused by sins in her past. Maybe she is damaged goods? You really should ask her if she ever bonded with another man, emotional, physical or spiritual, other than her father and you. Maybe she even had sex prior to marriage. Ask her to repent from her previous sins, fully and completely, before you begin restoring your marriage.

I can not express how much this incident grieves me. I always thought your family a role model. Hearing that your wife wickedly drove you to another woman reminds me that evil is out there, waiting to attack every female to destroy their marriages.

I sincerely hope that my words towards your wife, which I derived from your sermons available all over the internet, have helped you see this situation clearer.

All the best for dealing with your Jezebel!

(Disclaimer: This is a satiric adaption of a number of beliefs held by various evangelical movements. I do not believe that Doug Phillip’s actions were caused in any way, shape or form by any behavior of his wife or things she did or didn’t do. I believe Mr. Phillips alone is to blame for the wrong and right decisions he made and his hurtful behavior is uncalled for by any action of his wife that he might have felt wronged by. I do not know any member of the Phillips family personally and I do not know any of the background of this incident – all of the actions described in this post are purely fictional. This post was written solely to demonstrate core teachings preached directly by Mr. Phillips or teachings endorsed by him via Visionforum or any other organisation, applied to a real-life situation. I sincerely wish the best to both Mr. and Mrs. Phillips and hope both of them will be able to deal with the fallout in a way they deem appropriate.)


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Public education culture

It’s funny how different school experiences can be. As I’m a movie lover, I watch pretty much every movie I can get my hands on. Most movies we watch over here are American movies (though there are plenty of great European movies as well). Sometimes, these movies show “high school life” and “college life” in the US.

The funny thing is: Everything I believe to know about American schools is from movies. Like, that there are different groups: The drama club and the footballers and the cheerleaders. And then, everybody eats in a cafeteria, but who sits with whom is a big deal. And students wear specific clothing that outs them as a member of a specific group. This is also true for college, but there’s more: Some people are there because they are good footballers (what?!). Also, you have to take a lot of classes that have nothing to do with your major. People live in dorms and throw parties every other day.

Sounds grotesque? Well, that’s actually what I believe. Sometimes I wonder if it’s true because my school experience in Europe has been vastly different.

First off, there weren’t any “groups”. You generally were a group with the people in your year. You hang out with different people and it’s rare that someone is labelled in a specific way (except extreme nerds – but they’re generally still accepted). You have a group of friends, obviously, but these people aren’t necessarily your friends because you share extracurricular activities with them. In fact, there are next to none extracurricular activities. School is school, and free time is your own business. Of course we still have clubs over here, like a football club or something, but they are independent of the school you’re attending, so you might not meet a single person in your football group who also goes to your school.

Cafeterias are also different because schools here generally don’t have cafeterias. Schools out at 1 PM so nobody really needs lunch. The entire cafeteria deal is literally non-existent. This may change (or may have already changed) for some school forms but not for the one I attended. After school, you go home, eat lunch, do your homework, and then meet friends or go to your private clubs. It appears that school has a much more central spot in American teen’s lives because it takes up so much time of the day.

Overall, I had a very positive school experience. It wasn’t that peer-pressure thing homeschooling circles make it out to be. Actually, school here is much less central, and therefore much less influential in how teens design their lives and activities. Not that schools are bad here – remember that we actually go to school one year longer here than kids in the US (that is, 13 years instead of 12). Either way, all in all I can say that I’m happy I attended a public school once in my life. It was a great experience and thoroughly changed my views of public school education. School is always what you make out of it.

Likewise,  university is not what I thought it would be. I think this is something many people experience, but still. For one, there’s again the lack of extracurricular activities. Universities offer education, not hobbies. People are very particular when it comes to separating this. I think this may be because the German mindset is generally one of “keeping work and privacy separate”. I don’t think this is intrinsically bad, it’s just different from the US where it appears that privacy and public life (education-wise) are mixed a lot more. Either way, university is strictly about education and not much beyond that.

I read that some colleges or universities in the US require students to live on-campus for some time. There’s nothing like that here. I think people would be angry if they had to move due to university rules (again, job and privacy). Where you live, what you do, is your business – or your problem. This, of course, may be the reason why there are very few “college type parties”. I mean, I think if you live in a dorm it’s easier to throw a big party because you’re all in the clean-up together. When students live in their own apartments, they are often hesitant about inviting lots of people because they know they will have to clean up the mess themselves. It’s not that there aren’t any parties, but I’ve never seen an “American-sized” college party like in the movies. Or maybe they just really don’t exist in the US.

I think, on a more general level, life and culture differs vastly. I sometimes wish I could go to an American University for a semester to see what it’s really like. But then again, that’s not a financial option because I couldn’t afford tuition fees. I guess I will have to rely on movies and on the few lucky friends I have who get stipends for being super-smart (I don’t mean to sound jealous, by the way, these people work very hard for what they get!).

My personal University experience, again, is a very positive one. Cultural differences aside, I doubt that the home school circles really tell the truth about whatever they say about public education. It might not be for everyone, sure, but it’s certainly not a bad choice for most.

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