Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

“Purpose”

6 Comments

There is an almost unlimited amount of books on “purpose” for the christian life. Books about prayer, missions, singleness, courtship, engagement, marriage, children, gender roles, house keeping, the list goes on. And on… and on. And really, it’s all about purpose. – finding purpose in a life that is supposed to have a higher purpose.

I’ve been wondering lately why it is that the christian culture is so obviously concerned with finding a purpose for its members. Shouldn’t purpose come somewhat naturally when you claim that your faith is the ultimate source of purpose? Why is it that I apparently need a bazillion books to find something that was promised to me when I started believing?

The situation is especially apparent in single women. Pretty much everybody else has a naturally derived, gender-based purpose. Married women care for men and raise godly arrows. Men, married and unmarried, fight for religion, faith, justice and all that and, last but not least, provide for either future or current family. But unmarried women? They’re kind of out of a purpose. “Waiting” is not exactly a purpose that I consider a valuable waste of lifetime.

I remember how I wondered what my purpose would be, some day. It’s fascinating how obsessed and yet how afraid I was that I wouldn’t find something valuable to do. I sometimes felt my salvation was at stake.

This is particularly funny, because if you actually believe in sola scriptura, as most fundamentalists claim to do, shouldn’t purpose be self-evident in some way? I mean, if scripture, and only scripture, is fully and entirely sufficient to answer all questions you could possibly have about life, death and everything in between, you shouldn’t need that many books outside of scripture to actually have an idea what you should do with your life.

All of these books, whether it is “So much more”, “sacred singleness” and all the other books on the issue of single women, claim that all they do is point out things that are already pointed out in scripture. Often times you will read something like “hands-on advice” or “practical ideas” for single girls. Well. Isn’t that what scripture should do?

I don’t merely mean to point out that all of these books are either a simple repetition of bible verses or a weird twisting thereof, I mean to point out that what’s going on there is false theology on so many levels. If scripture is enough, and that’s what you as an author of these books believe, your book is useless and invalid (and, mean as I am, I will call you greedy for selling the book despite your better knowledge). If you claim that your book is neither invalid nor useless, you don’t believe that the bible is the sole source of “godly” advice (which, by the way, makes the bible fallible). I think the hypocrisy in these circles is rampant. To be honest, I don’t care much about defending “biblical” teachings or the universal truth of the bible. I am simply shocked that I didn’t realize this when I believed in all these ideas myself.

I swallowed up all the “purpose” materials. It had to be somewhere in there, right? In the end, I have to realize, for myself at least, that the movement of fundamentalist christianity is nothing but a huge machine which aims to exclude groups of people from society, which feeds these groups ideas about what they should and shouldn’t do, claiming at the same time that their advice is biblical – but nevertheless I need materials outside of the bible to actually understand the bible.

Christianity is not “outside of culture”, it is a culture of itself. A culture which cannot exist with the bible as the sole source of law and morals, because these laws and morals – and, not to forget, assignment of purpose to specific groups – need to be controlled in a much broader fashion to survive. Selling young girls books to help them find their purpose is nothing but a means of keeping them in line when the obvious fallacies of the bible and problems with the bible aren’t enough to satisfy a natural thirst for finding something more in the existence we have been assigned.

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6 thoughts on ““Purpose”

  1. I agree with you–up to the end of your post. The Bible IS all we need. And they are just out for money if they suggest that their book will add anything to that. And Christianity is a culture. HOWEVER, true Christianity (not the P/QF garbage nor even the Westboro cult) is not seeking to exclude anyone. It seeks to reconcile all of humanity to God. The purpose of all Christians is to show God’s love through our lives. It’s Christians who failed to do that that have broken you and other daughters and sons like you–as well as themselves. Satan needs but one lie and it’s the one he used with Eve–“you shall be like God.”

  2. Yes. I get this so much. I used to think that god was like the answer to all the pain and abuse in the world, but now I wonder how I missed how bizarre it is that this god is supposedly the creator and ruler of all of it as well? Purpose is a huge question that humanity has been asking for a long long time, and I don’t think a paraphrased collection of writings has all the answers to those questions.

  3. I agree with you, completely. The Bible is not “the word of God”- Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus does not =Bible and Bible does not= Jesus. The Mount of Transfiguration makes plain that neither the prophets not the apostles are on equal footing with Christ, and God does not command (in this story) people to give them status equal to Christ. Quite the opposite. Modern American Christianity is apostate, and worships the Bible and Christian culture instead of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one worthy of worship.

    And what does Jesus say about our purpose? To be loved and to love others, to find contentment, to share, to care and to go about doing good. He honored children and women and lepers and Gentiles and cripples and even occupying soldiers, all as individuals worthy of love. He taught by example a life of personal prayer/worship and told soldiers, of all people, that the purpose in life was to do your job without cheating or violence.

    I thank God for the people who taught me early that God is Love, and when we live in Love we are walking in the Spirit. If Cornelius was honored by God, and the centurion, and the Samaritan woman, and the Syro-Phoenician woman, etc, with personal attention from God that lovingly met the deepest needs of their loving hearts, well then, religion is NOT the purpose. Love is the purpose.

    If I could go back in time, I would ditch fundamentalism from the beginning, and incorporate yoga into my children’s preparation for life. You are as worthy of kindness and respect as anyone else on earth. Practicing non-violence begins with you- be loving and kind to yourself. So whatever brings you joy to do, do it. The world needs more joy. A merry heart does good like a medicine, no? The joy “of the Lord” is your strength!

    You are not a disgusting sinner that God wants to destroy in hell forever. You are a unique and delightful child of the Most High, and Jesus came to prove God’s love to you and that God is not holding anything against you, in fact, if you need bloodshed to believe you can be forgiven, then God Himself will bleed out to prove it to you.

    You are loved.

    You are worthy of love.

    And as with all the people who are loved, whatever brings you joy makes the One who loves you happy. You were created for joy. Enter into the joy of your Lord…live life doing what makes that joy a reality.
    =D

  4. Something all those books never point out: we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS. Sometimes we just need to be and that is our purpose, to be ourselves.

  5. Yea I can’t really answer what my purpose of being here is. But seeing as I do believe in the soul, I think it has something to do with the journey itself, not an accomplishment, such as motherhood, etc. Good post.

  6. i find my purpose by looking at myself, and i find that my purpose is to be kind and to write. It seems so clear to me with all the trappings of christian culture pushed to the side in my mind, but back then it was a difficult fog of trying to find god’s will for me. now i just ask ‘who am i’ and there’s my answer: be the best version of that. no books necessary.

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