FYI (If You’re Mrs. Hall)

Oh, my.

The FYI (If You’re a Teenaged Girl) post generated lots of discussion on Facebook and in forums in which I participate. As a fellow small-scale blogger I’m incredibly sympathetic to writing something, inserting pictures (actually inserting pictures seems beyond my abilities), and posting with nary a thought to the possibility of the whole world reading it. I imagine that it never crossed your mind that your post would be shared and re-shared and that rebuttals to it would be published on Huffington Post. I imagine that you are feeling beaten up and beaten down.

Some of us who disagree with the sentiments you expressed were surprised by how many non-Christians loved what you said and shared it on Facebook. We are used to Christians jumping on the “Men Can’t Help It/Women Are Responsible” bandwagon, but we expect more out of our non-Christian friends. (Yes. I hear allllllll of the irony there. We expect more out of our non-Christian friends. ::sigh:: ) I suspect that the hubbub over the Robin Thicke/Miley Cyrus performance is responsible for some of the non-Christian people embracing what you had to say.

Here’s the thing:

  • I *do* want women to be mindful of the pictures they post of themselves online. I want them to value themselves highly enough that they understand that their sexual allure is NOT their most important attribute. I want them to value themselves as women loved (and liked!) by God. I want these same things for men.
  • I *do* want parents to actively help their children navigate an online world that has a long memory, is fraught with evil, and is unforgiving. I want parents to protect their children.

I suspect that those are points on which we agree.

I bet your life is a bit stressful right now. You’ve gotten a lot of traffic and notoriety that you weren’t looking for. It is hard when we are faced with our un-Christ-like attitudes that we hadn’t realized were un-Christ-like because most of the Christians around us hold them in common with us. If this realization happens publicly, it can be hard to face and admit wrongdoing. It is easier to dig in our heels and assume that we are being attacked for our “Christian beliefs.”

I sincerely hope that you’ve been able to resist that temptation. I’m sorry for the pain you are feeling. No doubt you are feeling misunderstood. I sincerely hope that you are able to hear the concerns of those who have criticized the “Men Can’t Help It/Women Are Responsible” premise of your post. This premise is rampant in conservative Christianity. This premise flies in the face of the Self Control stance of the Bible. We are *each* responsible for our actions. We are to show love for (and submit to) one another, but this “love” shouldn’t be twisted into something that makes me responsible for your sin. I don’t see this twisted stance in the Bible, but I see it being taught frequently in conservative Christianity and in Fundamentalism.

Mrs. Hall, I’m so very glad that you take your job seriously: that you are praying for and guiding your children. I bet we’d be friends if we were in the same congregation. I pray that you know you are loved (and liked!) by God and that he comforts your bruised heart. I also pray that The Church can rid itself of the notion that women are dangerous and that men can’t help themselves.

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