Lest They Stumble

Oh, what troubles a grown man has!
To have to put up with defrauding images
Of scantily-dressed women.
He doesn’t know where to look.
He doesn’t know what to think.
His wife and daughters all dress modestly
Because grown men should not
have to be subjected to ‘all that’.

Oh, what joy a trained child brings!
What discipline, what self-control!
When God wanted to train Adam and Eve,
He did not remove temptation but rather,
placed it right in front of them.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
And so the godly parent places temptation
before his child and trains him.
“Do not touch!” “Leave it alone!”
Mothers of well-trained children
confidently take their children anywhere
knowing that they will not misbehave
or, act outside the boundaries
of appropriate behavior.
The well-trained child exercises self-control
Even when temptation abounds.

Oh, what troubles a grown man has!
To have to put up with defrauding images
Of scantily-dressed women.
He doesn’t know where to look.
He doesn’t know what to think.
His wife and daughters all dress modestly
Because grown men should not
have to be subjected to ‘all that’.
Lest they stumble.

 

Inspired by a reading of this.

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Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, in Poetry, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Would not have pegged you as a regular @ FTB.

    Like

  2. Hmmm…how to respond?

    (1) Is visiting FTB a good/bad thing?
    (2) I’m not a ‘regular’. I just happened to arrive there while clicking on links from other blogs.
    (3) I can hardly peg myself sometimes.

    Like

  3. Depends on who you ask. If someone were to be concerned that singular/occasional/regular visits to a web site serving the collective blogs of prominent and not-so-prominent atheists might give you atheist cooties, then they would probably claim it to be a bad thing. Prior commenters on this blog come to mind. The first two sentences of “About the Author” from the blog you linked to are: “Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the religious right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive.” Of course, from my perspective visiting FTB isn’t a bad or even a neutral thing, it’s a good thing 🙂

    Another thing though is that I don’t know the extent to which you self-identify with feminism, but I can tell you as a regular reader of a couple of FTB blogs that most of the bloggers and commenters at those blogs . . . they may not believe you have to be an atheist to be a feminist but they tend to view religion generally as both historically and currently not women-friendly, i.e. propagating and/or reinforcing patricarchical/misogynistic gender roles. So if you were to become a repeat visitor, even to the point of posting a comment to a blog there, be aware that most people there view religion as unhealthy superstition with strong misogynist underpinnings and their comments would likely reflect that.

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  4. I’ve had some experience with the opposite senario. I’ve heard women say that Bathsheba did nothing wrong by bathing in moonlight within sight of the palace roof guards. Sorry, if I bathe in my backyard by moonlight, knowing there are neighbor men awake within eyeshot, I’m guilty of taking the risk of tempting them. Bathsheba just probably didn’t reckon with the man watching being able to do something about his lust.

    As with everything there is a balance here. God only gave us one temptation and we couldn’t handle that. I don’t want to increase the strain on the men of my church by forcing them to turn their heads away once again as they encounter me on Sunday morning. Neither do I think we should wear no knits and show no skin below our neck or above our ankles and wrists to make it impossible for them to be tempted. That is, frankly, Islamic, i.e. the only real sin is to tempt men. I’m sure there are men out there lusting after the women under burkas (especially when seen coming out of a Fredrick’s of Hollywood store, like I’ve seen them do here in Michigan!). So it’s not even possible to be temptationless on our part.

    I do admit a little nostalga for the times when a woman could turn a man’s head by raising her skirts enough to show her fine ankle bones, though.

    In the same vein, I do NOT keep fine china and crystal down for my little ones to be tempted by. There are enough unavoidable temptations for me to teach them with while not resorting to fabricated ones. God, of course, didn’t have that option, there were no other temptations to be had.

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  5. @ hktelemacher.

    Oh, I’m sure some people already think I have atheist ‘cooties’!

    I’ve only read LIbby Anne’s blog and one other blog, The Atheist Experience. Now THAT will surely raise some eyebrows (if not hairs). I stumbled across The Atheist Experience because they once had a blog entry on Jonathan Park. And I read it on their old site, not on FTB.

    Like

  6. @ creationscience4kids

    You said: “As with everything there is a balance here.”

    Where is that balance? If you are at all familiar with ATI, VF, etc, you will notice that the women are dresses-only. They say they only wear dresses because it is more modest. Sorry, but when I see a woman unable to wear pants AT ALL, that’s oppression.

    “I don’t want to increase the strain on the men of my church by forcing them to turn their heads away once again as they encounter me on Sunday morning. Neither do I think we should wear no knits and show no skin below our neck or above our ankles and wrists to make it impossible for them to be tempted. That is, frankly, Islamic, i.e. the only real sin is to tempt men. I’m sure there are men out there lusting after the women under burkas (especially when seen coming out of a Fredrick’s of Hollywood store, like I’ve seen them do here in Michigan!). So it’s not even possible to be temptationless on our part.”

    The thing is, we don’t know WHAT is going to tempt someone.

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  7. “Sorry, if I bathe in my backyard by moonlight, knowing there are neighbor men awake within eyeshot, I’m guilty of taking the risk of tempting them.”

    Tempting them to what? Violently assault you?

    Sorry, not an excuse.

    Like

  8. @ hktelemacher

    “Tempting them to what? Violently assault you?”

    Not in fact, but in thought.

    While I totally agree with you that there is no excuse for men to act upon their urges if women are dressed ‘temptingly’, I believe the argument from the other side goes something like this:

    Men are visually stimulated – more so than women. Also, it isn’t so much acting out on their urges. Just being visually stimulated and having ‘impure’ thoughts is ‘bad’ enough. Therefore, it is best to not allow them a gateway to those impure thoughts.

    To which I say, Men should be able to control their thoughts too!

    BTW, Libby Anne’s blog is no longer on FTB. She’s moved to patheos.

    Like

  9. Ah, but if you check her “About”, she’s still spreading ‘dem cooties.

    That being said, I won’t frequent a site that features a Scientology apologist blog. Disgusting.

    Personally I’m not as much into the sex-shaming. Bad in and of itself, made worse by the fact that it is used as a religious mechanism to oppress and control women.

    I saw a really interesting exchange the other day via twitter between Neil Gaiman (who I absolutely love as a writer) and Katie West on this subject. It started with a poem by Neil, seen here:

    http://eolivia.com/site/scripts/viewlargeimage.asp?idProduct=1406

    (purchasable http://eolivia.com/site/scripts/prodview.asp?idProduct=1406&idCategory=48 btw)

    which prompted a response by Katie:

    http://bit.ly/GFiHAM

    Which is fantastic (Neil also loved it, see http://bit.ly/GFiPAq), which also prompted me to read a few entries of Katie’s blog probably my favorite of which is here: http://tmblr.co/Z9ImayHuLGZ3 which also happens to be coincidentally on this very topic.

    Happy reading to anyone who wants to follow those links, I thought it was good stuff.

    Like

  10. hktelemacher, I’m going to lose all my friends by ‘Approving’ your comment! 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  11. Sorry, I just have 2 young daughters and I feel pretty passionately about a variety of women’s issues on their behalf, until they get older at which point I fervently hope we will join our voices together on such issues.

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  12. No need to apologise. It is good to see fathers who are passionate about women’s issues on behalf of their daughers. If only there were more men like you!

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – You are doing a great job as a dad!

    Like

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