Resolving to Change (Others)

Sunday morning in church, our pastor wondered if it was no longer trendy to establish New Years’ resolutions; when he asked the congregation whether anyone had resolutions for the upcoming year, only a smattering of people raised their hands. Given what I read on magazine covers while standing in the grocery line a zillion times over the holidays, and what I see in newspapers and on blogs, I don’t think making resolutions has gone out of vogue. Instead, I think people are taking their goals underground, vowing to themselves that they will change their diets, exercise more, watch less TV. That way, when January 25 comes along, and they decide to eat a bag of chips while sitting on the couch, enjoying a Laverne and Shirley marathon, no one else has to know that the shiny new resolve of January 1 has been lost.

 

I’m actually a little bit self-righteous about New Years’ Resolutions. Or a lot self-righteous. Two years ago, on January 1, I decided I would begin a discipline of writing 250 words a day, every day. And for the last two years, I’ve kept to it, not missing even one day. That meant writing in a hotel room at 3:30 one morning, before a trip; and writing flat on my back another, wiped out by a sickness. Of course, I’ve never kept any other resolution I’ve made—my Diet Coke habit is stronger than ever, despite a yearly goal of drinking only water*—but because I have that one thing, still going strong, I somehow feel righteous about judging others’ resolutions, or the lack thereof.

 

Given my own terrific record (and attendant superiority) about resolution-making, I thought I’d take some time to craft resolutions for other people: namely, those in Christian culture who continue to create crappy products, based on flimsy theology that demands women assume definitive “biblical” roles. Here, then, I offer my gift of resolution-making to others, like

 

Publishers of Christian Romances, who should decide, in 2012, to market just one book that relies on a strong female protagonist who arrives at the story’s end and chooses not to marry the cute blond man with an M.Div. degree and a desire to save souls, including his hot bride’s.

 

The Vision Forum, who should realize, in 2012, that their support for a “stay-at-home daughters” movement was really insane, and that girls should have an opportunity learning, working, and experiencing life apart from their daddies’ households. They will also resolve to change their minds about what girls need in toys—that being, more than “mommy practice.”

 

Mark Driscoll (and his pals), who should confess, in 2012, that he’s really a misogynist, and that all his blather about the “feminization of the church” was his attempt to mask his own insecurities.

 

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who should admit, in 2012, that they haven’t really read the Bible since their Old Testament classes in college, and even then, “other stuff got in the way”—like finding methods to convince young women it was “God’s will” that they go out for ice cream.

 

The Pray Boldly Movement, who should decide, in 2012, that spending hours each day praying to God about finding suitable spouses is hampering any opportunities to actually date—and, perhaps, find suitable spouses. Or not.

 

Proverbs 31 Businesses, who should finally, in 2012, admit that Proverbs 31 wasn’t really telling women to stay home and sell up-scale handbags, or over-priced candles, or Christian lingerie.

 

The Christian Patriarchy Movement, who should resolve, in 2012, to look more closely at the calendar, and realize it is 2012, when “patriarchy” actually has negative connotations. Perhaps then they will recognize the ways their adulation of patriarchy, and all that it stands for, is damaging not only to the women, but also to the men, in their so-called Christian movement.

 

I’ll stop here (I’ve over-shot my 250 words for the day, anyway).At any rate, we’re looking forward to all the new, and wonderful (and, unfortunately, awful) things we will discover about the Christian culture we inhabit this year. Here’s hoping more of us will get the message that being a Christian doesn’t mean limiting yourself to narrowly conscribed roles, but opening yourself up to the freedom that can come from being allowed to fully explore who God wants you to be.

 

*As of 10:30 this morning, I’ve had one Diet Coke already. And maybe a glass of water, if by “glass” and “water,” you mean a 12 oz. foamy chai.