My friend Bethany Keeley rants on her blog about an article she read in the Focus on the Family webzine, “Boundless.” This ‘zine is aimed at “single adults,” and touts itself as as a place to explore “love beyond sex, faith beyond sociological stereotypes, and ideas beyond the politically correct.” It does not say anything about exploring (or embracing, as the article does) gender essentialism beyond question, historical generalizations beyond research, and conclusions beyond logic.
I loved Bethany's critique. But I also thought her words were too measured, too generous, too charitable to be called a “rant.” When you're in academia, and you're in a fight worth fighting, you need to bring it. Bethany is a first-rate grad student in communications, but she's also in her first year. I give her another six months before she's learned the true grad school art of opening up a big can of rhetorical whup-a**.
Two further comments. First, I was astonished to read that Maken was a lawyer before the end of her “involuntary servitude to singleness.” Don't they teach logic or research or history any more in law school? I was reading the piece aloud to Deb last night -- the kids were in the room, too, working on craft projects. We were howling in laughter as Jacob picked up on our real-time critique, and whenever Maken made sweeping and unsupported generalizations like “…past generations of Christians…” or “the purposes of marriage were uniformly understood…” or “Today’s singleness is either a lifestyle option or purely circumstantial; therefore it is largely unbiblical,” he would grab a piece of red paper from the craft project he was working on and wave it aloft, as if to say: “Red flag! Warning! Crashing non sequitur ahead! Caution! Facile conclusion just off the starboard bow!”
Second, I am dismayed that anyone is slurping up this stuff. Debra has been giving talks lately at Christian colleges – sometimes solo, sometimes with me along – on issues of feminism and family and career and vocation. Our hearts hurt for the good and godly young people at these places who uncritically accept the Dobsonian party line on “family values.” And our hearts are also proud of places like Calvin College, in whose educational fire God shapes thoughtful young women like Bethany. You go girl! Bring it!