Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Symbols of the Council of Europe

Stumbled on the Council of Europe recently, because of its declaration against creationism (there's a post on it at my blog, Fantasy of Evolution), and found it to be an even more interesting sign of the last days than the European Union. Here's their official website.

The symbols associated with this organization are very interesting, starting with their Flag of Europe that has a blue ground with a circle of twelve stars on it. I immediately thought of the woman in Revelation 12:1:
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
This passage is understood by Protestants to refer to Israel (sometimes the Church) as the mother of the Messiah, the stars representing the twelve tribes...
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
...but the Roman church interprets it to refer to the Virgin Mary. And I thought of Alexander Hislop's conclusion that the Image of the Beast will be this Catholic notion of "the Virgin Mary" which has been making demonic appearances here and there over the last century.

The symbol makers for the Council of Europe have other ideas about its meaning, but the flag's designer admits that the image in Revelation -- as understood by the Roman church -- was part of his conception:
The circle of stars bears a striking similarity to the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary seen in Roman Catholic art. The flag's designer, Arsène Heitz, has acknowledged that the Book of Revelation (which is where the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary was first mentioned) helped to inspire him.
Of course anything that reflects the uniting of European states suggests the common Protestant interpretation of the ten toes of the great image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream interpreted by the prophet Daniel, along with the ten horns of the fourth beast of Belshazzar's dream in Daniel 7 (The Council began with ten members).
Dan 7:23 ¶ Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. Dan 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom [are] ten kings [that] shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
The first dream describes the rise of four empires starting with Babylonia under the figure of the great statue made of different metals, the second dream symbolizes them as different beasts. The fourth beast is the Roman Empire, and Europe is regarded as the ten toes or ten kings to arise from that empire.

Another symbol I find interesting is this coin which was issued in Armenia to commemorate that nation's joining the Council in 2001. I couldn't find a discussion of its imagery but I have to suppose that the ten curved strokes that fan off the logo of the twelve stars with the e for Europe represent the first ten states of the Council at its formation.

Then there is the Council's Anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, based on the poem by Friedrich Schiller.

It's kind of the Romantic Classical period's version of Michael Jackson's We Are the World, We Are the Children, which could be the anthem of the reign of the Antichrist with its world worship, self-salvation and brotherhood of fallen humanity. I'll leave your taste in the music itself up to you but I have to say that once I grasped the meaning of the words the music might as well have had all the beauty of the Corpse Flower. (Well, that's a bit harsh, isn't it? The music remains beautiful, but the words do spoil it for me, celebrating the antichrist view of happiness as they do. Kind of like that proverb about the pig with the golden ring in its snout).

The Corpse Flower ought to be the CoE's National Flower.

Anyway, here's Beethoven's Ode to Joy, with English subtitles, conducted by a very elderly and pain-wracked Herbert von Karajan .

Here's Part Two, the ending of that performance, in which we are exhorted to "seek the Creator, far above the starry vault." Jesus Christ does not figure in the account, it is truly an ode to "joy," not to God, and the "divinity" mentioned is not the true God. This is a deistic and universalistic message that blasphemes God by denying the Son. (1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.)

And here is Michael Jackson's "We are the World, We are the Children" with a huge cast of pop luminaries:

(Hm, listening to this again a while later I noticed the line that says God turned stones into bread. But God didn't do that. Not that He couldn't have, but in the Biblical context it would have been a cheap self-serving trick. The devil tempted Jesus after His forty-day fast in the wilderness, to turn the stones to bread to satisfy his hunger, and He refused. Just kind of interesting that that sort of mistake would be in this sentimental man-exalting song).

Exhortations to watchfulness in the very last days

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Acts 20:28-32 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-16 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Revelation 3:1-5 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Corpse Flower blooms in America on the 4th of July, Symbol of death and rot and the end of all things

Slow on the uptake here but perhaps the point remains apt. I found myself using the phrase "The Great Apostasy is in full flower" and what popped into my mind was the recent blooming of the "corpse flower" at San Francisco State University in California, on July 4th as a matter of fact.
The corpse flower, or Titan Arum, is famous for its death-like stench and its huge central flower structure.

A huge unbeautiful flower that blooms seldom and for only a brief period, that smells like a rotting corpse as it opens and thrusts up its commanding central spike, a flower that is pollinated by . . . FLIES, the emblem of Beelzebub!

It seems the perfect emblem of the great falling-away, which is to come to full bloom just before the final Antichrist rears his ugly head for his cruel and bloody reign over the entire world, which will last only three and a half years just before our Lord returns. It's coming very soon. We need to be prepared.

* * * * * * *

Isaiah 55:6 ¶ Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

* * * * * * *

Lily of the Valley.

But alas, it is probably also the perfect emblem of the current state of our nation in the midst of the great falling-away. I can't take its flowering on July 4th as mere coincidence myself. Nothing happens without some significance whether we are in a position to appreciate it or not, and July 4th is just too big a significance to be missed.

Well, the phenomenon is of interest in itself I suppose if you don't like my take on its symbolism.

However, there's more symbolism that could be wrung from this event if you'd like to ponder it on your own. Take the flower's nickname "Titan Arum" for starters and think about who the Titans were and whether they might hold some relevance to the last days before the Lord's return.

Found a related plant with similar characteristics, the Dead Horse Arum which smells terrible and also is pollinated by flies. "Muscivorus" contains the Latin word for fly.

The titan arum grows in the wild only in the equatorial rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. It was first scientifically described in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari.
Right about when the Great Apostasy was getting going in Europe. 1881 was the date of the Westcott and Hort Bible Revision in England which was certainly a major launching or spewing forth of the apostasy.
The plant flowers only infrequently in the wild and even more rarely when cultivated. It first flowered in cultivation at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, in 1889, with over 100 cultivated blossoms since then. The first documented flowerings in the United States were at New York Botanical Garden in 1937 and 1939.
Seems to me the travels of this plant roughly parallel the travels of the great falling away.

You can find a You Tube discussion of this plant by David Attenborough in which he says it flowers in the wild about once in three years. The flower lasts about three days. I could eke out some symbolism here too I suppose, but it would be a little forced.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Gloomy Day-After Independence Day

It's the day after The Fourth of July and I know so many people who are sad about the situation of America, see our cherished history and institutions being trashed in various ways, wondering if the nation is even going to survive.

There are calls for prayer for the nation of course, and some groups and individuals do pray for the nation. Perhaps God is hearing, though it doesn't seem so. Things seem to be getting worse rather than better, but of course they might be a lot worse if people weren't praying.

Still, you have to ask why things seem to continue to go from bad to worse. When I ask that question and pray about it the answer I keep coming up with is that the churches are out of favor with God, and not until the churches reform will our prayers be heard for healing the land.

The famous call to pray for one's nation in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often quoted to exhort Christians to pray for America, but not very often are the conditions in that verse emphasized enough.
2 Chron 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

When we pray for America how many of us humble ourselves? Do we even think about what that means? How about fasting as a start? How many do that? What about turning from our "wicked ways?" Do we even think we HAVE any wicked ways to turn from? My impression is that most Christians just blithely pray that God would bless America without even thinking about meeting these conditions.

This exhortation was God's answer to Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the newly built temple, after it had been hallowed to God's purposes.

The passage goes on:
15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. 17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; 18 Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. 19 But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. 21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? 22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
Our temple today is built up of living stones, God's people themselves. We are God's house. We know He will never forsake or abandon us if we hold in faith to His promise of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ, but what if we stray from His teachings? Can we believe we are saved by grace and think it's OK to ordain women or homosexuals to preach? Or are those only the really apostate churches that are no longer God's anyway? Didn't Jesus threaten to remove the lampstands of those churches which had strayed too far?

There are many questions like these that should be asked. I think before we can expect God to hear our prayers for the nation we need to pray first that God would show us where we are out of His will and set ourselves to reform, both personally and corporately in His churches.

I really am convinced that women's not covering our heads in church, and maybe outside of church as well, has shut us out of hope for the nation. I really do, and it's very sad because it's hard to think of this requirement being widely accepted any more by anyone in the churches. It's treated as trivial and it's rationalized and interpreted away by so many respected leaders. Could it at least be asked that people pray that God would show them the truth about this? That's where we need to start anyway, FINDING OUT where we have gone wrong with God so we can reform. We can only find out through His Holy Spirit; thinking alone won't get us anywhere.

I also suspect strongly that the widespread acceptance of the modern Bible versions that really are based on corrupt -- even heretical -- texts, and translations that have been done by men of liberal persuasion who reject much of His word, MAY play a part in this too. I wouldn't dismiss the thought lightly, people, but I know getting a serious hearing for this is not very likely.

These of course are my own hobbyhorses that I've been pursuing in my blogs. Don't take my word for any of it, but DO go read the many references I've given to these subjects; let THEM tell you.

But I'm sure there's more. Any capitulation to liberalism or feminism in a church needs to be confronted. It may be subtle, not easily recognized as a problem.

Or personal sins too. A pastor or elder or deacon who has been divorced? Or compromised teaching about divorce and remarriage? That sort of thing. These things are not just sins, they're actually false doctrine that promotes sin.

I get a sinking feeling thinking about all this. I see so many ways we are out of God's will lately, and so many ways I don't think Christians want to deal with any of it, but rationalize it away, dismiss it as legalism, or otherwise insist that it's not a problem and so on.

If only people would at least pray for light on the subject, ask God to show us where we may have gone wrong as His people. Pray through the Sermon on the Mount asking if we're REALLY obeying Him, perhaps. Anything along these lines would be a huge beginning.

Later. I'm going to stop reading about feminism, which is only depressing anyway, a real horror story and a BIG reason why the nation is in the pits and some churches have gone desperately wrong as well, and reread some Leonard Ravenhill. He wrote a lot about why we aren't having revival and he wrote a book with the interesting title, America Is Too Young To Die. I think that's the direction I need to go right now.

A Rant Against Feminism 2, but some of the problem is needing more commentary from Mary Kassian

It's been really hard going getting through Mary Kassian's Feminist Mistake, and if I'm now near the end of it that's only because I jumped over some parts on the way. I simply can't read it continuously for any length of time. Then when I do sit down to read it I end up skipping pages and trying to get the gist that way without having to slog through the whole swamp of the feminist mindset so carefully documented there.

I don't understand why she wrote the book the way she did. The title suggests her goal is to illuminate what is mistaken in feminist thought, but so much of the book is nothing but the feminist thought itself without comment from her that the reader is left with no clue to the author's point of view.

At the beginning she states that she has some sympathy with the motives for feminism:
...I believe that feminism has drawn attention to crucial problems that exist for women in society and in the church. In this work I am not so much debating the validity of the questions that feminists have posed, but rather seeking to evaluate the validity of their answers.
A reasonable objective it seems to me so I look forward to seeing her spell out her thinking. Perhaps she's left it for the very end and I'm not quite there yet.

In the meantime I've had to plod through the whole history of modern feminist thought, rather minutely detailed in parts, without the slightest relief from its relentless irrational humanity-crippling and God-defying logic. Not a hint as to which are those questions posed by the feminists that she says she is not necessarily debating, not a hint as to what in all that massive material exemplifies those "crucial problems that exist for women in society and in the church" she says she finds there. This is very puzzling as well as frustrating and even maddening at times.

Again, perhaps she'll save my sanity at the very end -- or possibly I've missed some of it in my skipping around -- but I have to comment that she should have been giving her analysis all along for the sake of the reader. There's an enormous amount of detail there. Surely in all that detail there are many questions she finds sympathetic and many answers she must condemn, and it would help the reader enormously to see her thinking on all that at each stage of the presentation.


Later. (July 5) I've skimmed around enough to find some places where Kassian does stop to analyze the feminist position she's just described, so maybe I've just been missing it. But through the first third of the book at least I was starved for some comment, and especially something to orient me to what she believes might be LEGITIMATE in the feminist project. So far I've found nothing along those lines. Could be again my own fault since I'm not reading it thoroughly.

But I think I need to take a break from this book for a while anyway. Just had to say this much so as not to give a completely wrong impression about the book.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Rant Against Feminism

Ugh. I don't know if I'm even going to be able to get through Kassian's Feminist Mistake. So far she's pretty much just spelling out the feminist point of view, not discussing it or answering it. It just reminds me of what I always hated about feminism and I have little patience for it. The stupidity of their accusations and arguments. Blech.

I could never stand the idea, so common in the 60s, that our beliefs and traditions were "conditioned" by hostile or irrational forces, but such an idea is freely thrown about as the explanation for everything someone thinks is wrong with society and of course feminism slings it about too. "Oh it was just conditioned in us by people who want to control us." Blah blah blah. By a "priestly class" perhaps or whatnot.

I hate the practice of giving made-up explanations anyway and this one is pure fantasy. The very term "conditioned" curdles something deep inside me. Yeah I know I'm not being very clear here. This is a post for venting reactions and I hope I'll get more analytical later.

But here's famous anthropologist Margaret Mead being quoted about how we're "conditioned" into our sex roles:
"Mead, in Sex and Temperament (1935) and Male and Female (1949), contended that there was no fixed pattern of male-female interaction and roles. She concluded that differences between male and female were learned and conditioned by culture rather than set by nature." (36)
I knew somewhere deep in my inarticulate gut that was false the first time I heard it. I have a feeling many others did too. But the "scholars" and the "intellectuals" chaired university departments with such idiocies and filled up the world with such mystifying nonsense for years and years, and I guess they're still doing it.

Of course the biggest stupidity, contained in this cultural conditioning notion, was the idea that men and women aren't really different at all, the differences are all made up; therefore the solution to inequities is to assume we're identical by nature and change social forms to free us up to remove all barriers to full and complete personal expression and define ourselves from scratch. The absolute mess that's been made of the family and sexuality and marriage since such notions took over ought to have woken us up, but uh uh.

I could also never see the sense in fighting biology. Women get pregnant. That seems to me to be a rock-bottom fact of life. But feminists knocked themselves out trying to overcome that simple biological fact. How does it help us better know our worth as women to have our very nature talked about as something we have to get rid of?

These things are all problems that have to be thought about in any discussion of female complaints about disenfranchisement by culture or the church, but it seems that feminists and other activists always have to rush to a "solution" before they understand the problem. Or they "understand" the problem by pasting a fantasy label like "conditioned" on it.

I also hated the analysis that women's discontents were the result of Patriarchy (of course patriarchy being a purely "conditioned" artificial cultural situation imposed on us by men rather than God). I never had anything against patriarchy. I always LIKED the idea of men being at the head of things, family or society -- the right KIND of men of course, the just ones, the fair ones, the kind ones, the competent ones, not the "silly boys and drunks and rowdies" Elizabeth Cady Stanton so rightly complained had powers and privileges women didn't have, and not tyrants and misogynists. No, patriarchy in itself isn't the problem, and now I know also that patriarchy is given by God.

You can see that I didn't find much in feminism to attract me. Mostly it gave me a stomachache, EVEN THOUGH I had at times felt mislabeled and insulted for being female and welcomed SOME kind of redress, so you'd think I'd be eager to grasp at any effort to remedy the situation. But I wasn't. The remedy was more offensive than the problem.

Let nobody think all this apparent wisdom I'm showing here worked itself out in my life though. Nope, I didn't live by my own wise intuitions. I was more than happy to "invent" myself, do as I please, ignore biology and get myself deep in sin and social catastrophe. Even with my cynical inner voice telling me it's all a crock. Boundaries were broken down nevertheless, meaning was lost, order was lost, standards were lost, the world was spinning out of control even if it WAS all a crock.

Well I'll try to go on reading Kassian. I would like to know how all this worked itself out in the church, because of course I wasn't a Christian in the early days of feminism, the 60s and 70s. Oh well -- *sigh* -- on second thought I'm sure I know anyway. Liberal Christianity refuses to take the Bible as God's word and so did feminism. We'll just rewrite it to suit our idea of what's right and proper. It was all just invented by men anyway.

No. Any real analysis of the problems of women has to start with a forthright acknowledgement of the facts of life and the fixed decrees of God. THEN we can maybe start to think about it all.

Hm. Come on, Mary Kassian, let's get to the part where you brilliantly dispense with the feminist mistake and show us the REAL way to understand our female dilemmas, our role in the church particularly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Catching Up With Fifty Years of Feminism

In my last two posts I turned toward feminism as a blog topic and I've continued to read up on it. I'm reading Mary Kassian's books more closely now for starters. (They're both online at the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website -- just put "Mary Kassian" in the search box.)

Her focus is on modern feminism from the sixties on, and reliving that period through her book, The Feminist Mistake, seems to be bringing up old feelings of my own that go back years, feelings I've apparently suppressed, which is evidenced by the fact that I haven't felt them in all this time -- not since the 60s or 70s at least, some of them anyway. Some of them, however, I've been discovering, go all the way back to early childhood. Hurt feelings, angry feelings, depressed feelings, confused and conflicted feelings, all surrounding my sense of myself as female or my sense of the world's attitude to femaleness, and particularly of course, feelings encountered in specific relationships with others -- parents, siblings, friends, boyfriends, authorities, institutions etc.

So feminism could turn out to be an emotionally very bumpy topic for me. That probably explains why I've avoided the whole arena of women's situation as much as I have. For instance, I researched the woman's head covering quite thoroughly, which is discussed in some cases as part of a broader discussion of women's position as defined by the Bible, but quite definitely did NOT want to read beyond the head covering in any of those discussions. Partly I've just never known how to understand a great deal of what the Bible teaches about women's role and I didn't want to encumber my study of the head covering with other issues. But I have to admit I'm not sure I really want to know too much about the subject. Insofar as I grasp that it places me in a class beneath men, and that this is God's own decree, I've more or less gritted my teeth and determined to accept it, hoping the Lord comes soon and rescues me from this benighted world (since there is no distinction between the sexes, or even sexes at all, in the Kingdom of God). There's a defensive disdain for the whole subject I've cultivated in my attitude, that says something like "I don't need to know all the particulars, just tell me what my role is and because I love God I will make myself live it." It's a cross to bear after all. In other words, a recipe for ignoring the very feelings I'm now having to recognize.

The idea that one could be wholly emotionally in harmony with God's decree doesn't enter into my mental set. Perhaps there are women for whom it is completely fulfilling, but I would have to surmise that there's some conflict for a great many of us. Not because there's anything wrong with God's decree, but because, in this fallen world, God's decrees are distorted in so many ways, and our own natures are so distorted in so many ways, finding such a happy correspondence must be rare. Even God's own good decree is an instrument of death. Just living in this broken world is a cross if we face it rightly.

I should add, however, that I am aware of factors in my personal experience that predisposed me to my own peculiar conflicts about sex roles. If it adds to the topic I'll include some of that as I go, but I really don't want my blogs to turn into a place to vent my own personal angsts. It may be that as I continue my pursuit of understanding these issues it won't really be necessary. I'll have to see as the subject continues. I did want to write some in that direction, though.

See, I lived through the sixties, in a university town where ALL the "liberationisms" of the day were in-your-face all the time. Since becoming a Christian I've come to recognize all that as the amazingly fertile seedbed of what really should be called the Sin Liberation Front, that has now grown up and put out tentacles like some horror-movie monster to engulf the entire world. Not that it was all bad of course. Violations of civil rights needed to be confronted after all. Unfortunately the way it unfolded in the sixties involved "liberating" some very unsavory elements such as the criminal Black Panthers (read David Horowitz's Radical Son for the best expose of that movement and that whole period I've ever seen). The sixties "liberated" such types as Charles Manson and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Everywhere you looked there was some kind of Liberation Army rising up. There were gut-wrenchingly spooky and scary militant feminists too, who wore overalls and heavy boots and carried around Chairman Mao's Little Red Book as their Bible. There was the Society for Cutting Up Men, or SCUM.

I also attended a "lecture" once in those years about "Gay Liberation," still new in those days, which was nothing but an abusive harangue against heterosexuality and against anybody who didn't think they had any homosexual impulses, insisting we're all "bisexual" and in such violently angry terms it was hard to sit and listen to it, but impossible to leave at the same time. If the speaker had had any political power half the audience would have been thrown into concentration camps for claiming to be exclusively heterosexual.

Those years were very depressing to me. I thought the world had gone completely mad. I'd entered the sixties with idealistic notions about the value of reason and intellectual integrity building a sane and civilized world -- you know, truth, beauty and goodness etc. -- only to find the sixties ending up by throwing it all out as the evil fruit of evil Western Civilization ("hey hey ho ho, Western Civ has got to go"), and I just wanted it all to vanish as a bad dream. All I wanted to do was suppress the whole thing -- and apparently I succeeded.

Before it all reached such a fever pitch, of course, the feminist ideas were circulating in a quieter way. Betty Friedan's Feminist Mystique was a conversation piece early in the decade, along with De Beauvoir's Second Sex. Neither of those books interested me one bit, however. It's certainly not that I was immune to the problems of being female in a prejudiced world that they were trying to address -- far from it, as I indicate in my first few paragraphs above -- but for some reason the way they addressed them didn't speak to me, and that continued to be the case throughout the whole development of feminism since the sixties. Although I'm about as temperamentally unsuited to the traditional woman's role as it's possible to get (I'm not bragging and I'm not apologizing, it's just, perhaps sadly, true), I gravitated more to the traditionalist arguments against the feminism I was encountering. The feminist argument was just irritatingly irrelevant and alienating simply BECAUSE I wasn't immune to the same problems they thought they were addressing. But the traditional arguments left me out too after all, so I was philosophically stranded in a no-man's land (or no-woman's land) with respect to both sides of the argument.

Mary Kassian only glancingly touches on the nightmare side of sixties feminism, and sticks to the major theories that launched the saner side, or at least the more intellectual side, of the feminist movement, including Friedan and De Beauvoir as the beginnings but continuing through names unfamiliar to me. She follows the history of both the secular and the religious feminist arguments which she says developed in parallel to one another.

Again, none of this was relevant to me for some reason, and in a way still isn't. Kassian does speak partly for me when she says she believes the feminist movement raised legitimate questions but came up with wrong answers. I can recognize my own experience in that to some extent, but mostly I just want to get to Kassian's own answers to see if I find my experience recognized there. (I don't mean to be making my own experience the important thing, by the way, it's God's word that must determine everything, but the point is that Kassian is right that something in the feminist movement IS legitimate and DOES reflect a social and psychological injustice to women that needs to be sorted out). Yes, I've skimmed ahead but don't see what I'm looking for yet. I suppose I have to read through it all for it to fall into place.

Which I will now continue to do.