Brian you almost said something brilliant with your feminism post. Almost.
Feminism has been and always will be about choice. It’s about not being relegated to a docile set of duties in the home, but being allowed to take part in society in any way you choose–whether that be as a “housewife” or out in the workforce.
The stereotype, as handed down to us by cultural norms and historical practice, is that men go out and engage each other in economic activity while women stay at home to raise the family. Some people try to defend it as “specialization of labor” that is “inherently more stable,” and to that, I say, what a load of crap.
You were right, though. It is selfish to want both a highpowered career and a loving family. Just be ready to admit that life is an inherently selfish enterprise, each of us taking it upon him-/herself to acquire as much happiness as possible without putting the happiness of others at risk of injury (thanks Mill).
Marriage is a partnership, a 50/50 split, and it’s as much give as it is take. That being said, if a couple wants both, then they have to accept equal obligation. None should feel more “duty” to home than to work, and BOTH must make sacrifices. And if that means a couple decides, as a unit, that one will work while the other stays at home, then by all means we should stay out. We lack the personal knowledge, not to mention the authority, to pass moral judgement on how other people decide to set up their homes. There is no gold standard. Templates, maybe. But that’s the beauty of being human. The rejection, adaptation, and manipulation of templates to suit our needs, to find that happiness. Cookie-cutters are for baking, not the creation of families.
On to the next subject: Christmas.
Christmas lost its meaning a long time ago. You know who killed it? That fat bastard in the red suit. I asked my 9-year old stepbrother one time a simple question. “Why do we celebrate Christmas?” You know what he said? Nothing. He just sat there, and thought and thought and thought, and didn’t have an answer.
“It’s Jesus’ birthday,” I told him.
“Like, the day he was born?”
“How old is He?” (I, of course, am adding the capitalization here for him. I doubt he would have known.)
“Oh, not so old–2000 years or so. Do you know why we celebrate?”
“We celebrate because God sent Him to die for us so we could be saved.”
“Saved from what?”
“Ourselves, mostly. You know those kids that are bullies at your school? Do you think its right what they do to other kids?”
“Right, that’s sin. There’s lots of other kinds, but you’ll figure them out later. But basically, Jesus was sent to die for us and pay for our sins, because none of us can be good enough people on our own–actually we kind of suck at being people.”
“If it’s Jesus’ birthday, why don’t we make him a birthday cake?”
Obviously my philosophical indictment of the human race was mostly lost on him, but suddenly I was the silent one. “I don’t know.”
And so, from that year forward, our family, in an attempt to add what little meaning we could in an age of hyper-consumption and secular institutionalism, have baked Jesus a birthday cake. We even sing that horribly written, acoustically unappealing song; but we do it so lovingly I don’t think God really minds.
The point I was trying to make is that Christmas only loses as much meaning as you allow it to. Religion is an extremely personal thing, and its a process–one that requires constant questioning and interpretation, lest we all become lemmings content to accept anything we hear on our march over a cliff a la The Walrus and the Carpenter. You can’t force anyone to believe anything. A whole bunch of crusades and persecution throughout the centuries should stand as evidence of that. I know Christianity assumes this “we’re right and everyone else is wrong” type of mentality, (I am the way… no one comes to the Father but by me spells it out pretty clearly); but we have to remember that we are not God, we are people, and none of it is for us to decide or judge. Most of the time I have enough trouble worrying about David Hodges.
So to respond directly to the Wampler, taking the word “Christmas” off of buildings or out of phrases doesn’t bother me one way or the other. Those aren’t the places where Christmas is. Christmas is a part of my faith, and my faith isn’t on a wall or in a “Christmas tree” lot. It’s within me and everyone else who believes. To hell with everyone else.