Some Wounds Last for Time Immortal

It has been a while since I last posted on a live political issue – about one semester actually and I don’t believe that I have done so here on the Blogger since I started posting on this particular page. I’ve done so on Xanga because I wanted to only write about religious and faith-based issues here.

Proposition 85 will make it illegal for an unemancipated minor to have an abortion until 48 hours after the attending physician is able to notify the minor’s parent or legal guardian except in medical emergencies or parental waivers. The minor is able to get a court order waiving this notice based on presentation of convincing evidence that the minor is mature, or that failure to notify would be in the minor’s best overall interests. This proposition mandates the physician to keep records stating how many abortions he/she has performed on minors; any violations by the physician results in monetary damages. There are legal consequences if the minor’s consent to the abortion is coerced.

Literally: a minor can be authorized to kill another minor; children killing children.

Prayers can be found here.

Look, I know the issue is politically charged; when is an issue in American society not politically charged? I have more difficulty in these issues to argue with fact than with emotions. I do not not know how to emotionally withdraw myself from the argument long enough to have a coherent, factual comeback.

What I think abortion is:

  • cowardly – to think that a child is a major problem, therefore a woman scapegoats a blameless child. The child is not the issue at hand, it is the mother who decides to be impure, to make it a financial convenience for herself, who gives into the social pressures from her family, or the father.
  • murder – life begins when the soul begins, both of which begin with conception. Therefore a mother is killing her child.
  • cheating/theivery – it robs siblings, period cohorts, family relatives, etc from getting the chance to know this child; it acts against God’s will and plan for the child’s life. Who is the mother to get in the way of the Lord’s plan?
  • evil – it counteracts God’s will. It’s full of death, loss, grief, pain; none of which can be consoled or healed by time. It haunts the mother, and later, those who become aware of the person they were refused to become acquainted with.
  • making the rest of us born after 1973 survivors.
  • a topic that I keep revisiting since I found out 3 years ago about my brother. In a need to make him human, to add dignity to the life that was taken from him by our parents, I named him: Joseph. I will not be made quiet on this topic. I will not be silent: emotionally, mentally, vocally, actively. It will never end, unless abortion ends.
  • a preemptive strike on a life before “it” has a chance.

Sancte Spiritus

Jesus said to his disciples:“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Luke 12: 49-53
This sounds like my household. According to my family I need to move away from the Christian stuff because, and I quote, “it is not attractive.” It’s not attractive to who – apparently to friends, family, and it has the “potential” to scare away men who’d otherwise be possible mates. Yeah, because I really don’t want to marry a Catholic man (if God wants me to marry, that is). I don’t want a Catholic in terminology only, in family tradition only (I’ve gotten enough of that from my parents). If I marry, I want a full-blooded, attending Mass at least every Sunday, let’s help the homeless kind of Catholic … oh wait, we call those kind of men priests.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit (as in the Gospel):
If there was a place to be last night it was Taper Hall 201 with InterVarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship. We typically end around 9pm, but they were still praising when I left at 9:30pm to head home. Chante spoke last night about our #3 man — the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how to express the evening: holy, awesome, awe-inspiring, FUN, Spirit-filled, great, glorious, blessed, etc. I usually take notes on wednesday nights. I stopped halfway through because it was better to just listen than to blindly jot down words without digesting them. We were addressing the baptism of the Holy Spirit as it’s addressed in Acts 1:1-14, 2:2-21. The main points that Chante spoke off last night was how recieving the Holy Spirit is a GIFT God bestows on us at a moment when we are ready for it in our lives (Acts 1:4 Christ commands the apostles to wait and stay in Jerusalem to recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit); that with the Holy Spirit we recieve POWER in the Name of Christ, and it enables us to WITNESS and testify of Christ to, essentially, all the ends of the earth.

When there is a powerful message it is rare that there are few/no people tearing up by the end of the evening. I know I was, but unlike most times I haven’t the slightest idea why. I don’t know to what part of me the Spirit was acting on, but I know He was in the room. Chante said that God wants to give us this gift, and that we will recieve our appropriate gift if we ask, knock, seek, and remain persistent in our quest. So, I asked God that He turn an interest of mine into a gift of the Spirit. I have to wait and see.

As we were praising after Chante spoke, Steve, one of the staff members grabbed a mic and told us that the band was going to play music, but there wouldn’t be any words up on the screen — God would put the words on our hearts and that was what we were to sing. It wasn’t complete cacophony, noise at all; but it did reach a fever pitch.

Regarding the question I posed at the end of yesterday’s entry, I want to answer myself. According to Chante who spoke last night, there are many people who have never heard of the name and message of Christ, and I don’t know why I thought there wasn’t anyone left. Many are in the Middle East, in need of such hope. She also spoke of herself and her friends who were able, through the Holy Spirit, to prophesy, cast out demons, raise up the dead, and speak in tongues; beyond words.

Can one claim bliss in spiritual ignorance these days?

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute (the) food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.
Luke 12:39-48

So if you know your Master’s will and disregard it, you’re in a pot of hot water, but if you don’t know your Master’s will and still do poorly, you’re okay? Carrying on the metaphor, you can boil that down to ‘ignorance is bliss’? Is this like Ezekiel 3:16-19 where the (spiritual) watchmen are held responsible for people who don’t turn from thier wicked ways because they were not informed, versus the people who willingly remain wicked although they have heard the Truth that is to come?

Does the “ignorance is bliss” still stand spiritually today, or is the Word widespread enough that people do not live for Christ because they choose not to do so within thier hearts and minds?

Meta-Analysis of Religion’s Role in Cohabitation Trends

Meta-Analysis of Religion’s Role in Cohabitation Trends
For millennia the Judeo-Christian teachings were unquestioningly followed by the faithful, however in the last century many societal and cultural shifts in secular society have affected these teachings. Some such changes include the more egalitarian distribution of household labor among men and women based on the women’s movement of the 1970s and it is explained away by stating that God created man and woman equal in his own likeness. New Bible translations with gender-neutral language render key masculine Scriptures meaningless. Fire-and-brimstone sermons have been replaced, and few parishioners truly believe in the existence of a place called “Hell” which defeats the purpose of rewarding the faithful with a heavenly paradise. Women are allowed to pastor in some denominations as if they were Biblically given charge of the people. Contraception is not seen as a method to hinder the completion of God’s will, but as a necessity to live out one’s own life. An attitude of individualism and materialism grips all congregations, whatever is socially acceptable with in secular society is sneaking its way into the pews.
Just how long is it until cohabitation is generally accepted by Christians, or is that moment already past? Cohabitation has become increasingly popular among singles and divorcees, and how believers react and accept, or reject, it affects the future commonality of the phenomenon as well as the future direction of which the Church will go. The social acceptability of cohabitation affects how the doctrines, teachings, and practices will change. Understanding the directionality that cohabitation will take with Christians could alter the rate of growth and demographics. It should be of particular interest to church leaders.
Literature Review
Cohabitation occurs among unmarried and heterosexual couples. The most dramatic rise in cohabitation rates occurred during the 1980s and 1990s so that the 1994 rate was seven times the 1970 rate (Cohan and Kleinbaum, 2002; Smock, 2000). One-half of young adult men and women have a high probability to cohabitate at some pint in their lives so as many as one-half of marriages are preceded by cohabitation (Brown, 2000; Smock, 2000; Stolzenberg, Blair-Loy, and Waite, 1995). A third of all cohabiting relationships end in the first five years (Smock, 2000). Cohabitation arose in frequency in the 1960safter the advent of no-fault divorce, education and career paths take preference over family formation and childbearing which delays marriage (Smock, 2000; Thornton, 1985). The legitimatization of contraception, divorce, and premarital relations were all part of the cultural shifts that helped to usher in the social acceptability of cohabitation as a period of “flexibility and experimentation” (Thornton and Young-DeMarco, 2001; Brines and Joiner, 1999).
If cohabitation were training for marriages, those marriages preceded by cohabitation should be of a lower probability of dissolution. Popular opinion boasts that cohabitation in a natural stage between courtship and marriage to find the most compatible marriage partner (DeMaris and Vaninadha Rao, 1992). However only one-third of cohabiters are married within three years and the informal unions tend to be unstable (Booth and Johnson, 1988; Manning and Smock, 2002). One of the top predictors of marital separation and divorce is cohabitation. As cohabitation is historically untraditional it may attract individuals who are less compatible with the institution of marriage (DeMaris and Vaninadha Rao, 1992), and “lowers the threshold” for ending a relationship (Cohan and Kleinbaum, 2002, p181; Teachman, 2003). Cohabiters are more acceptable of and positively correlated with divorce (Axinn and Barber, 1997). Additionally the longer an individual cohabitates the less inclined one is to marriage and childbearing (Axinn and Barber, 1997). On the other hand, there are some benefits to the rise in cohabitation. As the age of marriage increases, fertility decreases, and divorce rates have stabilized, cohabitation has helped to offset some of these changes (Axinn and Barber, 1997). The age of formal first unions has risen, but if cohabitation is reframed as a nonmarital first union, then there is little increase in the age of first unions (Bumpass, Sweet, and Cherlin, 1991). The marriage decline is seen as offset by cohabitation of those how never marry and those who would otherwise remarry (Brown, 2000).
Individuals’ attitudes and behaviors are highly influenced by the groups they participate in and are affiliated (Cochran and Beeghley, 1991; Lehrer, 2004). Decisions are framed in a secular or religious context and this affects an individual’s preferences, and enables one to label a choice as positive or negative (Chaves and Montgomery, 1996; Curtis and Ellison, 2002). If one is religiously inclined then decisions are made based on what will bring positive rewards and negative punishments. Participation and adherence to the teachings of these groups are voluntarily followed, and they provide social networks (Brines and Joiner, 1999). Humans are social beings so the reactions and opinions of others socially influence one’s decision-making processes (Lehrer, 2004, Ellison, 1995). Religion and the family are positively related providing the family with social support, teachings that revolve around the goodness and sanctity of marriage relations, counseling, Bible study, and retreats; friends are likely to be religious and married as well (Pearce and Axinn, 1998). However, religion overall may be losing its moral authority over the family life.
Religious institutions condemn premarital intimacy, which is highly concurrent with cohabitation (Cochran and Beeghley, 1991; Teachman, 2003). There are teachings against premarital and post-divorce sexual intimacy as the holy books and doctrines show that sexual relations are pure and good within the banns of marriage (Call and Heaton, 1997; Philippians 4:8). Due to religious sanctions, the more intolerant a church is of a behavior, the less likely members are to engage in it (Cochran and Beeghley, 1991). These Judeo-Christian traditions believe and restrict sexual intimacy to married heterosexual couples (Cochran and Beeghley, 1991). Christians believe that as man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God, who is love; their joining in marriage is seen as very good in the eyes of God (CCC 1603-1604). Sexual intimacy leads to the unity of one flesh and a personal unity that “demands indissolubility” (CCC 1643-1644). Not only is sexual intimacy good with in the marriage, but that expression of conjugal lover requires that the marriage banns never break, therefore, if sexual intimacy occurs outside of marriage numerous sins have been committed. The word used to address pre- and extra-marital sexual relations is “lust” and in Greek, epithumos, with the “prefix epi meaning to add onto” the normal human sexual drive (Anderson, 2001). Adding onto a normal, God-give drive is morally disordering it so that the actions are sought for in and of itself, and not done for the good of society and the marriage (CCC 2351, 2353). Thus, it is strictly against God to have nonmarital sexual relations because the Scriptures states that the body is not for the immoral sexual intimacy, but for the Lord, and is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:13, 18-19). The price of this sin is death (1 Cor 7:8). Cohabitation is an invitation to the temptation to commit nonmarital sexual relations. As marriage has lost importance in society more emphasis is put onto freedom and different lifestyles such as cohabitation and inappropriate sexual relations outside of marriage (Thornton and Young-DeMarco, 2001). Church teachings question the ability of calling cohabitation a “free union”, as there is no commitment and a display of distrust that does not promote fidelity (CCC 2390-2391).
Macro level changes are occurring in the family and other institutions due in part to industrialization, economic growth, and technological advances. Religious institutions are losing their power as it is removed from other institutions such as school, and faith is more personal and individualized (Heaton and Pratt, 1990; Heaton and Cornwall, 1989; Thornton, 1985). Religious affiliation has a “modestly positive” impact on marriage and family life (Bahr and Chadwick, 1985 p 410). Religious attendance and involvement is of more importance than affiliation because few differences exist across denominations and affiliation maybe a more traditional choice and not reflect a lifestyle (Thornton and Camburn, 1989; Heaton and Pratt, 1990; Call and Heaton, 1997). As individualistic trends in religion increase, the institution (church, temple, and synagogue) is no longer seen as a moral instructor (Becker and Hofmeister, 2001; Cochran and Beeghley, 1991).
Hypothesis
Many changes have occurred in mainstream society in the last century, some of them very radical in the eyes of religious institutions’ core beliefs. These religious institutions have also changed, from the language and manners in which they celebrate their traditions and rituals to how they react to changes in secular society. Depending on the changes in society, are the religious like unchanging, unmoving to the winds of change, or do they flex and bend? Religion has been flexible to some extent, no longer requiring women to cover their heads inside the sanctuaries, and they have also remained adamant about such issues as the respect life movement. However, because so many changes in the macro level that influence attitudes about what the individual deserves and by right, should have, religious attitudes are overridden so the prevalence of cohabitation among the religious is nearly the same as secular society.
Findings and Analysis
In Figure 1 (Appendix 1) 94.4 women out of 715 self-reported to be cohabiting at the time of questioning. They reported on a number of variables, some of which included their own perceived religiosity and that of their male partner. Only 15 of the women (2.1%) of the women reported being religious, and even fewer men (1.9%). This disparity of religiosity may be due in part to the fact that not many cohabiting couples are religious to begin with, or because religious attendance and participation drops when individuals participate in activities that the religious institution frowns upon (Thornton and Camburn, 1989). Within cohabiting populations, there is decreased attendance in religious activities as the social group no longer approves of the couples’ behavior, and therefore the religiosity of the couples and the depth of their religiosity continue to decrease over time.
Attitudes toward premarital sexual relations are supposed to be reflective of one’s belief system because of one’s increased involvement within the religious institution, friends and other social contacts to reinforce the attitudes, and attitudes are best displayed in outward behavior (Thornton and Camburn, 1989; Chaves and Montgomery, 1996; Ellison, 1995; Cochran and Beeghley, 1991). However, looking at the relationship between the expressed attitudes and the passage of time, it can be seen that sexual attitudes no longer follow the strict guidelines and teachings of a faith, but more closely to that of secular society (Figure 2, Appendix 1). A slight decrease of 5% exists in the attitude in sexual permissiveness between 1982 and 1993 among Protestant Americans; however such a decrease is insignificant in relation to the differences between the percentage of permissiveness, 65.6%, and the percentage of premarital sexual relations being always wrong, 34.4% (Petersen and Donnenwerth, 1997). Secular society could be promoting these attitudes within the education system and through the media to such an extent that weekly attendances of religious activities are not nearly often enough to combat the infiltration of individualism and materialism. Secondly, the expression of these attitudes change over time, not only across generations, but within generations as religious attitudes become stronger as individuals mature and raise families of their own.
The importance of noting whether the data was collected among cohabiters whether the religion is an affiliation, or is of personal importance becomes clear when the individuals report that they are religious, but no evidence is given to what extent (Thornton and Camburn, 1989). The two largest factors in Table 1 (Appendix 1) is that out of the total population of singles, married couples, and cohabiting couples sampled, 541 Protestants and 303 Roman Catholics were reported as cohabiters, which is surprising due to the strict morals of the two denominations toward premarital relations and the sin of “living together.” Cohabiters only comprise a little more than one-third of the sample, but they have large percentages for Protestants (32.4%), Catholics (40%), and the un-affiliated (40%). If the data does not apply to those whose religiosity is due to tradition, but to those cohabiters who are actively involved in their congregations, that is a surprising amount because it goes directly against the tested and proven theories that religious behavior and attendance greatly influence one’s own behavior. When this data is combined with that of Figure 2, one can see just how much more individualized religion has become creating attitudes of accepting what one likes about the religion and discarding or ignoring the rest of the moral and spiritual restrictions. Furthermore, issues of causality and selectivity arise. The lessening of religious proscriptions could be influencing these behaviors in all parishioners, or only in a select few who were never strongly adhering to the teachings originally. Cohabiters may be selecting these religious affiliations for other reasons not examined within the context of previous studies, or the social acceptability of secular behaviors could be loosening the grip that religious institutions have over proscribing behavior.
Conclusion
Religious institutions have been morphing at an increasing rate bending to the secular attitudes and demands. Marriage and family life have changed accordingly, as well has the Church’s way of doing things, such as changing to the common vernacular and not performing services just for God, but for the people, too. All these changes occurred in the 1960s, just as family attitudes were changing to accommodate the increase in women in the labor force, and young adults were beginning to experiment with different living arrangements. As attitudes shifted from working and caring for others, religion became less of an adherence to an Authority and more for the benefit of the individual’s needs, wants, and desires. Religion, never meant to meet the needs of the people, but that of God, has fallen out of favor among those who seek their own needs and wants in material possessions and more personable lifestyles.
Numerous issues exist in the current research concerning the relationship between faith and current family formation trends. Namely, from what previous work does exist it only looks at religious affiliation, not involvement and at attitudes pertaining to premarital sexual relations. Little examination has occurred concerning the concurrency of sexual intimacy and cohabitation. National surveys oftentimes fail to give cohabitation its own designation and consolidate it in with “non family living” which includes such living arrangements as boarders and dormitories. Additionally, little is researched about the role religion has in the followers decision-making processes other than the positive or negative consequences that belie a decision on religious grounds.
References
Anderson, N. T. (2000) The Bondage Breaker. Harvest House Publishers: Eugene.
Axinn, W. G. and Barber, J. S. (1997) Living arrangements and family formation attitudes in early adulthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59: 595-611.
Bahr, H. M. and Chadwick, B. A. (1985) Religion and the family in Middletown, USA. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47: 407-414.
Becker, P. E. and Hofmeister, H. (2001). Work, family and religious involvement for men and women. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40: 707-722.
Brines, J. and Joiner, K. (1999) The ties that bind: Principles of cohesion in cohabitation and marriage. American Sociological Review, 64: 333-355.
Brown, S. L. (2000) Union transitions among cohabitors: The significance of relationship assessment and expectations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62: 833-846.
Call, R. A. and Heaton, T. B. (1997) Religious influence on marital stability. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 36: 382-392.
Chaves, M. and Montgomery, J. D. (1996) Rationality and the framing of religious choices. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 35: 128-144.
Cochran, J. K. and Beeghley, L. (1991) The influence of religion on attitudes toward nonmarital sexuality: A preliminary assessment of reference group theory. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 30:45-62.
Cohan, C. and Kleinbaum, S. (2002) Toward a greater understanding of the cohabitation effect: Premarital cohabitation and marital communication. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 64: 180-192.
Curtis K. T. and Ellison, C. G. (2002) Religious heterogamy and marital conflict: Findings, from the national survey of families and households. Journal of Family Issues, 23: 551-576.
Ellison, C. G. (1995) Rational choice explanations of individual religious behavior: Notes on the problem of social embeddedness. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 34: 89-97.
Heaton, T. B. and Cornwall, M. (1989) Religious group variation in the socioeconomic status and family behavior of women. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 28: 283-299.
Heaton, T. B. and Pratt, E. (1990) The effects of religious homogamy on marital satisfaction and stability. Journal of Family Issues, 11: 191-207.
Holy Bible. Fireside Bible Publishers: Wichita.
Lehrer, E. L. (2004) Religion as a determinant of economic and demographic behavior in the United States. Population and Development Review, 30: 707-726.
Manning, W. D. and Smock, P. J. (2002) First comes cohabitation and then comes marriage? A research note. Journal of Family Issues, 23: 1065-1087.
Pearce, L. D. and Axinn, W. G. (1998) The impact of family religious life on the quality of mother-child relationships. American Sociological Review, 63: 810-828.
Petersen, L. R. and Donnenwerth, G. V. (1997) Secularization and the influence of religion on beliefs about premarital sex. Social Forces, 75: 1071-1089.
Smock, P. (2000) Cohabitation in the United States: An appraisal of research themes, findings, and implications. Annual Review of Sociology, 26: 1-20.
Stolzenberg, R. M., Blair-Loy, and Waite, L. J. (1995) Religious participation in early adulthood: Age and family life cycle effects on church membership. American Sociological Review, 60: 84-103.
Teachman, J. (2003) Premarital sex, premarital cohabitation, and the risk of subsequent marital dissolution among women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65: 444-455.
The Holy See. (1994) Catechism of the Catholic Church. Double Day: New York.
Thornton, A. (1985) Reciporcal influences of family and religion in a changing world. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47: 381-394.
Thornton, A. and Camburn, D. (1989) Religious participation and adolescent sexual behavior. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51: 641-653.
Thornton, A. and Young-DeMarco, L. (2001) Four decades of trends in attitudes toward family issues in the United States: The 1960s through the 1990s. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63: 1009-1037.
Wilhelm, B. (1998) Changes in cohabitation across cohorts: The influence of political activism. Social Forces, 77: 289-310.

Realizations

Less hatred here today. Friday was a bad day. I had spent Thursday evening with a friend only to be told that I am too harsh, of which I already know and upbraid myself for once more. Secondly I found out that a PsyD really isn’t that great and I’d be better off with a PhD, however I can’t understand statistics to the extent I think I would have to in order to sucessfully complete the PhD program.

Then, I’ve spent the last 3 weeks in a growing sense of doubt, questioning the validity of God calling me to the religious life. I have tried to spend some time with Him over the weekend, however more time is needed. I think that God would be happy with whatever choice I made regarding my life whether I get married, or enter the religious life. On Wednesday evening at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the point was made that God will fulfill His Will whether you participate or not, but if you participate there are blessings, graces, mercies, and eternal salvation. Yet, we can not ever fully know what God Wills, and therefore, if we make the choice to not enter a particular life path it does not mean we are damned. No final decision has been made, a lot more prayer is needed in this matter.

In other religious news about my life, I am hereforward not allowed to attend Mass until Advent because I need the time to study for the GREs. Confession of this should be fun to explain.