How to recover from a bad blog post…
Wednesday, famed author Donald Miller penned a blog directed towards girls on how to live a great love story. You can read it here. Not being a follower of his blog, I actually read it through the numerous supportive retweets that hit my Twitter feed. And I wanted to like it. I wanted to agree with it. But 24 hours later, I’m still bothered by the lack of grace this sermonette of shame expresses.
Let me start by exposing a part of myself that I made a decision awhile back not to bring up on the world wide web. Not because of embarrassment, but simply because it’s no one’s business. I am a virgin. I’m one of those chaste girls Christian men are supposed to be praying for when they go to sleep at night. The perfect partner and mother to children. I don’t hook up with guys…never have. NiCMO’s (non-committal makeouts) are not in my repertoire. So, from Mr. Miller’s blog…I’ve learned that I am the type of woman that will spend a lot of nights crying myself to sleep out of loneliness, but also have the joy of knowing I’ll always be respected by “the right man” because he’ll know I’ve never had “a slutty period.” And you know, there are hints of that in my life. I get restless every couple of years to meet “the one” and get discouraged that it may not happen. And I do hope that my future husband will feel the weight of what it means that I waited for him to have sex. But if the intent of Mr. Miller’s blog was to encourage women to move in that direction, he failed. Failed miserably.
I’ve had the occasion to meet Mr. Miller here and there, and he’s certainly put on a pedestal within the Christian subculture. Beyond that, his book, Searching for God Knows What, spoke more clearly to me in a time of need and transition than any other book ever had. So I was surprised that in this particular blog post, his six points spoke so much anger, hate and shame. There was no remnant of hope…no grace extended to women who have made mistakes, or even been taken advantage of. It’s a post condemning women, and my heart aches for its readers who were reminded that their past may not make them worthy of a good man’s pursuit.
I know his blog was directed toward a very specific audience of women who maintain the morals the Bible commands, so this response is doing a bit of the same. And I agree…women would be MUCH better off if they could truly grasp the measure of their worth, and wait for a man who is going to honor and respect them. But beyond that, I’d also encourage them to wait for a man who will extend grace and mercy and kindness and love that will mirror what God has given us. I wish I could emblazon that on every woman’s heart (including my own).
Interestingly, I have always dated “good Christian men.” I’ve kept myself above board in all aspects in my relationships with them. But if I’m honest, I have never been treated worse than I have in those relationships. For some reason, whether it be expectations, pressure or nerves, it seems like I leave each relationship feeling ugly, worthless and stupid. One relationship in particular left me feeling like a whore. And I don’t use that term lightly. For more than a year after it ended, I felt like a whore. And would you believe I didn’t even kiss that guy? In the three months we were together, we never even kissed. He believed it was important to wait a year before going down that road. But his words cut me deep, and it took years to repair that wound.
I write this only because Mr. Miller’s blog stirred up some of the same physiological reactions I had in that three month relationship. No matter how “pure” I was…it wasn’t enough. I needed to tone down my personality. I needed to change my humor. I, who doesn’t wear revealing clothing because I don’t want imaginations to run wild, needed to cover up even more. But ladies…please hear this…that isn’t love. That isn’t grace. That isn’t mercy. That isn’t God.
So, I ask that you throw that blog out the window. Sure, chase after the good things, the righteous things, the holy things. And when it comes to love, look for a man who forgives. Who extends grace when it seems like there is none to be offered. Who gives mercy when you’re certain you’re unworthy. And hold yourself to the same standard. Look for opportunities to offer forgiveness, grace, mercy and understanding. THAT is God. THAT is good. And THAT, my sweet friends, is what a great love story is.
But, being that I’m not married, I’d like to close with my brother’s insight. He’s married with a new baby, which I feel merits him to speak a wee bit more on this topic.
“What I found sad about the post is that he puts a “love story” on a pedestal. He is also speaking from a place of ignorance. He just got engaged in June and now he is an expert on the marriage relationship. He labels all girls that have had sex before marriage as having gone through a “slutty” period and that no man can marry her and look at her as his equal. Utter bull! I’m not saying virginity isn’t important, but it isn’t a qualification for a great marriage or “love story” as Donald calls it. We as married men are told to love our wives as Christ loves the Church. Nowhere do you find Jesus looking at His Church and saying, “I love her, but she went through that slutty period, so I can’t really look at her the same.” He looks at her as a shining bride in pure white. He looks at her as the prize. He doesn’t see who she was or what she’s done (and it was much worse than a slutty period as Donny boy calls it). Yes, the husband will need to forgive his wife for the things that she has done, but the wife will need to forgive the husband for what he has done as well whether or not that was sexual or something else entirely (which in Donald’s case will probably be self-righteousness).”