Only One Adult?

If we are unlucky enough to have read or heard about Onan, we have no doubt tried to explain it.  Why would god kill a man for ejaculating on the ground? 

My favourite explanation is that, since he was doing it to prevent a pregnancy and losing the ‘right’ to rape his sister-in-law, god was telling people he doesn’t like rape. 

Others prefer the  <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMx6X26iJ_c“>Every Sperm is Sacred</a> theory.  This has been used to ban male masturbation and birth control.  Two things our world cannot do without.

Of course, the one that makes most sense with the text and cultural context is that Onan wanted his ‘real’ offspring to inherit the family possessions thereby passing on his name and not his brother’s.

The weirdest explanation I heard was in a church sermon.  Apparently, the main issue wasn’t what Onan did or didn’t do, but on what his parents did/didn’t do.  The older brother, Er, was named.  It doesn’t say by whom.  The next two, Onan and Shelah, were named by their mother.

That was the root of sin.  The mother named them.  Which led to god being angry at them, supposedly for the problems created by the mother having too much authority and the father too little.

This makes no sense from the text since Er and Onan were killed, but not Shelah. 

This fact didn’t matter to the one preaching.  He then went on to berate the women for taking too much authority in the home and preventing the fathers from taking their lawful headship.  He called for the men to tuck in their little ones with prayers of protection, since they would be so much more powerful coming from the man.  Yes, he said that.

I felt sick and enraged.  There were single moms in the congregation who had fled abusive men in order to protect their children.  They were being told that their protectiveness not only wasn’t as effective as a man’s, but was dangerous and harmful.

I doubt the man preaching had ever tucked his kids into bed, let alone changed a diaper or talked to their teacher or bully.  Yet, he was authoritatively saying the problem with kids was that the mothers were too protective.

I marched up as soon as he finished and told the congregation that we needed Mamma Bears.  I told a story of when I needed to stand up for my baby and put others’ feelings ahead of my wee one’s safety.  It was the closest to contradicting an elder in the church I had ever done before.

Afterwards, one of the single mammas whispered “thank-you” to me as she slipped quietly away.  The preacher thanked me for “adding balance”.

Unfortunately, this bizarre dichotomy of women must decrease so that men may increase isn’t limited to church.  Neither is merely a relic of the past where Annie from Annie Get Your Gun is told that she should deliberately lose a shooting match so she can win her opponent’s heart.

There is a growing concern that women becoming competent adults is the reason more men are staying in perpetual adolescence.  I’ve heard this from Al Mohler’s crowd and Boundless webzine.  No surprise that they think a man can only be an adult if he has a needy infantile wife to take care of who in return, takes care of his every mundane need.

What does surprise me is the growing secular crowd preaching this same ‘only one adult at a time’ lie.  Various radio programs have featured concern over greater numbers of males living with parents and playing video games while their female peers are volunteering and buying houses on their own. 

One woman interviewed wrote a book about how women being responsible is the cause of men acting like teenagers.  

I’m not buying it.

I have more respect for men’s intelligence and competency than that.  Men can be capable fathers without their wive’s permission or submission.  Men are fully able to make adult decisions, get jobs and do good in their community without a stay-at-home wife relying on him to pay the bills.  Men are not irrelevant when women are allowed to support themselves.

The dance of over and underfunctioning does exist, but it is no one person or gender’s fault nor is it the ideal.  We don’t need to define ourselves by the perceived weakness of someone else.

I believe there is room for more than one adult at a time.

24 thoughts on “Only One Adult?

  1. Ahab says:

    There is definitely room for more than one adult at a time. Any man who needs to subjugate a woman to feel masculine is immature and selfish, period. Well-adjusted men prefer women who are their equals, and both sexes are discovering that gender equality makes for happier, healthier relationships.

  2. prairienymph says:

    In the meantime, a friend of mine may lose either herself or her husband by challenging the status-quo.

  3. Thank you for this post, PN. You said it well. Ahab, you are absolutely correctly: Well-adjusted men prefer women who are their equals, and both sexes are discovering that gender equality makes for happier, healthier relationships.
    That sentence should be on bill boards all over the world.

  4. ... Zoe ~ says:

    Wow, you go girl! Part of me wishes I was still in a position to march up to the front and “bring some balance.” :mrgreen:

    It’s a positive thing that he at least thanked you for “bringing balance.” I can see me turning around and saying to him, “Why didn’t you?”

    • prairienymph says:

      I wanted to be able to speak again!
      This guy once told me that women couldn’t teach. And then a few years later thanked me for my teaching. He’s also changed his mind on the rule of women wearing headcoverings in all services. But as far as I know, on questioning the superiority of the King Jame’s or New King Jame’s Versions. Although, I haven’t been there for a year.

  5. David Holland says:

    The idea that men are not adequate to the job sounds like a rehash of that sociological explanation for why black men don’t support their families (DISCLAIMER – DO NOT SUBSCRIBE, thank you).

    I’m at a loss for the strange and varied explanations you have heard for Onan’s demise, but maybe its related to the problem of intellectual isolation that (in)breeds the clouded perspectives you present.

    WRT your friend, how can she loose him over challenging the status quo? Does he love her? She him? Maybe I’m corny but those are powerful tools for finding a way.

    • prairienymph says:

      Yes, I don’t think any reasonable person would take that explanation of Onan seriously. Probably not even the person who said it. Humans are great at using anything to justify their beliefs.

      I think my friend and her husband can work it out- they’re pretty committed. It’ll just be bumpy. She is starting to challenge her role as the secondary disposable one. She doesn’t want to move too much out of it, but just a little. For her own health and that of the family. Any change can be threatening though.

  6. First, prairie nymph, this is one of the best posts I’ve read on any blog. You are a deep thinker and your thoughts so often resonate with me. Thank you.

    Second, I can picture you walking up to the front of that congregation and correcting the false teachings spewed by the sexist leader. Awesome.

    Third, we women are so powerful, aren’t we? I mean if I’m successful and strong, suddenly all kinds of men are incapacitated to do anything more than live with their parents and play video games all day. I love that powerful part of myself. Men are like puppets on our strings. ::snicker::

  7. D'Ma says:

    That is one of the most ridiculous explanations for immaturity in men I’ve ever heard. If a grown man is still living at mama’s and daddy’s and playing video games well into adulthood, it isn’t his female counterpart’s fault for taking care of herself. Sounds like somebody needs to be pushed out of the nest. Get off the tit and go get a job! It isn’t a wife’s/girlfriend’s duty to teach a man to be responsible. That’s what parents are for. *Rant over*

    • prairienymph says:

      Its funny, all of the Greek women in our city that I’ve talked to say pretty much the same thing. They hated dating Greek men since it entailed doing their laundry. They love dating “Canadian” men- apparently they have better cooking and kissing skills. They and their sisters and girl cousins all married or date “Canadian” men, while their brothers and male cousins are unmarried. But living at home.
      It easy to be annoyed, but hard to blame these guys for living where their parents still do their laundry, cook their meals and pay the bills. I hope I’d pick the responsible option in their place, but I was working from age 8, so I don’t have the same background.

      Its not just men, I do know girl-women who married so that someone would just take care of them. They scare me too.

      I think in both cases, they were brought up with the expectation that they shouldn’t have to do things for themselves. Its viewed as demeaning and/or outrageous. Princess syndrome?

      • D'Ma says:

        I think parents owe it to their children to teach them to take care of themselves. I know a woman here who, though she had lymphoma, up until the very last stages still went to work every day. She paid her grown, married daughter’s utility bills, cell phone bills, car payment and gave her grocery money until the day she died. Now the daughter has no idea how to fend for herself.

        I don’t blame adult children for continuing to take what the parents are giving them. Why would an adult child move out if the parents are paying their bills and doing the housekeeping? Some guys/girls are so motivated that they would, but not most. No, the parents need to push little baby birdies out of the nest sometime.

      • prairienymph says:

        Even though I know this, I still feel so much guilt when I refuse to do things for my kids. My daughter’s friend gets an allowance if she does her own chores (picking up her toys, brushing her teeth) and I only give my kid money for helping with other chores like laundry or washing floors. The guilt is so strong!
        When your kid is tired and crying because they don’t like veggies it is so tempting to give them fruit instead. You get this immediate feeling of doing something good when you have a happy child eating something. When you stick it out there is no reward feeling, and all the doubts.
        Guess that is why parents can’t expect taking care of kids will be instantly rewarding.

  8. Great post! Major kudos for being a momma bear!

  9. Grace says:

    Great post! This line of thought is so insulting and patronizing to men and women. I have more faith in men that they can be grown ups, too. Yay, this post made me want to stand up and cheer!

  10. My children swear they will never let me babysit my grandkids unattended. They know I will teach them many things they shouldn’t know. Like how their parents REALLY behaved. Little things like that. Or how to fold their toast in the middle, take a bite out of it and look through it getting jam all over their faces. I am looking forward to it.

  11. Yes and how to say “no way, Jose!”

    “Its not just men, I do know girl-women who married so that someone would just take care of them. They scare me too. ”

    Ella told my cousin Helen that if something happened to me she would never remarry. Helen, who lives on a farm, said she would grab the first guy she saw and say “You! Home!! Shovel!!!”.

    I imagine the Canadian guys who married the Greek girls thought they had died and gone to Heaven too. Russian and Ukrainian women like Canadian men for the same reasons and make great wives for the same reasons.

  12. Skjaere says:

    There is a growing concern that women becoming competent adults is the reason more men are staying in perpetual adolescence.

    Good Crikey! My mother was making this argument just the other day, with regard to my sister and brother-in-law. It really grated on me.

    • prairienymph says:

      She probably thinks she is defending malekind, not insulting them by saying they are too weak to be an adult unless propped up by false circumstances. It is sad how many people actually believe this.

      • Skjaere says:

        Yes. She thinks my sister takes on too much of the responsibility in the relationship (eg, at the moment, she’s sending out copies of his resume to try and find him a better job). Mom thinks she needs to step back and just let him fail, in the hopes that this will mature him. I don’t really know what she should do to get him off his ass and contributing, but it bothers me to hear my mom somehow imply that it’s my sister’s fault that he’s like that.

  13. D'Ma says:

    When I was married I did the same thing. So as to your mother’s advice or thoughts on the subject, maybe she isn’t that far off base. I called and ordered my husband’s medicines, if anything at all went wrong I took care of it, I took care of all the little details of life. All he had to do was get up and go to work. Wherever he fell short I picked up. Was it my fault he was like that? No. But I was enabling him to stay that way.

    About six months after we were divorced I was contemplating whether I should go back to him. I knew I had hurt him and embarrassed him so I called him up and asked him to go to breakfast. I apologized for the hurt I had caused, and then I sat quietly and let him talk. He rambled on about this, that and the other. No less than three times he told me he missed me. Finally he said, “I took for granted all the little things you took care of, getting my prescriptions filled, making my appointments for me, taking care of all the little bills that came in. I never had to do any of that before. I really miss that about you.” Really? All the things you could miss about ME and that was the one thing you picked out. ‘Cause it really sounded a whole lot more about what I could do FOR him. Anyway, I learned the hard way I didn’t take him to raise, I wanted a grown up husband.

  14. prairienymph says:

    Ah. Your sister isn’t so much being a co-adult as his caretaker though.
    I wouldn’t put all the blame on your sister either, but maybe she is the most likely to change? Whatever she does will affect him, although it is still his choice how he reacts.

    Have you read much about co-dependency? Or about over/underfunctioning?

    Sometimes what the person needs most is anti-depressants or therapy.

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