Though usually this series is for readers asking my unprofessional and unlicensed opinion as a dad, today’s episode is a strange exception. I will simply be responding to a good question asked by a reader of Dadvice #4: Would You Recommend Using A Midwife? when he left this comment:
“You chose to have ‘a natural as possible delivery’ but still chose to circumcise your son? There’s NOTHING natural about a circumcision…where’s the disconnect?”
You’re right. For a guy who is so self-proclaimed “natural” when it comes to medicine and food and lifestyle in general, it appears to be a double standard that I would force circumcision upon my son who was incapable of making that decision himself.
So how is circumcision natural? It’s not.
And that’s the whole point: Circumcision is not natural.
I do believe in the hype and subscribe to the dogma that circumcision is “cleaner” and prevents urinary track infections and all that good stuff that has not necessarily been clearly proven. I’m aware of all the arguments for and against circumcision: I read them all on Wikipedia today.
But for me, my support of circumcision is a personal one: It has to do with Biblical teachings. As I’m sure you know, circumcision goes back to a covenant between God and Abraham; a commandment for the Jews. From there, it also has become popular among Muslims and Christians.
In particular though, why would a Christian Gentile such as myself observe a commandment so blatantly Jewish? Why pick and choose certain parts of the Jewish law to observe when the Apostle Paul in the New Testament made it pretty clear that Christians do not have to eat kosher food or become circumcised?
With me being Mr. Natural and all, I pay special attention to the Old Testament concerning random commandments God gave to the Jews; because sometimes though not specifically mentioned, it has something to do with health.
He instructed them not to eat pork and shellfish; which are extremely low on the food chain.
God didn’t point out the fact that that eating pork would be the leading cause of people getting intestinal parasites, but it is. Why are so many people allergic to shellfish? Because they are the bottom feeders of the ocean; they are slightly toxic.
Why did God tell His people not to eat milk products with beef? Because, as a Jewish man from Israel explained it to me one time, eating the two together in the same meal slows down digestion and promotes constipation.
So two and a half years ago, I converted to a kosher diet. (That eventually led me to become a vegetarian.)
Similarly, I believe circumcision is like that. God didn’t make this commandment for His people in the name of health; but ultimately I think that has a lot to do with it.
Back to my point at the beginning, circumcision is not natural. Instead, it’s man’s recognition of God’s instruction and intervention.
And I think that concept has everything to do with faith in God: As a believer, I am constantly having to make a conscious decision to go against my own selfish desires; like choosing to love my neighbor as myself.
That is not natural.
Sure, ultimately I try to be as natural as I can. Unless I feel that there’s something health-wise I can learn by observing God’s random commandments with the Jewish people; though as a Christian, it’s not necessary I do so.
As a daddy blogger, I take special effort to criticize when husbands and dads are negatively stereotyped in pop culture. Just the same, I will not be silent when I see the same thing happening to women and moms.
Here’s the irony though. If the very majority that the show attempts to satirize simply doesn’t watch the show, I can’t imagine that the program would be renewed for a second season. Mathematically it just wouldn’t make sense.
It would be nothing short of bigotry and bad taste to substitute the “C” for a “J” for Jewish or “A” for Asian. But because Christian women are the majority, they are evidently fair game.
But most importantly, according the trailer for GCB, the “Christian” women who serve as the protagonists are materialistic, back-stabbing, husband-stealing, plastic surgery obsessed gossips.
Do some women like that exist in Christian circles? Yes.
I guess I’m asking non-Christians an important question here: What is the true perception you have of the majority of Christian women you actually know in real life?
Despite there always being some not living up to major aspects of their faith, in general, is that really how Christian women should be generalized and therefore portrayed?
If so, would it be acceptable to make a show a sitcom about American Muslims who are training to be terrorists, instead of portraying them as honest, righteous, hard-working people; like the kind of Muslims I know in real life?
Ultimately, the entertainment industry wants to produce what makes money. If it takes mocking Christian women to do the job, then they will. Similarly, if they can make money off of 19 Kids and Counting on TLC, which legitimately features actual Christian women, then they will.
I don’t believe Hollywood is evil; they just want to be successful and profitable.
What’s more relevant to consider here is if there is a large enough audience out there willing to support the venture. And I just don’t imagine good Christian women wanting to watch GCB.
My wife, who is a good Christian woman, has already informed me she definitely will not be watching the show. But who knows? She’s only one of millions who feels the same way.
At this point in American society, it is basically becoming taboo to stereotype dads and husbands as half-witted goons, as was accepted in recent decades. It used to be that advertisers could target stay-at-home moms by making a caricature of their husbands. But now that dads make up 33% of stay-at-home parents, that model is essentially invalid.
The video clip above very humorously shows several examples of commercials where this sexist approach has still been recently used by Lysol, Hasbro, Cheerios, Benadryl, Febreeze, Naturemade, Stanley Steamer, Glade Sense and Spray, Uno Attack, Walmart, Orville Rendenbacher’s, Ortho, and Yellowbook.
“Doofy Husbands: Target Women” by Sarah Haskins also cleverly points out examples of commercials targeted to men; featuring cool, good-looking guys: Infiniti, Nivea, Heineken, and Miller Lite. Of course, in these advertisements the men are assumed to be single; whereas in the ones where men are goof balls, they are clearly married.
Basically, once you marry the man, it’s like watching the opposite of the evolution of man.
At the time, I subconsciously thought for a half-second: “Wait, it almost sounds like they are making fun of dads; implying that dads are bumbling idiots who barely know how to change a diaper- one of the very ideas that I passionately denounce here on The Dadabase.”
But then I stopped myself with this rebuttal: “No, by putting dads to the ultimate test they mean that dads are tough on messes, like Mr. Clean. Yeah, that’s it… sure.”
So I moved forward with promoting it as a legitimate dad ad; because ultimately, a sponsor was making a point to acknowledge the involvement of dads regarding their product and I recognized (and still recognize) the importance of that.
Now here we are, living two weeks into the future, and a full-time stay-at-home Superdad named Chris Routly has gotten over 1,000 people (as of this minute) to sign a petition against the ad:
“Please, join me in asking them to drop the ‘Ultimate Test: Dad’ element entirely, and instead focus on actually celebrating the wonderfully active dads who use HUGGIES every day with the same competence and care as moms.”
I say this Chris Routly fellow is a smart guy and he makes a valid point.
He’s not being dramatic and asking dads, who currently make up 1/3 of stay-at-home parents, to ban Huggies. Instead, he’s asking Huggies to recognize their mistake and redirect their energy on a different ad that undoubtedly celebrates dads instead of questions their parenting abilities based on gender.
Chris Routly puts it this way, in his petition:
“How are dads a test? As a dad, am I simply too dumb to use them properly?
Why is a dad on diaper duty an appropriate or meaningful test of the product in any way a mom using them is not?
Why reduce dads to being little more than test dummy parents, putting diapers and wipes through a ‘worst-case scenario’ crash course of misuse and abuse?”
I think however this all pans out, it will be a valuable (and expensive) lesson to all advertisers from now on:
Don’t insult dads and husbands. We’re 33% of your buying power as stay-at-home parents.
If we were restricted to only see the world in terms of science, where would love fit into that picture? I guess it could be said that love, along with all other human emotions, is ultimately necessary for not only procreation but also the desired human interactions that help move us forward as a society. Carpenter ants and sea horses do not need to feel anything emotionally in order to survive and multiply, but we humans, being much more complicated, are not devoid of personalities or the need to feel needed by others. We need love.
So somewhere in the evolution from fish to ape to man, love randomly showed up in the genes and proved to be fit for survival? It sounds pretty miraculous to me…
That’s why, along with the Jewish actor/political commentator Ben Stein (The Wonder Years and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and the Christian actor/evangelist Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains), I am a devout advocate of Intelligent design.
In other words, I reject the popular and politically correct theory of evolution and/or The Big Bang Theory. Instead, I believe that man was literally created by God, from dust, as it is explained in the book of Genesis- in six literal 24 hour days.
What about dinosaurs, though? After all, men could not have survived alongside vicious, giant lizards.
Interestingly, The Book of Genesis explains that in the beginning, God gave the herbs and plants for the people to eat. It wasn’t until ten extremely long generations later (people lived centuries long back then) when Noah and his family exited the ark that God told mankind A) that animals would begin fearing man and therefore, B) that people should now starting eating animals as part of their diet.
Therefore, I believe for ten long generations, people and animals of all kinds coexisted, all living on a vegetarian diet. Radically, I believe the world is around 10,000 years old; not millions or billions. That’s just the Cliff Notes version of Intelligent design. Feel free to read another blog post I’ve written on it; or google “Intelligent design” to learn just how “out there” I really am.
Simply put, I believe that love is just simply too miraculous to have randomly showed up on its own. I believe that love did not evolve, but instead was created and given as a gift from God to man; so that man would share it. For me, thinking about love from a scientific perspective only points me to one simple idea: love is part of God’s intelligent design.
The love I share for my wife and son comes from God; not chance.
It has never been more appropriate than right now for me to give away a free copy of the brand-new, just released, children’s book, Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love.
The book seems to encompass the artistic sophistication of a classic Caldecott Medal winning book along with the multi-ethnic oneness of Sesame Street. It’s a nostalgic return to the good children’s books I read as a child growing up in the Eighties, but with a modern accent. I believe this book would especially be ideal for parents who have not yet raised their children in a particular religious household, but who are now more interested in doing so; the book would serve as a great transition into teaching them about God’s love.
Now, as to the one lucky winner who will be mailed a copy of this book, just be the first person to leave a comment on this post telling me how many weeks old my son Jack was when we gave him his first haircut. Make sure you send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and mailing address so I’ll know where to mail it.
Need a hint? Use the search box on the right side of this screen.
Excerpt from the back cover of Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love:
“Willie Juan and Ana’s home is always full of neighborhood children, laughter, and love. One day, while enjoying Ana’s most delicious sopapillas, Willie Juan asks a most curious question:
‘Little friends, what is one thing you think Abba will ask you someday when you are in heaven?’.
Through their answers, Willie Juan’s guidance, and a few giggles, the children learn that God cares about the details of their lives and that all good gifts- from hummingbirds to homemade sopapillas- come from Him.
This book will help kids discover how deep and wide and endless is the love of God. A love so BIG that no matter what, they will always be smack dab in the middle of it.”
Is The Dadabase a “Christian blog?” That’s a good question. The answer is yes; in the sense that I am narrating my version of fatherhood from a Christian perspective. The answer is no; in the sense that it is not directed specifically for a Christian audience and that the majority of my posts do not contain an explicitly spiritual theme.
While I do sporadically splice in quotes from the Bible, I intentionally do not use quotation marks nor do I list the Biblical reference where they came from. Because to me, these ancient teachings are intertwined into my thought patterns. So I don’t see a need to separate them when I write.
I love writing for Parents.com. I am so appreciative of how much they value the realness and authenticity of all their bloggers; free of censorship. I can truly be me without having to ask myself, “Was that too Christian of me to say that?”
Basically, if it relates to and ties in with my life as a dad and a husband, it’s fair game. The Dadabase is simply an unfiltered reflection of what goes through my head as an unseasoned parent and an everyday guy who just happens to be of the Christian faith.
But while technically I do have complete freedom of speech here, I also believe in using my freedom to write content that is relevant to the majority of readers and not becoming consumed with promoting my own agendas to the point they become a distraction.
As a Christian, I sometimes struggle with the assumption that my viewpoint will largely be perceived by the general public as politically incorrect, representing an old-fashioned mindset that is typically unwelcome in mainstream media and entertainment.
I’m not referring to a reluctance to use the name “Jesus” instead of “God” or “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.” Instead, it’s stuff like when I mention that my son has a soul, that I am spiritually responsible for him, that I pray for him to one day know Christ like my wife and I do, and when I matter-of-factually state that there is a heavenly kingdom awaiting us after this life.
Even more so, I am overly aware of the bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus, save me from your followers.” I recognize that for some, the word “Christian” has a stigma connected to it, associated with words like “judgmental,” “prideful,” “arrogant,” and “bigot.” I realize how easy it can be to determine the integrity of an entire group based on their loudest, most hypocritical examples.
I know I am not expected to be perfect, but I am expected to be different. Yet in the most basic ways, as a parent, I still represent the way many moms and dads feel; Christian or not.
A slightly reoccurring phrase I have seen in comments that readers leave on this blog is “It’s like you’re reading my mind…”. Despite having different preferences in our parenting techniques and styles, most of us share the same basic desires for our children. It doesn’t take being a Christian to want to positively re-brand fatherhood or to be vulnerable enough to admit that I fell in love with my son gradually, not instantly.
Last month my wife helped teach 3rd grade at Vacation Bible School. The theme was “Where Faith and Life Connect.” That’s one of my themes too; as a human, as a writer, as a guy who has to go to a real job during the day just like most other people, and as a parent.
Yes, my faith is the most important thing to me. But it’s not all I talk about. In fact, whatever the next Dadabase post is about, I’m sure it won’t mention anything about God or Christianity or any overt spiritual themes.
Just as the familiar blue skies eventually intersect with the mysterious outer space, so do my everyday life events overlap my intangible Christian faith.