A Quiverful of WHAT?!

gary, davis, josh duggar, Duggar, Quiverfull, Christian, TLC

How should we respond to the sexual actions of Josh Duggar when he was 14…, 13 years later?

            One such response was titled A Quiverful of Shit. What, pray tell, is Quiverful? Its resource is from Psalm 127, Christian Bible. Look it up. Quite a large number of Americans adhere to the Quiverful ideals of male dominate families, the bread winners, wherein the wife’s job is to bear children, manage the household exclusively, and never working in a fulfilling job outside the home, produce even more children, and homeschool the kids to adulthood. That is her God-defined role in life. Any higher education beyond high school is superfluous to her primary obligation to bear children and raise them. Really!?!

What bothers me is that this family portrays themselves on TV as the perfect, Christian, American family—a role model for the rest of us to emulate. They admit they have problems, but don’t we all?!? But there is never any evidence on their TV series that they have these problems; just an admission that they have them—that’s it. Dirty laundry issues.

            Being portrayed as the ideal Christian family is the real problem. Do other Americans’ actually share their values? Actually, yes.

            Does it seem possible that in the 21st Century there are families that esteem The Little House on the Praire ideal? For one, the Praire ideal wasn’t ideal. It was hard work, not to mention dangerous at times. The head of the family more than likely worked in his fields nearby nurturing or harvesting his own crops or tending to his sheep/cattle. The Quiverfull Movement has captivated vast numbers of followers due to their emphasis on a self-sufficiency ideology to remain free of any and all external influences. Take NO government assistance; teach your own children so they are not tainted by other children, and never, EVER, borrow money from anyone. Live as if you are independent from any involvement in “the world.” Total self-reliance means total separation from normal society.

            Question— Had you grown up in this kind of environment, as did the Duggar girls and their brothers, would you have known right from wrong? Of course you would. Basic human decency & respect are common to us all; whether we choose to follow it is another issue. That being stated, teenage obsession with exploratory sex is a powerful drive, not something easily overcome. I cannot brush aside Josh Duggar’s actions when he was 14; but I cannot condemn him for them either; not given our present society’s over-stimulation of sex no matter where you turn. Teens cannot be protected from that.

            What I condemn is this entire Quiverfull concept of agrarian family values that should have died with the incursion of industrialized society. Their values are certainly not Christian in any way. They are about a chosen life-practice that the Duggars and others believe is the right way to live. They are all about control and male dominance. Sorry, perfect Quiverfull Duggar family, your Christian values are not Christian. That are a façade of deep, genuine Christian faith. Your faith is simply fake.

            Your faith seems an attempt at conservative values that are impossible because of our basic nature. Josh is under fire for what he did in his adolescence. Would any of us have fared any better?

            It certainly is not genuine Christian faith.

            Finally, it seems a tragedy that there seems to be no regard for the sisters involved. Did we have to open up these old, deep scars, bleeding across the entire social media scene? Incredibly callous.

Dr Gary Davis, President

Insufficient Evidence

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, beliefs, evidence, values, known, Let’s start by considering the opposite of insufficient evidence—namely, sufficient evidence. The question put to us is simple, “Would there be sufficient evidence to convict you of what you say you believe?” or, “What repercussions do your values have for the way you live?”

Certainly, Navy Seals can boast ample evidence that their actions bespeak of a deep belief in “God & country.”  (Their motto is Ready to lead…, ready to follow. Never quit.) People of deep religious faith generally could be convicted for their faith; there should be sufficient evidence. (If there is not…, well.) There is probably a Gallup survey that asks “To what extent do you follow through on your commitments?”

Yet in our Western, postChristian, pluralistic world there seems to be more of an inclination toward tentative commitments and cautious relationships. The fear of being known has regained unusual ground in a culture longing for safety. There has also been a rise in the fear of being wrong, or making the wrong choice or decision. Therefore, many of us never fully commit to anything. We have prenuptial agreements, escape clauses, termination parachutes, etc. We are a people who do not like to be pinned down or labeled; Christian, Republican, Conservative/Liberal, even male/female.

Part of the reason for our hesitation-to-commit is our fear of being hurt. It is our fear of being rejected from “the group,” or our insecurity stemming from our own historical observations that commitments are simply inconsequential. So why make them? We have fed this innate fear that, if we make a mistake we need to cover ourselves; we need to provide an escape route that will free us from the whole mess, the marriage, the contract, the bond. We fear being hurt so much that we don’t fully give ourselves to anything, or anyone, anymore. We always need to protect ourselves— a way OUT.

Therefore, we can never be pinned down on what we hold dear, what we value, or what we believe:  it’s just safer for us that way. Or is it?

Without sufficient evidence to hold us to any belief system or set of values we may have escaped the wrath of some other group. We may have avoided another deep heartache. But we have also demolished our own core. We have morphed its solidity for mush, its certainty for wishy-washy equivocation, which is about as inspiring as tan wallpaper.

If our leaders, and ourselves, do not hold positional beliefs and values strong and clear enough to convict us then who have we become? Insufficient evidenceis the descriptor of weaker men who do not want to be held accountable for their actions.

Let’s stand up and be counted—  even if it costs us our lives.

‘Nough said,


Kosher Bacon

This is a strange world.

When Boneless Spiral Ham is marketed as Delicious for Chanukah something is seriously out of kilter. “What’s next?!? Kosher Bacon!?!” Some things just don’t work. They don’t go together.

They’re termed—Oxymoron’s. Amicable divorce, act naturally, authentic reproduction, and the like. Grammatically, they make no sense, except as a play on words or a jest. But in the world of flesh & blood, when things don’t go together there can be serious consequences. For example, making a commitment, while never intending to honor it; whether it be a diet plan, a marriage, an employment requirement, or a peace treaty, breaking commitments is a serious breach of trust.

Business practices are not always complimentary: some are so oppositional that even the business ethic is transgressed. It is the same for systems of government, philosophies of life, and personal value practices; unless there is a clear understanding and coherence to a singular set of standards there will be compromise, corruption, and constant confrontation from divergent perspectives.

It is most likely that some Jews do eat kosher bacon, whatever that is. But they have compromised something to do so. All of us make compromises to make things work together for the common good. But is it worth it to compromise our basic values and beliefs “for the common good?” None of us should hold a principle which we consider good and right, and then shade is as if it were not so good, not so right.

If you are Jewish, then be Jewish; if you are Muslim, then be Muslim; if you are Christian, then be Christian; if you are an atheist, then be an atheist. Know what you believe and have reasons for it. If you do not know what you believe, but merely adhere to the general faith of the thing, well, maybe it’s time you did some review of what you say you hold so dearly as true.

[Note: there was no EMPulse for 09/23/2013 because it was my birthday & I didn’t feel like writing one.]

For what it’s worth,


Lives Cut Short

Wars take a terrible toll on countries, peoples, families, and individuals. Too many young men & women sacrifice their lives for what they believe to be the right way, the way of their country and/or their God. No matter the winner of the conflict, the cost to both sides is immeasurable.

Presently, our planet finds itself in the midst of another world war; not of nation pitted abainst nation, but of beliefs pitted against beliefs, with small cells of extremists attacking established systems of governence. Lives will be lost, thousands of them, on both sides, as this war rages on. It is the kind of war that will go on for decades, leaving the victors in exhausted glory.

However, there is another kind of war that cuts short the lives of men. It is the war of identity-theft. Far too frequently we tie our identity to some acceptance matrix; to a job, to a discretionary activity (sports, parenting, music), to a particular relationship, in ownership of property (wealth, houses, cars). We define ourselves in terms of other things—a position, athleticism, intelligence, motherhood, performance, wealth, even other people.

Then something happens to rob us of the identity we tied to our job, family, friends, athletic ability, etc. It may be as minor as a broken ankle, as devastating as a divorce, or as simple as aging. And our world collapses. Whatever it was that gave us our identity is no longer there. We are at float in a sea lacking any clearly identifiable directions. Your life, as you knew it, has been cut short.

For some of us, that is it: that’s all she wrote. It’s over. Whatever comes next looms as insignificant compared to what we have just lost. How can there be any kind of future for me?!?

Some things to ponder—

  1. Consider that the original foundation for your identity may have been established on an inappropriate underpinning, be that people, place, property, wealth, or ability. Placing your self-definers in stuff, or people, is never a good idea. It all burns up in the end anyway. [FYI- I’ve grounded my identity in the God of the universe. So far, this has proven a very safe connection.]
  2. Your present “tragedy” could be just the incentive you need to re-examine your identity baseline. Don’t forgo the opportunity.
  3. Don’t stop living. Force yourself to dream about what could be next. On a personal note, there was a period in my life when I believed I had developed failure to an art-form. But I learned a lot how NOT to mess-up again.
  4. Be on the lookout for God’s little surprises. He has a way of dropping new friends into your life, of healing broken bodies, and of healing hurting hearts with new love.
  5. Try to rest. Take walks. Think out loud. Don’t give up! If you’re still breathing your life is NOT cut short yet.

Have a nice week,