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Monday, March 19, 2007

Upward Spiral

Harmony and I continually find ourselves in an upward spiral these days. That would be the opposite of "downward spiral," which is a commonly used term in vernacular English. Our upward spiral means that we are becoming more and more traditional as time goes by. Want to know how "weird" we've become? Read on. For the short attention spans out there, I've bolded the continual steps of our upward spiral.

For a time in college, I thought that after Harmony and I got married, that she would work part-time. I have always wanted my wife staying home with my kids, I believe, so I would've been fine with her quitting when kids came along. But then Harmony presented me with some reasons why it could be a jarring adjustment to not have that extra income (etc.) anymore and I was quite easily won over. I think she had just begun reading conservative Christian blogs at this time. Somewhere in there we also decided against using birth control.

Not surprisingly, a short time afterwards, she brought up the subject of homeschooling. I'd not had much experience with homeschooling. I'd only known one person who'd been homeschooled, and she didn't seem any more weird than the rest of us. I think I did bring up the default question of "socialization" but I don't remember what came of it. All I know now is that I have no desire to socialize my kids in the Godless socialist environment that is tax payer funded child abuse (a.k.a. government/public schools). So you would think that I would naturally want to put my kids in private Christian schools, right? Well, not really. Contemporary classrooms still follow the age-segregated peer education model. I attended private school for a while and I can tell you that no majority of students are Bambi-eyed cherubs who espouse Christian virtues when presented with the opportunity to do evil. In general, I do not plan to practice age segregation, so this means that the only option left is either a one room schoolhouse or homeschooling. I think you know which one I intend to choose.

(Of course, I do not condemn you if, for whatever reason, choose/chose not to homeschool. Besides, humans have no power to condemn anyone. It's like trying to will the sun not to rise.)

Of course, age segregation is present in churches today. Youth groups, young adult ministries, teen ministries, this-and-that ministries. I have read reasons why some people choose not to put their kids in youth groups, and I must say that I agree with the reasons.

I've also become much more traditional in my preferred church music. Before I came to college, I was all into the contemporary styles of musical worship. But I started attending a quasi-church of Christ in college. Quasi- meaning it was a denomination split from the churches of Christ, which generally do not use instruments. Over the years I became accustomed to and developed affinity for non-instrumental 4 part a cappella hymns as my preferred method of musical worship. I do not believe this is a salvation issue and therefore do not condemn any who do use instruments in worship.

After many years of eating entirely unhealthy foods in college, we started getting more much "weird" about eating healthy foods. At first it started with Harmony trying to cut out extremely sugary foods from her diet. Then we somehow got to slowly cutting out trans fats from our diets. We started buying organic every now and then. Now, we try to make things from scratch whenever possible. We also try to substitute other things for sugar (like honey or Sucanat-which-is-painfully-expensive), since my dad has relatively recently developed diabetes, which means I might be susceptible as well.

Harmony has recently also been reading up on hybrid seed varieties and seed saving or whatnot. I think she's on a new quest to be a responsible gardener, which means not using pesticides and using "good" seeds only. (Pssst...Harmony might want to revise this paragraph later.)

One area which I've become much less strict on is the issue of salvation. Actually, I got considerably more strict before coming back down to what I think is a happy medium. The church I attended throughout college used to hold to a rather cult-ish belief that only those who held to their doctrines and every single one of their extra-Biblical beliefs would enter Heaven. There was lip service given to those select few outside the church that (theoretically) had come to the church's beliefs independently. However, most of their extra-Biblical beliefs were exclusively practiced in that church only, so in practice, no one but church members fit. To its own credit, many of these churches have reformed their beliefs and have become pleasantly progressive (relative to former positions), although there are still some who hold to such narrow and cult-ish beliefs. Old beliefs die hard among some. Anyways, I used to buy into the One True Church mindset, but do so no longer. Coincidentally or not, Harmony and I now attend a traditional church of Christ. Before college, I think I was too quick to label many people as being "Christian" without having the lifestyle to prove it. I no longer just assume that anyone is a Christian just because he/she says so, but also no longer believe that only people in my former church are the only ones who hold the keys to heaven (what would that mean for me, who no longer attends?)

...But don't let all this scare you off from talking to us. I think on the outside we still resemble normal people. I'm left wondering how much more traditional/conservative we'll become in the next decade.

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9 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Myfriendconnie

    I was with you up until that whole "eating healthy foods" thing. Does that mean you don't believe in frying your potatoes in bacon grease? Yum!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder whether the logical end of your upward spiral is to move to the wilderness and live off the land!

    FIL

  • CappuccinoLife

    I like that kind of spiral. :D

  • JunkMale

    Connie,

    well uh...haha...umm.. By eating "healthy" foods I guess I meant "trying to eat natural foods most of the time." I personally never grew up eating bacon and so never developed the elitism for pig bacon. I eat turkey bacon pretty often though. The JunkMale family is not without its pet vices, such as cookies and cakes (never from mixes and never with margarine, mind you). I wouldn't be totally against frying potatoes in bacon grease. After all, saturated fats are a necessary dietary component ;) I quite enjoy that little fact.

    FIL,
    I've often jokingly wondered if we would ever upward spiral so much that we ended up moving to the wilderness etc. But then I realize that I know not much about country life and would be sorely out of place when confronted with how to properly take care of goats, cows, and chickens.

  • CappuccinoLife

    Golly, I am having a rough time with Blogger today!

    What I've been trying to ask is: How will other Koreans or Asians in general respond if your rejection of birth control results in more than 1.7 children (or whatever the average is now)?
    Josiah being an African immigrant, he's run into no small amount of wonderment and disbelief that he continues to "burden" himself and "hinder" his career and finances with a bunch of babies. Having two boys, what more could he want? Why would he keep going? They don't get it at all.

  • JunkMale

    Maggie,

    I have observed that these days in Korea, it is okay to have more than the standard 1.7 (or whatever) kids if you do not have sons. Case in point is my mom's next younger sister. She had three girls before she had a boy. I think part of the reason they kept going was because of pressure from the dad's mom (figures). I wonder if my mom would bust out with the "I don't want to live if no grandson" sentiment if we only have girls.

    However, if we start with a boy, then who knows. I probably will get out-loud wonderings why I keep spreading my money out thinner with each additional child. I might take time to explain it once and then dismiss it with an one-explanation-suffices-now-kindly-butt-out. One must hope that I am feeling more diplomatic, should the need arise for me to explain myself over and over. I assume that Koreans, just like most people, will also think we are weird for having more than 1.7 kids. Interesting, considering Korean people were still reproducing like crazy when our grandparents were in charge of making babies. My mom's from a family of 6 kids, and my dad from a family of 6 kids, then 4 (I think TB killed his older sister while he was a kid).

    And for the record, I do hope that our rejection of birth control nets more than 1.7 children. Especially since it would be kind of morbid and gruesome to have 7/10's of a corporeal kid in the house.

  • Harmony

    I have heard JM's mother say that a 4-child family is ideal: 2 boys, 2 girls, so I suppose it's not completely weird to have a "large" family...

    I think it's amazing how taboo it has become in recent years to have a "large" family. The stigma has put a lot of countries in a position where they are facing serious financial difficulties. How can you take care of the aging when they make up more than a third of the population? Some Asian and European countries are only a few years from that reality.

  • Iris

    I was with harmony when JM's mother mentioned the 4-child ideal. ;)

    I like this upward spiral. I wish more and more people would eat the way we do. Then I wouldn't have to feel awkward when people ask me why I don't eat certain foods (btw, I just say that I don't eat "those kinds of foods"). I'm afraid to respond with, "Because I'm trying to avoid partially hydrogenated oils." It could potentially sound condescending, as if I'm trying to be better than other people (i.e., I'm not going to eat the foods that you eat because they're bad for you).

    Just a little tidbit about homeschooling: did you know that Josh Harris' father, Gregg Harris, was a pioneer in the early homeschool movement? And when we were in MD for our spring break trip, we got to visit the church where Josh is a pastor. He mentioned a brief story about homeschooling, and I thought of you two. =)

  • CappuccinoLife

    That is really interesting! I guess if 4 is "ideal" then I'm OK for a few more kids, since in April we'll be having our third boy. I need to get at least two girls, then, right?

    We have found educated Africans to be going the opposite direction, having as few children as possible (and some even forgo trying for a son, if their first two are girls). It aggravates my husband tremendously.