Magic Erasers Are the Best Cleaning Product, Or Why Elisabeth Elliot is Full of Crap

Magic Erasers are the best cleaning product out on the market today.

They’re particularly useful for the bachelor pad, the busy business minded person or for the person who hates to clean (like me).

If you’re like me, you hate to clean. You don’t mind letting the shower go for a month without a good scrub down. You may not even vacuum the floors until you can visibly see the dirt on the floor. Maybe you have a sink full of dishes that’s been sitting in there since Thanksgiving. Who cares!

With the Magic Eraser, you can wait two or three months and then give your shower a good scrub down. All the soap scum disappears…like magic! (Pun intended) Ha Ha.

I love the magic eraser. Why? You ask. Let me explain.

Years went by while I was being “discipled” (or as I affectionately call it: Slavery) that we were ordered to keep our rooms, bathrooms, and cars in meticulous care.

If our pastor walked in unannounced, he might see our dorms in moderate disarray (the kind of disarray that’s normal for a young adult).You’ve seen comments on this blog, where ex-students have shared that their personal belongings were ripped from their wardrobe closets and tossed into the middle of the dorm room floor to represent the pastor’s distaste for uncleanliness.

This was a real problem for me.

Not only is it violent, and abusive, but it’s just not my style to spend hours on end categorizing and organizing my underwear and personal filing system. I have better things to do. I like to sleep. I love to write and play online. I take long drives down in Southern California, adoring the natural beauty of our state. In other words, I don’t give a damn about cleaning for hours on end and I’m happy about that.

Furthermore, I’ve always been really relaxed when it comes to how my room or apartment looks. My idea of being organized for my writing space is dozens of books lined up along the floor, wall, counter top, and desk–some open to a page that I’m quoting or mulling over and some face down, with some random gum wrapper holding my place. I have papers spread around me like a moat around a castle–if I move, I have to tip toe around them like I’m Alice in Wonderland getting out of a maze.

If you walked into my creative work space, you’d probably think a Tasmanian devil had arrived and spun out of control.

I like it that way.

No big deal.

Except, it is a big deal when your pastor and his wife are obsessed with Elisabeth Elliot and her books. The idea that “cleanliness is next to godliness” gets it’s militaristic stance from the author of Passion and Purity, a legalistic guide to abstinence and avoiding contact and emotional ties with the opposite sex. Elliot wrote a book entitled Let Me Be a Woman, which is the text I believe the idea of being clean, robotic women-drones came from.

Why do I disagree with Elliot and the teachings our pastors put on us? Well, first let me say that if you think getting your clothing and possessions thrown on a public floor is “godly” or good in any way, you need to have your head examined, as my dad would say.

Secondly, Elliot is completely against the type of female I am. I was raised to be a woman who could do anything I wanted to do with my life. Yep, I had those parents. The ones who never said, “Oh, Lisa you’re a girl. Don’t even dream of doing that! You must just sit at home and get married and have babies.”

Elliot is completely anti-feminist and contrary to how I was raised (how I was raised is probably really normal and if nothing else–healthy).

How can Elliot be anti-feminist? It’s more common than you think, especially in Christian society. Elliot wrote the following argument against feminism and matriarchy in her book, Let Me Be a Woman.

“Do the women’s liberationists want to be liberated from being women? No, they would say, they want to be liberated from society’s stereotypes of what women are supposed to be…. Some very interesting facts have been uncovered by scientists which will feminists will have to treat very gingerly for they show that it is not merely society which determines how the sexes will behave…. The idea of matriarchy is mythical, I’ve learned, for not one that can be documented has ever existed. Doesn’t it seem strange that male dominance has been universal if it’s purely social conditioning? One would expect to see at least a few examples of societies where women rather than men held the positions of highest status…. Isn’t it really much easier to believe that the feelings of men and women throughout history bear a direct relationship to some innate prerequisite? … It was God who made us different, and He did it on purpose. Recent scientific research is illuminating, and as has happened before, corroborates ancient truth which mankind has always recognized. God created male and female, the male to call forth, to lead, initiate and rule, and the female to respond, follow, adapt, submit.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman, pages 58-59.

Elliot’s last line in there is completely sickening: “God created male and female, the male called forth, to lead, initiate and rule, and the female to respond, follow, adapt, and submit.”

Wow. All I can say is how full of ignorance and stupidity that line is. Women are just to “respond, follow, adapt and SUBMIT?” What a load of horse sh*t.

What she really means is this: Women: Don’t use your brains, don’t take charge or be assertive, don’t buck the system (especially if that system is your husband or a male pastor), and don’t diverge from the role I’m telling you “God commands” you do have.

If I’m going against what Elisabeth Elliot taught (along with what my pastors taught), and don’t sit around cleaning my house non-stop, nor do I “submit” to a man’s plans for my life and that means I’m “ungodly” or “unsaved” then…AWESOME. I personally can’t ascribe to ignorant teaching and I personally don’t even want to be categorized as anything that those idiots teach or language that that ideology pushes. It’s language that oppresses me and other women. It attempts to push us into the home, coercing us to serve our husbands as our masters, without recognition of the human beings we are. The anti-feminist ideology fails to recognize that we can have dreams and succeed too, even if we are women. Emphasis is only placed on the males ability and desire to “dream about their future” and succeed in the business or ministry world.

My magic eraser and I are doing just fine without a load of horse sh*t teaching. Thank you very much.

11 thoughts on “Magic Erasers Are the Best Cleaning Product, Or Why Elisabeth Elliot is Full of Crap”

  1. What the hell is she talking about? There are proven matriarchal societies throughout history, many of which pre-date Christianity. What this woman wrote was pure speculation and she did nothing to back up her claims of “scientific research.”

    That, in my opinion, is one of the largest problems with Christian followers and pop-theologians is that they have no actual grasp on history other than heresay and guestimation.

  2. A few years ago, between my failed attempt to “be an independent woman” (I’d enlisted in the Air Force after high school) and starting college, one of the older women at my (now former) church took me under her wing. And we read “Let Me Be a Woman”.

    I don’t remember what I did with that book. I may have torn it apart, I certainly threw it away. A submissive, meek lady is not who I am. I’m more of a lioness than a lady.

  3. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us
    which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

    There is a reason that Elisabeth Elliot offends you, but it is has to do with you- not her.  

    You will, one day soon, be quite ashamed of your criticisms of Mrs. Elliot. Perhaps you should refrain from criticising that which you do not understand.  

    “Those that look to be happy must first look to be holy.”- Richard Sibbes

    “Whatsoever a man values above God, He will make it a bane and a ruin unto him.” – Richard Sibbes (What do you value most? Really?)

    One cannot buy a life, though many have tried, and most are still trying. If you are attempting to fill that God-shaped void in your heart with food, money, your privileged “position”, a new car, your children, a new man, the attention of others, or a myriad of other things- it will not work. You can lose any of these in the span of a heartbeat. God will never allow you to be satiated by anything other than Himself. Some temporal goods have their place, if used as designed, but to use them otherwise is to misapply them and invite upon yourself disillusionment. To the wise, the world must eventually lose its charm. You will only find peace, joy, and contentment (what you’ve been searching for, all along) as you yoke yourself to Jesus Christ (see Mt. 11:28-30). Still, I fear that some of you who read this will continue on as before, trying to satisfy your inner longings with that which cannot satisfy. This amounts to nothing more than “chasing after the wind”. Perhaps, in a few years, having run through this cycle several more times, you will reflect upon these words.
    Choose rather to live the examined life, remaining ever conscious that, be it today or some unknown morrow, there will come your own “last supper”, after which you will step from time into eternity. Are you ready? Philip of Macedonia employed a friend at his door, and every morning when the king awoke, and every evening just before he went to sleep, his friend would call out to him, “Oh, King Philip, remember that thou art mortal.” Life becomes more meaningful and precious, if you consider your latter end.

    Some will be offended by my remarks. Not so long ago, I was much like you. (John 15:18-25, 1 Peter 4:4) God often offends, until there is no opposition left to offend. Please realise that I did not come by this knowledge the “easy” way – I tried everything else first. Maybe you have, too, only to find that the world never delivers on its grandiose promises. I only say what Luther said before his accusers, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

    1. Wow.  I don’t mean to fire up a hate-fight, as I see on so many forums, youtube, etc.  But a couple questions for you Brian;  First, what are you doing here?  This website seems to be, from what I can see, a site dedicated to people who have been down the road of modern day Christianity and woke up and said, “wait a second, something isn’t right here”.  From what you said, you appear to be a believing, practicing christian.  What interest would you have in a blog site like this one if it disagrees with your beliefs?  Giving you the benefit of the doubt, you are probably just looking to defend your religion, which is perfectly normal i guess.  Ok.  I can see that one. When I was wrapped up in the church scene i met alot of people like that who thought they were defending the faith, but in reality they were just being nazis about music, movies, etc.  I called it “witch hunting”.  It made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now.   Secondly, why would you assume that the person has a “God shaped void” or lacking something just because they refuse to acknowledge this woman’s philosophy in her book, which, in my opinion is more crap than truth and is no better than those terrible televangelists that spread their “God loves you, but ya gotta pay for it!” garbage.  I think it’s more like this: Some people need to believe in something to be comfortable.  It’s normal.  It’s only human.  I think it has much to do with the need to belong.  Some people need religion.  They aren’t ok with the idea of just dying, and that’s that.  They want something more.  Christianity fills that void perfectly.  Life is easier to live when you know you’ll go somewhere when you die.  It has its benefits, definitely.  But some don’t need that to live good lives.  They are perfectly fine with the way things are.  If anything, they realize the oppression that comes with christian living.  The guilt.  The feeling like you are being judged all the time.  Or they have nothing to do with christianity, have never been introduced to it, and have lived their lives without it just fine.  I might mention I also hate that typical use of “the world” as this evil creature that is out to get you.  I heard this all the time.  If you have half a brain, you realize that yes, people are messed up, and yes, life is a cold hard bitch sometimes.  But what exactly has “the world” promised again?  Oh yeah, nothing.  If anything, I more of a sense of entitlement as a christian than I did when I got out.  The world owes you nothing, and promises you nothing.  If you want something, go get it.  I learned this at a young age.  Christianity makes a lot of promises.  In the end, I lost a great deal and got screwed a lot more when I was going to church, then when I left, everything hasn’t stopped getting better.  I know this is a rant, but I just can’t sit back when I hear stuff like what you said.  What i hear is this “WHAT? Oh crap! She is falling away!  I know! I’ll help her by filling her comment section with stuff I heard once!”

      1. Jams: This is the Internet. People can visit any site they want, if it doesn’t require a login. For example, atheists constantly visit Christian sites and leave comments. Moreover, they are completely welcome to as long as they engage in sincere discussions instead of spewing out 4-letter words. You lost me after that, and with your vile remarks like “if you had half a brain”…

        If you do not want to read some people’s opinions, create your own website, make people register and log in, and ban anyone you don’t like. I’m sure you’ll have lots of fans.

  4. I absolutely, positively, detest that statement “cleanliness is next to godliness” ugh. makes me want to puke. First of all the bible never talks of this, some christian somewhere made this up, maybe it was Elliot I don’t know. But it is completely ridiculous. This was used as an attack many times.
    Also I have strong feelings about the message of women and their role in the church, marriage and society as portrayed by most Christians. Luckily I attend a church where we as women are not only allowed to speak from the pulpit, lead, choose not to “submit” but are valued as equals. While it is true that male and females are different and have different strengths ie: physically, emotionally etc. it is certainly not that one is more important then the other or that one is above the other or who must submit. God made Eve out of Adam’s rib. SIDE BY SIDE. not one on top of the other. We are meant to be companions, friends, and that means love AND respect going both ways.

  5. One of the Ironies of Elizabeth Elliot is that she is the opposite of this – I am sure she is clean, but having met her, she is definitely more intimidating than her current husband. I can’t help but think she is just writing as a woman of her time (she’s in her 80’s I think) and one that had some culture shock she was dealing with when she returned to the US.

    But back to her personally – this is the woman whose first husband refused to marry her until she finished college and learned the language in Ecuador so that she would be “independent” if anything went wrong while they were missionaries there. Of course, things did go wrong, and Jim Elliot’s story in her other books detail his murder and her life in the jungle alone with their daughter for many years after. So having gone through culture shock myself, I am a little more willing to cut her some slack and regard this book as a from a determined woman who spent many years in difficult circumstances coming home and finding her “home” country a very different place.

    What bothers me is the churches treatment of her – that this is the book people know and not the wrenching tale of loss, hope and determination. Why aren’t the churches taking her other messages – that hit hard on the drive of a single woman to rise up and continue – to go overseas by herself to begin with, and holding that as the true story? Is it because that story conflicts with ideas they want to promote?

    This in consideration – does she conflict herself? To be truly subservient, she should have flown herself and her daughter out of Ecuador after her husband’s murder – instead, she met and lived with the murderers to show them the power of forgiveness. That was no quiet, submissive woman; while it borders on craziness, it can be agreed that that was one bold decision. So why the later book? I honestly think she went into culture shock on her return was shaken by how much America had changed, famous for writing her husbands story – the book that came out later, should never have become what people think of when they think of her.

    Cleanliness of curse takes on a whole different light in her other books – she was trying not to die of cholera etc. Of course she became really clean. But rather than consider why she equates this to all people needing to be like that.

    So my thoughts on her – she is an impressive woman – but not for the reasons attributed to her now. And when someone asks about or quotes Passion and Purity, I usually ask if they know the story of the woman behind the book.

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