any feminist christian mamas out there? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 53 Old 05-09-2007, 02:54 PM
 
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Another feminist Christian woman here.

I was raised RC but knew with complete certainty by the time I was seven years old that it was not the church for me, primarily because of the sexism of the institution. I'm theologically a Christian Quaker, but the meeting where I live now is tiny and my kids were the only kids. We currently attend a UU church, primarily for logistical reasons. The people and services are nice and there is nothing offensive about it, but it doesn't really float my boat.

I absolutely do not believe in traditional sex roles, unless they are something that you embrace voluntarily. I WOHM, and have a very egalitarian relationship with my husband. Dh is every bit as nurturing as I am, perhaps moreso.

ITA that Jesus was a radical feminist.
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#32 of 53 Old 05-09-2007, 03:18 PM
 
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I've been lurking, and I have something to share with the people who are saying they're not feminists. Yes you are. I didn't know how to articulate this point until I read Full Frontal Feminism, but Jessica Valenti sums it up (bracketed words substitute for curse words. I curse like a sailor so I don't mind them, but not everyone shares my view).
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It's high time we got past the "I'm not a feminist, but..." stuff. You know what I'm talking about: "I'm not a feminist or anything, but it is total [bs] that Wal-Mart won't fill my birth control prescription."

Do you think it's fair that a guy will make more money doing the same job as you? Does it [anger] and scare you when you find out about your friends getting raped? Do you ever feel [bad] about your body? Do you ever feel like something is wrong with you because you don't fit into this bizarre ideal of what girls are supposed to be like?

Well, my friend, I hate to break it you, but you're a hardcore feminist. I swear
I don't see anything in Christianity that doesn't reconcile with the feminist ideals of equal pay for equal work, equal respect for bodily autonomy, freedom from the fear of rape and sexual battery, etc. Feminism doesn't say that you MUST work outside the home to be a feminist (well, most schools of thought don't. There are the extremists, as in anything, that say we're betraying our gender by staying home. To them I say pfttttt). Feminism doesn't say that you CAN'T cover your head if that's what your religion asks of you. Feminism doesn't say that having one or three or ten children is anti-feminist. Feminism is about autonomy, it's about CHOICE and respecting those choices. If you choose to put your faith in an image of god that says a family looks like this, then you can still be a feminist. It's when that choice is taken from you, forced on you despite any other desires you might have, that it becomes anti-woman. And everyone who's responded so far seems like they chose the life and religion they have, so everyone who's responded, whether they realize it or not, is still a feminist.

back to lurking.
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#33 of 53 Old 05-09-2007, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jen, I liked your "we're all feminists" point. It reminds me of the best definition of feminism I've ever heard, which was shared with me by one of my dear college professors (a tiny, firey Indian woman who was a fierce feminist and sociology prof at the conservative Christian college I attended!) She says that feminism is "women and men working together to create a world in which GENDER IS NOT DESTINY!!!" I am a SAHM, but not stay home because I think that is what I must do as a woman, or even what I should do as a Christian woman. I believe that it is my calling to use the gifts that God has given me to the best of my abilities in the context into which She has called me. Right now, that involves a lot of nursing and changing diapers, and so it's easier for me to be at home. But I know women who've gone back to work and had their husbands be SAHDs, which has led to lovely relationships btwn the fathers and kids and moms who were fulfilling their own mandates from God. Not all women are cut out to be SAHMs and that doesn't make them any less "womanly." Anyway, I think I got off topic, but I just had to rant about that. I get a lot of weird looks because I'm a feminist and a SAHM, but I don't see any inherernt contradiction. If feminism was just about prescribing some new list of things that women HAD to do, I would want nothing to do with that. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!" The Bible says that somewhere, but I'm not very good with my references!

“We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence...”

― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
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#34 of 53 Old 05-11-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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Hi, Caren.

What a great thread. I loved "Dissident Daughter" as so much of it really resonated with me. I would also suggest "A Woman's Journey to God" by Joan Borysenko -- very much along those lines, but with a few different perspectives.

I find myself drawn to the Magdelene gospel and debate lately. ITA re: Jesus being a radical feminist - what a lovely, true thought - and I find myself wanting to know more about this woman that Christ so included in His ministry.

I am RC - trying hard to reconcile my feminism with the church's sexism - and at the point in my journey where I wonder if I would be better at changing the church from without or within. I love so much about the church as I am a liturgical sort of Christian - but then I wonder that I can find so much of what I love about the RC church in an Anglican church only minus the sexism and the multiple other -isms we seem to have going on...but here I stay, pondering for the time being...

BTW, Caren - I have enjoyed your blog from back in our DDC - Clara is beautiful!

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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#35 of 53 Old 06-20-2007, 07:04 PM
 
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Radical Christian Feminist here. I was raised Mormon/LDS and left a year ago partly due to the insane patriarchy. Just didn't line up with my relationship with Jesus. In anycase, I'm still struggling to find a church home that accepts my "radical" feminist ways. Pickings are slim here in Utah though - one of the most conservative/anti-feminist states in the U.S. Thinking of checking out the Episcopal, ELCA, Methodist and Presbyterian congregations to see if they're a little more accepting of feminist thought than the non-denom churches I've been attending. Glad to see this thread! Looks like I have some more books to add to my list.

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#36 of 53 Old 06-21-2007, 08:45 AM
 
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I think I may belong here, I'm Christian in that I believe in Jesus, but I believe much of traditional church teachings are based upon patriarchal culture instead of upon Jesus' teachings. I am earthy, too, having some earth-based spirituality that I believe is in harmony with Jesus' teachings as well.

I am an equity feminist and believe Jesus was particularly radical in His inclusion of women into his ministry.
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#37 of 53 Old 06-25-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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I really thought I had posted to this thread to say I'm a feminist Christian. Looks like I hadn't.

Kangaroo_mom, I'd try the Presbyterian Church, if you're looking for somewhere more feminist. I'm not presbyterian, so I don't know particulars, but I know they have women as pastors, which is revolutionary in the Christian church.
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#38 of 53 Old 06-25-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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Why, deville! Fancy meeting you here...:

Shelley, mom to dd 5/19/01, ds 9/06/02, and ds 4/01/07.  Lost babe 4/09

belly.gifDue 12/18/12!

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#39 of 53 Old 06-25-2007, 02:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CarenSwan View Post
By "feminist" I personally don't mean that there is no difference between men and women at all, but I do believe that our gender should not determine our destiny. So, in our family, my husband is the better cook, so he primarily does that (a traditional female job) but he is also better with the finances (a traditional male job) so he does that. .... I guess my vision of a "feminist" world is where men and women are both free to be themselves, whether that looks traditional or not.

Based on this clarifcation, I guess I would consider myself a feminist Christian. I believe that women have some biological reasons to perform some roles and do so better (breastfeeding, pregancy, childbirth, etc). I also believe that women and men should use their gifts to the glory of G-d! If a woman is gifted in a certain way and her child will be well cared for by others, then maybe should share that gift.

I really believe firmly that children have needs that must be met and those needs supersede the needs of adults. That doesn't mean that I would want to see a woman suffer to meet the needs of her child. I just believe that adults are better able to delay meeting their needs than children are able to delay having their needs met. Ultimately only the individual can decide what is a need and what is a want for herself/himself.

I've always had egalitarian relationships with partners and expect that all family members use their gifts to the betterment of the family and society at large.
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#40 of 53 Old 06-25-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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And as a pp said, Jesus was a radical feminist! And when you understand the cultural context in which Paul was educated, even the stuff that he wrote seems downright liberating for the women of his day!
Hi Caren,

I did not read the other posts after I read the above because I am curious. I am actually a practicing Catholic, but have my beef with a number of things including Paul. It gets my hackles up and I would really like to study him without that emotional reaction. Do you have pointers of how to understand Paul and his attitude to women better? You say, what he wrote was liberating for women of his day! Any sources or recommended readings?

One thing that really helped me feel better about being a woman is better understanding the veneration of Mary (very strong in Catholicism) and also the transition to patriarchy (from early Christian to Roman-centred church etc.).
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#41 of 53 Old 06-25-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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Yeah! I'm so happy to find some like-minded mamas!

I just found out that the church we have been visiting (we're new to the area) does not believe in women in minisrty! It just makes me since this church is known for being forward thinking (featured on CNN). They are very in to the arts, the enviroment and social justice. How does chauvinism fit in with such a Post-Modern setting??? : It doesn't make any sense to me.
One of their reasons for this position is the Trinity! ??? Huh? God is genderless! Oh and of course the standard, God continually choose men to do his work. Umm, maybe the culture had something to do with that!... and umm...maybe they should look again at all the amazing women that were central to our faith.

It's just so stupid! My sons love the sunday school/nursery. It's top notch (safe, creative, friendly, etc.) but how can we keep going with such glaring dicrimination. Plus, there are tons of young familes and singles that attend (they attract a kind of alternitive crowd!) how can they mislead so many people this way! I know lots of churches teach the same thing, but I just didn't excpect it there. The only people we know are from this church too.

Thanks for the rant.
Glad to know I'm not on my own in my feminism!
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#42 of 53 Old 06-25-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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: Euromom, I'm sorry you're going through this patriarchal stuff.

I once went to a church that taught the separate but equal (with the women always getting the crappy end of the stick.) It really hurt my relationship with dh and it wasn't surprising that their parenting dogma was pretty draconian as well. I had to get away from that horrible atmospeare.

If women aren't treates as equals I will have no part of a church. It seems as though the churches that teach egalitarian gender relations also teach more AP parenting philosophies (and the reverse is true.)
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#43 of 53 Old 06-26-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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Oh I so hear you on this one!!! This is why I'm church hopping yet again. And honestly I'm about ready to quit church entirely. I am SOOOO sick of defending my position on things. I hate it. I hate being told that I haven't studied the Bible enough or submitted to God enough, WTF?!!! I just don't see how *anybody* could really dig into the Bible and read the New Testament and then study history and learn about Jewish culture back then and *not* see how forward thinking it was for that day! (Meaning no offense here, JMHO).

I just feel like I am constantly

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Originally Posted by Euromom View Post
Yeah! I'm so happy to find some like-minded mamas!

I just found out that the church we have been visiting (we're new to the area) does not believe in women in minisrty! It just makes me since this church is known for being forward thinking (featured on CNN). They are very in to the arts, the enviroment and social justice. How does chauvinism fit in with such a Post-Modern setting??? : It doesn't make any sense to me.
One of their reasons for this position is the Trinity! ??? Huh? God is genderless! Oh and of course the standard, God continually choose men to do his work. Umm, maybe the culture had something to do with that!... and umm...maybe they should look again at all the amazing women that were central to our faith.

It's just so stupid! My sons love the sunday school/nursery. It's top notch (safe, creative, friendly, etc.) but how can we keep going with such glaring dicrimination. Plus, there are tons of young familes and singles that attend (they attract a kind of alternitive crowd!) how can they mislead so many people this way! I know lots of churches teach the same thing, but I just didn't excpect it there. The only people we know are from this church too.

Thanks for the rant.
Glad to know I'm not on my own in my feminism!

Student Mama of Three
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#44 of 53 Old 06-26-2007, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Based on this clarifcation, I guess I would consider myself a feminist Christian. I believe that women have some biological reasons to perform some roles and do so better (breastfeeding, pregancy, childbirth, etc). I also believe that women and men should use their gifts to the glory of G-d! If a woman is gifted in a certain way and her child will be well cared for by others, then maybe should share that gift.

I really believe firmly that children have needs that must be met and those needs supersede the needs of adults. That doesn't mean that I would want to see a woman suffer to meet the needs of her child. I just believe that adults are better able to delay meeting their needs than children are able to delay having their needs met.
Kari, I'm glad you made this point. I agree that there are things that women have to offer their children that are unique. In my world, you can totally think that women are better than men at breastfeeding, and still be a feminist! I know many families who are able to work this out with the interests of the whole family in mind. It is for this very reason (the point you made) that I'm a feminist who is also a SAHM.

On a related note, I love to meditate on Christ's words at the last supper when I'm nursing: "This is my body which is given for you."

“We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence...”

― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
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#45 of 53 Old 06-26-2007, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Euromom, I'm feeling your pain! I'm always bummed when a church that seems genuinely innovative turns out to be "traditional" in this area. Of all the lame "traditions" to hold onto, that has to be the worst! I'm not against tradition per-say, in fact I spent a number of years in the Episcopal church, which has managed to retain some wonderful ancient practices while still being open to Spirit-led changes.

“We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence...”

― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
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#46 of 53 Old 06-26-2007, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Caren,

I did not read the other posts after I read the above because I am curious. I am actually a practicing Catholic, but have my beef with a number of things including Paul. It gets my hackles up and I would really like to study him without that emotional reaction. Do you have pointers of how to understand Paul and his attitude to women better? You say, what he wrote was liberating for women of his day! Any sources or recommended readings?

One thing that really helped me feel better about being a woman is better understanding the veneration of Mary (very strong in Catholicism) and also the transition to patriarchy (from early Christian to Roman-centred church etc.).
One site that has great resources on reading the Bible from an egalitarian perspective is Christians for Biblical Equality. They have great articles on a variety of subjects, including reading Paul, and they have an on-line bookstore as well. Libelle, I'll look for some specific readings to address your question when I have more time. (I'm in the middle of moving and I'm not supposed to be on the computer right now!!!: ) PM me for more info if I don't post here soon.

Does anyone else have any suggestions?

“We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence...”

― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
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#47 of 53 Old 06-26-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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Christian feminist mama checking in!
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#48 of 53 Old 06-27-2007, 06:11 AM
 
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I think it really helps to keep the whole context in mind. Knowing the historical/cultural context (how were women usually treated, educated, expected to act, etc?), like the pps mention, as well the literary context (what problem is he addressing?) is key to understanding Pauline text. Moreover, he was human, with prejudices and a cultural skew; he wasn't God.
My dh (a grad student of theology and ethics) and I have attended a few lectures pointing out the Church's preoccupation with Paul's writings over the words and actions of Jesus. It is an interesting observation, especially when it comes to effecting how the Church creates doctrine. Think about the Church's stand on war or women. There is a book called Kingdom Ethics by Glen Stassen (sp?) which deals with this. (In all honesty I have not read it but I have heard him speak. Very neat man.) I'm not trying to pick and choose scripture but I am saying we should look at all the scripture, especially the words and actions of Christ's.

I guess I am preaching to the choir here, though.

Well it's back to church shopping again. I hate this. I just want to find my community. Has anyone ever heard of a liberal Orthodox church, don't laugh.
my dh and I think that would be really cool. We love the Orthodox church, besides of course, the "we're right and you're not" stand and no women in ministry, but other than that it is a beautiful faith. We love the services, the rituals and the whole metality. It very is different than western church. Has anyone ever been apart of one?

Gosh Carenswan. Utah? That would be hard. Have you ever tried a Foursquare Church? I don't know if you are interested in a Charismatic church (they are usually pretty mainstream, family centerd) but the denomination was started by a woman in the 1900s so you know they have to believe in women, at least on paper.

Well I hope you find something soon. Don't give up. And I'll keep you all posted on where we end up.
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#49 of 53 Old 06-27-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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One site that has great resources on reading the Bible from an egalitarian perspective is Christians for Biblical Equality. They have great articles on a variety of subjects, including reading Paul, and they have an on-line bookstore as well. Libelle, I'll look for some specific readings to address your question when I have more time. (I'm in the middle of moving and I'm not supposed to be on the computer right now!!! ) PM me for more info if I don't post here soon.
Oh, thank you very much. I just read one article by Gordon Fee (?) on Roman family structure and how the letter of Paul to the Ephesians applied to it. I am so happy and believe I can come to love Paul after all. :
The man (Mr. Fee) makes sense, especially since I have studied the classics and Latin (in school) and know that he interprets totally correctly. And it makes soo much sense, that Paul who is said to be filled with the holy spirit, talks/writes the way he does. And how the same words are so easily misinterpreted today.

I just cannot understand why the priests in my church do not teach the cultural context. I know they study this stuff and are confronted with all of it during their years of study. Why do they allow for the misunderstandings in interpretation to persist? There is no need for it as Catholics do not believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible anyway, but have used the cultural context in many other instances. Maybe they think, it is not important? I will tell my sister and husband about this, so we can finally be at peace with Paul.
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#50 of 53 Old 06-27-2007, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Libelle, I'm so happy that you can make some peace with Paul. There is a lot in the scriptures that can be pretty hard to swallow at face value. Personally, I don't feel the need to have it all explained by culture... As Euromom said, I'm fine with accepting Paul as a sinner like myself, and while I do believe that scripture is the inspired word of God, I don't think that means it's free from any kind of error. And Euromom, I'm SO with you on the over-focus on Paul! My dh and I go nuts about that! Like you, I'm not saying we should pick and choose, but I firmly belive that the life and teachings of Christ should be the lens through which we read the rest of scripture. Thanks for preaching to the choir!

“We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence...”

― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
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#51 of 53 Old 06-28-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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Yes, it is true. Christ is the beginning and the end.

Understanding Paul better saves me from having to pick and choose. Just considering Paul as a sinner (which he was of course), was not good enough for me to explain his letters, as they seemed so far removed from what I have come to believe. So thank you again.

I like to take into account the cultural context, because there is no such thing as taking something literal without cultural context. People are just not aware that they are interpreting through 21st century glasses. The default cultural context is always the current one, i.e. here and today the Western worldview including scientific understanding, focus on timelines, facts, the individual etc.
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#52 of 53 Old 06-28-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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I'm so sorry Carenswan and Kangaroo_mom for mixing you guys up . I just saw that. I was up way too late, sorry.

Anyway, you are welcome Carenswan. It is so nice to have a place to discuss these issues! Have you read Dr. Stassen? I'd bet you'd like him.
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#53 of 53 Old 06-28-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Oh you're fine, Euromom. I have attended a Foursquare church and it was very literal and kind of country. They're remodeling the place and the kids room is in the basement with all the construction. That didn't fly with me. Then I attended an Assembly of God church which was very charismatic and very free in its worship style. Women helped with the offering, which was the first I'd seen in a Christian church. But they too are hard-core literalists and when I had asked for a prayer regarding my marriage, since my husband is still mormon and it causes a lot of stress, they referred me to Paul's scripture and admonished me to submit to my husband more. The pastor at the last church I went to told me that as well. Yeah, when in doubt submit. : It just made me mad. All the people around here that I've worshiped with and prayed with have told me the same stuff. Basically to be little miss Suzie Homemaker, baking my husband's favorite cookies and ironing his shirts and well giving him whatever he wants to show him Christian love so he'll want to go to church with me. I don't think so. Luckily my husband is not an egotist so that helps. But still some of those pastors and deacons I just wanted to I told them I wasn't going to submit anymore than any other woman at church was going to cover her head. : But seriously, here in Southern Utah we seem to attract the hard core fundamentalists. You have the polygamists about 30 minutes away, then you have the mainstream LDS and then many many Christian fundamentalists/traditionalists. They're all good people in their own right, I just don't fit in with their way of thinking. Or parenting. I wish I could move but so far I'm stuck. All my family is moving up to Oregon and I want to go with them but my hubby hates the rain.

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