Me? Obey Him? Wifely Submission Laid on Strong

I grew up in the era before Debi Pearl’s Created to be His Helpmeet came out. This means that even though my mother now keeps her copy of Created by her Bible, this wasn’t a book she read while I was growing up. Instead, the book on wifely submission that I saw her reading most frequently – and crying over – was Elizabeth Rice Hanford’s “Me? Obey Him?” Until yesterday, I had hoped that Handford’s work was, well, a less extreme version of wifely submission than Pearl’s work was. Yesterday I came upon a review of the book and found out that I was wrong.
 

Before I move into quotations from this book, I want to say two things. First, what is it with women advising other women to submit? In addition to Elizabeth Handford’s work and now Debi Pearl’s work, my mother also read a book by Elisabeth Elliot on femininity and wifely submission (not sure which). I don’t get this on two levels. For one thing, if women are supposed to be homemakers I’m not sure how that fits with them being bestselling authors and writing authoritative books filled with scripture and theological reasoning. For another thing, what possesses these women to tell other women to lead lives of female submission? It’s like the slave telling other slaves to be happy and obey their masters. Wha…?

Second, even as she poured over books like these and did her best to emulate them my entire childhood, and continuing into the present, my mother has since wanted to assure me that she’s not a doormat. And it’s true, she was always a very strong woman who made her voice heard. But regardless of whether she has ever practiced wifely submission to the extreme that Handford and others urged her too, there’s a serious inconsistency between (a) praising books telling women to be doormats and doing her best to follow what their authors say and (b) insisting that she is not a doormat and shouldn’t be seen as such. She may have never allowed herself to be a doormat, but if she really believed what was said in books like Handford’s, she was trying to be one all the same.

Rather than offering step by step analysis, I’m simply going to offer some quotes provided in the review I found. The quotes speak for themselves.

God’s Perfect Creation Required Order
Jesus, the Creator of Heaven and earth, submitted Himself to God the Father.  He took His place in the chain of command. … It is no shame, no dishonor,  for a woman to be under authority, if the Lord Jesus — very God Himself — submitted to the authority of the Father. (p. 14)
The submission of the Lord Jesus is our example.  He submitted not just to the tender ministrations of the Father.  He submitted to revilings and curses, persecution and suffering.  He was our example, not just to obey a gentle and kind husband but a harsh and mean husband as well.
You may find that your obedience to your husband and your obedience to God are all tied together.  You may not want to obey your husband because you are in rebellion against God. (p. 51)
Woman’s Nature Requires Obedience
We’ve had the impression that women as a class are more spiritually minded than men, with sensibilities more refined, and purer thoughts. Scriptures say the opposite is true!  Women are more often led into spiritual error than men.  Perhaps it is caused by her intuitive, emotional thinking.  (Intuitive thinking is God’s gift, not to be despised, but it needs the balance of a man’s reason.)  I should add too, that a woman does not have to be led into error.  That is the reason God commanded her not to usurp authority over the man, so she can be protected from false doctrine. (p. 17)
What Do the Scriptures Say About a Wife’s Obedience?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Scriptures say a woman ought to obey her husband! … [Note, these ellipses represent page after page of scriptural support given by Handford to bolster her argument that God commands wives to obey their husbands.] If you are intellectually honest, you will have to admit that it is impossible to find a single loophole, a single exception, an “if” or “unless.”  The Scriptures say, without qualification, to the openminded reader, that a woman ought to obey her husband. (pp. 24, 25)
1) She Is to Obey Regardless of His Spiritual Condition
The wife who obeys her husband may win him by her meek and quiet spirit, her loving behavior. (p. 25)
2) She Need Not Fear Conflicting Authority
There is no hint that a woman may have to choose between conflicting authority. …  If it is needed in order to fulfill both obligations, God will do a miracle to make it possible. … It is safe to conclude that when God told a woman to obey her husband, He intended for her to be able to do it without risk of offending other authorities. (pp. 25, 28)
3) She Obeys Without Reference to Her Feelings About the Will of God
The Scriptures say a woman must ignore her “feelings” about the will of God, and do what her husband says.  She is to obey her husband as if he were God Himself. She can be as certain of God’s will, when her husband speaks, as if God had spoken audibly from Heaven! (p. 28 – emphasis added)
What If a Husband Expressly Commands Something Explicitly Wrong?
When women ask me this question, I counter with two of my own:
1) “Have you been living in daily obedience to your husband as part of your wholehearted, loving submission to God?”
(This is an essential part of the problem. If a woman has not been submissive, God has no responsibility for her situation and cannot be blamed if her husband requires something wrong.)
2) “Has your husband ever actually commanded you to do something wrong?”
In the hundreds of times I have asked these questions, not once, if my memory is right, has a woman answered, “Yes, I am always obedient, and yet my husband has required me to break one of God’s laws.”
Never! Why?
Because, when a woman takes God at His word, submits to her husband without reservation, fears God and loves Him, then God takes upon Himself the responsibility to see that a woman does not have to sin! (pp. 37, 38)
A man always has the choice of saying yes or no to God.  He can reject the pleadings of the Spirit, the pleas of his loving wife.  If he does, and he goes on his wicked way, then I have seen God reach down and take that man’s life, rather than make his wife choose between two wrongs. (p. 40)
Don’t I Have Any Rights?
Can you find a Kleenex somewhere and mop up the tears, just for a minute, long enough to talk to me about what your rights really are?
You don’t have any rights, no rights at all.  You lost them on the day you rebelled against God.  You lost them, not because you are a woman, but because you are a sinner, just as I am.  (p. 49)
You Have the Freedom From the Consequences of Decisions
When you give back to your husband the responsibility for the direction of the home and the making of the decisions, you also give him the responsibility for the consequences of his decisions. … Fortunately, that’s the way a man likes it.  God made a man to be aggressive, to respond to challenge, to glory in his manhood, to rejoice in draining his strength, to risk great hazards for the one he loves.  It is his very aggressiveness that a woman sometimes finds frightening, simply because she is a woman.  She doesn’t have confidence in her physical strength, in her ability to cope with danger, in her decision-making ability.  It is a privilege, a gift unearned, for a woman to have a man take upon himself her welfare. (p 56)
God has a wonderful way of working it out for the comfort of the whole family when a woman leaves the decision making to her husband. (p. 57)
Don’t I Ever Get to Express an Opinion?
When you are talking over a problem, if it isn’t asking too much, try to think reasonably. … Men think women talk too much about how they feel, rather than considering facts.  Sure it’s important how you feel.  Can you tell him why you feel that way? (p. 61)
Why Do I Have to Make All the Concessions?
Why doesn’t the husband have to do his part first? Why?  Because you are the one burdened for a Christian home.  Having a home where Christ is the head is cheap enough at whatever price you have to pay!  Think how long the rewards of a good Christian home will last.  Then ask yourself if it is worth the trifling mortifications of obedience.  Of course it is!  All valuable things cost something.  Certainly you will have to pay a price. (p. 69)
I Want to Do Right, But I Can’t Help How I Feel
Have you noticed how many Scriptures there are that command a wife to obey her husband, and how few Scriptures there are that command her to love her husband?  There is only one Scripture, to my knowledge, that tells a wife to love him, and that is Titus 2:4.  Why?  Because, I think, in a marvelous, supernatural way, submission brings love.  If you obey him, you will love him, love him more than you ever dreamed possible.  (p. 75)
Does It Work? Does It Really Work?
God has made a promise to the woman who will obey her husband.  He keeps His promises.  He will not honor disobedience, no matter what excuse is given for it.  A woman wins her husband, draws him to a higher spiritual plane, by a submissive, quiet spirit.  … Yes, it really works.  God will bless your home if you are obedient. (p. 77)
So there you have it. I had no idea just how twisted this book was!

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15528465833214550644 Katy-Anne

    This is a horrible book. I have read it. I know that you are fine with abortion. I think it's wrong. In this book, it tells a woman that even if her husband requires her to abort a baby that she must do it because if she is properly submissive then God will NEVER have her husband tell her to do this, and if he does he will ALWAYS change his heart before it happens and if he doesn't then basically you are just a rebellious woman and deserve everything you get. You cannot stand up for what you believe is right, you absolutely must obey your husband at all costs. What happens when your husband tells you to do something that's against the law? I don't think the law of the land is going to care about your "wifely submission" but instead are going to charge you with a crime.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12130718224295515997 Rebecca

    "He was our example, not just to obey a gentle and kind husband but a harsh and mean husband as well."Oh that is so damaging…. I can't even word it. Fucking hell.

  • Anonymous

    There is actually no verse in the Bible that says "Wives, obey . ..). There are two verses that say "Wives, submit . . ." and I'm totally okay with this. Wanna know why? Because obeying and submitting are two different things. Do a word study on each – obey and submit – and you will understand. :) My husband does not expect me to obey him and he doesn't want me to obey him. If there is an issue that comes up that we don't agree on it, we discuss it. If we still are at an impasse, I go along with his decision (I submit). That's it. It's simply a matter of keeping order. There can only be one "top dog" in a household. Someone has to have the last word and God says it is to be the man. If you're a believer and you want to obey God (OBEY, not submit this time), then we need to do what His word says and I believe he will honor that. He is good.KHP.S. That book sounds terrible. All of the extra-biblical things people come up with are downright ridiculous.

  • Nathaniel

    "There can only be one "top dog" in a household."Why does there have to be a top dog in the first place?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15528465833214550644 Katy-Anne

    Yeah what he said. (Nathaniel)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09779444962182438901 Enigma

    yep. I recognize this book too. She sounds just as crazy as Debbi Pearl. I feel sick just reading it. The worst part for me is that while most evangelicals would reject all these intense assertions, they would still agree those women are biblically required to "submit." (KH^^) Even if submission only happens in worst case scenarios, it’s the mindset that matters. When you have a ranking system, you do not have equality. There is no such thing as "equal but different." Why are Christians so hung up on this gender thing? I don’t get it. Didn’t Paul say "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus?"

  • Anonymous

    It's about keeping peace in the home. Think about it. If you and your spouse disagree on something, you can either fight over it and never make a decision OR one person can let the other make the final decision. Sometimes there can be a compromise but not always. I'm just telling you what I learned from reading Scripture. If you interpret Scripture differently, then please tell us what you think it means and I will respect that.KH

  • Anonymous

    If you believe that the Bible is God's words to us, are you going to throw out the two verses that actually say "wives, submit" ? What do you do with those? Be careful, please. 2 Timothy 4:1-4KH

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    KH – You might be interested in the comments on this post, because a lot of people disagree with your assertion here. There's such thing as cooperation and compromise.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01428093080664074715 Carolyn

    If there's a top dog, who has final say, how is that different than the top dog getting to make all decisions? If all one person has to do is not agree, and they get to make their decision, any discussion is window dressing.My husband has the last word on dinner, because he makes it and shops for it. But even then he won't make anything I hate, and he tries to find versions of my favourites that he likes to cook and eat. But for bigger things, like where to live, we talk it out. If we still disagree, we talk it out. Hell, we've been talking about where we can move after my PhD since before I went back to school.

  • Anonymous

    The word submit in both Eph. 5:21 and 22 are the same word in Greek. It means to subordinate, to arrange under, to subject one's self, to obey. It's curious that both are told to submit once, but the wife is told twice. There is a reason. God only knows all of the reasons why and I don't plan on arguing with him about it.My husband and I discuss decisions for months or years sometimes as well. But when there must be a decision made RIGHT NOW, someone has to make it. Correct?My husband and I have a near-perfect marriage. We're both laid back, easy-going people and we've never had an argument in our nearly 18 years of marriage. He is trustworthy, loving, kind and simply amazing. I know most people are not blessed the way we are. It makes it very easy and comfortable to trust his judgment.Bottom line: read the Word, pray for discernment and understanding, then obey what God tells you. What I say makes no difference.I will read the article mentioned when I have time. Got lots to do and have to run for now. Have a great day, everyone. :)KH

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15528465833214550644 Katy-Anne

    People who claim that they have had no arguments in marriage are not telling the truth, so why would we believe anything else you have said KH? When a decision just has to be made, it's up to the couple to figure out something that both parties can live with.Otherwise, the woman really doesn't have a say at all no matter how often her husband says she does. Because ultimately, because of his different body parts, he gets the ultimate decision so screw what you want.

  • http://elliha.blogspot.com Elin

    I agree that Jesus is a model in submission but one to both men and women. It is never any one else's fault that you sin so this book is, well, f***ed up… I totally disagree that a woman should go along with a husband's sinful behaviour and wishes (or that a husband should do so for his wife) we are reponsible for our own sin and we are also always brothers and sisters in Christ as well as husband and wife.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    KH – I have no doubt that you are sincere in what you say, and I've heard others say it before. The link I offered is interesting simply because at least a dozen of the commenters describe the marriages they have based on equality, where there is no issue that cannot be worked out through cooperation and compromise. I believe that marriage is about an equal partnership and that neither is in charge; instead, both work together. For me and many others, this works. Finally, as to your discussion of the meaning of the word translated "submit," while others of my commenters can probably engage you on this I don't get into discussions like that because I, simply put, don't believe the Bible is divine. I honestly don't think there's a God at all. Thus I have no need to structure my life after a book written millenia ago during a time when women were quite literally property and slavery was seen as part of the natural order.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15508887711850480059 M.E.

    I have also read this book cover to cover a few times in my IFB days. Now, it upsets me to recollect the damaging dogma ingrained into my psyche. Thanks for sharing these quotes from the book – more people need to be aware of the damage done to young women instructed by these religious leaders.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Libby Anne for stepping out of the translation/context war. Sometimes I get so tired of the dance of "we have to believe everything the Bible says but it can't really mean what it sounds like because that would be bad so it must mean something nicer." My personal reading of the household codes in the epistles is that they mean just what they seem to mean and that they are the first of many of the church's betrayals of the gospel. They are abandoning Jesus' message of radical social equality for the sake of the movement (making the cosmic Jesus more palatable to more people). Like many modern movements, the people whose rights are abandoned for the sake of advancing the movement are the ones who are already most marginalized (women, children, slaves). They can't totally deny that Jesus preached equality so they say something like "sure, you have freedom in Christ, but you should give up that freedom so as not to upset people and to make it easier for them to believe in the message we're trying to preach." p.s. as a partner in an equal marriage I admit our decision making process may be less efficient than if one of us were just "in charge". However, given that we are both intelligent adults I think it is worth the struggle to come to a decision together and both take equal responsibility if things go wrong. Anna

  • http://lotuslandfineart.com/velvetrope/ wlotus

    Libby Anne, I really like your reasoning for not getting into arguments about semantics in the Bible! As a former evangelical who is now agnostic, that reasoning makes perfect sense to me. I am going to adopt it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Anna – You might find it interesting to know that mainstream scholarship on the Bible holds that Titus and I and II Timothy were written around the year 100 AD or shortly thereafter, not by Paul but by an early church leader who was concerned about the radical egalitarianism of many churches and wanted to rein it in. He wrote these letters and passed them off as Paul's writing in order to give them authority. If you're interested in reading more about this, check out Bart Ehrman's Jesus Interrupted.

  • Carolyn

    Of course decisions have to be made all the time. But if my husband wants to go home after band practice, and I want to discuss the music with some others, well, usually he'd offer 20 minutes, and I leave at that time. Or I offer to get a lift home, and he says something cute about waiting for me. Of if the problem is he's hungry, I suggest moving the conversation to a local restaurant. Or if he really has to get up the next day, I leave.We like each other, know each others' quirks, and want each other to be happy. It makes consensus and compromise easier. If a decision has to be made quickly, and it's important, a "next time, I promise" holds a lot of weight, if you're trustworthy.

  • Disillusioned ex-homeschooler

    Yeah, the whole "somebody has to be in charge" line annoys the crap out of me. My husband and I have managed to live together for more than a decade without either of us having to be top dog. And we're pretty happy with the state of affairs.And I also don't do something just because the Bible says it. I think the Bible is an amazing, inspiring, and inspired work in many ways. It has influenced me profoundly, but it isn't the manual for my life. I make no apologies for that.

  • Anonymous

    In response to Libby Anne 10:05 a.m.In response to the Mutual submission verse many have had to become creative (as they cannot ignore what the verse says). I am no fan of John Hagee but his version of mutual submission goes like this. "A husband submits to a wifes needs, while a wife submits to a husbands lead". Slick huh! ;) Acknowledging the verse while at the same time making the complementarian gender role teachings the focus. When there is a will there is a way, right?Some Complementarian promoters have a lot to lose if submission looks the same for both spouses. Terri Tippins

  • http://carpescriptura.wordpress.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    The most over expressions of sexism I've encountered have been from women, women who were concerned that I be liked by boys, or that I not "damage" myself for marriage. These women see male approval as the best possible thing that can happen to a woman, so naturally they wanted that for me because they cared about me.Sexism is not the attack of men on women, but the attack of society on people.As for the doormat business, it ties in to the whole twisted logic of "more than rubies." These women see themselves as strong, counter-cultural, bucking society and the omnipresent Satan by choosing to be submissive. Freedom in submission, happiness in self-denial, strength in weakness… Orwell would have a field day.

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Melissa

    I remember my mom reading this book. That and another book called like "Into the garden" some such name. Those books "changed her life and saved her marraige".. But I think in the process she lost herself, and her kids.

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Melissa

    Correction, it was "The other side of the Garden" by Victoria Fugate.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01641970264436339191 dulce de leche

    Vomit. And for those who are insisting that the Bible teaches wife only submission, go back and read the creation account again. It wasn't until after the fall that there was any mention of husbands desiring to rule over their wives, and that was part of the curse. If you have been redeemed by Christ, why are you insisting on remaining under a curse? And I and many, many others can tell you that in a mutually submissive marriage, there really doesn't have to be a top dog. We submit to whoever is most suited to make the decision (by inclination, knowledge, skill, etc–not genitalia). If we disagree on something important, then we both continue to pray and seek God until we find a solution that works for both of us, and we wait until there is unity.I really don't care what you call it. If the husband truly loves his wife as he should, he would respect and listen to her so that it would still look like mutual submission in practice. The problem is for all the men out there who use this the lies about WOS as an excuse to indulge pride, self-centeredness, bullying and other evil attitudes and the wives who put up with it.

  • Anonymous

    The evil of patriarchy is really just being sugar-coated and soft peddled to make it more acceptable. Women are taught to 'take up their cross' and follow thier husbands. For all the suffering that comes along with no voice, no rights, or personal boundries, I am sure that many women believe that they will be greatly rewarded when they reach heaven (if they can endure till the end). Submission for women has become divinely sanctioned and salvific. Submission is a 'christian virtue' not a female virtue alone. It is hard to point out religious evil when it presents itself as Godly, loving, and virtueous? We women 'ought' to know that these male leaders (and some women helpers) are only trying to help us to be better christians, wifes and mothers, right? So, to oppose this (to the patriarchal understanding) is to oppose God Himself. As I commented to one patriarchal man, if submission is so wonderful why don't men want to do it? ……………no response. ;)Terri Tippins

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    @dulce de leche, you said:"It wasn't until after the fall that there was any mention of husbands desiring to rule over their wives, and that was part of the curse."I don't agree with that. While the specific word wasn't used, it does say this:Genesis 2:18 (NIV), "The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”"From the very beginning, in other words, the author of Genesis paints Eve as having been made as a servant to Adam. This sort of misogyny absolutely infuses the Bible. I mean, sure, the Bible says a lot of things, so you can come away with whatever interpretation you like if you're willing to pick and choose (and you have to be if you're willing to believe in the Bible at all, as the Bible disagrees with itself all over the place). But I don't see any reasonable way to argue that the entire story of Genesis 2-3 isn't horribly misogynistic.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    @Terri Tippins,It's much worse than just that, however, because it's also blaming the woman for anything and everything that goes wrong. The whole edifice is just a massive exercise in emotional manipulation to convince women that they don't deserve anything at all.

  • Anonymous

    No, No, a helper suitable for him is not equivalent to a servant. She was made a Ezer Kegnedo. Helper suitable/comparable to him. Iknow that many think that Eve being described as a helper infers that she was Adams flunky, chief cook and bottle washer. But the word Ezer never meant that. The actual Hebrew says that Ezer means to protect or aid. It does not imply inferiority at all, though English speakers think that it does. The woman/helper has become like a plumbers assitant. Instead of being a protector and aid, she has been sidelined doing gopher work and holding the plumbers wrenches. The actual Hebrew does not infer such a thing, that came through translators.Terri Tippins

  • Disillusioned Ex-Homeschooler

    There's a really good article by Daniel Boyarin, a major gender studies scholar, in a book called "Critical Terms for Religious Studies." (The chapter is simply called "Gender".) Boyarin looks at both creation accounts in Genesis (yes, there are two, and synthesizing them has been a part of theological endeavor in both Judaism and Christianity for thousands of years), and then describes how Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism interpret them differently. It will be an interesting read for anyone who's coming from a Christian or Jewish perspective, since it sheds a lot of light on how our views of gender and heterosexual relationships were formed. But it's also a must-read for anyone interested in feminist and gender studies, because Boyarin talks about the relationship between the Christian/Jewish perspectives and feminist debates today.It's not the easiest read, but for me it really shed light on thousands of years of misogyny and helped me put both Christian formulations of gender and major streams of feminist thought into broader contexts.I think you can read most of it on google books. http://books.google.com/books?id=zhc7UkW8eHcC&pg;=PA117&lpg;=PA117&dq;=boyarin+gender+terms+for+religious+studies&source;=bl&ots;=udGeZvFgAc&sig;=98jAoaP8_9mz0Rx_8ypwDK6kb9A&hl;=en&ei;=ATanTozPHerciQLMpaHPDQ&sa;=X&oi;=book_result&ct;=result&resnum;=1&ved;=0CBsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q;&f;=false

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    @Terri,If you doubt that that is what's meant, it really doesn't take much to confirm the misogyny. All you need to do is look at the misogyny of the culture at the time, which was ubiquitous.Or, alternatively, you could look at other parts of the Bible, such as the laws related to rape (one of them forces a rape victim to marry her rapist, for example). Women are almost treated as non-entities throughout the Bible. Most of the time women aren't mentioned at all. When they are mentioned, in a good fraction of the cases they are considered to be doing evil things.The perspective of monsters like Debi Pearl and Elizabeth Handford are genuinely accurate representations of the Biblical perspective on women.

  • Anonymous

    KH,If you are curious why some people have a different interpretation of wifely submission, google the web site Christians for Biblical Equality and read some of their resources. There are many, many conservative, evangelical Christian scholars who have come up with a very different reading of the Ephesians verses, and others. It's an awful lot to get into here in the comments section, so I encourage you to read their stuff. I do have one comment, though. Saying that there must be a top dog to keep order, implies that two people, who are both submitting to Christ, are ultimately incapable of living in harmony and being in agreement on God's will. That seems a strange belief to me, seeing as how scripture states quite the opposite–that being transformed by Christ will draw people together, help them get along, assist them in recognizing God's will. In such transformed lives, I do not see a reason to have a top dog just to keep order—because hopefully, order will not be regularly threatened! My parents have been married going on 40 years,and they have never subscribed to the idea that my father is the final decision maker. They make decisions 50/50, together. In all that time, there has never been an instance where they could not reach an agreement between themselves. I know it's a stretch to take one couple and apply them to the whole of humanity, but I'm just saying, it is possible for two Christians to have a long-term marriage with no top dog, which doesn't lead to fighting, stalemates, and disorder. Because I know a healthy marriage where that was the case.That being said, I do completely hear what you are saying about your view of submission–that it is FAR from the mindless "obedience" preached in this crazy book. That book could be used to induce vomiting. On this point, I believe we agree. :)Your sister in Christ,Red

  • Anonymous

    And Jason,To your comment, I would direct you to Jesus, who regularly treated women 250% better than the culture at the time. Historically, the early church of Christianity elevated women to a status unheard of in previous history (that's why, historically, women flocked to it like moth to a flame, while arrogant men tended to eschew it). I'm not sure I've ever read of a historical figure who flaunted the misogynistic constructs of his society with greater bravado that Jesus did.Red

  • Anonymous

    And finally, the word in Genesis so ridiculously translated "helper" is actually ezer kenegdo.Ezer==in the Bible, this word is used to refer to desperately-needed help that only God can provide. Basically, this woman is not a helper as in an assistant–her help is rescue, the kind of strong rescue that is usually applied to God. That hardly places her below man.Kenegdo==literal translation means "a strong one facing." Facing-equal to. Strong one-strong.If you go back to the original language, it means NOTHING like what you think it means. It's just that Christians have gotten lazy and interpreted everything through modern English eyes. A lens which did not exist when this scripture was written.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    @Red,Yeah, Jesus elevated one woman to the status where she was allowed to wash his feet. He compared one woman to an ox or donkey. There's some equality for you…I'm always amused when people promote the extremely backward views of Jesus on women as being a good example. I mean, sure, relative to the time, they were fairly advanced. But still horribly backward by today's standards. That would be acceptable and reasonable if Jesus wasn't supposed to be a god. I mean, if he was all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, he should have known that his views were pretty nasty. Especially if we are to believe the claim that morality should be absolute instead of relative.Yahweh should have furthermore known that all the (much worse) anti-woman rhetoric in the Bible would have been extremely damaging to the plight of women throughout the ages that followed. So how did all of that anti-woman rhetoric make it past the fact that Yahweh is supposed to be all-powerful?

  • Anonymous

    I grew up in the southern Baptist wife beating convention. I went to Christian home school. I nearly committed suicide because of the wife submission teaching in the bible, I did physically hurt my self. It is so demeaning and hurtful I still have an urge to hurt my self when I hear the word submission. Who besides Christian men want females submissive to them? Answer, Men who own sex slaves in bandage. Who else talks of submission? Answer, Dog trainers. Women are to be submissive to their husbands like dogs to their masters.I am now an atheist but I will always have scares from the vileness that is Christianity.

  • Anonymous

    @ JasonWe must still take into account that Jesus was BORN into a culture that was already practicing Hard Patriarchy. Christ was NOT the originator of the Patriarchal movement. The Greeks, Romans and Jews already had laws in place that prevented womens movement/freedom, speech, dress, etc. It is sad that many men (and women) feel that God was the initiator for women's secondary status in the world. And yes, I have read, what has been called the 'texts of terror' that you mention in your comment above. As an Egalitarian I have thought long and hard about these. In MY opinion, (for what it is worth) although alot of the mandates that dealt with women were harsh, I also see the mercy of God in them as well. With that being said, that does not mean that I agree with the severe treatment. But I do understand that God had to deal with imperfect men that traditionally viewed women through the lens of male superiority. That in itself was the recipe for female abuse not God. I see God as trying to 'curb' some of the outright abusive behavior by men that was set in motion by the fall. Sure, like most egalitarians I see these as 'bandaids'. Not the 'cure', but baby steps in the right direction. Jesus corrects alot of negativity about women by letting them be a part of his life and ministry (which a good orthodox Jewish Rabbi would have never done). Surely the last hurdle is realize the full scope of Galatians 3:28 by not only equalizing the ethinic divide (Jew and Greeks) and the racial divide (bond and free)but the gender divide as well……..so that we can all be ONE in Christ Jesus. Terri Tippins

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Terri – I find it interesting that modern secular Western society has made such strides toward gender equality in the last two hundred years when, by your reasoning, God had millenia to do the same and failed. Don't take this as an attack – I became an egalitarian before leaving religion, and at that point I thought as you do – that God had to work with fallible people and he did what he could. But this no longer makes sense to me. The Old Testament legal code treats women as property, and it's supposedly written by God. If God can do anything, why couldn't he proclaim gender equality to his people? It's not like he never asks his followers to do radical things in the Bible, so why not this, if it's so important (and it is)? Not trying to start an argument, just to explain how my perspective on this has changed. Jason – While I technically do agree with you on this one, you have to remember that Christians today hold positions all over the spectrum when it comes to patriarchy or gender equality, and they all can find justification sin the Bible and explain away parts of the Bible that contradict their positions. They all do it, and they're all sure that they're interpreting the Bible RIGHT and everyone else has it wrong. Trying to argue with your line of reasoning doesn't generally work, because it devolves into a debate over who is interpreting the Bible correctly. The incredibly interesting thing about the Bible is that it contains such a plethora of differing and even contradicting information that someone can find justification for just about ANYTHING in the Bible. This is why Christians disagree on what the Bible means so much. I mean, I could spend two minutes and come up with a comprehensive argument FOR polygamy, and a comprehensive argument AGAINST polygamy, each rooted in the Bible. And you can do that with just about everything. In some sense, then, the Bible is about what you come to it WITH – if you come looking for patriarchy, you'll find it; if you come looking for egalitarianism, you'll find it. The Bible becomes not a source of truth but a justification for truth already held. But of course, no Christian would admit that, and most would argue that this is not the case. Anyway, interesting thoughts!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    @Libby,Yes, I absolutely agree! Perhaps I've explained myself a bit poorly here, but that statement has been part of the point I've been trying to get across all along, that the Bible can be used to justify pretty much anything.

  • Anonymous

    I DO understand exactly what you are saying. And yes, the Bible has been used as a weapon for people to proof-text thier way into power and to abuse others. With that being said, it still does not negate the fact that when God created the woman he created a good thing. His creation of her was purposeful and perfect. He did not make her a slave to the man. There is not one text that makes that claim. What we are dealing with now is the consequence of the fall on male and female relationship. He said, that she would desire her husband and that the husband would rule over her. God did not say this was good, He just stated it as a future fact for the woman. We read the stories of abuse, rape, slavery all through the Old Testament and cringe. But, with that being said, I understand that God does not go against a man's will. He can show a man the 'right way' but he does not make him do anything. Jesus did not revolt against the Roman Government. He did not overturn slavery (and you would have though that would have been the first thing to go.) Instead of causing great upheaval and having the message of the gospel lost in the process, he took small steps. Now, who am I to question 'how' God does things. He told the disciples that there were 'some things' that he could not tell them because they could not bear it and would not accept it…it was gonna take some time. And the revelation of equality for all is still progressing and becoming even more clear in our day. With that being said, there are some people that will not accept equality for everyone, I understand that and accept it with a sad heart. But regardless, we still have to keep pressing on, calling out those who would proof-text the scripture in order to put people (esp. women) back into bondage. Terri Tippins

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    Terri,Yes, I've heard these excuses for God. They all amount to saying that God wasn't powerful enough. But isn't your god supposed to be all-powerful?

  • Exrelayman

    @Jason,Except for that little run in with the iron chariots :)Also, if God were real, I would feel sorry for S/H/It. All knowing, it can never learn any new thing or be pleasantly surprised (God is a know it all), can never enjoy a joke (the punch line is known before you start telling the joke). All good, it can never have free will since it is constrained always to do the good.Believers don't think into the logical consequences of the god idea. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

  • Anonymous

    The book is sick. I've never been interested in it since reading its title. I find it interesting how you point out its women telling other women to submit. As a DV survivor from a conservative Christian background, and being told by my church to go back and work things out in marriage counseling with the guy who beat and strangled me the night before, I have a very skewed version of what the conservative churches are shoving down women's throats.I'm also grateful, in a weird way, that my husband escalated to physical abuse early on and let me realize that the CULTURE that I'd been raised with WAS abusive. The sad part for me is, so many women swallow this kind of BS and remain in emotionally and verbally abusive marriages for so many years and don't realize it, because they believe God created them with no rights? How sick is that!???"God created you to be miserable for him because he loves you so much he sent his only son to die for you?" How ridiculous is that message?

  • http://janeyqdoe.com Janey

    "God created you to be miserable for him because he loves you so much he sent his only son to die for you?" Now, why do you think that doesn't make sense? Its perfectly logical. If your head is in your arse, that is.

  • Mephista5

    Oh yes. This is my own mother's guidebook, and she still believes it all. My parents were and still are adherent to the Quiverfull movement and to Patriarchal homes. This book was the person I was supposed to be.She tried to convince me (and truly succeeded for most of my life) that submitting to my future husband doesn't mean I am any less of a human being (gee thanks), but it means that I should only stick to a certain sphere of life, and that I should obey whatever my future husband says (if it conflicts with God's will, don't worry, God will send a miracle O.o).She taught me that I do not have the ability to make decisions the way a man can because of his "aggressiveness," and that it is a "privilege, a gift unearned" for a woman to be in submission to a man.This line of thought is such a con– turning the tables to convince the oppressed person that she should be grateful for the place that she has, and that she doesn't really deserve even that.I have a lot of mental rearranging to do…."If it is needed in order to fulfill both obligations, God will do a miracle to make it possible…"^^Terrifying.^^

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02548443939400031608 Glen

    @Jason Dick: I think you'll appreciate the cartoon in this post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2011/07/theodicy-and-the-three-legged-stool/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    @Glen,Yes, I'm a big fan of SMBC comics :)

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, I feel that if you're taking the Bible literally, you need to reevaluate your sanity. You're taking it on way too much faith that the men in the past didn't write it as a way to control people, keep them in their place and keep women beneath them because men throughout history have been terrified of women. This book is terrifying and it saddens me that there are women who actually believe this garbage.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12748323591285790043 Nathan Salo Tumberg

    Wow. What a coincidence that I've spent the past couple days in a debate on Facebook about men asking a woman's father for permission to marry, which has turned into a debate on the place of a woman in regard to her husband. And then I find this post. So much is wrong with those quotes, so much I want to argue with. Sadly, there really isn't anyone taking the position that the book is right here, so I'll just ask, as regards the sending a miracle to avoid conflicts of authority hypothesis: where's the evidence?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0154323017c1970c Verity3

    @Nathan, I suppose anyone taking that position would rely on 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."Applying this verse, of course, would assume the existence of two valid authorities with valid claims on the person's obedience. There are so many assumptions in that scenario, I don't have time to go into all of them.Can't think of any real-life examples (gee, I wonder why); but there's a book called "The Mark of the Lion" by Francine Rivers, in which the heroine is ordered by her master to go to bed with him, and suddenly she falls unconscious so she doesn't have to decide whether to directly disobey him. :PWhen I was a comp, I frequently felt a sharp conflict between my husband's will and my employers'. I'm tempted to say that there was no miracle to save me. Except, of course, that I believe God eventually opened my eyes to the fact that my own willfulness was not the problem.

  • http://legs104.livejournal.com/ legs104

    @ Nathan "Wow. What a coincidence that I've spent the past couple days in a debate on Facebook about men asking a woman's father for permission to marry, which has turned into a debate on the place of a woman in regard to her husband."I am an atheist and so is my father, and when my boyfriend asks me to marry him (which he will eventually, we've talked about it many times and I will say yes) I would really like him to have asked my father first.My boyfriend and I live together already, my father likes him. My justification for this request, this "sticking to tradition" is that I love my father, respect his opinion, and would want him to say something if he thought I was making a big mistake. His approval would mean that he thinks I am making a good choice and supports me in it.My father would never stop me, but if he said no to my boyfriend I would be seriously concerned and re-think my position. If I found that I loved my boyfriend and truly thought I was doing the right thing, I would follow through despite my father.The act of asking is not so much for permission, as it is asking for support and confirmation that I am making a good choice. I respect my father, and his opinion. In my view it has nothing to do with control.

  • Anonymous

    The bible also refers to God as our helper. Does that mean that He is also to be under us as our servant? I think not. Although I have not done a study on it myself, I have heard that from the origanl Hebrew "Helper" actualy translates as "teacher."

  • Anonymous

    Jesus very first miracle was performed because of a woman. Mary came to Him about there being no more wine. He said His time had not yet come, but she ignored that and told the servants to do as He instructed them. He then did what she asked even though He had just said He wasn't ready. The first people to see Him after he rose again were women and the first people to ever preach the gospel were women. After seeing him arisen Jesus told them to go tell his deciples the good news. Why would He relay the message through women if He did not exspect the men to trust their words? Also you could say that God never really must have made a promise to Abraham or cared about his offspring because of the holicost could he not have seen that comming in the future and prevented it?

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  • Joey

    After reading this, I come to the conclusion that the religioius nutjob who wrote this is a pile of dog crap and a self-righteous moron. I have more respect for roach than I do the author.

  • Joey

    The fundaMENTAList church is one of most dangerous place for abused people. People, like the useless trash who wrote this, including moronic pastors who believe the same, are criminals in my eyes. Lots of them sexually abuse children, like the married pastor in Indiana who had sex with a minor. The pile of dog crap is facing a 15-year sentence, and that’s exactly where he belong..in prison. You self-righteous hypocrite are known for twisting the Bible to your liking and then wonder why so many people turn to athiesism. YOU disgusting low lives make people turn against God, you modern-day Pharisees. You’re not following the Bible. You strongly encourage domestic violence and blame the victim, you worhtless pieces of trash.

  • Pingback: PART XIII-C: Christian Reconstruction, ATI, Abuse & Submission – Patriarchy | The Pink Flamingo


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