Quoting Quiverfull: Politically Correct?

In which Vaughn Ohlman of True Love Doesn’t Wait writes a Biblical parody..

The following story has been updated to meet the prejudices of today’s readers…

And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age…

(Our story opens outside of Isaac’s tent. He emerges, yawning, to see Eliezer, Abraham’s oldest and most trusted servant, getting a caravan of camels ready for a journey.)


“Hey, Eliezer, what’s up with all of the camels?”

“Oh, master, wonderful news.”

“Kill the ‘master’ thing, Eliezer. I’ve had to talk to you about that before. We aren’t ‘master’ and ‘servant’. That is horribly degrading.”

“Yes, mas… yes, Isaac.”

“So, what’s the news?”

“Oh, your father has sent me on a journey to find you a wife.”

“A wife, eh? That sounds good, but what do you mean ‘sent you’? What do you have to do with it? She would be my wife, no?”

“Well, yes, mast… Isaac. But he sent me to find her, and give the gifts, and bring her back.”

“Well, the old man must be getting senile. He is ‘well stricken in age’ you know. You weren’t thinking of actually listening to him, were you? The very idea of you going and getting a wife for me. But a wife, that’s a good idea. A bit old fashioned, but, you know, it could grow on me. I will go and get her. Where did he say to go?”

“To your fathers brother.”

“What, Bethuel? That’s a huge distance away. And that would make the girl, like, my cousin or something!”

“And, ma… Isaac, your father said you weren’t to leave Cannan.”

“Oh, well that makes sense. I will look for a girl around here. How were you going to go about it?”

“Well, when I got there I would pray to see which girl the Lord would give you, and then I would go to her father, and arrange the match.”

“Praying sounds good, but what is this ‘father’ thing? Good grief, he sends you to get the girl, and tells you to go to her father? I will go right to the girl, of course. But tell me how you would go about it.”

“Well, i was thinking. I want to make sure that she is the right wife, so I would ask the Lord to send me a woman that would be willing to give water to all of the camels.”

“All of the camels? Are you crazy? You make her sound like some kind of servant. No, after I check her out and make sure she looks Ok, I will measure her against these new twenty seven indices of compatibility. Have you seen the papyrus site? It’s supposed to guarantee a fully compatible courtship and marriage. I suppose after that you would have ‘arranged the match’, like you said.

“Well, yes master.”

“And when would you have consulted the poor girl?”

“Well, I assume that we will have lots of time to talk on the way home…”

“On the way home? Eliezer! You are so old fashioned. We live in the eighth century PF now. You have got to move with the times. No, even if you make some sort of arrangement with he father, it isn’t valid until you call her over and ask her if she will marry me. Show her, here I have it in my tent, here, here’s a nice drawing that artist fellow did. Show her this sketch,and talk me up. Tell her all my good qualities.”

“But master, if her father has already agreed…”

“That doesn’t count. I don’t care what he says. No, you bring her back and I will check her out. I hope you choose well, I wouldnt’ want to have to send her back. maybe you could drop me a quick line, a sketch, a brief bio…

“But master, if her father approves, I wouldn’t want to delay my obedience to your father. I would leave the next morning, if your wife is agreeable.”

“The next morning! I thought it was the young man who was supposed to be in a hurry. Good grief, give her at least ten days to, you know, celbrate and all. And pack!

So, you bring her back, what then?”

“Well, I would bring her back to her, and you could take her into your mothers tent and…” the servants voice whispered in Isaac’s ear, and then he said, “and then you would be man and wife.”

“Well,” said Isaac, grinning, “I certainly like your idea of what to do in the tent. But that wouldn’t make her my wife, you know. No, after we had lived together for a while,” Isaac said, poking the servant playfully in the ribs, “We will get engaged, and then we will have a big wedding. I know the girl will want a big wedding, girls always do.”

Isaac mused on this for a while, and then said, “Oh, and by the way. You know Dad is really getting old. I was over in Beersheeba the other day, and they had this really nice nursing home…”

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

About Suzanne Calulu
  • Madame

    hahaha! Nice, Von!

  • gimpi1

    Sounds a lot better than the original story to me. Actually letting the bride and groom meet, and decide if they want to marry, what a concept!

  • NeaDods

    Yeah, funny how Von thinks this is horrible but nobody else does.

  • Nightshade

    Moral of the story? Dictate the marriages of your offspring or live out your retirement years in a nursing home.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >>Sounds a lot better than the original story to me.

    That was kind of my point: that modern readers would find this version better than the version God actually wrote.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    Reports of what Bible characters did are not synonymous with the will of God, and V.O. don’t seem to understand that. I am, for example, pretty sure Jesus would have approved of “Kill the ‘master’ thing, Eliezer. I’ve had to talk to you about that before. We aren’t ‘master’ and ‘servant’. That is horribly degrading.”
    Jesus never approved of lording it over others. Deciding for others who they should – or should not – marry is certainly lording it over others.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Actually God kind of uses the whole ‘master/servant’ terminology, Himself. Rather frequently, actually. One small example:

    Eph 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

    Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

    Eph 6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

    Eph 6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

    Eph 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Note: the word translated ‘servant’ here means, well, ‘slave’.

  • Madame

    Just because Paul included instructions to slaves in his letters doesn’t mean that slavery was ever God’s design for some people.

    I think you miss our point, Vaughn. We have all been saying that there is a difference between what happens in the Bible and what God wants for us. The Bible is full of stories, some quite horrific, like invading countries and killing all living beings there; Some that we understand to be irrelevant to us, like considering women impure during menstruation and contagious of this impurity. There are also practices that God apparently condoned and never condemned, like polygamy, that most Christians will agree was not God’s design.

    I think polygamy, patriarchy and slavery belong in the same category, as practices that were never God’s design for humanity.

  • pibaba

    just because a story is in the OT doesn’t mean it’s meant to be a model for today.

    I would ask Vaughn that if he takes the Isaac/Rebecca story literally/as a blueprint for living, does he take others (ie, sacrificing sons on altars, having more than one wife, stoning rebellious children, etc.) literally?

    As far as ‘the bible as inerrant/model for life’ goes, if you take one story as literal, you take them all as literal. You can’t pick and choose.

    ———–
    side note: apparently a ‘perfect marriage arrangement’ for Isaac and Rebecca didn’t guarantee an OT-version of the ‘Leave it To Beaver’ perfect family. Their kids were pretty screwed up (they lied, deceived and tricked each other. One brother to spite his parents married a woman he knew they hated. etc. etc.)

    and how great was Isaac and Rebecca’s relationship after two kids and a few decades, anyway? I mean, Rebecca encouraged their son to trick her husband for a blessing. Great family dynamics!

  • pibaba

    God didn’t write this.

    A man probably TOLD this as a story. And men after him passed it along orally. and then, hundreds of years later, someone (probably a man) wrote it down.

    Textual transmission is slippery and like a game of telephone, the details shift as it’s passed along.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >>I think you miss our point, Vaughn. We have all been saying that there is a difference between what happens in the Bible and what God wants for us

    Several points seem to be wandering around. The particular one I was replying to was that she seemed to be saying that God would approve of ‘not using master/slave language’. My response was that God uses master/slave language, and calls us His slaves.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    And, yeah, I got that you want to ignore large swaths of Scripture. My reply, “All Scripture is inspired by God…”

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    “All Scripture is inspired by God…”

    (If someone doesn’t believe that Scripture is inspired by God I wonder why they even worry about what it means?? Like I care what Shakspeare meant??)

  • Nightshade

    Yep, your holy book-if taken literally, as you seem to think is the only right way-supports the practice of slavery,
    human beings allegedly created in the image of your god being bought
    and sold like livestock or any other possession. Is it any wonder
    some/many people reject it altogether as a guide for human
    behavior, or an indication of what any decent deity would want for his creation?

  • Brennan

    Two can play that game, dude. To whit:

    25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 25-28)

  • gimpi1

    As you no doubt have guessed, I don’t believe God wrote this. Even if I did, I would not assume that God was stupid enough to want people living in a high-tech highly mobile highly diverse world to follow social norms set up for bronze-age herdsmen living in a low-mobility, tribal society. That’s what I find silly.

    Frankly, Mr. Ohlman, I respect your right to live according to these rules, even though I think it’s dangerous and foolish. However, I feel sorry for your family, having the choices anyone should be able to make for themselves stripped from them in the name of ancient dogma. I doubt they fully understand what they have given up for their beliefs. But it is their choice, and as I said, I respect it.

    My real problem with you is that I don’t fully trust you to not try to use force of law to compel those of us bright enough to not want a one-way trip to the bronze age to behave as you think we ought to. What I have seen on your website leads me to that conclusion. Am I wrong?

  • gimpi1

    So you support polygamy, mandatory isolation of menstruating women, making slaves of prisoners of war and killing people who follow other religions?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Force of law… bronze age…Am I wrong?
    What? I like steel. Think it is fine. I like computers for that matter. Way past bronze age.
    Do I believe that God’s law is better than man’s law? Yes. Nothing said about bronze, however…

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I support God’s law… altho not necessarily your interpretation of it.

  • gimpi1

    So, if you could, would you write laws forbidding divorce, restricting women’s ownership of property, allowing forced-marriage over the couple’s objections, allowing fathers to sell their children into slavery, and killing those of us who don’t believe in your God?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    As I said, I support God’s law… but not necessarily your interpretation of it. Feel free to quote an actual law: chapter and verse. I might even write a post about it. I did write one about the leverate law… I don’t suppose you read it?

  • gimpi1

    Everything I cited is in Biblical law.

  • gimpi1

    I did. That’s not my question. We live in a democracy, not a theocracy. Would you, if you had the power, kill unbelievers, keep slaves and such? Would you force those of us who don’t believe in your God, or believe in your interpretation of God’s law to obey you?

    That’s what we are talking about. You are claiming to speak for God. God is curiously silent these days…

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    cite
    sīt/
    verb
    1.
    quote (a passage, book, or author) as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, esp. in a scholarly work.
    synonyms:quote, reproduce More

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Feel free to ‘cite’ God’s law: ie copy/paste.

  • Nightshade

    Another definition listed for cite:

    mention as an example.

    “medics have been cited as a key example of a modern breed of technical expert”synonyms:refer to, make reference to, mention, allude to, adduce, instance;

    I think that definition fits.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Well, I will be clearer then. If she will ‘quote’ (ie copy/paste) any particular law of God I will be glad to comment on it. Maybe even write a blog post.

  • Madame

    John 15:15 (KJV) 15
    Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth : but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

  • Nightshade

    Fine, but your post seemed (to me at least) to indicate a superior attitude, implying that she was misusing the word ‘cite’ and correcting her use, when it was correct by the second listed definition. Comes across as a tad bit condescending, which won’t help your attempts to get us to see the light.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Yup. Friend is another thing we are called. Along with son, bride, etc.
    But as I assume you know, we are still, later, called the slaves of Christ:

    Rom_1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

    Christ here makes an important distinction about when a servant is taken fully into his master’s confidence. He gets called a ‘friend’.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Actually I was trying to say that she was posting her interpretation of God’s law, instead of God’s law itself. I am not required to obey her interpreation of Scripture, obviously.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    Yep- it ends with “Masters, do the same unto them.” The message from a non-slave owner, Paul, on behalf of God, was that slaves should serve – and masters should do the same unto slaves. If masters should do the same unto slaves that slaves should do unto masters, it really confirms this whole idea of not treating another as a slave or a master, but being a willing servant of the needs of others – whether they are above or below you in a hierarchy. If everyone did that, hierarchies will matter very little. You will follow those whom you think speak on behalf of God, in so far as what they say is on God’s behalf, regardless of where they are on hierarchies. You will serve everyone, whether they are above or below you on hierarchies, or not on the same hierarchy line at all.

    That passage starts with everyone having to submit (5:21) and ends with God showing no favoritism.(6:9) God did not include that because he wanted to defend the slave and master label, but to say that masters should treat slaves the same way slaves should treat masters! The words “slave” and “master” are not included because God loves that some are called masters, but as a radical example of everyone serving everyone!

    Even better than listening to Paul speaking on behalf of God, is to listen to Jesus himself:

    Matthew 23:8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    (When choosing what you want to be named, do not choose an exalted title.)

    25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.

    http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/how-does-god-shows-no-favoritism-square-with-complementarianism/

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    All scripture is inspired by God. But that does not mean when, for example, we hear of someone in the Bible cowardly selling his wife into a harem and lying it is his sister, or cheating, or murdering, or getting drunk, or deciding for someone else whom they should marry, or giving bad advice to another, is there to emulate.

    (The worst thing is not your way of misusing the Bible, but that you, with all your misuse, probably try to be the chief oracle (or whatever word, instead of oracle,you will find Biblically acceptable) to your family, who can really not freely appreciate and use the gifts of all the apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers given by God to edify his church.)
    It is people like you who cause the name of God to be blasphemed by unbelievers.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Well, not quite. It doesn’t quite end there. Close. It actually says:

    as to the Lord, and not to men:

    Eph 6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

    Eph 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

    … forebearing threatening. Which is a natural tendency of masters, obviously. And then it goes on to say why: because the master has a master. And this master will be judging both of you: the slave on how well he obeys, and the master on how well he does his ‘master’ stuff as unto the Lord, including forebearing threatening.

    But nice try.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Well, I’m sure I make my mistakes in exegsis. But I assume you do know who, exactly, God accuses specficially of causing His word to be blasphemeed??

    Tit 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

    Tit 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

    Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

    Tit 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

    Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    Since you want to be pedantic about exact sentence structure (telling me the quote does not END with masters having to do the same for slaves, without discussing that God actually wants them to treat their slaves the same way as what was mentioned), I will also get pedantic and tell you that God, in that passage, do not ACCUSE anyone of blaspheming His word.

    The place where someone is accused of blaspheming His name is Romans 2:
    23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    But since you are obviously not willing to learn, and until God softens your heart, I see no reason to reply further to you. Everyone who has ears to hear already know the message I wrote here. About you, I can shake of the dust.

  • Brennan

    Dear mods: why am I still in auto-mod? Did I break ‘Da Rules?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    True… he just says how His word is blasphemed.

    And I hope I do not ‘boast’ in the law… and I regret my breaking it. However what some here seem to want to do is to denigrate the law.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    God put in the truth about what people actually did, but that does not mean he liked what they did. Or that we should.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Nope. Sorry. Having some issues with Disqus auto-modding a couple different people. I’ve fiddled with this darn thing and it’s still putting a handful of people on moderate. Will keep looking into it and looking for my Disqus manual.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I find Von’s view of the elderly living in a ‘nursing home’ so antiquated it’s ridiculous! My 90 year old mother in law is in a retirement community, you know, what they used to term nursing home and it’s pretty darn fantastic. They are fed all three meals in a beautiful dining room and the food is tasty. There are three pools, a hot tub, work out facilities, gardens, activities. My maw in law still dances, plays the piano for the church services, goes on trips, goes shopping. She has a better standard of living than most folks. She picked the place, she insisted even when offered a place to live with either of her sons.

    So how exactly is that un-Biblical?

  • Trollface McGee

    Are we really arguing whether slavery is acceptable?

  • pibaba

    We’re concerned about what the Bible says/’God means’ because Christians use it to say ‘….thus, this is what you/society should do or be like.’ And that’s a scary power play.

    Why your use of Shakespeare here? I don’t get your point in relation to God (or….wait…)

    Of course, we’re not even 100% sure if the man we call ‘Shakespeare’ even wrote what is attributed to him ;)

  • Madame

    Yes, inspired, but not meant for us to follow to the letter. There is a lot of the Bible that we should never “try at home”, like stoning rebellious children or people who commit adultery.

    There is a major change in the way God dealt with people in the OT, and the way he deals with them in the NT. In the OT, there was a chosen people. Everyone else was, well, bad. God didn’t want the chosen ones to marry foreigners, so have to assume that’s why Abraham sent his servant back to the land of Ur where he came from.

    Later on, we find Jacob, who fled back to Rebekah’s family after lying to Isaac, and he did the choosing – and got two wives, but not for the price of one-.
    So if Abraham did it right by sending for a wife for Isaac, did Jacob do it wrong? (I don’t mean the tricking, that was wrong, but choosing his own wife)

    In another Bible story we find two brothers, Mahlon and Kilion, who married two Moabites, Ruth and Orpha.

    The men died, and, as we all know, Ruth returned with her MIL, Naomi, to Israel.

    Back in Israel, Ruth gleans for food at Boaz’s field, is noticed by him, finds favor with him, and is sent to sleep at his feet to see if he will become her’s and Naomi’s kinnsman redeemer.

    Should all widowed, childless women be sent by their MILs to sleep at the feet of a close relative of the deceased husband to request that he redeem her?

    The point I’m trying to make: all of these are accounts of what happened and not meant for us to follow as law. I just assume God wanted us to know about these people and how God weaved foreigners into the genealogy of Jesus. Some of the Biblical accounts are, as I have mentioned before, quite gruesome and difficult to understand why God did things that way.

  • Madame

    I agree. You put it much more succintly that rambling me!

  • Madame

    There is no law that says that all men should marry or that all women should marry.
    No law that says they should marry young.
    Now law that says dad should do the choosing of the children’s spouses.
    No law that says parents have any business regulating their children’s sexual lives.
    Need I go on?

  • Madame

    The verse in Romans doesn’t make your point of us all being called slaves. Paul calls himself a servant (slave).

    The thing is, we are ALL called to that level of intimacy, friendship, sharing in the knowledge of what the master is doing. We are ALL called to be friends.

    Jesus defines the law as “Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Our neighbor includes our children.

    I fail at that one quite often, I’m afraid, but I hope I am able to let them go when they reach adulthood. Adult children need their parents to love them enough to let them go, trust their judgment, and trust God to be their guide (if they choose him, we can’t force that on them either).

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    The “prejudices” of “today’s readers,” eh?

    Guilty as charged!

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Why should she when you haven’t done so? This passage that you re-wrote is not part of the law, it is simply a story that depicts a marriage arranged by fathers. By the same token, most of your arguments in favor of such an arrangement are premised on nothing more than the fact that it occurs or is mentioned at some point in the bible. Well, you can argue in favor of polygamy on the same basis–that certainly occurs in the bible, no? So why is God “commanding” people to embrace father-led monogamous betrothal but not polygamy? On what basis do you distinguish?

    Btw, as a Reform/Reconstructionist Jew, I don’t have a dog in this race. I see the Bible as an important artifact of my particular culture, not as a divinely inspired text. But I just hate sloppy debating. You sir, debate very sloppily.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    If he were arguing that slavery is acceptable, he’d at least be consistent!

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    If gimpi1 adheres to the standard you’ve set, s/he doesn’t need to quote an actual law. All s/he needs to do is point you to a place in the bible where one of the things mentioned happens and then say “X happens here in the bible, therefore it is normative and prescriptive for everyone who follows said bible”, since that’s pretty much what you do. And you know well as well as I do that all the things mentioned happen somewhere in the bible. Let’s stop being silly now.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, since you are a champion of homeschooling, it would probably behoove you to care what Shakespeare meant. Just sayin.’

  • lodrelhai

    “Eph 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

    You quote directly that masters are instructed to do the same as their servants, you quote that God holds no merit in the ranks or social standing of men, and you still say he’s going to judge them differently based on their societal roles and status?

    Just what part of “neither is there respect of persons with him” isn’t clicking?

  • Trollface McGee

    But he still insists that it’s Biblical to use computers even though no one who had any part in writing the Bible approved their use – so I wouldn’t expect consistency.


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