Submission and Prison Cells: Part 1

Almost five years ago, I was a devout conservative Christian. I had been married over two years, had a toddler Ms Action running around and a baby Ms Drama due in a few months. I loved my spouse beyond what I had ever thought love was when we first got married, and I still dutifully tried to keep the house immaculate and dinner on the table by the time he walked in the door. I read lots of books on marriage and childrearing, and I gave some of them away too. I remember in particular giving away copies of “To Train up a Child” and “Be Fruitful and Multiply”. I did my best to live up to the ideas I found in the Bible, the Christian books and magazines I read, and the teachings I had always been taught.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when I come across stuff I wrote back then, but it still makes me squirm. This post is a copy of a response I wrote to a woman on the Above Rubies chatroom I participated in at the time.

She was young, married to a military man, and the Quiverfull mother of 5 children under the age of 7.

She called herself “Yellowbunnys”.

She wrote about how submission made no sense to her. That she loved her husband, he was a good provider and a caring person, but that he didn’t really understand her. She explained the cycle in her marriage, of her husband making decisions for the family that she felt were unbearable, and how she tried to pray through it, ignore it, justify it, or talk herself out of making a big deal about it. But that sometimes she just couldn’t stand it anymore and ended up saying something to him. And then she would beat herself up for saying anything, because it just made everything worse and she’d be told she was being overly critical, that she didn’t know what she was talking about, and reminded of all her past failures.

She described how this cycle of guilt would drive her back to silence, once again keeping her voice and her opinion to herself, knowing that she was called to serve with her body, but not allowed to serve with her mind. She said that the idea of biblical submission didn’t feel healthy to her, that in conforming her entire life to what her husband believed, thought and enjoyed, she was throwing herself away in the process. She spoke of the overwhelming feeling of being trapped, chained, that every time she managed to lift her face to the sky long enough to see a glimmer of Christ’s hope, the chains of submission jerked her downward again to the reality of her role as a Christian wife. She asked the ladies of the group to help her make sense of patriarchy.

She called the post “My Prison Cell”.

Many of the women on the board seemed to sympathize, adding to the thread some of the things that they found frustrating about their husbands, and talking about how submission was a burden all women had to carry and what ideas helped them cope. In my self-righteous religious zeal, I was horrified. This was not an example of a godly marriage, I felt like someone needed to (gently) set these women straight and help them see where their priorities were off.

This is what I said:

“I would just like to say that unless your Husband is abusive to you or your children (in which case you should probably leave him!) the “prison cell” of submission you claim to be in, is one of your own creation.

1. No person can fill the “God gap” in your heart, if you are looking to your husband or even your children to fulfill the need you have for a savior, you will always be disappointed.

2. No person is perfect. It is unfair for you to expect your Husband to know what to do and how to do it in every situation (leave the expectations up to God), he is learning just like you. And it is way easier to learn if someone notices the good things about you.

3. Your husband is not and never will be a girlfriend. He is a man, we should revel in his manliness just as we should revel in our femininity. (God created us male and female last time I checked)

4. By complaining that he doesn’t “understand” you, are assuming that you understand him? He could be thinking the same thing about you.

5. We are powerless to “fix” anyone or anything except ourselves. We cannot control what happens to us, we can only control what we do with it, how we re-act to it. Will we assume that we are right? Will we grovel in our own self-pity? Will we play the victim? Or will we see the good, pray, ask God to show us the blessing. Can we be happy with whatever God has given us? I believe that once you are married it is for life (barring possible abuse cases) the man you are married to is supposed to be the love of your life and your knight in shining armor. Do you treat him like he is?

I almost hesitate to use the word submission because I have seen it miss-used in so many conservative circles. Basically that “Submission means being a doormat.” Submission is not being a doormat, it means letting your husband lead in his God-given role. I do submit to my husband. My Husband is the head of our home. All major decisions rest in his hands and (although he is imperfect) I am thankful to leave them there. I am thankful that he is willing to take on such responsibility. I am content to leave his faults in Gods hands and encourage him and watch him grow. I find that the more I bless him with my happiness, the happier he makes me.

My final tip is find the time to make love to your husband, I know that I will sound younger than ever by saying that, but it is actually the advice an older woman gave me when I got married. The more you fulfill your husband needs, the more fulfilled you will be sexually. When your husband feels that you desire him, he feels more like a man than ever and is encouraged to do anything it takes to be your man. Pursue him, surprise him. Kiss him in the hall, compliment him, tell him you want him and then go get him! I challenge you to make the time consistently and watch him change. The better your sex life the better your marriage, and the better your marriage the better your sex life. So get on with it and have sex!!

You can continue to live in your prison cell that you have built by the way you view your husband and your marriage. Or you can make the decision to set yourself free by giving the imperfections to God and starting to actively notice the blessing God has put in your life.”

My post worked in a way. I got over twenty responses from women on the board proclaiming that I was wise beyond my years, and that I had shown them the error of their ways.

I shamed them all back into their prison cells.

Now in Part two I want to argue with myself a little. Me Now, Vs the Me of 5 years ago.

  • Awol

    The young 'prison inmate' was wise beyond her years, wasn't she, as it turns out.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Fundamentalist religion seems pretty strange to me as I have never lived on it but it's perhaps because of that and because of how creepy it is that this mere peek results so interesting to me. I'm so happy you are now free from all those chains, nobody should have to chaffe under those awful expectations.

  • Awol

    I respect you for sharing this. I look forward to reading more of this particular series. You were doing the best you knew at the time. I think that is partly why we do well to try to have understanding and compassion for those who think differently than we do. It is just particularly tough when we find their beliefs or practices to be intensely obnoxious or hideous or even cruel.

    I hope that young wife was able to deal with and resolve her conflict. I hope she was able to find peace in not submitting. I like what Ann Nyland wrote in The Source; she used the word 'supportive of' in place of submission. Wives were to be supportive of their husbands. That makes so much more sense. We are all to be supportive of one another in so far as our conscience allows. That is so refreshingly different than submitting to one another or to husbands, etc. Anyway, that is my take on all of it.

  • Anna

    "(God created us male and female last time I checked)"

    That made me laugh a little.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    It made me laugh too. :)

  • africaturtle

    ha! I was probably on the Above Rubies forums during that same time…i remember some lady talking about envying her husband who got to go out to a "regular" job every day while she was feeling "trapped" at home with the kids all the time. some women were sympathetic, but then there was one who piped up and kindof chided everyone for not being more "godly" in their reactions. About how we need to "guard our speech and our tongues" and complained that the Above Rubies forums were "less Above Rubies" than they used to be…people actually questioning the quiverful principles and all…

    I honestly had to "force" myself to read through your response because i just "knew" what was comming and somehow i am so "over" that way of thinking that to read through it all now (from any source) just makes me want to gag. I'm looking forward to seeing this seeries as well… funny how quickly things change isn't it?? My life has not changed in appearance nearly as much as yours and yet in my mind i feel lightyears aways from where i was only 5 short years ago, too.

    It's funny that twice you included the exception of abuse as grounds for divorce. I never got that memo in the teaching i recieved…and since i now have dealt with abuse in marriage I identify strongly with her talk of:
    "it just made everything worse and she’d be told she was being overly critical, that she didn’t know what she was talking about, and reminded of all her past failures." If this is truly how her husband was treating her when she "questioned" him, and especially with her describing her feelings of being in a "prison cell"…i would say it's quite possible that her relationship contained abuse. Maybe not physical beatings, but definitely verbal ones… of course that is speculation on my part, but i can't help but notice what to me now are "red flags".

    I don't comment here often as i'm usually more active at NLQ, but i just wanted to say how much i appreciate your blogging here, and i follow along regularly. I was especially happy to hear you had such a nice experience last sunday that you shared in your last post! :) xo

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    The thing is that it seems like even the fundamentalists who include abuse only consider physical abuse or at most extreme and overt emotional abuse. Anything else it's just the wife's over-reaction or not knowing how to submit adequately *disgusting* that's without counting the ones who think a wife must first try to change his abusive husband through prayer and being more submissive before considering the choice of divorcing him… or at least that's what I've read in the entries of the women who have escaped all this crap.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Africanturtle- I think I remember the person who said that the forum was becoming less "Above Rubyish", I believe I sent her a reply thanking her for her boldness. :/ I'm not surprised it was hard to read, heck, it was hard for me to read and I'm the one who wrote it! I included the exception for abuse cases, because my parents (despite spanking their children) always maintained that a man must not harm his wife physically. But I have also read the books that claim that the wife is exaggerating, and failing in her calling to just be more submissive and win her husband to faith. And it would have taken actual police reports and bruises to convince me that abuse was happening. In my mind at that time, emotional abuse didn't exist, and verbal abuse was no excuse to leave your husband.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03519675898483081005 Mrs. Searching

    I found a box of my treasured childhood papers a couple of years ago. One of the articles I had written – around age 10 – was all about the evil pagan practices of the Native Americans and how they should have been eradicated like the Caananites. I know that I was merely parroting what I was taught (not by my parents, but by their mentor, who ironically is half Native American herself – a whole study in child psychology there), but it still made me feel ill to read the hateful paragraphs and think this is how I was told to feel about other human beings.

    There is beauty in growing, and growth inevitably involves the death of old cells. Thankyou for being willing to delve into this subject.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10329947206142706470 Peter and Nancy

    Melissa, I noticed there was no mention of adultery being an acceptable reason for divorce. Was that not part of what you were taught in a patriarchal/fundamentalist background? I have been a Christian since I was 21 (that's 20 years ago now), but this entire subculture of patriarchy is completely foreign to me until the past 5 years or so, when a friend from my church was brave enough to share her past in an abusive patriarchal church & home with me. So I was wondering about that detail.

    Some of these ideas about submission seem so idolatrous to me — it's as though the husband is God and is all knowing, all powerful, etc. And the willing self-annihilation of the wives is baffling too. I can't find anything in the way Christ treated women that indicates we're supposed to be non-persons.

    Thanks for sharing these parts of your past — it's really a window into a different world for me, and helps me understand people who have been wounded in this way.
    Nancy

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Isn't a creepy feeling to see how firmly you once believed some people were worth less. It is amazing to see how different I am now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Nancy- Adultery was considered a serious matter, and grounds for divorce if the husband was unrepentant. (Although it was somehow implied that it was probably the wife's fault that he cheated in the first place, sexual needs not being met, or not staying attractive enough to please him and all that.) However, I would have believed that the wife should unequivocally forgive her husband, and that every effort should be made to salvage the marriage if he showed the least sign of repentance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Awol- Yes. Now that I am not in denial I recognize her feelings so well.

  • Anonymous

    Have you even considered that in 5 yrs. your opinions could completely change again? You felt just as strongly then about your opinions as you do now. Obviously you no longer agree with those earlier opinions. Why do we always have to be so "sure of ourselves" and then portray it as if it is a good thing?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Anonymous- I am sure that my opinions will continue to evolve, especially now that I don't think I have all the answers, which is why I consider myself an agnostic. However, I do think it is a good thing that I no longer try to force/shame other people into living exactly the way I live, because I no longer think that there is only one "right" way to live one's life.

  • Awol

    Anonymous, I don't think it is such a bad thing to be sure of one's self at any given time…even if we do change our mind down the road, again, and again. And if, at any given moment, we do feel sure of ourselves regarding something, it is only consistent to portray it as a good thing if we think it is!

    I don't get the idea that Melissa has to 'be so sure of' herself at any rate. I don't ever remember reading that she felt that way. She strikes me as someone who goes through periods of questioning which then result in some degree of sureness of oneself. I think that is a common human experience, is it not?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10329947206142706470 Peter and Nancy

    Thanks for clarifying that point for me. What a bind this system leaves wives in, where everything seems to end up being your fault because you're not doing something the right way — seems like you'd be paralyzed by the fear of failure. And it's not much better for the husbands — I would think that the pressure to be right all the time would be exhausting.

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

    I love this post so much! It just serves as an awesome reminder of how the people making similar horrible, self-righteous, and utterly wrong-headed statements elsewhere can, on occasion, actually change.

    I know I'm being rather unkind to your former self, Melissa, but this is really something that upsets me to no end about Christianity: it turns what are obviously the best of intentions into rather horrifying emotional manipulation. It traps people who want nothing more than to care for themselves and for others into hurting the very people they care about.

    Granted, Christianity doesn't always do this. There are more liberal forms of Christianity that rarely distort intentions so badly with wrong-headed beliefs. And even the more conservative forms of Christianity don't distort every action. But Christianity does this far, far too often for my liking. It isn't the only religion or belief system to do this, but I think it's perhaps the single most destructive system of belief in the US today.

  • africaturtle

    I hear you on your understanding of "real" abuse equaling police reports and bruises. I had every stereotype possible in my head until i had to work through my own problems. I remember having conversations with my mom as she got further and further into patriarchal theology about how it didn't seem to me that the God left an escape clause even for physical abuse. The verses on wifely submission following closely after those on slaves submitting even to harsh masters. To my knowledge the only truly biblical grounds for divorce was infidelity but even that didn't register to me as a "real" reason since a "good" christian should pracitice unconditional love by extending forgiveness (just has God does for us). I really had so little compassion it's not even funny. For so long the only thing that mattered was what was RIGHT. everything else was secondary. I still can't believe that i really have changed so much, sometimes it's scary and lonely to leave behind such rigid security. Someitmes it feels like falling down into a black hole where you don't know where the walls or the bottom is, only that you aren't yet touching them. yet, another reason why i appreciate blogs like yours…lights on the path. :)

  • africaturtle

    i know you are asking Melissa, but i just have to chime in here.Your question sparked something inside of me that i really just want to hash out on paper. I'm sure someone looking for an argument will be able to find some flaws in what i'm saying, but i want to try and express something about how i feel after "loosing" my fundamentalist christian worldview. Consider it a testimony of sorts.

    Though minor opinions might change i do not think i can ever undergo (again)the type of upheaval i have undergone in throwing off an entire worldview based on a religious principle. I feel like a whole new universe has opened to me. The feelings i experience sometimes remind me very closely of what people describe when the come TO religion. I feel as though blinders have been lifted from my eyes. I feel freedom.

    I fear loosing my family's approval and acceptance. sometimes i flounder explaining my shifting beliefs to my young children. But overall i just am very HAPPY that i do not have to have everything figured out.

    I can actually LISTEN to people's stories and not have to have a "right" answer at the end. I don't have to deal with the stress and internal pressure of guilt concerning the level of witnessing i'm doing (or not doing) with my neighbors. I don't have to worry about balancing humility and pride…i can just feel how i feel without worrying that i am being prideful or not loving myself enough (it can go both ways depending on which sermon you listen to). I fear less messing up my kids, because i no longer feel like eternity is in the ballance with every parenting choice i make. However i do feel the struggle of learning to take more responsibility in my life since i no longer am counting on God to "direct" circumstances in my favor.

    YOu might see it as naive but i just don't ever see how i could change out of this point of view. From everything i know of on the earth…i don't see how it could contradict with this. It is really powerful and sometimes scary but mostly just plain old "good". I didn't think it was possible but i feel way more sure about this way of "being" now than i ever did when i felt "sure that i'm sure that i'm sure" that the Bible was the only,holy, infallible, authoritative Word of God.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08875211218150475138 Rosa

    The thing that's extra weird looking at this from the outside is that a younger woman with fewer kids got to "correct" an older wife with more kids. It's not just that in the rest of the culture more experience = more authority, but that the way motherhood is glorified in QF circles it seems like it should come with more status and leeway for these kinds of uncomfortable statements. But it doesn't seem to really work that way.

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    Looking back, do you think maybe "submission" wasn't as difficult for you as for the other women because your spouse wasn't really male? Also, I notice that in the sex life you described, it sounds like you were basically taking on the more assertive, initiative role while letting your spouse play the more passive, receptive, i.e. traditionally female role. (Not saying all males are assertive and all females are passive, just commenting on the traditional gender roles in that cultural context.) Did anyone on the message board point that out? Did you consider that yourself at the time? Will I find all this out in the Thrilling Conclusion? lol

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    In the intro to my original post 5 years ago, I included a disclaimer about how I was young, but that I had bene raised in this mindset so I had a more informed perspective. I signed it "A younger sister". So yeah, I recognized that I was less experienced, but I felt I was more qualified somehow?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Amethyst- Could be. I also know that I had a lot of practice defering my own needs and wants, so it wasn't like the idea of submission was a new one for me. And on sex, I wouldn't say my spouse was only passive/receptive, we were pretty mutual persuers I think. Perhaps the traditional gender roles dictate a assertive male and passive female, but if you read the typical evangelical books on marriage, while they perpetuate the myth of gender roles in sex, they push the wife to put aside her lack of interest and be excited about having sex with her husband, whenever he wanted, denying his requests was tatamount to sending your husband into another woman's arms. Even better, add some pursuit of him into the mix, then you'll be sure to keep his highly charged sexuality focused on you.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for responding that you do not think you have all the answers. What in your understanding tells you that Christianity/the Bible teaches "that there is only one right way to live" for everyone? And to africaturtle: what in your understanding of Christianity/the Bible says that "you have to have everything figured out"? It seems to me based on reading this blog that the answer to both questions would be your own experiences.

  • Caravelle

    Your husband is not and never will be a girlfriend. He is a man, we should revel in his manliness just as we should revel in our femininity. (God created us male and female last time I checked)

    That has to be the funniest thing I've read all week :D

    To some extent I envy you, and other people who experience such a radical overhaul of their worldview. While my opinions on many topics have changed over time (and I guess I am blessed that I spent my young internet years in strict lurkerdom…) they have always been fundamentally the same AFAICT. I'd like to think it's because I was lucky enough to be mostly right from the start (I mean, if I didn't think that I'd have changed my opinions wouldn't I), but it could also be because I'm unwittingly close-minded and very good at rationalization… and I have no way of telling the difference..

    And the bitch of it is, if changing one's most deeply-held beliefs is proof that one is capable of such change, if I'm right about my deeply-held beliefs then I'll *never know* whether I'm rationalizing or not. Unless, you know, I change all my beliefs *towards being massively wrong*, which is the nightmare scenario.

    I suppose radically changing your beliefs can make you less confident because you know how wrong you can be. But you also know how being that wrong feels like, and you know you were able to change at least once.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Romans 12:2 ESV
    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Matthew 7:21-23
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Ephesians 5:5
    For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

    Exodus 20:1-17
    And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, …

    John 3:3
    Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    Matthew 7:21
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

    1 John 2:6
    Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

    I Peter 1:15-16
    As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'"

    Hebrews 12:1
    Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    Matthew 7:13
    Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

    Acts 4:12
    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    I see. I never came close to courting when my family was in the patriarchy phase, so I was spared the marriage books. (No need to learn about sex before you're engaged, right?) I just got the courtship/betrothal stuff, which focused on never showing an interest in anyone or trying to attract anyone if you were a girl, and never thinking about sex ever. Though apparently you're supposed to do a complete 180 once there's a ring on your finger. lol

  • Awol

    Melissa, as I read these verses, I thought about the high price at which they came-your ability to know them, that is. You likely have these and many more memorized-given the background from which you come. I am nearly in tears as I think about the absolutely difficult and painful path you have been on. As I said somewhere else, I am still married to a strict, BJU-type fundamentalist, though I have left his abusive church, so I am still walking in all this and have felt some of the same pain but would make no claim to know your own personal pain in all this. Like you, it has forced me to really think about my beliefs about many things, and I have made profound changes in some of those beliefs and in the general direction of my theological aim. This has cost me the relationship of one of my closest siblings, and most painfully, one of my own children. You have experienced losing family and friends over all this, too, I know.

    All that aside, I have a profound respect for what you (and Haley) have experienced along your journey of these past few years, and will experience in the years to come.

  • Anonymous

    Africaturtle – your comments here could have been written by me! I have been where these women have been, trying, trying, trying, to get it right and be good enough to please God and my husband, and trying to feel that peace and joy that I was supposed to feel as a submissive christian wife. After many, many years of trying, the balance shifted from certainty to doubts, and gradually – over several years – I was able to break free from the chains of christianity (although of course at the time, I never believed they were chains. I believed I WAS free – HA!). I too have a journal in which I wrote things that now make me cringe. I've kept them because they are a true reflection of the journey I have been on. But wow, am I different (and TONS happier) now. I am truly free to be me, without regard to "pleasing" my husband, and "pleasing" God all the time. It might surprise you (as it does me)that I am still with my husband (of 40 years!) but our relationship has changed dramatically. What changed? Me! I stopped participating in the controlling games he played (I think, without even realizing it), and gradually he seemed to actually come to respect me as a whole person. I wouldn't say I'm in an ideal relationship, but I am content now, recognizing that this is the life I'm CHOOSING to stay in, and not expecting more out of him than he is capable of giving. (I'm convinced he has Asburgers Syndrome, and literally is incapable of empathy). I'm also determined to keep my self-respect alive at all costs – something I did not have as a bible-believing christian. I'd like to encourage all who are struggling with patriarchical issues to spend lots of time here and also at exchristian.net, which has been so encouraging to me. You go, girls! There IS light at the end of the dark tunnel as you struggle to find a path away from what is a crazy-making way of life (because it IS crazy to give up your personal power to others). I'm signed on as Anonymous, but think of me as Contented Cate.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Awol- There are so many more verses, those are just the ones I could remember easily enough to be able to look them up.

    I count myself so lucky, so blessed that Haley and I are able to be there for each other, I cannot imagine going through all this without her. The loss of close relationhsips is incredibly painful. I hope that you will gain relationships that nurture and encourage you, and it is comforting to know that we are not alone in our experience and questions. (((Hugs))

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08875211218150475138 Rosa

    You feeling qualified doesn't surprise me, but all those grown up mothers of many letting you lecture them really does.

  • Anonymous

    Melissa,I hardly ever comment here but I read each and every one of your posts hungrily. Thank you for being so honest and sharing the thoughts and feelings I'm not often brave enough to voice myself. I come from such a similar background as yourself and am still in the first 4 years after having left it. I feel so much of what your're saying. The disgust I feel at what I used to think and say. Ugh! You are such a couragous women – even if you don't feel it! – and you, your spouse and your blog are such an encouragement and light! Thank you.

  • africaturtle

    to the first Anonymous: The phrase "have everything figured out" is certainly lacking clarity. I tried to expound some on what that meant to me the the paragraph that followed in my original response. Obviously, the Bible teaches that there are spiritual mysteries we will never clearly understand this side of heaven. Also we recognize God is infinite so, humans, with finite minds can never fully understand/grasp all there is to know about God…this means to some extent that Christians live with a certain level of ambiguity. We expect that we can't "have every thing figured out". If that were ultimately true of us, then we would BE God.

    What i was referring to was the pressures of living, modeling, and testifying to a moral absolute (all the verses Melissa listed are good ones). I have heard the Gospel message compared to having the cure for cancer. If you had it, you would go out sharing it with everyone, not keep it locked up for yourself only. This puts quite a bit of pressure on the individual who wishes to be dillegent in following Christ's command to "go and make disciples of all nations". If we Love our fellow man we should (logically speaking) be knocking down their doors to plead with them to escape the wrath that is comming! Obviously it is emotionally impossible to live life that intensely continuously so we rationalize with other various spiritual analogies (one plants, one waters, another harvests…etc.) So what i'm trying to get at here is not that i have to understand everything perfectly but that since the understanding is that i have (had) a spiritual truth that was essential to the other's well-being it was my "job" as an ambassador of Christ to relay this information to them in some way or another. (beit neighbors or my own kids). I now no longer feel this pressure because i no longer feel that i have some superiour knowledge or "truth" about the world that the other person needs to be enlightened on. Now i could consider it my "job" to show Christians the "errors" of their ways, but i don't see it as a life and death issue…in fact in most circles it's probably just better to stick with your faith (that's my current perspective). And the thing is, if i want to talk about my findings on the subject, i can…but if i choose to avoid the subject for the sake of avoiding conflict, or saving face… well, i can do that too, and there is nobody up in the sky watching me and judging my "performance" so-to-speak. I hope that helps understand a little bit more.

  • Anonymous

    I started hurting myself because of the submission teaching, i wanted to kill my self. I thought about suicide all the time, when i would be brushing my teeth I would seriously consider going into my room and killing myself. The submission teaching is so hateful and so very demeaning. Even now when I hear the word submission I have a strong desire to hurt myself. The things that are being tought is as if women and girls are dogs. Consistent breeding as if women are dogs in puppy-mills, dog trainers tell dog owners that their dog should be submissive to them. I am still deathly afraid of all men because of the submssion teaching, I feel that if I am not submissive to one i will get in trouble and be condemned. Thank you Melissa for caring.


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