by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
Debi is about to begin another “pick a verse – any verse!” Bible interpretation of why women should be submissive to men.
“The Hebrew word Ayzer, from which the English words help meet come, mean one who helps. Woman was created to be a helper who was suited to meet the man’s needs, to fill in between the lines. The female is a softer image, one step removed from the original. I am his curves. I am his sweetness, thoughtfulness, compassion, sensitivity and so on. “
Again, I feel bad that Debi has known so few men that she honestly believes that men cannot be thoughtful, sweet, sensitive or compassionate. The vast majority of men I’ve met have all – or most – of those qualities.
Plus, the Gospels make a pretty good case for Jesus being at least thoughtful and compassionate.
” I was created to help him be successful, to bear his children and train them according to his will. God did not create a help meet for the woman, for the responsibility is not hers. He is the one responsible and in authority. He needs a suitable helper. “
Run that statement to the logical conclusion. If your husband tells you to abuse your children and raise them to be mass murders, there is no way you can defend yourself legally or morally under the “My husband said I was supposed to do that.”
The Bible is pretty explicit about how wives are more than free to disobey – or even deceive their husbands if their husbands are breaking the law – see the story of Abigail and Nabal in 1 Samuel 25.
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 says, “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
Debi jumps around in 1 Corinthians 11. I wondered why that was so I read the entire chapter. In the New Revised Standard Version, the portion after 11:1 has a large heading titled “HEAD COVERINGS”. All of the verses that Debi pulls out to support wifely submission are actually written to explain why women who lived in areas where modest married women covered their heads should continue to do so. She also leaves out a few verses that are more interesting like 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.
Those two verses, in my humble opinion, shoot most of Debi and Michael’s views on female submission and male unquestioned authority in the foot.
“This passage should alter our way of thinking about marriage somewhat. Maybe we should be asking, “Would I be a good helper for that man? Would I be capable of supplying all his needs, filling the emptiness in his heart, and serving him in a way to make him successful in all he chooses to try?” And then we would change the way we pray. “Lord, help me learn to be the kind of woman a good man will need to help him in all things.”
No one human being can supply the ALL the needs for another.
I don’t know what emptiness was in Michael Pearl’s heart before he met Debi, but there still seems to be a gaping hole in there.
There is no way a wife can be saddled with the entire responsibility of making her husband successful. If the husband wants to be successful, HE needs to make sensible choices about his activities. A wife can help her husband sometimes, but his success or failure is his own responsibility.
“Satan could have tempted this lonely man at any time, but the Deceiver waited for the creation of the weaker vessel. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:13-14). Satan knew that the man could not be easily deceived, but the woman could.”
Because Genesis never discusses why Satan tempted Eve rather than Adam.Genesis 2:6 notes that Adam was with Eve when she was tempted so it was more of an epic fail for men and women together.
“The very first command God ever gave to a woman was, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Genesis 3:16) God then goes on to tell us “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23)”
So God didn’t talk to anyone for over 2,000 years!? Yup. There are three books sequentially in the Bible: Genesis, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians. Nothing else.
Pretty sure the next two paragraphs with Bible quotes were written/chosen by Michael Pearl, not Debi. The voice of the author changes abruptly especially if you read the section aloud. There is a brash militaristic tone that often appears in Michael’s writing that is absent in Debi’s. Plus, Debi talked about 1 Corinthians 11: already…and yet the verse is quoted AGAIN. Who edited this book?
“God gave man the kind of nature that would be suitable to hold the superior office in the chain of command. A wife’s position under her husband is where God put her for her own spiritual, emotional, and physical safety. It is the only position where a wife will find real fulfillment as a woman.”
If Debi is a fulfilled woman, may God let me always be unfulfilled.
“God is not impressed by our gifts, our types or our strengths. He is impressed by our willingness to abide by and appreciate his program by conforming to the needs of our man. God calls married women help meets. He NEVER called a man a help meet to his wife. This is not a two-way street. God commanded us wives to submit to, obey and even reverence our husbands. He also tells us why we are assigned the role of helper.
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (1 Corinthians 11:7-9).
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)“
“This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church… and the wife see that she reverences her husband” (Eph. 5: 32-33)
No, the original verse does not have an ellipse in the middle.
The bit left out is :
“ This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband”
Which is a point Michael Pearl could work on.
Anyone else notice the conspicuous lack of quotes from any of the Gospels? Seems like Jesus (and his biographers) were not as hung up on the topic as Paul was…and even Paul spent most of his writings on other matters.
At this point, Debi launches into eight pages of how to tell if a guy is a Prophet, Priest or King – in the middle of the chapter titled “Three Types of Women”. I’m skipping those pages. (Seriously, do not hire their editor(s). They are not very good….)
AntiPearl: The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide