Seething disrespect, is it normative in church gatherings?

My wife and I joined a small group. Last night was the second meeting. We left behind, in Texas, a great many friends who came to be friends via the small group we maintained for the better part of 12 years. Here, just as we have had trouble settling on a church, we have had difficulty coming to the point of joining any small group. If you add my cynicism born of The Red Pill, manifest in the time between initiating our prior small group and now, it makes the task all the more difficult. Then, considering my low tolerance for certain things and the confidence I have in pointing them out, it will be a challenge to say the least.

The sort of leaders of the group are a couple in retirement age. The man is a Vietnam vet and ex-military pilot as well as retired commercial pilot. His wife strikes me as a librarian, and I mean no value implication with that. My wife had pointed out that, last week, that wife was agitated at her husband all evening. Surprisingly I’d missed it. But not last night.

This woman openly derided her husband, criticizing him overtly when at the mention of some scheduled event, he stated a different date and time then she had recorded. He patiently told her he had just received another email with the corrected information. She was ticked off and told him “you need to tell me these things immediately”. Later, the reason behind this schedule controlling urge became more clear.

The husband started to add some scripture, at one point,  that he felt was relevant to a certain point. The point was something about, when do you need to stop asking God for deliverance from something that is a problem in your life. The leader was using the story of David praying that a child not die, and the point he was making was David didn’t stop praying but that, once the child died, David accepted that and went on.

First the wife rolled her eyes when he mentioned what story he was about to read, saying “what does THAT have to do with anything?” She stared angrily and impatiently at him as he read. Then, so as to correct him, she explained that she believes we all need to just stop praying for things and accept things as they are.

At one point she corrected me too. One man was making the point, and quoting some preacher, that god “is not our buddy”. Oh….dancing close to home here fella I was thinking. I interjected that singing “I am a friend of God” made me uncomfortable. The woman had to tell me that Jesus calls us friend, quoting me sum scripchuh. Yea….I know. She was not happy with that whole line of inquiry.

Her apogee was when she wryly stated that her thorn in the flesh is her retired husband. Yuk yuk yuk.

Finally, comes time for prayer requests and much was revealed. The woman is on the board of the HOA in their neighborhood. She was over committed and thinking of quitting. The president of the association was begging her not to quit. She was torn mightily. “Its about continuity, its about difficulty getting a new person up to speed”, etc. he asked her an innocent question and her reply was again eye rolling and “there have been three emails since then”.

The thing is, women join HOAs expressly because they are controlling by nature. They crave the unbridled power and do not underestimate the empathy that the work load martyrdom generates. She was not really wresting with quitting. She was wrestling with the fact that it was not generating enough empathy.

The host family was sending subtle nonverbal clues that they needed to wrap up. Subtle, like a kid kept screaming, the man kept turning 180 degrees in his chair to look at the clock, like that. This women prattled on for 15 minutes explaining her dilemma about this decision to quit the board. Other women in the group then felt compelled to compete. They brought their own requests, and went on and on with each other about them. I thought if I had to attend women’s bible study I’d swallow The Judge.

If I’d have only asked fro prayer that I stay silent in the face of overt disrespect from a wife.

It ruined the evening. It made me wonder if the others have sat through that for the duration (years) of this groups existence. It made me wonder if I can stand it. It made me thankful for my wife who was also appalled by the woman’s behavior.

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13 thoughts on “Seething disrespect, is it normative in church gatherings?

  1. Please tell me that if you were going to shoot yourself, you’d use a more dignified weapon that a Judge. 1911. Glock. Anything but the Judge.

    I don’t know if you can, but try standing up to that guy’s wife. It will work wonders. I did the same to a normally bitchy wife in a small group last year and it made things downright pleasant.

  2. I know exactly what you are talking about. It was my ex-wife who did it, and every woman in the group would either pile on me or join the complaining with similar complaints about their husbands. Some would silently ignore it. From the latter group I would get the occasional side conversation apologizing that I had to sit through that.

  3. Bitchy women in Bible studies are a great opportunity to DHV by standing up to them and kowing them down. She’ll respect you somewhat, but the other women will definitely respect you more for setting an example of what you will do if she acts like a bitch. They’ll also appreciate you putting that woman into her place so they don’t have too.

  4. Blessed is ME.

    reminds me of the best example of narcissism I have ever seen. In a preschool I was in a few years ago (uh, not as a student) a young boy ran enthusiastically up to me and said “Mister, have you seen ME?”

    Priceless

  5. “women join HOAs expressly because they are controlling by nature”.

    I have noticed this. The entire staff on the homonerds association where I live is entirely female.

    They are more concerned about the 1 and only 1 dandelion in my yard than they are with the swastikas drawn in the sand at the local park (also under the jurisdiction of the homonerds association)…

    I like throwing their “non-fee warnings” about the 1 and only 1 dandelion in my yard right into the trash…

  6. The thing that amazes me about this story is that the ex-military husband seems to be tolerating this open disrespect from his wife. Speaking from the perspective of a single, never married guy in his 30s, I can’t imagine letting my girlfriend or wife treat me that way. One, maybe two strikes and you’re out. However I do empathize (does that make me empathological?) with this guy as I have had to recognize and recover from some church driven emasculation in my own life.

  7. No, it doesn’t make YOU empathological. Realize though that I changed my screen name because that name was self reflecting. Sounds like you had to de-pedestalize the women

  8. Jeff,
    Most military, police, firemen are betas according to the standard understandings. They are followers who rely on the hero/hero worship culture to provide them attention and admiration (from females and males) by virtue of the uniform.

  9. @ empathologism –

    Just kidding about being empathological in my response. I definitely had to de-pedestalize women. I was never directly taught to pedestalize, but somehow I partially internalized the woman good, man bad stuff. After dating a woman who had some borderline personality traits and exhausting myself trying to keep her placated, I started to wake up. Thanks for the blog.

    @ casparreyes –

    That makes sense.

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