Ive been thinking a little bit more deeply about this. Something I searched led me to this post by God is Laughing, written in September last year. I read his outstanding post again, then I read his comments following it, then I followed his link and read some more. From there I followed more links and read some more.
It certainly wasn’t that I am unfamiliar with the histrionics of egalitarian men and women. Far from it. I’d say that any Christian who is not a rigid sola scriptura adherent and reads more than food and fashion blogs would be versed in egalitarian ideas when they (egals) juxtapose their concerns against some gender dystopian church reality they have conjured. I picture them in a circle brainstorming story lines and ideas they can use to leverage fear by planting notions that are cousins to urban legands and wives tales.
This writer at patheos is a perfect example of the urban-legend-ish dynamic I am describing:
Having grown up in a church that ordained women, allowed women to lead, and had women preachers, it is honestly shocking to me to continue to run into so-called “complementarians.” I don’t meet them in real life — I just see them in the blogosphere, on Facebook and Twitter. And friends of mine like Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey assure me that they exist.
I see things in the blogosphere. Man alive do I ever. Strange things that have a couple of people very lathered up, and those people will tell you that they encounter the subject of their
mass hallucination hysteria routinely. These folks usually have a PayPal account so you can order your own Hershey Kiss type twisted tinfoil hat for protection. Lots of people are prone to this, it gives them a feeling of being in something that others are yet to know about. It gives their life purpose.
(Do not do it empath, fiight it…do not draw that analogy between this kind of fear leveraging and that which drives so many health and nutrition choices these days.) EMPATH….DON’T….DO….IT
Now, about that organic food
Ok, I wont. Back on task.
The blog that GIL parsed is called:
bWe Baptist Women for Equality’s Blog-Dethroning Male Headship by Shirley Taylor
Need we look any further than the not so subtle message in the choice to capitalize the “W” and not the “b” and “e”? If you need to look further, go read. Here I want pluck some choice fruits from Shirley’s vine and lay them beside some juicy one’s from the sun starved lair of the evil patriarchy itself, that being the crazy cruel anti-women musings of the Family Life group and The SBC leadership and demonstrate that in the very best case they differ only in the mode and degree by which they lay Christian marriage and gender relations in general at an alter to women. Even while they would both adamantly insist they have less than zero in common, what you will see is that the Shirley Taylors have the Dennis Raineys, Tim Kellers, and Russel Moores scared to death, fleeing while waving white flags and worried that they forgot the pink sequined aplique to visually set off the flags.
The problem, as I see it, is less about what men and woman can or can’t do than
with a group of men in the church exerting power over another group–women. In
short, men are “lording over” women in the church, exercising top-down power via
a hierarchy. More, this group of men is prohibiting another group (women) from
having access and input into the very power structure that is being used
against them and excluding them. That’s lording over. And gender aside, that
sort of lording over is prohibited by Jesus. “But among you it shall be
He is bought in and sold out.
But I like the guy. He has another column about Axe deoderant that made me laugh out loud. It helps me make my point.
Because of the success of the [advertising] campaign Axe quickly became the top selling male antiperspirant/deodorant brand. Axe outsold its closest rival by tens of millions.
And then it all began to go wrong.
I’ll let Martin Lindstrom tell what happened:
[T]he brand’s early success soon began to backﬁre. The problem was, the ads had worked too well in persuading the Insecure Novices and Enthusiastic Novices to buy the product. Geeks and dorks everywhere were now buying Axe by the caseload, and it was hurting the brand’s image.
Regular readers can spot the overlap. A similar thing has happened to complimentarians like Family Life and the SBC as they have oversold the servant role men are to embrace at the expense of the leadership role.
Taylor explains some of her specific charges against the monster that is complimentarianism and the patriarchal church that she claims is ubiquitous:
Today I was at the George W Bush Library and almost in tears as I saw picture after picture of Iraq and Afghan women proud to vote, and I realized that more than likely all around me, were women who will walk into their church tomorrow morning and leave their their equality outside the church door.
She challenges the readers:
I am waiting to hear from anybody. Where does the Bible say that God made men different from women?
She makes charges that beg a similar question to her’s where she asks for proof that God made man and woman different:
1. I only know what I have read and heard Gary Thomas say about his book and book study. But that is enough. He is a member of a very fundamental mega Baptist church in Houston – Second Baptist Church. He is quoted as saying that women taught in the New Testament but that the Bible clearly shows that men are to be the leaders in the church and home.
2. How can a church that accepts female equality turn around and teach female subordination? [paragraph numbers, mine]
Catch the swerve? How does she get from paragraph one to paragraph two? Are the men in the church subordinate to the man teaching? Its a perfectly reasonable question because without the learner necessarily being subordinate to the teacher, in general and in all cases, you simply cannot logically go from one paragraph to the next.
How can that church not love me? Not only me, but all women who attend church? How can a church that tells women that they are good enough to pray out loud and be a pastor, then hold marriage seminars where women are told that they are second to their husbands.
She explains her charge that the church is teaching that women are second to their husband.
Gary Thomas says in his Sacred Marriage that husbands will be made holy in marriage. Of course I suppose they would be since that kind of language also means that the husband takes the place of Christ while the wife takes the place of the church while playing out their roles. Where the Holy Spirit fits in this marriage is unknown, and nobody even asks. [ ]
[ ] I want to ask that church, “How can you not love me? I am a woman. But you seek to put me down. You seek to put every male over my head. [emphasis mine]
I don’t need another sample. She supposes what the language means. She asks where the Holy Spirit is in the marriage. Interestingly, the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the scriptures that keep her awake at night. This is not to suggest a lack of involvement of the Holy Spirit, it is to point out that her question is random and meaningless but is of the flavor that will garner righteous indignation from women. “Yeah buster, what about the Holy Spirit, whats HE got to say about all this oppression?” And where does she come up with “every man” in her lambasting of Thomas’ teaching and the Methodist church? It. Isn’t. There.
But Russell Moore heard her cry and plea. It must have made the SBC nervous that there are churches out there teaching women that they are subordinate to all men because Moore not only wrote a blog entry about it, he went on the road and I heard, in person, his delivery of the sermon “Women, Stop Submitting to Men”. The capstone of his talk:
Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe that women should submit to men. This isn’t true. Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.
I haven’t words. The fear that must drive a man to make this claim must be palpable. Do you readers know a dozen women, between you, that are too submissive?
Reading Taylor, its not difficult to suss out the source of his angst. I cannot imagine a man observing that women in our society are submitting too much, even if his hook is that they are submitting by way of pressuring themselves to conform to body image or whatever other thing they THINK men are pushing them to acquire.
On wives and husbands, Kathy Keller (linked from Moore’s blog) has her own ideas.
Kathy Keller feared that he [her husband Tim] was neglecting his duties as a father and a husband, and was not freeing up any time for other pursuits. So she said she had a “godly tantrum.”
“I took the china, and took them out to our balcony and when he came in I was smashing them with the hammer. I had to do some dramatic thing to get his attention to show he was breaking things,” she said.
[I had to laugh because she may have learned this show and tell style from the mega church pastors who are known to fixate on the most basic props as if they are demonstrating the very synthesis of life itself]
And it definitely got Tim Keller’s attention. They both learned through the incident that sometimes spouses have to go to the extreme to get the other person to see a truth they aren’t willing to see.
Mrs Keller’s behavior wasn’t cute, it wasn’t empowered, and it is inexcusable in terms of just reading through the story and thinking you-go-girl. Moore doesn’t link things that are not vetted for message consistency. He wouldn’t link a red pill Christian blog., for example. Why did he link that piece? I safely suppose Tim and Dr Moore have fear of the picture Taylor paints for him. It was sufficient fear that it leads them to tolerate someone busting dishes, an offense that would have landed either of them in jail and branded dangerous and unpredictable.
“I suppose” Taylor has major issues with Kathy and Tim Keller regarding wives submitting.
Marriage ministries have been selling books and seminars for decades now that at first glance are designed to build happy marriages and families. Some in the sphere have accused them of being motivated by money. I have accused them of pandering tom women. i want to take that back and refine it. I believe they are on their heels responding to the alleged existence of some large percentage of men who are ogres in their relationships. Like the Patheos writer said, the ministry principals don’t run into these ogres in person, but they see
them us online and they hear from the Taylors and Evans and others that those men are out there in huge numbers.
So they set out to teach men what submission is NOT. What it IS is servant hood, what it is NOT is leadership. Lots of weak men, many weakened BY their wives, see a way to claim the mantle of head of household by groveling. Scriptures that say the first shall be last and last first, and he didn’t come to be served but to serve, so forth, drop easily into the frame these ministries create. Normal well adjusted men naturally want to please women in general and especially their wives. So in addition to the weak men buying in, others join in even if by half measure, in an effort to go along to get along at home. The programs sell very well. Like Axe though, but taking a few decades rather than a few months, there are men starting to ask…..what does servant leader mean? Why do I seek my wife’s approval for everything then come to church and hear that men are running rough shod over women? Why on Fathers day and I told I have potential, and to realize that potential Ijust need to be more of a SERVANT (shhhhh…..leader) when I work 50 hours a week, shop for the groceries, do the laundry and dishes, get the kids up and off to school, deal with the lawn and all repairs…and finally I kill the dang spiders, all while I listen to my wife yammer on about how women’s work is never done and how busy she is each day (with no physical evidence of said busyness).
Not all men who see the real world experience the exaggerated problems I chronicled above, but most experience something that gets the sleepy out of their eyes. they get jettisoned, the have a friend who is tossed, or a few just awaken to the truth. The truth is the full effort of the bureaucracy of the church and the majority of the adjunct ministries that deal with marriage are reacting out of fear to the histrionics of a small hand full of evangelical feminist women and men. If that was not the case, they would boldly challenge these poseurs with straight and easy questions that address inconsistencies I saw in a few moments of reviewing the comments made by the extremists.
Instead, they go back to the huddle and try and adjust their defense by backing away from the scrimmage line.
Who is pushing and who is pulling? Regardless, there is synergy. Since the evangelical feminists are pulling the churchians, and the churchians are trying to walk towards the opponent, the churchians are going to drag the familial fabric of society right into the center mud pit with them.
(I’m posting without carefully proof reading this, I will clean up small errors tomorrow)