Thursday, July 19, 2012

What We Say to Dogs

...What They Hear

When Christian folks start working the (biblical) "S"ubmission word around Facebook, I can't seem to just say nothing. This failure to shut up is probably...well...a failure. 

Oh well. 

OK, so here's the deal with me and the whole submission thing in a nutshell:

It sounded good when I was a newlywed Christian woman and heard Bunny Wilson talk about her book Liberated through Submission: God's Design for Freedom in All Relationships

Honestly, she was so engaging, and what she said sounded reasonable enough...and then life got real...really, really, real. None of your business. Just spot me some belief for now.

IMHO: a gal can suck up a whole lotta submission, and probably put up with a whole lotta crap in the process, provided it has nothing much to do with sex or money. 

Show me a Christian wife who's been "yes, Dear-ing" her way through a serious financial crisis of her husband's making, or a one who has been treated like a receptacle for her husband's sex drive, and I will point out the well-worn paths between the psychotherapist's office, the church leader's office, the doctor's office, and the lawyer's office. 

NOTE: These are the paths where zombie wives are staggering and gasping for a life of biblical faith to make sense of their experience, but often find themselves betrayed, broken, confused, crushed, and demoralized. 

But that's just me. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe. 

And I digress...

Let me dive into this conversation again, only this time from the point on the continuum where my thoughts began this afternoon.

If you follow any of the prominent folks in the Christian blogosphere, you may have read a few that are published through The Gospel Coalition--a pretty conservative Christian organization that generally seems to know and write well for their reading audience. But, of course, sometimes writers misjudge their readership...and that seems to have happened on July 13th...big time.

Blogger, Jared Wilson, left quite a few jaws dropped and fists up with his commentary on biblical submission. They finally closed the comments on his post. 

Ya. It got pretty intense.

I'm too tired to take on Jared Wilson's entire argument, and the wealth of responses from readers and bloggers like Rachel Held Evans. (If you're really interested in this topic, and a savvy Googler, you can find the follow-up posts, and a few others, but the two I've linked here should keep you going for awhile.) However, I need to confess up front that I'm sympathetic (to greater and lesser extents) with several diverse points of view that were shared in their conversations. For this reason, I feel rather fair and just in sharing my views.

Confession over. Now my visceral response: 

Jared Wilson! 
What the heck is the matter with you?

<Insert my dope slap here>

I have trouble wrapping my head around how anyone could fail to realize IN ADVANCE that the following statement would send quite a few folks blasting off from the blogosphere into the stratosphere:

"A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts."

And now...My open response to Jared Wilson...sans gagging noises


You can concoct all of the biblical doctrine and theory you want, but I can't even type that quote from you without throwing up in my mouth! 

Your ideas may play in a Peoria where no women have ever been violated or subjugated, but gimme a fricken break!

Let me offer some sisterly advice...  

When you start throwing around words like penetrates, conquers, colonizes, and lose me before I can ever even THINK about receives, surrenders, and accepts!!! 

There is NO "BENIGN" THEORY in the world that can divest the baggage of penetrates, conquers, and colonizes enough for most of us to choke down what you wrote, let alone keep it down. 

Umm...sorry (kinda...not really). Just being honest. Please pass the Emetrol.

Granted, not all women (THANK GOD) hold the distinction of being a survivor of incest, child abuse, domestic violence, rape, emotional abuse, and spiritual abuse. What can I say? I'm special.

Even so, I can virtually guarantee that among survivors of any one of those horrors, there are surely few (if any) who would be prepared to congratulate you on your spiritual insightfulness. 

Penetrates, conquers, colonizes, and plants MY EYE!

Seriously, I'm not one to promote cowing to pressure, especially since you really seem quite convicted and convinced of your correctness. 

Uummm...but what you wrote wasn't exactly Luther's treatise nailed to the church door. Just sayin'

When you get a pile of folks riled up into Linda Blair mode...well...that might be your cue from Mr. DeMille to BACK DOWN

Maybe go pray...a lot.

It seems as though it never even occurred to you that what you've written might be read by someone like me...a devout Christian woman who sat in "counseling" meetings and listened politely while a pastor whose biblical authority I was TRYING HARD to submit to endeavored to convince me that I had to suck up my (ex)husband's live run of your PCCP/RSA theory. Pardon the run-on. Feeling sick all over again.


You might also want to check in on how many women (a rough estimate will do) have found themselves betrayed by their own kind...Christian girlfriends, family members, and counselors who either can't comprehend their own screwed up spiritual circumstances, or have been bullied (or brainwashed) into buying the kinda stuff you're selling. These are the things that women often do to maintain spiritual community, or to survive in a patriarchal environment, but I suspect you don't know that.

I could go on and on...but I won't.

I will, however, say that I'm neither a dyed in the wool egalitarian, or a true blue complementation. I'm not fully convinced of either view...and I don't underestimate my human propensity to stumble within my own beliefs even if I held firmly to one or the other. I'm probably just a humanitarian. I hate to see people treated badly. I love to see people treated with love, dignity, and respect.

So here's the deal... 

Apologize, for crying out loud!

...not for the fact that you were misunderstood, but for the part that only you can own...the fact that you were so busy being right that you didn't seem to care who you hurt among your Christian sisters. Enough already! Snap out of it!

Here is what a real apology might look like, as modeled by Tim Challies to Ann Voskamp

See what you can come up with to do your part in cleaning up some of the barf so many of us have hurled. 

Vulgar sentiment...? Ya...but I'm guessing that a little genuine humility from you will inspire a whole lot more humility from me.  You want to lead women, right?

So go ahead and lead. Please. I insist. Who knows? I might even help you with your chores. That's my job anyway...isn't it?