Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Woman's Role in the Home pt. 2

This is part 2 of my response to Rachel Harkins on The Woman's Role. In our first installment of the HOME acronym, we made it through "H for Honour" - that's right, it's not just Honor, it's Honour with a U. Last time, Rachel wrote about god sometimes needing to "bring us to our knees" to us properly in submission. I'll let you fill in the imagery on your own.* Moving on.
O – One Flesh. Genesis 2:20-25 gives the account of God creating Woman. We know that Eve was created for Adam to be an help meet, according to verse 18. Then, in verse 23 we read Adam’s response when God brings Eve to him. In verse 24 we see how God describes the union of man and woman. He says that they shall be “one flesh”.
Not to go all grammar geeky, but I did copy edit my Giggy's manuscripts starting at age 10. The a/an rule for H is as follows: If the H is pronounced, say a; if it's silent, say an. I consider it an honor to be heading to hell in a handbasket. See how that works?

On to my actual substantive as opposed to neurotic notes, I have so much to say about what's wrong with Adam and Eve that I have posts here, here, here, and here on the subject. But I don't think I've really gone into the misogynistic qualities of the story yet, and this seems like the appropriate venue to do so. Notice we don't have Eve's response to Adam? We don't hear if Adam is pleasing to her, or if she desires him as a helpmeet, mate, lover, or spouse. We are told what the male god thinks and the male human. Of the woman, we aren't told her feelings or thoughts. What did Eve think of Adam or Eden or God? It's as if she had no desires or feelings of her own, which is of course the end aim of Quiverfull: Complete subordination of will to another. It's important within complimentarianism, when using rigid gender roles, to remind yourself that women are supposedly inferior to man - last made and first deceived. Surely, if men and women were really and truly equal, constant submission would never be approrpriate.
What does it mean to be “one flesh”? Several times in the New Testament, this term is mentioned in reference to a husband and wife, and each time, it speaks of two becoming one…..two individuals….man and woman…becoming one. When the two become one, there is now only one head….the husband. Ephesians 5:23 – “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: …” So, we’re not talking about some “two-headed” monster. Since the husband is to be the head of the home, the wife’s role in the home is to be in submission to her husband. Ephesians 5:22 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”. To be in submission means “to yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another”.
Ugh, hang on a minute while I try not to vomit. (pause) Okay, I think I'll be okay. Imagine viewing cooperation as a "two-headed monster." Rachel here thinks having a say, a voice, a vote in her marriage would make things worse in her life. I don't want to yield, resign or surrender to the power, will, or authority of another. That's *slavery* and it's not something I'm going to sign up for! It bothers me to see so many who do.
Let me add right here, this is NOT just an outward act. True submission comes from within the heart. It’s very easy to submit on the outside and all the time be rebelling on the inside. If you are trying to live like that, I guarantee that you are having constant turmoil within. Real peace only comes when we acknowledge the God-given role of our husband as the head and we in submission to them.
This like telling a rape victim "Don't fight it." As soon as you quit trying to have any autonomy, then you'll feel better? Well, yes, in a way. Evolution has made us innately obedient in some capacities, with built-in deference to authority. Which is why it matters so much to me that we remove the illusion of authority from institutions and men who do not truly possess any. The fact that my ex-husband had a Y chromosome and a penis did not make him a good steward, decision maker, person, human being, or even mammal. (Even my cats hated him.) I saw him two days ago, on my way home from running errands, standing on the sidewalk, holding a sign advertising same day tax returns, in a Lady Liberty smock and funny hat and the sunglasses I bought him on our honeymoon. I cannot express how glad I am I did not submit to his will and authority. Since I left him, he has gone to jail 3 times for domestic battery against 3 different women (thank you, public records system.) Rachel is saying you should not only submit outwardly - allowing the Male One in all his penis-given wisdom to make every decision, without ever once complaining - but that you should also submit inwardly. Convince yourself this is what you want, and that it's nice not to have to make any decisions or be responsible for your own choices. Oh, and on a grammar note, I did not edit her work at all so each "..." was in this where I found it on LearntheBible.
Not only is there peace in submission, there is also protection. I wish I had been taught the BLESSING of submission as a young wife but unfortunately I am learning that many years later. Just a few years after we were married, God blessed us with our first child…..a new responsibility for both of us. One by one, as the babies came along, my responsibilities grew. In 1990, after much prayer, we began to homeschool our children. I now had a full-time/over-time “job” and I needed to realize my limitations. I just couldn’t do everything.
Being a mindless slave is the essence of letting go - in worship to god, in a submissive marriage, or in a BDSM dungeon. So is suicide. That doesn't mean it's a way to live your entire life, or that it's how every woman *should* live, for the crime of being a menstruating creature. Grrrrr. Moving on, God blessed them with an absence of contraception, check. Doing everything yourself in a marriage sucks, check. So is she gonna ask hubby to help out around the house or with the kids more?
I used to have a hard time saying “No” when asked to be in charge of or take part in a particular event. Because of this, I would find myself many times “in over my head” with responsibilities. Since the only kind of involvement our family had was church or homeschool related, these events were “good” in themselves but also very time-consuming. If you have ever found yourself in this situation, you will have to admit that most of the time some area will be neglected and many times it is your own family. It wasn’t until I really began to acknowledge in my heart that Jim was the head of our home, that I had the freedom to say “No” when needed. Before, when I was asked to do things I would either say “Yes”, knowing in my heart that I shouldn’t be taking on anything else, or I would say “No” and then worry about it for weeks. Now, I go to my husband and tell him the situation, we discuss whether I should or shouldn’t agree to something and then I can give an answer. Either, “Yes, my husband said I could” or “I’m sorry, my husband said he didn’t think I should be taking any more on right now.” When Jim discourages me from doing something, he is simply protecting me from “overloading” myself. The best part about this is that I can walk away with a perfect peace, knowing that I did the right thing. You may think this is silly, but it’s a blessing to me.
Yes, Master. Whatever you say, Master. She's just describing poor interpersonal boundries. Instead of learning to say no to people on her own, she completely gave up her personal boundaries between her and her husband and is allowing HIM to say no for her.
With submission there is an inner peace and there is protection. Let me add quickly about the protection. Since we are teaching courtship with our children as opposed to dating, our daughters have that protection knowing that any young man has to go through Daddy first. If God allows them to marry, that protection will be passed from Daddy to their husband.
Can't let the girls have a moment of freedom and independence - after all, if you did that they might never choose a life of submission and servitude.
So, being one-flesh with your husband, where two become one, means acknowledging that there is only one head now and that head is your husband as you submit inwardly as well as outwardly to him.
And here all those years I was a Christian, I thought it meant that once a couple got married they were gonna do it and make babies.
Quickly, I want to mention a few other things in reference to a woman’s role as a wife and then I’ll move on. Proverbs 31:11,12 says “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Our husbands should not have to worry about their needs being met in the home, whether physical or material.
Okay there's a difference between being a trustworthy, loving partner (what that verse describes IMO) and pampering a grown man. The idea that after I've worked all day (trust me, what these Quiverfull women do all day in the home is some serious backbreaking work), I would want to follow someone around meeting their every desire (without, you know, EVER getting my desires met) is just... gross? Contemptible? Unappealing, to say the very, very least.
I Corinthians 7:3-5 says, “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” When two become one….one-flesh…their priorities change. They now should be concerned about pleasing their spouse.
No "Not tonight honey, I've got a headache." No "I'm nine months pregnant and I just don't feel like it". No "Get OFF me!!" You can only abstain from sex in the marriage if it is by consent of both partners, which means you can't say no. Yes, spousal rape can happen. Saying "I do" to wedding vows, despite what Rachel and the Bible (and the Koran) might say, does not mean you sacrifice all rights to personhood and physical safety. Whether you are a man or a woman, you deserve to be safe from violence and sexual assault, especially within your home. Verses, teachings, and mentalities like this create a culture where abuse is justified, and rape goes under-reported, and often untreated. And it sucks.
Verses 32-34 of that same chapter speaks on this: “But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” Let me add right here. So many young unmarried adults, desiring to be married but waiting on the Lord, often wonder what exactly their “purpose” is as a single Christian. This passage deals with that question as well.
Wow, talk about a sweet deal for the menfolk! Now the way she's supposed to honor god is by making *you* god! Put up your feet honey. Here's a beer and a casserole and the remote. Would you like a backrub or a blowjob while you watch football? Hey, there's nothing wrong with offering your man (or woman) any of those things. Being nice is nice. Being enslaved, belittled, demeaned, and submitted isn't. It's the difference between living under an expectation and offering your lover a treat, acting out of a sense of obligation or a sense of gratitude.
And then, in the book of Titus, chapter 2, Paul lists characteristics and duties of both the aged and young men and women. Verse 4 says that the aged women are to teach the young women and one of the things they are to teach them is to love their husbands. How are they to teach this? I believe they are to teach by example. This may seem “elementary” to you…I would imagine that every married lady in here, if asked, would say, “Yes, I love my husband.” But, do our actions show it? Does our husband know that, after however many years of marriage, he’s still the most wonderful man….that you’d marry him all over again? Do your children know that Momma and Daddy love each other?
Well, those aren't the questions to start with. First you have to ask IS your husband the most wonderful man? WOULD you marry him again? DO you still love each other? You do have to ask those questions first. My ex-husband got furious, and played the hurt card, once when I "dared accuse" him of being a bad provider. He got all upset, wounded by my accusation - but it was true. The electricity got shut off that month, and I was working 30 hours a week, while doing all of the childcare, all of the housework, and about five loads of laundry per day (hello, cloth diapers, how I do not miss you even one teeny tiny bit.) There was no food in the fridge, but there was beer. Much more important than convincing my son or myself how in love with him I am, was getting the hell away from him, where I can freely hate him from a safe distance (although not nearly as distant as I would like.)

Also, Rachel is elevating the words of Paul to gospel (no pun intended.) She is acting as though his ideas on the role of women were God's. Possibly because I had a female preacher grandmother, or possibly because she actually told me this and I've just forgotten, but I always had the idea that what Paul said about women and families was his opinion, whereas what he said about Jesus (and what Jesus said about anything) where facts. Of course, I also thought Moses was a real guy and Jonah lived in a fish's belly, so it's not like I was totally rational and on top of things.

There's a long and badly told story about going to the Dollar Tree in the mall with her kids. I will spare you and pare it down.
Courtney wanted to show me a picture frame she had seen that was just “perfect” for Daddy and I... It looked just like a license plate…a red one with gold numbers and letters. The “license number” was NUTZ 4 U and the state was the “state of bliss”. I loved it! ... As I thought about this later, it thrilled my heart to know that our 20 year-old daughter knows that Momma and Daddy are still “nuts” about each other. I believe, aside from parents that truly love the Lord, the best gift you can give your children are parents that love each other.
The inside of me is screaming, so I'll try to remain calm. 1) Dollar Tree 2) Stupid novelty gift 3) The girl is 20 and lives at home and goes to the Dollar Tree in the mall with her mom and many siblings 4) Where she looks at gifts for her parents 5) because she isn't allowed to date and she isn't married yet. 6) Anybody else feeling all kicky?

Oh, and parents that love each other is probably more helpful than parents who love the lord, but what would be most beneficial would be parents who loved their children.

That's all for today! M-Mold Your Children (shudder) is coming up next and I have another Messin' with Mormons on my blog to-do list for the next month. I'm gonna be doing a podcast episode with Brian Sapient and Darth Josh of Rational Response Squad soon, and next week I'll be doing an interview with Cameron Reilly on No Illusions. Thanks to everybody for all your help getting the word out! I'll be sure to post everything here when it's available :D

* I mean scrubbing floors, you perv!