How Christian Patriarchy is a Misguided and Harmful Belief that Does Tremendous Damage

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when the family on Leave it to Beaver was highly regarded (1957-1963 plus reruns). Ward was in charge and June supported him and kept house. Ward Cleaver was definitely the head of the house, and in our Southern culture we understood that the father WAS the head of the house.

However, in more recent years a belief widely accepted in many fundamentalist and Reformed circles takes the husband’s place in the home to a far greater level. Rather than being generally head of the house, the husband is now considered the absolute head of the house with total directive and spiritual authority over his wife.

This belief is Christian Patriarchy and here are some ways Patriarchy causes intense harm; we will explore them more fully later in the series.

Pat Robertson on submissionChristian Patriarchy Oppresses and Denigrates Women and Girls

Women and girls are 100% human—the same as men and boys. They have equal intelligence to males; equal skills; and equal potential in all areas. Women and girls are able to reason and make decisions. Women and girls participate in the image of God in equal measure with men.

But in Christian Patriarchy, these qualities are not fully recognized. Instead, wives are subject to their husbands and bound to his decisions, his orders, and his will. They are expected to submit meekly to whatever the husband demands. This is wrong, oppressive, and is not healthy.

Christian Patriarchy Makes Men the Voice of God

Christian Patriarchy makes men the voice of God. Some men are more spiritual or more qualified than others, but NONE are qualified to represent the voice of God. As we will see in a moment, this situation often results in very negative consequences.

The idea is that men are directed by God and have the responsibility to direct their wives. But I contend that women can follow the voice and direction of God just as easily as men can.

Christian Patriarchy Develops an Environment for Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse Against Women

Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are rampant in all areas of society—including churches of all kinds. However, Christian Patriarchy often becomes a breeding ground for abuse and also attracts those who are already abusers because it is an ideal environment for abuse. Men are highly respected and women are expected to submit to them. I don’t think this is ever a good thing, but it provides an excellent context for abuse of women and girls.

Christian Patriarchy Gives the Wrong Counsel to Abused Women

One of the most tragic outcomes of Christian Patriarchy concerns the counsel pastors and other leaders give to women and girls who come forward to report abuse. Very often the response is that the female victim is the one at fault–the girl enticed the man with her clothing or behavior, and the wife did not do enough to support her husband and make him happy.

Instead of reporting abuse to the authorities, the church leaders’ advice to the abused wife is to make a greater effort to be subject to the abuser and make him happy. Separation is frowned upon and divorce is usually forbidden as a sin. It is up to the abused wife to fix the situation she created—and she does this by becoming more subject to her abuser.

Folks, this is not right! This is criminal.

Christian Patriarchy Misrepresents Biblical Passages

Those who embrace and teach Christian Patriarchy draw support from a few biblical passages they consider God’s firm law but, in my opinion, they ignore the context of the passages—especially the cultural contexts of the time they were written. Some frequently used are…

Colossians 3:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.

1 Timothy 2:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived.

1 Corinthians 11:

A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

These passages are used as if they are the very word of God—eternal propositional truth. But these opinions were written by people (not God) to address issues in particular congregations and based on the culture that existed at the time. They are not the eternal word of God.

How Should We Respond to those Who Teach these Things?

First of all we should remember that those who teach these things are our fellow believers. And we should not accuse them of using these beliefs to control women (though some might be guilty of this). These leaders and teachers, for the most part, actually believe what they teach—but I think they are seriously mistaken. We need not condemn the leaders, but we should call out the misguided beliefs themselves that lead to great harm to people.

We will expand on these harmful consequences later in the series.

Articles from this series: Harmful Christian Patriarchy

See also:

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66 Responses to How Christian Patriarchy is a Misguided and Harmful Belief that Does Tremendous Damage

  1. Lana says:

    Good point about making men into the voice of God. I actually had this complaint a number of years ago to a different but related teaching, that of accountability partners. A friend decided to be my holy spirit by telling me what I was doing wrong or right all the time. This is a very toxic way to address moral failures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks Lana. You mention that you experienced this ‘voice of God’ issue in a different context. I find that there are people in many Christian traditions who enjoy being the voice of God to others.

      In my opinion, if God has something to tell me he/she does not need some self-appointed ‘voice of God’ person to deliver the message. Now this does not mean I cannot receive insights from what other people say–I do that all the time. It is those who say the have a message from God for me that I tend to ignore.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. flaemdragon says:

    If I am to submit to my husband then he can never order me, command me or demand I do anything. He can only make his wants and desires known to me in the hope that I will voluntarily put his needs above my own. He can also not complain and bully to get me to submit – because that is not submission. Submission is a voluntary act.
    And he is supposed to love me and give himself up for me (like Christ did). So I should be making my wants and desires known to him in the hope that he will love me enough to put my needs above his own. I cannot complain and nag to get him to love me because that is not love. Love is a voluntary act.
    Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    With this attitude decisions are made for the benefit of both or compromises reached where everyone’s needs are met and labour is shared equally – I’ll watch the football with you if you watch the Chick Flick with me tomorrow. I’ll wash you dry.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Whoa Flaem! You really uncovered a big problem here! “He can also not complain and bully to get me to submit – because that is not submission. Submission is a voluntary act.”

      Bullying and demanding are very much a part of what some consider submission to mean. I think you got it right! And your quote from Ephesians about submitting to ONE ANOTHER is right on target. Unfortunately, the voluntary dual submission you mention is much different from the forced submission of Christian patriarchy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Chas says:

        Tim, the Gospels also contain a clear message that anyone who wishes to be in authority over others should serve them. God actually serves us far more than many realize.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I agree! Even the passages used to defend patriarchy talk a lot about submitting to EACH OTHER. I think this was also Jesus’ take as well as that of Paul.

          Like

      • Jamie Carter says:

        It’s important to note that some in these circles advise a husband to withhold spending his money on his wife if she’s been uncooperative. I read one blog where a Christian husband had promised to buy his Christian wife a dish-washing machine, but he decided that his wife wasn’t submissive enough, and so he decided to put off that purchase in order to punish her until she came around to his way of thinking. The dish-washing machine isn’t an example of a frivolous purchase, they had more than enough money for it – but on two levels this shows an abusive mindset: “the money is the husbands, he decided what shall be bought and what shouldn’t be bought” and “the authority disciplines an unruly subordinate, this is inequality in action”. There was another example coming from The Gospel Coalition awhile ago – “soap bubble submission” in which a wife noted that she hated how her husband micromanaged how she washed the dishes, but he wasn’t happy until the dishes were washed to his satisfaction, so she didn’t really want to wash them his way, but she remembered that she was supposed to submit to him, so she did and she felt like a better, more obedient wife by washing them they way he wanted them washed than to wash them the way she had originally washed them. This story got a lot of negative attention and they ended up removing it from their website. It’s really a whole other matter than the teachings you might hear from other Christian circles.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Jamie, these are terrible stories! But this type of story plays out constantly in Christian patriarchy. Who in the Bible suggested we should treat people like this? I will answer that–Nobody!

          Your breakdown of the one situation is very telling and true: “On two levels this shows an abusive mindset: “the money is the husbands, he decided what shall be bought and what shouldn’t be bought” and “the authority disciplines an unruly subordinate, this is inequality in action”.”

          Jesus would never approve of this.

          Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, Nabal was an example of how not to treat a wife, but we are not told how Deborah’s husband supposedly treated his wife domestically, despite her holding Spiritual authority over both him and all other men in Israel. Church leaders always tried to justify women in authority in churches by saying that this should only be allowed if there is no suitable man available. However, they mostly choose any man, regardless of his suitability, rather than have a woman in authority over them. An example of a more reasonable attitude towards a wife in scripture is that of Abraham being told to listen to Sarah (although she was being very unreasonable in relation to her slave at the time, so not a good example of serving of those over whom one is holds authority). The OT has many bad examples, with daughters being given to men in marriage, without being asked their opinion.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Chas says:

            Tim, there is an unstated equality between man and wife shown in the NT, in Acts 5:1-10, although it is again a bad example, as it shows a vengeful God. Sapphira was not seen as a subordinate in regard to punishment, even though it says that the decision was taken by Ananias (albeit with her knowledge, and she also lied on behalf of her husband in trying to cover up the misdeed).

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I have heard this so many times: “Church leaders always tried to justify women in authority (like Deborah) in churches by saying that this should only be allowed if there is no suitable man available.”

            But what I have witnessed is just as you say: “However, they mostly choose any man, regardless of his suitability, rather than have a woman in authority over them.” I think Deborah (and others) are really a problem for them.

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        • Chas says:

          Jamie, I know several women who would suggest to their husband that, if he didn’t like the way she washed up, it might be better if he did it.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ken Hogan says:

    This is a much-needed discussion. I look forward to your supplemental writings on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tonycutty says:

    This is superb. In fact this problem is also a classic case of selective Scripture myopia. Even the ‘Proverbs 31 Wife’, (which concept is another tool used to abuse women), had a mind of her own, ran her own business, and was a credit to her husband *precisely because* she as fulfilling her own personal potential. The Proverbs 31 Wife would get short shrift in the type of patriarchical households you describe in your OP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good point, Tony! If the Bible is eternally inerrant, and passages ordering wives to submit to their husbands are eternally inerrant, then what do those who teach patriarchy do with the Proverbs 31 woman–she seems totally in charge and independent!

      Like

  5. fiddlrts says:

    I can certainly confirm that my experience as a lawyer doing divorces that this teaching is toxic, and most certainly does not lead to the marriage utopia that its teachers promise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Fiddlrts, thanks for sharing from you professional experience. I agree this teaching IS toxic and does NOT lead to utopian marriage.

      Like

  6. newtonfinn says:

    It’s subjects like wifely submission that make me realize how my religion and what is commonly called the Christian religion (because of successful hijacking by the right wing) are entirely different animals. As I’ve said before, the divisive cleavage between religions (which seems to run through all of them) is a mirror image of the major social and political divide: the chasm, growing ever wider and deeper, between the right and the left, liberals and conservatives. Is this chasm like the one in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, a line of division that simply cannot be crossed? I hope not for the sake of all of us, but then again, who was come up with a method of changing hearts and minds when they appear to inhabit such different worlds and desire such different things? Did Jesus figure this puzzle out, and are there clues in the gospels we’ve overlooked, clues which point to the key to getting exploited poor and exploiting tax collectors, for example, together into one movement as sisters and brothers? Maybe this question would make for a lively and enlightening discussion down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I agree. My experience in following Jesus is far different than that represented by fundamentalism, though of course I used to be fundamentalist myself and accepted all the fundamentalist tenets.

      I think the thing that does bring together such different people is Jesus himself. For me it is all about Jesus (not legalistic biblical inerrancy).

      What clues have you discovered about getting people together in following Jesus?

      Like

      • newtonfinn says:

        Tim, I’m re-reading “Life of Truth” in search of such clues, if they exist in my re-worked synoptic gospel. It would be great if others re-read the four canonical gospels with the same mission in mind. Right off the bat, there seems to be a major emphasis on Jesus’ “authority,” indicating that he had a way of speaking and being that claimed undivided attention and often elicited almost immediate allegiance. Obviously, this might simply reflect Jesus’ unique relationship with the Father–be, if you will, some sort of divine attribute unique to the Son. But then again, perhaps there was something distinctive and alluring in the content and mode of Jesus’ teaching that his followers might be able to emulate, some universal and elemental appeal to head and heart that was able to overcome pre-existing prejudice and social conditioning. Don’t know whether I’ll come up with anything here, but I’ll report back on my progress or lack thereof.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Newton, the political divides (left/right, liberal/conservative) are becoming deeper because both sides are becoming more intolerant and try to kill debate by mockery and attempts to intimidate.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. TJ says:

    I wanted echo the comments about accountability partners; as a divorced father engaged to an evangelical I tangled with that first-hand when my ex invited her small group leader into our relationship. Besides making some pretty nasty generalizations about where I went to church (I am not evangelical), he also seem to imply that because I was divorced, I somehow couldn’t “control” my first wife. You could certainly see that divorced persons were second-class members in her church — sinners with the heart of gold that gave great testimony, but could never quite equal the couples on their first marriages. I didn’t want her to be submissive; I wanted her to be my partner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paz says:

      So much of the topic being discussed in this blog comes down to respecting each other doesn’t it!? I also think that we need to continue to encourage each other to take more notice of the important role of the extraordinary women of the Bible who were no less than men, in contributing to the lessons in the gospel, in the way they have taught and inspired us, as many women are able to continue to do today, in helping others understand God and the teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately, still happening today in many places,women’s opinions, knowledge and wisdom in Biblical matters and in their efforts to be heard, often goes either unnoticed or not considered as valuable.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Paz, I agree. What a waste!: “Unfortunately, still happening today in many places, women’s opinions, knowledge and wisdom in Biblical matters and in their efforts to be heard, often goes either unnoticed or not considered as valuable.”

        Half the talent; half the insight; half the giftedness is lost in churches where women are subservient, ordered to keep quiet, and not allowed equality with men.

        I think you are right that an important key in marriage is mutual respect. And I don’t see how this respect can co-exist within a patriarchal framework.

        Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      TJ, in a marriage aren’t the husband and wife the accountability partners? Not to judge or rule over each other but to serve as a sounding board and fellow planner? Just partners. Who needs some guy from the church to interfere and tell you how you should order your marriage.

      I agree with Paz that, more than mutual accountability, mutual respect is a key to a good and proper marriage.

      Like

  8. pamelaparizo says:

    The New Testament didn’t free women from the rulership of their husband. I don’t believe in the “patriarchy” which I see as different than headship, but I think Paul fairly specifically spells out that a man is to rule his house. While women do on average have an equal intelligence to men, it has nothing to do with that. There are several principles that bring this out. Women are subordinate in role, equal in salvation. The best place to start is 1 Corinthians 7. We can see that man is the head of woman, and that covering is related to authorities. The problem with the Corinthian church was that they didn’t recognize authorities as they should have. Three times, Paul says that a wife is in subjection to or in submission to her husband. The word is hypotasso which has to do with military order and rank. If you are in a chain of command, you are expected to obey. Peter says that Sarah obeyed Abraham and even called him Lord. Lastly, I would point people to Ephesians 5 which compares marriage to Jesus and the Church. Just as man is the head and woman the body, so it is with Jesus and the Church. There can only be one head on a body, else you have a monster. Someone has to lead, with the body taking direction. I, too, remember the days when men were the heads of house. My mom and grandmother obeyed their husbands, and “obey” was a part of the wedding vow. With that said, men are not to be rulers to terror, but to sacrifically love their wives and families and lead them spiritually. That does not preclude everyone filled with the Spirit from having access to God; it just means that the father sets the example for the family and strives to teach them and lead them in worship of God. Submission has gotten a bad rap because of Feminism; women used to pretty much obey their husbands. The overall principle that guides the family is agape love. Women are different biologically than men and being at home is better for the family that women being out in the workplace. Men should provide for their families and protect them, and biblical gender roles are validated by scripture. Unfortunately, people have forgotten these principles and don’t know how to practice them effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Pamela, I agree with you that “men are not to be rulers to terror, but to sacrificially love their wives and families and lead them spiritually.” But often the way it works out in patriarchy is that men ARE rulers in terror. However, even disregarding that I cannot agree that wives are to be unequal and subordinate to their husbands.

      You mention that: “I think Paul fairly specifically spells out that a man is to rule his house.” I recognize this, but Paul was giving his opinion to his local church situations within the culture of the times, but I don’t see that Paul was delivering an eternal mandate from God.

      I am very interested in your statement that you see patriarchy as different than headship. Can you elaborate on that? Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        Tim, we ought also to be aware that Paul was not married, and also seems to have had a military background, because, apart from using this term hypotasso, he referred to using a sword in a particular way and also to armour. These factors undermine his opinion on how to conduct a marriage.

        Liked by 1 person

    • anca says:

      ‘We can see that man is the head of woman, and that covering is related to authorities.”
      If covering ones head is related to authorities, then you bet a man would have to cover his head seeing that Christ is the head of man! Why would you think that man does not have to show humble submission to Christ if the point of a head covering was about submission to authorities? It was about honor, not submission and authority. For a woman to expose her head and hair in that culture was seen as a sexual act and therefore brought same to her male kins. The text is saying that man is your kinship and that as a woman you were created from man and for the sake of his need, so don’t shame him by acting socially inappropriate. The word “symbol of authority” is not in the original Greek. It says instead that a woman is to have exousia over her own head. Exuoisa is always one’s own authority or right to choose what one does. The reference to Angles ties in perfectly with what is said in the preceding chapters about the Church judging the angles and so, therefore, should know how to judge matters among themselves about what is appropriate. A woman is to have her own exousia over her own head because of the angles, if she cannot choose what she does or does not do with her own head than how can she judge the angles at the end of the age. The text follows up with a reminder that man has also come from the woman and has his dependence on her, and that in the Lord all are one.

      “My mom and grandmother obeyed their husbands, and “obey” was a part of the wedding vow.”
      I’m willing to bet your father and grandfather also obeyed your mother and grandmother!
      It is only a recent phenomenon with the John Piper and headship crap that evangelical men don’t obey their wive. I doubt that 60 or 70 plus years ago with all the responsibilities of running a household and raising children that your father and grandfather did not obey and yield to their wives at least in the domestic and childrearing spheres if nothing else.
      You know it’s really shameful not to obey the person who shares their life with you, bears you children, cooks your food, and cleans your mess! What a shame it is indeed to exploit such a person of their time, life, and resources, yet to refuse to obey and submit to that person from time to time. The husband is not the head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church, and never was. It’s a Catholic interpolation onto the text from AD 130 to AD 155 and textual scholars know it! It also contradicts Pauls earlier statements about marriage in 1 Cor, it goes against God’s command to have no other god’s before Him. How exactly did humanity manage all of this time before the great revelation of the husband being an early replacement and representation of Christ? Was the man in the OT who offered his wife and daughters to be raped in place of his male guest also a representative of Christ and the Chruch? Because my dear, that is the true face of patriarchy, a system that deems men more valuable than women and makes women exposable if it serves the mans interest. Christ did not come to sanction the sin of patriarchy and slap it with a “Christian” slogan i.e husband head of wife like Christ head of church. It is an interpolation by men who assumed pretentiously for themselves things belonging only to Christ. This is why the more one enforces rule and submission the worse a marriage gets and the sicker the wife becomes both physically and mentally. Yet, the further a husband goes away from rule and subjection and the more he himself balances things out by submitting as well, even if it’s done in the name of “giving himself up”, the healthier the wife and the marriage is. Christ and the Church are Christ and the Chruch, husband and wife have nothing to do with it. Let the Chruch first learn to be in submission to Christ seeing that there is none, and then let’s talk about marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Anca, you make a lot of really good points here! I particularly liked your opening statement, “If covering ones head is related to authorities, then you bet a man would have to cover his head seeing that Christ is the head of man! Why would you think that man does not have to show humble submission to Christ if the point of a head covering was about submission to authorities?”

        That is quite a lesson!

        Like

  9. Tim, Great post! Here’s the line that I would highlight if I could:

    “written…to address issues in particular congregations and based on the culture that existed at the time.”

    This is no different than the argument that is taking place over sexuality, over science in general (especially in regards to creation), slavery, etc. In a sense it’s no different than the arguments that take place over the Constitution in the US. Do we take an original/literal interpretation of the document, or do we recognize that as time and culture and people change, so should our understanding adapt to meet current science, understandings, and context?

    Understand someone’s interpretation of Scripture or the Constitution and you have a good understanding of how they will approach the world and what kind of conversation you’ll be able to have as long as you have an understanding of your own interpretive model as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Luther, I really like how you said: “Do we take an original/literal interpretation of the document, or do we recognize that as time and culture and people change, so should our understanding adapt to meet current science, understandings, and context?”

      I think much of the division in how believers think about all sorts of issues is caused by one camp seeing the Bible as the inerrant and static words of God, while others read the Bible within the dynamic of what was going on as the various books were written. Very good principles and insights come to us from those dynamics, but they are not rigid, eternal pronouncements of God’s eternal will on a matter.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We even see this within the Bible itself. Jesus was fond of saying “You have heard it said…But I say to you.” That’s a change based on new circumstances. With each new covenant, God is instituting something new based on the situation. And before the protests rage that these are examples of God making changes, how about we look at Paul, certainly not God, or even Peter – both talk about how the kingdom of God is expansive and goes beyond what was considered the norm before. Gentile Christians can be saved and are a part of God’s kingdom. That’s a radical statement for the time and certainly a change from previous Scripture.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. mandibelle16 says:

    This States some of my concerns. It’s not The Bible itself, it’s the way religious men, the patriarchy of past (especially) and often in present times interpret the Bible. For instance, my Pastor and Mom, would say obeying and submission are not how the Victorian era belief that a woman had to listen to her husband, wasn’t allowed an opinion, needed the husbands permission, had to have all those kids as that and keeping the house along with being the moral center was her job. Rather, the Bibles words are misinterpreted.

    A husband looks after his wife and if she’s in danger or something is going to destroy the marriage that isn’t a major issue, she should listen to her husband and pick her battles. However, if he’s compromising her key beliefs/morals then she doesn’t have to do what he wants. Submission is more allowing the husband to care for and protect his wife/family, not that the woman has to do what a man thinks her role is or what he directs her to do. They are partners not a master and his sub-servent wife.

    There is a movie. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and the mother in this movie tells her daughter who is getting married. “The man maybe the head of the house but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants.” So sometimes I think some men need the Illusion of being in control 🙂 or that control goes back and forth depending on the situation of both partners.

    Also, many of my my great uncles, uncle etc. who are pastors would disagree but I do believe women can be called to serve as a pastor as well. If she attends seminary and feels and knows in her heart she is called to be a pastor who is anyone else to question her “calling.” If she is a man she wouldn’t be questioned so as a woman she should not be questioned.

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  11. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Mandibelle, I like your definition of submission: “Submission is more allowing the husband to care for and protect his wife/family, not that the woman has to do what a man thinks her role is or what he directs her to do. They are partners not a master and his sub-servant wife.”

    I think this is a major issue in patriarchy; men do not just want to be the head of their family but the bosses and too often the tyrants.

    This is funny!: “The man maybe the head of the house but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants.” And I like your lesson from it: “So sometimes I think some men need the Illusion of being in control or that control goes back and forth depending on the situation of both partners.” I think this is true and should be considered normal–trust, respect, and support from both partners.

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  12. newtonfinn says:

    I know that Tim wisely seeks to avoid the divisive political rhetoric that infests so many other blogs, but I’m going to push the envelope a bit (without making it a habit) and post two pieces that, to me, reveal where the right wing side of Christianity has been trying to take our country, a right wing form of Christianity which is all about submission, not only to God and Christ (which is perfectly in order) but also to husbands and other “authority figures,” including government officials. Frankly, I have never been able to forgive Paul for providing the platform for this kind of thinking about governmental power in Romans 13:1-7, which, however cleverly interpreted to provide some sort of “balance,” seems antithetical to the life and teaching of Jesus. The first piece I’ll post is a recent tweet from Franklin Graham.

    “Listen up–Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong—YOU OBEY. Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr. President, this is a message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”

    The second piece is about Franklin’s father:

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/27/the-preacher-and-vietnam-when-billy-graham-urged-nixon-to-kill-one-million-people/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Newton, whilst agreeing that the wisest decision in USA is to be submissive when ordered to do something by a police officer (otherwise you are likely to be shot), this does not take account of the fact that police officers are public SERVANTS and ought to be serving the public rather than ordering them about. They really have no authority over you other than to threaten you with a gun. In UK, they can only give you orders once they have told you that they are arresting you. Only then do they hold authority over you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • newtonfinn says:

        Chas, when I first started practicing law, some 40 years ago (though it seems like yesterday), police officers were trained to disregard and diffuse verbal abuse from citizens. There were actually court cases that said that a citizen had the right to swear at a cop and heatedly argue with him or her, so long as no physical threat was involved. This was considered bedrock free speech under the Constitution. THAT’S how far we’ve fallen as a nation, where you now have reason to fear for your life (especially if you’re a minority) when stopped for a traffic violation. Police officers who shoot first and ask questions later in these routine situations have lost their courage, as have we citizens in general who now cower before a badge and a gun. A good cop is a great blessing to all of us. A bad cop is a great danger to all of us. Watching so many videos of what appear to be trigger happy police officers (some of which are ambiguous, some of which aren’t) makes me glad I’m in my autumn years. This is NOT the country I grew up in.

        Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I do not consider the often unacceptable treatment of Blacks by police to be primarily a political issue but a justice issue. Both the profiling, the roughness and disrespect, and the hair-trigger shooting of so many Black men must stop.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Michael East says:

    Tim,
    I agree. Especiaily with your assessment of the letters of St. Paul.
    They were never intended to be taken as sacred scripture
    applicable for all time.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

    I have read that some Biblical scholars think these verses against women were not written by Paul, but originated as Greek scribal marginal notes, that were eventually inserted into different places in the text, as evidenced by some of the earliest codices. The speculation is that Greek scribes were either protesting Paul’s more egalitarian treatment of women, or perhaps trying to make the practices of this new Jewish cult more acceptable to the mysogenistic Greek culture. Either way, I don’t believe these injunctions originated with Paul, as they seem to contradict writing known to be his.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Cheryel, this is quite interesting. I know there are a few major cases (and a lot of minor cases) where marginal scribal notes (glosses) were inserted into the text by subsequent copyists. But I have not read that in regard to these comments by Paul, though this might be the case. Do you recall where you read this?

      Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

      Like

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