I don’t wanna drive traffic to a site that teaches the very doctrine that had me so messed up, but then I came across BiblicalGenderRoles.com and I think it’s worth the reference.
At first I thought it must be a joke site. I dunno … a satirical site for the purpose of pointing out how twisted the bible is on the topic of women. But it would appear I’m wrong. Dang! Twice in one day!
The author holds an extreme view from what I read this afternoon. I pulled out one example, on the topic of marriage counseling. The author is squarely against it. If there’s conflict, he says:
“A husband should not be yelling at his wife all the time, while there may be some cause for husband to raise his voice to his wife if she acting in a rebellious way. But even if a husband does yell at his wife more than he should – this is not something for a marriage counselor to solve. This is not something where a wife gets to run to a counselor and say “he yells at me too much”. He is her authority, she is to reverence him, obey him and serve him as his wife despite his flaws. This does not mean she cannot bring her concerns to him gently – but there is no cause for a third party in the form of a marriage counselor to come in and undermine his spiritual authority.”
After reading that again, it’s kind of a tame example compared to other stuff on his site. None-the-less, reasoning with a person who holds such views wouldn’t be prudent. He’s in the power position and has the holy ‘word of god’ on his side. And since I’m a woman, my role is diminished straight out of the gate.
I gotta say, back in the day, when this kind of authoritative, male supremacy stuff was thrust in my face, I felt the blow. Boy, did I! Sometimes I’d brood for days, crying and praying and and ripping through the pages of the bible asking god, why?
The fact that a human being was teaching or saying this kind of stuff in the name of the Lord was bad enough but …
The worst was that treating women this way was all biblical.
Some would say, “So? What’s the big deal with that? It’s just a book some old guys wrote.”
I wish I could have dismissed it for the rubbish it was. But at the time, it was THE BIGGEST deal. The bible was god-breathed! Inspired! So the passages used to subjugated women … THEY were inspired. They were God-breathed. They were his words for Christian living.
It crushed my little heart. It really did. There was no where to run. No where to find fairness. God, the creator of the ends of the earth had spoken. And men like BiblicalGenderRoles.com were proud to remind us any chance they got.
(I worked with a few men like that who’d toss in a submission joke for good measure. The psychological damage was significant and long lasting.)
This exasperated my husband to no end. He’d long since dismissed the demeaning scriptures as archaic nonsense. But he wasn’t the problem. God was the problem. God was the heart of this matter for me. The ultimate authority had spoken.
Those were dark decades for me.
These days, since leaving Christianity and throwing my bible and its shackles in the trash, I see things differently. There were no tears after reading this guy’s website where at one time, there would’ve been. I wasn’t mad or confused and it certainly won’t keep me up tonight.
I tend to think that life on this big blue ball would be so much nicer for we earthlings if we heeded the words of Robert Fulghum in his book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten.
Here’s his simple list of actionable behaviors most of us learned in school:
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”
What a wonderful model for marriage this list would be! How utterly simple and beautiful and superior in every way to the paragraph at the top of this post. It has everything. Kindness, consideration, empathy, cleanliness, attentiveness … peace.
I’m sad about the years I lost feeling beat down and subjugated by god, the bible, and people like the owner of BiblicalGenderRoles.com. It’s tempting to hurl an insult his way, but compassion outweighs that feeling. And it would be such a sad irony if I caved. Because I agree with Fulghum when he said,
“Sticks and stones may break our bones,
but words will break our hearts.”
It was most certainly true for me.
I suspect that if the god I learned about in Sunday School were real today, his model for marriage would look a lot like Fulghum’s list.