Sunday, June 10, 2012

Patriarchy: Its not the remedy

Posted by Hannah at 3:06 PM

The question egalitarians have never satisfactorily answered for me is if you’re raising an eight year old little boy or little girl, you're mom or dad, and that little girl says to mom mommy what does it mean to grown up and be a woman and not a man?  Or the little boy – daddy what does it mean to grow up and be a man and not a woman?  It will not do to just talk in terms of plumbing – biological – cause that's not your personhood.  And it won't do to simply say courage, humility, righteousness, Christ's likeness.  Cause [the] little kid's gonna say no, no I mean a woman and not a man. – John Piper


There seems to be loads of debate recently that Patriarchy maybe losing some of glow of the past. 


Is patriarchy really God’s dream for the world?


It was such a short time ago that those that truly felt lead to uphold Patriarchy would give examples of marriages, families and relationships that were healthy, happy, and they would indeed hint at ‘holy’ as well.


These are the example to those families destroyed by the ugly side of the misuse of the power and authority of the father figure (most of the time).  The message tended to be ‘try harder and you too can have this holy family life’


That’s not a remedy.


It reminds me of a family suffering from a raging alcoholic destroying not only THEIR life, but those that they ask to suffer along with them.    The answer being to show them a ‘happy’ family  that has one member that partakes of couple of a beers on Friday night, and all is still well with them.


Yes, this example of the remedy is nonsense.  Showing an example of a family living with (loving – ahem) Patriarchy at its core is also a nonsense type of remedy for the family in trouble.


Live Life Counter Cultural


They are preaching from the rooftops that Patriarchy is the biblical way, and people need to live life ‘counter cultural’. 


How many thousands of years, and how many cultures has it been the norm? 


How many places is it still the norm, and you will see that it has effected that culture in more negative ways than positive.  Most of the time you have barbaric treatment of not only women, but men and children as well.  Look at the overall poverty that surrounds them, because they want to keep people – especially women – ignorant to put it bluntly.  These factors have HUGE impacts on their society, and you can see it anywhere that ‘power over’ concepts are placed upon others in abusive ways.


I would HOPE that we can agree that feminism isn’t the issue in these parts of the world.  The fact is if it showed up at all?  I’m pretty certain that woman – or women would be stoned on the spot.


Mob attacks women protesting sexual assault of women in Egypt


No Patriarchy group deals with abuse within their movement effectively, and when the remedy is the attitude of if you don’t like this hierarchy GO talk to Paul or GOD ?


I say NO!  Answer the questions, and learn to deal in solutions not diversions.  If the Patriarchy crowds wishes us to answer questions along the lines of John Piper’s quote above?  They need to provide answers as well, and stop minimizing the ugly effects this can have on humans, and of course then stop diverting to go ask God if you don’t like their answers.  It should be a clue that something IS NOT WORKING with their counsel.  We are to look deeper, and not just blow it off.


That’s not a remedy for the fear and reality of families.  Sadly, it is a show conceit and arrogance. 


What I fear is that we have many people in evangelicalism who can check off "complementarian" on a box but who really aren't living out complementarian lives. Sometimes I fear we have marriages that are functionally egalitarian, because they are within the structure of the larger society. If all we are doing is saying "male headship" and "wives submit to your husbands," but we're not really defining what that looks like . . . in this kind of culture, when those things are being challenged, then it's simply going to go away.


why I am egalitarian


‘because they are within the structure of the larger society’ bothers me.  It hints of isolation within the bubble that they seem to live in.  (shivers)


If couples find a way to live out their marriage in harmony with each other?  That shows a sense of complementing each other, or becoming one flesh.  If the boxes of Patriarchy don’t work within the family, and they choose to detour in some fashion because ‘it works’ for their family?  It’s something that should be celebrated.  If they feel they are in harmony they are less likely to separate or divorce.


God’s View of a Woman


Man has the Last Word Biblically


In the past I had read more than once that having mutuality within marriages means that no decisions can be made.  They are too busy ‘submitting’ to each other.  This is a stereotype that some use to mock those that don’t live life as they do.  Its also truly silly.


For some reason they seem to feel that approaching man’s authority or ‘last word’ in their fashion is suppose to make sense to everyone.  Its suppose to show families how not allowing the man to have the ‘last word’ on things – even if he feels that it is not needed in his family – is NOT a show of true leadership or authority in the biblical sense.  How – for some reason – the women must have influenced him in some way so she could emasculate him for her own sense of power.  These extremes are just silly, and plain mean spirited.   


When you use these types of opinions as the remedy?  Your label becomes a bad word.


It wasn’t until I was adult did I EVER hear the term ‘headship’.  This is a churchy type of ‘cultural’ term that never was brought up before.  From what I have gathered ‘headship’ was brought into the culture about the time the term complementarian started to exist.    They know the history.  Complementarian was a new label that replaced Patriarchy, because Patriarchy was a bad word. It wasn’t until recently that they FINALLY admitted this!


Patriarchy is a bad word!

We must admit feminists is the scapegoat that was used that made the term dirty.    If you look at history?  It was considered a dirty word WAY before the time of the 1960’s feminist.


Its as IF boys could not be hurt by Patriarchy, and yet with the internet you find that is so false its not even funny.  For many PEOPLE Patriarchy meant living under the abuse of power and tyranny within the family.  These men, women and children were ignored/encouraged by those that told them PATRIARCHY was the God’s way of LIFE when they hinted at trouble, and were counseled to basically try harder. What did you do to TICK THEM OFF?!  Submit for the LORD’S Sake!


All faith realms that encourage Patriarchy whether they be Christian or Muslim or other groups make so many excuses for the abuse of power that is handed over to some TOWARDS the majority. 


Those excuses are NOT the remedy.


In the Community


Scripture shows Patriarchy and roles are Biblical


In the case of Christianity?  The Patriarchy groups say it is biblical, and twist some scripture to show the ‘obvious’ meaning.   You don’t find the claims within the bible, but its ‘obvious’ none the less. 


When you find other parts of the bible that seem to contradict their claims?  Those are called, ‘straw men’ opinions.  


When scripture showed examples of going against the ‘biblical roles’ part of the patriarchy?  They are treated as an anomaly at first, and as time went on things just got nasty from there.


It seems that Patriarchy doesn’t like to be questioned either. That reaction seems to go against their OWN definition of TRUE, biblical Patriarchy as well.  We all know their definition: full of grace, benevolent, kind leaders, humility etc.    Their actions don’t follow their definition.


Loads of material is written to one gender or the other on HOW to act so the other gender can ‘do their God given biblical role’.    I think we can all agree that encouraging someone’s gifts is a good thing.  The way the material is written?  Its shows its not so natural, or God given at all. 


Its like asking someone that can’t sing that you must read all these books on music, and have everyone around them treat them like they are some AWESOME vocalist so they can do their ‘role’. 


The remedy is nonsense, and if it really worked?  It could be replicated OFTEN, and no doubt that person may have a  better appreciation for music – and maybe even sing better.  That doesn’t make them a ‘natural’ vocalist.  It doesn’t change their God given gifts that they do have, and magically change them over into holy vocalist.


To me the Patriarchy belief system refuses to honor the true gifts that God has given believers, and others that are in their lifes.  If things ‘complement’ each other they are NOT forced.  They indeed come naturally, because they are GOD GIVEN! When submission is almost demanded?  Its called coercion.


Definition of Biblical Manhood Womanhood


I was listening to an audio of part of the conversion I quoted about people checking the box of comp when they live egal.  John Piper mentioned that no egalitarian could win him over until they could answer the question of a young boy about what it means to be a man.  He states every boy will ask this question, and you need to have the right answer for them.  (see top quote)


The bible does indeed answer that question, but I have yet to read ONE Complementarian definition that could encompass it like the bible.  So I guess we are a crossroads, because his opinions of ‘manhood’ or ‘womanhood’ don’t seem to line up for me either.


Where does it say in the bible that women need to stay home, while the man works 3 jobs to support them – then tell you that is a showing of nurturing from the woman and having a proper father figure – from the man -  in their children’s life?  The poor man doesn’t have TIME  to do this with all those jobs, and is constantly gone.  I realize there are some men that do this with ONE job, but when you have someone that is out of the home constantly ‘doing their role’ in this way is more the point.  I have heard this type of circumstance so many times its troubling.  The husband gone WAY to much!


Providing for the family is a team effort of both the husband and wife.  I have NO problem with a stay at home father.  I have no problem with working mothers.  There can be good and bad versions of both as well.  It depends on the circumstance.  Providing is so much more than money.  SO much more!  Giving of yourself encompasses more than the box we hear about.


Talk about a strawman!  No doubt the wife and the children miss him terribly – when he is overworked due to pressure to bring home the bacon.  Would we tell the audience he is more ‘career driven’, and that the career is more important than anything because some ‘ man group’ told him so – and he is swallowing this hook, line and sinker?  How he is selfish, and cares not for his family but only himself?


Nope. That wouldn’t apply to this man that is providing for his family, but only to the feminist woman.  There are people that do place their careers first, and that is hardly a gender driven concept.  We read stories of adult children speaking of this all the time whether the parent is male or female.


The Patriarchy group allows this man to think that is his God given role, and yet he isn’t there to provide the proper father figure when he is constantly absent.  He is not there to teach, nurture his relationship to his children.  I’m not going to take the same hard nose approach here.  We all must find balance.  Men also have guilt, or a longing to be with their family more.


In most cases no doubt the man (in our example) is exhausted when he gets home, and when he pushes himself to make time for his children also?  That is so sweet of him, but no doubt he wished he had more energy to give MORE of himself as well.


Why complementarians need to answer the single women question


I think a more realistic dynamic of this struggle could be similar to a song I grew up hearing.  The Cat’s in the Cradle – See video below.



Harry Chapin - Cat's in the Cradle


The remedies of disagreement

The labeling, name calling, stereotyping…to me its so unChristian.  You see this type of behavior in the childish wars of politics as well.  In Romans it speaks of learning to live peaceably with people, and using doctrine to stay it isn’t possible?  Then using stereotypes, and throwing the ‘feminism’ label out everytime you don’t like something?  I’m sorry but its no different than the ugly world of politics.  We are to bless not persecute. 


A Living Sacrifice

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ
Rom 12:3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Love In Action

Rom 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Rom 12:11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rom 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Rom 12:13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rom 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Rom 12:16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Rom 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Rom 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Rom 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.


Here is the NIV version, because we need to realize that it is not only addressed towards men.


Let me be clear and say that Patriarchy is NOT the cause of all the evil in the world.  That would be stereotyping as well.  Although I will admit that is what the Patriarchy crowd states when people ‘complain’ about them.  It’s a silly response to me.  patriarchy


Humans have so much history within the church, and outside of the church that shows giving yourself up completely to a hierarchy that is human made?  The end result didn’t bare fruit.  We have been using religion to abuse others due to race, status, different views, etc  forever.  That factor never seems to be taken as seriously as it should be.  History tends to repeat itself as the result.


The power of Hierarchy has caused so much pain, terror, and crushed the spirits of so many.  We can’t deny or minimize that.    We can’t claim we have ‘fixed’ it now.  We can’t blow off those that have been hurt by it.


We need to learn by focusing on WHY that happened, and learn NOT to repeat our church’s history.  We must realize that we are indeed still human – sinners all of us – and there will always be times in which our cultural norms from the past or from the present don’t always work as they are suppose too.   Questions and possible change to approaches isn’t always ‘unbiblical’.  Placing the word ‘biblical’ in front of your opinion also doesn’t always make it so.  Balance is needed.


All gifts are GOD GIVEN, and they are to be used to the Glory of our Father.  When people claim it’s a gift that insults our gender wars?  It shows our human side of prejudice that we have used in the past.  That gift is given to edify and encourage, and grow in the faith.  God has some purpose for it, and we don’t always know why.


Are Women seeking Ministry Demanding ‘rights’?


Ignoring it, blowing it off if when comes from a woman?  It will never be the remedy.

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Queen of Carrots on 9:52 PM said...

Umm . . . I don't remember asking this question at any point. So far my children have not asked me this, although they haven't turned eight yet so maybe it will come. And if it did, I would happily give them the biological answer. I don't want them to spend their lives feeling wrong because they don't fit in some societal gender stereotype that has nothing to do with either biology or godliness.

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