Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Joyful Submission of the Plush Doormat

Mary Kassian's claim that complementarian teaching is misrepresented by non-complementarians, and the misrepresentation is what is argued against, and thus is a straw man (woman) argument, says a lot about Mary Kassian, and possibly about her husband, close friends, and her church, but not much else. See Hannah's article: The fact is, complementarians are not just insisting that wives become doormats, (although they deny subjection makes a wife into a doormat) they are pushing wives to joyfully make themselves into plush, comfortable-to-walk-on doormats, or even into plush, beautiful, priceless Persian carpets specifically designed to give husbands tread-on pleasure.

Kassian seems to have forgotten that most, if not all, of the Christian women who write against patriarchy and husband authority were in fact greatly harmed and even devastated by that very teaching. They know it was caused by husband authority beliefs because their husbands told them so—frequently—often ranting while they did so. These wives did as was taught and demanded of them, and suffered for it. They know many women have been killed by their spouses, and that their own lives have been spared. Their writing and arguments are clearly NOT straw-woman arguments. They KNOW what they are talking about because they lived it and fought to free themselves from the suffocating grave-clothes of complementarianism, of wife denigration, of husband privilege and elitism. And the men who fight complementarianism, also experienced the harsh realities of homes where the doctrine was pounded into the victims' heads.

Kassian's argument that complementarianism is misrepresented, suggests that either she is not very submissive, or that her husband makes most decisions with her and not for her, which is not the experience of those real women her argument misrepresents and ends up denigrating as non-existent straw women. It also suggests that most couples she knows, also do not practice what complementarians teach via pulpit, books, articles, Bible study, Sunday School class, and peer pressure. So while she, herself, does not practice what she preaches to the point that it is foreign to her, she still demands that other women joyfully make themselves into plush doormats and plush priceless Persian carpets for their husbands' to denigrate, manipulate, & dominate for their own pleasure and comfort.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.


  1. If they had to ditch the adjectives and adverbs, their teaching would not go over so well. In fact, they add another sin to it: If you are not joyful about being a doormat, you are in sin. They have all the bases covered.

    Mary K enjoys a nice income from comp doctrine.

  2. So they add to the bible, by adding another sin. YOu're right, they do have all the bases covered!

    "Mary K enjoys a nice income from comp doctrine."

    Yes, she does. As Jocelyn Andersen has pointed out, all the folks who write giving complementarian advice, keep promising solutions to marital problems, and their solutions create even bigger problems, thereby making their public more hungry for their next book. It is a lucrative business, where they create the problems that bring them more income. It would be like a carpenter gouging holes in your deck and house to create more work for himself, or your housecleaner spreading dust all over everything to give herself job security, or your mechanic sabbotaging your car so you will have to take it in for repairs.

    In addition to that, Kassian also enjoys a nice income from the arguments, teaching, and hard fought battles of the men and women--especially women--who went before her, fighting for women to be able to inherit & own property, to be able to have custody of their children in the event of divorce, to be able to have good paying jobs instead of just "pin money," to have recourse via the law when their husbands abuse them, to have the freedom to vote, to have the option of getting an order of protection to make their life-threatening abusers stay away from them, (which by the way, Phyllis Schaffly and others in the fathers rights movement are trying to overturn). It used to be that a woman who taught school, either worked for free or was paid "pin money," so she could buy a few trinkets or ribbons for her hair. It is the women's rights movement, the feminist movement, that gave Kassian her income, and she dares to disparage the people who worked so hard for the privileges she enjoys. (I noticed recently, a book has come out by DeMoss, I think, claiming that the women's movement started in the early 1900's, when in fact it started in the 1850's and before.)

    One could say she is double dipping. She has a high income because of the blood and sweat of feminists, and then she disparages female equality, and the work of the feminists, and denies that many women don't even have equality in name, in order to give herself job security with a nice fat income. She knows where her bread is slathered with butter and jam.

  3. Your link to Hannah's response is broken. I read Kassian's piece with incredulity ... and I thought how great it was for her to have never lived with what some of us have and then be able to denigrate us for it. What I heard her saying is "I haven't experienced the extreme, so no one has, or if they have, it can't possibly be blamed on anything we teach, so shut up already."?

  4. Thank you so much! It seems like all I can find about the submission of wives to their husbands is that age-old argument, "You should trust and obey your husband. If you can't do that, you are prideful and therefore, a sinner." It leaves no room for women who want a voice and an equal relationship with their husbands, and it teaches women who are in awful relationships that these things are ok, because your husband is doing them. Glad to see some women with their heads on straight!

  5. Hello Waneta, I wrote a comment on the article of Master of the Home, another response to the first of your answering my first coment, I don`t know if you did not understand me, my mother tongue is Spanish so sometimes I get my ideas confused when translating, I say this cause I did not see the publication of the comment so I am guessing is because you did not get what I was saying? Sorry if I got my ideas confused when replying!
    Anyway, I just would like to ask a personal opinion in one matter that has troubled me a lot for several weeks.( I place the comment here because it seemed the right place and because I don`t know how to send a private message, I am not very good with how blogs work. )
    Although I am egalitarian, the comments posted by complementarians sometimes scare me, for example I read an article about a Book by Bunny Wilson called Liberated through submission, I don`t know if you have read it or come across it? Here is the link to 1 online chapter.
    And I just got worried about how she claims that submitting to a husband`s authority will make you happy but worst are the examples that she gives of women who seem to work! And that is what troubles me!
    Again I would like you honest opinion, is this just a another way of brainwashing woman into giving all authority to their husbands (which I know it`s not since the word khepale does not carry such a meaning) but I would like to ask you what do you think about the book in general, the chapter and interview? Do you believe she is all wrong? Why has she sold so much copies and gives so much interviews if traditional marriages seem to bring more violence and oppression to women?
    I also heard she gave these quotes :
    “Bunny Wilson, a speaker for Chosen Women, a women’s PK satellite group, writes in her book Liberated through Submission that men should "rule with a hand of steel that is covered with velvet." She tells women to "go against" their "feelings, thoughts and opinions, and `yield pleasantly' to authority," including their "husband, pastor or employer." And just about any male authority figure. Wilson states "Our job is to submit to our teachers and our Professors...even if we know they are wrong. It is then in God's hands.” “
    But I just want to know, those this principle work? Do you believe it? Or is it just a weird way of brainwashing women to commit idolatry towards their husbands? I would like your opinion on this, it seems like a magic formula to me, but I am scared of how much marriages she says she has helped.
    I would love your answers and opinions on this please, it would mean a lot to me.
    Sincerely , Andrea

    1. The secret to true submission is yield to Christ first then to one another. When King David yielded to the authority that the Lord had given King Saul (even when the King was trying to kill him!) - he yielded for the Lord's sake.
      1Peter 2:13 Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord.
      Thank God Moses Mother yielded to God first and not the authority of the Pharaoh.
      A godly wife may not be able, before God, to obey her husband’s every demand, especially if he is not a Christian. But in her disobedience, she can still be submissive and respectful in spirit. (See Abigail's Story) 1 Samuel chapter 25
      1Peter 3: In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
      The question is are we willing to lay down our will for the Lord's will.
      Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
      In conclusion: I pray that you not miss the JOY of the crucified life!

  6. KMBG,
    You say it so well. Her arrogance is galling. I wonder what it would take for her to change her tune.

  7. Anonymous (March 27, 2012),
    I have a problem with your statement. If wives submitted as David submitted to Saul, they would leave their husbands-flee from them. Submission and respect are not the same as obedience. We must first submit to the reality that our husbands bring into our lives. According to Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it, shall eat the fruit thereof." When a husband is abusing with his tongue, he is killing his wife. If she doesn't leave, she will eat the fruit he is producing, which is death. Indeed, a very large study showed that abused women have many more illnesses than non-abused women do. Verbal abuse is toxic. It kills, like poison. It usually escalates and gets stronger and more toxic. Too often it turns physical and maims or kills. A friend of mine stayed with her abusive husband for 25 years. She now has many illnesses because of the abuse, even though she finally fled from her husband with only the clothes on her back and her puppy. Another friend died very young. She realized too late that she would die if she didn't leave; that his tongue was poisoning her. She fled with their daughter, but she had already developed cancer.

    You quoted: "1Peter 2:13 Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord." But where are husbands commanded to take authority over their wives? It is NOT in the Bible, which makes it a human institution. In fact, God commands husbands to NOT take authority over their wives. Husbands are actually commanded to love and sacrifice for their wives--even to the sacrificing of their own lives. So the husband authority teaching is contrary to God's will. To follow Jesus, means following GOD's commandments, not the commandments of men. The "crucified life" you refer to, is to crucify any obedience to God, and replace it with obedience to men and to human institution.

    "Wives to their own husbands" has no meaning without Ephesians 5:21. The REAL crucified life is for wives and husbands to submit one to another, instead of practicing a one-way submission that is actually husbandolatry. It makes a god of each husband, and that is NOT what God commanded nor what He intended. Our God is a jealous God, and He does not take kindly to having his authority usurped by men!

  8. Sierra LeBeau,

    Thanks for your comments! It may help to remember that quite a few of the complementarian writers are paid to write while they write, while the egalitarian writers write with whatever free time they can squeeze out of their busy schedules. And then it may take years--if ever--for them to get paid for their work. That is why there is so much more telling wives to submit, submit, submit--which they say actually means going beyond obedience and to "arrange oneself under" which they take to mean the wife is to make her life line up with her husband's goals and wishes. She is to lay down her life for him. Their teaching has her taking on the "role" that was commanded to husbands.

    The problem with the wife obey rule, is that they forget it is to go both ways. Therefore, husbands should be hearing "You should trust and obey your wife. If you can't do that, you are prideful and therefore, a sinner." Sounds really odd saying that to husbands, doesn't it?

    Ephesians 5:21 "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God...Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it..So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the LORD the church."

    The husband is to cherish his wife like he nourishes and cherishes his own body, and as the Lord nourishes and cherishes the church. No selfishness allowed. And what kind of leadership was Jesus doing when He stood before Pilot without defending Himself, and when He did not call down 10 thousand angels while they nailed Him to the cross? THAT is the kind of "leadership" husbands are supposed to follow. Doesn't sound like the commanding, take-authority kind to me.

    Usually, if we just remember to stop focusing on all the shoulds they direct to women, and direct those same shoulds at men, we'll have a better sense of what the Bible actually teaches. And when we take the shoulds they direct toward men and direct them to woman, we're closer to what God has called women to do. Women are to take authority over their own choices, to follow God's leading, to consult their husbands (if they have a husband), to try to work out a solution that works for both of them and that agrees with what God is telling them both. There is no biblical indication that husbands have a special connection to God that is not available to wives. It is not selfish to work for equality, because that is what the Bible teaches. Respect, kindness, etc. is to go both ways. The fruit of the Spirit is to be obvious in both husbands and wives, not just in the wives--both in public AND at home.