Sunday, June 12, 2011

Scratched Record

Remember when we had those large disk records? When one got a scratch, you'd hear the same words over and over again. Until you moved the needle beyond the scratch, those words would repeat over and over, wearying you, annoying you, until you finally got up to do something about it. But if you had a seriously scratched record, you'd soon end up with words repeated over and over again, and you'd have to stop what you are doing and address the problem again—and again.

We have another type of record that is repeating over and over again. We've been addressing the “scratch” one episode at a time, and now the “record” is doing those repeat episodes with increasing frequency. Unfortunately, society loves the record and doesn't want to get rid of it. Even though it is beyond flawed, beyond damaged, and is damaging more and more “listeners,” society insists on keeping and playing the record daily, 24/7. And some folks deny that the record is damaged and causes major damage. They insist that every married couple must own a record and play it all the time. They claim that the flaws in the record are actually problems with the player, not with the record, and therefore the record must not be destroyed.

So what is the “scratch” in the record? A big one that we keep hearing in the news is unfaithful politicians. These politicians are a small group who are elected to office, because voters think they are of high character, high integrity and also will promote the voters' values. Yet over and over again, politician after politician is discovered to be having an “affair” or doing sexual misconduct. What is causing these poor choices that betray their family and constituents? According to John Edwards, a recent politician in the news, the fame and power went to his head. He became accustomed to having anything he wanted. And apparently women are included as things in the “anything.”

But notice that John Edwards is not the only man who thinks he has the right to have anything he wants. The people he claims gave him money to hide his extramarital affair apparently encouraged that mindset. The other politicians who choose to satisfy their urges have the same belief system. So also do the many men—including complementarian Christian men—who make use of pornography and/or prostitutes. Note the common denominator: men misusing women as a commodity to satisfy their selfish urges.

But adultery is not the only “scratch” on the record. Domestic abuse and domestic violence are another scratch where men are also misusing women. This is a "scratch" that our society didn't even start to deal with until about 35 years ago, and that large portions of churches still do not deal with today--except to blame the misused women. Men who chose to control or abuse their wives and children also believe that as “the man,” they are entitled to have whatever they want, including the right to control their wives, even if their demands make no sense or they just ordered the opposite a minute ago. For many of these men, the belief in their right is so strong, they believe they can do anything necessary to enforce their “right,” including beating their wives, and some even go as far as murder.

Both of these types of “scratches” have the same source, which is the grooves in the record that result in the same accompanying and overpowering drumbeat for every song that plays. What is the accompaniment? (Hear the drum beat):
...Husband authority, male authority, absolute husband authority, husband is final decision-maker, the man is to be in charge, the family must do what the man says, the man is not to be questioned, husband is in charge, if the man wants sex the woman or child must deliver, if the husband hurts the wife it must be her own fault, if the man sexually abuses his child the wife must be at fault, absolute husband authority, male authority, husband final decision-maker, wife must give husband what he wants, husband is smarter & wiser than wife, if husband plays with another woman it must be his wife's fault, husband can do no wrong, husband is the authority, if husband is not happy it is wife's fault, if husband is not happy wife is not submitting, husband must have what he wants, husband is in charge, husband authority, husband authority, THE MAN is in charge, the MAN is not to be held accountable, the man is the authority...

With these the-man-is-in-charge grooves being the ruling theme in the entire “record,” and with a lack of consequences for their behavior, men easily believe they have the right to whatever they want. Until the ruling theme of the societal “record” is corrected in both society, in church and in the Christian community, we will continue to endure repeated and frequent scratches in the record. And those scratches, even the invisible scratches, will continue to cause damage to whomever the scratches touch—often lifelong damage that repeats in generation after generation.

It is high time the church repents of its bias against women, its favoritism toward men, aligns itself with authentic bible doctrine, and becomes the leader in ridding our society of the scratch-prone grooves that are directing males toward sin.

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

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