Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Woman’s Place; a Carpenter’s Place

Mark 6:4-6 “Jesus said unto them, ‘Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”

Women have a lot in common with Jesus. His hometown folk said, “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter?” And even though they knew He did miracles, they were more interested in keeping Jesus in his place.

Similar things happen to women. People who claim to be Christians say, “But she’s a woman! Don’t listen to her! God doesn’t call women to ________ (fill in the blank with anything except domestic work). This too is submission tyranny. It is part of the culture of males devaluing women. This devaluing, along with male authority teaching, is part of the cause of domestic abuse.

Jesus could not do many miracles in his hometown. They only allowed him to be a carpenter. How many miracles are women blocked from doing here in the US because they are only allowed to work in the kitchen? I think of the many women who are blocked from working in God’s kingdom at home in spite of God’s calling on their lives. Some of them go to the mission field and do many miracles there. Gladys Aylward, for example.

How many women live their whole lives prevented from serving in the way they were called? How many miracles are denied to this world because women are kept in their place? How many more people would come to Christ if women were allowed to serve according to God’s call, instead of according to the limitation males place upon them? Could it be that hearing the gospel from a woman’s perspective and in a woman’s words would “click” with some people who are not open to the gospel message from a male perspective? How many souls are being doomed because women are kept in their place?

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for God’s Provision of Divorce

Christians often lament the high divorce rate, meaning the filing of papers in the court and the approval granted by a judge that makes a couple legally divorced. But to many women, divorce is a God-send, a blessing, a deliverance from death, and a gift of life. I am one of those women. I thank God for divorce. I thank Him for MY divorce. I needed it for my sanity and health. Painful as it was, my daughter needed it in order to have at least one place where she could know and connect with truth instead of being submerged in an environment of fear and lies that was so confusing it made learning and loving close to impossible.

I look at Galatians, my favorite book of the Bible, and see how free God wants us to be. 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Complementarian teaching entangles women in the yoke of bondage to husband authority. Paul tells us to steer clear of bondage. Granted, Galations is talking about circumcision. But the principle of liberty in Christ applies to the bondage males are attempting to force upon women. (In case you didn’t notice, I refuse to call them men. Behavior and teaching that results in bringing women into bondage is 100% unmanly.) Galations 2:3-5:
But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Note that Paul did not submit to the false teaching of circumcision for even an hour. Likewise, we should not submit to the false teaching of husband authority for even an hour. The Bible clearly teaches husbands to be a living sacrifice to their wives. Not once are they told to rule or overrule their wives. Paul said the bondage of circumcision was subverting the truth of the gospel. Their gospel was “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be circumcised, and you shall be saved.” Today the gospel is: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and subject yourself to your husband and you shall be saved.” (Although complementarians would never admit this. But notice how much guilt and condemnation they try to heap on wives who refuse to submit to being sinned against by their husbands.) Both the bondage of circumcision and the bondage of husband authority make salvation something to be acquired by works--by the flesh--instead of by faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.

In addition, the latter destroys the gospel message that Christian marriages are supposed to represent to the world. Marriage is supposed to symbolize the sacrificial love of Christ for the church, and the church’s response of willing and joyful yielding. Instead, because of the husband authority doctrine, many “Christian” marriages represent a ruler demanding obedience, often by throwing thundering rages, combined with lightning swift unpredictable, irrational, and threatening behavior and/or spiritual arguments to keep his subjects cowed into submission. These marriages actually symbolize Satan and his followers instead of Christ and the church.

Thus, I am so very thankful to be out from under Satan-like bondage, and to be free. I have been liberated to serve Christ unhampered by my husband’s nastiness, his sudden irrational and threatening verbal/emotional and occasional physical attacks.

I praise the Lord that my daughter and I have been set free.
Glory be to God!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to Take a Fresh, Unbiased Look at Scripture

“It is very important that leaders and lay people alike take a fresh look at scripture and stop projecting their preconceived notions or traditions onto it.”

The above quote was part of a response I wrote to Rebecca who commented on my blog. see entire post and comments here

How does one go about keeping their biases out of their research and interpretation of scripture? How can one be assured that he or she is not listening to an evil spirit instead of the Holy Spirit?

I cannot give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but I can share what has worked for me.

I prayerfully take the issue in question before God, confessing, “Lord God, there is some disagreement about this issue/passage, and I want to know what YOU meant by it, what YOU want me to do or believe. I confess, Lord, that I really hope your answer is ______, but I choose to let go of that. I lay down my will and my preference. Lord, I am willing to believe and practice what YOU tell me, either way. Help me as I study this. Lead me to related scripture and help me to fully understand the context. I am yours, Lord God. Protect me from the wiles of the Evil One, and do not allow him to speak to me or influence my thinking or conclusion(s).”

After praying, I begin to study. Sometimes it is helpful to read several different views of others—especially if I was taught to refuse to even look at or consider other viewpoints. The idea with this step is to get an overview, to see if verses relate to the subject and reasoning—verses other than the ones I have been taught are applicable.

Other times I get the sense that looking at the views of other humans will get in the way of hearing what God wants to tell me.

One such instance is the verse “Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down on your wrath.” As far as I know, no one else has the interpretation of this verse that I do. I believe my interpretation came from God. My interpretation is “When you are angry do not sin. Shine a bright light on your anger until you know the cause, and then work to solve the problem.”

I see this as being similar to shining a bright light on a sliver. You could just forgive yourself for getting the sliver and forgive the sliver for being there, and go to bed and try to forget it. But in the morning the sliver will still be there and may even be infected. On the other hand, if you shine a bright light on the hurting area, and dig around until you find the cause, dig it out and put appropriate salve on the wound, you can then go on your way with little to no pain at the sliver site.

Sometimes I am afraid that what I find will tell me I am totally wrong. Since I do not want to accept the one viewpoint, I acknowledge there is rebellion in my heart, so I confess that to God, and ask Him to cleanse my heart and take it away. I do not want to rebel against God.

One such time was when I was researching for this blog using only Strong’s Concordance. I was studying verses in I Timothy concerning husband and wife, and 5:14 came up. As I started on this verse, I became aware that I did not like the interpretation I had been brought up with—that a wife was to stay home and stick to domestic duties. I stopped and gave that to God and told Him if that was what He meant, I was willing to accept that. I was surprised—and delighted—to find that “guide the house” (#3616) actually means “be the head of the house,” and it is specified that this “head of the house” means ruler of the family. It appears the KJV translators had a bias.

When I looked up the parallel verses for the husband, “one that ruleth well his own house,” I found when you look at the words the word came from, the meaning Strong’s gives the word ruleth (#4291) is the FIGURATIVE meaning, not the normal meaning. The meaning of the originating word is “fore: in front of, prior to,” (which reminds me of the view that the word “head” likely is referring to the fact that Adam came into existence before Eve) and stand—“to stand before.” And the meaning of house is “dwelling.”

So the phrase is actually “to stand before his dwelling.” But the translators used the figurative and by implication forms to arrive at “ruleth well his own house,” which our patriarchal leaders interpret as having authority over his family. Yet, they fail to note that another implied meaning of rule is “maintain.” In other words, the phrase could be saying “maintains well his own dwelling.” In this case, since the KJV translation uses the implied and figurative meanings, I distrust the translation. In fact, when he adds “having his children in all subjection,” one questions whether children were included in the previous phrase at all. If they are, Paul was being redundant. Verse 5 “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he TAKE CARE OF the church of God?” agrees with my suspicion that the meaning God intended is to “maintain and care for,” NOT to RULE.

I notice that “guide the house” for wives, which means “be head (ie: ruler) of the house” is neither implied nor figurative. While the phrase for husbands which is translated “rule the house,” is actually figurative or implied. I end up seeing much more authority for the wife, than for the husband in I Timothy, which is contrary to what I was taught all my life.

My study and conclusion of this passage, ended up strengthening what I had already seen in other husband-wife passages. Because of the interpretation of church leaders, I thought the I Timothy passages disagreed with Ephesians 5, and I wasn’t sure how to handle that. But prayerful study showed me the two passages agree; there is no command to husbands to rule their wives.

Again, I stress, it is very important to lay aside your own preferences and will about a passage, and to diligently seek what our Almighty God wishes to communicate in His love letter to us. When I lay down my wishes, and surrender my heart to God, it doesn’t matter whether I was right or wrong. It only matters that I go forth in obedience to Him—even if it means my family will condemn me, as happened another time.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit for information.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Huge Complementarian Arsenal of Weaponry

Some argue that the complementarian view does not promote domestic violence, that it is the individual who misuses the doctrine who is choosing domestic violence. They point out that egalitarians can be just as abusive as complementarians. On the surface, this is true. A man can claim to be egalitarian and still abuse his wife. However, because he is not using God and scripture to justify and enforce his authority, the abuse he uses is more likely to lack a wall of support that is as thick and imprisoning as the Great Wall of China. Without the “God says wife submit” argument, it is much easier for women to recognize the behavior as abuse, rather than as God-given authority to husbands and as a non-negotiable commandment to wives to submit to their husbands.

Having said that, I want to point out that wives who do not have Ephesians 5 rammed down their throats, still have a difficult time recognizing domestic abuse and dealing with it. In other words, domestic abuse is difficult enough for women to get a handle on, without adding teaching that demands the absolute subjection of wives to their husbands.

Christian doctrine, itself, makes recognizing abuse and dealing with it wisely very difficult to achieve. Even without the husband authority and wife submit no matter what doctrines, the love unconditionally and forgive and forget and turn the other cheek doctrines all work to prevent a Christian woman from confronting the domestic abuse early enough to both save her marriage and make it a loving one that symbolizes Christ and the Church. (The no-matter-what part is denied, of course. But who gets blamed for abuse? The wife, who they claim failed to submit. So even though they SAY the doctrine is NOT no-matter-what, in reality, it is exactly that.)

Those who teach marriage, for example, tell wives to be loyal to their husbands and not talk to others about their husband’s failures. This rule aids husbands in their quest to control their wives and does nothing to help a woman figure out how to deal with her marriage difficulties. Wives who stay silent, are more likely to try to perfect their own behavior, are less likely to recognize their husband’s behavior as abuse, and are more likely to stay in their abusive marriage longer, harming themselves and their children. This rule also harms husbands by allowing the abusive behavior and beliefs to become more and more entrenched in the minds of the husbands as well as in the minds of everyone in the family.

Christian wives whose husbands are abusive, constantly turn the other cheek and forgive and forget, but it does not make their marriages better. Instead, it makes them progressively worse. Abusive men see Christian behaviors as weaknesses, and tend to “go for the kill” or to “kick a person when she is down.” Thus, the Christian behavior of the abused wife tends to make her husband MORE abusive.

On top of that, Christians add the authority/submission doctrine. It is so pervasive, that some women who read my novel, “Behind the Hedge,” had a difficult time comprehending that the husband’s behavior in the beginning was abusive. The doctrine is so entrenched, that abuse is often seen as the husband’s right because he is the “authority.”

When a husband demands that his wife submit because God commanded it, no matter how idiotic and hurtful his demands, it is so difficult for wives to think through the mass of confusing messages, to be able to differentiate whether his demand is contrary to scripture, to know who to believe, that many wives have to literally throw out the submission doctrine in order to make sense of what is happening in their marriages. Even then, a church-house full of finger-pointing people makes it very difficult for a woman to deal wisely with the reality of her own broken marriage.

For those who do acknowledge the abuse and act redemptively to deal with it, they frequently face rejection from their whole church, while their abuser is accepted with open and welcoming arms. This drives many of them away from their churches and away from their primary support. This fact, makes wives think long and hard before taking steps to hold the abuser accountable.

So although egalitarian husbands can also abuse, they lack a huge arsenal of weaponry that complementarian husbands have at their disposal: their own beliefs, church doctrine, church pressure, church discipline of the wives, their twisting of scripture, the wife’s own belief that she is required to submit, along with her guilt if she fails to submit, or even the self-blame if she submits but her husband is still not happy.

It is my contention that the church would have much less domestic abuse and domestic violence among her people if she taught egalitarian, submit to one another and husbands love your wives as a living sacrifice, doctrine.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Friday, November 20, 2009

Benefits that are Mere Pottage

Ok, I get it. Males have a vested interest in forcing women to stay married, even to abusers. Think of all the benefits they would lose if they encouraged abused wives to leave and even divorce their husbands. Their OWN wives could decide to divorce them for some made up infraction. (according to them and their viewpoint.) And then they wouldn’t have anyone to cook their meals, to wash their clothes, to order around, to raise their children, to put down so they can feel superior, to clean their houses, to dump the work load onto.

To keep this benefit, they will twist scripture and repeat the twisting over and over—like the mainstream media—in order to keep at least one foot securely on the head of their own wives, ready to crush their wives at the slightest “provocation.” The other foot they keep on the heads of Other Male’s Wives, so their own wives won’t get any ideas about freeing themselves from oppression.

The males are at war, practicing terrorism in their own homes and churches. And just like Obama, the majority of women continue to deny it. The truth is just too horrific to handle.

A study says 44% of women have experienced some form of domestic violence in their adult lifetime. That is nearly half of all women, and it assumes the women know what domestic abuse is. Yet women remain in their rose-colored glasses, still insisting that wife submission will heal marital woes, still blaming the women, still insisting if males just become Christians or rededicate their lives to the Lord, they will stop abusing their wives. Yet the very church doctrine the males rededicate themselves to teaches husband authority and fosters abuse.

With church doctrine like that, I can see why so many woman reject both their churches and Christ. Why belong to Christ, if doing so brings the same misery one could expect when one belongs to Satan?

Why do our churches act as if the fruit of the Spirit applies only to women? Do they not know that those who do not bear Christ’s fruit, are not connected to the Vine, and if they are not connected to the Vine they are spiritually dead? Why does the church act as if the command in Romans 12:1-2 applies to women only? When are males going to start being a living sacrifice, being kind and forgiving? When are males going to stop picking out the scriptures they can twist into domination commandments, while ignoring the clearly spelled out Christ-like behaviors they are commanded to practice?

Why are women in these churches still marrying? With a prognosis of life-long misery, it makes more sense to utilize the sperm bank if one wants children. Then a woman never has to worry about her husband using the children to control her, about her husband turning the children against her, or about her husband damaging her children. Frankly, feminists have legitimate arguments against males, and very good reason for despising Christians.

What are we as Christians going to do about it?

Oh, of course! The usual! Males must maintain their benefits at all costs—even at the cost of their own salvation. They, like Esau, are selling their birthright for a bowl of pottage.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Submission of Women Required for Survival and Profit

There is another group that relies on woman submission for its survival—similar to the Christian community. No, I am not speaking of the Muslim community, although they also rely on woman submission for survival.

“For SURVIVAL?” you ask.

Yes, survival. For many Christians, wife submission is right up there with salvation in importance. The good and godly behavior of husbands is dependent upon the submission of the wives. After all, they say husbands are wired to be leaders and the authority in their homes. According to the rhetoric, a husband doesn’t feel like a man if his wife doesn’t submit. Church would have to be cancelled because many husbands would be in jail for committing domestic violence when they tried to enforce their authority. Like as not, the pastors would be in jail, too, since clergy and faith leaders are the number 1 perpetrators of spousal abuse. Apparently, without the submission of wives, many husbands are incapable of producing evidence of having the Fruit of the Spirit. Without fruit, there is no church. Unless we have all female churches.

Another group has a similar dilemma. They, too, rely on female submission. Without it, a whole billion dollar industry would collapse.

The industry? P*rn.

In April I saw this article by Shane Ersland in the Daily Iowan that pointed to the submissive roles of women in p*rn films:

“An Expert Says Women’s submissive roles in p’orn films adversely affect today’s society.” Robert Jensen showed “The Price of Pleasure: P’ornography, S’exuality, and Relationships” at an event sponsored by the University of Iowa sociology department and by the Women’s Resource and Action Center. He pointed out that p’orn is used by men to pleasure themselves. Ersland commented that females in the film were “often put in disrespectful and submissive positions.”

Both Ersland and Jensen are right, men pleasure themselves at the expense of women. But this is not only true of the p*rn industry, it is also true in so-called Christian families and churches.

Something is dreadfully wrong when both the p’orn industry and churches rely on the humiliation and submission of women in order to survive. Both groups do little to nothing to combat the degradation of women. Prostitution also uses the submission and degradation of women. Similar to pastors who insist women must remain with their abusers, pimps lock women into their degrading lifestyles, and p*rn makers refuse to hire or pay women who insist on respectful depictions of women.

How does the submission of women profit these industries? The p*rn and prostitution industries make huge monetary profits and are rife with male power. Similarly, the church industry profits with huge gains in male power for both clergy and for husbands, and also profits with monetary benefits. Without submissive wives bearing children and bringing them to church, there would be no next generation(s) for pastors to fleece.

Could it be that if pastors did not emphasize the submission of women, MEN would refuse to come to church and put money in the offering plate?
According to Mark Driscoll, who emphasizes wife submission, getting men into the church is everything. (see: ) Driscoll says if a pastor gets young men into his church, he gets the men, their wives, their children, and their money. If you don’t get the men, (meaning if you only get women and children?) you get nothing.

In order to get the men, then, women must submit so the family will stay together and go to church. Apparently Driscoll thinks a divorced husband is less likely to bring his children to church--and part with his money.

So one could say the men running po'rn industry, the prostitution industry, and the church are all vying for power and for men's money. And the submission of women is required to achieve that goal.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Parable of the Divinitys Explained

Jesus spoke in parables. Sometimes it was to hide the meaning from those who would misuse it, and other times it was to make the point in a way that people could better understand. It seemed many people could not comprehend heavenly truths any other way. They could not see the forest, because the trees were blocking their view.

As I consider the many authors who have written before me, those who are battling alongside me, and then look at those who dig their heels in even harder and refuse to hear the message, it seems the trees are blocking the view of many church folk today, too.

Perhaps the previous parable along with the meaning in this post will help make a difference.

Mr. and Mrs. Divinity represent God. Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Male and female together are the image of God.

The last name, Divinity, represents God’s whole family.

The twins, John and Jane, the older children, represent church leaders and also parents. Ephesians 5, along with other passages command us all to submit to one another. Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another…”

The younger siblings, Tom and Sally, represent a young married couple. They, too, are told to submit to one another, to honor one another.

The Divinity house and property represents wherever God places us on this earth, and includes the jobs He gives us to do.

The cabin represents both Heaven and the way of escape that God has promised to us. I Corinthians 10:13-14 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” If we do not flee the temptation to do other than what God has commanded, we risk becoming idolatrous.

The incorrect statements of John and Tom represent the reasoning of men who claim to be obeying God’s commands, but twist the scripture so that it is more to their liking, giving themselves full authority over women, their wives in particular.

John’s increasing declarations of authority, and urging his brother to take authority, represent the current trend of leaders taking authority in many churches, and urging husbands to take authority contrary to God’s command to husbands to love self-sacrificially and to present their bodies as living sacrifices, not being conformed to the world’s hierarchical way of thinking (Romans 12:1-3).

Tom’s increasing declarations of authority represent the escalating abuse some husbands inflict on their wives.

Tom’s statement that Jane is not his boss and that he does not have to listen to her, represents the attitude of many church men that all of us should not listen to women, nor allow women to influence us, but instead should suspect them of leading us astray. Also, they insist we should only accept new ideas/biblical truths from males.

The feast in the cabin represents both our heavenly reward and our earthly reward. Job, for example, was rewarded after God had tested him.

Over all, the parable points to the evil that men are committing against women in both church and home today, in spite of God’s commands to neither rule like the Gentiles, nor elevate themselves like the world does.

Like in the parable, God does provide a way to escape. By insisting that wives live with rules that are contrary to God’s word, (elevating husbands to a place of authority and superiority which belongs to God alone), husbands force wives to live in idolatry. If a wife chooses to do a sinful act that her husband is demanding of her, that is obviously sin. But church leaders fail to recognize that wives who are forced to live as inferior to their husbands are also disobeying God. That disobedience is both idolatry (putting husbands and church leaders above God) and sin.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Parable of the Divinitys

Mr. and Mrs. Divinity knew it was time to test their children and that their children needed to learn to appreciate them more, so they decided to go on a three-month mission trip to encourage a number of churches. Before they left they gave instructions to their children.

“Jane and John,” Mr. Divinity said, “You are the eldest, so we are leaving the two of you in charge. It is your responsibility to make sure your younger siblings are taken care of and that the house and yard are well tended. We left you with some phone numbers if you should need help.”

“It is very important that you love and respect one another,” Mrs. Divinity added. “You are to make sure Tom and Sally listen to you and do what you ask. Make sure that they get along with each other and treat each other with respect and dignity. You all are our children, and when we come home we want to hear that each of you valued your siblings highly. Tom and Sally, obey the twins and don’t fight with each other.”

“Mrs. Divinity is right,” Mr. Divinity chimed in. “It is very important to us that you all choose behavior that is becoming to a Divinity. Each of you make sure you care about the needs and feelings of each of your siblings and try to find solutions that keep the peace and are satisfying to all of you.

Mr. and Mrs. Divinity kissed their children good-bye and left for their mission trip.

As soon as their conveyance was off the property, John announced, “Since I am the man, you all will have to answer to me. Tom and Sally, if you want to do anything, you have to come to me. Is that understood?”

“But John,” Jane protested, “our parents left us both in charge. They made us both responsible.”

John snorted, “They weren’t thinking; it isn’t possible for two people to be in charge. This place will go to hell in a hand basket if the kids listen to you.”

“John is right,” Tom said, putting his hands on his hips. “We MEN know better than you GIRLS,” he curled his lip on the last word.

“But Tom,” Sally whispered, “what about loving each other and acting as is becoming to a Divinity?”

Tom shoved his younger sister causing her to fall down. “THIS is behavior that is befitting to a Divinity. “You be quiet and do what we men tell you to do.”

“John,” Jane frowned, “what you and Tom are doing is not right. I will have to report to our parents.”

John laughed. “You go right ahead. See if I care.”

That set the tone for the days ahead. John and Tom sat around playing games and meeting with friends and demanded that their sisters clean the house, care for the yard and garden, cook food for them and their friends, and wash their clothes.

One day John went off with his friends, and young Tom took the opportunity to be meaner to Sally than usual. He pulled her hair, kicked her shins, threw juicy mud balls at her, making her clothes all muddy, and pulled off the heads of both her dolls.

Sally went crying to Jane.

“Tom, that behavior is NOT becoming to a Divinity!” Jane said sternly. “You will apologize to your sister at once.”

“You aren’t my boss,” Tom stuck his tongue out at her. “I don’t have to listen to you.”

“Then you will not get any supper. I will not allow that kind of behavior in this house.”

Tom snorted, “We’ll see what John says when he comes home.”

When John came home, he took both Jane’s and Sally’s supper and gave it to Tom. “You girls are NEVER to boss us men!” John shouted. “Is that understood? WE are in charge here. WE are the Divinity men! If we see either of you helping yourselves to ANY food for the rest of the night, we will lock you in the basement. Now get busy and clean up the house!”

Jane and Sally quietly washed the dishes and went to bed hungry.

The next day Jane stepped outside to work in the garden and overheard a conversation between Tom and Sally, who were in the sandbox.

“Why do you and John treat us so badly?” Sally asked in a small voice.

“We aren’t treating you badly,” Tom sounded kind. “It’s actually you and Jane who are being nasty to us. You keep questioning our authority, even though our parents left us in charge.”

“Tom Divinity!” Sally said. “You know that is NOT true. Our parents left John and Jane in charge because they are older. Since they are twins, Jane is just as old as John.”

“But they told Jane she is responsible to keep up the house and take care of us men,” Tom explained. “We are following their rules; we didn’t make them up. You and Jane are the rebellious ones. John told me we would have to report you to our parents if you keep bucking our authority like you do. Our parents told us to get along. They will not be happy with you and will punish you severely.”

“That isn’t what our parents said, Tom.”

“Yes it is. You can try to interpret what they said differently to get out of doing what you were told, but in the end you will be disobeying and disrespecting our parents. Now go get me a big glass of water. I’m thirsty.”

Jane ducked out of sight as Sally started toward the house. She hadn’t realized John and Tom were comparing notes, or that they had gone so far as to decide their parents had given them authority. She thought about what to do as she hoed the garden and collected vegetables for supper.

Then she remembered the list of names and numbers their parents had left with them. She went in the house and called one of the numbers, then yelled out the door and asked Sally to come in and help prepare supper.

“Go get the picnic basket, Sally,” Jane said when Sally had come inside, "and then I want you to go pack some clothes for yourself. We are going to a cabin our parents provided for us if things get too ugly.”

Sally’s eyes grew big and round. “Our parents provided a cabin for us?”

“Yes. Leaving is the best we can do to get along,” Jane explained. “We have to behave as is becoming to a Divinity, so we have to leave for awhile. John and Tom were told to treat us with respect and love, but they are not. The longer we stay here, the less they behave like Divinitys. Our parents told us to take care of you and Tom. Since John and Tom are not allowing me to obey our parents, I must take you to a safe place.

That night, while the brothers were asleep, Jane and Sally crept out of the house with clothes, food, and enough money to buy more. They walked all night until they came to the cabin their parents had provided. They found the key in the crotch of the tree, and let themselves in.

The cabin suddenly flooded with light and their parents rushed forward to hug them.

“Father, Mother,” Jane said, “what are you doing here? I thought you were across the country by now.”

“We were,” Mr. Divinity said, “but when we saw what was going on at home, we knew you needed us here to comfort you.”

“You saw?” Sally squeaked.

“Of course,” Mrs. Divinity said. “We always keep our children under surveillance.”

“But why didn’t you come stop them?” Jane protested.

“It was important to test you all,” Mr. Divinity explained. “We wanted to give all of you a chance to see if you really loved us, or if you were just pretending.”

“Well, done, my daughters,” Mrs. Divinity led Jane and Sally to the next room, where a table was beautifully set and loaded with a thanksgiving feast. Mr. and Mrs. Divinity kissed their daughters and seated them at the table, then loaded their plates with food, and encouraged them to eat their fill.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Saturday, November 7, 2009

“In Everything” Christianese, Part 2

As discussed in part 1, Ephesians 5:22 and 24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything,” have been interpreted to mean “no matter what” in Christianese. Specifically, they have been interpreted to mean “submit if he is abusing you, obey when he is nasty and sinning against you.” The result of this Christianese, is that the church is commanding wives to REWARD husbands for disregarding all of Ephesians except the directions to wives. This encourages sin.

According to the context of Ephesians, those words to wives mean wives are to submit to the sacrificial love of their husbands. If they do not, then the other passages about submitting to one another and getting along in church would also mean our churches are to be ruled by those who are the most demanding and sinful. After all, the demanding and nasty ones are the very people who will never give in, therefore, the godly ones are required to give in and submit to sinful behavior. (This may actually be the problem in many churches today—that the godly leaders are submitting to the sinful leaders.)

Submitting to one another does NOT include submitting to sin or allowing sinful and selfish behavior. Rather, just like we have to accept the gift of Christ’s salvation, so a wife must accept the gift of her husband’s sacrificial love. When he says, “Honey, you look tired. Please, go get ready for bed. I’ll wash the dishes and put the children to bed,” she is to submit to that. She may want to protest, “But Dear, you are tired and worked hard all day, too. Those are MY responsibilities. I feel so bad leaving those things for you to do, I cannot submit to you.” But the passage tells her to submit to sacrificial love, even as she does to Christ.

I recall a sermon Chuck Swindoll preached about the letter to Philemon. Chuck suggested that Paul wrote that letter “tongue in cheek,” meaning in a humorous and ironic way to get the point across. Paul played with the meaning of Onesimus’s name and his unprofitable behavior. On the one hand Paul refused to command Philemon to accept his slave as a brother, and asked Philemon do so voluntarily as receiving a gift from Paul, since he is Paul’s son in faith and Paul would have liked to keep Onesimus with him. Yet at the end of the letter he said he is coming to visit, suggesting if Philemon treats Onesimus harshly, Paul will be coming to hold him accountable. Although Paul writes kindly, he tells Philemon to treat his slave well, especially since his running away ended up in bringing him to Christ.

There is similarity in the letter to the whole Ephesian church, where Paul tells wives to submit in everything and as to the Lord and in his actions of sending Onesimus back to his owner. Just as Philemon may have thought when his slave returned, that he had the right to beat his slave severely, husbands tend to think they have total power and domination rights over their wives because of Paul’s words to wives. Paul’s next words say to both husbands and to Philemon that this supposition is false. Paul asked Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother in the faith, as Paul’s own son, and asks husbands to treat their wives with self-sacrificial love, even as Christ loved the church so much He gave Himself up for her.

It is time churches teach ALL of Ephesians correctly, that abusive, controlling, and authoritarian husbands turn from their wicked ways, be transformed by the renewing of their minds, align their beliefs with scripture, and treat their wives as daughters of God, and joint heirs with Christ and worthy of all self-sacrificial love, gentleness, and respect.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

“In Everything” Christianese, Part 1

Sometimes a biblical passage is explained repeatedly to the point that the passage begins to take on a meaning other than that stated by the biblical text. Ephesians 5:22 and 24 are an example of this phenomenon. “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

In Christianese, the words IN EVERYTHING and AS TO THE LORD mean: submit when you disagree, submit as if you are the stupid one, submit when he is being nasty to you and/or to your children, submit when you know what he is insisting is unwise, submit when you know it will ruin you both financially, submit when he’s walking all over you and taking advantage of you, submit when his demand is hurting or even harming other people, submit when he is demanding that you break a promise or contract, and etc.

The context of the passage is in the whole book of Ephesians. Chapter 4, for example tells us to walk worthy of our calling, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Our actions are to build one another up, to edify the body of Christ, to behave in such a way as to promote peace with one another. Husbands are to love their wives self-sacrificially as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. This is in keeping with those earlier verses. The passage also reminds us of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Yet those words to wives are lifted out of their context and spun to mean something else entirely. The way they are spun nullifies the words to husbands and wipes out the whole of Ephesians for husbands in relation to their wives, and replaces it with a doctrine of domination and authority over their wives. It is as if Ephesians is written only to wives, or as if every passage has an exception clause—“except toward your wives.”

Ephesians 4:1a-3 would read, “I…beseech WIVES to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with YOUR HUSBANDS in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 would read, “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, EXCEPT TOWARD YOUR WIVES, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…”

Many husbands—backed by their pastors and entire congregations—behave as if the false paraphrases above are what the Bible actually says, and that only the directions to wives, from which they derive husband headship and authority, are applicable. They think AS TO THE LORD and SUBMIT IN EVERYTHING mean a wife is to submit NO MATTER WHAT the husband does or demands, since we submit to the Lord in everything.

But they fail to take into account that since the Lord NEVER behaves sinfully, nor acts selfishly, this verse cannot possibly mean “no matter what,” unless Christians are willing to make sin acceptable. There is no way she can submit AS TO THE LORD when her husband’s behavior is selfish, mean, or sinful. A husband whose behavior is not Christ-like, is following the lead of his father, Satan. To require a wife to submit to a man who is following Satan, in essence is requiring her to submit to Satan. In order to submit AS TO THE LORD, she must submit to self-sacrificial, Christ-like love.

They also fail to recognize that because husbands are told, in addition to the rest of the commands in Ephesians, to love their wives self-sacrificially even as Christ loved the church, that the command to wives to submit IN EVERYTHING and AS TO THE LORD, when read in context, means that a wife’s submission is to be in response to her husband’s Christ-like behavior. She is NOT to encourage sin, even if her husband is not saved. If EVERYTHING has any other meaning, the wife is being forced to encourage her husband to disregard all of Ephesians, except for those verses to the wives.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Monday, November 2, 2009

Forget and Suffer vs Remember and Reject

Remembering how other individuals treat us is an important part of making decisions and of staying out of danger. Yet many Christians throw human interpretation of forgiveness at people. By insisting that they forgive and forget, Christians abuse them yet again and cause them to put themselves in harm’s way.

This is especially so for wives who suffer abuse from their husbands. The ultra pious pressure wives to forgive and forget. They tell a wife who is still grieving the loss of her marriage, still trying to accept that the man she married doesn’t cherish her after all, that she SHOULD forgive and maintain relationship with her abuser. They tell her if she holds him at arms length, she hasn’t really forgiven him.

So she takes a phone call from him, and he berates her for half an hour. She hangs up, feeling shaky, confused, and scared. But she focuses on forgiving and forgetting. She blames herself for not handling it better.

This is contrary to scripture. Titus 3:10 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” Abusers tend to be divisive. Their repeated reviling creates conflict and splits up marriages.

2Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM.”

This passage describes many abusive husbands. Instead of controlling themselves, they put all their focus on controlling their wives. Their behavior is pure treachery. They led their wives to believe they would love and cherish them, but instead they turn on them and attack them.

How does the Bible say we are to respond? HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. There is nothing about forgive and forget. There is no exception clause saying “except when you are married to him.”

When a married man chooses the above behaviors, HE is the one who has broken the marriage covenant. Without loving behavior there is no covenant. It has become null and void. Unless he repents in sincerity and truth. And few abusers do.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit