Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What God Authorizes Husbands to do

Whether one claims to be complementarian, egalitarian, or any other arian, the rules God, our authority, has given are the same. What behavior does God authorize for a husband?

1. As part of the body of Christ, a husband is to submit to his wife, Ephesians 5:21, I Peter 5:5.

2. A husband is to love his wife as he loves and cares for his own body. He is to sacrifice for her, doing what it takes to benefit her—even at the expense of NOT getting what he wants. Ephesians 5: 25-31

3. A husband is to esteem his wife as better than himself, Phil 2:3

4. A husband is to treat his wife as he would want to be treated if he were her. Matt. 7:12

5. A husband is to demonstrate God’s agape love to his wife I Cor 13.

6. A husband is to guard his tongue. James 3

7. A husband is to honor his wife so his prayers won’t be hindered, I Peter 3:7

8. A husband is to have the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and this is to show up in all his dealings with his wife, not just at church.

There are likely more, but this is sufficient.

With a commandment list like this, why would any husband prefer to be a complementarian? If he is a complementarian and he has the job of making that final decision, this list requires him to make the decision his wife wants.

God did not give him an exception clause. He is always to honor, love, submit to and sacrifice for his wife, all the while esteeming her better than himself. This is the commandment of God, not of the egalitarians.

It seems to me the egalitarians are easier on the husbands. Egalitarians teach that husbands and wives are to divide responsibilities based on gifting, not on pre-fabricated roles that may have both spouses struggling to pretend to be what they are not. They also teach couples to come up with solutions both spouses feel good and at peace about. That means neither of them make a final decision that hurts their spouse, and that both seek to find a solution that pleases them, yet pleases their spouse as well.

Life in egalitarian families is win-win, while life in complementarian households frequently has one spouse being the loser while the other gets things his or her way depending on whether the husband obeys the command to sacrifice for his wife, or whether he indulges in sinful self-pleasing.

Again, if complementarian husbands truly live in obedience to God’s word and authority, they will always sacrifice their own wishes, desires, needs in order to serve their wives.

But even with the complementarian rules, which give a husband authority over his wife, a husband has the authority to set up a relationship where neither spouse overrides the will or preferences of the other. The husband can use the authority he believes God has given to him to live by the Golden Rule, to honor his wife, to esteem her better than himself, to lay down his wishes in favor of his wife's, and to use disagreements as a means to learn to know one another better as they search for solutions each spouse will actually like. But when he does that, it is important that he tell her that he considers her his equal, not just for salvation and in the eyes of God, but in his eyes, too. Only then will she be free to totally be herself, to fully entrust herself to her husband, and to be all God has made her and called her to be.

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

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Silent Plea of Complementarians & CBMW

I confess, I have been so wrapped up in my own research of submission tyranny that I completely missed an important detail, and I have failed to submit properly. I apologize for being so blind to this fact that has been right in front of my face all along. Yet this opens exciting possibilities that could put a stop to the war between the sexes.

Women, the complementarian, CBMW-type men in our lives claim to be Bible-believing Christians, who follow the plain reading of scripture, correct? They obey the scripture to the best of their ability. The problem is us, women. We have failed to “listen” to what they are trying to tell us.

For centuries Christian men have been trying to tell us that they want to be subjugated, and now the CBMW has been making this ever more clear with their Danver's statement. That is right. Complementarian MEN want to be SUBJUGATED. I don't know what I was thinking, why I didn't see the signs before. I was listening to what they said with their mouths instead of to what they said with their actions. I totally forgot that actions carry much more weight than words. That is why pastors do not offer help to abused women who come to them for help; they are hoping the women will turn the tables and CONTROL their husbands.

You'd be surprised how I figured this out. It's the rule of the Golden Rule:
“Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matt 7:12
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

These men who “live according to the scriptures” are telling us by their actions that they want WOMEN to make the final decisions, that they want WOMEN to be the leaders, that they want WOMEN to put men in subjection to women, that they want WOMEN to take AUTHORITY OVER MEN.

Think of it, they are doing to women what they secretly want women to do to them. They want to be dominated by women. They want women to be the preachers and teachers. Some of them want women to beat them, chew them out, denigrate them, call them horrid names.

The problem is, since I don't want men to subjugate me, I don't want to subjugate them lest they get the wrong idea. But perhaps I could find a way to tickle their fancy without actually subjugating them. Perhaps I could order them around three days a week, (although many of them complain about women acting as ditches--except the first letter is b--three days a month.)

Women, we need to develop our skills at keeping men, especially husbands, under our spiked heels without actually subjugating them. This apparently is much closer to what they want.

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