Monday, February 28, 2011

The "Keep Sweet" Conspiracy

Before I get into this fully, I want to assure you all that I know there are many good men who do not fall into this conspiracy. There are several who comment at Suzanne's Bookshelf, the Equality Central Forum, and The Commandments of Men that refuse to tell women what they are supposed to feel and how they are supposed to react in the face of sin, abuse, and danger. These men allow women to be human and to be who God created them to be and refuse to pressure women into a "Keep Sweet" mold.

"Keep Sweet" was a favorite saying of Rulon Jeffs, former prophet of the FLDS sect. Rulon's son, Warren, in now in prison for various crimes, is the present prophet of the FLDS.

Well, cults do what cults do. And it's not that I'm unconcerned for them, I am. But I'm also deeply concerned with the "keep sweet" doctrine entering into mainstream Christianity. I'm concerned with men, like Piper, who seem completely unaware of how their teachings are lining up more with the FLDS and other patriarchal groups than with Christianity. I'm concerned with them teaching a doctrine that brings bondage and plastic molding to women. I am concerned with the fact that these men are being deceived and believe they bring freedom. They don't. They are blind guides leading the blind.

My friend Waneta has come and left a comment under my last post and she said something I wish these men would realize. She said:

"their insistence that women be sweet, ends up making them despise women for their weakness. So no matter what they do, women do it wrong. If they are sweet, they are despised for weakness and taken advantage of. If they stand up for themselves, they are labeled with various 'sin' descriptions."

These men, quite frankly, created a no win situation for women. And then they call this lose/lose situation, the 'good news'.

It is not good news. It is not the gospel. It is bad news. And it would behoove them to quit embracing their sacred cows.

But they refuse to re-examine their positions because they are quite convinced they are right. They are self-righteous rather where they should be humble and teachable. But then, their doctrine teaches them that they are not to be taught by women, so they cannot hear the cries of the wounded abused. All they can offer is what Rulon and Warren Jeffs offered. A "keep sweet" conspiracy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Men Defining Sweet for Women

This blog is called from Bitter Waters to Sweet because one of its purposes is to deal with the bitter issues facing women and how they can move from a place of bitterness to a place of sweetness in the Lord.

There are many obstacles in the way, but I want to focus on one in particular.
One of the major obstacles is when women let certain men define what sweetness is for women.

We touched on it in the past in my dealing with the Song of Solomon and one man's determination to make a verse from a woman's point of view all about something that many men like, in particular what he thought would be sweet for a woman to do for him. Since it is pretty much R rated, we won't cover it again.

But now I've found another place where a man has decided to define 'sweet' for women. I mentioned this man in the previous post. His name is John Piper and there is a link to a video of him talking about what a woman's submission to an abusive man would look like.
Around the two minute mark of this video he begins to model a very sweet speech that he expects a woman to follow if her husband is pressuring her into gross sin. It goes like this.

Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. God calls me to do that and I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership. But if you ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can't. I can't go there.

Rather than allowing a woman a natural, angry response to a man pushing her into gross sin, she has to detour and talk about wanting him as her leader, enjoying his leadership and even saying that it would be sweet for her to enjoy his leadership.

John Piper does not allow women to be human and react against men who are hurting them. They can't be honest and say, "You are hurting me. You are sinning against me and God. You are hurting yourself. You are being selfish and self-centered. Stop it! Stop it now! Get out of my house and out of my face until you repent from your wicked ways..." or any other of a number of normal, healthy, angry, human responses to blatant wickedness.

No, he doesn't allow a woman to do that. If she does that, she is going against God's plan of joyful submission. Instead, she is to tell him how sweet it would be if she could enjoy his leadership.

Is it sweet for women to enjoy the leadership of men?
Piper doesn't know. He's never lived it. He can't attest to it.
All he knows is how sweet it is for men to have submissive little wives who are trained on how NOT to be honest and open about their own pain and how NOT to confront blatant sin in a man who is abusing them.

I'm sure this is a very sweet deal for men.
But they should not make the mistake thinking that if something is sweet for them, this automatically makes it sweet for women. It doesn't work that way. No matter how much Piper wants it to work that way, it simply doesn't.

Let me tell you one thing that, as a woman, I have found to be sweet. It is sweet for women to have the freedom to be human and have healthy human responses to gross sin and abuse. What is sweet to women is having the freedom to be honest about their pain and how bitter things really are. Then once a woman has the chance to deal with her bitterness and with what is causing the bitterness rather than have to lie about it, bury it, and worst of all, call it sweet, she can sweep away male definitions of sweetness and male expectations and turn to God Who offers true sweetness.

Sorry Piper. You have no authority to define sweet for me or any other woman.
But my God is intimately acquainted with me. And as Jesus, He has experienced the oppression of men and has even died at their hands. He has known my bitterness and more. And He knows what true sweetness is and how to make my bitter waters sweet.
He has the authority in this, Piper. Not you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Loving Respect or Kowtowing

My regulars are already aware of the thread over at Suzanne's Bookshelf and have commented on it. That thread has shot up to over a hundred comments.
But those who visit here less frequently, I wanted to make you aware of it.

I have been aware of Suzanne for several years, even longer than Charis/Gem who is also in my blog roll. She's a studier of Greek and Hebrew and cares about honesty in translations.

Somewhere in the middle of the comments I bring up this clip from Piper who is not Patriarchal or Quiverfull, as far as I can tell. But he still teaches version of wifely submission that many of us find distrubing. Yet even with the video evidence plainly displayed, people who are otherwise reasonable get funny and defensive when really they should just say, "Piper is wrong here."

One commentor is convinced that Piper models a good way for a wife to lovingly respect and submit to her husband when her husband pressures her into gross sin. He calls it a confrontation. But in my book it falls terribly short of confrontation.

Edited to add: Thanks to Hannah from over at Emotional Abuse and Your Faith for the link to video of Piper. She's another old friend on my blog roll.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cheese Balls and Stuck Cars

My daughter's car is still stuck in the snow. Even with help from her brother and a guy friend.

My son managed to get his car out, without help.

They used sand under my daughter's tires to try to get some traction.

My son used a frozen lump of sand that my daughter and her friend rejected. He also threw some stale cheese balls left over from Christmas under the wheels. He got his car out.

Now the joke around our house is that cheese balls are good for getting cars unstuck from deep snow.

So around here, cheese balls are the Windex of getting cars out of the snow.
You know, Windex, like in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".
Well, if you haven't seen that movie, here's the opening scene for your enjoyment.

(The part about Windex shows up around marker point 4:45)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting Snowed In

Anybody else getting snowed in?

Work and school got out early yesterday. No work or school today for me and the kids. I said a little prayer for my husband because he went on into work anyway.

I had mixed emotions about him going.
He was grumpy, so I really didn't want him around. On the other hand, I sure didn't want him to end up in a ditch or worse.
Thus the prayer. But my prayers are far more honest than they used to be.
I used to buy into the, 'never tear your husband down' crap to the point that I couldn't even be honest with God when my husband acted like a jerk.
Now I'm very honest. I told God, after my husband left for work that, yeah he was being a grumpy gus and I didn't want to be snowed in the same house as him. But even so, I don't want anything bad to happen to him. I prayed that angels would guide his pick-up and keep him safe on the road.

Honesty is so much better than walking on eggshells, thinking that if you say anything the least bit negative, then you expose yourself to all sorts of judgement or your 'covering' is hindered/removed or you bring curses on yourself or whatever other 'religious' things men threaten women with in order to protect their fragile egos.

My husband is much better prayed for than he used to be because I can be blunt, straight forward, and painfully honest, if I have to.