Thursday, August 15, 2013


Actually it's a very long road trip to go see my 97 year old grandmother whom I haven't seen in over three years.

So I will be off-line for a week or two.

If you leave a comment on an old post, I will approve it as soon as I can if I can ever get on-line while I'm on the road. If not, It will have to wait until I get back. I don't have a fancy, schmancy android or smart phone or any kind of internet on my bare bones cell phone.

See you all on the other side (of my road trip).


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Respect and Abuse

Are you getting tired of this topic yet?

Sorry, I've kind of wanted to address it for some time. It took a trigger to open the flood gates. And that trigger was Wendy's post. Sorry Wendy. It was nothing personal.

I want to address something she said. Don't worry. It's not pick on Wendy day here at ye ol' bitter to sweet. Just in case anyone missed this before. I have great respect for Wendy and her views. She's a gracious blogger who does a great job dealing with difficult issues rather than sidestepping them.

We do disagree on in a few areas. But the disagreement is not huge and if we lived closer and had time, I'd fellowship with her in a heartbeat, picking her brain concerning other topics.

Wendy gave a gracious answer to commentor, David, who misunderstood some of the other comments from concerned women. I'm glad David commented on her blog rather than mine and Wendy handled it well.

But I'd like to explore one thing that she said to him. She said:

"(#1)  I think that abuse and respect are totally different paradigms. (#2) I don't believe that respect as God speaks of it contributes to abuse. (#3) But I do believe abuse happens and wives need to know when enough is enough and they need to remove themselves from a situation. (#4) That's a topic that I've dealt with in other posts."

I've divided it into four sentences and wish do address three of them.

Sentence # 2 first. I absolutely agree with this sentence on both theological and theoretical levels. When God speaks of respect, it transcends all the muck and mire of the human condition and it does not abuse. It liberates and heals.

Sentence # 3 next. I also agree with this theologically and theoretically. God never calls us to submit to abuse, no matter how you look at the Bible, whether your conclusions fall on the Complementarian or Egalitarian side. Wives need to know when enough is enough and to get the heck out of Dodge when things get dicey.

It is really only Sentence #1 that I have a bit of trouble with. Yes, when dealing with perfectly formed people, not tainted by sin, poor cultural expectations, generational things etc, these two things can be separated when the non-tainted person encounters abuse.

I learned the term "Pervasive Depravity" from Wendy who was exploring the Calvinist TULIP doctrine. She and I both have trouble with the term "Total Depravity". All I can think of is serial killers and pedophiles when you bring up Total Depravity. But Pervasive Depravity? I'm on board with that. I don't have trouble seeing how 'The Fall" has tainted every area of our existences. It has touched and harmed everything including and especially our relationships as illustrated in Genesis.

So to me, Respect and Abuse being totally different paradigms is only possible if the position that is to be respected is completely untouched by pervasively depraved human hands. More specifically, as long as we are the ones doing the respecting and not expecting respect (as in leadership or elevated position of authority) then that attitude of respect can be separated out from abuse somehow. But the minute it is the human who is supposed to be respected...  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. I Corinthian 10:12

I'm not saying that we are not to have leaders or positions of esteem. I'm not even saying that men can't be leaders in their own homes. It's that those in positions of esteem should have the right attitude, not expecting respect beyond human dignity respect. It's more than all right for them to have self-respect and not accept abuse against them as normal. But leaders should take care about how much respect they think they should have. Husbands who believe that they are the head of their household should have this attitude love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (Taken from Ephesians 5:25)
He needs the attitude of giving himself up, not the attitude of, "I am the boss of you therefore respect me as such."

What books like "Love and Respect" teach men to do is to expect respect from the little woman, a respect beyond human decency respect and beyond that preferring him over other men respect that comes with marriage. It teaches men to think more highly of themselves than they ought (Romans 12:3). It teaches them to think that they should get better, more important respect than their wives and teaches them that if the little women doesn't give him the respect that is his due (often defined by the depravity of his own mind rather than by anything taught by Jesus or Paul), she is not meeting his need for respect and then judged and condemned for her 'sin'.

Again we all need respect. In marriages, besides basic human dignity respect there is a special respect due to our spouses that prefers our own spouse over all others because we have become one flesh. But leadership respect?

I put forth that for true healthy relationships, even in a Complementarian one, that the husband should not expect extra special respect beyond human dignity and spouse related things. I feel that it is far more healthy for the relationship, overall. The wife is certainly free to give the husband leadership respect if that's how they believe. But he should take care that he doesn't let it go to his head and he uses it wisely. The minute he expects it, feels entitled to it, craves it... abuse is not far behind and in fact perhaps already mixed in. In this case I believe that respect and abuse are not totally different paradigms because of pervasive depravity. It is touched by our fallen selves. You simply cannot separate it out.

I actually have a couple more things to say to back this up but I believe that I'll put them in a separate post since this has gotten long.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Love & Respect: Biblical? Freebie

Found a link.
Actually it was left on Wendy's blog.
But I feel the need to pass it on at no extra cost to you all.

Love & Respect: Biblical?

This is a thorough review.
Click on it when you have time.
If you don't have much time, you could still click on it and just read the comments.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Is Respect a 'Foreign' Concept?

Actually, I would have liked the title of this one to be:

"Is Respect Really a 'Foreign' Concept to Christian Wives? I Think Not."

But that was rather long.

Yeah, I know. It looks like "Pick on David" month over at ye old bitter to sweet blog. I don't mean to pick on him. I'm just kind of incredulous as to some of the things he said over on Wendy's blog the other day.

I actually have sympathy for David. I totally get that his wife was disrespectful from the things he says. I don't like seeing wives being disrespectful to their husbands. I don't like eye rolling and argumentativeness in women and when they engage in it toward their husbands in it makes the wives look bad, if their husbands aren't being unreasonable. If the husbands are being unreasonable, then the wife doesn't look so bad, but I still don't like the way it looks. She could get so much further with him if she used a bit of graciousness.

But some of the things David says makes me realize that he is unaware of what is going on in some/many sectors of Christianity.

Here are some quotes from David over at Wendy's.

In his first comment:
" The negative comments here indicate how foreign that concept is to wives. This is not entirely their fault; the church has dropped the ball on this since forever. Until I heard a Focus on the Family interview with Eggerichs after his book came out, I had never heard any pastor or teacher make that point  "


"this post, and Eggerichs' book, are spot-on for the overwhelming majority of husbands." [talking about how many husbands are not getting the respect they deserve in their own homes.]

In a follow up comment:
"My point was that Eggerichs' discussion of unconditional respect for husbands is (generally) a foreign concept to Christian wives (and Christian husbands too), while everyone is quite familiar with the concept of unconditional love for wives, even though they are both taught in the same passage. We can quibble about whether the negative comments here are further proof of that disparity, but it doesn't change my point. Introducing the specter of abuse in response to my comment seems misplaced."

It is only misplaced to David because he is clueless of how abusive things have gotten for some women in their Christian circles and their marriages. I understand that David is hurt and hurting over what his wife has done to him. But to decide, from his personal experience and comparing notes with a few guys who don't feel respected, that respect is a 'foreign' concept to all Christian wives and that "the church has dropped the ball on this since forever" if very short-sighted and, okay, let's just come out and say it... it's prejudiced.

Sorry, David, for being so blunt. But I'm only doing it because I don't like it when abused/disrespected men and abused/unloved wives talk past each other and bicker over minor details rather than seeing the big picture and working out real solutions.

So anyway, I have said all of this to set up a link I'm going to give. There is a book out called "Created to be His Helpmeet" (CTBHHM) written by a certain Debi Pearl that has earned the nick name "Created to be His Doormat" and for good reason. Debi goes into great detail on how a woman is supposed to reverence her husband (not respect, but reverence, she's King James only). I'm not going to link her book. You can find it easily since it is such a big seller among Christian wives in evangelical circles (those gals you accuse viewing the concept of respect as 'foreign'). An huge seller.

No, I'm not going to link Debi's book. But I am going to link a post by a girl raised in a Patriarchal home turned atheist who is critiquing Debi's book. Oh, is it slanderous that I'm linking an atheist? Well, I guess anyone can judge me this way if they want to. But they need to understand that this atheist turned atheist, in part, due to the over-emphasis of respect/reverence/worship of the man, the husband, the father in the patriarchal group she came from.

Still judging her for being atheist and me for linking one on my blog? All I can plead is this:

Luke 16:8 And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.

Libby Anne, the gal I'm linking, can see this abuse for what it is. She lived it. She escaped it. Now she's critiquing it and showing it for what it is, abuse. Wolf attitudes dressed in Sheep's clothing.

 CTBHHM: In Which a Woman Dares to Assert Agency

Some of the angry comments under her post are from others who have seen or experienced this ridiculous over emphasis on respect, er I mean reverence and fear.

The only reason I have linked this is to debunk David's comment concerning respect being a 'foreign' concept among Christian wives. This simply isn't true. There are a lot of people coming out of the patriarchy and heavy complementarian movements. Some are rejecting God and the Bible altogether. Others still want to find answers in God and the Bible. We do those searching for answers a disservice when we give them pat, worn-out, clichéd answers like the book "Love and Respect" and claim that teachings on respect are "foreign".

Friday, August 2, 2013

Love and Respect Talking Past Each Other.

There is a dynamic that I often see at work in conversations like the one that went on over at Wendy's blog.

It goes something like this:

Christian women who have dealt with abusive men try to work out how to make sense of their lives and Scripture during or after a bad marriage. This is made difficult especially since the Bible, in particular Ephesians 5, was often used in the abuse. They still love God and want to hold onto Him. But the bad marriage situation made it difficult and even gave some of these women PTSD at any mention of Ephesians 5 due to it being use as a bludgeoning tool against them.

Then the other side of this is:

Christian men who have been chewed up and spit out by abusive wives--

[Cut and pasted from David's comment over at Wendy's concerning his ex-wife]--(argumentativeness, eye-rolling, contrariness, sexual refusal and oft-expressed contempt, obligated to earn her respect [an impossible task], and she was entitled to express her displeasure any time she disagreed )--

Anyway, men like David are looking for solutions in the Scriptures. They find and latch onto 'respect' as some sort of panacea that would have saved their marriage if the little woman would have just wised up and did what she was supposed to. The problem is that there is usually a whole lot more wrong with the situation than just a lack of respect.  But somewhere along the way, chewed up and spit out men like David are convinced that all women behave like their ex-wives and feel that it is their mission to let those women know that if they'd just do what they are supposed to, what is commanded in scripture, then there would a whole lot less divorcing going on.

Quote from David: "The negative comments here indicate how foreign that concept [of respect] is to wives"

Is it a foreign concept, David, or has it been so over used and abused to the neglect of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and the Second Greatest Commandment, "love you neighbor (including your wife) as yourself"?

It may have been David's experience that his wife was completely disrespect filled. Heck, from the way he describes her, she could have had a brain or personality disorder or was just plain psycho. But this doesn't entitle him to make such sweeping generalizations about all women and determine that it would all be solved if they would just embrace this 'foreign' concept call respect.

Rather than stating that marriages would be saved if women would just 'respect' or men would just 'love', perhaps it would be better to say:

Hey, guess what? There are abusive people out there, both male and female. And guess what else? There are abused spouses out there trying to make sense of their situation and wanting to use the Bible to do so. So let's not make sweeping generalizations and hand out shallow clichés and just expect everything to be hunky dory because life is far more complicated than that reducing everything down to a couple words that you can find in Ephesians 5.

And, in addition. I'd like to make a book recommendation. The book I am going to suggest runs circles around Eggrichs book. It has more depth in one chapter than Eggrich's whole book, DVD set, and every seminar he ever held.

The book is... wait for it...:

Boundaries in Marriage

I recommend it because it doesn't blame men or women. It calls out bad behavior, no matter which gender engages in it and gives spouses practical ways of dealing with that behavior.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Trouble with "Respect"

I really like that title. It reminds me of two other titles. One title it reminds me of is a cute Hayley Mills movie called The Trouble with Angels. The other one I'm reminded of is a cute Star Trek episode called The Trouble with Tribbles. (how can a Star Trek Episode be cute, you may ask? well is you have ever seen it, you wouldn't ask.)

But as cute and fun as those two shows were, the trouble with 'respect' is neither cute nor fun. It's frustrating.

It's frustrating when men declare that 'women must respect their husbands' is a straight up command from God based on the needs of men to be respected when I know that the Greek word used in Ephesians that is translated 'respect' is the same word we get 'phobia' from.

I could go on but K. Martin put it so well in a comment under yesterday's post. I'm going to cut and paste her comment here so that people won't miss it.

"It can be difficult to understand Ep 5:33 and the "men need respect" issue from a modern and Western perspective. It's helpful to consider the Greek. The word used for respect in Ep 5:33 is phobeó (Strong's 5399). Synonyms listed for the word phobeo are fear, dread, reverence, am afraid, terrified. Wendy mentioned the word "reverence" in her blog post. However, most commentators totally omit the fear and dread part. The English word phobia was derived from the Greek phobeo. Paul was advising wives to have a certain amount of reverence AND fear for their husbands. Why would Paul say such a thing? The context is very important. In a patriarchal society, women (especially young girls) were forced to marry men that their fathers chose. I think we can all imagine the implications of an arranged marriage for a young girl in a patriarchal society. In ancient Rome, wife beating was legal. It was almost impossible for a woman to get a divorce or seek outside refuge because of ill treatment. We know from Ephesians that the idea of a husband loving his wife like Christ loved the church and died for her was a new, radical concept. In this climate, fear might be a wife's best defense under the circumstances causing her to tread lightly around a potentially abusive, unloving husband.

"With that being said, I believe that Ep 5:33 does infer something very telling about the nature of men, and it all points back to Ge 3:16. Wendy has done an excellent job of fleshing out the "your desire will be for your husband" on her blog. However, the "he will rule over you" is another issue commentators like to omit and remain silent about. The Hebrew word for rule is mashal (Strong's 4910). The definition means to have dominion, reign and master. In light of that I believe that men want to be feared (phobeo) because fear makes it a lot easier for them to dominate, master and reign over their wives. Albeit, the Hebrew word rule (mishal) is very different from the servant leadership that Jesus modeled in the NT, but that's another discussion.

"In the animal kingdom, "being feared" helps predators trap prey and achieve dominance and rank. On the flip side, "being afraid" helps prey be alert, flee and hide from potential predators and dangerous situations."

Mara here again. I really like her comment. I John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. This should cause one question whether or not Paul is really saying that all wives for all time should fear their husbands at the same time he's telling husbands to love their wives. Making respect/fear a command for all time rather than a realizing that it is a particular instruction toward the Ephesian patriarchal structure has no merit.

And as K. Martin has said, men who are demanding respect and being told it is their need, one that their wives should fill unconditionally, this plays into and sanctifies their fallen nature to want to lord over their wives. Anything that plays into any human being's fallen nature, male of female... It's not cute. It's ugly as sin.