“I don’t agree with the title” was the response to my card I handed out which promoted my book Dethroning Male Headship.
This past weekend I was at Christian writer’s meeting. It was the first one I had attended and immediately I sensed that I was in the wrong camp. Before I left the meeting, I became a prize-winning author. I drew the lucky number to win the booby-prize which you can read about here.
“They should complement each other,” the woman went on to say. Of course that meant she was complementarian, not egalitarian, but her next words blew me away and I am afraid I was not quick enough on my response.
“Statistics show that when women take children to church, the children will most likely not keep attending, but when husbands take children to church, they will continue going to church. And children from broken homes will not go to church.”
Now where on earth does that fit into gender equality?
I wish I had been quick with my answer, but alas, I wasn’t.
I wish I had said that Egalitarian fathers take their kids to church, too.
I wish I had said that women seeking equality are not responsible for broken homes any more than women who are not seeking equality are responsible for keeping homes together.
I wish I had said that egalitarian women want husbands and fathers to their kids, but they just don’t want to be one of the kids.
I didn’t say those things because I didn’t think of them fast enough. In this struggle for equality we have to be prepared with a good answer to anything that is thrown our way which is presented as the reason that equality is not God’s plan.
Will you prepare yourself with the Word and with knowledge of gender equality so you can speak confidently about gender equality? Will you be quick in your response to those who seek to convince you that when men and women complement each other, it is always the woman who has to do the complementing?
Don’t you hate it when you can’t think of the right response in that moment. The good news is, you have those responses now the next time someone tells you that particular boneheaded cliche.
Also, and this doesn’t always work, but sometimes you can prolong the conversation by asking questions. It doesn’t take as long to think of things like, “Where do you get that information? I’m not saying it’s not true, but I would like the source because what you claim really doesn’t mean much without a source to back it up. Do you mind emailing it to me?” And in that frame of time you might think of something else to say right there because you’ve gotten pass the initial shock of her words and you’ve got your brain juices going, Then, if/when she does email you the info, you will be ready with your response full of credible sources that will expose her shallow potshot for what it is.
Yeah, I hate cliched, mindless, boneheaded answers that completely miss the point in order to shoot you and all women down for no good reason. It’s a nasty habit in the church, this misogyny.
I think she actually was telling me that I am a feminist and that this feminism is the reason families break up and women think they can live without men and raise their kids without a father.
Well, I am a feminist. I am woman and I believe in women’s equality. But I do not think that women can live without men or that they should. My husband and I will celebrate our 52 wedding anniversary this fall. I hope she will be able to say that someday about her life.
Thanks for the support!
> Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2013 13:00:50 +0000 > To: email@example.com >
The first question I would have asked:
1. What’s the source of your data? If you list a stat, you should be able to cite the source where that data can be fact checked. She surely shouldn’t expect you (or anyone) to just take her word for it.
2. Paul said this to Timothy. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also (2 Tim 1:5).”
Notice, Paul didn’t say the faith that first lived in your dad and granddad. He specifically referenced the mother and grandmother – matriarchs. Acts 16:1 states that Timothy’s mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. This implies that Timothy’s father was not a believer and was probably more versed in Greek mythology and religion. Timothy learned faith by watching the day-by-day testimony and witness of his mother and grandmother. This verse has encouraged many Christian mothers (single and/or married to unbelieving, rebellious husbands). The woman who quoted the UNREFERENCED stat might truly believe what she quoted. However, I am incredibly encouraged by the example set by Lois and Eunice and the resulting impact that had on Timothy. Paul believed that it was noteworthy too.
Welcome! You make a very good point about a mother and grandmother teaching a child. This is also an excellent case for female spiritual leadership in the home. It really surprises me when complementarians try to tell us that the Bible teaches male leadership and not female leadership. So many people who know the Bible and who should know better, accept that men only are leaders when the scriptures tell us a completely different story. Thank you for pointing this out.
Great point Kim! You have shown that Scripture has proved her statistics to be incorrect.
It doesn’t matter even if the statistics are correct. All the statistics show is that fathers may have a greater influence on their children in the area of church-going than mothers do. There may be a variety of reasons for this, not least of which is the relative weight our still-patriarchal society gives to the actions of men vs. women. But even if in some area fathers have more or different influence on their children, all this shows is that kids need fathers as well as mothers. There is nothing in this information that remotely implies that a husband should be in authority over his wife!
I think that she, like many others, have bought into the idea that women have “taken over the wheel” (quoting Courageous Resolutions for men) from men and that women need to give the wheel back to men and all will be well in Christiandom and familydom.
Of course it is just another reason to blame women and excuse men. I wonder why men want to be excused from bad behavior, and why women want to be blamed for it.
> Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 16:37:15 +0000 > To: firstname.lastname@example.org >
Where does it say that women have taken over the wheel in Courageous Resolutions for men? I’d like to see that. And having access to such a quote might help in my behind the scenes influencing people away from the movie Courageous.
Read the story about the almost car wreck in the beginning chapter. Then on Page 13 it says “the women are stressed out and want their men to wake up and grab the wheel.” Or something like that. I can’t copy and paste it or I would.
> Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 18:16:47 +0000 > To: email@example.com >
Okay, it doesn’t say it like I thought you said. They are very polite and say that women “(by default and necessity) are carrying the weight of the family on their shoulders in order to survive,” and that these women long “for men in their lives to wake up, rescue them, and grab the wheel again.”
First of all, I give the writers “A”s for their ability in persuasive writing.
But I give them “F”s for knowing what the heck women want. Sure, women are exhausted if men are not engaged in the family and have left all the responsibility on the shoulders of women. But this doesn’t mean women want to be ruled and led about like children. Women are looking for partners and companions, not lords and masters, no matter how ‘loving’ the lord and master is. We already have One Lord. We don’t need two.
I also give these men “F”s for knowing what scripture says.
They say, also on page 13, “God’s Word commands husbands and fathers to lovingly lead their homes.” Yet, nowhere in scripture does God ever command men to rule their wives. Nowhere.
Thanks for the link. It wasn’t what I was looking for. But it has still ticked me off, reading that little bit.
I think it says somewhere wrest the wheel from them. but I would have to read all that crap to find it. I also read the women’s resolution, but I don’t think it is in there.
> Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 23:39:04 +0000 > To: firstname.lastname@example.org >
It actually says “Wrest” somewhere. You aren’t thinking of this place where it says that women long for men to “grab” the wheel?
Wrest is an unusual word. That is why I think I remember it being used here.
> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 00:00:49 +0000 > To: email@example.com >
That was a question. I menat to say, ‘It actually says “Wrest” somewhere?’
Seriously. If it says that, men have made this into a contest, a “king of the hill” game which is something Jesus specifically spoke against.
I did a search for the word inside the book and came up with zero. So I guess I made that up! (LOL)
> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 00:07:15 +0000 > To: firstname.lastname@example.org >
Grab is a pretty strong word, too. And deciding that all women long for men to grab the wheel assumes a great deal about women. And deciding that God has given men the ‘command’ to lead their families also assumes a great deal about God.
And this belief that women giving men back the wheel is the answer to everything that ails the world is pretty thick in some groups.