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10 Responses

  1. Caryn LeMur says:

    Hmmmm… I am not against ‘complementarianism’, I suppose. If it is consensual, and if it works for the couple, why not?

    It seems not much different to me, in essence, than a modern Master/Slave relationship in the alternative marriages, or Dominant/Submissive relationship within other alternative marriages.

    And… my own parents (now passed) seemed to truly like that the ‘man’ made the big decisions, but the ‘wife’ belonged in the kitchen, and was there to help the man. [They were not believers, by the way, until late in life.]

    I think when a believer says ‘Complementarianism’ is Biblically prescriptive’ (that is, complementarianism should be an enforceable rule, or ideal goal, for all mankind), then we have failed to see all the exceptions within the diversity of human relationships.

  2. Brigitte says:

    I wonder how “love” can mean polyamory and polygamy, and serial monogamy, etc. but it can’t mean “a woman ‘helps’ a man”. As love were not essentially about “helping”.

  3. Caryn: Yes, this is not to say I don’t have roles, or Lisa. It’s when it is prescriptive and theologically enforced.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: I think we are agreed – love can be within all those roles.

  5. Caryn LeMur says:

    David:

    According to the following link (quoting a book), “94% of Pastors feel under pressure to have a perfect family”.

    You mentioned the theological enforcement of Complementarianism within the church institution.

    I would add that IF the Complementarianism is part of the definition of a Biblical ‘perfect family’, then it is a contributing factor to the destruction of pastors…. and their spouses.

    http://www.pastorburnout.com/pastor-burnout-statistics.html

  6. Interesting theory Caryn. I wonder if there are any studies around this.

  7. Caryn LeMur says:

    David: such studies are unknown to me.

    I briefly searched the Internet, and could not find any good studies… or even some bad ones, that tried to follow up on the definition of ‘perfect family’ as used by Christian pastors.

  8. Caryn LeMur says:

    Back to the cartoon: I think it shows the male fantasy of Complementarianism – that is, that the necessity of male spiritual authority will lead to a fantastic marriage.

    The reality that I experienced and observed is that the wives (in Christian families) learn how to become passive aggressive. Not because they are ‘evil’… but because they want and need to have some more authority, power, and safety over their lives, their careers, and their family.

    So, the Comp. husband listens to the wife’s ideas, and makes a good and wonderful decision. And the Comp. wife implements the good decision… but somehow… the decision keeps falling apart and failing.

    The decision falls apart because the wife wanted something else… and her implementation naturally falls short over time.

    So, the Comp. wife appears (on the surface and with her language) to be ‘obedient to her husband’, and ‘lives in submission’. She goes to church with him and “really” tries to get more involved, just like he instructed. And she is glad he is an elder, gosh, what wife would not be?

    Yet, his instructions about the children are slightly changed, every day. She avoids certain people at the church in order to keep from getting more involved. And she is sick, or too busy at her job (or making dinner) to join her elder/husband on his visits to the ‘flock’.

    The reality that Complementarianism way too often leads to a cycle of passive-aggressive behavior by the subordinate, with a frustrated leader wondering what the hell is going wrong, complete with a language that has two meanings… well, this is what bothers me deeply about the Comp. interpretation of the scriptures.

    The other extreme – Egalitarian – wherein there is equality in home and church – seems to me to allow much more ‘talking it out’ between the husband and the wife.

    Egalitarian families may not give the same fantasy for the man, but a team is built between the husband and wife, with one language that has no hidden (or double) meanings.

  9. I saw a tweet yesterday where it said “Lead her… emotionally, spiritually, physically.” Quite a reaction to that.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I follow and comment at Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board, and other spiritual abuse blogs.

    “Complementarianism” = MALE SUPREMACIST.

    Caryn:
    “The reality that I experienced and observed is that the wives (in Christian families) learn how to become passive aggressive. Not because they are ‘evil’… but because they want and need to have some more authority, power, and safety over their lives, their careers, and their family.”

    In such an environment, the only way for women to wield power is indirectly, though manipulating their men. (I have often wondered how many Comp preachers screaming WOMAN, SUBMIT! are actually getting P-whipped at home by She Who Must Be Obeyed (In Secret) and is taking it out on anything without a Y chromosome.

    What results is woman-as-manipulator; you could not pick a better environment to turn women into Sweet Smiling Sociopaths. And watching this dynamic in action breeds a deep distrust of women, making third-party men watching this even more determined to keep their boots on Widdle Wifey’s neck for self-protection. Her or Me in eternal Power Struggle.

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