Just a typical Saturday morning
Lists. Thoughts while painting. Is it the fumes?

I know this should probably go on the Catholic blog but whatever. PEEVED.

I expect I'll regret posting this too, but...

Between the six rather unfortunate wives of King Henry VIII, the questions put to Michele Bachmann about being submissive to her husband, and the rechent "advice" posts from Christian author Donald Miller about creating "a good love story" I'm feeling a little despairing. 

(1. I finished my King Henry book. GAH. 2. I know next to nothing about Michele Bachmann, but I do watch the news. 3. For the backstory on this one, here are the original [deleted] posts, courtesy of my smartypants husband: For the girls. For the guys. Rachel Held Evans' response. And I did like Elizabeth Esther's response as well.)

I think the advice posts have been thoroughly hacked over by comment sections everywhere and I don't really have anything new to add. For me it's a mixture of "well, I sort of see your point" and "your point is lost in your language and obvious prejudices and therefore I decline to take you seriously". 

I guess I'm sort of hearkening back to my college days, when I was a bit of a know nothing feminist, but also heavily involved in a non-denominational Christian fellowship that had Ideas and Book Suggestions about dating. I should point out that I knew nothing about dating myself, being an introverted, timid, suspicious-of-intentions sort of person. I shouldn't have been wary of dating and marriage, as I honestly only had wonderful examples at home, but the NDCF put a different spin on things and suddenly I had to figure out terms like "submission" and OH I DID NOT LIKE THEM. 

College Me would have written nineteen papers on the abuses and cruelty suffered by those poor doomed queens. College Me would have narrowed her angry, suspicious eyes at Michele Bachmann and muttered, "Yeah, spit it out lady, what DOES it mean to be submissive?" And I'm pretty sure College Me would have been wildly freaked out by Donald Miller's thoughts on women. 

Ugh I'm sitting here thinking that the last thing the internet needs is another post on this topic, least of all written by yours truly, but I just feel YUCKY. I feel yucky about the whole thing. I am so blessed to have a husband - he actually read these posts FIRST - who wanted to talk about it and talked about it in that measured, fair, peaceful way of his. Whereas, you know, I'm bouncing off the walls. 

I HAVE a love story, but Phillip didn't write it. While it's true that I spent a lot of time sitting around waiting to see if he'd ever pay attention to me, what got me to the place where I was ready to date and marry him honestly didn't have much to do with HIM. It was God and me, working through all my misconceptions and fears and dumb ideas. I was fundamentally changed, refined, reworked, and that story is mine

When it became our love story, that's when I slowly learned what submission truly means. And I don't blame Michele Bachmann for not truly attempting to explain the idea in a one minute televised response - it took me years. And while I'm not sure what I think about her as a politician, I know for damn sure what she means when she says it's about respect, and in a voice that implies that maybe everyone ELSE is getting it wrong. 

And wow, to read a post where the strongest bit of advice to women is to keep themselves chaste so a future husband won't struggle over the woman he loves being "damaged goods"... that's still a thing? That's still A THING? Like I said, it's not the message so much as the language and tone and the prejudices those things imply. I just finished a giant tome on six women who had utterly no control over their own lives, who could be and were killed for being "damaged goods". While the men, of course, were EXPECTED to go around damaging. HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO! I just feel like... women are more than that! Where is the grace in this advice? Where is the forgiveness? Where is the part that says You Are More Than Your Mistakes. Where is the part that says God Does Not See You In That Light.

For the record, I really loved what Secret Vatican Spy had to say on that topic

I'm just... frustrated. I feel like I'M okay. I'm older now. I figured a few things out. I married a guy worthy of everything I can give him, and have nothing to fear. Dare I say I want to submit to him? I have never ever heard him freely toss the word 'slut' around. Ever. He has never made me feel like I wasn't holy enough. He's never lorded his "leadership" over me, he's never made a huge decision without me. He wants more for our daughter than a nice Christian husband. 

But I think there are women who are not okay, and I'm steamed on their behalf. There are girls who haven't started thinking about this stuff yet. And this is what we're going to tell them?

Well. I still have no idea what I was trying to say and I'm just as firmly convinced that the internet did not need MY thoughts on this, but 1) cheaper than therapy 2) easier on Phillip than making him rehash the entire thing with me all over again and 3) I have to go buy more paint AND figure out how to set up the ladder by myself and I'd rather, you know, sit here and vent. THE END. 

Comments

Manda

I'm sorry but I must throw my two cents in:
You know that passage in the Bible that everyone LOVES to quote when it serves them about how wives should submit to their husbands? Right after that it commands that husbands must DIE for their wives. It's in Ephesians 5 ... the bit about "love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Eph 5:25) ... um dudes? Christ DIED for the church. A slow and PAINFUL death. The paragraph addressed to husbands is MUCH longer and has way more instructions, but every time it suits someone they love to quote "wives submit to your husbands" and leave the rest out. Honestly? I think I got the easy end of the deal (because before I submit? My husband gets an earful and an opportunity to CHANGE HIS MIND so that his wife is happy with what she's "submitting" to. AND on a side note, do you also wonder if "submit" really means that you stick with the same man for life once you marry him? How freaking hard is that if he's a good man that you're crazy about?!).

Elizabeth

Ha ha ha, I had no idea that any of this was even going on. Fascinating food for thought though. I enjoyed your take on it.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

This is topic that's totally alien to me, but I find it FASCINATING, especially your take on it. In fact, I would be interested to read MORE of what you think.

Man, for a person who went to church nearly every Sunday for 22 years AND taught Sunday School for four years, not a whole lot stuck.

Maggie

Very interesting topic, and I'm glad you wrote on this topic. I was a women's studies minor in college as well as involved in Christian activities with my church youth group. I was so confused where MY beliefs fit. I knew that I was a feminist who believed women deserve equality and respect (and how many women DON'T receive either in our world). I also knew I had a deep love and respect for God and the Bible. I have still not 100% figured out how my feminist and Christian beliefs fit together, but they are a little more tempered by my experiences, and I'm not so extreme either way anymore. One book I recommend by Carol Lee Flinders: At the Root of this Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. It has been a while since I read it, but at least these ideas are being addressed. Thanks for the great post!

lindsay

Hadn't heard about this uproar so I'm glad you wrote about it. I read a blog that runs along the lines of what Don Miller attempted (bravo Phillip and his webcache skills too) and some days it seems vile and terrible, and other days the guy makes some points I agree with, in my own circumstances. I hadn't heard of the Vatican Spy but I'll tell you when people talk about pride it stops me dead everytime, as that happens to be an issue I struggle with. As for submitting, without hoping to succeed at explaining properly, I'm kind of on board with it, and not even from a religious perspective. I just think my marriage is easier to function in when we both trust that the sacrifices we make for each other are worth it and decisions are being made in good faith, as opposed to getting all up in each others faces about 50-50 this and, feminist that. Great post ma'am.

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