Sometimes I genuinely find it hard to say I’m a Christian. 

I just read an article about wives submitting to their husbands.  One of the key points it made was that wives should submit to their husbands even if the decision the husband makes is against God’s will.  Women, it seems, have no self-responsibility, no brains, and no spiritual discernment.  I don’t understand it.  Did God make me just as a robot, capable of popping out babies, being a ‘homemaker’ and smiling sweetly as the clever men talk over my head?  

I work with young women many of whom are in relationships which have the ‘smell’ of domestic violence; controlling boyfriends, physical violence even sexual abuse.  In chatting and supporting women like this I constantly reiterate the need for them to think about themselves, to see themselves as more than someone’s girlfriend, see themselves as someone who isn’t just in the business of pleasing someone else.  And then I read this ‘Christian’ stuff.  Advocate all responsibility, blindly follow your partner, disconnect any relationship you have with God.  Is this something I can believe?  Is this what it means to be a Christian?

Nick (my husband) and I have never felt we needed to play the ‘headship’ game.  We have never, as yet, had to make a decision that we felt so differently about that he had to ‘lead me’.  We have been married for 8 years and together 13 years.  We have had a baby (and one on the way), moved house, taken numerous jobs, suffered loss, been on holiday, had fights but we have talked constantly, negotiated all the time, been pissed off, but always forgiven and had fun being with each other along the way.  Surely relationships are about balance and mutuality.  I submit to him as he submits to me as we submit to God. 

I know people argue that submission is not about value and worth but it is.  I know people argue it isn’t about power and corruption, but it is; how can it not be we’re human?  To blindly believe because someone has a penis he is more capable of decision making seems ludicrous…..unless brain power, mental prowress and sensibility are contained within a man’s member (I don’t think so).  To blindly believe that a man can be the ‘head’ without abusing power at points seems naive.  We have all been tainted by the fall, but reconciliation is part of salvation.  I believe a marriage that tries to establish reconciliation of gender and relationships is vital.  Maybe I am just a little off kilter….maybe I should shut up and submit!


4 Replies to “Submission…..”

  1. I guess it’s not that surprising that I agree with your thoughts Ruth! But I’m glad you’re out here sharing them, and I’m glad you’re sharing them within the church too.

    I have come across some pretty disappointing gender inequality in my time but I find the argument that a woman can be so unable to understand God that her views on what God is saying can be trampled over by a husband very sad. Surely, from a Christian point of view if a woman genuinely believes God has asked something/said something it is right for her to stand by God rather than defer to an erroneous (in her view) man? Shocking.

    It is sad that some people of faith, rather than offering a refuge from oppression are encouraging us to sustain a culture which devalues women.

  2. So far, Patrik and I have not had a run-in with this stupid scripture that is so often shoved down women’s throats. Why? Because it’s not an issue for us. We’re equals.

    The word Christian has such crap things connected to it nowdays… I just recently re-read The Shack by William P. Young. Here’s an excerpt where a guy named Mack is talking to Jesus:
    “Remember, the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda.”

    Is that what it means to be a Christian?” It sounded kind of stupid as Mack said it, but it was how he was trying to sum everything up in his mind.

    Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian.”

    The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected and he couldn’t keep himself from grinning. “No, I suppose you aren’t.”

    They arrived at the door of the workshop. Again Jesus stopped. “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslim, Democrats, Republicans, and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some were bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraquis, Jews and Palistinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.”

    Does that mean,” asked Mack, “that all roads will lead to you?”

    Not at all,” smiled Jesus as he reached for the door handle to the shop. “Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.”
    — William P. Young (The Shack)
    I just have to look at Jesus, know who he has made me, and revel in that, not taking on and refusing to worry about what others put on me as far as submission and the male hierarchy goes. That’s not Jesus. It’s man-made foolishness.

    Love you Ruth! Love your thoughts. And congratulations! I didn’t know you had another baby on the way!! Please say hi to Nick for me too. xxxx

  3. I do not believe that’s what God wants for women, o for anyone regardless what a magazine may say. Just Stop reading that magazine. Some people publish rubbish you know?
    By the way, big congratulations on the new baby!! Great news!
    Take care and keep the blog going, always thought provoking.

  4. Amen!! Brilliant blog – and one that I am in total agreement with. I cringe when the topic of submission is brought up in most Christian circles – and from outside these circles too. It is, in my humble opinion, such a misunderstood and overemphasised aspect of being a Christian woman. Some people really need to stop, think it through in a different light, and not just go along with what was taught years ago! We do have brains, we do have our own relationship with God, and we are capable of using them both for good! I have been married now for 18 years and have never felt as though I had to submit (in the way often spoken of). We talk things through, listen to each other, and work it out. It works.

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