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Are Christian Feminists Hurting Their Cause?

I’ve confessed to being in no-man’s land in the Complementarianism / Egalitarianism debate.  While I think it’s pretty clear Scripturally that Men and Women were designed to complement each other and that, in that union, men were called and equipped to lovingly lead, I also believe there’s far too much evidence (both Scriptural and sociological), that women are entirely capable of leading men and teaching men, exercising equal authority, and pretty much occupying any office or role that a man could. That said, the longer I remain here and watch the debate escalate, the more I’ve found myself inching to one side.

The current “Christian feminist” movement is doing more to push me towards Complementarianism than just about anything.

It’s not because their arguments are weaker. Frankly, they have some great arguments. It’s not because their message doesn’t resonate culturally and biblically. I think it very much does.

It’s because of how they come off.

I realize this is completely subjective and anecdotal. But give me a chance to show you what I mean.

Several months ago, Emily Wierenga wrote what I considered a thoughtful post at Prodigal Magazine entitled The lost art of servanthood (a letter to my feminist sisters). Emily’s point — at least the point I got —  was that in their fight for “equality,” Christian woman might be losing “the art of servanthood.”

I fear for us, sisters.

I fear we’ve become too angry to serve, to be opened up to a larger purpose.

I fear we’ve lost the art of servanthood.

Emily concluded,

…When we stop being afraid of what men can do to us, or angry about what they have done, and start serving the God whose image they are made in, then men will start filling our church pews again.

And our husbands will rise up to their full potential to be spiritual leaders, to be prophets and priests of integrity and Pentecost, to be speakers into lives and providers of families and protectors of daughters and mentors of sons.

I celebrate us, sisters.

Not because of our gender.

But because of one man, and what He did for us.

Her tone was gracious and, I think, her point was relevant. However, the comments exploded (and are now at over 500). Some took exception to the examples Emily used, mainly of a Lebanese friend who remained in an abusive situation and won her husband to Christ, as well as Emily’s reference in the comment section that “Men are called on to submit to Jesus Christ, and women are called to submit to their husbands.” The notion that men would “rise up to their full potential” as their wife served was also lambasted.

But the tone of the comments hardly seemed commensurate to the tone of the article.

For instance, Alise suggested that Emily’s article “glorified abuse”:

“Pieces like this that glorify abuse are part of what have kept someone near to me in an abusive marriage for nearly 13 years.”

Diana called the post “downright irresponsible,” while Danielle cautioned Emily to be “excruciatingly careful about not using stories as a ways to preach an agenda or knock a different agenda (i.e. feminism) down.” Laurel intoned, “What a horrible message to send into our society.” Rose wondered if Emily was “capable of having a conversation that is in any way based in reality and not self-destructive hatred of women.”

Stephanie sniped, “This reads like The Onion,” While Angela scolded, “Shame on you Emily. Take a punch in the name of Jesus is some major twisting of scripture.” Bethany suggested the devil got the best of Emily: “I think the enemy used that amazing story to confuse you about what is and isn’t servitude.”

Then there was Elizabeth who openly wondered,

“Emily, are you being abused right now? I’m serious. Are you attending an abusive church? Because there is something going on here that is NOT just about defending a ‘biblical, Scriptural’ view of servanthood. And I have no idea WHAT is going on but SOMETHING is happening to you that is NOT OK. …your pieces have become increasingly worrisome to me. I have seen this pattern before where abused women start defending abusive behavior. I just want you to know we love you. You are not alone. Whatever it is that you are experiencing right now, you are not alone. There is help. We love you.”

Elizabeth later apologized, while Claire defended the emotional tone of the conversation this way:

“I really don’t get why people keep saying that these comments are ’emotional’…as if that was a bad thing. An unemotional or dismissive response to stories of abuse is a sign of an unempathetic psychopath in my opinion.”

But by then, the bandwagon was tottering from the weight of indignation and acerbic rhetoric.

  • “unempathetic psychopath”
  • “shame on you”
  • “glorified abuse”
  • “downright irresponsible”
  • “What a horrible message”
  • “self-destructive hatred of women”
  • “are you being abused right now?”

Frankly, Emily Wierenga’s “feminist sisters” were in attack mode. Which is ironic when they are so often the ones to appeal to… civil dialog.

Whether right or wrong, I felt sorry for Emily. She hung in there, appeared gracious in answering the challenges. But she was being unnecessarily piled on. Don’t get me wrong — some of the objectors had reasonable points. They just got steam-rolled by the snark and self-righteous indignation of supporters. The spirit of Emily’s post did not deserve the reception it received. Sure, there are things worth debating and disagreeing with in her piece. But scolding her? Claiming she’s glorifying abuse? Wondering if she’s actually in an abusive situation? Sorry. Her post had been hijacked by a movement seeking traction. From my perspective, they are losing ground with feeding frenzies like that.

I realize this is completely anecdotal. Subjective. Deciding what is Scriptural can’t be left to responses on one blog post or one’s experience with the representatives of any given position. Just because a Christian feminist is rude — or a Calvinist, Universalist,  Atheist, whoever! — does not mean their position is wrong. Bad manners and blog misconduct don’t invalidate someone’s position. Nor does grace and diplomacy validate one’s position.

Nevertheless, the comments and reactions on Emily’s post have caused me to ask whether or not Christian feminists are actually doing more to hurt, rather than help, their cause.

* * *

UPDATE: July 15, 2013 — Since this post continues to receive traffic and generated so much feedback, I thought it would be appropriate to link to the blog posts and discussions it has generated.


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{ 540 comments… add one }
  • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 3:19 PM

    I’m sorry I don’t have time to read all the comments before writing this, but…

    Taking a punch in the name of Jesus is not a twisting of Scripture at all. It’s exactly what Scripture teaches.

    1 Peter 20 & 21 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

    To this we have been called. To respond in love–to endure unjust beatings.

    • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 3:27 PM

      I hope to God you are being sarcastic.

      • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 3:28 PM

        And Mike, for the sake of argument, that was me tempering my response and not flying off the handle. Because wow.

      • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 3:31 PM

        Do you think God was kidding when he said that we are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps and endure being beaten when we’ve done nothing wrong?

        • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 3:36 PM

          I do NOT think Christ’s command to love your wife as He loved the church constitutes taking a beating.

          I am triggered-out. I can’t believe I’m reading this.

          • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 3:41 PM

            Husbands are not supposed to beat their wives. They are sinning if they do beat them.

            People sinned against Jesus when they beat him, too.

            I would never tell a man it was OK for him to beat a woman. I have, however, told many people that we are to endure abuse at the hands of sinful people for the sake of bring glory to God’s name.

            • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 3:46 PM

              Oh my -Sally – what a terrible viewpoint.

              You are enabling sin by encouraging women to stay in abusive situations.

              Please rethink what you are saying.

              • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 9:31 PM

                Ummm…I really didn’t have time to read the original post that Mike referred to and I didn’t read any comments before I commented. So I must have missed what you all are talking about. I was responding to just one line–the line about how taking a punch in the name of Jesus is a major twisting of Scripture.

                That’s not twisting Scripture at all. That’s exactly what scripture calls us to do. Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, give the cloak as well as the shirt, return blessing for cursing.

                When missionaries go into dangerous places to show God’s love and forgiveness and they die, they are beng Christ-like. When a wife submits to her husband, though he sins against her, she is being Christ-like.

                Did Jesus enable sin by bowing to Pilate’s authority? Do I enable sin if I turn the other cheek when someone strikes me on one cheek?

                Jesus said that Pilate’s authority came from heaven. Jesus was obeying God the Father when he allowed Pilate to put him to death. That doesn’t make him guilty of enabling sin.

                • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 9:48 PM

                  I think you need to get up to speed on this conversation before making such smug assertions.

                  I know you probably think you’re being wise and insightful and dropping some spiritual truth.

                  What comes across is callow, heartless prooftexting.

                  I’d encourage you to try bringing glory to God by not shaming and abusing the people in this thread who are trying to combat the damage done by abusers who twist scripture to justify their cruelty.

                  Try to at least one time not be callous and cruel yourself.

                  • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 10:05 PM

                    I have no idea why you think my post was smug. I wonder if any opinion I ever post that is at odds with yours, Katherine, will be heard by you to be full of hate and bigotry.

                    I agree that it’s not wise to enter a conversation that has been going on without reading everything. That’s why I tried to make it clear that I hadn’t read the comments and I was only responding to one line. I simply didn’t have time to read it all, but I did want to respond to that one line. I felt that it was worth taking the time to interact with that one errant statement. What marks Christians as Christians is there love for others–their willingness to be wronged and to forgive seventy times seven.

                    I’m sorry that I sounded smug to you. I honestly wasn’t being smug. Neither was I being cruel or callous.

                • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 9:49 PM

                  I think you need to get up to speed on this conversation before making such smug assertions.

                  I know you probably think you’re being wise and insightful and dropping some spiritual truth.

                  What comes across is callow, heartless prooftexting.

                  I’d encourage you to try bringing glory to God by not shaming and abusing the people in this thread who are trying to combat the damage done by abusers who twist scripture to justify their cruelty.

                  • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 9:53 PM

                    I apologize for the personal attack at the end of my first response. I’ve asked Mike to delete it, but if he doesn’t then I need to have the apology on record.

            • Sara July 8, 2013, 8:28 PM

              OMG NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

        • Jessica Thomas July 8, 2013, 4:06 PM

          Turn the other cheek justifies spousal abuse? :O

          • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 9:44 PM

            Nothing justifies spousal abuse. I am not sure how anything I’ve said can sound like a justification of spousal abuse. Men and women who abuse their spouses, their children, their neighbors, or any animal, are sinning and there is never a justification for sin.

            • Sara July 8, 2013, 9:54 PM

              You are calling women more Christ-like for staying with their abusers. That’s a glorification of abuse, honey. Hate to break it to you.

              • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 10:13 PM

                Do you think Jesus glorified abuse when he allowed men to sin against him? Do you think God glorifies abuse when he tell us to follow in Christ’s footsteps and suffer as Christ suffered?

                When he tells us to take up our crosses…what does that mean?

                • Sara July 8, 2013, 10:22 PM

                  Women are not Jesus. Women should not have to sacrifice themselves at the hands of an abuser. That is not what Jesus would want for them. Stop peddling this bullshit right now, please.

            • Jessica Thomas July 8, 2013, 11:40 PM

              I think the conversation was going in a certain direction, and because you were unaware of that direction your comments were ill-timed, hence the backlash.

    • Kat Heckenbach July 8, 2013, 4:10 PM

      Sally, in that passage he is talking to *slaves*. Slavery had not been abolished in their time, and slaves would get beaten no matter what. He was saying that if they were to get beaten, then better to get beaten for doing the right thing than doing the wrong thing. Slavery has been abolished now here. And it needs to be abolished everywhere.

      Women are not their husbands’ slaves. This passage has NOTHING to do with marriage.

      That’s all I can say now. Other than that, I’m speechless.

      • Jessica Thomas July 8, 2013, 4:33 PM

        I was rendered speechless too, but I thought I’d come back to point out that Jesus endured suffering under the hands of sinners so that through Him the world might be saved. He paid the price. We don’t have to continue paying it. Attempting to pay it ourselves doesn’t bring glory to Christ. In fact, it might do the opposite.

        • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 10:15 PM

          No one who takes up his cross today is attempting to pay for his sins. We simply take up our crosses and forgive those who abuse us, because we want to show Christ’s love to the world.

          • Jessica Thomas July 8, 2013, 11:47 PM

            Christ would have likely tried to make the abuser aware of his sin and if accomplished, warned the person to sin no more. The idea of Christ staying in any kind of abusive relationship seems laughable. He would have dusted off his shoes. He was not tied emotionally to any of those who unfairly persecuted him, which is an important distinction I think.

            • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 12:03 AM

              I should clarify, he was not “made one flesh” with an abuser.

      • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 9:52 PM

        1 peter 3:1&2

        Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.


        Like what?

        Like this in 1 peter 2:21-23

        For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

        That bit above is the only thing that Peter can be referring to when he says, “likewise” in chapter 2 verse 1. I don’t see how there can be any other reading of the passage.

        I’m not trying to be argumentative and I’m happy to consider other opinions. What do you think the “likewise” is referring to?

        • Kat Heckenbach July 9, 2013, 9:00 AM

          “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

          When wives are abused, they should not abuse in return. When they are threatened, they should remember God is there for them, God loves them.

          I don’t see anything in there that says she has to stay in the marriage. She needs to not abuse her husband because he abused her, and she needs to keep her trust in God. She does not need to keep going back for more beatings.

          Where does it say in the Bible that Jesus hung around and got repeated beatings from the same people? He moved from place to place, as did his disciples. They did take beatings, but they also escaped when they could. How about when Peter was in prison and the angel came and rescued him? Did he say, “No, I’m supposed to stay here. I was arrested, and I’m supposed to be happy about it.”? No, he ran.

          Women have angels sent to them to get them out of abusive relationships. Friends and family, police officers, shelters. It is their opportunity to run. They should run.

          No, you never said you condone a man beating his wife. But you clearly state that if he is beating her, it’s her Christian duty to stay and endure it. I disagree with every fiber of my being.

    • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 5:45 PM

      Sally, you’re being ridiculous.

    • Mike Duran July 8, 2013, 7:00 PM

      Sally, I really think you need to clarify this.

      • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 9:57 PM

        I’m not sure what you want me to clarify. What was unclear? I’m really not trying to be obtuse. I just can’t see what was unclear in what I said. I guess I’ve read 1 Peter for so long, thinking that it was very clear in what it meant, so I’m a little surprised that this isn’t a widely held belief in the church–this belief that is good to suffer cheerfully when someone is sinning against you. I had not idea that this passage–1 Peter 2:13 through 3:7–had another interpretation.

        • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 10:03 PM

          The problem is, we’ve been discussing how this woman is justifying and glorifying abuse under the guise of wifely submission.

          I, personally, told stories of spiritual abuse to that end.

          Then you drop in with “Take a punch for Jesus, it’s totally Scriptural!”

          In this case, you should have read the post, read the linked articles, read the comments and then stated your view. Dropping in with “take a punch for Jesus” is NOT helpful at all. I tried to give you the benefit of doubt, but instead of realizing you made an error in judgment, you replied that you stand on your opinion that we should all accept abuse in the name of Jesus and be ok with it.

          So the clarification should come in that you were negligent of the *important* details of the conversation.

          • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 10:27 PM

            If I had read the posts, I may have phrased my answer differently, but I doubt that my position would change. I do think it is scriptural to take the punch and trust yourself to Him who judges rightly. I simply do not believe that God will allow anyone to kill me one day sooner than I’m supposed to die.

            This belief of mine allows me to pick up hitchhikers when others tell me I’m being a fool. It allowed me to love my husband and submit to him without fear (he never hit me–but he was sinner, as all men are). It’s allowed me to travel to dangerous places without fear. I simply believe that God is my protector and I don’t have to protect myself. I believe I am as safe with him as a two-year-old child is safe with his dad. The dad of the toddler doesn’t expect him to protect himself. And I don’t think God expects me to protect myself. I think he is my protector. And anyone who wants to punch me will have to get through God first.

            I understand that my view is unpopular and I have never told another woman that she should stay in the same house with a man who is beating her or the children. But, I believe that women should be allowed to make that decision and they should be honored as martyrs if they die that way, instead of being shamed for their beliefs. I believe a Christian woman who stays with an unsaved man and lets him beat her to death is every bit as much of a martyr as Jim Elliot and Nate Saint and the others were. It is her decision to stay and show the love of Christ to that man and she shouldn’t be called names for doing it.

            • Sara July 8, 2013, 10:35 PM

              So, hypothetically speaking, if your husband started to beat you on a regular basis you would just let him? You wouldn’t try to seek help in any way?

            • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 10:44 PM

              Well when you’re a child, huddled in a corner, taking your father’s fists, and when you’re a teenager staring down his crossbow listening to him tell you how he brought you into the world, so he can take you out of it, and while you’re watching the cops handcuff him and then when you’re at the mental ward watching him tie sheets together and point at you screaming, “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT YOU FUCKING BITCH!!” and when you walk into family counseling and the doctor tells him to start and he points at you and says, “It’s that bitch, she’s the reason!” Then you tend to believe there is no God.

              And when you’re a child and your grandfather tells you to come near his chair so he can stick his fingers down your pants and you look over and your grandmother is watching and not stopping things then you tend to believe God has no use for you. You can’t go home because your father will bloody your face and you can’t go to your grandma’s because your grandpa will defile you and God doesn’t care because he’s watching all this happen.

              And when you get married and your husband leaves you and the pastor tells you that you can never marry again because if you do you’ll be an adulteress and God doesn’t hear the prayers of a adulteress, you tend to believe God doesn’t want you anywhere near him.

              So “take a punch for Jesus” makes me sick. I’ve taken punches and penetrations for Jesus ad nasuem. I didn’t want to be there and I don’t like people insinuating that it’s the RIGHT thing to do. It’s SICK and disgusting an people need to get a clue.

              • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 12:18 AM

                This is horrific, Michelle. I’m sorry you had to endure it. May you always find rest in the arms of your true Father.

                • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 10:22 AM

                  Thank you, Jessica. Luckily God has proven time and time again that even though I went through horrible things if I offer the pain as sacrifice He will use it to bring peace to my life.

            • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 10:48 PM

              First off, no one–no one–is calling these women names. Unless by that you mean “Sandy, Jill, Brenda, Jennifer, Karen….”
              and all the other names of the women I’ve seen live through this.

              You say that “[you] have never told” a woman sh should stay in the house with her abuser.

              But I think you just did. Repeatedly.

              When Peter tells us to suffer for Christ’s glory, I believe he’s talking about suffering for the cause of Christ. You know…if you’re being fed to lions, so be it. Amen and Amen. If you don’t get a promotion at work because you are a Christian, don’t sue for discrimination.

              But God is not saying that when you are being beaten you cannot get out or should not get out. God is no petty tyrant who requires human sacrifice for the appeasement of His ego.

              God also tells us to submit to the government. That means that since spousal abuse is illegal in this country you pack
              Up the kids and the dog and leave, calling the police from a neighbour’s.

              If you decide not to, that’s your right. But it is NOT your spiritual responsibility.

    • Spherical Time July 11, 2013, 2:15 PM

      To be clear, these posts don’t sound smug, they sound insane.

      The original article holds up submission to abuse as a righteous act, which caused the negative responses and horrified tone in the comments.

      This and the subsequent SA comments seem calculated to most inflame the greatest number of contributors in this thread.

  • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 3:41 PM

    Hi Mike

    I am saddened by your take on this for a couple of reasons:

    1. Men like us have a great privilege in a world that is weighted to favour us because we are male. We cannot change our maleness but we can acknowledge that for us there is not a gender battle that will be experience by our sisters. In light of this we can never know the frustration of being dismissed and belittled purely because of our gender. In light of of this, if a sister, wife, mother, or daughter expresses herself in way that seems to us overemphasise, energetic, passionate, or at times angry, I think we need to be well rounded enough to recognise that we are not placed in such a position because of our gender – and cut them a little slack by listening to what they are saying: perhaps you might learn something.

    2. It seems to irrelevant to say that the tone of the argument is pushing you towards a complementarian view. Choose by the weight of the argument and not by your own sensitivity.

    Hope that helps


    • Sergius Martin-George July 8, 2013, 4:30 PM

      “In light of this we can never know the frustration of being dismissed and belittled purely because of our gender.”

      Really? Have you watched any American television recently?

      • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 5:52 PM

        Ummm, I’m all for fighting misandry. But being the subject of foolery on _Everybody Loves Raymond_ is a bit different from being unable to own property, unable to vote, unable to be educated in law, science, medicine, unable to be hired in a job to feed your family….

        • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 5:57 PM

          …unable to decide whether or not a large, uncomfortable, medical instrument is shoved up your vagina while water is being sprayed into it…

          (transvaginal ultrasound) I’ve had one and they’re NOT nice and barring medical emergency, I’d never choose to have one again.

        • Sergius Martin-George July 8, 2013, 5:58 PM

          Point well taken. And I’m impressed just to see the word misandry.

        • D.M. Dutcher July 8, 2013, 6:08 PM

          Which would matter if he was talking about that, as opposed to never knowing the frustration of being belittled by their gender.

          • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 9:04 PM

            You truly don’t get it.

            • D.M. Dutcher July 8, 2013, 9:57 PM

              Uh, I get it. But if we’re playing “How much history sucks,” I’d like to bring up an entire generation of men dying in the Great War in the trenches from machine guns and mustard gas while women shamed men with this:


              Or how male privilege for many men meant getting black lung mining coal, or things like press gangs, or a lot of the ways it sucked for our gender too. Apart from a tiny minority, everyone suffered. Men just did so differently.

      • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:57 PM

        Sergius – I really hope you are not suggesting that years of systemic patriarchy is the same as TV comedy stereotypes.

        • Sergius Martin-George July 9, 2013, 5:57 AM


          I am certainly not. And I really hope you are not suggesting that men “can never know the frustration of being dismissed and belittled purely because of our gender.” But it seems you already have.

          Those stereotypes don’t come out of thin air, by the way.

          Speaking of broadcasting, Alan, I enjoyed hearing you on the Unbelievable radio programme a few months back.

          • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 2:30 PM

            Ha – thank you Sergius (totally disarmed now)

            I do agree that stories told on TV are limiting of both sexes. I just feel that the weight of the argument is that men in general, and certain men in particular, hold the seats of power.

    • Mike Duran July 8, 2013, 8:01 PM

      Al, I pastored a church for eleven years. I’ve been married to the same woman for 33 years. We’ve raised four children — two girls, two boys. we now have four grandchildren. My wife works outside the house. As do my daughters, the oldest who also raises two children, the younger who paid her own way through college and has a business of her own. They are not robots. Or slaves. Your insinuation that maybe if I just shut up, “perhaps [I] might learn something,” smacks of the same condescending tone I’m rebutting here.

      • Sara July 8, 2013, 8:58 PM

        Sounds like the women in your life have benefited a LOT from the feminist movement. Whether they or you identify as feminists or not, you are all still reaping the rewards of what all those angry man-hating feminists have fought for.

        • Mike Duran July 8, 2013, 9:01 PM

          Sara, call me dense but, I’m beginning to think you’re a troll.

          • Sara July 8, 2013, 9:09 PM

            Nope. Just not understanding why you’re so defensive against feminists, when your entire family seems to be benefiting from everything that they’ve done and everything that they stand for. I guess none of that matters though because they aren’t always “nice” in a way that you deem acceptable.

            • Mike Duran July 9, 2013, 5:47 AM

              Sara, this comment is an example of why I think you’re a troll here.

              “I guess none of that matters though because they aren’t always “nice” in a way that you deem acceptable.”

              Frankly, you don’t know what I believe about feminism and are going out of your way to whitewash me. I believe feminism has done great good in this country and the world. how much me or my daughters have benefited from it is another story.

              • Sara July 9, 2013, 7:02 AM

                But your posts says you’re considering moving towards complementarianism (which is about as anti-feminist as you can get)because feminists aren’t nice?

                “The current “Christian feminist” movement is doing more to push me towards Complementarianism than just about anything.” – you

                Like, that’s literally what you wrote. I don’t get why I’m a troll for pointing that out.

                • R.J. Anderson July 10, 2013, 7:29 AM

                  It is possible to hold to a distorted and unbiblical type of complimentarianism that denies the worth and the rights of women and treats them as spiritually inferior to men. I completely understand why you would oppose such a view, and I do as well.

                  But the view that men and women have different roles and responsibilities in the church and in the home, and are not interchangeable or identical, is not “as anti-feminist as you can get” by any means. I choose to remain silent and cover my head in the meetings of the church not because anyone makes me (they don’t) or because my elders command it (they don’t) or because I am blindly following the example of the women around me (I don’t) or because I believe I am incapable or unfit to teach others about God (I definitely do, in other contexts). I do it because I believe it is an important symbol of submission to God’s will and headship in His church and a testimony to the angels who are observing, and I do it because I believe I am following the example of Christ Himself who was equal to the Father in every way yet chose to willingly submit to His Headship. I am, in that sense, a quite conservative complimentarian.

                  But I am also a feminist, in that I believe women are of equal worth with men in every sense, and that we live in a society with a grossly distorted view of masculinity and femininity, manhood and womanhood which hurts both men and women and needs to be torn down. I applaud and celebrate those who stand up and oppose the double standards which hurt women and accord undue privilege to men. A complimentarian view and a feminist view are not inevitably opposed to one another, and I think it’s unfair to claim that they are.

                  That being said, you’re certainly not a troll from what I’ve seen of your comments on this thread, and I agree that it’s not fair you should be called one.

                  • Sara July 10, 2013, 12:47 PM

                    Thank you for your perspective, R.J. I appreciate it. And I do agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I still have a hard time reconciling complimentarianism and feminism. Mainly because the only things that I have heard prominent complimentarian leaders say about feminism are so hateful. Mark Driscoll and other famous leaders of the movement always make disparaging comments about feminism and have basically implied, if not directly said, that it leads to Satanism and ungodliness. Their view seems to be that feminism and Christianity are completely incompatible because feminism causes women to deny their “God-ordained” roles of housewives and mothers. I certainly do not think that that’s what ALL people who hold a complimentarian view of gender believe, but the movement, as a whole, seems very hostile towards feminism and the idea of female empowerment and independence in general.

                    That said, you seem like someone who knows how to think for herself and has a good head on your shoulders and I would never shame you or judge you for wearing a head-covering or living out submission as you see fit. Just as long as it’s your choice and nobody is forcing you to do it, that’s totally fine. 🙂

                    • R.J. Anderson July 10, 2013, 3:59 PM

                      Ugh, Driscoll. I’d never heard of him until a few months ago, and from what I’ve read of his views, I am not interested in anything that man has to say. I used the term “complementarian” merely as shorthand, not because I have any sympathy for or interest in it as a “movement” with human leaders. I’m really only interested in what the Bible has to say on the subject of men and women’s roles in the church and in relationship to God, which seems to be a lot less (and often a lot different) from what people like Driscoll — and even some other commentators for whom I have more respect — say it is.

                      On a cheerier note, have you noticed that fabulous bit in Chronicles where it mentions Ephraim’s daughter Sheerah, the woman who just casually built, oh, three whole cities? (Upper and Lower Beth Horon and Uzzen Sheerah, for the record.) If that isn’t “working outside the home” I’m not sure what is. 🙂

          • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:08 PM

            I don’t want to seem overtly aggressive here Mike but a little saddened that you play the troll card with Sara. She seems to be making valid, if a little uncomfortable, points.

            Please don’t block the very people who have a stake in this subject by calling them trolls.

            I am sure your intention wasn’t to do this but it is frustrating whenever I see those bloggers who raise the hard subjects getting touchy when people offer criticism.

            Thanks Al

          • katz July 11, 2013, 2:59 PM

            Calling someone a troll? Gosh, that’s not very civil of you!

      • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 10:59 PM

        Mike – I am not suggesting that you ‘shut up’ – just that men should at least try to understand why women might feel more passionate about this subject tarn men would. If you are in the group being generally oppressed (and oppression often comes in subtle and hidden ways) then you are more likely to be emotionally connected to the subject.

        Your stance here seems to be ‘I am undecided on the egalitarian/complementarian issue but these agressive sounding women are pushing me towards the complementarian position’.

        I am saying that your (and my) privilege as those not subject to the oppression of overwhelming patriarchy should acknowledge this before we judge those who are more vocal in their opposition.

        Does that help a bit more – Al

  • John K. Patterson July 8, 2013, 4:14 PM

    I’m afraid the reaction to this is, like the post about the anti-evangelical hate machine, proving Mike’s argument. Or at the very least making it seem more credible. Accusations of him “reinforcing patriarchy” or “endorsing abuse” are flung at him with as much rhetorical force as his dissenters can muster, Dianna E. Anderson EXPLODES on Twitter over how this post apparently traumatized her, and everyone’s still accusing Emily of endorsing abuse when her original blog post clearly delineated between abusive relationships and the willingness to submit to a fellow flawed human being.

    This is NOT a godly response or discussion. The ear-shredding cries against Emily and Mike are primarily based on fear — a petrifying terror of “what if a girl gets into abuse?” or “what if the Patriarchy marches like the Nazis across the globe and smashes everything we worked hard for.”

    Shame on the people who are doing this, and showing themselves unable to have a civil, mature disagreement. I don’t say “shame on you” for what you stand for, but for how you treat anyone who doesn’t speak or behave like you want them to. Such behavior is despicable, selfish, unwise, and immature, and I am sick of putting up with it.

    • Jessica Thomas July 8, 2013, 4:36 PM

      This thread seems pretty civil to me, actually. Righteous anger is warranted in some cases.

    • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 5:55 PM

      I think I’m being quite civil in response to being called an oxymoron, having my faith called into question, have my marriage slagged on and being told I should accept beatings from my husband in Jesus’ name.

      • John K. Patterson July 8, 2013, 6:04 PM

        Not talking to you, Katherine. Not at all. Sorry if I gave the impression.

        I don’t take kindly to Anderson in particular gossiping maliciously (I thought that was a sin?) about me. Or Mike. With a hundred nodding heads reinforcing her. They do know people can read this junk on Twitter, right?

        I try hard to not gossip about others, but to raise legitimate complaints. I suppose it’s time to quit feeding the real troll, the one who’s so unwilling to let anything go and forgets to treat her fellow human beings with anything resembling respect.

        • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 8:57 PM

          I’m ignorant about this. Is there an ongoing, broader history between some of you?

          Also, thanks for the apologetic clarification.

        • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:14 PM

          John – I appreciate your need to defend Mike but this thread seems like a positive discussion. Please don’t tar us all with the same brush. There is a genuine issue here that needs to be spoken about with some passion.

          My issue is that Mike’s position (however well meaning) does not allow for the kind of righteous anger that Jessica mentions above.


    • katz July 11, 2013, 3:04 PM

      What if someone actually is endorsing abuse or reinforcing patriarchy? Are we not allowed to say so? Or are we allowed to say so, but only if we first contact a nice man like you to confirm that we are correct?

      Or are you saying that these things don’t exist?

  • John K. Patterson July 8, 2013, 4:28 PM

    Regarding the fear aspect, something I forgot to add: I am not saying there is no reason for the fear. Often there IS. But I thought we all believed in a God who is able to help each of us, one by one, overcome or grow through that fear and/or the reason behind it. But the feminists ordering air strikes on this post act as if they are on their own, that God won’t bother to help them or hurt/abused women around the world, and thus their hardcore “with us or against us” subspecies of feminism is all the more urgent when they talk and act as if God Himself isn’t strong enough to help those who have a reason to fear.

    You don’t have to fight this battle on your own. He’s there, and right now He asks for unity and prayer.

  • Kim July 8, 2013, 4:36 PM

    I think instead of twisting God’s word to equate an agenda, I think folks need to research and STUDY God’s word instead of just saying this is what it means because I just know!! I saw this and that so I know!! When Paul wrote Col 3:18/Eph 5:21, wives submit to your husbands, many of today’s women define submit as giving in to tyrant who abuses and hurts them, when that’s not what the Greek word means at all. Here’s what Paul meant: This word was a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5293&t=KJV (Paul uses this SAME word each time he says submit in all his books.) Not sure where that calls for abuse. Plus these people who argue against Paul’s instructions seem to forget that God made it harder for men. MEN are to give up their desires, needs, wants as Christ gave up his desires, needs and wants for US. Why do some women seem to forget that one?? One can either run around screaming like a chicken with their head cut off whenever someone mentions servanthood or they can do things God’s way and be blessed.

    And it also seems people who argue against servanthood seem to forget, 1) Jesus commanded us to do it and 2) God protects and uplifts those who try to do things His way. (I’ve noticed those who are against servanthood seem to have an almost panic attack over it. Ladies, please remember, when you do things God’s way instead of your way, God has your back Every. Time. I think it’s more of a lack of knowledge of God and who He is that creates that panic against submissiveness. I’m not fearful of submissiveness and servanthood b/c I know who’s got my back. 😉 )

    It’s as if they have kicked God off the throne, telling Him He’s not doing it right and they must ‘help’ Him. AND I will tell you from the Lord if you do things God’s way, He’ll take take of the rest. (Want to question that? Google the name Smith Wigglesworth.) You don’t need to kick God off the throne and demand women do things YOUR way b/c you’ve seen a bad scene in servanthood/ submissiveness. He know’s what He is doing. (I also find it amusing over the ‘what about the man who commands his wife to do such and such?? Do you honestly think she came into the marriage not knowing this stuff? And did you also know that some women CHOOSE to wear long hair, no makeup, wear long dresses to honor God?? And did you also know God honors that as holy?? Because she is doing it to honor God and that’s all that matters. Not every man is going to demand his wife do something stupid b/c he’s abusive. Most Christian husbands are doing the best they can and they want to do things God’s way as does the wife.) The factor that anti-serving people seem to forget is God. He is the factor that determines which way the person will fall. When a woman submits to her husband, God blesses her above and beyond anything she could imagine. If she flips off God and does things her way, God lets her, but won’t bless and help her. He watches her back, He convicts those who abuse her. He holds her in His hands. (I for one have done both. I’ve been submissive to abusive bosses and seen them melt under God’s hand and give me unlimited favor. I’ve also fought against abusive bosses and seen only death in my life.) You have to a decision. Do things God’s way and be blessed or do things your way and find a spiritual death. It’s up to you. I will die doing things God’s way b/c I’ve learned God always has my back and will always protect me and lead me when I submit to HIM and do things His way. Christianity means Like Christ. It doesn’t mean do your own thing. It means you walk the way Jesus walked. If you don’t like that, then walk away from Jesus.

    • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 9:00 PM

      So you’re going to die doing things God’s way? Things like judging others, having lustful thoughts about other women’s husbands, mocking the deeply-held concerns of other Christians?

  • Dianna July 8, 2013, 5:06 PM

    What purpose could possibly be served by quoting us out of context, without linking back to the context of what we actually said? You didn’t even do the due diligence of making sure you spelled my name right before you quoted me without context. You also targeted only women in this discussion, suggesting that women have a different standard of nicety in a discussion, which is, in itself, sexist.

    If our feminist anger makes you want to walk away from feminism, then you really weren’t a feminist to begin with.

    • Mike Duran July 8, 2013, 8:16 PM

      Dianna, I apologize if I didn’t spell your name right. The opening line to your comment was “This is downright irresponsible.” The entire comment is HERE. I’m not sure the context would change your charge, would it? Also, I didn’t intentionally target women, but that was the bulk of the commenters on that post. And to be clear, I’m not a feminist and have never considered myself one. So it’s not something I am walking away from. I’m simply trying to grapple w/ the issue of male / female relationships from a biblical perspective.

    • Sara July 8, 2013, 8:32 PM

      He didn’t spell my name right either. Apparently that’s a big problem for him.

      • Johne Cook July 8, 2013, 9:26 PM

        If this was the place where you intended to prove you’re not a troll, you’re doing it wrong.

        • Sara July 8, 2013, 9:30 PM

          It’s not trolling to expect someone to spell your name right when it’s right in the screen in front of them.

          • Johne Cook July 8, 2013, 10:00 PM

            (The following is a proof-of-concept. This is only an example.)

            The first sentence was both fair and accurate. The second was the troll. Apparently that’s a big problem for you.

            (Sorry – that was an example. But you see what I did there, right? If you said everything you’ve said in this thread and edited out the last sentence of every post, people (and by ‘people,’ I mean ‘me’) would take you more seriously. The sarcastic digs are the troll. They not only come across as over-clever, they also indicate a mind only interested in leaving a smoking crater, a mind uninterested in ever reaching consensus. This is as good a definition of ‘troll’ as I can think of off-the-cuff. I’m learning about Christian Feminism in this thread from Jill and Michelle, Kat and Katherine. What you would like me to learn from Sara-without-the-H is up to you.)

            • Sara July 8, 2013, 10:04 PM

              Thanks for the lecture. Luckily for me I don’t really care what you think.

              • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 2:39 PM

                If you don’t care what Johne thinks you’re missing out on an opportunity to build a good relationship with a reasonable and caring person. I understand your disagreement and the reasons for them but I don’t think it’s fair to expect Johne to care what you think without showing him a similar courtesy.

                This is after all just my opinion though and I’m quite sure you may not care about that either. Nevertheless I’ve appreciated many of the points you’ve concisely raised thus far.

  • Brianne July 8, 2013, 5:34 PM

    I would just like to clarify that, for me, the first time I felt completely free and compelled to serve God was when I realize the level of love he has for me apart from cultural gender roles that have stunted and tore at my faith. Knowing that you can serve him in whatever way, shape, or form is definitely a genuine way for women to find, serve and love God. To suggest that we are turning away from serving is hurtful because realizing your freedom to serve in whatever method or gifts God has is fostering more of a servant heart than domestic cultural gender roles. The reason they probably are getting upset is because you are putting God in a box and saying he can only work through women in these specific Nuclear family ways essentially taking some of God’s power, mystery and love away from him and I do feel like that could upset him also. If God calls a women to go on her own to a different country and teach a whole village (men included) and lead them to Christ’s love, that’s all God cares about and that is the point, the Christ’s love being shared not your internalized interpretations that despite how much you fight it are culturally steeped in Leave it to Beaver sentiments that reflect a limited view of Christ’s love.

  • John K. Patterson July 8, 2013, 5:46 PM

    I have watched Mike get bullied, quoted out of context, unjustly accused of perpetuating oppression, and so forth. All the while his accusers hide behind their little Twitter “block buttons” to snipe and gossip some more, and in one case bring up an old argument against me that I thought was finished a year ago, so I can get sniped at when I try defending him. And they have the audacity to call their chosen enemies cowards/bullies/jerks/trolls…after everything they have done. Apparently today’s gladiatorial combat has even inspired some cartoon involving me being the obvious villain. Lesson learned: Next time you try telling bullies to examine their own words and check their own attitudes, you’re going to get burned.

    If this has proven anything, it’s the fact that bullies are horrifying. I can’t stand to see them get away with obvious slander, libel, and falsity. Doesn’t matter if they fight for a good cause — they’re still bullies. So I stand up against them, and apparently that’s enough to get made into worm-chow. In an online sense.

    Anyone got some sunshine and unicorns to go around?

    • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 5:54 PM

      If Mike didn’t expect heated exchanges, he could’ve left this post off of his roster. He knew very well what he was getting into.

      That said, I don’t agree with bullying. Some people are not capable of having a civil discussion and the internet of all places is one of the worst ways to try to have anything civil and ruly when a hot-topic is being discussed, especially conversations with loaded and charged words.

    • Brianne July 8, 2013, 6:39 PM

      Being able to serve Christ, as a woman, in whatever way he pleases is all the sunshine I need.

    • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:27 PM

      Please John – stop with the ‘Mike is getting bullied’ stuff.

      He chose to put up a contentious subject and reference a previous contentious blog.

      He must be aware he would get answers.

  • Tim George July 8, 2013, 5:56 PM

    129 comment after writing, “I predict you will get quite the response this one my friend” confirm to me what I knew before this thread began. Minds were made up before the supposed conversation started and 99% of those minds remain unchanged. Oh, and we also have agreeable and contrary blog posts perpetuating a continued display of mind with no intention of changing. Oh, and we have a bevy so snarky tweets and such vilifying Mike for having the audacity to confess to wavering on something. Heat is not the same thing as light.

    • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 6:02 PM

      So because a few people can’t discuss things rationally, that throws out the amazing discussions we’ve been having here? I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

      Mike was stirring the pot with this post and he knows it. Anyone who has read his blog knows he raises questions that spark debate.

      • Tim George July 8, 2013, 6:16 PM

        Oh, I know what Mike does and he does it with the best of them. My hat is off to him for that. I have just come to have serious questions about the value of these cyber chats in all forums. It is hard enough to reason together when looking into each other’s eyes much less through data packets on the net.

        • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 6:41 PM


          But on the other hand, without the internet, I would not know there was a functioning body of Christ anywhere in the world because I have been in abusive church after abusive church and have dealt with Christians who twist Scripture to unbelievable levels.

          So, for all of it’s downfalls, I have found a healthy, loving, right-with-Jesus community that I have *never* experienced in my life apart from online communities.

        • Jessica Thomas July 8, 2013, 6:50 PM

          “It is hard enough to reason together when looking into each other’s eyes much less through data packets on the net.”

          I agree, which is why I leave the egalitarian/complementarian debate alone. I don’t see the point. Seems like a waste of the precious time we could be spending reading the Bible, fellowshipping, honing our discernment skills. Or sleeping.

          • D.M. Dutcher July 8, 2013, 7:05 PM

            It’s kind of like Christian spec fic debating we do here. Everyone wants it to change, but it’s obvious it isn’t going to. But we debate anyways. I don’t think anyone really wants to face the fact that CBA publishers simply don’t care about it, and I don’t think a lot of Christians want to face the fact that Christianity is going to be egalitarian to the point of matriarchal, as women breach the last bastions of ministry. But, what can you do?

        • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 9:04 PM

          I’m largely with you in doubting the overall efficacy, which is why I participate less than I used to.

          Being called out by name in the comments and having what I believe to be the God-directed course in my life I felt I needed to state my opinion and experiences.

          I don’t plan on changing minds, nor do I plan to exercise vitriol.

          I want to inform others as to my POV and why I hold it. I figure that’s fair.

  • Alise July 8, 2013, 8:38 PM

    Since you seem to be really hung up on part of my comment and have mentioned it several times here in the comments, I’d like to offer people the opportunity to read the whole thing. http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/the-lost-art-of-servant-hood-a-letter-to-my-feminist-sisters/#comment-849552189

    I have not been abused, however someone very close to me has continued in an abusive marriage because of stories like what Emily shared regarding the Lebanese woman. When the entire piece is about servanthood and one example that is lifted up is that of an abuse victim, that is incredibly damaging. I am not at liberty to share the extent of the damage that this kind of language has done to this woman, but please know – I did not say those words lightly. If my tone was dramatic, that was the intention. If you find that off-putting, then we can discuss why I used those words and why you think they should be tempered.

    I do not, however, appreciate being called “shrill” because I feel strongly about the way that we address abuse. That is dismissive and is not a word that would be used if I was a man. There were men who ALSO responded strongly to Emily’s piece, however none of them were quoted in this piece or mentioned in the comments here. The problem seems less to be with Christian feminists and more with female Christian feminists. But unfortunately, because this piece is couched in terms of “tone,” any response comes across as continuing that “tone.” It makes discussion difficult, to be sure.

    • Sara July 8, 2013, 8:44 PM

      Fewer things in life are more frustrating than when a man calls a woman “shrill” for feeling strongly about something and daring to show it. Men never get called shrill when they stand up for what they believe in, even in the times when they do it loudly and/or obnoxiously. I guess then it’s just called “being a man.”

      • Johne Cook July 8, 2013, 9:48 PM

        Sarcastic digs in every comment aren’t helping your cause.

        • Sara July 8, 2013, 9:52 PM

          OMG, are you serious right now? It’s called pointing out hypocrisy and double standards and I don’t really care if you don’t think they are helping the cause or not. You were likely never on board with the cause to begin with.

        • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:36 PM

          Johne – they are making a very valuable point here.

          Shrill is never used against me – because I am a man. It s always used to suggest that women are over emotional in their response.

          I would say that your comments come off as equally sarcastic here – the point being that the style of argumentation s not as important as the sides being raised.

          All of us (women and men) have benefitted from the feminist movement whether we like it or not.

          There are some excellent challenges to Mike’s post in these comments – please don’t assume they are wrong because you disagree with them. Al

          • D.M. Dutcher July 10, 2013, 11:48 AM

            “mansplaining” is used against you. Talking or thinking with your…um, vulgar synonym for male reproductive organs can be used against you. A lot of feminists even assume you don’t have the right to comment on female issues due to being a man. Women dismiss men as much as men dismiss women; again, it’s in different ways.

    • Mike Duran July 8, 2013, 8:53 PM

      Alise, do you really think that post glorifies abuse? I don’t. As I said in this post, I believe Emily’s point was that “in their fight for ‘equality’” Christian woman might be losing ‘the art of servanthood.’” That’s a valid point, I think. I was a staff pastor for eleven years and have dealt w/ similarly awful, graphic abuse situations. In no way am I trying to be dismissive of or gloss over the wreckage of abuse. But by justifying comments like yours — glorifying abuse — aren’t you in danger of under-cutting your message? Unless you really believe that post glorifies abuse, which at that point, we’d probably just have to disagree.

      • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 9:14 PM

        I’ve seen this point addressed several places.

        My feeling us that the original post doesn’t necessarily “glorify” abuse. However it _does_ seem to excuse it by justifying it as having in one instance served a greater purpose.

        I think perhaps the author meant it to be a “take heart” kind of message to abused women–sort of a word picture of Romans 8:28.

        Unfortunately in the complex social dynamic of intimate partner abuse (and it’s not just men beating women…that’s a myth we need to let go) stories like the one the author used are NOT “it’s okay cause there’s a happy ending” for many recipients. It’s not Paul Harvey.

        God can and does use even the most awful things to God’s glory. That’s the magnificence of I AM.

        However that does NOT mean we should all be doing awful things and making awful things happen so that God looks extra awesome.

        In situations of intimate partner abuse one gets out, gets help, gets the abuser prosecuted. God can use the awfulness of the sbuser’s time in prison to invoke the change without an innocent woman losing her teeth.

      • Alise July 8, 2013, 9:43 PM

        Yes, I felt like the piece glorified abuse. By using an abusive situation as an example of servanthood, it elevated that into something holy rather than something heinous.

        Emily and I have spoken regarding that piece. She and I have traded guest posts since it was published. I know that Emily had no intention of writing something that cast abuse favorably, but that does not negate the words that were posted. I used the words that I used because I feel very strongly that we have a responsibility to address abuse situations with extreme care and that post did not.

        How could this have been addressed without it under-cutting the message of the horror of abuse? Is there any way that I or any of the other women commenters could have responded negatively that would have been acceptable?

        • Mike Duran July 9, 2013, 5:41 AM

          Alise, I’m not the judge of what’s an acceptable or unacceptable response (as some of my Twitter detractors are trying to pin me w/). I’m sharing my opinion that the aggregate of negative responses to Emily’s post seemed snarky and over-the-top. I would include yours. There were some detractors who were quite level-headed. For instance, I thought Rachel Evan’s points were fair and civil. Frankly, it puzzles me how difficult it appears for some to admit that feminists often come off as nasty… and then as soon as you call them on it, they call you names and justify it.

          • Spherical Time July 11, 2013, 2:40 PM

            The perspective from the other side of the fence is that non-feminists are often condescending and dismissive.

            Regardless of whether or not they’re speaking with a nasty tone, the points that they make are likely more important than their tone of voice. I would say that to them as well, but I usually find that they don’t need to be reminded.

      • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:48 PM

        Mike – I think however well meaning Emily’s post was she did actually spill over into glorifying abuse. Now before you dismiss this please hear my point.

        Her intention was not to do so but as soon as she linked staying in the abusive situation with obedience to God she crossed into the problem.

        For those who have been abused and for many helping those who have been abused the view that someone should stay in that position because they could be being obedient to God is dangerous.

        Emily wrote in a kindly way and so her words are seen as kind. Her interlocutors responded in a passionate way and so were seen as unkind.

        The kindness to a person being abused is not to encourage them to remain in an abusive situation. It is to shout loudly for them to leave. To do so passionately even if you have to knock a few tables over in the process.

  • sally apokedak July 8, 2013, 10:31 PM

    I’m bowing out now. Sorry to jump in and jump out.

    I have been off the blogs so long, I forget how hot these threads get at times.

    I really do apologize for being a drive-by poster.

    I’ve tried to answer questions put to me. I’ll read your responses. Please don’t think I’m ignoring you when I don’t answer back. I don’t have time, unfortunately. I wish I did. I love a good debate.

    • Sara July 8, 2013, 10:38 PM

      You didn’t really offer anyone a good debate. You just came in here acting like spousal abuse was some deeply spiritual thing that women should endure. That’s not debate, that’s horrific.

      • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 11:43 PM

        Truthfully, Sara, I do want to drill down the theological implications of Sally’s (not uncommon) position.

        But given the fact that we have sisters on here who are dealing with intensely personal and emotional histories of abuse I think Sally is showing a kindness by belaying the debate.

        It can after all be its own kind of abuse to continue poking into wounds for the sake of intellectual exercise. I respect Sally’s action here.

    • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 11:31 PM

      If you didn’t have time, you shouldn’t have come here and created all the chaos you have. You flippantly pop in and out while triggering serious memories and horrid abuse cycles and then you want me to be ok with the fact that you just don’t have time for me or the others that you have devastated with your words. It’s careless and nasty. This is not just some debate. Unfortunately many of us live in the shadow of abuse daily and fight tooth and nail to claw out from under it.

      I’m disgusted.

      • Katherine Coble July 8, 2013, 11:45 PM

        I totally agree she shouldn’t have started it. But I think it is respectful to you if she doesn’t try to finish it.

        • michelle pendergrass July 8, 2013, 11:46 PM

          The timestamp shows she “bowed out” before considering my response. She wasn’t doing anything out of respect.

          • Alan Molineaux July 8, 2013, 11:53 PM

            There are so many dangerous things about what Sally said that it is probably best that she goes.
            Michelle is correct that what she did was careless. Sara is correct that she didn’t even offer a good argument.

          • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 12:11 AM

            Ah. That is true indeed.

            • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 12:12 AM

              I think this is a prime example of why I always need to remember to read all the comments in a conversation.

              • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 12:24 AM

                I don’t want to be over hard on Mike but it does interest me that Sara is called a troll for offering comments that are engaged with the argument but Sally is just asked to clarify what she is saying without a hint that her behaviour is troll like even though she has clearly not engaged with the conversation.

                I don’t believe Mike intends this but I do know that there is a regular sense that the trolls are all on one side of the argument.

                Please hear Mike that I am not suggesting that you did this on purpose but our hidden advantage as men in a patriarchal system means we are still influences to see subversion in a particular way. What do you think?

                • D.M. Dutcher July 9, 2013, 12:33 AM

                  Sally comments here a bit, and this was really unexpected. Sara hasn’t commented here before, so that’s why the asking for clarification.

                • Mike Duran July 9, 2013, 5:32 AM

                  Alan, I suggested Sara’s trolling while asking Sally to clarify, not b/c of “our hidden advantage as men in a patriarchal system [that] means we are still influences to see subversion in a particular way,” but b/c I know Sally and felt it would serve her to clarify, while Sara has come in and dropped like 20 comments, most of which are short snipes.

                  • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 7:55 AM

                    Hi Mike. Thanks for answering. That s the problem with advantage. It is hidden. I appreciate that you are not looking to use the advantage but that it is there none the less.

      • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 6:21 AM

        Michelle, please accept my sincere apology for making it sound like I didn’t have time for you. I do have time for you. I simply don’t have time to defend a position that I hold to be Biblical and good and loving and kind and holy, but which others hold to be hateful and cruel.

        I firmly believe that men and women who submit to abusers who have God-given authority over them ought to be applauded and loved for their Christlike behavior. Paul was so abused and he told us to follow after him as he followed after Christ. I want to live that way. I want to consider myself blessed when men revile me and curse me. I want to rejoice in filling up in my body what was lacking in Christ’s suffering. These are things I learn from the Bible. These are precious to me. If I ever find myself being abused, verbally or physically, I hope I respond in love.

        I realized, after I posted, that this position was causing some of you pain because the abuse issue is personal to you, and I realized that my position was causing others of you to sin by tempting you to hate me. I originally posted trying to talk to Mike about one line in his post. I thought I made it clear that I wasn’t entering the conversation. I wasn’t talking to any of the commenting people because I hadn’t read the comments. I tried to be clear on that. I was interacting with Mike, the author of the post, who said he was on the fence about the Complementarian issue.

        I realized, after I got some heated response, that others believed I was being abusive and cruel. And I also came quickly to believe that I would not be able to express my opinion in even the kindest most careful way without causing some on this thread to think I’m hateful. I believed that no matter how kindly I expressed my view, it could not be accepted because it’s not HOW I express it that was causing the trouble and chaos (did I really cause chaos here?), it’s the very position I hold that is heinous to some here. The very position I hold–that it is good for Christians to go as lambs to the slaughter–is seen as an abusive and hateful position to some here. If it’s not HOW I’m saying things, but it’s WHAT I’m saying that people fins so offensive, how can I stay in the conversation without continuing to stir up emotion and pain and anger? The only way for me to peacefully stay in this conversation is for me to say, “You were right, I was wrong, Christians should never allow themselves to be abused.” And I can’t say that because I don’t believe it.

        But I did not mean to imply that I don’t have time for you. I do have time for you and for anyone else on this thread who wants me to answer. I will make time for anyone who has been injured or offended by my words. I firmly believe that I can’t even offer a sacrifice to God if I know a brother or a sister has something against me and I have not tried to make it right.

        If you would like to call me and talk, I would welcome the chance to talk to you. There is much I could say about the difference between an unsaved child who is being abused and a Christian adult who chooses to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of showing Christ’s love to his enemies, and for the sake of honoring Christ who died for his enemies. I believe an unsaved child who is being abused is justified in killing his abuser, if he needs to, in order to stop the abuse. I believe an unsaved woman who is being abused is justified in killing her abuser if that’s the only way she can protect herself.

        Christians, however, are called to die, asking God to forgive the ones who are putting them to death, as Stephen did and as Christ did before him. I don’t mean we aren’t to flee persecution, but that when someone in authority over us is abusing us, verbally or physically, we can trust God to care for us. He may let us die, as he let Stephen die, but we will look up and see Christ standing at the right hand of God. And we won’t care that anyone is stoning us. (Have you ever read Foxe’s Book fo Martyrs? Fantastic book.)

        And I think that while Christians are to defend themselves against attackers who have no authority over them, they are to endure patiently when those in authority over them abuse them. I believe this because Jesus made it clear that he was bowing to Pilate because Pilate had been given authority by God the Father.

        I would love to discuss these things with your further, or I would love to apologize in a more personal way if that wouldn’t cause you more pain. Please call me if you’d like to talk. (404) 695-5517

        The same goes for anyone on this thread. Please feel free to call me.

        • Mich Pendergrass July 9, 2013, 7:27 AM

          I accept your apology but I do not wish to speak on the phone. It would go a long way for you to learn about abuse cycles and what you’re doing to further a sick agenda.

          You say you want to be beaten? I think you need to examine yourself. No one should WANT to be beaten. And because you feel it is a blessing to be reviled, you taint your responses in a way that incites anger and emotion. That, my friend, is not Godly.

          • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 8:27 AM

            Michelle, the Bible–Jesus himself in a direct quote–tells us to consider ourselves blessed when men revile us.

            I’m sorry that incites anger in you. It certainly was not my intent to injure you further or to tempt you to anger.

            Thank you for forgiving me and for calling me friend.

            • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 10:09 AM

              He also said to consider ourselves blessed when we mourn. Does that then mean we seek out to murder those we love so we can mourn them and be blessed?

        • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 8:11 AM

          Sally and any other folks reading this:

          1. If you wanted to address one point with Mike and Mike alone perhaps upon seeing an excess of 150 comments on here which you were too busy to read you should have emailed Mike privately.

          2. When a husband does not in a Godly manner toward his wife, he abdicates his authority. Your Jesus/Pontius Pilate example is not analogous.

          3. You kn

          • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 8:18 AM

            3. You know how Paul says “everything is permitted” but “not everything is beneficial”? I think we can chalk “Wives, take a punch and smile for Jesus” as one of those things.

  • Tony July 9, 2013, 3:37 AM

    So I read Emily’s article. . .the outrage is totally unjustified. And the idea that this article implies that Emily herself is being abused is so irrational it’s offensive.

    You can’t argue with people like that.

  • Heather Day Gilbert July 9, 2013, 6:20 AM

    Just read Emily’s post. Yes, it is a bit off-putting in some ways…possibly the tone in which she wrote it and her decision to use her Lebanese friend as example. But she clarified this at the end: “My reference to my Lebanese friend was not meant to be misconstrued as saying women should stay in abusive relationships AT ALL. It was simply sharing the amazing sacrifice she made and the way it changed her husband but by all means, this is not normal or suggested.”

    As wives, we have to admit that some of us have the tendency (that she referred to) to run OVER our husbands and feel put-upon when they ask us to serve them. I doubt she has an abusive husband, any more than I do. Her point was that her mother only learned to let her dad lead when she was sick, and then he stepped up. I’ve seen this happen before. I don’t want it to be my marriage–don’t we want husbands who can lead our family, who can step in and give godly advice, who can support and serve US at those crucial needy moments?

    I think the marriages that work best are where BOTH spouses are WILLING to serve one another. I’m not talking about dysfunctional marriages, where a spouse is abusive (male OR female). I’m just saying that marriages that grow in love are those where both spouses have a heart for one another. Can we deny that? That’s basically the point of her post, however ill-worded it was.

    And anyone who thinks Mike is advocating abuse obviously doesn’t follow his blog. Mike’s always a gentleman w/his comments and NEVER attacks women for being women. I like that we’re all able to vocalize things here without fear of being attacked for our opinions.

    • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 7:13 AM

      Tony and heather
      For me the question is not either Mike or Emily’s motives. I feel sure that they are well placed.

      I still feel that any blog that seems to suggest staying in an abusive situation as in anyway the right thing to do has the power to stop people, women in particular, from leaving abusive situations.

      There is a tendency in the church to rightly want to defend marriage at all cost when seen in light of the onslaught against it. This tendency, along with more patriarchal models, can both lionise sticking with the status quo and demonise moving on.

      It is in this light and against this background that Emily’s link between staying in abuse and being godly is dangerous. One can still commend the person themselves whilst clearly saying that she should have left earlier.

      Presenting staying in any way as a higher option means that we are less likely to tell abuse victims to run.

      Hope that makes sense.


      • Heather Day Gilbert July 9, 2013, 8:12 AM

        Kat was totally right, in that the women commenting on this post are NOT passive/aggressive, for the most part. They’re the kind of women who would not THINK about staying in an abusive situation. So I’m not sure why we have to beat this topic to the ground. The issue is, should women be servants? The answer is, WE ALL SHOULD, as Christ was. The other question is, should women stay in abusive relationships? Obviously, no one is advocating that. But I think we could all agree that good marriages require sacrifice on the part of both spouses. None of us would stand there and get beaten by our husbands. But we might stand there and BULLY our husbands. I think that was what Emily was taking issue with, no matter how inappropriate her example was.

        • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 8:39 AM

          Respectfully, I don’t think the issue WAS “should women be servants?” . I think the issue was

          Are “Christian Feminists” hurting their cause.

          At least that was what I understood Mike’s assertion to be.

          So we’ve had a lot of culs de sac about Submission doctrine, spousal abuse, the efficacy of feminism in general.

          But the main question….in two parts:

          Is there such a thing as a true Christian who is also a true feminist? That seems like a question in the back of Mike’s mind every time he puts Christian Feminist in those snide quotes. Nicole, who has voiced her feelings on this before believes outright that one cannot be both Christian and feminist. I presume others believe that as well.

          Well, I’m the dancing monkey before you here to say that there is such a thing as a dancing monkey whether or not everything you know of monkeys and believe of dancing tells you other wise.

          I am a devout Christian. I am a Mennonite, which tends to be one of the more social justicey branches of Christianity. We take temporal suffering pretty seriously and believe that it is our calling to treat any suffering person as one of the Least Of These assigned to us by the Christ. That means that we are feminists because we see women in positions of inequity and suffering around the world. We aren’t feminists so we can terrify DM Dutcher with a future full of test-tube babies and men kept in zoos. (BTW, DMD, put down the back issues of Wonder Woman.) We are feminists because girls are sold into sex slavery to pay their father’s debts in India. We are feminists because girls are raped by their teachers in Iowa. We are feminists because girls have their genitals cut off in Africa to deny them sexual pleasure and increase their pain during childbirth. We are feminists so that little girls in Iraq can walk through war zones to go to school. (I love that picture.)

          We are feminists because when Jesus hung dying on the cross it was the women who stayed, who washed his body, wrapped it in herbs. We are feminists because when the angel said “He is Not Here. He Is Risen” he said that to A WOMAN, telling HER to take the message to everyone. Caring for the body of Christ and the message of the Resurrection have been our intimate and sacred trust since Day One. While the men hid in the upper room we were going to the tomb.

          I’m a Christian feminist so that girls in the local Southern Baptist Church know that Girls’ Ministry can be “here is what you can do for Christ” and “Here’s how you can use your skill at basketball/hockey/animal care/mathematics/history/English to serve the Lord” and not just “here’s why you shouldn’t wear a bikini to Youth Group Swim Parties. (I mention the Southern Baptists simply because my present church is a Southern Baptist one. I’ve seen plenty of other denominations have the same sorrowful Girls’ “Ministry” that squanders half of God’s most precious resource.)

          Are we hurting our cause by being strident in response to an offensive blog entry like the four-month-old one in question? I guess it depends on what “our cause” is. If our cause is to convince people that Christian Feminists exist, then no. Being vocal is good when you want to be noticed. Mike knows that for sure. If our cause is to convince people that this blog entry was offensive and off putting I’d say we’re split down the middle. If our cause is to get Mike Duran to think we’re legitimate….that’s not much of a cause. But we are hurting it, I guess.

          • Johne Cook July 9, 2013, 8:48 AM

            Y’know what, I understand this, and agree with it. Mike used Emily’s post as a jumping off point, and I think much of the actual debate in this thread has been about misconceptions and issues from that post.

            I almost wrote earlier that as someone who knows nothing about Christian Feminists, the first thing I observe is I don’t care for the order of the term. It puts the emphasis on Feminism and not Christ. This is the crux of my argument – in my mind (and I’m coming to this as a neophyte) a Feminist Christian would be as Katherine describes. (Of course, I don’t like the term Christian Writer, either, so I’m consistent in my argument.)

            • Christina July 9, 2013, 4:48 PM

              I have actually thought of this. On the one hand, I generally prefer for the noun to drive the adjective. On the other, Feminist Christian sounds like being a feminist affects what kind of Christian I am, as opposed to being a Christian affects what kind of feminist I am. Realistically, it`s probably a bit of both, but at the end of the day I try to be feminist in a Christian way more than I try to be Christian in a feminist way. My allegiance to feminism came as a result of fully fleshing out some of my Christian convictions. So while no term is perfect, I do prefer to use Christian feminist.

          • Heather Day Gilbert July 9, 2013, 9:02 AM

            And you know what, Katherine? I think you’re proving with your comment that Christian Feminists CAN be kind and well-spoken. I can appreciate remarks that aren’t made with all kinds of false arguments and name-calling. So let’s say you make Christian feminists look good! And yes, I was speaking more to the issues raised with Emily’s post (servanthood, abuse). But I can also definitely understand Mike’s reaction to the REACTIONS on that post, and on this one. As a woman, I can see that some feminists can be a nasty bunch, FAR more aggressive and pushy than men would EVER get away with being in a public forum. THAT is the feminism I have seen–something that shoves the message down everyone’s throats. And like any free-thinking woman, I don’t appreciate being TOLD what to think. I’m glad to know some feminists have admirable goals, like you, Katherine.

          • Kat Heckenbach July 9, 2013, 9:12 AM

            Katherine, you’re right. The issue is feminism and the way *some* feminists take things too far. I think that’s the problem with Mike’s post–it implies that *all* rather than *some* feminists hurt the cause.

            Well, with EVERY cause you have people taking things too far. The point is to not judge the entire group because of those people.

            I told Mike in another comment that this post spurred the comments from feminists that it did because IT took things too far. It presented an abusive relationship as something a woman should stay in. So, yes, the more vocal feminist members come out swinging punches. Did some of them take it too far? Maybe. I didn’t read all the comments on that blog post, but the ones I read seemed not at all hateful–much more cautionary–but I can believe there would be hateful ones in there. The thing is, do we knock the whole idea of feminism because of one segment of that population?

            Maybe Mike would have been better to focus on how the more extreme and vocal members of a given group can do more harm than good for their causes, feminism being one specifically. But don’t make a blanket statement about the group as a whole.

            • Mike Duran July 9, 2013, 9:32 AM

              Kat, some of the comments I find unfair, others don’t. Honestly, I’m rather surprised how quick commenters here have been to justify what I perceive as unfair condemnation. I’ve had some bad experiences in the ministry, as you know. I just don’t believes that justifies me using rude, over the top, dismissive language. You’re right, it may be a minority that’s tainting my view. Yesterday, I received over 120 tweets, most of which used charged language, attributing beliefs and opinions I don’t hold. I posted some of those on Facebook. Are these people NOT representative of the movement I’m speaking to? Because all I’m hearing is that everybody who was pissed has a good reason to be.

              • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 9:37 AM

                How many of those 120 Twitter users are Christian Feminists? Because I have a hunch you’re not separating feminist from Christian feminist.

                The women identifying themselves in THESE comments as Christian feminists have been nothing but civil, yet you’re still lumping up in your group of haters.

              • Kat Heckenbach July 9, 2013, 10:21 AM

                I think the women who felt Emily was glorifying abuse were justified in their outrage. That’s a separate issue than them being justified in making cruel comments, though.

                I would bet almost anything that if Emily had left the abuse example out of her post, the comments would have been VERY different. Yes, you would likely have seen commenters raging anyway–and THOSE are the women that take things too far. The women who think anything short of tromping over men is oppression DO give feminism a bad name. But they AND others are mad because of the abuse thing, which is something that *should* incite anger. The reason you see their comments as unfair is that you think Emily’s statement that she never meant to glorify abuse negates the fact that she put it out there in exactly that way. But either she knew exactly what she was saying, or she’s an idiot because it was a stupid, stupid thing to say. Sorry, but that’s how I see it. And women who have suffered abuse know how dangerous it is to even mention, even sorta, that it might, kinda, maybe, even just a little, be okay to stay with an abusive man–and Emily made the Lebanese women her *prime* example of wifely submission.

                The thing is, if you took out her examples, she’d have no post, no point about submission at all. She’d be saying, “Don’t snip at your husband when he asks you to help him make nachos.” She’d be saying, don’t be bossy and bitchy with your husband. Those are valid points, and good, sound advice. But “don’t stand above your husband” does not equate with “servanthood.” She’s not showing that she’s being any kind of servant to her husband–she’s only showing how other women are being submissive to the point of physical danger and that she decided to not be mean to her husband–and those are NOT the same thing.

                And btw–how many of those tweeters actually read anything other than the title of this post? Did they actually get into the meat of it? Or did they see you lump all feminists together and call you bigoted? Partly, it can be your fault for not making it clear that SOME feminists handle things wrong. Part of it could be that the tweeters took that title at face value instead of realizing that titles tend to be written in a way to grab readers and don’t necessarily reflect the full intent of the post. Obviously this one did grab them, too.

                Anyway, Mike, I know that you respect women. I know that you would never advocate a woman stay in an abusive situation. I know that you don’t hate feminism as an idea, nor feminists as a group. I know that your heart is in the right place here, and some of your words are being twisted and tainted. But it’s SUCH a touchy subject. There has been such a huge pull toward the idea of justifying patriarchal tyranny that the feminist side can’t hold punches. Some of them take things too far–they do–but don’t judge us all based on them. And consider that Emily’s post might not have been the best illustration.

                • Mike Duran July 9, 2013, 11:06 AM

                  Thanks Kat Heckenbach! I appreciate your response.

              • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 2:20 PM

                I’m sure that you, Mike, like me have been on the Internet long enough to get that different circles have their own language–the Lingua Franca of their society.

                I really think, as someone who travels in both circles (eg. your blog and the feminist blogosphere) that the contretemps over the last few days have largely been a clash between Linguas Franca.

                Feminists have a very _stern_ response toward anything that smacks of abuse even a little bit. It’s our way of drawing a line in the sand. It’s take me a few prayerful years to modify my natural inclination to the strident “Oh NO YOU DIDN’T” response. I have done so because frankly my testimony is more important to me than my outrage at different sad examples of the ongoing tragedy of female subjugation. And I also think that “I can’t preach in the pulpit at my church” is not deserving of the same level of outraged response as Chinese Foot Binding. But that’s my personal take on it, and I get that others see it differently. Anyway…where was I….Oh yeah. Anyway, I think what appears to you as a degree of response out of all measure with the context of your post is actually from the feminist perspective a “business as usual” take on things. I’ve seen the feminist blogosphere eat its own on more than one occasion; that is a world where outrage and snappy comebacks tend to take precedent over relationship building.

                But just as not all Christians are commenting on your blog (and other Christian Writer blogs) not all feminists are tweeting and commenting in the Feminist blogosphere. Many of us have decided to use our energies elsewhere for the cause. I’ve got friends who write for Jezebel and Shakesville and OBOS. Even they have at times had to pull back from that side of the Feminist world because the intensity is too much for them.

                But just as I won’t give up on Jesus even though some Christians have been pretty nasty to me nor will I give up on feminism. Especially since my feminism is an outgrowth of my following Jesus.

              • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 2:22 PM

                Mike – you chose to put yourself out there by having a blog that allows comments and by using twitter. It comes with the territory that some will disagree.

                Your question ( or more accurately statement – because of the use of upper case) as to whether the twitter commentators are representative of the movement you critique is not measurable and therefore a smoke screen.

                Your original post was suggesting that those who commented about Emily’s blog was driving you towards Complementarianism. Most of us on here have tried to show you that Emily was careless in her use of examples. Left unchecked it could have the propensity to suggest to women being abused that ‘a’ godly option is to stay in the abuse.

                Some of us think this is dangerous. If our voices drive you towards complementarianism then we will have to live with that. But I would still rather speak out against any suggestion, however subtle or unintended, that would encourage a woman to stay in abuse.

                • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 2:31 PM

                  This is what I have a problem with. Why should you decide that a woman is “ungodly” if she chooses to stay in an abusive marriage. Staying in an abusive marriage is a godly option. What right have to say it isn’t?

                  You sound a little like Peter, taking Jesus aside to rebuke him, saying, “For be it from you, Lord. This [suffering many things at the hands of the elders and dying on the third day] will never happen to you.”

                  And Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

                  IOW, Stop tempting me to refuse the cup the Father has called me to drink. It’s hard enough that I have to suffer this abuse. Must I also suffer from you rebuking me for my obedience?

                  • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 2:43 PM

                    Sally, if you are indeed suffering from abuse I’m quite sorry. If you feel called to stay in that abuse I understand your reasoning even if I disagree with it.

                    I don’t know what else to say because this is obviously a hurtful mire to tread so I’ll just leave it at the fact that I will continue to pray for you.

                    • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 2:52 PM

                      Oh wait. Were you saying that was Jesus’ take on it? Never mind.

                    • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 2:55 PM

                      Thanks for that, Katherine. I really appreciate it.

                      I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. I’m not suffering from abuse. I’m not even married. My husband died several years ago.

                      What I meant to do above was paraphrase Jesus. I think he was asking Peter to stop rebuking him, partly because he was tempting Jesus to refuse to go to the cross.

                      But I find some of the comments here to be demeaning to women. I don’t see why a person can’t say to an abused woman, I’ll help you. Do you want me to come stay on your living room couch to protect you? Do you want me to take you away and hide you? Do you want me to turn your husband over to the police and to go with you to the trial and support you? Or do you want me to pray with you and for you while you stay with him and love him?

                      Why should another person treat women who are abused as if they are retarded or children who need someone to come save them from themselves? I have known abused women who have stayed, not because they were weak and stupid, but because they were strong and smart. And I respect them for that. I wish others who say they love women, would support women who decide to stay with an abuser out of love for Christ.

                    • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 2:56 PM

                      Sorry, we cross posted

                  • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 2:54 PM

                    So are you saying you’re in an abusive relationship and choosing to suffer through it and you think that makes you Christlike or are you saying that I’m Satan because I would encourage a women to get out of an abusive relationship?

                    And frankly, the fact that *this* is what bothers you concerns me deeply. You’re not concerned for the woman getting the shit beat out of her, you’re worried whether or not someone is defining her as godly or ungodly? Your interpretation of Scripture is highly twisted.

                    • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 2:59 PM

                      I must add, that out of all of the spiritually abusive atmospheres and churches I’ve been in and out of everything that has EVER been thrown my way, I have not ever (NEVER) heard such gross and negligent twisting of Scripture. Scripture is not meant to be used as a Gumby-like-clay-doll where you get to stop action and change meanings so it suits your agenda. I am praying that the scales will be lifted from your eyes and you will know the truth. I was angry, now I’m sad for you, that you feel like you need to use God to puff yourself up and treat people so negatively in the name of holiness. Shame on you!

                    • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 2:59 PM

                      Michelle, I’m sorry that I keep offending you.

                      I wasn’t calling you Satan.

                      I was trying to point out that Alan demeans women when he treats them like children who need him to tell them what to do.

                    • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 3:02 PM

                      Thank you for praying for me, Michelle. I really appreciate it. I am also praying for you. And as much as we disagree on this issue, I hope you can believe that I never meant to attack you in any way, and I never meant to judge any decision you’ve made or to lay any burden on you. I am sorry, truly, that what I’ve said has injured you.

                      And still, I have strong opinions on the issue. I am not ashamed. But I will pray with you, that God will make me ashamed if I have done and said shameful things here.

                      Thank you for loving me and pitying me and praying for me.

                  • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 3:06 PM

                    Sally – I could not disagree with you more. You make the presumption that I am saying that the woman staying in an abusive situation is ungodly. I am not saying this.

                    Let me be clear what I am saying:

                    1) the portrayal of staying in an abusive situation as a godly alternative is wrong.

                    2) churches and individuals who teach or suggest that such an option is ok are the ones being ungodly.

                    There are many reasons why a person might stay in a bad situation I would never want to judge them for that. I do however feel totally free to criticise voices that would encourage their continued demise in the name of some mistaken theological viewpoint.

                  • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 6:13 PM

                    ‘Why should you decide that a woman is “ungodly” if she chooses to stay in an abusive marriage.’

                    Perhaps staying in an abusive relationship is neither godly nor ungodly, but a choice God allows a woman to make because he gave her free will. With choice comes consequence, and if a woman wants to face the potential consequence of dying under the hand of her husband, so be it, but I think it makes God weep.

                    • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 6:16 PM

                      (Also, Alan never said a woman who stays in an abusive relationship is ‘ungodly’. At least, that’s not how I read it.)

                    • sally apokedak July 9, 2013, 7:13 PM

                      Exactly–we should be allowed to follow God as our conscience dictates without being made to feel stupid for staying in dangerous situations because we believe God has called us to that place.

                      Yes, we need to face the consequences of our actions. But that’s part of being a grown up.

                      I actually don’t mind when people want to argue their cases vigorously. I don’t even mind that Alan is saying that staying is an ungodly option. That’s what he believes and he should say what he believes. It’s important to have these kinds of discussions.

                      I just thought it was worth pointing out that he is neither my husband, nor my elder, nor does he have any authority over me at all so I would feel no desire to obey him at all and to leave an abusive marriage were I in one, and I think it’s a bit odd that he who wants to empower women, is here telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.

                      Perhaps because I lived on the mission field when I was young and I grew up hearing stories of missionaries who had lost their lives preaching the gospel in dangerous places, I have never thought it was odd or ungodly that a woman would want to stay with an unsaved, abusive husband, in order to minister to him.

                      And, sorry, I misquoted Alan. You’re right he didn’t say the women who stayed were ungodly. He said staying was an ungodly option. I think that’s laying a burden on some wonderful, long-suffering Christian women that he ought not lay on them.

                    • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 11:00 PM

                      Sally – I didn’t say that staying was ungodly

                      I said that suggesting that staying as godly is not helpful and that those who suggest such are being ungodly.

                      If a church, leader, or other presents to a woman that somehow staying in abuse will be godly they will likely make it harder for the person to leave not easier.

                    • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 11:03 PM

                      Sally – have you actually read what I have written.

                      At what stage did I say I had authority over you.

                    • sally apokedak July 15, 2013, 7:38 AM

                      Sorry, I was out of town. Alan, I never meant to imply that you said you had authority over me. I was simply saying that since you had no authority over me I thought you ought not tell me I was choosing an ungodly option if I ever decided to stay married to a man who was abusive.

          • Brianne July 9, 2013, 9:24 AM

            Katherine, you said my sentiments exactly. Thank you for writing this so beautifully. It does hurt when fellow believers completely misunderstand my goals as power driven instead of my heart breaking for little girls around the world and women in my life.

          • D.M. Dutcher July 9, 2013, 9:35 AM

            Well, it ends up anyways in things like this:


            or this:


            The side effect of this is changing the way people marry, get marry, divorced, and raise their kids. This isn’t even getting into the role of fathers and husbands. If you want to disdain this as test tube, wonder woman nonsense, go nuts.

          • D.M. Dutcher July 9, 2013, 9:42 AM

            There’s nothing I can say in reply to this, and if it’s going to descend to this level I don’t think there’s any purpose in continuing the discussion.

          • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 9:45 AM

            AMEN Katherine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to stand and applaud and cheer you for that.

      • D.M. Dutcher July 9, 2013, 9:49 AM

        This is true, but the other side is that marriage is also a very fragile institution. The church has to defend it because otherwise it can very easily vanish. Not everything is a tool of the patriarchy to oppress women; sometimes they do so because they are honestly worried about the fragility of institutions that can’t easily be renewed, if at all.

        • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 3:17 PM

          This doesn’t have to be an antithetical argument with marriage on one side and women’s on he other. I presume you view the changes over the as century as negative whereas I see some strides forward. Marriage wasn’t perfect 100 years ago. There were so many hidden abuses that needed challenging.

          Up until the early 1980’s here in the UK the police would not attend to a wife who had been beaten by her husband because it was a domestic issue.

          Such things needed loud, often passionate, voices to challenge them. By and large these voices came from the feminist movement and not the church.

          You see it isn’t as simple as saying you can either have good marriages or women’s rights. We have to work for both. On this occasion Mike’s blog, including his reference to Emily, needs to be critiqued in my opinion because it underplayed the issue by suggesting that the tone of the feminist argument was pushing him away. It is more nuanced than that.

  • Johne Cook July 9, 2013, 8:26 AM

    The real war is against sin and self, and the real fight is won by kneeling, not fighting. The crucial point is Godly women kneel before Christ while submitting to their husbands. At the same time, Godly men should kneel before Christ, as well, and are commanded to sacrificially serve their wives as Christ served the church. In this way, women can give men what they need most, respect, and men can give women what they need most, love.

    As I read Emily’s post, setting aside her actual writing and language and examples (a sign of a poorly written post, frankly), her actual point seemed clear enough to me – instead of fighting their men (as Emily noted in her example about slicing onions), Godly women should fight their flesh and bend their will toward serving God. (That doesn’t excuse men from kneeling – that is assumed – but that wasn’t the point of Emily’s post. She was writing to Godly women.)

    I say it again – the real war is against sin and self, and the real fight is won by kneeling, not fighting.

    • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 8:31 AM

      And all that might be fine for you Johne until she includes an example about a woman staying in the abusive situation.

      If a woman is being abused she should leave the abusive situation and get help.

      It is not good enough to over spiritualise this as if it is some kind of holiness journey. Abuse is never acceptable. Staying in abuse is not the right answer.

  • Johne Cook July 9, 2013, 8:39 AM

    Alan, I agree with you about the abuse angle, however, the abuse discussion is an alternate discussion that (while important and valid) wasn’t part of Emily’s point. She says so herself in her addenda comment. While I think the example she used was clumsy (and Lord knows I know about making clumsy comments), her point wasn’t about abuse. It might be helpful to have a second thread to hash out the very real and serious abuse topic while keeping this other thread open to discussion of Emily’s actual point (and Mike’s take on that point). There are so many moving parts to this discussion and so much energy and emotion that the actual dialogue is in danger over being lost in the fray.

    • Johne Cook July 9, 2013, 8:49 AM

      Replying to myself – Y’know what, nevermind. Coble is correct – this is a rabbit trail that departs from Mike’s actual post and point.

  • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 10:20 AM

    This is probably a rabbit trail, but I finally read Emily’s post. The question I came away with was, What does she mean by “love sets captives free”?

    “And whether they’re men or women, that is what love does. It serves, by setting captives free.”

    What’s she implying? That Jesus sets us free by loving us? Or was it his actions on the cross that set us free? (I vote the latter.)

    A misunderstanding of what love (and the gospel) is could lead to false teaching.

    Why does everyone think they are called to teach the Bible these days? It’s getting on my nerves a bit. Shouldn’t one go through some sort of training prior to teaching? I don’t think we are taking the calling seriously enough in the blogosphere. (Speaking to myself as well.)

    • michelle pendergrass July 9, 2013, 10:28 AM

      I truly believe that if one is going to teach and lead, it needs to be taken very seriously. This girl is teaching a host of people with severe problems (I’ve been digging into her other posts and blogs) and she’s teaching from a very warped worldview. She is not being responsible to the people she is reaching.

      • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 6:19 PM

        Michelle, I agree. I’ve backed off tackling scriptural topics on my blog because I don’t think I’m mature or wise enough in my faith yet.

  • Tim George July 9, 2013, 3:08 PM

    I have mostly remained a lurker throughout this marathon for one main reason. Every time I have dared to state my opinion from a Biblical basis with a true feminist I have been quickly informed I can’t know what I’m talking about because I a man. Or, my motives have been questioned suggesting I want women to have a position of subservience and Lord over them. None ever asked me how my wife and I relate to each other. None ever took the time to hear how I have personally intervened in abusive situations when the woman or child in question was so brainwashed they couldn’t find the courage to walk away from the abuser in their life.

    I am not a confrontational person by nature but circumstances and my belief that I am to defend the defenseless as a Biblical mandate has landed me in the midst of the ugliness some of the women describe here. So understand, I am a complimentarian-leaning man who has looked at a 44 pointed between my eyes before because I do not believe any human being belongs in an enslaving position.

    I am not offended or put off by anything said here. I am however, saddened by the way believers speak to and of each other because of the circumstances of their life. If you think your brand of feminism is Christ’s mandate because women were at the tomb first then what is Christ’s special place for men because they were the first to pay the ultimate price for following Him? My understanding of Scripture is that only One deserves such a place of recognition. Paul would be horrified had some movement been named after him because he stretched his neck for a Roman executioner.

    Now I finally said my peace. Those who have interacted with me enough and know me will not brand me a woman hating fundamentalist. I live in the shadow of Pensacola Christian School and Peter Ruckman. Trust me, I know what a fundamentalist is and that is not me. As to the rest – there is only woman I have pledged my life to and I yield to her opinion.

    • Jessica Thomas July 9, 2013, 6:25 PM

      There are women here who aren’t responding to your comments because we are not offended by your position. It’s the ones who get riled up that comment, while the non-offended remain silent. 😉 Remember that. I don’t know which side of the debate I’m on. Both sides make valid points. The truth is somewhere in the muddled middle and I’m at peace with that.

    • Katherine Coble July 9, 2013, 6:36 PM

      Tim, by asserting that women have a place I am NOT saying men do not have a place.

      Every one of us is a found sheep and equally valuable to the saviour.

      Unfortunately folks like me grew up being taught that we had no place or role other than as a helpmeet to a male Christian. That’s the only reason why I underscore the immediate inclusion of women in the forward plan of the Risen Christ. It’s not to demean men.

      You know I realized that that line “while men hid &etc” was not the best thought because it frames the men as cowards. They men were being hunted; the women weren’t. I don’t at all think men are cowards. I think the history and purpose of men in the church is vital, essential and blessed.

      I’m trying–and admittedly inelegantly at times–to say “hey. Look. Yes, the guys are important. But so are we.”

      I don’t want to insult you with a petulant “you can’t understand cause you’re a man” thing because that’s not true. You’re an old enough man to have seen how things work. You have a wife you communicate with.

      I’m sure you realise that for many women in the church the message has long been “you don’t count as much.” I’m not trying to take away how much men count by asserting that women do also.

      Again I apologise for that implication in my last.

  • Maya3 July 9, 2013, 5:41 PM

    To be perfectly honest, I didn’t see anything rude, abusive, or “out of line” in the feminist responses to Emily, at least not the ones you quoted. I saw responses that were intelligent, thoughtful, passionate, and articulate. I even saw one which was caring and pastoral (the one concerned for Emily’s situation and well-being). I didn’t see disrespect or snark (strong disagreement, yes, but not in a tone of ridicule or belittling). Seriously, if one goes onto the internet to post a blog, invites the whole world to read and respond, and these are the “worst” replies one gets… well, Emily should consider herself lucky. I strongly suspect that your discomfort with these feminists has more to do with your disagreement with their position than their tone (or perhaps it’s that they argued their position so well that unnerves you. Maybe you think women should be a little less convinced and assertive? More tentative and accommodating? Would you feel the same way if the arguments had been made by men?)

    • Tim george July 9, 2013, 5:52 PM

      This is exactly the kind of response I am talking about.

      • Mike Duran July 9, 2013, 5:57 PM

        Me too, Tim.

        • Jennifer July 9, 2013, 7:29 PM

          Wait, are you saying that Maya’s response is “the kind of response [you are] talking about,” as in her response is angry and a hindrance to the Christian feminist movement?

          • Mary July 9, 2013, 8:14 PM

            Yeah, I don’t get it either. There was nothing angry about her comment at all. I thought she made a lot of sense. Methinks some of the men in this post need to grow a backbone.

            Oops, was that rude?

        • Alan Molineaux July 9, 2013, 11:42 PM

          How is Maya’s response ‘the kind that you are talking about’

          Intrigued and a little nonplussed that such a comment would be the type that would push you towards complementarianism.

          She seems to make a genuine point. Tell us what you find difficult about it.

          • Mike Duran July 10, 2013, 6:24 AM

            Alan, Jennifer, and Mary– I had no problem with Maya’s comment until the latter half, the insinuation that I think women should be “less convinced and assertive… more tentative and accommodating.” If you don’t see a problem with someone framing me as wanting women to be little compliant soft-spoken robots, then I don’t know what to say. I don’t believe that. Nor have I insinuated that. Nevertheless, commenters here and elsewhere seem to have no problem boxing me in simply because I dare ask the question whether feminists are hurting themselves by always seeming to be in attack mode. And justifying their anger and snark. To top it off, Mary adds that some of the men here just need to” grow a backbone.”Sorry. Its comments and commenters like this that prove my point.

            • Tim George July 10, 2013, 6:45 AM

              What Mike said. One commenter here took the time to engage in a private chat to enure our fellowship as believers was not hindered by contrary statements between the two of us. We differ on several issues but always find a way to speak through those differences to find common ground. We still don’t totally agree on this issue. At the same time, she isn’t posting dismissive comments that suggest my only problem is that I am intimidated by strong women. If I was, I would have never married my wife 38 years ago.

            • Jennifer July 10, 2013, 6:46 AM

              I’m going to be honest right now, I have no idea how to frame what I’m going to say right now because I’m pretty nervous you’re going to dismiss my criticism as “one of those comments.” But please try to read this without a snarky tone on my part.

              Your comment is proving Maya’s point. Maya has said nothing rude or acerbic. She simply pointed out that maybe you’re reading women’s comments as aggressive when they are simply disagreeing with you. And how did you react to Maya? As if her polite critique was aggressive when it was not.

              I find it odd that despite many people pointing out problems in your post, you have admitted no wrongdoing. (Maybe I have missed this in the over 300 comments, and if I have, could you point it out to me?) I mean, what is the likelihood that you are 100% right and all of these people disagreeing with you are 100% wrong? Maybe they have a point.

              • Tim George July 10, 2013, 7:00 AM

                I strongly suspect that your discomfort with these feminists has more to do with your disagreement with their position than their tone (or perhaps it’s that they argued their position so well that unnerves you. Maybe you think women should be a little less convinced and assertive? More tentative and accommodating? Would you feel the same way if the arguments had been made by men?
                * How could you be nervous about being dismissed. This forum has allowed approaching 400 comments now and I have yet to see Mike attack are dismiss one comment.
                *A lot of assumptions are being made here simply because I am a man. Would I listen to an argument quicker because it came from a man? Only if his argument was more logical and squared with Scripture.
                * You don’t know me and don’t presume you do by trying to divine why I might not be fully convinced by the arguments in favor of full-blown egalitarianism. Could it not be logic, life experience, and understanding of Scripture speaking and not supposed fear of being one-upped by a woman? A woman one-upped me yesterday over a pressing issue in my leadership and I thank God she did.

                • Jennifer July 10, 2013, 7:04 AM

                  Tim, my response was to Mike, not you. I think yours posted as I was in the process of writing mine. Also I don’t mean dismiss as in “not allow on the blog,” but as in “not listen to what I’m saying.”

              • Kat Heckenbach July 10, 2013, 7:02 AM

                Jennifer may have a point with this: “I find it odd that despite many people pointing out problems in your post, you have admitted no wrongdoing. (Maybe I have missed this in the over 300 comments, and if I have, could you point it out to me?) I mean, what is the likelihood that you are 100% right and all of these people disagreeing with you are 100% wrong? Maybe they have a point.”

                In the sense that Mike hasn’t backed down and said, “Gee, you’re right. Emily is whacked, I’m shutting up now.” Could he do a little more to make the women here feel he’s at least trying to see things from their side? Maybe. Mike? Whatcha think?

                On the other hand, the focus on Mike’s article got taken way to side as a slew of us–and I say *us* because I’m included in that–decided to tear down Emily’s post (justly, imho, but still) instead of focus on the idea that overzealous and pushy feminists could be doing harm to their own cause. In some ways, we did prove his point. The only issue I’ve had is that Mike’s not seeing–because he’s not a woman–the harm of Emily’s post. Men don’t generally use the subtlety women use in communication. Men in general aren’t as passive-aggressive and don’t recognize it as easily. So, Mike, who is a very “say it like I see it” person isn’t necessarily going to pick up on the under the radar messages Emily is sending. He’s taking it at face value. (Oy, I’m not going further so this doesn’t turn into some gender debate.)

                All that said–I happen to agree with him and Tim on Maya’s comment. The first half is fine, but the second half comes across, “What are ya, chicken, boy?”

                • sally apokedak July 10, 2013, 8:40 AM

                  Some of the women here think that Mike’s done just fine. heh heh

                  So I think that should read, “Could Mike do a little more to bow to the sometimes loving and peaceful and logical and fair voices of the feminists who regularly read his posts?”

                • sally apokedak July 10, 2013, 8:43 AM

                  And…I loved Emily’s post, much more than Mike did, though I am a women who sees clearly that women are often manipulative and passive/agressive.

                  I also think that Maya’s comment was rude and inflammatory.

                • Mike Duran July 10, 2013, 8:49 AM

                  Kat, the likelihood that I’m 100% right is about the same that any one commenter here is 100% right. As Johne pointed out, there is far from unanimity in the comments. That said, I do think I’m prepared to make a concession, which I think I’ll attach as an addendum to this post. But as I’m at work right now, it won’t go up till later in the day. Thanks!

                • sally apokedak July 10, 2013, 8:55 AM

                  Sorry, these new thoughts keep popping into my head…

                  I guess, what I’m saying, Kat, is that I don’t think it’s a male blindness problem as much as it’s a Biblical interpretation/life experience problem. Because of how I was raised and because of how I read scripture I thought Emily’s post was sweet and loving and smart and right on. I don’t have any abuse baggage, though I’ve been in two abusive relationships–one where I thought the man might kill me, literally. I have never been a victim, though I’ve been abused–and by that I mean I’ve never felt victimized or helpless. So I didn’t read Emily’s post as being condemnatory of victims of abuse. I read it as encouraging abusive women, which I used to be (yes, I was abused, but I was also abusive. My tongue could cut a man down in seconds), to become servants.

                  When we read we all bring our baggage to the table. But, as writers, we can’t be held accountable for everyone’s baggage. I don’t think she was saying at all that women should stand still and allow a man to punch her. To read that post and come to that conclusion is careless and, I think sinful, because it’s not giving her the benefit of the doubt, it’s not dealing with her charitably, it’s not recognizing that she’s a women with opinions that she has a right and a duty express, and it’s not a kind and generous interpretation. It’s not, then treating her the way we want to be treated.

                  • Kat Heckenbach July 10, 2013, 10:36 AM

                    Maybe I’m wrong on Mike’s interpretation. Maybe I shouldn’t attribute it to him having a male-wired brain and me having a female-wired brain. (And to clarify, just in case anyone comes back and accuses me of this, I never meant that to imply that Mike is somehow inferior because his guy brain is different from my girl brain. Just putting that out there based on some of the other comments I’ve read.) I’ll let Mike decide that and he can tell me. And Mike, if you were at all offended by my little psychoanalysis of you, I apologize.

                    Now, Mike aside, Sally. I’ve explained very carefully how I came to the conclusions I did. You have NO way of knowing I didn’t TRY to give her the benefit of the doubt and ultimately found no other way to interpret her words. Which I did, btw. I went over to that post, actually, expecting to side with the anti-feminist side. But when I saw what she wrote, I fully understood why there were such strong reactions. I read the post over and over, and still could not see how she wasn’t twisting things. And then coming back and justifying them in her comments. You claimed you didn’t even have time to read THIS post and its comments. I have read EVERY ONE of them here. I read this post multiple times. I read Emily’s post multiple times. I read OTHER posts by Emily. I read the first pages of her book. I did not do this carelessly. and I believe she DID say women should stay in abusive situations, and I believe you said the BIBLE says women should stay in abusive situations.

                    So sorry, think me “careless” and “sinful” all you’d like.

                    • sally apokedak July 15, 2013, 8:10 AM

                      Kat, sorry for the delayed response. I was out of town.

                      Did you read her post and come to the conclusion that she was advocating that women STAND STILL AND ALLOW MEN TO BEAT THEM? If so, then I think no matter how many times you read it, you allowed your interpretation to be colored by anger or personal baggage or social upbringing. I may be wrong about that, but I do think it all the same.

                      I thought there were people who did think she was saying that, but I did not know you were one of them.

                      I read the post and didn’t see that at all.

                      Staying in an abusive marriage and standing still and allowing a man to punch you is not the same thing.

                      I think she was advocating that a woman stay in an abusive marriage. I don’t think she was saying we should stand still and be punched.

                      To be clear, here is what I believe, and you’ve read me wrong if you think that I believe a woman should stand still and be punched IF SHE HAS A WAY OF ESCAPE. I believe that women should flee if they can. But I believe they should go back as soon as they are able. I believe if they have nothing to fear, because they are not at the mercy of their husbands, they are at God’s mercy. And I believe that if they die, serving their unsaved, abusive husbands they should be celebrated as martyrs, not spoken of as if they were stupid or sinful.

                      I believe that women with children in danger–physical danger–have a responsibility to protect them insofar as they are able, without divorcing their husbands. I believe that women with children who are not in physical danger ought not to divorce their husbands because they’re “mean” to the children. (And yes, I have known many women who have divorced their husbands because they are mean.)

                      I believe that women married to men who are Christians and are abusive, ought to ask the church to discipline their husbands and I believe that women married to unsaved, abusive men, ought to call the police and press charges when their husbands abuse them. Then I think they ought to go and visit their husbands in jail.

                      I believe that a woman married to a man who is Muslim and WHO CANNOT SAFELY PRESS CHARGES against her husband, can still bow before his authority and pray and trust God to protect her or to bring much good from her martyrdom.

                      You are welcome to disagree with me on any point, Kat. But if you say that I’m saying a woman should stand still an allow herself to be punched, you’re misinterpreting my words.

                      I did say a person should turn the other cheek, probably, but I assumed, wrongly I guess, that we all interpreted that the same way. I don’t think Jesus meant that we were to stand there, and invite more beatings. There are many places that we are told to flee if we’re able. However, we are to always respond in love. And we are to respond differently to those in authority over us, than we respond to others. For instance, if my son punches me, he’s in deep trouble and he will be disciplined by me. If my husband punches me, he is also in deep trouble, but he won’t be disciplined by me. He’ll be disciplined by the church and the state and I will stand by his side and love him and serve him as he’s being disciplined.

                      (I’m not married, I’m speaking theoretically, and caps are for emphasis not yelling.)

                    • Kat Heckenbach July 15, 2013, 8:44 AM

                      Sally, you said:

                      “Taking a punch in the name of Jesus is not a twisting of Scripture at all. It’s exactly what Scripture teaches.”


                      “To this we have been called. To respond in love–to endure unjust beatings.”

                      So yes, I took what you said to mean to continue to take beatings.

                      And the reason I interpreted that of Emily’s post is she used an example of someone who is in a situation where leaving is not an option.

                      I understand that a woman in a country that is seen as her husband’s property and could be killed for leaving him would be forced to stay. But I don’t see that any other woman has to.

                      You never said before this comment anything that even implies a woman should call the police or leave the situation. And I disagree with you that she should go back. Unless and until the husband has shown a real turnaround, and how often does that happen? Really and truly?

                      Anyway, if you truly believe a woman should leave and press charges, then I appreciate the clarification.

                      I still don’t think we will ever agree on this issue, and probably best to drop the discussion.

                    • sally apokedak July 15, 2013, 9:31 AM

                      Yes, you’re right, Kat. I did say those things. And it was unfortunate because I dropped those comments into a charged discussion that wasn’t about what I thought it was about.

                      I meant my statements to be taken in the context of the scriptural passages. I do think scripture teaches us to take unjust beatings and to respond in love–not just when we’re slaves–but wives to husbands, employees to employers, children to parents, and so on and so forth. I think we are to take verbal abuse and even physical abuse and we are to respond in love.

                      So if a woman calls the police (and I don’t think refusing to do that is an ungodly option) I think she should do it because she loves her husband and wants to help him, not because he deserves to have his sorry ass in jail. He does deserve that, but that can’t be her motivation if she loves God and neighbor.

                    • sally apokedak July 15, 2013, 9:33 AM

                      And I should have added: Thank you for your kind response. 🙂

                  • Katherine Coble July 10, 2013, 1:08 PM

                    So I guess you have time now to read all of the comments….That being said I hope you have time to read this as well.
                    You say….
                    “I guess, what I’m saying, Kat, is that I don’t think it’s a male blindness problem as much as it’s a Biblical interpretation/life experience problem. Because of how I was raised and because of how I read scripture I thought Emily’s post was sweet and loving and smart and right on. ”
                    That leads me to infer that you pretty much figure your take on Scripture is righty-tighty and anyone who disagrees with you is some sort of naif. I have a real problem with that, frankly. Especially given that your interpretation of Scripture encourages women to remain in life-threatening situations and portrays God as thirsting for human sacrifice to sate his need for Glory.

                    “I read it as encouraging abusive women, which I used to be (yes, I was abused, but I was also abusive. My tongue could cut a man down in seconds), ”
                    Frankly your repeated comments here are coming across as showing that you can still be abusive.
                    “To read that post and come to that conclusion is careless and, I think sinful,”
                    So if someone agrees with you it’s great. If they don’t that’s sinful? Is that how you want to be treated? You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth here.
                    ” it’s not recognizing that she’s a women with opinions that she has a right and a duty express,”
                    I hope you realise that as I point out your abusive actions I am merely a woman with opinions I have a right and duty to express. As a writer I cannot be held accountable for your baggage.

                    I really dislike how you repeatedly use your interpretation Bible to back up your bullying.

                    • sally apokedak July 15, 2013, 8:27 AM

                      Katherine, you have called me cruel, callous, and a bully.

                      I cannot see that anything I’ve said was cruel, calloused, or bullying.

                      I have posted calmly, without any rancor. I have very strong beliefs formed by my reading of scripture and by my life experience. I think I should be allowed to express those beliefs without you accusing me of being a bully and being cruel. I think you are sinning against me by falsely accusing me. And I think you are attacking me and not my arguments.

                      Yes, you are right to say that I can still be abusive. I can be. I am well aware of that. Because I am so aware of it, I am pretty sure that I haven’t abused anyone in this thread. If you’d like to show me what I said that was abusive or bullying, I’ll listen.

                      In regards to people agreeing with me being in sin:

                      I interpret the Bible the way I think is right. If I thought I was wrong, I’d interpret it a different way. I, obviously, think I’m right. And everyone else commenting on this thread thinks they are right.

                      You say that I’m a bully for stating my opinion (which you believe is not loving), but I’m not allowed to say that I think others sin when they state opinions (which I believe are not loving)?

                      Of course I believe you are a women with an opinion and I believe you have a right and a duty to express that opinion. I am not calling you a bully for expressing that opinion.

                      I don’t know what I have said to make you judge me so harshly, Katherine.

              • Johne Cook July 10, 2013, 7:24 AM

                Wrongdoing is a loaded word for a blog post designed to elicit discussion.

                What about all the people sort of agreeing with him? I’ve read two different women who used the same language he did (which appears to prove a point many find offensive, and yet appears to contain some truth). I find that interesting and I don’t have an answer for why that is or how that works. (I was listening to Julie Chen last night talking about how the racial slurs used by a young, blonde Texas woman hurt her and took her back to her childhood in the 70s growing up in Queens, when people called her ‘Chink’ and mocked her by pulling up the corner of their eyes. Aisha Tyler said racial people use charged language that was previously used against them to take the sting of it, but a Black guy can use a word that I cannot. Maybe there’s something of that here.)

                I’ve learned a ton from this thread. Katherine Coble especially has opened my eyes. But for every one Coble, you have X other people who are, shall we say, less patient and gracious and measured and restrained. One or two voices of quiet reason may not be enough to disprove his query.

              • Mary July 10, 2013, 8:36 AM

                I agree with you, Jennifer.

    • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 9:27 AM

      Having read the responses to Maya it seems we have hit a usual problem in these discussions.
      I don’t know if I am able enough to write about it but I will give it a go.

      Before I start I think I understand this because I have been where some of the men are who are commenting; I know what it feels like to feel misunderstood and not quite get what is being said. I don’t say this to call you or suggest that your motives are at fault In fact it really isn’t to do with motives as much as to do with conditioning.

      Here goes:

      1. When two people engage it is highly likely that one person will have an advantage over the other that they may not be aware of; but it exists. In a patriarchal leaning society the male will have travelled through life with an invisible passport not possessed by the female; this will have given access to areas in education, work life, church, and wider society that operates in an invisible way. It is not overtly expressed but is conditioned by all of the images around us.

      It is not just with gender but also with race, sexuality, education, family background. So many ways. It is said that doors will have been opened more for a good looking person compared to someone less visually appealing by societies standards. This is about advantage.

      2. There’s is a saying in Britain that the Queen thinks the whole world smells of fresh Magnolia paint. This is because when she is about to visit a place someone will have just painted. Because of this she cannot know what the world smells like for the rest of us. At one level this might be said to be not her fault because she doesn’t write to people to ask them to paint. The people do it because of some conditioning about what a queen should expect. At another level, even though she can’t change it, any comments she makes will either be unconnected, if she doesn’t acknowledge her privilege, or connected, if she does acknowledge her privilege.

      3. When men comment on how women have reacted to an issue (as Mike has done with his blog) he does so from a position of privilege. I am absolutely certain that he has not intended to cause offence to anyone. In fact I feel very sure that he writes about what he sees as a genuine issue for Christian communities. It is, however, the lack of acknowledgement of privilege that makes the words that seem reasonable from one perspective unreasonable from another perspective. Has Mike done this on purpose; no. Is he being intentionally patriarchal; no. But the positions we have that are fuelled by the advantage we have use the patriarchal system that has given them the advantage.

      So when Maya expresses her frustration that somehow there is a mismatch between how she might be treated as a woman and how I might be treated as a man, it is fuelled by the hidden advantage.

      I know this because I have journeyed to try to work through my own hidden use of the patriarchal advantages that I have been handed. At first I wanted to react against it because I have always seen myself as being against sexism. The problem however is far deeper than we can often see.

      I do genuinely hope that this helps.

      I have written about this elsewhere:


      • Mary July 10, 2013, 9:30 AM

        You are saying some great things in this post, Alan! Thank you.

      • Mike Duran July 10, 2013, 10:01 AM

        Alan, so is there any way, any man, can suggest any woman, is ever wrong w/out having it “charged with hidden advantage”? I apologize, but this sounds more like feminist theory psycho-babble. And if you “have been where some of the men are who are commenting” and have overcome your “privileged status,” isn’t it possible that some men have overcome that bias too…but just disagree with you?

        • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 11:35 AM


          1) Of course we can offer critique and challenge. We just have to be aware of our advantage.

          2) You might want to dismiss it as feminist theory psycho-babble but I would encourage you to think again. It is wider than just a feminist issue. If I take my own context as a white, western, educated, male, church leader, then I look to be aware that:

          – When I meet with my UK Asian friends I have had doors opened to me that they haven’t.
          – When I speak to those from say Africa I have a western advantage of both resource and opportunity.
          – When I meet with those who have not had the educational opportunities that I have had I recognise that doors have been opened to me not based on intelligence but on being able to convert my thoughts in to exam results.
          – When I speak to church members I try to recognise that I am afforded treatment in our community that they do not receive.

          Now it is of course true that each of these advantages can have negative aspects: a bit like the fact that the queen doesn’t have some of the freedoms to roam that her subjects have. She can’t just pop out for a walk. But any complaint about these tends to sound like the millionaire pop star who is annoyed that his fans keep asking for autographs. It must be annoying but it is nothing compared to the privilege of their wealth and fame.

          3) I don’t feel I have overcome my privilege and really that is not the point of what I am saying. How much I try to work to level out the gender injustices I know that I cannot make enough difference to change the way we are conditioned to view people in certain ways. It is however the ongoing acknowledgement of the advantage and the continued debate that can make us aware of its affects upon us all.

          By the way it is worth noting that you and I can also be subject to the negative affects of this hidden advantage given the right context. I am from the north of England and and have a distinct accent – in the UK there is a perception that Received Pronunciation (posh accent) opens doors that would not be readily opened for me. In a similar way it would be highly unlikely that I would have studied at Oxford or Cambridge because the top 5 private schools fill more places than the next 2000 UK schools.

          I know you might want to dismiss this as psycho-babble but it is worth considering further. Al

          • Johne Cook July 10, 2013, 4:48 PM

            Luther gave up self-flagellation for a message of grace. I prefer that (regardless of race, creed, color, or gender).

            • R.J. Anderson July 10, 2013, 5:14 PM

              Being aware of your privilege compared to others, and not taking unfair advantage of that privilege to berate them for not being like you, is not self-flagellation. It is common decency.

            • Katherine Coble July 10, 2013, 5:33 PM

              I as the Mennonite chuckle a bit at the Lutheran standard of grace. (Google Anabaptist persecution for more)….

              But in all seriousness, that leads to a larger good point. Everybody has good and bad. Every doctrine has good and bad.
              It’s good to not convince yourself that your good parts excuse your bad parts.

              It’s also good to realise that the other fellow HAS good parts too.

            • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 11:37 PM

              Johne – are you saying that being a Christians means you don’t have to consider your own advantage and the disadvantage of others.

              I really hope I have misunderstood you.

              • Johne Cook July 11, 2013, 9:21 AM

                Hey, Alan,
                As I thought about how to reply, it occurred to me this is a tangent off the main topic, and I think this tangent is about identity. It takes me awhile to warm to a point, so I’m going to ramble for a moment.

                I can only speak for myself – I don’t think in terms of advantage and disadvantage, I don’t think in terms of race or creed or gender. (I am of course aware of these things, but I don’t dwell on them.)

                Before the cross, God’s people had the ten commandments, a list of imperative principles written largely in the negative voice, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that.’ Christ flipped that around with the two Great Commandments, love God, love your neighbor as yourself. There was a change in emphasis from the negative to the positive. That’s where I’m going with this.

                When people bring up the priviledge of my race and gender, I hear an implied superiority of things largely outside of my ability to change: I was born in a certain era in a certain land with a certain gender and heritage and whatever. Others don’t have the same conditions I have. Some people would have me focus on this disparity at all times and make decisions accordingly to be a better citizen of the planet. I am aware of this at some level, but I choose not to make this my focus. To me, that is like focusing on law that, which crucial, is also perpetually damning. It is a game I cannot win, can never win. Because I’m white and male and American, I have already won, and I have already lost.

                Instead, I think in terms of repentance and redemption and love and grace and servanthood. Every day when I wake, the first thing I do is refocus on my position before God. I wrote earlier this is about kneeling instead of fighting. When my minister spoke about Solomon, he said if he was in Solomon’s position, instead of wisdom, he thinks he would have asked to be able to love God more. That stuck with me. So every morning as I pray (usually in the shower), I pray some variation of this sentiment: “Dear God, I love you and thank you for this day. Please help me to love you more, help me love you better, help me love as you love, help me love perhaps unlovely people.” I view everyone (even people who I don’t agree with, who fire up my dander) as someone God loved enough to die for, as someone He wants me to love sacrificially whether I like them or not.

                So, no, I don’t think about my own advantage and the disadvantage of others. I think about how I can serve others. For example, despite living an hour from where I work, after twelve hours of in a work phase (two hours on the road, nine hours of work, an hour for lunch), I then serve my (equally hard-working) wife by doing all the cooking, washing dishes, washing clothes, mowing the lawn, and so on. (Acts of service is one of her primary love languages and getting up and serving her demonstrates my love to her in a way she is most able to understand and appreciate.) I serve my neighbor in the washroom when I remember my dad’s adage to leave a place cleaner than I found it. I serve the people I come into contact with by being polite, by letting them go first, by praying for them when they cut me off and putting their needs before my own. (I am not perfect in this, but I try.)

                When I look at a person, I don’t see them as a man or woman or as a person of color or a person of disadvantage, I look at them as a person to love, a person to serve. (Some people are easier to serve than others. That doesn’t change my mandate.)

                Instead of dwelling on my identity as a white male American, I dwell on my identity as a redeemed son of God, a broken and healed member of the body of Christ, a brother to Christian brothers and sisters, and a Godly neighbor to unbelievers who need to be saved from Hell and separation from God.

                And that is why I don’t consider advantage vs. disadvantage. My attention and energy is completely consumed by another perspective, and that’s who I am, who I try to be despite feet of clay.

                I hope all that answers your question. 😉

                • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 9:27 AM

                  I know I’m “interrupting” as it were and I’m sorry. But this post of yours, Johne, is the perfect example of what I’m trying to get across about the differences between Feminist language and Christian language.

                  It is my main regret about Christian Feminists that so many of us haven’t learned how to express our Feminist thoughts in Christian language.

                • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 10:19 AM

                  I think the attitude you describe (dwelling on our identities as redeemed sinners and treating all human beings with dignity and compassion in the name of Christ) is lovely and something to which we should all aspire. Servanthood is indeed the highest calling of all believers and the best way we can follow the example of our Lord and Saviour. However, I hope you won’t think I am contradicting or in any way meaning to negate your standpoint when I suggest that the reason you find it easier (by which I don’t mean to suggest that it is “easy”, for you or anyone else) to go about your daily business and service to the Lord without being weighed down by considerations of race, gender and social status is that you are a white middle-class American male.

                  If you were black, poor or female (or harder yet, all three), and were reminded of this multiple times every day by frequent incidents of discrimination, injustice and insensitivity even from fellow Christians who ought to know better, I think it would be much, much harder for you to declare yourself blind to issues of race, gender and social position. You might still, by the grace and for the glory of God, be able to rise above the bitterness and pain of these injustices and treat all people equally and with a servant’s heart — but it would be a far greater challenge for you to do so.

                  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with your philosophy as such, or that the world wouldn’t be a better place if we could all set aside the things that divide us and unite ourselves in servanthood for God’s glory. But if you go about as a white middle-class American male advising others to simply forget about racial, class, and gender distinctions, you are going to get some pushback from those who have never, ever been allowed even for a moment to forget their race, class or gender — people who would love to be able to just “not consider” these distinctions as you do, but who have never been granted that privilege. So I think it’s a good idea to be sensitive to your audience.

                  • Johne Cook July 11, 2013, 10:30 AM

                    (You’ll note, I’m not advising others to forget about all that. It has been made abundantly clear that I (and others like me) are going through life on the easiest possible setting. I’m merely saying that since I am what I am, I can choose to flagrantly abuse my situation and stand on the backs of those less fortunate or use my blessings to bless others and help elevate those less fortunate. Christ set the model and I’m trying to follow it. Each day is a new series of failures and successes. Each day is a new set of opportunities to kneel, to repent, to stand and withstand with and for Christ.)

                • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 10:33 AM

                  Thank you, Johne. Maybe I should have you answer the rest of the questions for me.

            • Brianne July 11, 2013, 6:43 AM

              I’m not sure if you’re talking about Martin Luther, but if you are then I’d like to post one of my favorite quotes of his:

              “God has created men with broad chests and shoulders, not broad hips so that men can understand wisdom. But, the place where the filth flows out is small. With women it is the other way around. That’s why they have lots of filth and little wisdom”

              I think I’m going to make my own Martin Luther calender with all the shoved under the rug quotes/nuggets of truth.
              Quotes like this, sort of get at the intuition in the whole women just submit to your husbands because God says so argument. This is the farthest thing from my relationship with Christ and I don’t know how to explain that in the nicest way possible.

              • Johne Cook July 11, 2013, 9:31 AM

                When I invoked Martin Luther, I was thinking of the discussion of The Reformation I just finished this weekend from Francis Schaeffer’s How Then Shall We Live series. I was thinking about how important it was that he abandoned trying to find a way to God through works and embraced the radical concept of grace, and how that change in thinking played a critical role in The Reformation. If the mere mention of Luther has distracted you and introduced a sour taste in your mouth, I regret my error. Please pretend I said something about focusing on grace versus works and that if women are asked to submit to their husbands, husbands are commanded to serve their wives sacrificially as Christ loved the church.

                • Brianne July 11, 2013, 1:33 PM

                  I’m probably inappropriately excited that I may have interpreted your words to mean that you are understanding of the concept of mutual servanthood free of the power dynamic.

                  Exactly, grace, grace, grace. Imagine being a women told the gospel message of Christ’s love, gift of freedom and salvation, how amazing that is and then in the same breath, told that the best way to be a Christian is by being a submissive servant to your husband as that is your role. I’m hoping you can truly grasp how that underscores the impact of the gospel message. As a woman, taking God’s gift of grace and salvation, I don’t see how an ethical implication tied to my subservient nature to my husband has any place in the grace saturated gospel message. It doesn’t, and that’s what I would love so much to be understood. God cares about the message of grace, not gender roles and how ardently you want to cling to them.

                  Considering some of Jesus last words to the disciples were “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” And I know I’m not an expert at interpreting scripture, but holding the psyche that men are required to be the leaders of women sounds to me like lording it over women. I want to serve God and everyone around me including my husband in a powerless dynamic of freedom and grace.

                  • Johne Cook July 11, 2013, 2:04 PM

                    Perhaps this is a place to invoke the Proverbs 31 woman, who is both submissive and strong. In this passage, she comes across as perfect (which can be pretty deflating to normal, not-completely-perfect women). But there’s more to it than that:
                    “The only reason why the Proverbs 31 Woman can be perceived as “perfect” is because she is a product of the God who lives within her. The only thing that’s perfect about her, is Him.

                    She doesn’t place her hope in her husband, her family or her looks, but in God.

                    Because of her fear of the Lord, she is able to be all that she is. You see, the Proverbs 31 Woman is the ideal example of a godly woman, not because she’s perfect, but because all that she does is a result of her relationship with her Saviour. She’s an example to every woman who wishes to please the Lord because she fears Him first and foremost, and every other area of her life flourishes because of it.”

                    I do think married women should submit to their husbands, but their husbands should serve their wives sacrificially as Christ served the church, each putting God first and the other before themselves. In this way we avoid the power dynamic I think you describe, grace grace grace, mutual servanthood.

                    • Brianne July 11, 2013, 2:21 PM

                      Well, if we’re not on the same page, I think we’re in the same book. I read that blog and agreed with it. I do think that the understanding of how intimate your relationship is with Christ as a man, it is just as intimate for a woman and to have a man come into the relationship and insist on a woman looking to him for most spiritual guidance with a power tainted dynamic can be invasive. When you are mutual looking to God for guidance then the situation isn’t restricting on a women’s right to be able to commune directly with Christ.

              • Jill July 11, 2013, 1:06 PM

                I would like the original source of this quote, if you have it. I have discovered that some of what is attributed to Luther is falsely translated from the German to the English–in a way that makes Luther look like a misogynist. I don’t read German, but the translations by scholars do not resemble what is to be found in a certain feminist book about religion, which is oft-quoted from.

                • Brianne July 11, 2013, 1:55 PM

                  D. Martin Luther’s Werke “Tischreden, Weiman,” 1912-21″ p. 25.

                  It’s a source in the second article on this link “The Meaning of the Head”

                  I have benefited a lot from reading a lot of the scripture studies on this site.

                  Another nugget for my misogyny calender from Martin Luther:
                  “There is no gown or garment that worse becomes a woman than when she would be wise.”
                  —Martin Luther

                  • Jill July 11, 2013, 3:11 PM

                    Thank you. The general misogyny of early church fathers is well-known, and it’s repulsive. I’d like to check on this one, though, for the reason I stated above. 🙂

                    • Brianne July 12, 2013, 6:14 AM

                      I’m not trying to negate Martin Luther’s message of grace or the revolutionary nature of his message, just point out that gender privilege crept into his theology and how easily it can creep in and taint messages.

                      I find John Chrysostom also very interesting in how he was misogynistic yet at times very progressive.

                      For example:
                      For a man to go to a woman for advice is like going to the lowest kind of animal to seek advice.

                      But then I read stuff like this:
                      After the Fall, Chrysostom said of her future: “thy turning shall be to thy husband” (Gen. 3.16).[37] Notice that Chrysostom did not translate this Greek phrase as your desire will be for your husband, as most modern Bibles do. The emphasis and significance of turning means that “Eve is turning away from God to her husband, and, as a consequence of that deflection, Adam will rule over her.”[38] Chrysostom clearly states that the subordination of women occurred as a result of the Fall. However, this condition no longer exists for it was lifted as a result of the atoning work of Jesus Christ who has redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13)

                      It’s all very confusing.

                  • Jill July 11, 2013, 4:34 PM

                    Ack! I need to find a non German source, lol.

                • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 2:26 PM

                  What is the certain feminist book in question?

                  • Jill July 11, 2013, 3:18 PM

                    I will have to go look it up! I’ll get back to you on that. Quite some time ago, I was trying to find the source of a Luther quote that made him sound like a sexist pig. I kept getting this feminist book about religion–over and over again, just the quote from her book, rather than a Luther text or sermon. When I finally found the source material, I discovered the quote was ripped from context and changed subtly so that its meaning was also tainted. That isn’t to say that Luther wasn’t a sexist. Some of his quotes are difficult to deal with, but they really aren’t all that different from what the early church fathers said. It seems the Greco-Roman view that women are material–base and sinful–and men are head and spirit–or wise and moral–crept into church teaching.

                    • Jill July 11, 2013, 4:08 PM

                      Helen Ellerbe’s The Dark Side of Christianity. I don’t know that her book is precisely feminist as much as anti-Christian, but I had remembered it that way because the feminist internet quotes from it rather than original source material.

                    • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:05 PM

                      Thank you; I hadn’t heard of it.

                      Luther is a compelling historical figure for me.

                    • Jill July 11, 2013, 5:16 PM

                      You might want to read his essays on the Estate of Marriage, where he actually sounds rather progressive in saying that women aren’t evil; that they are God’s creation, and tells men not to complain when they have to change diapers and stay up with crying babies because they chose to get married and produce offspring. So many of his anti-female quotes appear to be ripped from context. It’s difficult for me to reconcile everything he said. That’s why I want source documents. (not in German!)

          • D.M. Dutcher July 11, 2013, 12:10 PM

            The thing though, is that this is DIFFERENCE, not privilege. I tend to post about anime and manga on my blog, and I interact heavily with it enough to understand that there are cultural differences between Japan and America, and you can’t always do knee-jerk condemnations based on your own values. But I’m not suffering from a culture of privilege, and for all the talk, gender is the same way. Women go through different things than men do, but men really aren’t privileged if you look at the whole picture of what we are.

            Like women never have seriously had to deal with holding a selective service card and understanding that your own society has the power to compel you to die in its defense or face the loss of liberty and livelihood. Or that simply smiling at a child you don’t know as a single man can evoke distrust and suspicion in others. I think women look at us, and see things they are denied without seeing all the rest of the ways we are different; they see us as CEOs, but they don’t see how we simply can’t show visible emotion without being unmanly, and how unmanliness moves us in ways that counteract or balance what they see as privilege.

            To argue for one side as privileged isn’t really seeing the whole picture imo. We’re really just different, and it’s equal parts privilege and drawback.

            • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 1:50 PM

              “Like women never have seriously had to deal with holding a selective service card and understanding that your own society has the power to compel you to die in its defense or face the loss of liberty and livelihood.”

              You’re right, DM. I have never understood until this very moment the terrible, persistent hardship that men face every day holding a selective service card. The card that is constantly on display for all to see no matter how hard one may try to hide it, this card which causes you to be patronized and underestimated by others on a regular basis; the card which forces you to listen to people’s long-winded explanations on subjects you know more about than they do, simply because they assume you as a selective service card holder are automatically less well-informed than they are; the card which puts you at an instant disadvantage when applying for certain key work positions because of course everyone knows that most selective service card holders aren’t cut out to be engineers or CEO’s no matter how much job-related education or experience you have. (Do read that linked essay; it’s written by a man and it’s extremely interesting.)

              Let’s be serious here. Carrying a card which means you could potentially be called to serve in the army IF there was a war requiring it is nowhere near on the same level of the persistent daily discrimination and abuse that many women face. Yes, undeniably men are victims of our messed-up and unbiblical societal perspective on manhood and womanhood. Undeniably they do suffer injustice and mistreatment on an individual basis. It’s shameful how men, particularly fathers, are sometimes mocked and belittled on television sitcoms, as well. But men have not been systematically persecuted, denigrated, and had their contributions ignored, appropriated or erased from history purely because of their gender. (Sometimes men have suffered this way because of their race or religion, but not simply because they were men.)

              And yes, it’s a shame that we live in a world of distrust and suspicion, where men can be unjustly suspected or accused for behaviour which in a sane society would be judged wholly innocuous and indeed courteous. But the incidence of men being accused of pedophilia is infinitesimally tiny compared to the incidence of women being sexually harassed and raped. And if you think it feels bad to have a mother clasp her child close and give you a dirty look for smiling at her daughter, imagine how it feels to have a strange man clasp you close and whisper dirty words in your ear for doing nothing at all except happen to be a woman he finds desirable.

              In short, it’s ridiculous to say that as a man you aren’t privileged, merely “different” and that it’s an equal situation. You have no idea how privileged you are, and how unequally women have been and still are treated in many places throughout the world.

              • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 2:45 PM

                ::applauds for RJ::

              • katz July 11, 2013, 3:12 PM

                Also, essentially every feminist since day zero has either opposed the draft or supported making it coed.

              • D.M. Dutcher July 11, 2013, 3:43 PM

                It’s not tiny enough to literally obliterate men from being elementary school teachers or day care workers, and men have to deal with always being seen as predatory where women never do. A man is presumed guilty because of his gender, and here’s the thing; our disadvantages kill us. We’re more likely to be in prison, to be homeless, to be mentally ill, to suffer violence in general, to kill ourselves especially in middle age, to be expected to commit violence in defense of others (and to be seen as unmanly if not,) and generally suffer a BOATLOAD of pathology which never gets reported or dealt with.

                Even cultural attitudes…if I said women don’t read, or that a child doesn’t need a mother, or a man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle, or that kicking a woman in the crotch isn’t offensive when played for humor in television or movies, or women are girlchilds that need to girl up, I’d rightly get savaged. But for men, little to no outcry. Where women rightly have to deal with sexual assault, men have to deal with attitudes of disposability and a lot of other things thankfully you are shielded from.

                Thing is, most guys just shut up and accept it. Not saying it’s right to do so, but I’m saying that the reason why it seems so one-sided is that we don’t ever talk about it because you want us all to be strong for you. (Not you personally, you in general.) The world is full of sin and fallen people, and it’s funny how Christians seem to think one gender magically skips out on any consequences and only oppresses others while enjoying privilege.

                • D.M. Dutcher July 11, 2013, 3:48 PM

                  Ugh, by rightly deal with sexual assault, I mean you are right when you say the problem and the extent of it. Moral guys understand this, and we often are so conscious of it we overreact in the sense of caution so that you don’t feel threatened. To the point where we won’t be alone with you or even look more than briefly to avoid misunderstandings.

                • Jessica Thomas July 11, 2013, 4:06 PM

                  Drats, I said I was done with this… But good points. I’ve never been assaulted by a male, so I don’t know what it’s like for women who have. I suppose that could be why I don’t have particularly strong opinions on this subject. However, I did have an alcoholic father, so that caused issues (in other words, it’s not all roses where I came from. Men were very scary to me for a very long time.)

                  I have observed, during my school-age years, girls getting privileges just because they were girls, and being seen as “model” students because public school is more supportive of hands-off learning styles. I went through grade school during the 80’s, when the feminist movement was well established and many changes had already taken place, so I don’t truly know what it is like to be oppressed for being a woman. I do see the struggles of (yes) white men all around me though. From greater difficulty finding jobs during this recession, to pretty much total lack of mental health care. From my view, the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. At least not on my spot of soil in the U.S.A.

                  • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:08 PM

                    Many of us are in the same boat. I’m finding more and more of my time is devoted to campaigning for parity for boys in public schools.

                    I really don’t see how one group highlighting the way things suck for them means that they are saying things don’t suck for another group.

                    • Jessica Thomas July 11, 2013, 5:47 PM

                      “I really don’t see how one group highlighting the way things suck for them means that they are saying things don’t suck for another group.”

                      I don’t think it has to, but there’s a one upmanship that seems to occur on both sides, not necessarily intentionally.

                      I hopped over to a blog that was linked to a blog that was complaining about Mike’s post (heh), and it was an enlightening snapshot of one woman’s conversion from fundamental Baptist to agnostic atheism after a sexual assault on a Christian campus, leading to subsequent depression. While it makes me sad that she’s turned to atheism as a salve, I understand the need to go through a mental/emotional rebellion from hypocrisy. When I hopped back to Mike’s post and reread it after reading her story, I realized, “Yeah, if someone didn’t know Mike, depending on one’s background, this post sounds callous.” I know many women who have been raped, mostly date rape…it’s shockingly common. I consider it a blessing to be an over-cautious introvert at times like these. I also thank my lucky stars that I didn’t grow up in church sometimes. I think Mike’s error was that he underestimated the hidden pain of abuse/assault, as well as the rampant spiritual abuse false teaching that’s occurring in today’s churches.

      • D.M. Dutcher July 10, 2013, 12:49 PM

        Actually alan, your mindset ironically does the reverse. By focusing on oppression, you have to treat women with kid gloves, and it prevents real communication. It’s a one-sided supplication, not a conversation.

        • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 1:29 PM


          It doesn’t treat anyone with kid gloves. Perhaps my clumsy writing style suggests this bu it was not my intention.

          What the thought process does is to frame all of our comments in a context that makes us aware of the magnolia paint.

          Think about how the changes the way we speak and deal with others who do not share our advantage.

          • D.M. Dutcher July 10, 2013, 3:15 PM

            Maybe if I replaced it with “rich” and “poor” maybe it would help to show my point. “I must carefully speak to this poor person in a way where I neutralize my richness and become aware of their poverty, because I suffer from advantage.” You’d wind up treating them with kid gloves, or insulting them at worst. The irony in this too is that for this example a lot of us are really apologizing for being a poor son of a rich person whose lost their wealth to a rich son of a poor one; the “advantage” is only in the past.

            • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 3:48 PM

              I am afraid you misunderstand the point DM.

              It s not about apologising for the advantage. It is about recognising he advantage. This is not about patronising people but about empathising with then.

              I am sorry you see it as a negative. I see it as liberating. Just to know the existence of the magnolia paint is to know that my word view is influenced.

              It is more about how I change myself than how I change them.

  • Jim July 9, 2013, 6:56 PM

    Jesus led by BEING the servant. We all should try to emulate that, not by judging others who aren’t…

  • Jessica Thomas July 10, 2013, 7:24 AM

    At the risk of coming across as a hypocritical arse, I will attempt an analysis of Maya’s final statements.

    “I strongly suspect that your discomfort with these feminists has more to do with your disagreement with their position than their tone.”

    This is subtly manipulative, but something a lot of women do, including myself. We are intuitive (generally) by nature, so we feel overly confident in our discernment of other people’s motives. Maya can’t enter into Mike’s head, so her suspicions are irrelevent within a logical discourse, and are, therefore, best left out.

    “(or perhaps it’s that they argued their position so well that unnerves you.”

    This assumes Mike is unnerved, but there is no way for anyone to know that but Mike. Again, this is a subtle attempt at emotional manipulation (which is a power grab at the heart of it) and it’s also belittling in a masked “nicey-nice” kind of way.

    “Maybe you think women should be a little less convinced and assertive? More tentative and accommodating?”

    This is uninvited psycho analysis. Another tactic women seem to often use. Maya is attempting to “discern” Mike’s character, based on her “intuition”, and then subtly dismisses him based on her discernment with passive-aggressive questions that really say “I know you better than you know yourself.”

    Mike knows Mike. Maya knows Maya. God (and the demons) know them both.

    “Would you feel the same way if the arguments had been made by men?)”

    Not sure it needs to be said at this point, because I think I covered it, but the above statement assumes Mike has some hidden sexist notions that need uncovered and weeded out. May as well just forget framing it as a question and say, “Mike, I don’t think you would feel the same way if the arguments had been made by men…” And depending on how bold you want to go, add “because you harbor hidden chauvinistic tendencies that need addressing.”

    How do I know these tactics? Because I’ve tried them all and still fall into the same traps.

    • Heather Day Gilbert July 10, 2013, 8:13 AM

      Thank you, Jessica. Yes, there is an underlying manipulation going on in Maya’s comments, subtle name-calling, etc. This is why I like hanging out w/dudes more than women half the time. Catty undertones just drive me nutso. Why not just come out and say things, flat-out? Just proves that men and women are different. I’m sure I’m capable of subtle name-calling, too, and random psychoanalysis to get to people’s REAL motivations. But I do try to keep those thoughts to myself and off public blog forums.

      • Mary July 10, 2013, 8:35 AM

        Heather, saying that you enjoying hanging out with men more than women because women are manipulative and catty is highly sexist. Not all women are like that. And likely if they are, they have been conditioned to be that way because a woman who is assertive in our society is seen as bitchy. Women have been conditioned to be “nicer” and more subtle when they are angry or upset with someone which causes it to look like manipulation. I think you need to understand the reasons why women sometimes do these things before you decide that men are automatically “better” because they have been conditioned in a different way.

        • Jessica Thomas July 10, 2013, 9:03 AM

          Heh heh, Mary, you just demonstrated the reason I too often prefer the company of men. Generally speaking (though not in all cases, of course) I can state my opinions to them without (as much) fear of manipulative emotional retribution.

          • Mary July 10, 2013, 9:09 AM

            But men can suck in other ways. And men can’t always relate to you in ways that other women can, because they are men and not women. I think you’re doing yourself a disservice by avoiding the company of other women. Women ARE capable of open communication, it just sometimes takes some effort to break out of old habits due to social conditioning. Like I said, I don’t think this is the way that women inherently are. I think we sometimes just have this idea in our heads that if we’re assertive with people that they will start hating us and think we’re rude bitches and not listen to us anyway. I mean, just look at the way that the more assertive women have been treated in this whole discussion about Emily’s post. It’s like we have to walk on egg shells in order to be taken seriously. That’s the problem and it’s part of the reason why women manipulate.

            • Heather Day Gilbert July 10, 2013, 9:16 AM

              Um…saying because we have to walk on eggshells, we have to act manipulative is as good an excuse as men saying they were beaten as kids so they beat their wives. There is no excuse for being deliberately rude and trying to offend people. Self-control comes into play. I have many, many female friends, who are all amazing in their own ways. I think the women who get the farthest in life are: yes, the ones who push and won’t give up, but also the ones who do things out of genuine concern for others. Mother Theresa springs to mind. No one, male or female, is fondly remembered for tromping all over everyone else. I do realize some people are just naturally more prickly around the edges. But we each know when we’ve crossed the line and deliberately inflamed someone else by picking at a sore spot or name-calling.

              • Mary July 10, 2013, 9:21 AM

                I’m not saying it’s an excuse, I’m just explaining why it happens. Of course we all need to try to do better. EVERYONE should try to communicate better with each other, regardless of gender, but it can come out in bad ways sometimes because humans aren’t perfect.

              • Heather Day Gilbert July 10, 2013, 9:21 AM

                And BTW, saying “men can suck in other ways” would tick me off royally if I were a guy. Can’t women suck in plenty of ways, too? Sounds to me like you’re just bashing on guys in general, who really can’t help being born w/the XY chromosome, and frankly, I’m glad they WERE born with it.

                • Mary July 10, 2013, 9:23 AM

                  I’m not bashing anyone. Sheesh. Both men and women can suck. We sometimes have “sucky” parts of our personalities that can come out. But there are ways that society encourages these things and they become manifested in our psyches. I’m just explaining why this happens. Not excusing, just explaining.

            • Heather Day Gilbert July 10, 2013, 9:23 AM

              And BTW, saying “men can suck in other ways” would tick me off royally if I were a guy. Can’t women suck in plenty of ways, too? Sounds to me like you’re just bashing on guys in general, who really can’t help being born w/the XY chromosome, and frankly, I’m glad they WERE born with it, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to propagate humanity.

            • Jessica Thomas July 10, 2013, 10:14 AM

              I agree. Men can be blockheads. 😉

              I don’t avoid women. I prefer them as bosses, generally, because I know if I break down and cry for no other reason than hormonal, I don’t have to explain myself. Not that I’d *ever* do that in the workplace though. But, I find men easier coworkers at times because I can tell them their code is stupid and they don’t usually mind. Not that I would ever to that either. 🙂 (I’ve certainly never said it to a female coworker. I’m not that brave.)

        • Heather Day Gilbert July 10, 2013, 9:05 AM

          How can I be sexist if I AM A FEMALE? I never said all women were catty. I’m saying many women have that tendency. Not sure your views on Christianity, but for me, that’s something I don’t want to indulge in…that snipey backbiting spirit. I really don’t think it has to do with conditioning. I think it has to do with how women interact with other women, and our innate tendencies to try to “play nice.” Honestly, when rearing my children, it was my SON I had to tell to “play nice” more than my daughters. They naturally tried to soften their blows–I think women are natural care-takers. And you’ll probably disagree w/me there.

          Yes, forceful women who ARE blunt with their feelings can be obnoxious, as well. The key is tempering what we say, whether male OR female, with love. Not always easy, and not something I always succeed at. Still, it’s something to strive for, don’t you think? Again–whether male OR female?

          And I just like guys b/c they like video games as much as I do *joking*. But I will add that they play very differently from the way I play.

          • Mary July 10, 2013, 9:13 AM

            Women can be sexist towards other women. It’s called internalized misogyny. Look it up.

            At the end of the day, I think it’s difficult to say that ALL women are one way, because we are all individual people. I’ve known manipulative women. But I’ve also known plenty of women who were open and real and said what they thought. And I’ve had many wonderful friendships with other women that I know that I would have missed out on if I had the “women are all catty and manipulative attitude” that you seem to have.

            I also know plenty of women who love video games.

            • Heather Day Gilbert July 10, 2013, 9:18 AM

              Again, I never, ever, said “ALL” women. You’re misrepresenting what I said, which seems rude to me.

              • Jennifer July 10, 2013, 10:03 AM

                You said: ” This is why I like hanging out w/dudes more than women half the time. Catty undertones just drive me nutso.” Implying that you like hanging out with men because women’s interactions have catty undertones. Sure, you didn’t say “all women are catty,” but it was implied.

                I used to feel this way too. Then I realized I was being EXTREMELY ungenerous to my own gender and stereotyping them based on…what exactly? I don’t even know. My interactions with women do not lead me to believe that all, or even the majority of them are catty. Sometimes you find what you expect.

        • Jessica Thomas July 10, 2013, 9:06 AM

          (The male species typically comes with plenty annoying quirks, too, though. In fairness.)

    • Jill July 10, 2013, 5:39 PM

      I think it is unfortunate to analyze this by her gender. It’s just as unfortunate as claiming that Mike writes what he writes because he’s a man. The truth is both men and women are manipulative and toss out ad hominem arguments like they’re going out of style, but they sound different when they’re doing it. So women get called shrill and catty, and men get called a**holes and snakes.

      • Jessica Thomas July 10, 2013, 6:10 PM

        I thought about saying “feminine spirit” and “masculine spirit” but that sounds too New Agey. I do think masculine and feminine are two distinct things (for lack of a better noun). How the two manifest in a person can vary, hence why I hang around in the middle of the egalitarian/complementarian debate.

        To me, the sort of subtle manipulation I was describing is a feminine weakness regardless of whether the offender is male or female. There are strong feminine traits too. Intuitiveness and emotional sensitivity being a two, particularly when they are combined with wisdom. They aren’t lesser or weaker traits.

      • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 10:55 PM

        Interesting point Jill.

        Just as a thought for discussion:

        Is it that we are condition to see a female name and want to say ‘shrill’ and see a male name and want to say ‘a**hole’.

        What are your thoughts Jessica – could it be that SOME of the differences you describe are produced by the cultural glasses we wear?

        • Jessica Thomas July 11, 2013, 5:28 AM

          Yes. I still see the same manipulation in the text though, regardless of author. 😉

  • Brianne July 10, 2013, 10:02 AM

    Off on a side note,
    Disclaimer: I am a woman prone to emotional manipulation subconsciously and consciously. However, my classical personality test at a testing facility for my job showed that my personality type is an objective thinker and that is played through to my career.
    I think most commenters on here have, in some way, shape or form, come to a consensus that a servant heart is good, desirable and Christlike. The differences and hurt seem to come in when we translate into our own thoughts through a personal relationship with Christ and scripture what a servant heart means,the severity levels and, of course, the gender specific subtleties of the servant’s heart.
    Commonality, perhaps, could be found in that both sides are scared of extremism. Shrill extreme anger attacks on character, Sexist notions, not being understood.
    Rescuing the victim or maintaining rigid servant heart principles/values both viewed as what we perceive Christ as doing.
    My parents both grew up in an extremely alcoholic, no religion home. They both became Christians in their 20’s and soon got married. They turned to the other side of the spectrum of extremism, extreme Christiandom. I am thankful for this because it gave me my relationship with Christ, but it led to legalistic rules (alcohol, secular music smashing, gender roles, diets, rules, rules, rules before love. My brother, husband and I have often times agreed that we see that reversion to extremes in ourselves and our relationships with God. Again, this is just my personal experience that I have tried to learn from.

    So, to speak for myself, I ‘d like to say that as a Christian feminist I am very much so scared of the extreme possible manifestations of gender roles involving the woman submitting herself to her husband and possible giving up pieces of herself and what she has to offer the world as far as sharing Christ’s love. I can definitely understand the other sides fear of the extreme shrill close-minded feminists taking over and taking the power spectrum from man centered to women centered or perhaps extreme loss of selflessness seen in Christ dying on the cross? just trying to understand both sides….

  • Abby Normal July 10, 2013, 2:47 PM


    I’ve read all the comments and I’m still a bit mystified as to why you didn’t answer Maya’s question–would you have the same response to the same posts if they had been written by men?

    I don’t think it was an unreasonable question and a simple “yes or no” would’ve sufficed.

    • Mike Duran July 10, 2013, 3:12 PM

      Yes. I think I’d have had the same response. The comments seemed reactionary and over the top regardless of who was writing them.

  • R.J. Anderson July 10, 2013, 4:16 PM

    To get back to the main topic of the piece, which was how Mike’s perception of the “shrill” and accusatory tone of the commenters on Emily’s blog was off-putting to him and made him disposed to regard their position in a negative light — I quite understand how you might feel that way, Mike. There was a time not so long ago when a commenter on the blog of a good friend of mine took her to task for (in the commenter’s view) promoting racism, and I was so upset by the harsh tone of the comment that I immediately flew to my friend’s defence and rebuked the commenter for having spoken to her that way.

    The problem was, I was a white woman defending a white woman who had committed a piece of inadvertent racism by thoughtlessly mentioning a piece of racist literature and not taking the time to point out that it was, in fact, racist. And the woman who challenged my friend on her actions was black. We got into a fine old dust-up (well, by my standards, which tend more toward the icily polite than the vicious) and I ended up writing off the commenter as a rude and overly sensitive individual who had overreacted and unfairly judged my friend.

    Now that I know more about racism and what is commonly known as the “tone argument”, however, I deeply regret having taken that position with the commenter. She had reason to be upset and to react strongly to something that to me, as a privileged white woman, seemed like No Big Deal. Because it was, in fact, a bigger deal than I realized from my position of privilege. And one of the worst things people in positions of privilege (such as you in any argument involving the rights of women, or me in any argument involving race) can do to those who are suffering and have been abused is to tell them we don’t want to listen to their arguments because they didn’t say them nicely enough.

    • Kat Heckenbach July 10, 2013, 4:32 PM

      R.J.–very, very well-said.

    • Mike Duran July 10, 2013, 5:31 PM

      R.J. — is there ever a point where someone’s reaction — even if they have experienced abuse — is inappropriate?

      • R.J. Anderson July 10, 2013, 6:03 PM

        Certainly there is. I often see responses I believe to be extreme and unwarranted, even from those who have personal reasons to be upset. But I think the line of courtesy and fair play is sometimes drawn farther over than we in a position of privilege, and especially those of us with no skin in the game, are inclined to think it is.

        • Mike Duran July 10, 2013, 7:04 PM

          Okay, so maybe this is what I’m having a hard time with — this idea of a moveable “line of courtesy” based on 1.) Someone’s “privileged status” (a phrase I use very reluctantly), and 2.) Another’s level of oppression / hurt. So the “line of courtesy” is different when Person A is of “privileged status” and when Person B has been hurt / oppressed.

          I was watching something today about the George Zimmerman trial and how they’re trying to caution against riots if he’s acquitted. They interviewed someone who said blacks have been so victimized in America, rioting is justified. Of course, these are two way different issues and rioting is obviously more extreme than being angry and name-calling, but in that case, Person B feel justified in their anger, sees Person A as of “privileged status,” and the gloves are off.

          So who decides what’s an inappropriate response? Because Person B feels pretty damned justified.

          When I read that post, I’m hearing people saying “shame on you!” “you’re deceived by the devil!” “you’re glorifying abuse!” “you have a self-destructive hatred of women!” “This is totally irresponsible!” Someone even publicly asked her if she was being abused. And I’m saying to myself, “This post doesn’t deserve this kind of response. This is uncalled for.”

          But now I’m being told that it’s all justified???

          It’s all justified because Person A is of “privileged status, and Person B was hurt or oppressed.

          So let the riots begin…

          • Katherine Coble July 10, 2013, 7:54 PM

            I’d say that any response which injures another is inappropriate.

            • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 4:33 AM

              Katherine, so a person can say, imply, insinuate, accuse anything they want, and as long as it doesn’t injure someone it’s appropriate? Does this go just for abuse victims, or anyone who’s been hurt, downtrodden, mistreated, etc.? I mean, isn’t there a line somewhere?

              • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 4:53 AM

                Not all injuries are physical, as we’ve seen from this thread. I’d say that insinuations, accusations and implications can often fall in the “injuring” category.

                • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 5:00 AM

                  OK, wait — So some words can be injurious??? I’m pretty sure Emily was hurt by the response to that post. She’s said so, in fact. But you’re suggesting those injurious words — the ones from some of her commenters — were justified? So if I’ve been hurt / abused, I am justified to level injurious words? Or are my words only injurious if I’m “privileged” and have not suffered abuse or mistreatment? Man, I’m totally confused.

                  • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:16 AM

                    Yes. A lot of words can be injurious and I think a lot of Emily’s words were injurious, as were those of a lot of her respondents.

                    I don’t think anyone’s injurious words were justified and I’m not sure where I gave that impression. That’s completely antithetical to my worldview.

                    As to the privelege conversation…that’s more Lingua Franca stuff that I personally think is muddying the waters in this conversation. Folks are talking to you like you are up for a beginning course in Feminist Dialogue Tactics and I don’t know that that is what you were looking for.

                    • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 5:25 AM

                      “I don’t think anyone’s injurious words were justified…”

                      Thank you, Katherine.

                      That sentiment doesn’t seem shared by everyone. Perhaps I AM confusing explaining why a person is angry with justifying their approach. What I’m hearing, however, is that some people ARE justifying the approach.

                    • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:42 AM

                      The Christians I’ve seen respond here (Kat, Michelle, RJ, others I can’t recall off the top of my head) all seem to just be explaining why but not justifying.

                      Many of the secular feminists–if not all–WILL think that injurious response is justified. And why wouldn’t they? Jesus’ teachings are revolutionary. If you don’t follow them, why would you act in any way other than that which your fight-or-flight response as programmed you? The issue needs to be one of “how do we as CHRISTIAN FEMINISTS respond?” I took that to be the purpose of your initial post. But I think the rabbit trails have raised other issues that both cloud and illuminate that initial one.

                  • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:27 AM

                    Just to make sure I’m perfectly clear…

                    Responding to an injurious word with an injurious word is the same as hitting back. It’s an understandable response but it isn’t justified and it isn’t Biblical.

                    But some of what concerns me is that you seem to be under the impression that those respondents to Emily’s initial post were all Christian Feminists. From what I could tell many of them were secular feminists responding. So their behaviour isn’t going to be in line with Scripture since they aren’t followers of Scripture.

                    • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 5:35 AM

                      That’s a very good point, Katherine. Not only do we not know the personal backgrounds and experiences of the people responding, we don’t even know if the most objectionable comments were made by Christian feminists or non-Christian ones.

                    • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:38 AM

                      Except I’m pretty sure that I recognised a few of the names as coming from secular / atheist feminists I’ve seen on Jezebel & Shakesville.

                    • michelle pendergrass July 11, 2013, 11:19 AM

                      I think I said that a long time ago. I asked Mike how many of his Twitter attackers were Christian. {I didn’t see a response}

              • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 4:58 AM

                You didn’t address it directly so I’m not sure if you read it, but I think my comment about the different sociological language styles between you and some feminists is a lot of what you see and are still conflicted about.

                • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 5:04 AM

                  Yes, I read that. I’m just unsure how far to take that. If you insert that same dynamic into any group, then they are publicly off-the-hook for certain language. Yes?

                  • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 5:12 AM

                    No. I’m explaining, not justifying. It seems you are often conflating the two.

                    At no point have I let anyone “off the hook” for anything they’ve said.

            • Johne Cook July 11, 2013, 7:47 AM

              This was the comment I was making to Sara a couple of days ago. (To her credit, despite saying she doesn’t care what I think – which is both fair and within her rights – she has backed off ending her points with a stiff jab, and the points she’s made since then have been clear and have advanced the discussion.)

              • Sara July 11, 2013, 9:24 AM

                Ahahaha, if you think my responses to other people have ANYTHING to do with you, think again, buddy. I respond respectfully to people who deserve it. Not so much with people who don’t.

          • R.J. Anderson July 10, 2013, 7:57 PM

            I didn’t say rudeness and discourtesy are justified. I’m saying they are more understandable coming from a person who has been personally wounded and victimized, and that those of us who have not been personally wounded and victimized sometimes need to be reminded that an issue of merely academic interest to us may be something that affects someone else on a far deeper and more personally painful level.

            Let me put it this way. If you happen to get your foot caught in a bear trap, and when somebody unskilled in bear trap management comes along to help you they end up jarring the trap and hurting you abominably, how likely is it that you will express your gratitude for their efforts in the most courteous of terms?

            It’s all very well for them to say in affronted tones, “But I was trying to help,” and you may even know that they meant well by it. But the fact is, what they did caused you additional pain in an already agonizing situation. And if they refuse to heed your urging that they not meddle in things they don’t understand, and insist on fiddling around with the trap despite your yelps of agony, how reasonable is it for anyone to expect that you will politely and graciously, in the most reasonable and logical of terms, invite them to desist?

            Which is not to say that every person who commented on Emily’s blog post has been personally abused and victimized and is still living with the pain of that abuse. But undoubtedly some of them are. And you don’t know which ones.

            • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 4:27 AM

              “I didn’t say rudeness and discourtesy are justified.”

              RJ, this is exactly what I’m getting at! However, it seems many of the commenters here and elsewhere, don’t agree with that. They seem to be saying that if someone’s been abused or oppressed by men, then they are justified to publicly say “shame on you!” “you’re deceived by the devil!” “you’re glorifying abuse!” “you have a self-destructive hatred of women!” “This is totally irresponsible!” “are you being abused?” Then, when I cry foul, some backtrack and say, “Those comments were totally appropriate.” Wha — ?

              I happen to disagree. I think a line was crossed. In fact, I think this line is crossed a lot by Christian feminists and they don’t own up to it. They justify. As is being done here.

              On a public forum like that, not only do I have no knowledge of the commenter’s experience, they have no knowledge of mine. How do THEY know I haven’t been through some crap? How do THEY know I haven’t dealt with my “privileged” issues? Furthermore, do my issues — whether abuse, mistreatment, hurt, abandonment, whatever — entitle me to react publicly any way I want?

              Anyway, thank you for admitting what I think many here are avoiding. Rudeness and discourtesy — not to mention publicly saying “shame on you!” “you’re deceived by the devil!” “you’re glorifying abuse!” “you have a self-destructive hatred of women!” “This is totally irresponsible!” “are you being abused?” — are not justified.

              • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 4:41 AM

                And yet however poorly and intemperately one may express one’s anger, one may still be right to be angry. Scripture warns us “in your anger do not sin” (or “Be angry and sin not” for the KJV fans among us), and I think there’s serious danger in allowing our tempers to run away with us and forget that we are talking to fellow human beings made in the image of God, about whose struggles and hardships we know little or nothing at all.

                However, what are we to do with the seemingly blatant “rudeness” that Christ displayed when challenging the Pharisees? I say this cautiously because He was divine and had perfect insight into the hearts and minds of men, and we do not. Nevertheless, He called the self-righteous and hard-hearted religious leaders of his day such awful, offensive things as “vipers” and “whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean”. The prophets also said similar insulting (and even shocking) things about the people of Israel in their unbelieving state, and in Acts 23 Paul snapped “God will smite you, you whitewashed wall!” at the High Priest after being illegally struck in the Sanhedrin. He apologized immediately of course, but only once it was pointed out to him that he’d insulted the high priest — he recognized that it was inappropriate for him to speak that way about a figure in public authority, even when said authority figure was wrong, and he was mindful of his testimony to his fellow Jews. But it sounds very much to me as though he would not have considered it inappropriate to say those words to someone who was not in authority over him.

                So I conclude from this that sometimes, when an issue is important and the intent is to rebuke a person doing wrong and bring about their repentance, it is right and appropriate to be “rude” — and yes, even in public. But I think we have to be very careful about concluding that any occasion or topic that makes us angry or passionate is an automatic licence to speak harshly.

                • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 4:51 AM

                  So… we’re back to saying that rudeness and discourtesy are justified sometimes??? Sigh. Oh well, excuse me while I go cuss someone out…

                  • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 5:18 AM

                    Mike, may I respectfully suggest to you that some of the remarks you make in comments may come across as rather insulting, not to mention accusing of the commenter you’re responding to, as well? And that it can be frustrating when someone fail to address any of the substantive logical points made in a message and boils it all down to a reductio ad absurdum of “Oh, so what you’re REALLY saying is [insert exaggerated misrepresentation here]”?

                    It seems to me that what we are actually dealing with at this point is a clash of conversational and argumentative styles — the ones you’re comfortable with versus the ones that others are comfortable with.

                    There’s also, I fear, an element of “man walks into room full of women engaged in mid-argument, sums up situation in a glance, pronounces judgment” which may be hasty. It sounds to me from comments made earlier in this thread that Emily has a history known to the community of women engaged in these dialogues, and that her history and reputation in that community is part of what they’re responding to. And as far as I can tell, you haven’t been part of those discussions in the past so wouldn’t be aware of that aspect.

                    Should Emily’s commenters respond better and more patiently than they have? I would say that ideally, they should. She obviously meant well. Nevertheless, she said something that shocked and horrified them, however gently she may have put it.

                    Does the commenters’ rudeness invalidate the legitimacy of their arguments and justify us ignoring the points they make? I would say no, it doesn’t. Rudeness is seldom justified (and I’m not even insisting that it is justified in this case, despite your statement that I am), but the truth is more important. If the commenters have a point to make, it has to be considered on its own merits, taking all the facts into account, and setting issues of tone aside.

                    • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 5:40 AM

                      Really, I’m unsure how to respond to this, RJ. So many things have been dissected in this discussion — Emily’s writing style, the words she used, the illustrations she should or shouldn’t have used, her motivations, her history, her relationship w/ her parents, the community there, community dynamics, my privileged status, differences b/w men and women, and now “a clash of conversational and argumentative styles.” I apologize if I’m coming off as insulting. I don’t intend to insult you. I like you. I just feel the issue is far more simple than it’s being made out to be. Are Christian feminists hurting their cause w/ responses like those to Emily’s post? To me, it’s undeniable. Yet what I’m hearing here — as I am w/ your comments — is a wishy-washy inability to just say, “Yeah, telling her she’s being deceived by the devil and GLORIFYING ABUSE and asking her if she’s being abused, was kinda, sorta, pretty much justified.” It’s frustrating. Once again, I apologize if I’m coming off as a jerk.

                    • Alan Molineaux July 11, 2013, 6:03 AM

                      Mike – I am struggling to see why you are struggling. Implicit in your blog is an accusation that Christian feminists are wrong in the way they reacted to Emily. They are so wrong that they are pushing you towards complementarianism.

                      The comments on here made by RJ and others are answering your charge and certainly not being wishy washy.

                      Answering your question ‘are Christian feminists hurting their cause’ the answer I would give is no.

                      It is no because imbedded in your blog is the idea that their cause is to make sure that Mike and his friends feel comfortable and are not scared away.

                      But this is not the Christian feminist cause – your feelings, whilst important, are not the focus of their attention. It is the out working of patriarchal images and motifs that need challenging that is their cause.

                      Emily used one such image in an open forum and so she was critique. You have referred to this and offer a critique back, which is your right to do; you in turn have been critiqued.

                      This is not about one side being wishy washy as much as we are trying to show that your position is not the most useful one.

                    • Kat Heckenbach July 11, 2013, 6:06 AM

                      Mike, think about R.J.’s first statement there. I think she has a point. Most of the feminists in this group know you, and we understand how you tend to phrase things, and we also tend not to take things personally when we see you express your thoughts no matter how they’re worded. But yes, some of your remarks, as simple as, “Really?” *could* come across as cruel. Not because of what you said, but because of what you didn’t. Some of the women here have expressed real pain, and you saying, “Wow, I’m so sorry you’ve gone through that. I can see why you might be sensitive to words about abuse, ” could go a long, long way. But no one is calling you heartless. We *know* you’re not.

                      Regarding the comments to Emily’s post, I don’t see how some of the words you quote are inappropriate *given the message in Emily’s post does glorify abuse.* Calling her irresponsible and telling her she’s glorifying abuse and pointing out that posts like that are self-destructive, and yes, even shame on you. If you walked in and found a man actually hitting a woman, would you be all, Sir, you’re expressing an opinion I respectfully disagree with? No, you’d probably grab him, hold him down, and tell him if he doesn’t stop you’re going to give him a taste of his own medicine. You’d probably go a lot farther than “shame on you” and”this is irresponsible.”

                      The difference is, you’re not seeing the punches. You’re saying these women aren’t justified in their anger at least partly because Emily didn’t mean what they think she meant. That’s a matter of perception. What if someone didn’t see what you thought you saw when that guy was hitting the woman and they accused you of over-reacting? That’s how these women are feeling. We’re seeing irresponsibility in her words and calling her on it. She *is* glorifying abuse with this post. And showing concern that she might be being abused? They see someone showing signs of abuse and they try to encourage her to recognize them–and that’s mean?

                      Does that *justify* their words? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. A handful of the comments may have been out of line, but many of the accusatory comments only SEEM out of line because you think she’s being falsely accused. If she got on there and said exactly, word for word, “Women need to stop complaining about abuse and just take it, it’s their place,” would you be more accepting of commenters calling her “irresponsible” and saying “shame on you!”? Would you even, maybe, be right there at their sides?

                    • Alan Molineaux July 11, 2013, 6:17 AM

                      Excellent Kat – well put.

                    • Sara July 11, 2013, 9:28 AM

                      RJ, I respect your patience in this discussion. Mike just seems like he’s purposefully trying to not get it at this point.

                  • michelle pendergrass July 11, 2013, 11:49 AM

                    You would’ve had my head on a platter if I would’ve responded like that. It would’ve been seen as a dismissive, angry, inappropriate remark.

                    That’s pretty frustrating for those of us trying to be respectful, including RJ.

                    • michelle pendergrass July 11, 2013, 11:50 AM

                      That reply was to Mike saying “Sigh. Excuse me while I go cuss someone out.”

                      It fell way down here and it might be lost in the list of replies.

                    • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 2:48 PM

                      Sara, to your comment above– it’s no longer about “getting the point.” I disagree w/ the point. Which is fine. I understand, I think, what many of the detractors are saying and I just disagree. Not sure what else there is to say.

              • michelle pendergrass July 11, 2013, 11:24 AM

                I’m pretty sure I just answered questions as to why people might sound bitter or angry. I didn’t say they were right or justified in lashing out.

                I really feel like you are saying that I am justifying things when I’m actually just explaining.

                And also, (Mike) you’re acting as if we have attacked you, when in reality, people on Twitter have and we’ve been having a rather insightful conversation here.

                I apologize for your feelings being hurt by people who are probably not Christian and probably not having rational discussions with you. I feel like you’re taking that out on us here.

          • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 11:07 PM

            Hey Mike. Can I just say that I appreciate you engaging with this subject.
            I think that RJ makes some useful points.
            It is not about saying that those without the advantage (whatever the context) cannot be critiqued. It is saying that those with the hidden advantage have a responsibility to at least acknowledge it and be careful.
            I suppose you could say – to those who have been given much, much is expected.

            • Kat Heckenbach July 11, 2013, 6:33 AM

              Alan–saying thank you here for the comment above since there’s no “reply” button on that one :).

              • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 6:45 AM

                I’m here to say thanks too, to both you and Alan. I really don’t have anything to add to either.

          • Abby Normal July 11, 2013, 3:44 AM


            Another thing to consider might be the forum you’re using. It might be perfectly reasonable to criticize the tone of someone you have a relationship with–a friend or someone in your congregation– but it gets problematic when you throw the same criticicism at diverse swaths of people–like all Christian feminists.

            The other problem with your post is that you seem to suggest that the tone of some individuals on one side are causing you to reject all of their views. It sounds dangerously close to saying “you know, maybe racists kind of have a point” just because Al Sharpton gets on your nerves.

          • Abby Normal July 11, 2013, 5:37 AM

            “So let the riots begin.”

            Please tell me you didn’t equate people saying “mean” things to you on the Internet with people rioting.

            • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 5:44 AM

              Abby, I was clear in that comment that two aren’t equivalent.

              • michelle pendergrass July 11, 2013, 11:36 AM

                “Let the riots begin” says, “Come on. Fight with me.”

                And if that’s what you’re after, then I’m out. I’ve stayed away and come back and I think I should’ve just stayed away permanently. I was curious to see if things had died down (they haven’t.)

    • Alan Molineaux July 10, 2013, 10:58 PM

      Excellent RJ

  • R.J. Anderson July 11, 2013, 5:58 AM

    Mike wrote: “Yet what I’m hearing here — as I am w/ your comments — is a wishy-washy inability to just say, “Yeah, telling her she’s being deceived by the devil and GLORIFYING ABUSE and asking her if she’s being abused, was kinda, sorta, pretty much justified.”

    Why would I say that? I don’t believe it was justified. I think I’ve said that a variety of times, though not in those exact words, so I’ll say it once again: I do not believe it was justified. I hope that is sufficiently non-wishy-washy to get the point across.

    But I’ll also say this: I don’t believe you’re justified in rejecting or even necessarily being put off their arguments because you don’t like their tone (however understandable it may be that you were put off by what appeared to be the feminine equivalent of a bare-knuckles brawl).

    Nor do I believe it’s fair to assume that all or even most of these rude comments came from “Christian feminists”. (Though if they did, shame on the Christian feminists involved. Nevertheless, their arguments have to be judged against Scripture, not against the quality of their tone — as you said yourself in the last paragraphs of your original post.)

    • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 7:57 AM

      This is pretty much everything I was just getting ready to say after reading Mike’s last.

      Mike, you may think that the feminists responding to Emily were unjustifiably rude and hurtful.

      But please realise that so much of what you are saying comes across as alternately dismissive and scolding.

      You have at least five female Christian feminists responding here in measured and courteous tones. Never once have you acknowledged our courtesy. Instead you continually reframe our positions in the most dismissive and ridiculous way possible.

      In fact, your responses to us–especially the “excuse me while I go cuss someone out” response to RJ–are often quite similar to those comments of Sara’s you labelled as “trolling”.

    • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 8:00 AM

      Kat and R J — I’ll post something more on this tomorrow and then I’m moving on. Suffice to say, if I haven’t been clear enough here about my disgust for abuse and empathy for the abused, I apologize. I have in no way wanted to appear trite and dismissive of abuse. I want to be clear about that. However, right now, I’m being mocked and ridiculed on several blogs of professed Christian feminists. I’ve been told to pull my head out of my ass, been charged with being a bigot, and all kinds of juicy stuff. Not saying all Christian feminists are like this. But it does little to change my opinion about Christian feminists hurting their cause hasn’t changed. Thanks for hanging in through this discussion. I appreciate your contributions.

      • Alan Molineaux July 11, 2013, 8:33 AM

        Really Mike. Your last comment reveals more than you know.

        Are you honestly saying that the hurt you have been caused by a few other bloggers is greater than the excellent arguments offered by the Christian feminists in this comments section.

        I can only conclude that you didn’t want a discussion in the first place.

        Just saying ‘I appreciate your contributions’ does not remove the neglect you show by allowing other bloggers to stop you acknowledging any learning from the commenters on this site.

        I conclude you have learnt nothing from this.

        • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 8:59 AM

          Alan, I’m growing weary of your seeming attempts to psychoanalyze me.

          • Alan Molineaux July 11, 2013, 9:39 AM

            Does that me you don’t want to engage with the points raised.

            Can I remind you that you wrote the blog and asked the question.

            Not sure that my comments deserve such derision.

            Anyway sorry for making you weary. Al

            • Mike Duran July 11, 2013, 10:25 AM

              Alan, I feel I’ve answered a lot of questions here. I get the feeling you’re talking down to me, like your some feminist expert who’s been delivered from the unrealized privilege I’m blinded by. I’m sorry if that comes off as harsh, but it’s why I’m kind of annoyed with you. What specific question do you want me to answer, and I’ll give it my best shot.

              • Alan Molineaux July 11, 2013, 10:31 AM

                It’s ok Mike. Didn’t mean to cause you offence. Genuinely thought I was offering something useful to the conversation. Perhaps that is my blind spot. Certainly not an expert. Keep well. Al

        • Katherine Coble July 11, 2013, 9:10 AM

          Alan, “Thanks for commenting” and “I appreciate your contributions” are Mike’s version of the Southern “Bless Your Heart”.

          • Alan Molineaux July 11, 2013, 10:09 AM

            Thanks Katherine – the meaning must have got lost in translation : )

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