Unless you live in Washington state you might not be aware of Mark Driscoll, the pastor of the Mars Hill Megachurch. He’s the guy who sent out a tweet insinuating that President Obama didn’t know God. But if God holds the same opinions that Driscoll does (and don’t we all fit God into our own biases?) then nobody should know him, especially women.
In his weekly sermon on April 21st, Driscoll had a message for the wives in his congregation. It’s about this whole submission thing, ladies …
“They’re quarrelsome. They’re a nag. And some women — you’re a nag. You’re disrespectful. You’re quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy’s just scratching on his wall every day. Proverbs talks about certain women—they’re like a dripping faucet. You ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet? Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. It’s what we use to torture people who are prisoners of war. A wife is like that.”(source)
Uh-huh. There’s a lot to unpack in that small excerpt and much of it has to do with fear and intimidation. From the beginning of the Christian church, there were many other competing sects and religions. Many of those held a female deity as their main focus. One of the biggest was the cult of Artemis, centered in Ephesus.
“And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, ‘Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?'” Acts 19:35
It was important to the early Church fathers to suppress the idea of women as representative of the goddess in any form. Jesus Himself never made any statements about women and submissiveness so it was up to them to lay that law down. And lay it down, they did. Peter, Paul, Matthew and John all mention the husband-wife relationship but Peter and Paul were quite explicit in dictating that women be submissive to their husbands. We see their words quoted often but we seldom see the other thing that Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians:
“3:19 – Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
I suspect that Mr. Driscoll also has some issues of his own but since I’m not a psychologist, I won’t even try. Suffice to say that he is apparently perfectly happy to have women be lorded over (sorry, I couldn’t resist) by men. But he is not by any means the last word on this issue in Christianity.
J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma Magazine, has written about the ways that the patriarchal focus of Christianity has lied to women through the ages. He bases his conclusions on the words and actions of Jesus among other things. One of the issues he addresses is the myth that women should be servile to their husbands:
“We often portray marriage as a hierarchy, with husbands on the throne and wives at the footstool, and we use Scripture to justify this view: ‘Wives…submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord’ (Eph. 5:22). Paul also told the Ephesians, ‘submit to one another’ (5:21, emphasis added). I have heard teachings by male clergy on the subject of male headship, but I’ve never heard a pastor encourage men to submit to their wives! Yet in a loving marriage, a man and woman will defer to one another as they make decisions.”
It might behoove Mr. Driscoll to read Mr. Grady’s article. In a country that is becoming less religious it would probably be a good idea to not alienate half of your base. I can’t for the life of me think of any reason why this kind of Christian men promote this idea of female submissiveness other than they just like it. It feeds their insecurity and ego. Reasonable, thinking Christian men don’t need to be this way. I guess that’s why Mark Driscoll IS – perhaps he needs to re-read his book.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…