Sunday, December 09, 2007

Church and home

I think this is the best that complementarianism has to offer,
    Paul does seem to make a distinction between church and home. In the home, the wife humbly submits, while the husband lovingly leads. In the church, the body of Christ should be characterized by a mutual submission, a behavior where we are deferring to one another, rather than trying to push our own agendas, and thus be filled with everything but the Spirit.
I found this on a blog where a bunch of guys were really trying hard to be scriptural. However, they have no idea how to carry the ethos of Christian behaviour into the home. I don't want to say that complementarianism contrasts with Christianity. But it does jeopardize some basic Christian beliefs and demonstrates that the truly complementarian home can never stand as a testimony to the world of the how the Christian church would look. I see complementarianism as a handicapped form of Christ's intent for his people.

I have been reflecting on some of these things and thinking that since I have lived among complementarian Christians most of my life, I really don't know of any truly happy marriages among my Christian friends. That is just my impression, not a blanket statement of fact.

However, in thinking further I do know at least three couples who are not Christians - they are atheists in fact. In one case, the wife is Quaker, but the other five people are declared atheists. This is how their marriages look to me.

The husband has a business or academic professional job and the wife has a half time to three quarter time professional job teaching or working as a librarian. A school librarian is a good job here requiring a MA, and is reasonably well paid.

They all have children, and the wife/mother likes to cook and sew. For some, the husband also likes to cook, but in all cases, the husbands spend time in the kitchen either cooking or helping. The women are motherly and old fashioned, both father and mother read to the children and teach them manners and take them to cultural events and tutor them in school subjects. The children are expected to not engage in premarital sex until they are at least 21. They are also taught the value of a life long monogamous relationship, and this is modeled to them by their parents.

One family has a special ministry with abused and abandoned children. They have adopted two children in addition to their own two, and they welcome foster children into their home.

What I notice most is that the wives are relaxed and relatively non-conflicted over life. They are able to show concern for others and are involved in reaching out and helping. They are loving people and demonstrate the basic values of life long fidelity and mutual respect.

These couples are just ordinary people with their own foibles and particularities, but they make it seem possible that two people could live out their lives together without being completely miserable. The women are not self-seeking feminists and the men are neither harshly dominating nor are they wimps. There are just normal, successful people who are involved in social justice issues, doing their job and helping others when they can.

I truly don't think these people would be drawn to Christianity by seeing a typical comlementarian marriage. So to whoever wrote,
    We are called to be an attractive light in a dark world. We will do that most effectively as our marriages and our culture’s assumptions are submitted to the word of God.
let me kindly say that I think the best a Christian couple can do is demonstrate kindness, respect and deference to God, to each other, to the children and to others, in a mutual and ungrudging way. This does not go against scripture as I know it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

wives are to humbly submit but husbands don't have to humbly love...hmmm...so humbleness is only for women...hmmm

Anonymous said...

To add to this comment, the Bible doesn't tell women to humbly submit, the men added "humbly" for reasons unknown. They also weakened Paul's command to husbands to lovingly lead rather than to love their wives as Christ loved the church and to give themselves up in the same manner. I wonder why they did that?

Molly Aley said...

let me kindly say that I think the best a Christian couple can do is demonstrate kindness, respect and deference to God, to each other, to the children and to others, in a mutual and ungrudging way. This does not go against scripture as I know it.

AMEN!

Anonymous said...

These men are putting themselves first in their marriage. I don't think that was Paul's intent was when he wrote about marriage to the Ephesians.

J. K. Gayle said...

Suzanne,
Thanks for your candor and passion! I linked to your important post here.
Kurk