Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Mathematics of Marriage

There has been a spate of posts on Bible translations and Kurk has responded to my last post.

In an event of unusual synchronicity, James Murray, co author with John Gottman et al. of The Mathematics of Marriage, gave an address at the Royal Society on March 26, 2009 which makes it crystal clear that their work on love and respect demonstrated the strictly symmetrical nature of these terms. HT Theophrastus.

This demonstrates that Gottman was misquoted by Emerson Eggerich and that there is no social science or scientific support for the notion that "men need respect and women need love." In fact, Gottman and Murray's detailed longtitudinal study demonstrates that marital success is dependent on love and respect demonstrated in a totally symmetrical fashion.

The exact terms which Gottman and Murray used were "affection and humour" for the most positive affects and contempt as the most negative. They also mentioned that the quality of the friendship between husband and wife was foundational.

In the book, The Mathematics of Marriage, Gottman reports that one woman in particular stated that she felt disrespected, and he saw her difficulty as relating to her perception that she had to be subordinate in her marriage. This was presented as a problem by Gottman.

I am very disappointed when a Christian author misintertprets data presented in an honest fashion and then uses the misinterpretation to attempt to promote the scientific truth of the Bible, or the subordination of woman or what have you. Very disappointing.

When Eggerichs writes,

    Interestingly enough, scientific research confirms that love and respect are the foundation of a successful marriage. Dr. John Gottman, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington, led a research team that spent twenty years studying two thousand couples who had been married twenty to forty years to the same partner. There people came from diverse backgrounds and had widely differing occupations and lifestyles. But one thing was similar - the tone of their conversations. As these couples talked together, almost always there was what Gottman calls "a strong undercurrent of two basic ingredients: Love and Respect.

    These are the direct opposite of - and antidote for - contempt, perhaps the most corrosive force in marriage."Gottman's findings confirm what has already been in Scripture for some two thousand years. Chapter 5 of Ephesians is considered by many to be the most significant treatise on marriage in the New Testament. Paul concludes these statements on marriage by getting gender specific in verse 33. He reveals commands from the very heart of God as he tells the husband he must love his wife.
According to James Murray, their study did not differentiate for gender. I should stop being surprised that the truth has no currency for those who wish to demonstrate that science proves the Bible.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Luther ESV bilingual Bible

I was suprised to read this blog post on the new German Luther ESV parallel Bible. John writes,

    That’s right. A bilingual English-German edition of the Bible (without Apocrypha) is about to be published by Germany’s premier publisher of Bibles, the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. It is announced here. The ESV will appear alongside of the 1984 revision of Luther’s classic translation.
Oddly, however, he continues,

    The choice is understandable. The ESV, not the NRSV, is the English equivalent of the 1984 revision of the Lutherbibel.
Even more curious, a commenter asks,

    Is it wrong that I was hoping for some kind of challenge to the statement about the inclusion of the ESV vs. the NRSV?

    Not that I disagree, but that I don't know the realities between the differences, and while I neither know much about the NRSV, nor support neutering translations, I do often like to read the argumentation in regards to those things outside my purview(s).
It would be a good thing to review some basic facts in this regard. First, the reference to neutering was made famous by an article Andreas Kostenberger wrote, called The Neutering of "Man" in the NIVI, where the issue was the switch from "man" to "person" or "human" as a translation of the Greek anthropos.

I posted on this article of Dr. Kostenberger's some time ago, and I am happy to report that he now has abandoned this position. In this review he discusses the translation of anthropos in depth and summarizes,

    It may be concluded that Carson and Strauss have established — at least to my own satisfaction — that a gender-inclusive approach to Bible translation stands in no necessary conflict with the effort to preserve Biblical fidelity
I still take issue with some of his discussion of anthropos as including "male human being" in its semantic range. There is more than one reference to anthropos as "female human being exclusive of the male" in the Bible. However, on the whole, Kostenberger has retreated from making this an issue.

The point of all this preamble is that the Luther translation has always distinguished between anthropos, translated as Mensch, and aner, translated as Mann. The KJV translated both with "man" while the NRSV, TNIV, CEV and TNIV provide gender-accurate translation as did Luther. The ESV translates anthropos as "man" sometimes and "person/people" other times without consistancy.

One could maintain, however, that Luther's Bible, is a "neutering" translation in the sense that Kostenberger first intended in his article. Not only does Luther translate anthropos as Mensch (man meaning human) but he also translates Huioi as Kinder - "children" instead of "sons" as the gender inclusive translations do. All in all, Luther stands half way between the ESV and the gender inclusive or gender accurate English translations.

But the Luther translation differs from the ESV in many more ways than in gender inclusivity. It is not as literal, often not reflecting the Greek grammatical structure at all. This was not Luther's intent. TC has supplied to interesting citations which illustrate this,

John continues,
    The NRSV has a lot going for it, but departs from the Tyndale-Geneva-KJV tradition far more than ESV does, with the result that NRSV is less of a counterpart to the 1984 revision of the Lutherbibel than ESV is.
He makes this comment although he knows very well that the Luther and Tyndale translations were not done in the same style in the first place. This is in spite of the fact that Tyndale used Luther's translation as a source text along with the Greek NT and Erasmus' Latin paraphrase.

Here are the citations from TC,
    Ryken on Bible Translation: English Bible Translation stands at a watershed moment. For half a century, dynamic equivalence has been the guiding translation philosophy behind most new translations. Each successive wave of these translations has tended to be increasingly bold in departing from the words of the original text. Stated another way, we can trace an arc of increasingly aggressive changing, adding to, and subtracting from the words that the biblical authors wrote. The issues that are at stake in the current debat about Biblie translation are immense. (Bible Translation Differences, p. 30)

    Luther on Bible Translation: What purpose does it serve unnecessarily to abide by the words so rigidly and strictly that people can get no sense out of them? Whoever would speak German must not see Hebrew idioms; but if he understand the Hebrew writer, he must see to it that he grasps his meaning and must think: Now let me see. How does a German speak in this case? When he has the German words that serve the purpose, then let him dismiss the Hebrew words and freely express the sense in the best German he is capable of using. (What Luther Says, pp. 105-06)
I would expect to see a more nuanced discussion of this but John concludes,
    For some people, a translation that isn't "gender-neutered" is beyond the pale. Among others, the move has not found acceptance and has even brought on a backlash. The official Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic position, shared by many evangelical Protestants, is that NRSV is not traditional enough for the liturgy.
I note that even the patriocentric (in his own terminology) Kostenberger has dropped this characterization of "gender neutered" translation. Since John's blog is a "closed" blog, in that he bans some of those who express dissent with his opinions, I am unable to post this information on his blog. If someone wishes to comment on his post and link back to my discussion of this, I would appreciate it. If this doesn't happen, I am happy to sit by and watch.

Clearly, it could be said that the ESV is a descendant of the KJV in the same way that the Luther 1984 is a descendant of the Lutherbibel. In this way, both translations occupy the same historic space in the national literature of their respective countries linguistic entities (?). In no way is the Luther Bible an equivalent to the ESV in terms of general translation style or gender philosophy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Love and Respect 9

I have a few more comments on Love and Respect. I felt that the first part of the book had something to offer. I have no difficulty with the notion that men and women react differently in intimate conversation. I do have difficulty with the opinions expressed by the author in the second half of this book. He writes,

    In most cases, men see themselves in the driver's seat. Whether they are any good at chairing the relationship and being in the driver's seat can be debated. But in terms of a man's self-image, he needs to be the chairman; he needs to drive. He needs to be first among equals, not to be superior or dominating but because this is how God has made him and he wants to take on that responsibility. page 191
Eggerichs says here that although a man may not be any good at being the "chairman" of the relationship, he must be the chairman because this is how God made him. God made a man to want to be something that he may not necessarily be any good at. (Let me simply add that I read this book for the single purpose of not posting about a book that I have not read. Otherwise I would have missed this little nugget of wisdom.)

Eggerichs assumes that a husband and wife must live in a hierarchical relationship with the husband as the leader and the wife as the submissive. The husband has 51% of the authority in all situations. The wife may win her husband over to her opinion by expressing her respect and admiration for him. Perhaps the fact that, for Eggerich, the wife wants to be treated as a princess and the husband as a king says it all.

Other than that, this book is an easy read, has many anecdotes in it, some of them helpful, and supports the ideas that many of us learned in grade school, that girls like attention and boys want to be the hero. Nothing wrong with that.

Patty has written a more favourable review of the book here and here. I note that she does not support the basic concept of hierarchy but applauds the notion of fundamental differences in emotional makeup of men and women. I agree. As a commenter on her blog remarked,

    Emphasizing that every individual and every marriage is different, there may be a neurochemical basis for the degree of emphasis men and women place on love and respect.
    Women are more susceptible to the effects of oxytocin, the chemical of love, bonding, snuggling, etc., because our estrogen is higher.

    Testosterone damps oxytocin's effects. Moreover, bonding in some male mammals seems to be due to vasopressin as well as oxytocin. In male animals, vasopressin stimulates guarding the mate and offspring, as well as challenge to other males.

    Human experiments with oxytocin have shown that its effects are like those in other mammals. And vasopressin increased the likelihood that men, but not women, would see neutral expressions as angry. So this may be what's going on.

    I think that understanding these neurochemical differences can go a long way toward giving the other person a break.

I like the last line of this comment but I wanted to know more about vasopressin. Here are excerpts from the study that I suppose this comment referred to,

    Insel and his colleagues primarily study male and female pair bonding in two species, the prairie vole and the montane vole. The two are 99 percent genetically alike, but that 1 percent divergence accounts for some dramatic differences.

    Indigenous to the Midwest, prairie voles, Insel jokes, "represent in some ways the very best in Midwestern values." They mate for life, and the monogamous pairs nest together, often snuggling side by side. The male aggressively guards the female, and both are affectionate, attentive parents.

    In contrast, the montane vole, a native of the Rocky Mountains, is a loner. The male and female do not share a nest and come together only briefly to mate. The male has no investment in the offspring. "They are what we consider the prototype of a promiscuous animal," Insel says.

    Having concluded that the two hormones [oxytocin and vasopressin] are somehow key to lasting, monogamous love, Insel and his colleagues turned to the montane vole, the promiscuous loner. They gave the female montane oxytocin and the male montane vasopressin to see if they would exhibit behavior similar to prairie voles.

    "But all they did was scratch," says Insel. "They remained as uninterested in social interaction or bonding as ever. So the question had to be asked, ‘What is different about the brains of these two species that leads to such different responses to these hormones?’"

What this study shows is that males and females are extremely variable. We suppose that God made both the Prairie Vole and the Montane Vole. Therefore we should not choose just one of these voles to illustrate our point about male and female humans.

However, if presupposing male and female differences can contribute to us giving the other person a break, towards patience and forgiveness, humour and affection, then I am all for it. If a consideration of male and female differences is used to subordinate women, then the world will be a poorer place to live in.

I love the emphasis that John Gottman puts on mutual honour and respect, affection and humour and tolerance for difference. If two people can simply accept that the other person will not always share viewpoints, without this diminishing affection, this is a major predictor of a successful relationship.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Love and Respect 8

More from Love and Respect,

    What your husband wants is your acknowledgement that he is the leader, the one in authority. This is not to grind you under or treat you as inferior. It is only to say that becasue God has made your husband responsible (review Eph. 5:22-33), he needs the authority to carry out that responsibility. No smoothly running organization can have two heads. To set up a marriage with two equals at the head is to set it up for failure. That is one of the big reasons that people are divorcing today. page 221
I would like to note that there is no evidence that complementarian marriages are longer-lasting than egalitarian marriages. Nor that they are happier. There is no evidence whatsoever that marriages fail because they have two equals at the head. I am not sure whether it is the male domination theme or the lack of honesty that bothers me the most in this book.

It is very tiresome to read something as poorly supported by fact and reality as this book. I am depressed. I realize the reason why this book has not received more critical reviews is because it is difficult to read something that denigrates and demeans women this much. Sad stuff.

I think that reading hate literature, porn and anything at all that actively degrades you as a reader is not healthy. At the same time, someone needs to deconstruct these things. This book claims to reconcile science and complementarian exegesis, but it does not accurately cite social science articles and its handle on exegesis is weak.

I would like to end on a positive note by citing a passage from John Gottman - its long but I didn't feel ill after reading this. I thought about the values of friendship and affection, humour and tenderness. I am thinking of this verse,
    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8
With this in mind, I offer this passage from Gottman on the same topic,
    We find that there are differences between men and women and the way you to study these differences is independent of sexual orientation. You have to study gay and Lesbian couples who are committed to each other as well as heterosexual couples who are committed to each other, and try and match things as much as you can, like how long they've been together, and the quality of their relationship. And we've done that, and we find that there are two gender differences that really hold up.

    One is that if a man presents an issue, to either a man he's in love with or a woman he's in love with, the man is angrier presenting the issue. And we find that when a woman receives an issue, either from a woman she loves or a man she loves, she is much more sad than a man would be receiving that same issue. It's about anger and sadness. Why? Remember, Bowlby taught us that attachment and loss and grief are part of the same system. So women are finely tuned to attaching and connecting and to sadness and loss and grief, while men are attuned to defend, stay vigilant, attack, to anger.

    My friend Levenson did an acoustic startle study (that's where you shoot of a blank pistol behind someone's head when they least expect it). Men had a bigger heart rate reactivity and took longer to recover, which we would expect, but what even more interesting is that when you asked people what they were feeling, women were scared and men were angry. So that's probably why those two differences have held up. Physiologically people find over and over again in heterosexual relationships — and this hasn't been studied yet in gay and Lesbian relationships — that men have a lower flash point for increasing heart-rate arousal, and it takes them longer to recover.
    And not only that, but when men are trying to recover, and calm down, they can't do it very well because they keep naturally rehearsing thoughts of righteous indignation and feeling like an innocent victim. They maintain their own vigilance and arousal with these thoughts, mostly of getting even, whereas women really can distract themselves and calm down physiologically from being angered or being upset about something. If women could affiliate and secrete oxytocin when they felt afraid, they's even calm down faster, probably.
    So there are all these small but reliable differences, and I think they have big implications for what you do in relationships. Now it's women who matter here, because we find that 80 percent of the time women are the ones in our culture who raise issues, and they raise them harshly in an unhappy relationship and more gently in a happy relationship.

    But does that mean that women are to blame in some way for relationships going bad? The poor men get so physiologically aroused they can't think straight and the women are calmer, so it's no wonder, we might think, that men withdraw or aggress. Not so at all. Levenson and I did a study where we had couples talk about how their day went before they talked about their big conflict area, and it turned out that the women who raised the issue harshly — and by the way, the men who raised the issue harshly as well, 20 percent of the time it's guys who raise the issue — had partners who weren't very interested in how their day went. They'd look at their watch, or, you know, they were bored, or they were — they were kind of insulting when the person started talking about their day. Like one guy said to his wife, "Why don't you go first? It won't take you very long." Really a putdown, just in their talking about how their day went. Those people had partners who started harshly. So it's really a circle. Friendship and emotional connection and the management of conflict.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Love and Respect 7

I have been challenged again to find why it is that some people find this book so good. I will cite a few passages which I think are rather useful and reflect a certain exegesis. It has often been said that Gen. 3:16 teaches that the wife will try to control her husband. But Eggerichs argues against this. He gave this piece of advice to one husband,

Look, women may seem to be out of control or it may appear that they are trying to control you, but their real motive is to connect in love. page 122
He spends some time on this principle, explaining that what the husband interprets as control is really a wife trying to connect. The wife desires to connect with her husband and the husband should understand this rather than accusing her of trying to control him.

Eggerichs does not mention Gen. 3:16 but his argument here supports the notion that the scriptures are saying that the wife desires to be attached to her husband, rather than that the wife desires to control her husband. Eggerichs is not using the typical exegesis of other complementarians and this is the strength of this book.

He goes on to say,

When the ocean of marriage emotions becomes turbulent, a husband can feel as if he is drowning. A wife, on the other hand, stays afloat quite naturally and comfortably. page 121

This accords with other research which indicates that men do not process emotions, either their own or the emotions of others, as quickly or as accurately as women. Therefore, their tendency is to pull back from conflict.

Eggerichs continues,

To wives, husbands often appear as mysterious islands. Wives keep paddling around their husbands, looking for a place to come ashore, but there is a fog holding them back. There is no place to land. He appears to refuse her access. page 138

He cites one woman saying,

It seems as though I am stumbling around in a dark room and the light switch is not where it is supposed to be. page 139
While Eggerichs instructs husbands to spend time offering more involvment to their wives, he adds,

I am not asking men to become women who sit at tiny tables at cappuccino shops and sip coffee as they share life face to face. You are a man, and your wife loves you for being a man, not a woman. She doesn't expect you to become feminine, just like her girlfriend. But when you move toward her, when you show her you want to connect in even small ways, watch what happens. This will motivate her. page 129
I love the images, the wife paddling around her husband looking for a place to land, the husband being afraid of having to sit in a coffee shop at a tiny table, and so on. He talks a lot about trying to communicate and decode each other's needs. He paraphrases Luke 6:31 in this way and earns a lot of brownie points here,

Just as you want you spouse to treat you, treat your spouse in the same way. page 130

He is explicit -

  • hold her hand
  • hug her
  • laugh together
  • go for a walk
  • set up a date
  • run an errand
  • be aware of her as a person with a mind and opinions
  • have pillow talk after making love
This sounds wonderful. So why am I concerned about this book? Eggerichs goes on to say that the wife is more "expressive -responsive" and the husband is more "compartmentalized."

A man has much more ability to to control his reactions. His blood pressure may be going through the roof, but he can keep it under wraps. He may be deeply
pained, but he shoves it into a "compartment" in his mind, saying to himself, What's the point in trying to talk about this if that's the way she feels. page 137
Susan Pinker, however, in the Sexual Paradox, writes,
So, similar to language, the hardware for women's processing of emotions seems to take up more space and have a more efficient transportation grid than men's. ... Given that language is lateralized on the left, and that most women also encode emotional memories in the left hemisphere, the researchers speculate that women are using some sort of internal language to process and evaluate their emotions as they experience them. In contrast, men would encode emotions in a more automatic way- in the right amygdala.

Keeping emotions accessible so you can remember them, talk about them or use them in decision-making is difficult if you can't identify them in the first place. pages 117-118
Pinker goes to cite another researcher saying that men are more prone to physical action while women opt for verbal tactics. Men are more likely to respond from the older limbic brain with a physical assault and women respond with "I am angry at you."

There is nothing in the research presented by Susan Pinker which suggests that men are less emotional or more in control of their emotions, or more suited to decision-making than women. I am concerned that Eggerichs is inserting this notion in order to justify his teaching that men should always have 51% of the say in a marriage.

It is important to be aware that those who identify as difference feminists, like Susan Pinker, do not in any way suggest that men and women should not have the same rights and opportunities as men, nor that intimate relationships should be hierarchical.

I will post again and respond to Patty's post which outlines her reaction to this Love and Respect by Eggerichs. Thank you, Patty for writing such a thoughtful post, and I will cite from it next time.

The Centre of the Bible

By some accounts this is the centre of the Bible. Most likely everyone calculates the centre of the Bible a little differently but this will do for me.

O praise the LORD,
all ye nations:
praise him, all ye people.
For his merciful kindness
is great toward us:
and the truth of the LORD
endureth for ever.
Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 117

Women as fund managers

I want to get back to Love and Respect soon because if one leaves aside the mandatory hieararchy there may be some good ideas in this book. However, I don't have time this evening so I would love to get some reactions to these two articles. There are some excellent questions in each article.

Why women managers shine in a downturn

Women should be wary of financial flattery

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Good Childhood

There has been some discussion about the study on divorce and children referred to on the CBMW blog. I would rather talk about the content of the study but first one has to track down the source.

Here is a reference in the Telegraph which contains the text from the CBMW blog,

    Female empowerment has contributed to the break-up of the traditional family, leaving a generation of children emotionally damaged, according to a controversial report on the state of British childhood.
The Telegraph names the study as A Good Childhood by The Children's Society, which is affiliated with the Church of England. The article then goes on to cite the text which appears on the CBMW Gender blog. This text is not found in the study, and I can only guess that since the study had not been published at the time of the Telegraph article, that the Telegraph was citing text provided to them from a previous draft, perhaps a longer form of the same study. I cannot otherwise explain the variance.

I would like to make a few comments on this. First, the Keith and Amato research, which I cited yesterday, is old now and has variable methodology, and the results do not accord with the longtitudinal research I have seen since. (But I don't have time to find this right now.)

Second, the Telegraph also makes this telling comment,

    It will draw on a Unicef study published in 2007 which showed that children in Scandinavian countries appeared happier than their British counterparts despite similar levels of family separation.
And finally I would like to reference this work done in Canada, cited here,

    While more changes in a child’s life are associated with more negative behaviour, lone parent or stepfamily status is not necessarily associated with more negative behaviour in children.This more positive view emerges from a Canadian study investigating the impact of mothers’ employment patterns on children.This study shows that mothers’ employment status is a factor affecting children’s behavioural outcomes, but also that changes in maternal employment impacted on children. But, crucially, children in stable lone parent families or stepfamilies did better (and indeed, better than those in two parent families on several measures, when control variables are taken into account) than children who change family status, either ‘entering or exiting’ lone parent status (18).

    Hence, it is perhaps useful to view change and disruptions as risk factors for children (like poverty) that have negative impacts on child outcomes. Family type per se provided it is stable, does not result in negative impacts on children.
While there may be some negative impacts, I can't say, it is clear from the research that family disharmony, instability, poverty and coercive parenting are other significant factors. Another finding worthy of note is that countries with similar rates of single parent families have vastly different scores on the child well being assessment, with the US and UK being near the bottom, Canada in the middle and Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands at the top. See Table 2 Child well-being in rich countries: a summary table page 11 in the same study, which provides some interesting details.

This is similar to the issue with abortion, rates, which are consistantly much lower in countries with freer access to abortion. One of the reasons that I am concerned about the impression given by the Gender blog is because my former church, still in some sense a home church to my family, is influenced by this stuff. I have suggested in the past that CBMW hire someone to proofread the posts on their blog. It is very disappointing.

Now, finally, here is the point. The study itself did not say, "Female empowerment has contributed to the break-up of the traditional family .... ," it was the Telegraph that said that. Read the study yourself.

(I am increasingly finding that people mention studies without proper references and really just move gaily along. I have not seen anyone retract the statement that John Gottman recommends a "men need respect, women need love" model of marriage therapy. It is tiresome. )

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Children of Divorce

CBMW has published commentary on an article that they do not link to. Sigh. This is their general pattern. Here is the study and on page 37 it states,

    Amato and Keith (1991) summarised the results of over 90 studies and showed that children with divorced parents “on average” are worse off than those with continuously married parents. These children tend to have less academic success, they exhibit more conduct problems, are more likely to suffer depression and distress, have lower self esteem, tend to have fewer friends and less social support from their peers and also have weaker emotional bonds with their mothers and fathers
And here is a review of the Amato and Keith study,

    Amato, P. R., & Keith, B. (1991). Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 26-46.Meta-analysis involved 92 studies that compared children living in divorced single-parent families with children living in continuously intact families on measures of well-being. Children of divorce scored lower than children in intact families across a variety of outcomes, with the median effect size being 14 of a standard deviation. For some outcomes, methodologically sophisticated studies yielded weaker effect sizes than did other studies. In addition, for some outcomes, more recent studies yielded weaker effect sizes than did studies carried out during earlier decades. Some support was found for theoretical perspectives emphasizing parental absence and economic disadvantage, but the most consistent support was found for a family conflict perspective. (PsycINFO Database Record. Copyright © 2005 by the American Psychological Association. All rights reserved.)


Here are some beautiful poems which will speak to everyone on another topic around which much silence has been wrapped.


If a Christian theologian has written the following,

    a man may be required ... to reestablish his God-given rulership over the woman
then we assume that he got this from the Bible. We would expect it to be counter cultural and presented as revealed truth from God. It is indeed from the Bible, where we can read,

Charis, who writes here, has demonstrated that the theologian who wrote this sentence is a practical adherent to a different God.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Two books

I have just finished reading Run by Anne Patchett. It is wonderful and a great way to begin reading Patchett if you are not already familiar with her work. She has written Bel Canto, and Truth and Beauty, as well as several other novels.

Patchett's books are rich with literary references and contemporary politics. There is a warmth and spirituality about her work which she attributes to her Catholic upbringing. She mixes family and politics well. She is a current female American author who deserves your attention.

I am just opening Other Colors by Orhan Pamuk. I am a committed Pamuk fan. Having read My Name is Red, The Black Book and Snow, I trembled with delight when I saw the title of this compilation of essays. Yes, I want all the colours! Here is an excerpt from an essay on his meeting Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller in 1985 when they came to Turkey to advocate for the many authors in prison at that time.

    But to respect the human rights of minorities, and to respect their humanity, is not to suggest that we should accommodate all manner of belief or tolerate those who attack or seek to limit freedom of thought in deference to the moral codes of those minorities. Some of us have a better understanding of the West, some of us have more affection for those who live in the East, and some, like me, try to do the two things at the same time, but these attachments, this desire to understand, should never get in the way of our respect for human rights. page 181

defining complementarianism

It is appropriate more than ever to reexplain the beliefs of complementarians. They do sometimes promote complementarity of role by teaching that the husband earns a salary and the wife remains in the home. But this teaching is not necessary to complementariansism. Hierarchy is necessary to complementarianism. Here is how one complementarian explains it. This was linked to recently in a positive way.

    Eve's desire will be to rule illegitimately over Adam (note: certainly sin could not be credited with giving Eve a loving or caring desire for Adam, could it?), and in response Adam will have to assert his rightful rulership over her. Most complementarians hold, then, that sin produced a disruption in God's order of male headship and female submission, in which a) the woman would be inclined now to usurp the man's rightful place of authority over her, and man may be required, in response, to reestablish his God-given rulership over the woman, and b) the man would be inclined to misuse his rights of rulership, either by sinful abdication of his God-given authority, acquiescing to the woman's desire to rule over him (and so fail to lead as he should), or by abusing his rights to rule through harsh, cruel and exploitative domination of the woman.

The images which come to mind, images of being broken in like a colt, like Kate, like a new pair of shoes. That's what it is like to be a woman. Men can take their rulership and go fly a kite. This is why the male bibliosphere is an oppressive place for a woman.

Here is another example of how to establish your rulership over a woman.

    For example, does it mean that after careful research and serious consultation with his wife, a husband has the final say on:

    • How many kids to have? What type of contraception to use — NFP or artificial contraception? How the kids should be schooled — at home, public or parochial?
    • Whether the wife should be stay-at-home mom or work outside the home?
    • Where to live geographically? Whether or not to be a homeowner? Whether to move for a job?
    • What church to go to?
    • Whether or not to invest money, in say, a 401k or college savings plan?
    • What about a gut-wrenching, horrible issue — like, a kid gets diagnosed with life-threatening cancer, and the parents strongly differ on whether they should treat it aggressively, or go with hospice care? After talking about it and doing the research, does the husband still have the final say?

    In a word, the answer I'd give to your question is yes.

This is what some complementarians preach. This is what some men are imposing on their wives. Men and women equally should speak out against this. Egalitarians support complementarity without hierarchy. Complementarity without rulership and subjugation.

Love and Respect 6

With respect to the pairing of love and respect in Eph. 5:33,

    however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. RSV
I have tried to represent several of the things that Eggerichs say about this and assess whether or not they are true.

First, the Greek word phobeomai , found in Eph. 5:33 maps poorly onto the English word "respect." In the Tyndale and Coverdale translations the word was "fear." This was changed to "reverence" and finally "respect," while phobeomai, when used with reference to God, is still translated as "fear." So a certain part of the sense of the chapter has been watered down.

We might consider whether wives were in a position where they were to phobeomai "fear" their husbands. Perhaps they were in a relationship not completely different from that of the slave to the slave owner.

On the other hand, I would like to continue exploring further the semantic range of phobeomai. It is used in the commandments in Lev. 19:3
    Ye shall fear (phobeomai) every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. Lev. 19:3

    Honour (timao) thy father and thy mother Ex. 20:12

    Children, obey (hupakouo) your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Eph. 6:1

    Honour (timao) thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; Eph. 6:2
Here we see a continuum from "obey" to "fear" to "honour" within the relationship of children and parents. But let's look a little further and see how the word "honor" timao is used.
    For although they knew God, they did not honor (timao( him as God or give thanks to him, Romans 1:21

    but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. Romans 2:10

    Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

    But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 1 Cor. 12:23

    Honor widows who are truly widows. 1 Tim. 5:3

    Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, 1 Tim. 6:1

    Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17

    Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
I hope this is clear. Honor is owed to everyone. The husband must honor his wife and the wife must honor her husband.

I see two choices for the interpretation of Eph. 5:33. "Respect" (phobeomai) could nean that a wife must "obey" or "fear" her husband because he has power over her. If this is the case, then the wife is no better than a child or a slave. The relationship is not reciprocal and according to John Gottman, the person who is not respected, in this case the wife, is demeaned and deprived of dignity.

The second choice is that "respect" phobeomai is roughly equivalent to "honor" timao. If this is the case, then the husband must honor his wife according to the scriptures. "Honor" is something which is reciprocal within the adult church members. Widows especially must be honored.

When Eggerichs writes,
    Interestingly enough, scientific research confirms that love and respect are the foundation of a successful marriage
this rings true. But when Eggerichs then says,
    Gottman's findings confirm what has already been in Scripture for some two thousand years. Chapter 5 of Ephesians is considered by many to be the most significant treatise on marriage in the New Testament. Paul concludes these statements on marriage by getting gender specific in verse 33. He reveals commands from the very heart of God as he tells the husband he must love his wife unconditionally and the wife must respect her husband, whether or not her husband comes across as loving. page 35-36
Eggerichs is being academically dishonest. One of the things I feel very strongly when I read something dishonest, is that I feel personally disrespected.

I firmly believe that women should be invited into reciprocal relations with men. Unfortunately only men can facilitate this.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Love and Respect 5

To be fair, I want to offer this positive review of Eggerichs book, which nonetheless notes the two difficulties which I outlined in my previous post. For this author, they were not serious detractions, but for me they are.

    Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs, a book by Emerson Eggerichs, makes an excellent observation. Many a woman feels as if her air has been cut off when she feels unloved by her husband, but a man is more likely to feel this way when he feels he's lost his wife's respect. And to make matters worse, women tend to disrespect husbands who don't love them, and men tend to withhold love from wives when they feel disrespected. Eggerichs calls it the Crazy Cycle.

    His book offers advice to couples who want to break out of their Crazy Cycle. Lots of books offer advice on how to show love, but few tell how to show respect to a loved one, and I've heard from a lot of men who confirm there's an important difference.

    I think it's unfortunate that Dr. Eggerichs, a Protestant minister, chose to bolster his proposals for improving marriage with fragments of verses from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Many come from passages unrelated to his subject and appear to be wrestled into service of his ideas, which would stand quite nicely on their own. He's also going to lose a few readers by emphasizing what he sees as the husband's proper role as head of the family.

    But don't let those deter you if they don't fit your religious beliefs. This book offers some important insights not offered elsewhere. Run them past your spouse and see if they'll make your marriage stronger.

    Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs. Emerson Eggerichs. Brentwood, Tennessee: Integrity Publishers, 2004. 240 pages.
    Posted by patty at 3:41 PM
And here is a review by the same person of a book by John Gottman.

    One of the most widely read and cited books on marriage is The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver.

    Gottman can predict whether a couple will divorce after watching and listening to them for only five minutes. His predictions are correct 91% of the time. He watches for four things as they try to resolve an ongoing disagreement. Here's what tells him a couple is likely to divorce:

    1. A harsh startup to the discussion
    2. The "Four Horsemen" of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling
    3. Flooding (feeling so overwhelmed that you avoid further discussion)
    4. Body language indicating a fight-or-flight response
    5. Failed repair attempts
    6. Bad memories (rewritten history of their relationship)

    The antidote, Gottman claims, is a strong friendship between husband and wife. This helps them remember, when things go badly, that they are dealing with a friend. Gottman claims that 69% of all marital conflicts don't get resolved, perhaps can't be resolved. Those who enjoy their marriages find playful and supportive ways of dealing with these differences.

    His Seven Principles emphasize Emotional Intelligence and friendship. Each one comes with a set of exercises. Couples who do them together will build Emotional Intelligence skills and strengthen their friendship with each other.

    Those who already Assume Love will find it much easier to master Gottman's Seven Principles. They will also have a great tool for fighting off the Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

    The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. John M. Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver. New York: Crown, 1999. 288 pages.
    Posted by patty at 5:08 PM

    Love and Respect 4

    I fell out of order somehow. A little bit of the white queen sometimes, I'm afraid.

    One of the difficulties with using the "love and respect" pair in Ephesians 5:33 to represent the marriage relationship, as Eggerichs does is that there is no Bible which gives us a transparent translation of this verse.

    In all the major translations which I reviewed I found that people are still to "fear" God, but wives are to "respect" their husbands. It is striking that all translations have agreed to translate the word phobeomai differently in collocation with God and with husband.

    The word "respect" in English only marginally includes hierarchy in the meaning, if the context makes this clear already. So, it is the context and not the word "respect" which communicates hierarchy. We can equally say in English "respect your children" and "respect your elders." I noted about 60,000 hits in google for "respect your children" and 100,000 hits for "respect your elders." One cannot say that the word "respect" necessarily involves a recognition of hierarchy.

    There is, however, the expression to "respect" someone with greater power. One might say that you should have a "healthy respect for bears" and not feed them in national parks. This may be a trace reminder that "respect" once included the meaning "fear." Here are a few takes from google.
      Every person in the backcountry should have a healthy respect for bears: a sense of caution, knowledge and awareness of potential hazards. ...

      Although most people maintain a healthy respect for bears, this wilderness ethic goes far beyond fearing bears and their powerful abilities. ...

      Bear attacks are rare, and most can be avoided with the proper precautions. Always maintain a healthy respect for wildlife. Never feed animals, and be sure ...

      Vancouver Island is home to black bear and cougar, and while conflict between these animals and humans cannot always be avoided, a healthy respect for their wildness is key to reducing dangerous encounters.
    So the question is whether a husband "needs" this kind of respect, or whether Ephesians 5:33 recommends "respect" because it is a part of the existing power relations at that time. In some sense it is hard to replicate the meaning of phobeomai, but we should be hesitant to read it into the use of the word "respect" in most social science literature. Park signage is a different thing altogether.

    Love and Respect 3

    In Love and Respect Eggerichs writes,

      Gottman's findings confirm what has already been in Scripture for some two thousand years. Chapter 5 of Ephesians is considered by many to be the most significant treatise on marriage in the New Testament. Paul concludes these statements on marriage by getting gender specific in verse 33. He reveals commands from the very heart of God as he tells the husband he must love his wife unconditionally and the wife must respect her husband, whether or not her husband comes across as loving. page 35-36
    Two things are at work here. First, Eggerichs wishes to reinforce the position of husbands as leaders in the home. He assumes the leadership of the male by writing approvingly of this attitude,

      He may not be perfect as the head of the family, but you are quite willing to allow him to live in that role as you submit to his leadership. (page 211)
    Next, Eggerichs wishes to find that scripture and the best of modern social science fall together. He wants science to confirm scripture for him. (I think we all know what happens when this is applied in other fields. I remember distinctly being taken to see a documentary which portrayed the footprints of humans walking alongside dinosaurs. Certain Christians wanted science to validate scripture. This obscures clear vision. It was later proven that the tracks were not human.)

    Here is the scripture text in question,

      however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. RSV

      Neuerthelesse, let euery one of you in particular, so loue his wife euen as himselfe, and the wife see that she reuerence her husband. KJV

      Neverthelesse do ye so that every one of you love his wyfe truely even as him silfe. And let ye wyfe se that she feare her husbade Tyndale
    There is no doubt that the word in Greek has as its primary meaning "fear." Phobeomai in the Liddell Scott Jones lexicon means "to be put to flight," "to be siezed with fear," "to be afraid," and "to stand in awe or dread of." In the BDAG, it is "to be afraid" and "to have a profound measure of respect for, reverence, respect with special reference to fear of offending."

    The use of phobeomai in collocation with "God" indicates that it means to "respect someone who is stronger than you." Eggerichs is clear that when he uses the word respect he does mean to validate hierarchy with the husband at the head of the hierarchy. He writes,
      If you want a Love and Respect marriage, do not argue or fight against hierarchy. (page 213)
    I understand Eggerichs to be saying that a wife gains love by acknowledging that she is in a hieararchical relationship with her husband, with him on top. The author of Ephesians does tell the wife to phobeomai her husband. He clearly says then that the wife must view the husband as having more power in the relationship.

    However, there is a disagreement about whether we now interpret this author to be saying that the husband has earthly power, as does a slave owner or an emperor, or natural power as an adult does in relation to a child; or whether, as some theologians teach, it means that God intends the husband to exercise power over the wife.

    I would argue that the author of Ephesians is commenting on the fact that the husband at that time had more power in the marriage relationship. A wife could not change this. In the same way, slaves were told to obey their earthly masters.

    The first difficulty with Eggerichs use of the term "respect" is whether the English word "respect" conveys this difference in hierarchy and whether it can also be used of the way a husband is to treat his wife.

    The Concise Oxford Dictionary says of "respect" - 1 regard with deference, esteem or honour. 2a avoid interfering with, harming, degrading, insulting, injuring or interrupting. 2b treat with consideration 2c refrain from offending, corrupting or tempting.

    Other definitions and uses of the English word "respect" indicate that whle it can be used with reference to a hierarchical regard, it does not necessarily entail hierarchy. While Eggerichs uses the word "respect" to indicate hierarchy, Gottman does not. Gottman clearly says that "love and respect" are "mutual" and he speaks approvingly of "power-sharing." I am not aware of any social science articles that confirm the notion that hierarchical relationships provide more love for those under hierarchy than non-hierarchical relationships.

    I will continue in my next post with a look at other ways Eggerichs uses the word "respect" and whether the scriptures specifically require a husband to respect his wife or not. There is more to be written about the Greek word phobeomai and its near synonym timaô.

    Love and Respect 2

    Some significant questions have arisen in relation to Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. This topic first came up when John Hobbins mentioned it here, and here. I understand it's a popular book, but otherwise I would not have heard of it.

    First, this book includes some gender specific communication advice derived in part from the work of Deborah Tannen and John Gottman. I respect the notion that men and women are different and communicate in different ways. I resist the extremes of this position and the many ways it is manipulated. For example, I agree with Gottman's statement, cited by Eggerichs on page 60,
      "The more wives complain and criticize, the more husbands withdraw and stonewall."
    However, I consider the following to be untenable. It was hard for me to keep reading after this. Eggerichs writes,
      I've asked any number of businessmen, "Do you want your associates to love you or respect you?" They all laugh and say, "I could care less if they love me, but respect me? Absolutely!" Right or wrong, men interpret their world through the respect grid, and a wife's softened tone and facial expressions can do more for her marriage than she can imagine. (page 65)
      Clearly, Eggerichs would not get a different answer if he asked a group of businesswomen the same question. But he pretends that he would. Either Eggerichs is not aware that businesswomen exist, or he does not care to be evenhanded in his portrayal of men and women.

      My last post discusses in more detail how Eggerichs misinterprets Gottman's work to support his notion that men need respect and women need love.

      Now I want to respond to two questions. The first one is whether the Bible actually says that men need respect and women need love, or whether it says that wives should "fear their husbands. Gem writes,

        Ephesians 5:33 is not telling wives to respect/reverence their husbands. It is telling wives to phobeo/FEAR their husbands.
      The second question is whether the subordination of women movement among Christians is not actually a part of a wider cultural phenomenon reflected in groups like MGTOW - Men Going Their Own Way. Janet writes,

        Google the terms "MGTOW" and "eggerich" in one search and see for yourself. Click around and you'll be disgusted at what you find.
      (Yes, Janet, I was.) My thesis will be, first, that the notion that men need respect and women need love is NOT based on scripture at all. Second, I suggest that the resurgence in the subordination of women teaching is part of a wider cultural reactionary movement in response to the equality that women have achieved.

      In order to respond adequately to Gem's question, it will require a fair bit of analysis of the Greek terms which are translated into English as "respect." I want to be clear that I personally do not consider the use of these terms to be the foundation for marriage counselling in the way that Eggerichs does. My purpose is to demonstrate that the paradigm Eggerichs writes about in Love and Respect cannot be supported by scripture. If scripture is his foundation, he needs to start over. I think this will prove to be an interesting discussion.

      Thursday, March 12, 2009

      Love and Respect

      When someone originally recommended Love and Respect by Eggrichs, I read the table of contents and decided to go no further. Any book which touts how much men want to be respected for working and providing, and how much women want to be understood, has missed the boat many times over in my view. I provided, am I not to be respected? Apparently not.

      What is worse is that Eggerichs has dragged into this debate the respectable work of John Gottman. On Amazon.com a dissatisfied customer has this to say,

        Mr. Eggrichs quotes John Gottman, a renowned and well-respected University of Washington psychology professor. However, he fails to keep the context of the studies by omitting John Gottman's scientific research to include `mutual' love and respect.

        Direct quotes from John Gottman's books: "No matter what style of marriage they have adopted, their discussions, for the most part, are carried along by a strong undercurrent of two basic ingredients: love and respect. These are the direct opposite of - and antidote for- contempt, perhaps the most corrosive force in marriage.

        But all the ways partners show each other love and respect also ensure that the positive-to-negative ratio of a marriage will be heavily tilted to the positive side." . . . "By this I mean a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other's company." . . . "They don't just "get along"- they also support each other's hopes and aspirations and build a sense of purpose into their lives together. That is really what I mean when I talk about honoring and respecting each other." "...you need to understand the bottom-line difference that is causing the conflict between you-and to learn how to live with it by honoring and respecting each other." (Reference John Gottman's books `Why Marriages Succeed or Fail' pages 61 and 62 as well as `The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work' pages 19, 23 and 24.)
      In spite of this, Eggerichs has managed to give the strong impression that Gottman supports Eggerichs' thesis that men need respect and women need love. Recently on Mike's blog, a commenter said,

        Furthermore, it’s interesting that a family psychologist like John Gottman emphasizes that respect is typically the more important need of a husband and love the more important need of a wife. It’s all relative, of course, but maybe, just maybe, Paul was on to something, in his gender-differentiated advice.
      He claims that Gottman supports Eggerichs' thesis that men need respect and women need love. In fact, what Eggerichs wrote was this,

        Interestingly enough, scientific research confirms that love and respect are the foundation of a successful marriage. Dr. John Gottman, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington, led a research team that spent twenty years studying two thousand couples who had been married twenty to forty years to the same partner. There people came from diverse backgrounds and had widely differing occupations and lifestyles. But one thing was similar - the tone of their conversations. As these couples talked together, almost always there was what Gottman calls "a strong undercurrent of two basic ingredients: Love and Respect. These are the direct opposite of - and antidote for - contempt, perhaps the most corrosive force in marriage."

        Gottman's findings confirm what has already been in Scripture for some two thousand years. Chapter 5 of Ephesians is considered by many to be the most significant treatise on marriage in the New Testament. Paul concludes these statements on marriage by getting gender specific in verse 33. He reveals commands from the very heart of God as he tells the husband he must love his wife unconditionally and the wife must respect her husband, whether or not her husband comes across as loving. page 35-36
      I am personally unable to understand how anyone can derive the notion that Gottman said that men need respect and women need love. I feel incredibly disrespected by the author of this book and by anyone who cites approvingly from this book. I am resisting expressing myself on the rest of this book. My impression is that some people think that if they say something, that makes it true.

      I am extremely relieved that a psychotherapist who knows Gottman came to my rescue and wrote in a further comment on Mike's blog,

        I have been a practicing psychotherapist for over 15 years and have taken training in couples therapy from John Gottman in Seattle. Although his research points to typical patterns of communication among husbands and wives, with gender specific advice to each on how to deal with their spouse, he certainly does not support Eggerich’s generalization that wives are somehow less in need of respect than husbands — indeed, even 80% of men prefer respect, wives need both love AND respect.

        Gottman’s work being based on sophisticated top-notch research is far more embracing of the nuances and individual differences across couples than what you see from Eggerich. For example, Gottman acknowledges a pattern that he describes as wife-demand-husband-withdraw, a pattern that Eggerich discusses at length in his book, to the point of generalizing it to almost all couples (only one page is devoted to emotional husbands with stonewalling wives). But Gottman’s work goes much further, noting patterns of mutually volatile couples, belligerent husbands, etc., each requiring different interventions.

        Unfortunately, these facts are lost on those who have become fans of Eggerich, seeing his work as the answer to restoring gender roles, when much damage can be done to individuals and communities by its simplistic one-size-fits-all message. For example, there has been a burgeoning Christian “men’s rights” movement on this internet (aka “MGTOW”, “MRA”) that uses Eggerich’s writings to reinforce their mysogynistic stereotypes of women as shrews. In the wrong hands, Eggerich’s sweeping quotes can be very toxic stuff.
      I am dismayed not only that equal respect is not a premise among some Christian groups, but more specifically because some people appear to have no consience whatsoever in citing something and treating it as if it said the exact opposite of what it actually says. Gottman is disrespected, the reader is disrespected and everyone else. Christianity falls into disrepute. I am fed up with this kind of nonsense in the gender debate.

      I run a remedial reading programme. I have decided that there are many adults around who could benefit from such a programme.

      On the other hand, Gottman, in this article, actually said some lovely and tender things about relationships.

        It sounds as if we have a stake in relationships staying together — but we don't. My major stake is in understanding. We have a stake in people not staying together if they don't feel good about their relationship and it's not really going anywhere for them, it's not really helping them build one another's dreams, it's not a relationship that has dignity.

        But we like to help people understand why it is that it didn't work, so that the next relationship, or next set of relationships, can be better. One of the major things we found is that honoring your partner's dreams is absolutely critical. A lot of times people have incompatible dreams — or they don't want to honor their partner's dreams, or they don't want to yield power, they don't want to share power. So that explains a lot of times why they don't really belong together.

      Tuesday, March 10, 2009

      The Clarity of Scripture

      This is also called the perspicuity of scripture. It is taught in the Systematic Theology in these terms, page 108,
        We affirm that the Bible is written in such a way that all things necessary for our salvation and for our Christian life and growth are very clearly set out in Scripture.
        The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God's help and being willing to follow it.
      The question is whether many issues pertaining to gender and marriage are clear in the scriptures. Here is Bill Mounce on "man of one woman,"

        When I wrote the commentary I initially went with Position 4. But when I got to chapter 5, I could not say that a widow had to be married only once in order to be enrolled in widows list since Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry. So I went back and changed my commentary to Position 3.

        This allows for a person to be an elder who has been divorced in the distant past—how far in the distance needs to be decided in your position paper. I didn’t come to this conclusion for this reason, but it is one of the ramifications.

        But in this debate, let’s be fair. 1 Tim 3:2 is a confusing text, and whatever it says, it does not say it clearly. At least to us; I am sure Timothy had not doubt as to Paul’s meaning.
      And here is Al Wolters on Junia,
        This conclusion still leaves open the question whether it is more likely that the IOTNIAN of Rom 16:7 reflects a Hebrew masculine name or a Latin feminine one. The answer to that question depends largely on how one assesses the likelihood that Paul would have considered a woman to be "prominent among the apostles" (see Metzger, Textual Commentary, 475).
        To some, probability will still favor the quasi consensus of recent scholarship that IOTNIAN in Rom 16:7 refers to a woman. To others, the epigraphic and philological evidence for the existence of a Hebrew name Yëhunnï/Ίουνιας will tip the scales in favor of a male apostle. In my own opinion, a plausible (but not a decisive) case can be made for either position.
      With regard to Eph. 5:21-22, Carl Conrad wrote in a comment on Mike's blog,

        Do I need or dare to reiterate my suspicion — hardening into a conviction? — that this author has not taken any great pains to structure his expression to make it what some Greeks called εὐσύνοπτον — the current buzz word seems to be “transparent.” I think it must be a thankless task to attempt a really convincing and thorough punctuation of Ephesians: one must read a mind that seems to know what it wants to say but can’t quite articulate it clearly.
      This was very much what I had been trying to convince one of the commenters on complegalitarian of.

      I have often demonstrated that certain conclusions about passages on gender in the Bible are not supported by the evidence. Then people ask me what my interpretation is. Frankly, I don't see why I have to have one. I am in good company. Or would readers rather that I jump off one horse and onto another as fast as some other people in this business.

      Sunday, March 08, 2009

      Annie Oakley

      Its this time of year again and we are reading about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Annie was a self-taught sharpshooter who performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

      Here is an article about her. She was petite, beautiful and happily married for 50 years. When she died her husband stopped eating and died shortly after. (So the story goes.) Here is a little known piece of history, a letter she wrote to the president.
        "Hon Wm. McKinley, President
        Dear Sir
        I for one feel confident that your good judgment will carry America safely through without war.But in case of such an event I am ready to place a company of fifty lady sharpshooters at your disposal.Every one of them will be an American and as they will furnish their own arms and ammunition will be little if any expense to the government.
        very truly,
        Annie Oakley"
        It appears she was turned down. She did demonstrate sharpshooting for the troops and over the years trained many women to shoot. Annie was certainly deeply affected by certain unhappy aspects of her childhood and wished to teach other women to be as self-reliant as she was.
        She was always ladylike and well-dressed and gave much of her prize money for children's charities.
        It is always good to remind ourselves of how real people have lived their lives. We may not aspire to what Annie did, but we don't need to be bound by convention either.

        Christiana Tsai 3

        I have been reading Queen of the Dark Chamber, the autobiography of Tsai up until the 1940's but here is a sequel,

          This book is a sequel to Christiana's first autobiography titled Queen of the Dark Chamber. This second volume includes events covered in the first book but with fresh insights. Christiana then picks up her story from 1949 when she and her lifelong friend and co-worker, Mary A. Leaman, fled China during the war with Japan. The narrative continues through her bedridden years and ministry in America. It was during those several decades as a bedridden invalid that the Lord used Christiana Tsai in a worldwide outreach through people He brought to her bedside in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

          Christiana's father held the governorship of Kiangsu Province in the final days of the Manchu Dynasty and so Christiana, one of over 20 children (her nickname was "Too Many!) was born and reared in luxury. At the age of 16 she was allowed to study music and English in the Ming Deh School for Girls established by the Leaman family from Paradise. But she was sternly warned by her family not to "eat the Christianity of the foreigners." God has His own plans for her life, however, and she was converted from Buddhism at that school in Nanjing, China. The principal, Mary A. Leaman, became Christiana's lifelong friend and godmother.

          Her story reads like dramatic fiction with wars, intrigue, and breathtaking events set in the colorful, oriental culture of classic, pre-Communist China. One of the first educated women in China, she was much in demand to speak and travel throughout the country, and embarked upon an evangelistic ministry in the company of Mary Leaman.

          Taken seriously ill in her prime with a mysterious disease which kept her bedridden for the rest of her life into her nineties, she endured years of suffering during China's war with Japan. Her influence for Christ was not over, however, when she came as a refugee to the United States.
        Her papers are here.

        One of the incidents recounted in Queen of the Dark Chamber takes place outside of a Buddhist temple in San Francisco. There Christiana addressed some American women who had been attending the temple and she spoke of her own conversion from Buddhism to Christianity. It happened that one of the women she spoke to was a relative of Robert Morrison, the missionary who had first translated the Bible into Chinese. (More about the Bible in Chinese another day.) However, this relative of Morrison`s had converted from Christianity to Buddhism. Tsai`s book is a unique narrative on the interaction of family, culture and religion for women in the early part of the last century.

        It also affords valuable insights into decisions leading to a national phonetic Bible for China. There were at the time two trends in producing literature in print. The first was to use the traditional Han characters. However, due to lack of sufficient schooling, many people were illiterate. The missionaries often produced Bibles in a Roman alphabet for the langauge or dialect where they were working. This resulted in many various non-standarized orthographies.

        Many Chinese linguists were working on a national phonetic alphabet for China in the 1930`s. This meant that one would have to learn Mandarin in order to read. The alternative would be that the population would become literate only in their own regional language. Hanyu Pinyin was approved in 1958.

        Queen of the Dark Chamber offers an interesting account of the decision-making which lead to this first parallel national phonetic-character Bible for China.

        Saturday, March 07, 2009

        Christiana Tsai 2

        Christiana Tsai is interesting as one of the first Chinese women to receive a western high school education in China. She was from a wealthy family who, howecer, eventually lost their wealth. As an educated woman she was offered employment as an education administrator which she turned down to live as an evangelist. She also received an offer of marriage which she later refused because her fiancé became a liberal Christian while studying in the States.

        In 1921 Christiana Tsai visited the United States with Mary Leaman. She spoke to the Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit, she preached at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, at the Sing Sing prison in Mew York and was invited to meet President Harding in Washington.

        Christiana Tsai was the close companion of Mary Leaman who produced the first complete Chinese Bible in Chinese characters and the National Phonetic System in parallel. The Board of Education in China recognized Miss Leaman's work and in 1937 invited her to attend a conference. She was given a set of records prepared by Dr. Y. R. Chao, and was asked to prepare a message on the phonetic to be broadcast over the Central Broadcasting Station.

        Although Christiana assisted Miss Leaman, she spent those years entirely in her darkened room due to malaria of the bone marrow. Christiana remained well known as an evangelist and people came to her room for Bible teaching and advice.

        Wednesday, March 04, 2009

        Christiana Tsai 1

        I had promised some time ago to write more about Christiana Tsai. For a variety of reasons I have little time to blog, so I am going to type out a few excerpts from her book and comment on them later of maybe not. Here is one story of a Chinese woman's travels in China, 1937-1945.

        The Chinese Christian women of this era were in many cases rejected by their families and lived in a cultural manner that was neither Chinese nor western. In this harsh "no-man's land," they were able to escape some of the constraints of gender.

          Miss Garden's wanderings were similar but even more prolonged. She went from town to town throughout inland China, carrying her little satchel and a few dollars. Everywhere she went she found little Christian chapels and mission stations where she was entertained, and directed by devoted Christians who were mostly members of the China Inland Mission.

          She slept on straw on the floor, washed at the well, ate the simple food they provided, preached at the evangelistic services, taught Bible classes, and joined new groups of refugees who went west as the news came that the Japanese were approaching. They traveled by houseboat, wheelbarrow, or donkey, or on foot through the picturesque hill country of central and southwest China.

          The Christians of the interior welcomed her and asked her to preach to the crowds that passed along, so the opportunities for witnessing were unlimited. For eight years, from the beginning of the war in 1937, she wandered through ten provinces, preaching, teaching and witnessing with no other means of support than what she received till the war was over in 1945.
        Queen of the Dark Chamber, page 153-154.

        Monday, March 02, 2009

        Eastern Orthodox Bible

        I have been away for a bit and my email has piled up. I hope to answer some of the requests over the next week or so. First, on Bible translations, I remain committed to a few of my favourites, KJV, Rotherham, NRSV, TNIV, CEV and the NLT. That's a good start. There are many worthy Bibles that I am not familiar enough with to have an opinion on. I hope to address one of these today.

        The Eastern Orthodox Bible is a recent publication available as a download from this site. I downloaded it here. A few Bibliobloggers have mentioned it here, and here and others here. As far as I know it is not an official Bible of the EOC at this time.

        At a first glance, I see some refreshing use of language. For example, we can read "atoning sacrifice" instead of "propitiation," "good news" for "gospel" and "good work" for "noble task."

        The language seems to be updated and clear. However, phrases like this abound,

          because of your partnership in the furtherance of the Good News, Phil. 1:5

          Do not be terrified by your opponents. This will be for them evidence of destruction, but to you, of salvation from God Phil. 1:28

          We know that if our earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building from God 2 or. 5:1
        This suggests that the project lacks proofreading. I am convinced that some people will be pleased by the updated language along with retention of overall traditional/archaic grammatical structure, but ultimately they will find it very uneven.

        On the question of gender I found the same sharp contrast between refreshingly gender inclusive language in one part of the text, and masculinization in another part. The expression "children of God" is found here, along with the inclusion of "sister" in square brackets.

          As many as are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. You did not receive the spirit of bondage to [live in] fear again. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption through which we cry, “Abba! Father!” Adopted as children of God: hope of glory. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; and if [we are] children, then [we are] heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, so that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-16

          This is how the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, and neither is the one who does not love his brother [or sister]. 1 John 3:10
        In First and Second Timothy, however, there is a strong masculine trend,

          Indeed, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people (anthropos plural) to be saved 1 Tim. 2:4

          There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, (anthropos plural) the man (anthropos singular) Christ Jesus 1 Tim. 2:5

          I desire, therefore, that in every place, the men (aner plural) should pray 1 Tim. 2:8

          This is a sure word: if a man (tis masculine or feminine) aspires to the office of overseer, 1 Tim. 3:1

          What you heard from me among many witnesses, entrust likewise to faithful men (anthropos plural) 2 Tim. 2:2
        Perhaps even more surprising is the use of the word "rule" in 1 Tim. 3:5,

          Indeed, if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how can he take care of the Church of God?
        Overall, it probably does not matter that much. If we can decide to refrain from telling slaves to obey, we should be able to discriminate on other issues as well.

        The Eastern Orthodox Bible is based on the Byzantine Greek text, which is close, but not identical to the Textus Receptus which underlies the KJV. The Old Testament is based on the Septuagint.

          Sunday, March 01, 2009


          I watched Changeling tonight and was gripped by this tense and dark movie. It is a true story and has no happy ending, no mitigating light moments. It is a true horror film, if you can imagine for one second being caught up in the events of this one woman's life.

          I enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire and believe it deserved attention for an original episodic structure and unusual setting. But the events of Changeling are true, and Eastwood creates a tightly woven narrative of several different threads, bringing it all together in the end. It is amazing that so much was actually discovered about the fate of the main characters.

          Perhaps one of the more shocking scenes, although not the most horrific, shows Angelina Jolie being manipulated into responding to an interrogation in the mental institution in such a way that her insanity is a sure outcome. As another inmate explains, if you respond evenly you are then "depressed," if you smile you are called "inappropriate" and so on. There is no right answer and incarceration is the reward for not saying what the police want you to say. It is worth watching as a piece of social history.