Monday, December 22, 2008


Update: I want to be fair to the Eggerichs so I have linked to their blog, and these two posts. I am glad to read something of their own writing without reading the book. I can see how some people might like what they say, but I cannot agree technically on their opinion on the "weaker vessel."

Someone recommended that I read Eggerichs' book. It was mentioned on complegal. I did not look at it then and much to my regret I did read the table of contents today. You can too!

Here is my reaction to the table of contents second page,

I am a single parent so I need to

work and achieve
protect and provide
serve and lead
analyse and counsel

and I miss having a partner

But apparently I cannot be respected for this or recognized for this because I am a woman. A book like that makes a single woman feel like trash. It is so fundamentally disrespectful of women that women can do no better than shut themselves off from life denying bondage into the deception of weakness.

Should I want closeness and understanding at the expense of supporting and raising my children? Has someone lost their cotton pickin mind? How on earth do single women parent if they do not have all the attributes that Eggerichs (and who knows who he is) says men have?

Doesn't anyone see how utterly ridiculous and damaging Eggerichs ideas might be to a single woman. How much more damage would people like to do? Tear the self esteem of women one little piece from the next!

One little reason why I quit the complegal blog. (Maybe it is a good book with a downright terrible table of contents - who knows)

If some man wants to talk with me about finances and snow tires and computers, great, but this crap - OMG.

PS I am so happy today that I drive a 4wheel drive Suburu. Nothing can touch that for happiness today. I am the luckiest woman alive.


Mike Aubrey said...

i hate this kind of over simplification of Ephesians 5.

Its naive and sick.

And I could use 4 wheel drive...after 3 hours of shoveling, I've finally gotten my drive way & front entrance open.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I did have to shovel and remove some broken branches and so on. But having lived in the north here and there, I decided to get 4 wheel drive and I am so happy I did on a day like today.

Yes, I am happy that I am capable of "analysis and counsel."

Lynne said...

Ugh! I have never read Eggerichs, and now I know I never will!As a married woman, I feel sick inside when I come across stuff like that -- like someone's taking away my individuality and trying to force me to become something I'm not. I'm going to dance the steps God's given me, not someone else's movements -- every time in my life I've ever tried to conform to someone else's patterns, I've ended up straining something -- my conscience to start with!

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am feeling a wee tad guilty because I have never read his book and some people rave about it. So full disclosure is that I have not read this book.

Maybe someone who has could comment on it.

Anonymous said...

Really bugs me too. I've not read it, though I've examined many books with a similar premise. From what I have heard, as far as "Men need respect and women need love" books go, this is one of the healthier ones. I know various functionally (if not theologically) egalitarian couples who rave, rave about this book (and women who are happy with the emphasis on service for their husbands; one gal I know credited this book combined with some pastoral counsel as what started to break abusive patterns in her husband). I have even seen it listed in the recommended books of egal readers on amazon. Perhaps for some couples it really seems to speak into enough truths of their particular marital dynamics that they shrug off any cookie-cutterism? I always say, however, "You cannot love me in a way I can receive or even conceive of as true until you respect me." The phenomenon surrounding this book seems similar to that surrounding Captivated by Eldredge. I actually know an egal pastor who has the women's group in her church reading Captivating (perhaps this was a congregational suggestion that she did not want to override though?), but many egals I know have more of a retching reaction to what they consider (again, I have not read; could not put myself through the likely rxt right now) unhealthy typecasting of women into uber-romanticism (and all the appendage mentalities and denial of true relational dynamics that tend to come with it) as the driving force of their lives. How I could hear both rxts coming from the egal camp escapes me, but perhaps it would not if I read it.


Anonymous said...

1) It's annoying that they post such a horrifically flawed justification of a social structure that needs to be criticized without allowing comments.

2) The idea even that inerrancy implies immutability of how the text ought to be lived is ignorantly naive. the history of the church bears this out as the center shifted from near-east Jew, to medieval scholastic, to American revivalist and now a distinctly asian flavored center we have only begun to accept and analyze.

3) The post to which you link does not explain what weaker v. stronger actually means except that it is a comparative term. The fact that this is a comparative phrase is obvious that making the statement is tautological at best. It is a comparative statement that is fundamentally qualitative. So what quality of the human person does "strength" imply? To answer this they would have to agree that it is a clear inequality compared to how post-enlightened cultures understand sexual equality in social structures.

4) It is another attempt to soften the blow and leads to patent dishonesty. It is more respectable to say that this passage supports the idea that men and women at the time and place of the bible in general were indeed not equal members of society based on prescriptive social roles. The logical next step is to either accept this as a stable means of organizing social norms today or rejecting it. Rejecting it does not entail a rejection of "the bible" in as much as rejecting keeping kosher would be rejecting the idea that Jesus saves us from sin. Accepting it is at least a logical outcome of being honest with the text. But producing the lie that this is the same thing as modern feminism discredits their assertion right off since the comparison is flat wrong.

I would rather disagree wholeheartedly with someone who is consistent than agree in part with a position that is inherently irrational as the one to which you link. they present a classic bait and switch tactic to get a high tension position to reconcile with a position that is fundamentally opposed to it. They either need to accept the tension their assertion creates and live with it, or reduce it to the point of total reconciliation with the position with which it creates that tension. Rather, they choose a middle way to soften the blow which comes out as a naive lie.


Lin said...

"If some man wants to talk with me about finances and snow tires and computers, great, but this crap - OMG."


Another concern is that the women they are teaching this to may find themselves in the position of my mother when my dad passed away. I was young. Thankfully, she was an indepedent woman who was able to make hard decisions because she had been involved in making them all along. And because my father viewed her as an equal to be respected.

So what do women like this become when there is no one around to 'love' them like this anymore? Should they not expect respect not only from a spouse but those in the Body where they worship?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I was especially impressed by the part where the Eggerichs say that a husband should honour his wife like an equal though she is a woman. What do they mean by "though?" I just don't get it. I don't know why people like their writing but there it is.

Donald Johnson said...

is my review of L&R on equality central. It has some discussion.


Anonymous said...

I was a single mother for about 10 years. Not fun. Most men I met in those days thought I needed sex. Actually I think they wanted sex and projected their desire for sex on to me. That they couldn't see past their own needs caused me to lose whatever respect for them I might have had. They were users.

What I really needed was love. Don't we all? And doesn't real love for another person entail respect for that person? If you don't respect the other person how can you love them?

Then I met the fellow who, in a couple of weeks, I will have been married to for 26 years. I respected him for many reasons but a very big one was that he treated me with respect. That made me feel loved.

For a very long time my thoughts about what men want and what women want were coloured by the experiences of my upbringing. It was easy for me to see that my primary need was to know that I was loved because all during my childhood and adolescence I never felt loved. That's largely because my parents never told me that they loved me and there was much about my upbringing that made it easy for me to think that they didn't. I don't want to go into all of that because I understood, long ago, that my parents were products of their upbringing too. They did the best they could with what they had. That is, I haven't been angry at my parents for not being perfect for a very long time. But you can stop being angry at your parents and still not properly understand yourself.

Until fairly recently I really believed that men want, first and foremost, to be respected, and women want, first and foremost, to know that they are loved. A few years ago I might have bought the Eggerich's book and lapped up all their "wisdom". Now I think that all they're doing is to confirm, and normalise, the prediction that God made in Genesis 3:16 about the outcome of the Fall. Women will want (demand by many proofs?) to "know" that they are loved by their husband and men will want (demand by many proofs?) to "know" that their wife willingly accepts their rule.

I was quite insecure about my husband's love for me in the early years of our marriage. This drove my husband nuts. One day he said to me that I was just going to have to trust that he loved me and wasn't going to nick off with some other woman should an easy opportunity arise. So I made an effort of will to trust him, i.e., to respect that what he said was the truth.

So even when he was being a s**t I kept trusting that he wouldn't leave me (even if I was being a s**t and, at the very least, refusing to be his doormat). And now I know and love him so well, and he knows and loves me so well, that I don't believe that anything but death will part us - and I want to go first (he says I'm being selfish and I agree, I am). I serve him (but not if he gets bossy). He serves me (but not if I get bossy). Really it's all about helping each other to be the best we can be and do the best we can with whatever opportunities God puts in the way of either of us.

Here it's 8pm on Christmas Eve. I hope you have a lovely Christmas Day. We're having cold ham and a roasted turkey breast with baked potatoes and onions, buttered carrots and sauteed English spinach, followed by plum pudding with custard, brandy butter and cream and, for much later, seedless grapes and nectarines. Wrapping the turkey breast in bacon prior to roasting will be the hardest part.