Sunday, March 15, 2009

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.


J. K. Gayle said...

"This is why the male bibliosphere is an oppressive place for a woman."

I am sorry! There are so many unquestioned (masculinist) assumptions; so many (male dominant) texts; and so many years, decades, centuries, millennia of oppression of women by men because of their sex; that change seems to come at a glacial pace. But the blogging of women like you is just incredible. First, your very act of intelligent questioning is a healthy affront to sexism. And more, you have more to say than often many are ready to hear though many need to hear what you're saying. (You do see that it's a struggle for some of us men too -- although I think we have no idea, no real feeling for, the oppression females are under. I hate blogging for this reason. What gets me going as much is hearing my 12 year old daughter speaking up, remembering and commenting on things that might otherwise be overlooked in this world of male dominance.)

Gem said...

I practiced what Candice just preached when she said “YES” to that young lady’s entire list of questions. I did that for 22 years of my 26 1/2 year marriage. I moved 24 times; I was pregnant 11 times and birthed 8 full term children; my first born attended 11 schools in 4 states and one foreign country by the time she graduated from high school...

Recently, I finally realized that I was not practicing CHRISTianity! That was XERXEanity! Xerxeanity is the belief that
"every man should be ruler over his own household"
That's a link to a verse in the Bible.
Go ahead and click the link to meet the poster boy for that doctrine.

Anonymous said...

After reading the referred to list on that blog, I checked out their other story about is it a woman's fault if her husband rapes her. It makes me sick of heart and sick of stomach. I had to respond, though it was through email since the comments were closed due to volitility of it all.

I feel for you Gem, did the same thing. Lost friends, homes and relatives... it is NOT godly to submit to all things male. Took way too many years to figure it out.

Lin said...

Note how they are really teaching folks to LIVE OUT the consequences of the fall.

That is evil.

Alaska said...

I love you, Sue!!!!
Keep on speaking. You are awesome.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


I have been thinking about you a lot lately.