Megan, a respondent to my “Hormones for the Castrati” posting, wrote the following. I am giving her voice here because I think she needs to be heard:

“I am more complementarian, but I empathize with Karen.  My father was very abusive.  The church my family was in had a mostly unspoken policy of “woman submit, man can do whatever”.  My father’s abuse of my mother and his many infidelities were ignored.  She tried the submission thing.  It didn’t work.  So she stood up for herself and for me.  My father actually enjoyed conflict (in spite of his complaints).  It made my father feel good to start an argument so he could “win” it.  He was addicted to anger.  He would antagonize me all the time, trying to get me to “snap” and be disrespectful.  Then I’d be punished.  There was no help from the church for us.  Only condemnation.  Changing my father was up to my mother, like it was her fault.  He could commit adultery, be lazy and only work part time and watch TV while my Mom worked full time, and then demand she make him dinner, etc.  (Yes, it gets worse, including various perversions I won’t list here for your sensibilities).  Nobody cared to enforce holy living on this man.  Church was a total boys’ club.  My mother was diagnosed with a crippling disease when I was little, and she became so sick she couldn’t work anymore.  She was financially trapped with a sociopath.  He became even worse over time, more abusive and unstable.  Eventually he left us to go homeless.

“I don’t think most of you guys here understand how prevalent abuse is in “Christian” marriages.  The “don’t talk about fight club” policy needs to end.  This thing where wives are supposed to suffer in silence, even if the kids are being abused, needs to end.  (Even if there are no kids in the picture, this is WRONG!!!!!)

“The comments I read in this thread disturb me.  There are implications in here that wives are the equivalents of slaves who need to obey their masters, no matter how cruel their masters are.  Shouldn’t the church step in and discipline freaks like my father?  Why is it that wives are held accountable to their end of the bargain–UNCONDITIONALLY–but men are not?  This double standard must end!

“I, for one, am proud of my Mom that she stopped unconditionally submitting to my father.  The abuse he would have dished out toward me would have been so much worse if she hadn’t stood up for us.  I really think if she hadn’t drawn a line in the sand, the freak would have molested me.  He was beginning to treat me as a sex object when I hit my teens.

“Guys, I’m cool with the idea of male headship, if it means that that the husband initiates Christ-like behavior by loving his wife even unto death–which means serving HER rather than making her serve himself first.  Headship shouldn’t mean the husband gets off scot-free from vile behavior.  At that point, the marriage is no longer a depiction of Christ and the church, but of the devil persecuting the church.

“I bet you guys will (mostly) say you agree with me, and that you didn’t really mean to say my Mom needed to submit to abuse, and that you believe she was right to protect me.  The thing is, I don’t believe men anymore when they back-peddle.  This issue of abuse is ignored in church preaching on marriage, or, if not ignored, then chuckled at like it’s no big deal that a “woman endure abuse for a season”, as John Piper so hideously put it.  (And yes, he really did chuckle when someone posed the question of what to do if her husband was abusing her.  He’s no great theologian.  He’s a warped sicko.)  Meanwhile, the children in these marriages are also abused, while church leadership looks the other way.

“Does it occur to you all that maybe because church leadership has ignored the problem of abuse in marriages for so long (dare I say, for centuries), that the egalitarians are simply reacting to and polarizing against what they have been taught by example is “headship”?  Does it occur to you that you  (generalizing here) have helped to create this problem by not addressing abuse in your preaching, nor in your pastoral counseling to women trapped in these situations?

“Instead of saying how sorry you are that I and Karen were abused, why don’t you doing something about the situation?  Why don’t you vindicate male headship by coming out against abuse?  By holding abusers accountable?  By getting informed on their tactics of slander and blame-shifting so that you can be ready to identify the abuser and take action?  By giving victims real help rather than telling them to go back to their prisons and bear their “crosses” alone, unvisited in their prisons, condemned to a life of slavery and fear?

“Do this, and you will have won the egalitarians over.  They are reacting to abuses of headship.  The sooner you recognize that, the sooner you will be able to truly get to the root of the problem.  Prove your own primacy and headship by standing up for the weak.  I was always raised by my mother to appreciate chivalry.  And yet, I never saw it in practice by my church leadership.  They never stood up for the victims.  They would not defend the weak.

“Please, live up to your own standards.  Defend the weak.  I challenge you to write a blog post here doing so.  Give women real practical advice on how to deal with abuse in marriage other than to blindly submit to cruelty.  Admonish effeminate pastors to protect the weak.  Best of all, tell women it’s okay to get out for their protection and for the children’s–for physical, verbal (i.e., screaming to the point the victim is afraid physical abuse is next), emotional (i.e., “crazymaking” tactics, non-verbal threats), and financial abuse (i.e., threatening to leave the family with nothing, controlling spending to where the victim goes without).  No husband should be using fear tactics of any kind to control his family and assert his “headship”.  Headship isn’t about rights–it’s about laying down one’s life like Jesus and serving.  Admonish churches to give women somewhere to go, so that they can escape.

“Until you come out boldly against abuses of headship, I don’t believe that you’re sorry.  In fact, so long as Christian leadership in general continues to sweep the problem under the rug, I’d say they deserve to be emasculated by the egalitarians.  If you won’t practice chivalry, then you don’t deserve to be the “head” of anything.

________________

Foregoing criticism of Megan’s impressions and indictments, I will say that if anyone reads this to whom the latter fairly apply, he needs to take note of her cri de coeur lest the Lord who defends the weak come and smite him.

I have no intention of mollifying my critique of egalitarianism’s errors and abuses or “balancing things out” because headship is misappropriated by wicked men like Megan’s father and heretical assemblies led by people who pervert apostolic teaching on how husbands and fathers should treat their wives and children.  We should not be fooled into believing that people or churches are Christian just because they’re “conservative”–which is the best of masks for unbelief and rebellion among the unbelieving and rebellious.

That men and women are equal before God is a truth that has been used to attack the priority of the man, but it is also true that male priority has been used to belittle and abuse women.  Whatever does either is utterly unchristian.  I don’t know that I can be plainer than that–and think the scriptures make it plain enough not to need my help.