Stay at home, you infernal ladies!

Today I am deeply saddened by the denial of justice to Eric Garner and his family. The fact that this decision was handed down while the public has access to video footage of the murder shows a truly frightening disregard for even appearing to care about justice or equality. My prayers are with the Garner family today. This blog isn’t really a platform for discussing recent events in New York and Furguson,but I must say that I have been horrified at the willingness of many of my friends on the right to ignore statistics in favor of focusing on a single criminal, their willingness to make light of the plight of their brothers and sisters in the Lord, and their hardness towards families and communities with gaping holes left by police bullets and batons. My prayer is These Frail Hands by Brave Saint Saturn.

And I am overwhelmed with grief,
to see such suffering,
For those who lack the voice to speak
For those of us left stuttering

May this not prevail,
Dear Lord, your love will never fail

We now return to your regularly scheduled disposal of bath water.

Reason number 7 why you should start a “Faithful Women” ministry.

Faithful women 7

Ok, this is cool, right? Strengthening marriages sounds like an excellent goal!  And the verse talks about teaching women to love their husbands; another noble goal. We should be able to skip over this point, right?


Ok, never mind. We’ll be here a while.

First off, agape love is not love that is “founded in admiration, veneration and esteem.” This is more than a slight twisting of the meaning of words; this is categorically, factually wrong. Agape love is unconditional, self-sacrificing love. It is the love that God has for us. Did “God so love the world” because he admired, venerated or esteemed us? This statement seems strange and far out of left field even for Gothard.

Secondly, phileo love is “brotherly love.” This is the type of love that exists between family members, or close friends. And it is so much more than an “inclination prompted by emotion.” As DC Talk so eloquently pointed out, love is a verb. It’s real actions. It’s washing the dishes and fixing the car and writing a note to put in the lunch box and setting down the cellphone to talk to someone. It’s calling to check that someone made it home on icy roads, or sharing your Dr. Pepper with someone (that one is tough for me.) It’s not simple an “inclination.” That word choice is downright insulting.

Thirdly, how the heck is an older women supposed to “wisely teach” this “inclination”? What on earth does that look like, in real life? I can’t even imagine it.

Blind obedience

“This is not to be blind obedience…” Well, that sounds great, except for the fact that it totally is blind obedience. I just happen to have a booklet published by IBLP about making an appeal; let’s take a look at what is actually meant when they say a wife can make an appeal. According to The Key to Freedom Under Authority, to make an appeal, a wife must

  1. Have the right standing with her husband
  2. Have the right basis for her appeal
  3. Present the appeal at the right time
  4. Give accurate information
  5. Have the right attitude
  6. Use the right words
  7. Display the right response if the appeal is rejected

This last one is extremely significant. Aside from the fact that Gothard wants women to follow a 7 step program to talk to their husbands, we have the extremely disconcerting fact that the final say rests completely in the hands of the husband, and therefore the wife must, in fact, practice blind obedience if her appeal is rejected. Please remember that Gothard has gone as far as to suggest that Abigail was wrong to prevent the murder of her entire family by David, and even suggested that it would have been better for Abigail to appeal to her husband, be rejected and then the entire clan to be murdered than for Abigail to get out from under her umbrella. (see A Tale of Two Abigails, part 1 and part 2.)

faithful women 8

Never mind that Paul was writing to a pastor in a particular place, with a particular history and particular culture. Never mind any considerations of context or intended audience. No, let’s just slap a Bible verse on it, and then preach our own ideas. “Stay home, you infernal ladies!  Do what you’re told! Feel those inclinations! Have lots of people over to your house, but don’t ask them questions about the Bible! And you better not let it interfere with your home business!”

Bleh. I have a headache. I’m going to drink my tea and go to bed now.


One thought on “Stay at home, you infernal ladies!

  1. Samuel, about the definition of love… great applications, and I’m sure that while he was writing that tiny paragraph, Gothard would have agreed with them. But he wasn’t all that far off, either. Look at the Louw & Nida definition:

    “Though some persons have tried to assign certain significant differences of meaning between [agape and phileo]…, it does not seem possible to insist upon a contrast of meaning in any and all contexts…. There is, however, one significant clue to possible meaningful differences in at least some contexts, namely, the fact that people are never commanded to love with [phileo], but only with [agape]. Though the meanings of these terms overlap considerably in many contexts, there are probably some significant differences in certain contexts; that is to say, [phileo and philia] are likely to focus upon love or affection based on interpersonal association, while [agapao and agape] focus upon love or affection based on deep appreciation and high regard.”

    That’s exactly what Gothard said, and while he doesn’t explain the application as well as you did, you can’t fault him for accuracy. Also, my lexicography professor in grad school, Ron Moe, did a presentation once about the difference between the two kinds of love. Here are the dictionary definitions he wrote for the two words:

    “agapáō v. 1. to want to do good things for someone, such as to give them what they need, or protect them from harm.

    philéō v. 1. to feel good about someone (like you feel about a friend or relative), and because of this to want to be with them, because you enjoy being with them and doing things with them.”

    It’s still an open question of how to teach phileo love, that is, to teach people to be fond of their spouses. But it is something that Paul encourages in Titus 2:4.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s