Wilson’s intellectual stink bomb.

Pastor Doug Wilson is clearly a smart and learned man.  At times I greatly appreciate his insight, as with his explanation of Luke 22:35–38.  But at other times Wilson stumbles in his writing, and when he is challenged to defend weak ideas he manages to dig himself in even deeper.  You can see a recent example of this with his response to critics of his 21 Theses on Submission in Marriage. Wilson’s response to his critics is titled:  And Now a Brief Word for the Wife Beaters.

Accusing men who disagree with him of being wife beaters is tantamount to intellectual surrender.  The internet is a big place, and I have no doubt there were some who disagreed with Wilson’s neutered form of headship and offered wife beating as a superior alternative.  But Wilson is clearly using this as an opportunity to pop an intellectual stink bomb to cover his retreat from criticism he isn’t equipped to rebut.

The key words here are enforce and make. No mortal can force such a thing. It does not come from right-handed power. But husbands can love and lead their wives. A husband can love, and Scripture teaches that this kind of love is efficacious. Love bestows loveliness. Husbands cannot duplicate the Lord’s substitutionary atonement, but husbands are most certainly commanded to imitate it. And when they imitate it as they ought, the results are not—work with me here—a beating for the little missus. And a man who thinks it is just demonstrates how far away from the spirit of the gospel he actually is.

Wilson explains that his prescription of love her sacrificially and she will follow is not to be confused with the complementarian servant leader model:

At some point in every husband/wife relationship, there will be a clash of wills. When that happens, it is often the case that the husband gets owned and he loses. Let us be blunt, and call it what it is. However, we live in flattering times, and he has been given sufficient cover by the church to retreat demurely into his designated background, and to call what he is doing “servant leadership.”

Having set his prescription apart from other forms of neutered headship, he closes the piece with a rebuttal to the men he most wants to respond to, the men who disagree with his form of neutered headship but aren’t advocating wife beating.  These men, he explains, are meanie chauvinists:

That kind of weakness is not what I am commending. It is not how Christ loved the church. But it is a mistake of the highest order to think that the opposite of this kind of cowardly coyness is to stand on the recliner in one’s man cave beating one’s chest. That is not how He loved the church either.

So authority flows to those who take responsibility. Authority flees those who seek to evade responsibility.

I now understand why Wilson’s defenders so strongly prefer the shut up form of argument.  Just like his opening accusation that those who disagree with him are wife beaters, this is carefully crafted to make further discussion impossible by sowing strife.  The tactic is easy enough to utilize, but it betrays an inability to defend his arguments.

Posted in Attacking headship, Complementarian, Disrespecting Respectability, Domestic Violence, Headship, Pastor Doug Wilson, Servant Leader, Submission | 26 Comments

Submission with a twist, and denying rebellion.

Pastor Doug Wilson has a new post up titled 21 Theses on Submission in Marriage (HT Hmm).  Taken individually, most of the theses are good, and parts of the post are excellent. For brevity I’ll focus on what I see as the main flaws in the post, but I would encourage my readers to follow the link and read the whole thing.

One of the key ways complementarians neuter headship is by adding a special rule to husbands;  submission is mandatory, they tell us, but husbands must not instruct or try in any way to coerce their wives into accepting their biblical role.  As Mary Kassian explains in 7 Misconceptions about Submission, husbands must only love their wives sacrificially, and hope their wife gets the hint:

Misconception #4: Submission is a right—a husband has the right to demand his wife’s submission.

A husband does not have the right to demand or extract submission from his wife. Submission is HER choice—her responsibility… it is NOT his right!! Not ever. She is to “submit herself”— deciding when and how to submit is her call. In a Christian marriage, the focus is never on rights, but on personal responsibility. It’s his responsibility to be affectionate. It’s her responsibility to be agreeable. The husband’s responsibility is to sacrificially love as Christ loved the Church—not to make his wife submit.

Kathy Keller explained the same thing in her sermon on submission at FamilyLife:

Submission is something that a wife gives.  It’s not something that a husband can demand.

Coercion, complementarians tell us, is reserved for wives to use against husbands.  As Kassian explains:

Submission is neither mindless nor formulaic nor simplistic. Submitting to the Lord sometimes involves drawing clear boundaries and enacting consequences when a husband sins.

And likewise Keller:

He’s controlling, threatening (maybe even abusive). Am I supposed to submit to all of this?”

The answer is, “No!” Your submission to a husband who is sinning against God is to oppose him…

If he’s abusive, call the police—I mean, if necessary—but with the motive of trying to serve and save him—not punish, or dominate, or threaten him…

Note how this inverts biblical instruction to husbands and wives.  In the Bible, husbands are to love their wives by actively leading them, by instructing their wives verbally (Eph 5:26, 1 Cor 14:35).  Wives, on the other hand, are to win their husbands over without a word, even if the husband is sinning (1 Pet 3:1-2, ESV):

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

I mention all of this as background, because Wilson does something very similar in his 21 theses.  His instruction to husbands is to win disobedient wives without a word, and his instruction to wives is to bring in others to coerce husbands who aren’t obeying the word.  Read the quotes below from Wilson’s points 5 and 11, and note how similar they are to the quotes above by Keller and Kassian:

  1. …When the authority of a husband turns rancid, a wife should receive the help of fathers, brothers, friends, and/or elders to help her stand up against it. I have been involved in this sort of intervention more than once.

  1. The Bible does not teach husbands to enforce the requirement that was given to their wives. Since true submission is a matter of the heart, rendered by grace through faith, a husband does not have the capacity to make this happen. His first task is therefore to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He is to lead by example.

Wilson may not be trying to encourage the rebellion of Kassian and Keller, but at the very least he is inadvertently encouraging this kind of thinking.

I’ll add that the question of a truly abusive husband is a difficult one, and while I’m not aware of any specific direction in Scripture indicating that elders should intervene, I believe that the general instruction regarding following civil authorities as well the instruction on church discipline can be carefully and wisely applied here.  But we must be aware that:

  1. The purpose of the intervention should be to help bring a brother back from serious sin, and to protect the wife.  The purpose should not be to help the wife stand up to her husband’s authority, as Keller and Kassian teach, and as Wilson says he has done.  The purpose should be Christian, not feminist.
  2. Abuse has been redefined to mean anything that frightens or upsets the wife, and is being very openly used by feminists as a way to abolish headship and make husbands submissive to their wives.  The creators of the pervasive legal and social model regarding abuse (Duluth) are very open about the fact that from the beginning their objective has not been to stop domestic violence, but to stop men from seeing themselves as heads of the household and teach wives to stand up to their husbands.
  3. When the Apostles Peter and Paul wrote about headship and submission, they did not feel the need to remind wives to monitor their husbands for sin and call in the authorities.  Instead, they instructed wives to win sinning husbands over without a word.  This was in the ancient world, in a time (as we are forever reminded) when husbands were violent chauvinists.  Yet in our age of open feminist rebellion and docile men, no discussion of headship and submission can occur without telling husbands to mind their own business if their wives rebel, and reminding wives to call the cops if the husband is abusive.  Was there an embarrassing omission by the apostles, or is this being added to appease the feminist rebellion?  Why must the tone and content of the teaching be so radically different today than in the ancient world?

To understand the depth of this perhaps (to some) subtle flaw in Wilson’s teaching, imagine if he had instead told wives to win sinning husbands over without a word, and had encouraged husbands with wives who rebelled against submission to seek out church discipline.  Flipping the message like this would have lead to an open rebellion.

The other major flaw with Wilson’s theses on submission is his denial of the nature of the defining feature of our age, the very open feminist rebellion all around us.  This is despite initially promising statements in theses 2 and 10:

  1. We live in a time when honest exegesis is routinely threatened with calumny, and there are frequently honors and rewards for dishonest exegesis. It should not be surprising that we are getting less and less of the former, and more and more of the latter.

  1. At the same time, because of the curse that followed the Fall, women have a deep resistance to dutiful submission, even though such submission would lead them into the joy and true satisfaction that comes from obeying God. It may or may not improve the marriage (depending on his sin issues), but it will most certainly improve her walk with God. The prophecy that her “desire shall be for her husband” was not speaking of romantic getaways, but rather predicting that there would be a struggle for mastery. So instead of trying to gain mastery over her husband, she should struggle to gain mastery over this besetting impulse within herself.

The problem is that while Wilson recognizes that we live in an age of open feminist rebellion, and while he recognizes that women will naturally be inclined to feminist rebellion, he chalks the widespread feminist rebellion up to men tricking women into feminist rebellion:

  1. The liberation of women was a false flag operation. The true goal was the liberation of libertine men, and in our day this was a goal that has largely been achieved. These were men who wanted the benefits for themselves that would come from easy divorce, widespread abortion, mainstreamed pornography, and a promiscuous dating culture. The early twentieth century was characterized by the Christian wife. The early twenty-first century is characterized by the tattooed concubine. And these sons of Belial have the chutzpah to call it “progress for women.”

It is true that part of the massive sin involved with our adoption of feminist rebellion involves men, including Christian men, hoping to exploit feminism.  But this overlooks the much more pervasive sin by men, the same sin of Adam in the Garden, of listening to women when they should have listened to God.  Calling women out on sin is hard, and feels uncomfortable.  I know Wilson knows this, because he has written that the idea of confronting women’s sin from the pulpit is so disturbing that other pastors avoid it entirely, and while Wilson is more brave than other pastors the very idea of doing so evokes a kind of nervous laughter.

Cowardice in the Pulpit

And the reason we have such cowardice in our homes is because the example has already been set in our pulpits…

Now suppose—just suppose—the presenting problem in three marriages I am trying to help is the problem of lazy and idle housewives. Is there any practical way, without becoming a Pariah for the Ages, to preach on “Lazy Housewives”? I could get myself into a fit of the giggles just thinking about it.

Moreover, the idea that feminism is merely about a few alpha men wanting to get out of the restrictions of marriage doesn’t pass the laugh test.  Not only does our new family structure perfectly align with women’s (and not men’s) preferred form of promiscuity, but the rebellion involves much more than merely destroying the family.  Women are acting out their envy of men all around us, and demanding to be placed into every conceivable male role.  This includes everything, including men’s sports, combat, and church leadership.  Wilson and others observe women demanding to usurp men’s roles, and they tell us men are forcing women to sin.  This position requires a parade of embarrassing rationalizations, including the fantastic claim by complementarians that men are forcing women to push their way into combat roles.  Wilson is more subtle than complementarians in this regard, but still engages in the same basic thought process.  In thesis #7 he describes women finding themselves in leadership roles over men, which he says is driven by male fecklessness:

  1. The requirement of submission within marriage does not prohibit the occasional circumstance when a woman in civil society finds herself in a leadership role over men. Deborah, Esther, and Lydia come to mind. At the same time, when feminine leadership becomes widespread and common in a society, it is not a sign of progress at all, but is rather a sign of cultural decadence driven by male fecklessness.

Worst of all, by claiming that the feminist rebellion is caused by trickster men who want to exploit the rebellion, Wilson manages to avoid confronting the pervasive sins of both men and women.  Men are sinning by being too cowardly to stand up to the rebellion.  Women are sinning by giving into the temptation to rebel.  Yet Wilson is encouraging women to rationalize this widespread rebellion as something men are making them do, and encouraging men to mind their own business.

Posted in Complementarian, Crossdressing Theology, Disrespecting Respectability, Duluth Model, Envy, Headship, Marriage, Mary Kassian, Pastor Doug Wilson, Rebellion, Submission, Tim and Kathy Keller, Turning a blind eye | 257 Comments

Spotting the presence punisher in the wild.

Reader getalonghome asks regarding women who punish with their presence:

“Yet the concept is so illogical and foreign to men’s thinking that few men will recognize it.” I don’t recognize it, either. I know you don’t make things up, but I’m having a hard time with this. What kind of detestable creature is this?

…Again, what kind of woman is that? I know none like this!

Women who do this are all around us, you just have to know how to spot them.  The thing to keep in mind is very few women who do this are aware of it.  When my wife originally asked other women how they handled the impulse, every woman she asked said they had no idea what she was talking about. Yet my wife had witnessed many of these women doing exactly the same thing.

While the woman in smartphones ruin everything was surprisingly open about her desire to make her husband miserable, this isn’t what you will normally observe.  Such women almost never come out and state that they want to make their husbands miserable.  What they say is:

My husband never wants to spend any time with me!

When women complain to you in this way*, gently ask them if they make it a point to be sweet and nice to be around when they are with their husband.  The reaction you will get will either be a look of pure hatred for challenging a sacred birthright of the sisterhood, or a look of sudden perplexity, as the woman tries to understand not only why she expects her husband to want to be around her when she is being a bitch, but why something this obvious never dawned on her before**.  However, most women will fall into the former category, so be prepared for a look of unbridled hate.

Assuming the woman is interested in solving the problem, the solution my wife has found is to simply resist the urge and get busy doing something else for a short period of time, after which the urge tends to rapidly go away.  Even better, by doing this over time, the frequency and severity the urge will also diminish.

*There is a similar common complaint “My husband never has time for me!”  or  “My husband is so boring and lazy all he wants to do is sleep when he gets home from his third job!  He so selfish, he never has time for me!”  In that case the woman in question almost certainly spent the previous 30 min bragging about her conspicuous consumption in the form of automobiles, travel, housing, and name brands/fashion.  In this scenario the hate inspiring Titus 2 question is “Have you considered trading down in house/car/fashion/etc, or getting a job so your husband doesn’t have to work so many hours?”

**This isn’t logical, but when the desire to drive the husband away is accomplished the wife tends to feel a deep sense of loss/abandonment.  The complaint is as heartfelt as it is absurd.

Posted in Game, Marriage, Solipsism, Ugly Feminists | 114 Comments

The Other McCain nailed it (yet again).

In my previous post I quoted Jezebel Managing Editor Joanna Rothkopf.  From her Bio at Bustle, she is a walking, breathing, men’s sphere cliché:

Joanna is a New York-based writer and performer. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, and Epicurious.com, among others, and her body has performed at UCB, Standup NY and the Secret Theater, among others. She is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow in Science and Health Journalism at Columbia University and holds degrees in Literary Studies and French from Middlebury College. She loves her cat like a son.

More specifically, Rothkopf is what The Other McCain calls The Writer, in ‘Broken People,’ Cats and Prozac:

Cats. Of course, she’s got cats. Did I mention she’s 29? And an alumna of New School University (2014-15 tuition $41,836)? Also, you may not be surprised to learn, Ms. Stokes lives in Brooklyn.

See, this is the thing with young feminist writer types nowadays. They can’t go to Podunk State University. No, they must attend one of those private schools where annual tuition is at or near the median U.S. household income. This is the only way to become that glorious being, The Writer. And, probably because as girls dreaming of becoming The Writer, they watched a sitcom or movie about the lives of quirky bachelorettes in Brooklyn, they simply must live there after graduation.

Well, you may ask, what does The Writer write about?

Herself, of course!  Do these elite colleges offer a major in Solipsism Studies nowadays?

Going through the list for official scoring:

  • Cats?  Check!
  • Went to an expensive private university?  Check!
  • Lives in Brooklyn?  Here Rothkopf only gets partial credit, but NYC is the next best thing for The Writer.
  • Writes about herself?  Check! Check! Check!

From Rothkopf’s Teen Diary: ‘I Get a Little Teenage Girl Privalege Right Now’:

Growing up, I had upwards of 15 diaries—none of them finished, or even really given a chance to thrive. I’d buy one at the beginning of camp or if I was in a bookstore, sit on my bed, write six pages about how I wanted to be a writer, and then immediately forget about my diary and never return to it.

This is the solipsism Hat Trick, with Rothkopf writing about herself writing about how she wanted to write (about herself).

Posted in "The Writer", Jezebel, Robert Stacy McCain, Solipsism, Ugly Feminists, You can't make this stuff up | 94 Comments

Smartphones ruin everything.

The other day a woman mentioned her frustration with smartphones to my wife.  The woman’s complaint was that her husband would play or read on his smartphone while she browses through stores.  My wife asked why that was bad, and the woman explained:

Because now he isn’t miserable.

This is an example of what I’ve termed punishing with her presence, and a Game lesson that should be easy for men to grasp if they can make it past their own denial.  If it seems like your wife wants to spend time with you for no other reason than to make you miserable, that is almost certainly what is going on.  Yet the concept is so illogical and foreign to men’s thinking that few men will recognize it.

If you can get past your own denial, the appropriate response is to calmly and lovingly call out what she is doing.  You aren’t doing your wife any favors by signing up for the role of henpecked husband, and in fact putting up with this will only frustrate your wife.

For another example of this kind of thinking, see the recent post by Jezebel Managing Editor Joanna Rothkopf:  Chinese Mall Installs ‘Husband Pods’ for Husbands Too Lazy to Accompany Their Wives for 1 Freaking Afternoon!!!

The Telegraph, translating from state-run site the Paper, reports that the Global Harbour mall in Shanghai, China is testing this new pilot program of baby bouncers for stupid adults, in the form of four glass pods where men (or theoretically women) can go to play video games while their wives shop. God forbid they spend one minute participating in an activity that doesn’t specifically revolve around feeding them sexually, emotionally, or spiritually!!!

I bet Rothkopf is fun at parties!

Posted in Game, Jezebel, Marriage, Ugly Feminists | 55 Comments