On Christian Female Bloggers II Addendum

I opened with “Prepare to be offended.”, and then I read a bunch of commentary here and abroad that no one was offended at my suggestion that kneeling was the gold standard of submission. I suspect that a lot of people lie to themselves. Obviously I would be wrong if it is the case that these people can look back into their own pasts at instances of a wife kneeling in submission to her husband; without embarrassment (which is a kind of being offended) or sex-play (though of a type of submission it is also a cover).

It is a mistake for one struggling with submission (either giving or accepting) to retreat into denial.

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28 thoughts on “On Christian Female Bloggers II Addendum

  1. I can see my future wife kneeling to me in private, but in public not so much.

    Though if I really think about it the thought of a wife kneeling to me is rather uncomfortable. Because if things came to that extreme it must mean that I had not been the perfect, reasonable, understanding husband that my mind tells me I will be. Does it take humility to accept submission?

  2. @Jeremy

    Does it take humility to accept submission?

    In the final analysis humility is required for any good deed.

    That doesn’t mean that anyone who accepts submission is doing so out of humility. There are cases where one shouldn’t accept submission at all. All women do not owe submission to all men.

    Because if things came to that extreme it must mean that I had not been the perfect, reasonable, understanding husband that my mind tells me I will be.

    Yessir, that is one of the types of offense. You won’t be those things, and she will still be required to submit to you. Nor is kneeling extreme. That’s what is so perverse about so much Christian counsel. “Oh Judy, you’re in a real spiritual struggle! I don’t like to see people divorce, but not every marriage can be salvaged.”

    Divorce is extreme. Separation is extreme. Breaking dishes is extreme. Throwing fits is extreme. These things are WAY past extreme when done from the position of submission which the wife is to occupy. Yet they still get aired by Christians. Kneeling to the husband never does.

  3. Pingback: Should a wife kneel to her husband? | Julian O'Dea

  4. Divorce is extreme. Separation is extreme. Breaking dishes is extreme. Throwing fits is extreme. These things are WAY past extreme when done from the position of submission which the wife is to occupy. Yet they still get aired by Christians. Kneeling to the husband never does.

    This really gets to the heart of it. Christians will accept, even praise, obvious sin well before they will even tolerate something which is not a sin. Something which, dare I say, might have been considered praiseworthy by an Apostle or two (1 Peter 3, anyone)?

  5. I think, when talking anonymously online to a patriarchal Christian with other patriarchal Christians commenting, very few people are actually going to admit being uncomfortable about this view (“offended” might be the wrong word for this particular readership).

    I find it likely that most people – including me, including most of the people who read this site – who agree with you on an intellectual level are still somewhat repelled by the idea in practice. I have no reason to disagree with you, and even think you’re right; but I can’t deny the fact that imagining me asking my future wife to kneel in front of me strikes me as “wrong” on some level – which is a mistake on my end, as you’ve pointed out.

    I suspect it is the same for most men, at least nowadays.

  6. @MtC

    I’m uncomfortable with it, too. It is offensive to my sense of…propriety, I suppose. But it’s not rational. It’s not historical. It’s not anything but uncontemplated sentiment.

    I can’t deny the fact that imagining me asking my future wife to kneel in front of me strikes me as “wrong” on some level

    1) But on what level?

    2) Subtlety would be a useful skill in that scenario. You could start a conversation about it while watching one of my favorite movies, “13th Warrior” where a king kneels before a king. Perhaps better yet while watching a movie where a woman throws a fit at her husband, “Wouldn’t it have been better for her to kneel? No? Why not?”

    3) Most importantly: The Bible instructs older women to teach the younger specifically about these things. Older women haven’t just dropped the ball. They have thrown the ball away.

  7. Everyone here knows why it *feels* uncomfortable if we’re willing to admit it…

    The *possibility of idolatry* has been so thoroughly impressed[1] upon our minds that we can scarcely stomach the thought of bowing/kneeling/etc. without flying into a fit of hysterics.

    When a wife bows to a husband, she is not bowing to a man, but the office. Conflating these two different thoughts yields an environment where any show of respect or reverence is termed idolatry. A husband naturally holds a position of headship over the woman (wife) in the eyes of God.

    Let’s be honest, the real fear involved in this action is that *I might not measure up* to the job’s requirements: consistently providing for her, protecting her, instructing her, correcting her. This is a tall order and I am humbled before my God in light of the responsibility. I would rather duck and cover, saying “ain’t my job, I’m just a man.”

    [1] All authority is under attack, as any form of government resists the enemies devices. (1 Pet 2:14, Heb 13:7, Matt 5:44, etc., etc.)

    [2] All terms enclosed in *asterisks* are mere perceptions that we must examine.

  8. MTC – I find it likely that most people – including me, including most of the people who read this site – who agree with you on an intellectual level are still somewhat repelled by the idea in practice. I have no reason to disagree with you, and even think you’re right; but I can’t deny the fact that imagining me asking my future wife to kneel in front of me strikes me as “wrong” on some level – which is a mistake on my end, as you’ve pointed out.

    I suspect – in my case, at least – that it’s partly from decades of being hammered with “women aren’t chattel” and suchlike that’s it’s very very difficult to shake. It would probably take an ongoing effort to even loosen it up some. Also partly that the only time anyone kneels in our culture is in Church or if they find a dollar on the sidewalk, making it something of a foreign element.

    But also – again, in my case, at least – I suspect it’s from tons and tons of movies and TV shows and comic books where Free People Do Not Kneel. If the Hero is shown to kneel before the Villain, it’s through some kind of coercion or after a crushing and brutal defeat. Only Zod demands that someone kneel.

  9. 1) But on what level?

    A very good question. I really don’t know, and expect nightskyradio is right.

    And yet, I’d kneel before a king or queen. It’s wives, bowing to ME, that’s the issue here. It’s the dissolution of male headship in society to such a degree that a man being king of the castle is not only not considered, but is thought of as “wrong” in some way – including by people who supposedly agree with the theory of the man as leader of the household.

  10. Cane:

    Besides ‘would you be repelled if your wife kneels to you’, it might also be useful to ask if ‘would you be repelled if you see some other woman kneel to her boyfriend/husband? And woould that trigger some kind of ‘white knight’ reaction?’

    In other words, do you think that you in particular are unworthy of receiving such behaviour? Or does it extend to men in general?

  11. I didn’t find myself offended, but I’m rather “extreme” by [CURRENT YEAR] definitions.

    I think the act of kneeling is an extremely intimate gesture, especially in light of today’s culture. The only thing that concerned me was how it could cross the line into worship. Being reform Baptist, I’m careful about such things.

  12. @aGK

    The only thing that concerned me was how it could cross the line into worship.

    Julian O’dea said this too, over on his blog. My response is that it’s Nice Guy egalitarian hooey. Alan K describes the phenomenon accurately. Besides that, submission isn’t worship.

    I think if you’ll take a look around, the danger of a Christian wife worshipping her husband is on par with the danger of her shooting her husband, and–again, I can’t stress this enough–WAY below the danger of her separating from him, divorcing him, undermining him, going behind his back, bad-mouthing, back-biting, sexually denying him…the list goes on and on.

    For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that husband-worship rises to 20% when a wife kneels. We would agree that it is wrong for those 20% to put men in the place of God. But even among those pagans (What else could they be?) there would be obedience.

    Right now we have nearly 100% of wives worshipping themselves and every little household god on the store shelves and in their devices, and nearly 100% not in submission.

  13. Submission versus Worship

    A fine line is often supposed, but not true in fact. Consider the following progressive list from complete independence to humble submission:

    * In any age, stubborn men and women will defer to no one, even when faced with stiff retribution and possibly death.
    * Many modern women will defer to no man, ever, for any reason.
    * Many women would detonate a marriage, family and home just to avoid deferring to a Husband in private.
    * Many Christian women will not be seen as to deferring to a Father or Husband publicly, if at all possible. The open scrutiny is simply too great to stomach.
    * Some women will feel no real shame in acknowledging a Husband’s proper position, even to the extent of kneeling or otherwise displaying deference. She is helped in her faithfulness by a responsible man who governs the home well, often provoking feelings of envy in other women… and men.
    [Now, here comes the supposed grey area…]
    * Few women would ever accede to a demand for worshiping at a husband’s feet, referring to him as ‘Lord’ instead of ‘lord’ or ‘Savior of her soul’ instead of ‘savior of her temporal body’. The ensuing laughter and horror would erase all doubt about the idolatrous intent.

    A fine line, my eye.

    I don’t wish to be harsh, here; more explanation is in order. We lack experience as Cane has commented. When did you last see a woman or a man kneel in public? The lack of a real life reference point is what allows this continuing confusion. Seeing the principles of deference put into practice is worth more than a 1000 words.

  14. I agree that kneeling is a good thing. It’s reminiscent of Sarah calling Abraham “lord.” In the context of people being offended that was as close as I got after I ran through a few hypothetical scenarios.

  15. @Joyce

    I don’t allow comments from females on my blog. You should head over to Lori’s and share your story and ask your questions there.

    @LM

    Same applies to you, but I do appreciate the link. Maybe I’ll write about it.

  16. people dont get offended at things they dont think apply to themselves (generally). Thus, people might actually not be offended (as opposed to just being in denial about it) if they think that kneeling really is the gold standard, but it’s just not necessary for them. “Other wives should kneel, but my wife and I have an *understanding*. I dont need it.”

  17. people dont get offended at things they dont think apply to themselves (generally)

    Sure they do, generally. The new enlightened people (you know them, the have coexist stickers on their cars) dislike any type of moral constraint that is expressed as imperative. The constraint doesn’t apply to them….per them, but they go raw throat in opposition.

    In another form, try making a statement about women and some sin behavior. Adultery for instance. A women who has not been adulterous will react as strongly negative to the judgement as one that is actively committing adultery. I would say people process things by substituting self into assertions, not as a thought experiment….that would be fine….but as a source for feelings, be it anger or shock or becoming indignant.

    Big segue

    I was in India when I experienced kneeling. A local man who worked for me in my role with my employer, he invited me to his home. Once there, his wife, when introduced, quickly knelt and kissed the tops of my shoes. She looked to her husband who gave her a subtle nod to say go ahead and do it. I was at loss as to how to react.

  18. “Prepare to be offended.”

    I am really at a loss as to how I would react or process my wife kneeling to me. I’ve been married over 15 years, but never had the opportunity to be offended. For some reason, this discussion has I John 4:20 running around in my head:

    20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. [ESV]

    So if any woman says, “I submit to God,” and rebels against her husband, what should one call her?

    Many women have no problem kneeling to God; but to a husband, why so preposterous?

    Thanks for making me think, Cane.

  19. It’s also just weird in our culture because no one does it. Allowing anyone to be subordinate is strange in our culture. A while ago I started letting waitresses place my plate in front of me without me reaching out for it or touching it. Even that still seems a little strange, but I’m pretty much used to it now.

  20. I don’t plan to kneel to those in authority so it would be hypocritical to insist that my wife kneel before me. I haven’t washed her feet either like Jesus did with his church.

    I’m not embarrassed by submission, but I would be embarrassed by hypocrisy.

  21. Maybe part of the discomfort is that we would also balk at making our children bow to us, because we would be expected to bow to our parents.

  22. I don’t kick my Jack Russell when he rolls over and exposes his belly… In fact, I accept it as trust and hey, maybe even begging for a good show of emotion. (This taken in context of course.)

  23. MalcomtheCynic said:

    And yet, I’d kneel before a king or queen. It’s wives, bowing to ME, that’s the issue here.

    Genesis 3:16 says (to the wife):

    “and he shall rule over you.”

    Yes, bowing before her ruler is an issue.

    This makes people, especially Christians, extremely uncomfortable and it boils down to the man-made doctrines of equality that are taught by the church and in society. The fact is that men and women are not equal and *anything* that threatens that narrative is to be attacked.

    Alan K said:

    When did you last see a woman or a man kneel in public?

    I have a friend whose wife does this on a regular basis, in public. She calls it a ministry, he calls it (privately) her outlet for troublemaking. If he sits down somewhere she kneels at his feet. When anyone asks why she’s on the ground or floor, she responds that she’s exactly where she belongs, kneeling at her husband’s feet. She calls him “m’lord” in public, especially when she’s serving him. He told me she started doing it to try to embarrass him but got so offended at the number of people (mostly Christians) who told her not to do it that she now goes out of her way to do it. She’s a genuine red-head and has had trouble enough with submission to her husband that *nobody* else is going to tell her what to do.

    He holds frame, doesn’t let it bother him and accepts it as his due. Which really bothers a lot of folks and they blame him for it, which really sets her off. She’ll rant for a bit and then he’ll say “wife, be silent” and she shuts up. That usually causes feminists to have a meltdown. Folks that know them are used to it but it’s her primary source of entertainment when it comes to strangers. I last saw them in January and she’s stopped wearing pants and wears a head covering (usually a scarf) now. Apparently she has a small following of other women.

    So, I ask you: What can you say about a country where a wife’s public submission to her husband is an act of rebellion?

  24. Id say they sound like odd people who would befit belonging to the Society of Creative Anachronisms. Attention gets.

    Do not confuse that with me having any issue with her physical posture relative to him. I’m all in for that.

  25. It is too much effort for not enough payoff, in addition, it seems like a wife would regard it as “play”, not an act of true deference; that’s because a woman has a different kind of perception than a lot of men do.

  26. ”I was in India when I experienced kneeling. A local man who worked for me in my role with my employer, he invited me to his home. Once there, his wife, when introduced, quickly knelt and kissed the tops of my shoes. She looked to her husband who gave her a subtle nod to say go ahead and do it. I was at loss as to how to react.”

    The UN importation of feminism is wreaking quite the havok in India right now. So things like this are disappearing.

  27. How could it possible be idolatry, if you are truly one with your heavenly Father through Christ in you? To suggest that is, shows a lack of understanding/faith. And this is really the issue that the Firstborn Himself was accused over.
    What is in a sense idolatry, is if you give heed to a spirit of worldly fear, with the inclination that you might not be worthy/competent enough, because your still thinking with your natural mind which is at enmity with God.

    It all comes down to Christ and Him crucified, which will either make perfect sense or it will end up becoming a stumbling-block for you. A wife bowing before her husband is therefor offensive to the religious and foolishness to the humanists/gentiles, much in same manner that the cross is.

    Revelation 3:9
    Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews[Christians], and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship[!] before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.

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