Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Oh King, Live Forever....

Those were the words of Daniel, as he bowed to the authority of a pagan king and no doubt prayed for God's mercies on his unbelieving sovereign. Daniel was a prisoner of war who had been castrated by his captors. He submitted to his Babylonian over-lords, because he had no choice in the matter. In his servitude, Daniel served God with all his being. And he was blessed for that. But that did not mean that Daniel served as an example for the righteous men of every generation to seek castration and servitude as God's glorious design for his people.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Another pagan sovereign, issued an edict for all women to be subject to their husbands [the only command about gender-based subjection found in the entire Old Covenant, and it stemmed from poor counsel and a heart of rage, fear, and pride]. This enraged, badly advised, king banished his own wife because she rightly demonstrated autonomy and showed respect for herself in the matter of parading naked before a drunken husband and a room full of drunken nobles (True to form and aligned with the complementarian "Evil Woman" doctrine, the movie "One Night with the King" viciously slanders Queen Vashti, who behaved virtuously in the matter and was entirely in the right).

Fast forward to 2018. Three thousand complementarian women, signed a petition in which the opening words of the "Letter to the SWBTS Board of Trustees" begins in much the same way as Daniel addressed his conquistador king: 'We are concerned Southern Baptist women who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 including its statements on the roles of men and women in the family and in the church (Oh, Kings, we acknowledge your divine right of ruler-ship. Live forever and hear our petition).' We urge you to exercise the authority you have been given by the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and to take a strong stand against unbiblical teaching regarding womanhood, sexuality, and domestic violence." (Please issue an edict to protect women from the abuses of the paradigm you created with the Danvers Statement in 1987--that of absolute male authority). 

Flash back 1995: Why did it take 150 years for the SBC to apologize for its unbiblical teaching that chattel slavery was part of "God's Glorious Design" for humanity [complementarians use the same phrase regarding gender roles]? Indeed, the dispute over slavery is the very reason for the denomination coming into existence. The northern Baptists wanted to abolish slavery, and the Southern Baptists formed their own convention for the sole purpose of affirming that slavery was biblical, good, and God ordained. Finally, on the 150th anniversary of the creation of the convention,  an apology finally come forth.

But what has this to do with the "LETTER TO SWBTS BOARD OF TRUSTEES" which is from modern-day women?

At the onset of the Civil War, how many MANY slaves affirmed the SBC's position on slavery and called the Northern armies, "Yankee Devils," for wanting to free them? There is a parallel here. This is not "living in the past." Remembering these facts is relevant to what is happening today, in the movement for both men and women to break free from complementarianism.

Abuses are being exposed. Christians are denouncing the historical and current mistreatment of women in the churches and homes. This is a good start. And I applaud those who are speaking out against these abuses.

But let's not plan an emancipation party just yet...

...because until the root of male authority doctrine is ripped from the ground of our hearts and psyches, every bulb and rhizome dug out completely, until the federal headship of males is rejected for the devilish lie that it is, and annihilated, the abuses will continue

Denunciations that are largely words and less action will have little more effect than a loose bandage that hides a wound but does not heal it. Denouncing the wrong while affirming the system that causes the wrong [which is what the "Letter to the SWBTS Board of Trustees," does] WRONG.

"There you go, Jocelyn, throwing rocks again. Why can't you be more irenic? Why do you rain on our parade and cause division, particularly now that people are finally speaking out? You should be promoting unity." 

I am promoting unity...

...the unity God intended when he created his men and his women to live as functional equals on the planet he placed them on and told them both to dominate.

But there can be no unity until Christian men acknowledge Christian women as their functional equals, and a big part of the problem right now, is that many Christian women are like the slaves who believed the lie that God had created them to be slaves. 19th century slaves, actively resisted emancipation. Even after the proclamation finally came, many slaves were hesitant to leave the plantations. They were afraid to embrace the liberty that had always been forbidden to them, the liberty they had been told was sinful and wrong to long for--sinful to even think about. 

Advocates for liberty, do not be discouraged when our complementarian sisters cannot believe they were created for glorious autonomy, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These things, our brothers have always enjoyed and take absolutely for granted, and, in America, fought the Revolutionary War to gain.

Many slaves would not leave the plantations simply because of an Emancipation Proclamation. When the Union Army enlisted the help of a run-away slave in their famous Combahee River Raid, Harriet Tubman sang out to the slaves to not be afraid, to leave the plantations, to get on the boat to freedom. It was her reassurance that gave many the courage to reach out and take hold of the freedom offered to them. For two more years Tubman scouted for the army. She scouted into Confederate territory. She tended to newly freed slaves, and [serving the cause of freedom] continued her more than twenty annual trips South, leading slaves to freedom until slavery was no more.

Back to the present: The only unity that can be accomplished at this point, is unity between the abolitionists [egalitarian Christians] and on the other side, the dysfunctional unity that exists between the slave-holders and their slaves. We must continue to speak out and pray that the eyes of both slave-holders and slaves will be opened, and that God will break the chains obligating their minds and lives to a lie that binds and oppresses them both.

I have seen the dark under-belly of complementarianism. I have experienced its life-threatening nature. In 2007, the Holy Spirit got my attention and showed me that if I spent my days, months, and years traveling from speaking engagement to speaking engagement (and I had many invitations) exposing and denouncing the abuses, that I would be running "half-dressed" and in the process, getting farther and farther from the goal. At that point, I cancelled all of my speaking engagements until further notice. 

The abuses are only half the problem. The abuses are symptoms of the disease--not the disease itself. The cause must be treated before the cure can come. So, I will not mince words, nor will I be concerned with irenic speech. Complementarianism is rotten to the core. It is dangerous, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Just because it "works" for some goodhearted gentle souls, does not mean the paradigm itself is good. E.G., Polygamy "works" among some peoples and religions, but that does not mean polygamy is either God ordained or good.  
Why should the master care if the slaves are unhappy with their treatment? Why should the master care if a public letter protesting bad treatment is posted with 3000 slave signatures, as long as the letter begins with an affirmation of the master's absolute right to rule--which it does? 

Preventing a revolt is always a good idea.  Let's appease them and acknowledge their petition. That will keep them happy, on the plantation, and safely under our control. The king is not threatened when his captives acknowledge his supremacy in the first sentence of their petitions. But, avoiding all-out uprisings by throwing a few bones in the way of acknowledgments, is always a good idea. It's good business. It's good politics.

Oh King, live forever....

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