“But, but, my personal experience is that soft comp isn’t all that bad. I know people who are really happily married. They don’t feel oppressed. They are thriving and blessed and fulfilled. And I’m really happy with my husband in authority in our home, he’s not an authoritarian dictator full of sinful male ego like you seem to think all complementarians are.”
“And you seem to think really badly of men. You must hate men to be so fired up about this. You’re sounding like one of those feminists.”
“After all, this IS the ONE subject in the bible that’s not obviously clear. Hard comp, well, that’s clearly abusive and oppressive. But soft comp isn’t as bad as you make sound. I hear statements from people like you that complementarianism is always abusive or patriarchy is always unhealthy…but it’s not always.”
One. Ever heard of Stockholm syndrome? A condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity.
Two. Even if that is not the case here, even if you are genuinely happy and thriving in this soft comp theology and not trying to psych yourself happy in order to survive, that’s not to say everyone else is. Not even everyone in your family. Your personalities might blend in such a way that your alpha husband is happy in charge, and your beta personality is happy in following his natural leadership, and since God made you with those personalities, sure, own it. But what about your kids? Your siblings? Your friends? Your colleagues? Are they the perfect blend of personality to suit this particular plan for marital bliss, or instead of being cookies and milk are they more like salsa and sushi? mustard and strawberry jam? Complementarian theology is not one-size-fits-all. What is? Egalitarianism, where no matter what your particular skills or blend of personalities you can all grow.
Three. I sound like a feminist? Why, thank you. That is my intent.
No, really. I consider feminism to be egalitarianism. Feminism seeks equal rights and gender equality. Egalitarianism seeks equal rights and gender equality within the church of God. Really, one is just religious and the other isn’t. I’ll happily hold to both.
You may have been thinking that I sound like a man-hating feminist, sometimes slurred as feminazi. Basically, that’s not feminism. That’s the opposite of patriarchy which is matriarchy, or female authority. It’s still authoritarian, and it’s still not what I’m about with the egal bandwagon.
Four. Individuals may not necessarily be abusive. The system still is.
Five. Consent. Again, CONSENT. It’s really important. If there is only to be subject or to sin, there is no consent. And with no consent, there is only abuse. Understanding consent is integral, vital, to understanding the very nature of our salvation as Christians, that Jesus did not lay aside his consent but that his consenting over and over and over is what brought us the power of redemption.
Six. Abuse survivors tend to react quickly to perceived threat. This is called resisting abuse. You may not be intentionally upsetting them, but neither is their upset necessarily intentional — it’s triggered, which does not bear the same conscious element to the feeling — nor is it wrong. People who react so-called “badly” to your comments about complementarian theology have suffered from abuse. It really doesn’t bear relevance whether you think their experience was truly abusive or not, nor whether your happily comp friends are so far from abuse they’re practically Elmo. It is really important that you absorb and accept the idea that you cannot accurately judge everyone else’s life experiences. Okay? You’re not God.
Seven. This isn’t about men. This isn’t about my loving or hating men. This is about people. I only talk about male and female in order to explain the wrongful disparity between the two genders which has been created by sin and perpetuated by sinful theology. Really, this is all about people. God’s people.
Eight. This is far from being the one thing in the bible that is not clear! My goodness, where have you been?!
Listen. Christians are divided on so many different points of theology. Baptism at birth, baptism at puberty, baptism only on repentance, baptism once ever or multiple times in a lifetime. Tongues speaking, tongues interpretation. Holy Spirit gifting of tongues to all believers, or to only few. Communion is a symbol, communion actually is the body and blood of Jesus. Hell is eternal fire for everyone not saved, hell doesn’t exist, hell is separation from God, hell is only for the devil and his angels. Revelation has already happened, Revelation is yet to happen, the end times will involve a rapture. I could go on. I’m merely grazing the surface.
The point is, the bible is not, in fact, clear on everything but gender roles. The bible is not clear on many different things or we wouldn’t have quite such widespread division within the church of God. But wherever you stand on these other theological points, the issue of gender roles is pertinent and relevant. You need to figure out what you believe for men and women or you are going to be hampered in figuring out the rest, because the extent of the freedom to which you are permitted by your gender to operate within the body of Christ affects everything.