What Wives Aren’t Supposed To Know About Submitting To Their Husbands

marriageIn all the hype over same sex marriage, I’ve noticed a resurgence of the call for the submissive wife.  And in the goal of making these unsubmissive wives submit, the single most often used section of the bible is Ephesians 5:22-24.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this passage, I’ll quote it for you.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

–Ephesians Chapter 5

Now, taken like it is written, you might think that it’s laid to rest.  After all, there isn’t much ambiguity in this is there?  If you’re a wife, you should submit to your husband.  Period.

But like most things in the bible, this isn’t as clear cut as many would like for you to believe.  See, like all so many who want to change your behavior with the bible, they take a quote out of context.  I’ve talked about that before.  So, in the fairness of all things holy, let’s look at the rest of that tidbit.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b]32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

–Ephesians Chapter 5

So, let’s go through that.  At first, it’s a command for husbands to love their wives.  That’s not so hard.  But look at the rest of the passage…  Husbands are to love them as their own body, to cherish them, to make them holy… to in effect, submit to their needs and keep them cared for and safe.  Yes, I said submit.  Depending on which translation you use, some even replace love in verse 25 with submit.  And that’s the big secret.  Wives, biblically, should submit to their husbands.  Husbands, biblically, should lose themselves in their wives.  So this isn’t a case of master and slave, but of two people becoming one flesh.  And that’s an ideal I think any moral person can get behind.

It’s so universal, it even applies to same sex marriages.  I mean, it really is the perfect relationship concept. Two people, merging their talents into one focus.  It really doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

Except, of course, it’s unattainable.  Like one of the basic tenants of Christianity, we should strive for sinlessness even though we are sinful.  This is another unattainable ideal to strive for.

And like most things in Christianity that looks so bad on the surface, when you get down to it… it is only bad until you get down to it and realize flesh and blood human beings are the ones perverting it to something nasty.

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Marriage, A Biblical Look.

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It seems you can’t turn on a television or radio today, without someone talking about being either for or against same sex marriage. If you are for it, then you are arguing basic civil rights.  If you are against it, you have an entire mishmash of options to turn to, from religious to natural.  I, however, am a Christian.  Therefore, I will look to the bible for my guide on what is and is not marriage.  It seems the proper thing to do.

I think if we are going to compare modern day marriages to biblical ones, then we should head right to the beginning.  Genesis.  In fact, let’s get straight to the good book and take a look at the weddings of Jacob.  For the purposes of our little discussion, we’ll look at Genesis Chapter 29-30, or there about.  Since so many pull a verse out of the air like it’s a piece of everything, and I’m at least using entire chapters for context and clarity, you’ll forgive my lackadaisical citations and go read the good book, chapter 27-31 for the full context.  You might be surprised at what all the father of Joseph of the technicolor dream coat had been up to before the musical started.  

For those not so inclined to delve into the word of God to such lengths, let me give you the cliff notes version.  Jacob was working for a relative, but the relative was kindly and wanted to pay Jacob more than room and board.  Jacob had taken a fancy to one of the relative’s daughters named Rachel.  Rachel had an older sister named Leah.  According to the good book, Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel had the body.  Jacob, being a young buck, liked the body more than the eyes.  So a deal is struck, Jacob will work for his relative for seven years and then get to marry Rachel.  Seven years later, the wedding is held and the magic moment is to arrive.  Jacob goes to his wedding tent, consummates the arrangement, and wakes up in the morning to discover he married Leah and not Rachel.  Enraged, he confronted his relative only to be given another offer… wait a week, marry Rachel and then work for another seven years.  Jacob took the job and the wives, but the book says he preferred  Rachel over Leah.

Apparently being sisters and wives isn’t the best thing for sibling rivalry.  Leah started having babies and naming them names that made fun of Rachel.  Rachel didn’t have any luck getting all laid up with a child, so she sent her handmaiden slave to sleep with her husband so she could claim the baby.  As a result, the slave had two children which Rachel promptly named names that make fun of Leah.  Leah, worried that she was getting to old to have any more babies followed suit, and sent her handmaiden slave to her husband and got a couple more rug rats to for the rapidly growing brood.  Then Leah had a few more of her own, and finally so did Rachel.  

Ultimately, Jacob had 12 highly influential children, including Joseph of the famed musical coat.  As the Jacob, who later became known as Israel, this influential family should be the placeholder of what the biblical family should be.  So, unlike today’s concept of marriage, this biblical standard includes polygamy, forced sex on slaves, stealing babies from their mothers, and trading sex for drugs.  Oh yea, I forgot that part in my synopsis.  One of Leah’s offsprings, Reuben, found some Mandrake and took it to his mother.  Leah traded the mandrake to Rachel for the right to have sex with Jacob.  (Depending on exactly what this drug may have been (even Jewish scholars are unsure), it may have either been a drug for infertility or a drug for hallucination.)  

So looking at the defacto perfect biblical marriage, one can draw the conclusion that modern marriages are far more constraining and closed minded than what the bible would tell us, I’m having a hard time understanding what the big freaking deal is over two men or two women wanting to spend their lives dedicated to each other in a loving and caring relationship.  Seems a might bit better for society than sex slaves, polygamy, sex for drugs, and sleeping with sisters.  Really, it’s the sister part that disturbs me most, if I’m honest.

The Single Issue Activist

Iam-an-activistI broke one of the cardinal rules of a bar the other day. I discussed politics. The rule is “Never discuss politics or religion at a bar.” The amendment to that rule is “During college football season, football is both politics and religion.”

I came into the discussion late, where a patron was already attacking someone for being a bigot because they didn’t understand the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense Of Marriage Act. This patron was a gay marriage activist and was belittling his seat mate for not understanding the overwhelming importance of the ruling. I knew both patrons, and knew the one getting attacked is not a gay marriage activist, but is a gay marriage supporter.

This is what bothers me about single issue activists. They have a single political issue, and it overwhelms their thinking. Everything is seen through that prism of how it effects their issue, in this case it is gay marriage.

So I couldn’t help but insert myself into this conversation, letting the poor supporter gracefully exit. Only what happened instead was the gathering of an audience.

I told him I didn’t think it quite fair that he assumed that since someone didn’t understand the ruling on DOMA they must be a bigot. Just because someone doesn’t follow every tidbit of news on the issue didn’t make them against the issue.

His response was that everyone should know, and he was tired of having to educate everyone on the topic. I told him I have topics important to me, like Motorcycle Rights, but I don’t assume everyone knows all there is about it.

“But sexuality and gender affect EVERYONE!” He exclaimed.

“Traffic safety effects everyone,” I rebutted.

“Motorcycles don’t cause a disproportionate number of suicides!” He retorted.

“80% of motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers of cars who aren’t paying attention” I explained.

“People don’t threaten you because you ride motorcycles!” He declared.

“People on cell phones and texting while driving threaten my life every day” I reminded him.

“Motorcycles don’t effect my life in any way! They don’t matter!” He screamed.

I took a deep breath and said, “Gay marriage doesn’t effect my life either.” He completely failed to recognize how supportive that statement really is when you get down to the nuts and bolts of the anti gay marriage argument.

He looked at me in horror. “You’re just another homophobic bigot!”

Up till this point I had remained calm. I may have lost my temper a bit. I waggled my finger threateningly into his face and told him to shut up. The phrase may have been more colorful than that.

I sat back down, took a breath and told him he best not interrupt me. I hadn’t expressed my opinion on the issue of gay marriage at all, I explained. You are assuming I’m against it because I place the same importance on my issue as you placed on yours. Fact is, I am a strong supporter of gay marriage, but am not an activist. Then, as politely as I could, I told him the only bigot in this conversation was him.

He started to say something, but I gave him a menacing glance and he sat silent. I explained that all I did was bring up an issue important to me. He was the one trying to belittle my issue as unimportant. Truth is, it may be unimportant to him, but if he’s unwilling to listen to why it is important to me, why on earth should I entertain his arguments on why his issue is important. I went on to tell him the individual he was berating earlier also supports gay marriage, or at least did before you treated him so badly. Why should he support that position at all if since he didn’t “support” it to your satisfaction he wasn’t good enough.

I told this fellow that here is a learning moment that he could have for free. For every point he had about why his issue is important I had an equally important point about my issue. Instead of using my passion to help me understand his, he belittled my issue. That’s what a bigot does.

A rational activist should have and could have explored the similarities between or issues, conceded they are both important. A rational activist shouldn’t be trying to recruit fellow activists, but general supporters. He should want me to vote for people and laws that supported his cause. And he missed a chance to make sure I would do that by ignoring and belittling my cause.

He sat there for a minute and since I stayed silent, he spoke up. “So what would you like to see be done about motorcycle rights?”

I told him I’d like to see the state mandate a motorcycle safety course as a requirement for getting a license to drive a bike. I’d like to see car drivers fully punished under the law for hitting a motorcycle. Claiming they didn’t see the bike is basically an admission they weren’t paying attention.

After telling him that, he sat for a second and admitted those ideas sounded reasonable. I couldn’t resist a final dig. “No more reasonable than everyone should be allowed to marry the person they love.” Then I walked away.

Having a single issue you are passionate about isn’t a bad thing. Passion is good and can help you stay focused. But it shouldn’t blind you into the false belief that everyone should be as passionate about it as you are. If you believe that, then you’ve failed as an activist, no matter what your passion. The goal of activism isn’t more activists it is to incite change. Change is scary enough, and the inertia behind not changing is big enough that an activist should never help the inertia along by alienating potential supporters. Engaging people calmly, rationally and peacefully emotional is far better than screaming at someone without even knowing their position.

I’m not saying that there isn’t times when “in your face” protests and demonstrations are important. But rarely are they important when talking one on one.

And never in a bar. Remember the golden rule of bars. Also, remember that there is always a time to break those rules. I may not have changed his future tactics, but I gave him something to think about.

Why I don’t care about gay marriage

Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments over Proposition 8, a California proposition that outlawed gay marriage. Gay rights advocates are hoping the court will find the prop unconstitutional, and depending on how they do it, ending the gay marriage debate in the courts.

I couldn’t care less.

Don’t get me wrong. I hope the court finds the entire concept unconstitutional and opens the door for federal and state recognition for gay marriage and the rights associated with that civil union. I couldn’t care less because its one of the most inane and stupid arguments I’ve ever heard.

Of course gay people should be allowed to marry. The idea that they can’t is so alien to my way of thinking I find it beneath contempt to assume they can’t. It’s just such a simple concept, I can’t honestly believe in 2013 we still have lawmakers and other leaders that are fighting it.

But the reality is, we do. And that’s just bullshit.

I believed in a time that was just around the corner 13 years ago, when we’d come out of the dark ages and into a period of enlightenment and understanding. I was geeky enough to believe the open access of the internet would end war, hate and violence. That clearly hasn’t happened, and in many cases the internet has increased all of these.

I’m sorely disappointed in the 21st century so far. Oh I love my iPhone and my iPad and my high speed internet. But we’ve had troops deployed in combat since 2001, my kids have never seen a time of peace, we still deny basic human rights in our own country, we’ve become enamored with technology to the point of forgetting the humanity.

So when I say I don’t care about gay marriage, it isn’t because I am apathetic or disagreeable with the notion. It’s because my faith in humanity is at such an all time low I don’t have the energy or focus to be bothered with it. It’s a throw away notion, of course they should have the right. The fact that it isn’t a throw away notion is the bigger problem. And that’s not a gay/straight issue. That’s a human issue.

Humanity needs a reboot. Can we get Christopher Nolen on that?

Oh, and one more thing while I’m being so disagreeable about the current state of human affairs… where is my flying car?