Last Wednesday I wrote a post on how men’s and women’s church ministries very often promote abuse in the church. In response, Wingingit made a wonderfully accurate comment that really says what I was trying to say, only better. So here is her comment in a stand alone post to be sure everyone sees it. Many thanks to her:
I was in so many women’s ministry groups where we spent all of our time studying “how to lift up our man” or “how to help our man be what God wanted men to be”.
Everything was all about how our entire purpose for existing was to support men. We trained our daughters to support their father’s “ministry”, even if their father was not saved and had no ministry. He would be won over by the meek behavior of his wife and daughters, if we just tried hard enough and were humble enough and did not dare outshine him.
My “Bible” of teaching on this subject centered around the belief that women were created for one purpose alone – we were created to “be his helpmeet”.
This teaching goes so far as to say that abuse is caused by the woman’s rebellious spirit, no matter how submissive she appears on the outside, if he is abusing, she must be somehow rebelling. I prayed so many times for God to remove from me the “sins” of my hurt and sadness and fear after his abusive behavior.
I have literally heard women tell other women that single moms deserve to be poor and struggle because they are out of God’s will. God is using the suffering of her children and poverty to bring her heart to repentance. To this day, I sometimes fight with the belief that everything he did and is still doing must somehow be my fault. If Only I would have…….
And of course, the only men allowed to be in Christian ministry are “manly men” with the right type of voice, body type, clothing and likes and dislikes. The ones who “wear the pants in the family”
Many is the time I cringed in church as the preacher started his sermon on some topic made the disclaimer, “Now, Ladies, I know this is going to make you mad, but if you can’t say Amen, just say Ouch.”
Yeah, ouch because the attacks against womanhood are painful lies told by a man, who has no idea what women really think or feel or what it is like to be a woman. Victims sitting in the pews are taking another hit from the man in the front of the room as he explains to them, one more time, their many flaws and sins. And all the while the abusers stroke the victim’s arms or backs of their necks or give them knowing looks to let them know they are listening to the preacher and this new information will be applied at home.
While the men who know better are squirming in their seats and looking down or checking their watches, too afraid to speak out against this evil portrayal of women as malicious usurpers in the body of Christ.
And the young ladies in the pews are squirming in their seats at the thought of the future that awaits them, having to give over their entire life in service of a man, who may or may not be kind and smart and caring. Who may do what he wants with her future while she must submit, no matter what he does.
It is a sad state of affairs, indeed.
Men’s andWomen’s Ministries as a Seedbed for Abuse
Thank you, Jeff.
For encouraging me to speak truth and for walking proudly alongside those of us who have suffered further abuse at the hands of the church that claims the name of Christ, while refusing to follow in His way.
Our many small victories will add up to bigger victories for those women who walk the path behind us.
Much gratitude to you, my brother in Christ, for continuing to stand strong against evil in the church.
Wingingit- you’re welcome!!
I Woke Up
Thank you, Wingingit. Your words are so needed for so many women out there, and I hope they read them and wake up and find their way out.
She said it.
This church “creed” breeds abusers.
no one down here
Crying in the heart.
How many times in youth group did we have an evangelist and his wife come through. Always followed the mandatory “separate gender meetings.” Evangelist’s wife told us two key things.1) men are weak creatures who will always fall when they look at us, therefore it is our responsibility to show real love to “our brothers” and dress/act appropriately to ensure they never fall into sin. 2) when we get married (not if… when…) it is our sacred duty to ensure we always look beautiful, always have the house perfect, always manage all the things, always provide the physical duties … again, our responsibility to ensure “he” never falls into sin. If he falls, it is our fault.
This message also followed up with separate chapel times at least once a year. Also in periodic “preached to everyone” sermons, both to the “youth” and to the entire church.
Now, this all sounded so holy and pure. Best lies are covered in partial truths… Yes, as ladies, we do have a responsibility to dress and act in a way that would please our God, but not to ensure that someone else doesn’t sin.
What about HIS responsibility to guard his heart. What about HIS responsibility to avoid sin traps …. what about HIS responsibility to think on things that are pure, holy, of good report …. What about HIS responsibility to crucify his flesh daily … and cast down all of his thoughts that exalt themselves against Holy God? What about HIS responsibility to allow the fruit of the spirit to grow in his own life … (cf Psalms, Proverbs, James, Corinthians, Galatians…..)
On the other hand, I always wondered what in the world they were saying to the guys…. No one would ever say.
No one down here- thank you! Yes that is exactly the deceiving damaging falsehood that causes so much harm.
We have to keep everything just right so that he’s not tempted to sin… but women are also the weaker sex, right?
Walking away from evil is the only way to walk towards truth.
Good stuff Rae!!