Tag Archive: Patriarchy

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Feminists Want a World Where Women Rule and Men Drool

michelle lesley

You want to know where this notion of toxic masculinity came from? It sprang from the loins of toxic feminism. Zoom out and look at the big picture. This is a manufactured concept, baptized in the (assumed) credibility of academia, designed to help women leverage power and control over men. How? By denigrating them at every turn, thereby convincing the world that men are intrinsically bad and women are good and must be elevated to prominence. Call me crazy if you want to, but it doesn’t take a prophet or the son of a prophet to look down the road and see that the feminist end game here is a matriarchal world where women rule and men drool. And there are plenty of brazen females out there who would openly and unashamedly admit this.

That, however, is not my concern. Sinners gonna sin, and God’s going to deal with them in His own way and in His own good time.

My concern is the way this attitude is fleshing (pun intended) itself out in Christian families and the visible church, and creeping into evangelical women’s (and men’s) hearts. Because, whether or not we’d like to admit it, this worldliness is advancing upon us, and we need to be aware of – and biblically approach – the facets of this issue that are already at our doorstep.

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Unfortunately, I also see the exact opposite. I see (ostensibly) Christian women who scream like banshees any time their pastor preaches on the passages of Scripture dealing with women’s roles in marriage or the church. I’ve seen women who claim to believe and follow the Bible throw an everloving fit when someone points out – from Scripture – that their favorite women’s “Bible” study author is a false teacher. I see women formulating their beliefs and practices about God, worship, the Bible, their own behavior, their families, and their churches based on their own personal opinions, experiences, and feelings rather than on rightly handled Scripture.

And, just like secular feminists demand domination over men because they feel oppressed, have experienced sexism, or resent the world’s history of male dominion, I see Christian women letting their emotions rule the day as they demand unbiblical solutions to their real or perceived personal experiences with men and male leadership.

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Toxic femininity is worldly and fleshly. It has no place in Christian homes and churches. How do we combat it? We take up the sword. We submit to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We recognize that God is the authority in our lives, not self, and that we are to obey Him at any cost – even at the cost of our convenience and pleasure. We trade our desires for His.

— Michelle Lesley, Toxic (Evangelical) Femininity, August 24, 2018

The Absurdity of the Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule

jesus alone with a woman

Jesus, alone with a woman, violating the Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule. Shame on you, Jesus! I am surprised you escaped with your virginity intact.

Embedded deep into the thinking of Evangelical pastors is the notion that women to whom they are not married are dangerous creatures who must be kept at a distance, lest they tempt men of God to commit sexual sin. As a young ministerial student, I was taught that there were Jezebels in every church, and that I must never, ever allow myself to be alone with any woman who was not my wife. According to my professors and chapel speakers, there would always be women lurking in the shadows of the steeple, ready and willing to “steal” my sexual purity. Men, including pastors, were, by nature, weak-kneed, visually stimulated horn dogs. Allow the doors of your office or study to be shut with you and a woman alone, and, why, anything could happen! This kind of thinking, of course, teaches men a warped view of women and human sexuality. While I agree that humans are sexual beings — a trait necessary for our species’ propagation — it does not follow that every time two people of the opposite sex are alone with each other, sexual intercourse is a real and distinct possibility. Common sense tells us otherwise.

This view of women and human sexuality found its nexus with Fundamentalist Baptist evangelist Billy Graham. Graham had three rules he lived by when it came to women who were not his wife. Graham would not travel alone with a woman, meet alone with a woman, or eat alone with a woman. These rules, over time, were called “The Billy Graham Rules.” While Graham was viewed as a liberal by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers, his three rules were taught and preached in IFB churches and colleges alike. Simply put, stay away from women who aren’t your wife. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!  Abstain from the very appearance of evil, the Bible says. Eating a meal with a woman who is not your wife, offering her a ride in your car, or counseling her alone with the door closed, all give forth the appearance of evil. I knew of some pastors who wouldn’t even counsel female church members out of fear that their ministry could be compromised.

Most non-Evangelicals had never heard of the “Billy Graham Rule” until Vice President Mike Pence let it be known that he, too, avoided being alone with any woman who was not his wife. Moderns were astounded by the Vice President’s Puritanical view of women, but to my ears his words were what I had heard over and over again as an Evangelical pastor.

Recently, John Ellis wrote a post for PJ Media extolling the virtue of the “Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule.” In a post titled, Can Men and Women be Friends? Ellis wrote:

After reading that mega-pastor Bill Hybels has been accused of sexual misconduct, I commented to some friends that we (Christian men) need to be extra diligent in what we say and do around women. I said that because I believe that it’s imperative that Christian men protect themselves and the women around them while serving women. Unfortunately, that’s an increasingly difficult tightrope to walk in today’s climate, to the point that it’s appropriate to wonder if men and women can be friends.

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Most people within conservative Christianity get that. Most would shake their heads in suspicion if it were discovered that I frequently hung out alone with a female pal, just the two of us shooting the breeze. But the claim that men and women can’t be friends brings with it the charge of patriarchalism from some of the same people who believe it unwise for a married man to hang out alone with a woman who is not his wife (or vice versa).

Often, the disconnect in conversations like this one comes down to how terms are defined. I contend that men cannot be friends with women in the way that “friend” is defined when I’m speaking of my buddies. However, Christian men can and should count Christian women as their sisters in Christ.

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Sadly, desire for personal purity in the pursuit of holiness often brings with it the accusation of patriarchalism. Vice President Mike Pence was assigned that pejorative after it was revealed that he doesn’t dine alone with women not named Karen Pence. The vice president was accused of creating an environment that makes it harder for women to succeed.

However, as Pence continued to suffer the slings and arrows of those who despise his desire to interact with women “in all purity,” the #MeToo movement was created, as powerful men began to be exposed as sexual predators. Sadly, even in the face of the expanding #MeToo movement, many of Pence’s critics still fail to see the wisdom of the vice president’s personal standards of interaction around women.

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Serving our sisters in Christ in all purity requires acknowledging the truth that because of sin the issue of sex will always be within reach when it comes to members of the opposite sex. Once again, that’s why most conservative Christians would look askance at me going on an overnight fishing trip alone with a woman who was not my wife. But even beyond obvious examples of overnight trips, men need to be careful about how they interact with women in our day to day lives.

Among other things, Bill Hybels has been accused of giving “lingering hugs.” It’s a good thing that I’m an introvert and don’t like being touched or touching people. If I were a “hugger,” I can’t imagine how I would defend myself against an accusation of a lingering hug.

And that’s not to defend Hybels or to claim that women who are made to feel uncomfortable by the actions of men are wrong for speaking up and defending themselves. My point is that it is incredibly difficult to know exactly how a word, a look, or a touch, even if meant innocently, will be taken.

Because men often view women as little more than objects of pleasure and take advantage of them, many of our sisters in Christ have been deeply hurt in the past. What we as their brothers in Christ say or do can have the unintended consequence of being perceived within the context of past abuse. Among other things, loving our sisters in Christ demands that we be careful not to cause more hurt and harm.

On a lesser scale, it’s also important that Christian men guard ourselves. Since it is easy for our motivations to be incorrectly assumed, we need to make sure that we are acting above reproach around our sisters in Christ.

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According to Ellis, all men should live according to “Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule.” I say all, and not just married men, because Ellis, who describes himself as a conservative Christian, likely believes that it is a sin for unmarrieds to have sex. Thus, not only should married men abstain from being alone with women who are not their wives, so should unmarried men. Women, for married and unmarried men alike, are the problem. If married men want to keep themselves morally pure, then they must never, ever put themselves in positions where they are alone with women. For married men, the wife of their youth awaits, legs spread wide, ready and willing to satisfy their sexual needs. Unmarried men have no such fire extinguisher awaiting them — the Apostle Paul said it is better to marry than to burn — yet they, too, are implored to avoid being alone with the opposite sex. So what are these young men to do? Many of them, if they marry at all, do not marry until their late twenties. This means that they must wrestle with unsatisfied raging hormones for twelve to fifteen years. And remember, masturbation — lustful self-gratification that leads to homosexuality — is verboten too. (Please read Good Baptist Boys Don’t Masturbate, Oh Yes, They Do!)

This kind of thinking breeds immature, juvenile men; men who are weak; men who are not in control of their sexuality; men who see women primarily as objects of sexual gratification. Ellis, Graham, and Pence would likely object to my characterization of their beliefs, but it seems clear, at least to me, that women are treated as dangerous, seductive beings who must be avoided lest being alone with them leads to intercourse on office and study floors. This kind of thinking objectifies women, turning them into chattel used for male sexual gratification. Since the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God condemns all sexual behavior except married heterosexual vaginal intercourse, (preferably in the missionary position, and primarily for human propagation), any relationship or circumstance that could, even remotely, lead to moral compromise must be resolutely avoided. (A separate discussion is whether consensual adult sex with someone other than your wife or sex between unmarrieds is necessarily “wrong.”)

As I have stated time and again on this blog, Evangelical men need to grow up and own their sexuality. If they can’t control themselves when around physically and sexually attract women, the fault is theirs. Plenty of men are around women publicly and privately, yet they, somehow, keep themselves from having sex with them. These men have learned how to control their thoughts and behaviors. I have viewed countless women whom I have found attractive. My wife and I, now that we no longer concern ourselves with thoughts of God, judgment, and hell, are free to say to the other, that’s an attractive man/woman. Both of us have found it interesting the type of people the other is attracted to. Men I thought Polly would consider hot often elicit a meh from her — she really likes gay guys. Similarly, the kind of woman Polly thinks I would be attracted to often elicits a shrug from me. It’s liberating to be able to express my thoughts, interests, and desires without worrying that it could lead to adultery — a sin, according to the B-i-b-l-e, that lands offenders in the Lake of Fire.

Polly is around other men at work, yet I don’t worry that she might stray. It would be crazy for her to do so, having a stud muffin like me at home. As a photographer, I am often up close and personal with women, yet my wife doesn’t fret over this. She knows that for Bruce, Polly is his one and only. Now, this doesn’t mean that neither of us has ever been tempted to break our marital vows. We have, but we value our lives with each other and our family far more than we do three minutes and twenty seconds of pleasure. For us, it’s a matter of what’s important to us. There are going to be times when we are alone with people of the opposite sex. That’s life. If someone is flirtatious or even comes on to one of us, we expect the other to exercise maturity and wisdom and handle things appropriately. During the Christmas season, my Santa Claus alter-ego often has women who are quite friendly towards him. I have had more than a few women, young and old, want to get up close and personal and have a photo taken with Santa. In my mind, it’s all fun and games. I’ve found, now that I am in my sixties and have a white beard, that women, in general, are more friendly towards me. I suspect it is my grandfatherly look that says to them I am safe. Certainly looks can be deceiving, but in this case, the only fear anyone should have of this Santa Claus is him getting stuck coming down the chimney.

Men need in their lives women who are not their wives. Men NEED female friends, even the buddy type of friends Ellis says men cannot have. I was well into my late forties before I had female friends. I spent most of my adult life living according to the “Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule.” Not perfectly, of course. In one church, I picked up a woman for services every Sunday for a decade. She was twenty years older than I, and due to a severe vision problem, she couldn’t drive. One couple who left the church in a huff let it be known that they thought this woman and I were having an affair. We both laughed when we heard this. I gave this couple, in my mind anyway, a “go freak yourselves.”  Several years later, I learned that the male of this couple had repeatedly sexually violated his daughter when she was young. I have no doubt that his wife knew that it was going on too. Yet, they were “concerned” over me driving a woman to church. Child, please.

It took me leaving the ministry and Christianity to realize the value and importance of having female friends. Over the past decade or so, I have been privileged to befriend a number of women. Having them in my life has forced me to change my view of the opposite sex. Evangelicalism is inherently patriarchal and misogynistic — let the screaming and whining begin. Thus, I had a warped, deficient view of women for many years. Much like my views of LGBTQ people, my beliefs about women were largely shaped by what Evangelical men and the women-are-property Bible said about them. Divorcing Jesus — we were in a same-sex marriage — and throwing aside the authority of the Bible allowed me to take a fresh look at my relationships with women. This blog and social media have brought into my life a cornucopia of women, along with LGBTQ people too. My editor is a woman. I doubt, had I been an Evangelical blogger, that our relationship would have worked. Now, not only have my grammar and style improved, but her input has helped me mature as a person. Other women have challenged some of things I have written, asking me to consider their perspective. I remember one woman taking issue with my use of the word pussy. I used the word to imply weakness. However, to women, my use of this word said, women are weak. Once this was pointed out to me, I stopped using it – well, except in the privacy of my bedroom, that is.

And my wife? She loves the new and improved Bruce Gerencser, the man who now views her as an equal, as a partner, as someone whose opinions and ideas have value. Most of all she loves the fact that this man of hers has gone from being the head of the home to being her friend. Not only are we lovers and confidants, we are best friends. We trust each other, each believing that the other will honor, even when alone with the opposite sex, the commitment we made forty years ago. No fling is worth what we have built together over the past five decades. Why in the world would I want to trade the best cooking in the world for a romp in the sack with someone I don’t really know? Polly makes the most awesome sloppy joes I have ever eaten. Better than sex — oh yes they are! Since she tried this new recipe out the first time a few weeks ago, I’ve asked her to make it again several times. Heaven? Oh, my Gawd, it’s on my plate, thank you very much. If given the choice between an illicit relationship and Polly’s sloppy joes, I know which one I am taking. Well, that and the fact that she now does all her cooking with cast iron pans. I can only imagine (to rip off the title of the latest Evangelical porno to hit the big screen) what one of the pans would do to the side of my head.

I hope both men and women will share their thoughts and experiences in the comment section. Are women really as dangerous as Graham, Pence, and Ellis say they are? Comment away!

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Liberals (Who are Mostly Atheists) Detest Happiness

mallory millettKate [Mallory Millett’s sister] announced her atheism very early on and the vacuum created sucked in even more corruption, lying, stealing, fury and domination of others. If God and the afterlife are abandoned then you’re going to be cranky, morose, generally angry, and it’s simple to toss out the Ten Commandments. I would venture that her mental instability created her affinity for the atheism of Marxism. To quote Dennis Prager: “My belief in God and the afterlife keeps me sane. The thought that just this life is all there is would mean that life is random and pointless. It means I will never again see those I love. This would drive me mad. I don’t see how it wouldn’t drive anyone mad who cares about suffering and who loves anyone. So, is there an afterlife? If there is a God, of course there’s an afterlife.”

Most everyone on the left is atheistic, depressed, dark and miserable, and they want us all to be miserable. Winston Churchill said, “Socialism results in the equal sharing of misery.” They detest happiness. Nothing makes them more miserable than another’s happiness. There is no more comedy! Since they swooped in and took over Hollywood and Broadway, everywhere you search for comic relief is dark, dark, dark. Surf through 200 TV channels and it is grim, grim, grim and then there’s a dismemberment. Our “entertainment” has become death, terror, horror and filth. Americans were funny people – funniest in the world after the Brits. First, they lost humor and then we followed. Tina Fey? Major funny-killer. Lena Dunham? A disgrace! Saturday Night Live? David Letterman? Kill me, just shoot me.

I love the term “Feminazi,” as these humorless women are, indeed, fascists, killers of faith and society. So many people think the rise of women and the evisceration of our culture are somehow coincidental. But it’s been calculated and deliberate. It’s the only way America can be “fundamentally transformed” into the Marxist test-tube to dazzle the world. It’s the result of HATE: hating God, hating life, hating society, hating men, hating babies, hating history, hating our fathers, hating our families, hating our white male Founders, hating happiness, hating heterosexuality, hating Western civ. Is this not madness?

— Mallory Millett, Front Page Magazine, My Sister Kate: The Destructive Feminist Legacy of Kate Millett, February 7, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Founders of Feminism Were Reprobates Says Lori Alexander

lori alexander twitter

Christian women are floundering today. They have no idea what they are supposed to do with their lives? Should they work after having children or be home full time? But if they don’t work outside of the home, they will probably get bored and won’t make any money so they will feel useless. Oh, what should they do?

Mark Taspon did an interview with Mallory Millet who is the sister of Kate Millet. Kate is one of the founders of the second wave of feminism. Mallory admits that Kate was mentally ill and was a terror to live with:

I was with them at that table as they founded the Women’s Movement and NOW. The entire stated point of their activities was to destroy the American family and with that, Western Civilization. Is this not crazy? They were tooth-grittingly determined.

They were driven by destruction and deeply violent impulses toward men and the patriarchy. Their goal? To establish a matriarchy in order to end all war because that’s what men do, wage war. They believed that if women ran everything there would be no more war. In their madness they have conspired to destroy masculinity, drugging our little boys while trying to remake them into little girls and thus, emboldening our enemies who now see us as easy pickings. No nation is easier to overwhelm than one which has feminized the men and put females at the head of the tribe. Matriarchies never survive – never have, never will!

God tells us that those who “hold the truth in unrighteousness” (they know the truth but rebel against it) are given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1). Reprobate means “a person abandoned to sin; one lost to virtue and religion.” This completely describes the founders of feminism since they were against all of God’s beautiful ways and they deceived women, even Christian women, into believing that leaving their homes all day and their children in the care of others is best

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Instead of following culture and the lies of the mentally ill, young women should consider this when making life decisions:“If all mothers based their choices on whether to return to work by asking the questions, ‘What does the Bible say?’ and ‘What is best for my child spiritually?’ different choices would be made” (Judy Turner)

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Christian women need to wake up and understand that they need to stop following women who had and have reprobate minds and begin following Jesus and His ways instead. Our culture is a mess and it’s because women have left their God-ordained roles at home and pursued their own selfish gain at the expense of their children.

— Lori Anderson, The Transformed Wife, Founders of Feminism Had Reprobate Minds, February 13, 2018

Courtland Sykes Says to Women, Your Place is in the Kitchen Making Sure Dinner is Ready at 6:00 PM

courtland sykes

Missouri GOP Senate candidate Courtland Sykes took to Facebook recently to let feminists and nontraditional women what he thought of them. Let me hit the highlights for you. Grammatical errors are in the original:

  • I want to come home to a home cooked dinner every night at six. One that she [Sykes is engaged to be married] fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives.
  • I want my daughters to have their own intelligence, their own dignity, their own work space, and their own degrees; I want them to build home based enterprises and live in homes shared with good husbands and I don’t want them to grow up into career obsessed banshees who forgo home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the tops  of a thousand tall buildings they are think they could have leaped over in a single bound — had men not been “suppressing them.” It’s  just nuts. It always was.
  • I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have my daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives — think Norman Rockwell here,  and Gloria Steinhem be damned.

Here’s Sykes’ full statement.

courtland sykes view of women

Sykes’ Facebook page describes him this way:

Courtland Sykes, Missouri’s newest candidate for the U.S. Senate, has been called MAGA’s boldest warrior. He is no stranger to conflict and danger—he spent four tours of duty in the military and intelligence arena in Iraq, the Middle East, plus a tour in Central and South American missions operating from the U.S. Embassy in Panama.

A certain forthrightness—call it a certain boldness in spirit—comes from a background like that and he takes no prisoners in stating his positions outright about America and its future.

Sykes is pro-Trump, pro-MAGA, pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-wall—some have said he is the most outright and boldest of all Senatorial candidates regarding President Trump’s America First Agenda.

In other words, Sykes is a Trumpian Asshole®.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Pastor Steven Anderson Says ‘Shut Up’ to Female Congregants

steven anderson

Now obviously, before the service begins, there’s chatting and talking going on, that’s perfectly legitimate. When we all sing praises to God, of course the ladies should also lift up their voices. But when it’s learning time, it’s silence time. So what it’s saying is that they are to learn in silence… When the learning is going on, they are not permitted to speak. When the preaching of God’s word is taking place — and first of all, it’s not for a woman to be doing the preaching, and second of all, it’s not for women to be speaking.

This is why I don’t believe women should say ‘amen’ during the preaching either. Because ‘amen’ means ‘truly’ or ‘verily’ … it basically means ‘that’s true.’ So when I’m preaching and I say something that you agree with and that you believe in, and you say ‘amen,’ you’re saying ‘that’s true.’ So here’s the thing, when I’m preaching, women should not express their opinion, even if it’s a positive opinion, even if she agrees with me

— Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona via Addicting Info

Video Link

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Worldly Women Are Murderous Whores Says Lori Alexander

lori alexander twitter

There are many foolish women today. A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing (Proverbs 9:13). Foolish means “void of understanding or sound judgment; weak in intellect; unwise; silly; vain; acting without regard to the divine law and glory.” Universities don’t make women wise. They make them foolish; for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). What they learn in these places of “higher learning” is that there is no difference between men and women and they are steeped in the feminist agenda which is anti-God and anti-family. They teach them nothing that is good, honorable, pure, holy, or worthy.

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God commands that parents raise their children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. Too many parents are careful about doing this while their children are young and then spend a ton of money on secular colleges and universities for their children to attend. Many children who go into these institutions with their faith intact come out without faith in God because “bad company corrupts good morals” as the Bible clearly states. Universities do everything they can to turn young women into foolish, clamorous, and simple women.

Clamorous means “speaking and repeating loud words; noisy; vociferous; loud; turbulent.” Most of Proverbs describes foolishness (feminism) compared to wisdom (feminine). Many of the early chapters of Proverbs are about harlots or “strange women” as they are called and then the ending chapter is the well-known Proverbs 31 woman who embodies wisdom. Who are the harlots of today?

We are to be wise in what is good and innocent to that which is evil. It seems the majority of women today are knowledgeable to all forms of evil and practice them: fornication, adultery, immodesty, indiscretion, drunkenness, and lewdness. They despise what is good and love what is evil. They are willful and reckless, refusing to see the long-term consequences of their sin and instead indulging their flesh in any way they please. They entice married men, break up families, and easily abort their babies. They are foolish through and through and are reaping the rotten fruit that they are sowing.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, A Foolish, Clamorous Woman, January 9, 2018

How Evangelical Preachers Sexually Demean and Harass Female Congregants

god is a woman

Cartoon by David Hayward

Many Evangelical churches are hierarchical in nature: male God, male pastor, male church leaders, married men, and then women and children. God, of course, comes first. God, of course — because it says so in the Bible — is a HE, not a she. God, of course, determines the order of all things, including the church and home.

God created man first, and then woman. He commanded that men are to be the head of their homes, and women are to submit to their husbands in all things, as unto the Lord. God commanded that women were to be keepers of the home, submitting cheerfully and without complaint to their husbands. Children are commanded by God to joyfully obey their parents in all things.

God commanded that men, as pastors, elders, and deacons, are to rule the church. Only men are permitted to preach and teach during public worship services. Women are permitted to teach other women and children, but they must never, ever usurp authority over men. In some Evangelical churches, women are expected to be quiet during worship services. I knew of one church (Mennonite) where women were not permitted to sing the first note or two of any song lest they are guilty of “leading” men. I attended a number of their services, and the men would start the singing and then the women would join them a note or two later. I knew of another church (Sovereign Grace Baptist) where women were not permitted to speak during the services. If a woman had a prayer request, she was expected to whisper the request to her husband or another man, and he would make the request known. This same church would not allow women to ask questions during business meetings. If a woman had a question, she was to, again, whisper the question to her husband or another man, and he could then ask the question.

In many Evangelical churches, women working outside of the home is frowned upon, if not outright prohibited. In such churches, married women are expected to bear children, cook meals, do laundry, clean the house, teach the children, and submit to their husband’s sexual advances — all without complaint or question. Unmarried girls and women are expected to learn domestic duties from their mothers, preparing them for marriage. In some churches, girls are discouraged from having college or career ambitions. Their future was sealed the moment they were born — a life devoted to husband, children, and domestic duties. Some churches do permit young women to attend church-approved Bible colleges, but only for the express purpose of getting an MRS degree.

I can safely say that Evangelicalism, in general, is anti-woman. While it is encouraging to see some churches abandoning complementarianism for egalitarianism, millions of Evangelical women and girls are members of churches that treat them as subservient, inferior, second-class people. Their lives are dominated by the male species, first as daughters, and then as wives. Attempts to break free from male dominance is viewed as rebellion against God and rebellion against the men He has set as rulers over them. In some instances, rebellious women are brought under church discipline, which leads to shunning until they confess their sin and bow in submission to male authority.

People not raised in Evangelical churches will likely read this post and say, Bruce, surely this is satire. It’s 2017 and women are free to be whatever they want to be. It may be 2017 where you live, but for many Evangelical women and girls, it is the 1940s, or the 1840s for that matter. The driving belief behind the anti-abortion, anti-birth control movement is that God has commanded women to marry, spread their legs when asked by their husbands, and bear lots of children. Women who chase dreams of higher education, athletics, or careers are living lives contrary to God’s plan and his divine order for families and societies. According to more than a few Evangelical preachers, much of what is wrong with the world can be traced back to women not accepting their God-given role as mothers and keepers of the home.

Imagine, for a moment, being raised in churches where women are treated as I mentioned above. Week after week, month after month, year after year, you are reminded of your second-class status before God and man. Sunday after Sunday, your preacher reminds you of your place in the home and church, and your duty to submit to your husband and male church authority. Imagine being a bright, inquisitive girl who has great ambition, only to have these things stomped into the ground by men who say they know God’s plan for your life, and that plan does not include college, athletics, or a career. Even worse, imagine when one of these “godly men” sexually harasses, molests, or rapes you, and if you dare report it, you are blamed for the man’s perverse behavior.

biblical submission

Outsiders rightly ask, why would any woman willingly submit herself to such psychological abuse? Why don’t they stand up against patriarchal thinking and demand equality? Surely, these women want more for their lives than babies, casseroles, and watching the church nursery? Unfortunately, for many women, they were raised in churches that devalued women and it is the only thing they know. Imagine being repeatedly threatened with judgment and chastisement from God if you dare to demand the same opportunities in life as men. Being told over and over that God wants you to live a certain way and living otherwise could lead to pain, loss, and even death, is sure to result in obedience and conformity.

Preachers are God-ordained keepers of divine order. Through their preaching and modeling, women are shown how God wants them to live. Using a plethora of Biblical proof texts, women and girls are frequently reminded of their place, and that not accepting that place means they are being sinful and disobedient to God. These preachers literally demean and harass female congregants with their sermons and Bible quotations. Girls come into this world rebellious against God’s constituted order, and it is up to preachers to use the Bible to beat the rebellion out of them. Countless effervescent girls have been turned into dowdy, rarely-smiling, obedient women who no longer have dreams of life beyond the bed, cradle, or kitchen. Such preaching can and does suck the life out of women, turning them into servants of the male God, their husbands, and male-controlled churches.

The good news is that many Evangelical women are tired of being treated as doormats. They are tired of having their ambitions drowned out by their husbands’ wants, needs, and desires. Evangelical teen girls are increasingly rebelling against their fathers and pastors, demanding that they be treated with decency and respect and afforded the same opportunities as boys. I know of a number of women who demanded the right to take college classes. Many of these women, once they graduated from college and figured out they could live on their own, left their churches and divorced their husbands — proving to Evangelical troglodytes that women must be tethered to the home lest they overthrow God’s order.

My wife and I grew up in churches where complementarianism was frequently preached from the pulpit; churches where women were expected to be married, barefoot, and pregnant; churches where women were expected to do menial labor while the men sat in the gates and did the “real” work of ruling nations, churches, and homes. It should come as no surprise, then, that when Polly and I married, we had what was commonly called a “traditional” marriage, with me being the patriarchal head of the home, and Polly devoting herself to domestic chores and children. Fortunately, both of us saw the light, resulting in fundamental change to our marriage and home. Some of this change was driven by my health problems. I worked for much of our marriage and Polly quietly and happily maintained the home. When fibromyalgia, pain, and neurological problems forced a change of roles, our marriage changed too — for the better, I might add.

The girl I married in 1978 was quiet, soft-spoken, and content to let me be the boss. The bad-ass woman I am now married to is still quiet and soft-spoken, but that boss thing? That ain’t happening. Both of us will admit that we have struggled with our changing marital dynamic. It wasn’t easy at first. It has taken years for the bad thinking from our patriarchal past to be transformed into egalitarian thinking that values and respects people regardless of their sex. Even now, both of us can, on occasion, fall back into our former way of life. I still, at times, want to be the boss, and Polly is content to let me make decisions, especially those that could have negative outcomes. Our new, ever-evolving relationship has taken a lot of conversation, arguing, and forgiving. I can honestly say that our marriage today is better than it ever has been. I love and respect Polly more than ever, even when she still refuses to know what she wants to order when we pull up at a fast-food order window. Each of us recognizes the other’s strengths and weaknesses and our divisions of labor are determined by expertise and not some verses from an outdated, ancient religious text. It’s unlikely that we will ever have the “perfect” marriage, but I can safely say that what was begun almost forty years ago continues to blossom and grow.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Why God Gave IFB Pastor Steven Anderson Children

steven anderson

Raising children and keeping house is a lot of work, and a lot of ladies are getting burned out because they are doing too much [yeah, because they have nine children]. They are struggling with the demands of running a household [because their husbands don’t do their part?] when they could be delegating a lot of it, and I don’t mean they should be delegating it to their husbands. If my wife asks me to do something like take out the trash [how dare she!], I tell [ask?] her to have one of the kids do it. I didn’t sire [what a stud] nine children, so I could take out the trash or pick up after the family dog. I did my time shoveling dung and mowing the lawn. It’s not that I’m lazy. I just want to do other more important work [that’s not women’s work]. Not only that, but children need to get used to working.

— Steven Anderson, Teaching Children to Work, September 4, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Married Women Are to be Home-Workers not Career-Workers Says Nancy Campbell

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Many women don’t like this phrase [keepers at home]. Even Christian mothers. And yet it’s in the Bible! Isn’t that amazing? However, I think it comes down to the fact that we either believe the Bible or we don’t. If we believe the Bible we must receive every word as the living, breathing Word of God. It is an eternal Word. It is as up-to-date as tomorrow’s newspaper!

Therefore, if you believe the Bible, would you like to come with me on a little word study? Let’s look into this phrase and see what it really means, shall we?

The phrase “keepers at home” in Titus 2:5 is translated from two different earlier manuscripts.

The first Greek word is oikourogo, coming from two words:  “oikos” meaning “home” and “ergon” meaning “to work.” The word literally means HOME-WORKERS!

I am a great believer in working mothers. However, we must know the place where God wants us to work. It’s in the home. It says “home-workers,” not “career workers.”

The home is not a prison to lock us away from all the wonderful things we could do in this life. The home is where we CAN DO all the wonderful things that will bless our own lives, the lives of our family, and many others.

The home is a place of function and action. It’s a place of nurturing where we have the privilege of nurturing and teaching the children God gives to us. It is also a place of creativity where we can accomplish all the creative ideas God brings to our minds. It’s the most exciting place in the world. We make our own hours and are free to create. We are not bound to an employer (submitted to another man rather than our husband).

That’s why we are workers in the home. We are not lazing around, but working. As we work, ideas come to us to do things in a better way. God gives us anointed ways to teach and minister to our children. Solutions come to us to solve problems in our family life. Inspiration comes to our hearts about hospitality and how we can reach out to the lonely, hurting, and those who need encouragement.

— Nancy Campbell, Above Rubies, Keepers at Home, August 2, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Lori Alexander Rages Against Women Who Dare to Have Careers

lori-alexander

Of course, careers for women came from a godless, heathen world! There is nothing in the Bible that encourages or instructs women to leave their homes for hours every day, their children with strangers to raise, and go to a job. [neither is there anything in the Bible that says women should wear bras and shoes.] If there is one, I have never read it.

….

Are older women, as written in the Bible, to be known for their careers? No! They should be known for bringing up children, lodging strangers, washing the saints’ feet, relieving the afflicted, diligently following every good work (1 Timothy 5:10) and teaching the younger women (Titus 2:4). There’s nothing about them having careers.

Widows are not commanded to go out and pursue careers. Their families are the ones who should care for them and if the widow doesn’t have family, then the churches are to care for the widows. (Notice 1 Timothy 5:4 states who in the family should care for widows; “children or nephews” not “children or nieces” – the female children would most likely be married and have husbands who would provide whereas the nephews should help provide, not the nieces.) This is how God set it all up for the provision of women.

Men are the ones in the Bible that God commands to be the providers. This is God’s perfect will from the beginning of time and He reminds us that His commands are not burdensome. Nothing is impossible with Him and if He wants women home with their families, He will provide a way. He instructs us to ask for wisdom and He will give it freely! [In other words, if you are a woman and find yourself destitute, don’t get job. Just wait on Jesus to come through with a pile of cash to meet your every need.]

There are several problems I see with women having careers, even when they are single. After spending all the time and money in pursuing their career, it’s difficult to give it up once the children come along, if and when they do. Also, many husbands like the money their wives make and don’t want them to stop so they insist on their wives keeping the job even when it becomes a strain on the wife. Married women who don’t have children still come home exhausted after working all day. They don’t have the energy to care for their homes or husbands like they would like to do, unless they are high energy women.

I believe one of the main causes of divorce today is due to women having careers. Women put all of their time and energy into their careers and neglect their husbands. [Pity those poor men who are being neglected by their wives.] They were created to be their husband’s help meet but they fail to do what God has called them to do because they can’t do everything and are too tired and exhausted to be helpers to their husbands. This is a recipe for failure and marriage is important to the Lord so it should be a priority for us; for marriage is an example to a lost world of Christ and His Church! Plus, when women have careers, they know that they have the freedom to divorce their husbands since they aren’t dependent upon their husbands for provision but God created wives to be dependent upon their husbands. [ Damn straight, Skippy. Women working means that they no longer are slaves to their husbands; that if their husbands don’t treat them well they can tell them to take a hike.] This is a good thing, contrary to popular opinion.

Women who have careers typically have to work for a boss and the boss is usually a man, therefore, she is living in submission to a man who isn’t her husband which is not God’s plan. Plus, women don’t have the physical makeup that a man has and God created women with a more sensitive and emotional nature in order to be home with their children and/or caring for others, not out in the workforce. [All I can do here is *sigh*.]

….

But what about the women who do remain single their entire lives and don’t get married? What if careers are causing many more women to not get married since they don’t “need” a man to take care of them? What if this pursuit by women for careers makes them unattractive to men since they become forceful and independent? God’s plan from the beginning is for men and women to marry. He created men to need a help meet.

Colleges and universities don’t help women acquire meek and gentle spirits. Quite the contrary! They teach them to be strong (apart from the Lord), independent (they don’t need a husband), speak their minds, and stand up for themselves which is completely opposite of what the Lord wants for women. They don’t teach them to be gentle, submissive help meets to their husbands or how to raise godly offspring. Neither do they teach them anything about godly womanhood; no, not even the Christian colleges and universities since they push careers on the women. [Can’t have women who are strong, independent, speak their minds, and stand up for themselves, right? Why, such women might think they are equal to men, capable of doing almost anything the penis crowd can do.]

There are many things women can do who aren’t married without getting a job. Culture tell us that there’s only option for young women today but it’s not. The young, unmarried Duggar and Bates women [ Ah yes, Duggar and Bates women. “Perfect” examples for the young women of today.] take courses on-line, serve their families, go on mission’s trips, assist midwives, serve their communities, find ways to make money from home, and many other things that help others instead of pursuing careers which take them away from their homes. This seems the way it should be, in my opinion [How dare Alexander speak when God has not spoken!].

Women working have taken many jobs away from men. Men NEED to work. God created them to have jobs and this usually defines them, whereas women define themselves by their relationships. Men don’t have to take off time when they bear children, their children get sick (if they have a wife at home), and they don’t feel guilt leaving their children all day long like women do because women know deep down that they are the ones who are supposed to be home with their own children.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Not One Bible Verse Instructs Women to Have Careers, July 25, 2017

Jodi Heckert Pledged to Protect His Daughter’s Virginity, Now in Prison For Child Molestation

jodi heckert and daughter

Jodi Heckert and his daughter appeared in a June 14, 2014 Slate Magazine article titled “Striking Portraits of Fathers and the Daughters Whose Virginity They’ve Pledged to Protect.” (While Heckert’s daughter is now an adult, I have decided to not publish her name.) The story features the photography of David Magnusson. As a photographer, I found Magnusson’s work to be stunning (and creepily disturbing), but I do wonder, based on several of his quotes in the article, if Magnusson really understands the American purity culture. For those of us who were once a part of the patriarchy movement, David Magnusson’s photographs are reminders of the many girls who are smothered by their God-fearing, hymen-worshiping “protective” fathers. Heckert, pictured above with his 13-year-old daughter, is one such father. In August of 2015, Heckert was found guilty of attempted child molestation and sentenced to ten years in prison.

jodi heckert inmate

jodi heckert prison record

jodi heckert prison record 2

Arizona Department of Corrections Inmate Search

Here’s what Ayperi Karabuda Ecer had to say about Magnusson’s photographs:

David Magnusson’s focus is not on the individuals, it is on the relationship. The strength, the tenderness, the domination, and all the contradictions springing from adult men seeking promises which will guide young girls’ intimate lives and their infinite need for love and protection.

Each shoot takes up to an hour. That is no longer a “moment”; it is a long time to maintain intensity. Yet some of the fathers and daughters spend the hour physically clinging to each other.

The light is what makes this project visually coherent. All photographs are organized to be shot an hour and a half before dawn. Yes, it is beautiful. Many of the fathers refer to light in their interviews. One of them quotes Psalm 40: “I was plucked from a miry pit and sat into a marvellous light”, another thinks that “as Christians we’re supposed to be the light in the world.”

David Magnusson’s lighting appeals to those who pose but its airy subtlety also adds a surreal tone which contrasts with the solid convictions of the photographed. The setting seems to be from a fairy tale but we are confused by the cast.

David Magnusson knows that what is missing in a frame is as important as what is present. As fathers and daughters intensely try to embody the presence of God, one wonders what fears and hopes lie behind their mutual determination? Who are the men that inspire such fright and such need for protection? What past scars do the fathers want to redeem? Will these girls ever be able to love anyone more than their own progenitor? How much do our own demons suggest interpretations?

Purity is a personal visual project that offers a stage for intense emotions and questions.

As with all images, these carry different meanings depending on where and by whom they will be viewed. Ideally they need to be accompanied by the interviews and a balanced introduction.

But as with so many other images they will also be encountered divorced from initial purpose and control in an unpredictable journey.

Purity is a project about contradictions, love and domination, beauty and fear, relying on the very singular complexities of the photographic process.

Please take the time to view Magnusson’s photographs, and when finished please let me know what you think in the comment section.

HT: Stuff Christian Culture Likes