Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Complicity of the Real Femi-Nazis

Excerpts from
an article in MotherJones

"The Purpose-Driven Wife"
Teaching women to submit to husbands for the love of Christ-

—Illustration: Yuko Shimizu

Kathryn Joyce encounters Martha Peace at a church lady's confab at a megachurch in suburban Atlanta.

"...The evening's emcee, Leanne, a peppy blonde with frosty blue eye shadow, says they represent the virtues of the nearly 120 women who came to see Peace speak as part of the church's "Women of Purpose" series. As daughters of the king of kings, Leanne explains, all Christian women wear crowns. But with that honor comes a mandate to apply their faith at home.

Peace is here to help. Over the past two decades, the 62-year-old Georgia native and former nurse has written five books on biblical womanhood, conservative Christianity's answer to the women's movement. Among them are The Excellent Wife, now a classic in this burgeoning niche, and Damsels in Distress, a set of biblical solutions to female problems ranging from pms to depression to "feminist tendencies." It's common for a young Christian wife to rebel against home life as her primary ministry, Peace writes in Becoming a Titus 2 Woman, which lays out the principles of her ministry model. It's the role of older women to help her understand her priorities.

...(Peace asserts that priorities for church ladies) may include rising early to feed the family, being available anytime to satisfy a husband's desires (barring a few "ungodly" or "homosexual" acts), seeking his approval regarding work, appearance, and leisure, and accepting that he has the "burden" of final say in arguments. After a wife has respectfully appealed her spouse's decision—a privilege she should not abuse—she must accept his final answer as "God's will for her at that time," Peace advises. The godly wife must also suppress selfish desires (for romance, a career, an equitable marriage), practice addressing her spouse in soothing tones, and maintain a private log of bitter thoughts to guide her repentance. "If you disobey your husband," Peace admonishes in The Excellent Wife, "you are indirectly shaking your fist at God."

.... she's just one among hundreds of professional Titus 2 mentors, older women who help younger ones—as outlined by Apostle Paul in Titus 2:5—"to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

...Sensitive to charges that her busy career might contradict her message, Peace reassures audiences that she ministers only to women, and only under her pastor's supervision....

These church leaders argue that a generation of women has abdicated its sacred responsibility by ignoring biblical directives that used to reign unchallenged. In addition to the "corrupting" influence of feminism on the wider culture, they fear feminization of the church by female-majority congregations, the concept of a soft and womanly Jesus, and the elevation of women to positions of church authority. Their concerns extend to questions—on Christian marriage counseling; on women speaking in church or exercising authority over men as, say, teachers or cops—that are nearly as divisive in conservative churches as gay marriage is in mainline denominations. "A lot comes into this," Peace tells me. "Not just husbands and wives, but women as pastors, women in church. It's not a matter of 'Good Christians can differ on the issue.' This is a slippery slope they're on. It's like wherever the world goes, 30 or 40 years later, the church goes, too."


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