Why I’m Concerned That Pastor Michael Spangler of Providence Church Greensboro (OPC) May Have an Abuse Problem

“The wounded recognized the wounded.” ― Nora Roberts


I am writing this as a concerned Christian woman in North Carolina. It is my hope that the OPC hierarchy will deal with this expeditiously.

Today we are journeying into the OPC church to focus on Pastor Michael Spangler, a relatively young man with a rather jarring voice when it comes to his opinions on women. and on spanking children *hard.* I wonder if the OPC has any idea how his derogatory opinions are being picked up by a number of both men and women on Twitter.

The OPC

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) got its start in the 1930s as a reaction to modernist theology which the founders believed had strayed from conservative, Reformed theology.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church was founded on June 11, 1936, in the aftermath of the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, under the leadership of J. Gresham Machen (longtime professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, who also founded Westminster Theological Seminary in 1929). With the infiltration of theological liberalism, the mainline Presbyterian Church in the USA had departed from historic Christianity, including the rejection of doctrines such as the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, and the substitutionary atonement. Originally calling itself the Presbyterian Church of America, the young church was forced by the threat of a lawsuit to change its name in 1939, and it adopted the name Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

In nearly eight decades since its founding, the OPC has slowly grown to over 30,000 members in over 300 churches throughout the United States and Canada.

Although I am not Reformed, I have long followed, and appreciated, Rachel Miller and Aimee Byrd, faithful members of the OPC. I wrote about them in (Updated)Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller Attacked by Real Life Calvinistas: Genevan Commons Current Members…Be Ashamed.

Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller

It is important to recognize that both women subscribe to the gender theology of the OPC which means they believe that only men can be pastors and that men are the head of the family. They are truly Reformed in their theology which is important to stress in this situation. It appears that a number (but not all by any means) of OPC pastors have engaged in a war of words that would lead the uninitiated to imagine that a number of the women in the OPC are *girding their loins* for battle against the men. For some of these men, this is a do or die battle for the *patriarchy.”

As an outsider, I have watched the goings-on at first with amusement and then with growing concern. I began to realize that this is a winner takes all battle on the part of some of the men involved in this effort. It seems ludicrous and concerning to me. These women are faithful members of their OPC churches. In September 2020, Todd covered how Aimee Byrd was kicked to the curb at The Mortification of Spin and treated despicably by the boys of the Genevan Commons.

Michael Spangler, Shane Anderson and Providence Church Greensboro

Thankfully, some thoughtful men of the OPC wrote an open letter in support of Aimee here. Shane Anderson sort of ran the now private Genevan Commons and Michael Spangler thought their discussions were just peachy keen. Today I learned something. Michael Spangler is one of two pastors of Providence Church Greensboro (OPC) and Shane Anderson is now a covert leader in that church. Apparently, the hoopla caused the church to deep-six his name but, apparently, he’s still there. Good night! Women of Greensboro looking for an OPC church, be forewarned. If one toodled over to The Daily Genevan, one would see Spangler, Anderson, and a link to The Genevan Commons. Given this information, you should be prepared for what is to come.

Christine Pack of the Sola Sisters reprinted Michael Spangler’s thoughts.

Let me list, for Spangle,r the deeply concerning things I see in this screed.

  1. Apparently, any suggestions for your wardrobe, etc. are emasculating for you. Why? Is there something simmering below the surface?
  2. You seem to be more concerned about the sins of women as opposed to the sins of men. Why is that? Do you have something to hide? I believe that this sort of bent could lead to abuse or to the cover-up of abuse.
  3. YOu are concerned that men are decrying killing animals for food? Are you speaking about being a vegetarian or are you advocating bow-hunting as a sign of internal manliness?
  4. The list of nixed clothing…Is this some sort of dress code that you have discerned from Scriptures? What it is about another’s dress that causes you such turmoil?
  5. It’s a sin to speak with a soft voice? Have you ever listened to David Platt? Do you not know that many people in the medical profession are taught to speak in a soft, reassuring voice? Does a soft voice indicate effeminacy to you? Why? It so disturbs you that you call it a sin. What’s going on here? Is it something inside that is eating at you?
  6. Ah…you are worried about intellectual sophistication… Maybe we are getting somewhere. Do you find people who are smarter than you intimidating? Why?

The most concerning aspect of your ill-thought-out, unsophisticated, theologically-devoid, screed is this. “Spank your kids, hard.”You wrote this and added the word *hard.* I believe that you could possibly have an abuse problem and I hope someone has the guts to talk with you about this. Your children could possibly be in danger and I’m thinking about what I might need to do about this. You do know that anyone can report such statements to the local CPS, right?

The OPC hierarchy is now involved.

It is my understanding that the OPC may be looking into charges against Spangler. I can only hope this is true. He seems to indicate this in this post on The Daily Genevan: Response to Charges.  His response is rambling and difficult to follow.

I have concerns about Michael Spangler’s mental well being as well as concerns for the safety of his children since he indicated that he believes in spanking *hard.*  I don’t know anything about the counseling resources within the OPC but I believe that Spangler and his family are possibly in need of intervention. Could this screed be an inadvertent cry for help?


Comments

Why I’m Concerned That Pastor Michael Spangler of Providence Church Greensboro (OPC) May Have an Abuse Problem — 149 Comments

  1. Re: item 3 and the “hard necessities of life”, this reminds me a bit of a conversation I participated in with an OP officer who exhibited what struck me as indifference to the suffering of animals used, and often destroyed, by humans for a wide range of purposes (not just food; also medical research and sport). These “hard necessities” are arguably all a consequence of the Fall, and are not morally neutral adaptations to an impersonal environment. “Necessary evils” are still “evils” and I think we ought to not lose sight of that, lest we grow callous.

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  2. I have a couple of things to say about this. Probably more, but these are the two that came first to mind.

    1) If you’re spanking your children *hard*, you are likely physically abusing them within the meaning of your local jurisdiction’s child abuse statutes. People, if you know someone who is hitting a child *hard*, do not pass go, do not collect $200, call the cops or child protective services. I’m not interested in justifications, if you’re hitting kids *hard*, there is a *problem* and I’m personally not interested in your excuses.

    2) Again, we are faced with the sight of men who don’t even have a clue of what to do with the slightly over 50 percent of adult American women who are single, divorced or widowed. We are not in your manly man households, we do not have only male authorities over us as a matter of course (I report to both men and women, for example) and we don’t have our lives controlled by a patriarch. Of course, this is on top of the obvious hatred he bears for women in general. Seriously, guy, do you think women are some sort of inferior creation or something? Your beliefs are *harmful*. I feel for your wife!

    Now, as to the background of Michael Spangler, who calls himself Reverend and apparently thinks rather highly of himself.

    I did a quick search and found that Michael Spangler does not work in an environment where he would encounter women as authorities over him and has not done so since at least 2013. His current job is listed as “Translation Editor” for a (undoubtedly turgid) work of theology by one Petrus Van Maastricht, published in 1698 and left untranslated until now. (That’s why I think it’s likely turgid if it’s remained untranslated until now.) Interestingly, a look at the first volume doesn’t show Spangler’s name on it, but he does show up as “Assistant Editor and Translator” on Volume 2, copyrighted 2019.

    His resume also shows that he has a M.Div from the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in South Carolina, and he graduated in 2017. Based on his college graduation dates, I believe he is around 32 years old.

    To those people in the OPC who may come looking here, I consider myself outside the charmed circle of the household of faith, and that is due in part to people like Michael Spangler, who apparently think children are for punching bags and women are for belittling and abusing. IOW, he’s a horrible example of Jesus and needs to be dealt with before he hurts more people.

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  3. This guy’s rant is so homophobic I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s actually gay and can’t face it. I follow a psychologist who emphasizes that people’s’ behavior is about themselves, not anybody else. A guy this nasty towards women, gay people, and children is a man who is most likely terrified of his weaknesses, his sexuality, and all the traits of kindness/gentlemen that would actually make him a more decent human being instead of a pathetic, pontificating fool.

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  4. Not many men check all of the boxes on his list. Pew Research says that 39% of American men own guns, so I guess the other 61% aren’t real men. Something like a quarter of men over 25 have never married, and this trend is increasing.

    Hmm, fought in a war. Right now, the US military consists of 0.5% of the population. This includes some women and some unmarried men, as well as childless men and men who are not Christian. Also, not everybody in the military owns a gun or spanks their children.

    Not everyone in the military has actually seen combat.

    Military chaplains are noncombatants, so they don’t pass the manhood test even if they serve in war zones.

    We obviously have a critical shortage of men.

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  5. Also, I have to say it, this guy sounds like an Incel. He sounds nothing like Jesus. Nothing.

    My husband is a fighter pilot. He is in one of the most “manly” fields there is in this country, if by “manly” you mean hardly any women do it. And guess what? He does the dishes all the time. We have an egalitarian division of household chores. He’s gentle and kind with me and with our kids. We don’t spank. He respects me and all women and doesn’t consider us as lesser beings. He listens to me as values my feelings. He’s tender-hearted and I have often seen him weep. And he could kick Michael Spangler’s ass.

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  6. Re: titles and offices, I have the impression that in OPC circles, “reverend” is reserved for “Gospel ministers”, ie, for ordained Teaching Elders, ordinarily the only people allowed to preach in OP pulpits. Perhaps Mr. Spangler is an ordained TE, though not employed at present as a pastor.

    The corner of the OPC I observed for 7 years was quite unfriendly to secular psychology. If there are counseling resources within the local Presbytery, I expect they would be along the lines of Adams (“nouthetic counseling”) — or possibly, if the environment is more “progressive”, Powlison (“biblical counseling”). I’m not confident that either would be of much help to someone who regards himself to have strong grounds in his reading of the Scriptures for the positions he takes. If there is an internal “legal” process (“charges” which would lead to a trial in a church court convened for that purpose), that may be the only way to make an impression.

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  7. Samuel Conner: Re: item 3 and the “hard necessities of life”, this reminds me a bit of a conversation I participated in with an OP officer who exhibited what struck me as indifference to the suffering of animals used, and often destroyed, by humans for a wide range of purposes (not just food; also medical research and sport).

    “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
    — Proverbs 12:10 —

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  8. 1. Having been in the OPC, the only surprise for me is the number of names signed to the letter directly & in the comments on Aimee Byrd’s site.

    2. Of no surprise to me (painfully so) is the fact that none of the elders, including the two teaching elders, at my former church have signed. Even though there are signatories from the nearest two OPC churches. Which lead me to point number 3.

    3. I could not find an online list of all the names of those involved in the Genevan Commons comments that the open letter is addressed to. Does anyone know of such a list? If I look over that list, it might explain the lack of signatories from my former church.

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  9. I may get some push back but here it goes, why do women put up with this crap? I am a nurse and I work with strong women doctors and nurses who just wouldn’t tolerate that (they take zero BS from male doctors) . I am soon to be married and my fiancé has made it clear , any verbal abuse, infidelity or things like that and the marriage is over and I not she is out the door and being from NYC, she means it.
    I understand there is a level of brainwashing here but a whole church. I have a daughter who was a welder and when harassed by guys she let them have it ( not a believer ) verbally and in a couple cases physically. What if a wife said this is crazy and abusive and I am not going period and by the way , no lovemaking till we leave. It might be a wake up call for these guys and let a woman or two leave these patriarch’s and there might be some changes. Martin Luther figured by reading the scripture that salvation is by faith, these ladies are smart enough when reading scripture to know that what is being taught from the pulpit is not love and self sacrifice by their husbands but harshness.

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  10. Samuel Conner: The corner of the OPC I observed for 7 years was quite unfriendly to secular psychology. If there are counseling resources within the local Presbytery, I expect they would be along the lines of Adams (“nouthetic counseling”) — or possibly, if the environment is more “progressive”, Powlison (“biblical counseling”).

    *drily* Completely off the subject but I would just like to point out that “biblical counseling” of either flavor is completely and totally inadequate to deal with full blown schizophrenia, or other flavors of major mental health issues, which requires specialty care from psychiatrists and psychologists. Sorry, not sorry for being dogmatic about this, but it is frankly scary to see a close relative have auditory and visual hallucinations right in front of you, as happened last Wednesday. I cannot even begin to imagine how these “biblical counselors” would handle someone who is hearing audible voices and seeing things that are not physically there.

    /off topic digression over.

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  11. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: slightly over 50 percent of adult American women who are single, divorced or widowed. We are not in your manly man households,

    Some of the preachers have harems. Hybels had a single woman on the side. Side chicks. As long as the women are under the authority of a man, for some “Christians”, it works. Sin has everything to do with being a woman (with agency) and nothing to do with being of the other gender.

    There’s a NYT article today noting that the Authoritarian Church, despite the upcoming change in Administration at the national level, is not going anywhere. It is as strong as ever and growing.

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  12. I don’t even know where to begin…

    Regarding “leaving women’s work to women,” I praise Jesus for the story of Martha and Mary. Martha wanted Mary to come join in the “women’s work,” and Jesus’s response was that Mary had chosen what was better.

    Mr. Spangler is conveniently forgetting that women have been called to be judges (Deborah), prophets (Hulda), evangelists (Mary Magdalen), and apostles (Junia), among others. That Paul named many women as his “co-laborers.”

    Given that Jesus washed people’s feet, something tells me he probably wasn’t above lending a hand with the dishes, either. Particularly during the times when it was just him and the 12. Walking around in their loose robes. Without guns. (Peter’s the only one we know of for sure had a sword.) Calling out the sins of other MEN, and somehow managing to generally leave the women out of it.

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  13. You know, in a complementarian church structure, it’s really easy for men (aka those in a position of higher authority) to “call out sin” in those who are “beneath” them in terms of authority, that is, women and children.

    A REAL man would be up to the challenge of calling out sin among his equals (other men). Or his superiors (men in leadership).

    Just sayin.

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  14. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: I cannot even begin to imagine how these “biblical counselors” would handle someone who is hearing audible voices and seeing things that are not physically there.

    A number of years ago, there was a guest in the service who was displaying what I took to be indicators of schizophrenia. (I am no expert, but have since spent time with someone in the middle of a psychotic episode, and stand by my very non-expert opinion.) When the (very young and inexperienced) pastor heard later what the guest had been saying, his response was “demon possession.”

    I don’t know if they’re already doing it or not, but I really hope seminaries are training pastors in how to recognize signs of serious mental illness that need professional medical help.

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  15. “Effeminacy …bars men from the kingdom of God.” ?!?

    A fuzzy and illogical list of ‘sins’ which appears to constitute the Unforgiveable sin” Most of his ‘sins’ are looking purely at the outward appearance, of which I am pretty certain Jesus did not approve.

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  16. I feel bad for the wife and kiddies. Hopefully, he treats them better than what his rant suggests.

    Thou doth protest too much. Sounds like he is a bit confused about what constitutes manliness-I prefer the dishwasher myself. If my wife is willing to cook, then L will gladly take care of the dishes-most of the time.

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  17. As I grow older I become softer. I love my two cats and I am offended when I see animal cruelty.

    I am sensitive and cry once in a while. Well, more like shed tears. A little duck would not get out of the middle of the road and L had to shoo her away many times. I drove home that dreaded day and saw my neighbor picking up what was left of little ducky no more. My wife and I mourned her short life.

    I still feel like a man though. I don’t even need to use a pronoun to prove to others that I am.

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  18. Vance: Thou doth protest too much. Sounds like he is a bit confused about what constitutes manliness-I prefer the dishwasher myself. If my wife is willing to cook, then L will gladly take care of the dishes-most of the time.

    That’s kind of a consistent theme with men who tend to preach like that: they are nowhere near their own definition of “manliness”.

    But I also look at it another way. It’s easy to get your own way all the time. It’s easy to allow other people do work you don’t want to do. It’s easy to spank your kids hard and scare them instead of parent them. And after being around evangelicalism for many years, it seems to me that it’s a lot easier to be a ranty, controlling evangelical pastor than to go out and work a moderately paying job outside the ministry.

    All I can see about their definition of “manliness” is that they are lazy and selfish and taking the easiest route in life.

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  19. I teach shooting sports in the BSA. I have my “Range Officer Voice,” quiet and very distinct, because a loud voice could cause stress for the student I’m correcting as well as distracting other students on the line. The Range Officer Voice is also good with Student Drivers.

    I think Rev. Spangler and Mr. Anderson are loo-loo.

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  20. elastigirl: he’s 15, right?

    Perhaps “on the inside.” I won’t criticize him for that; I’ve grown old but still “feel” like a callow youth. As people age, they often grow in self-awareness and humility (and, horrors, soft-spokenness). One can hope for that in this case too.

    It’s perhaps another argument for “not hastily laying hands on the young” to “ordain” them to church office.

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  21. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: *drily* Completely off the subject but I would just like to point out that “biblical counseling” of either flavor is completely and totally inadequate to deal with full blown schizophrenia, or other flavors of major mental health issues, which requires specialty care from psychiatrists and psychologists.

    I have the impression (a bit stale as it is about a decade since I last sat a class) that at CCEF is thinking about the realities of “organic embodiment” and what that might mean for their vision of counseling ministry; but yes, they do appear to me to be behind the times. I’ve observed first-hand and second-hand that they do refer to psychiatric care at need (though what is happening “down-stream” in churches that use their methods may not be as nuanced; per reporting at TWW, it often isn’t).

    A related problem that concerns me, given the evidence of its prevalence in society and in the upper reaches of hierarchical organizations, including churches, is their apparent (my perception) non-engagement with the reality of “sociopathy.”

    I wonder if MS would regard “empathy” to be unmanly.

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  22. Hi Dee— for any differences we’ve had through the years as I’ve followed your posts, they do not involve abhorring abuse or mistreatment of people. There we’re entirely agreed, and I’ve spent much of my life in various ways working to protect people. For me, the differences with Aimee Byrd et al. are theological. And I’m not a covert leader at Providence. The public controversy hurt our church deeply, so I took my name off the website. And I stepped down from our session in order to bring peace. I am currently facing charges from Byrd’s session and plan to face those with the Lord’s help. I’m not writing here to gain friends or fans, but just to say that Michael is a gentle father, you’ve misunderstood his point, and that we are not in any way abusers or supporters of abuse or those who want it covered up.

    May the Lord bless his people—Shane

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  23. I don’t know to much about it and don’t wish to be overly speculative. But my understanding is that his mother is a pastor. At minimum he’s just taken an extreme opposite position from he was raised with. Who knows what else is really going on.

    Charges are being pursued Against Spangler now because unlike his two compatriots- Shane Anderson, and Bennie Castle who made just enough “apology” to slid on by- Spangler is digging in his heels and not giving an inch.
    Valerie Hobbs had a really good post on this. https://languageandreligion.com/2020/10/19/this-sorry-affair-religious-language-and-spiritual-abuse/

    I wish groups like the OPC and others would do the hard work of seriously asking questions of how and why people like Spangler find such a welcome home in the denomination.

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  24. Wild Honey: When the (very young and inexperienced) pastor heard later what the guest had been saying, his response was “demon possession.”

    Pastor belongs on the cover of Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World.
    “DEMONS! DEMONS! DEEEEMONS! SHEEKA-BOOM-BAH! BAM!!!!!”

    And I ridicule him as one who HAS had a Probable Paranormal Experience whose best explanation IS a Demon Encounter. (“Fullerton Freakout”, 1980.) I’ve Been There. He Obviously Hasn’t.

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  25. Vance: I am sensitive and cry once in a while. Well, more like shed tears. A little duck would not get out of the middle of the road and L had to shoo her away many times. I drove home that dreaded day and saw my neighbor picking up what was left of little ducky no more. My wife and I mourned her short life.

    Rejoice!
    You have a heart and you have compassion.
    Men like Spangler have neither.

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  26. readingalong: What about single men – are they not allowed to cook food and do their own dishes?
    I guess they are not “real” men until they’ve caught a slave, I mean, wife.

    I imagine there’s some similar theology to Mohler’s that any male over 25 is “living in sin” by being single. But that theological persuasion combined with abusive misogyny seems to have a huge abundance of single men because they’re frankly self-centered jerks who can’t do anything for themselves and want to be waited on hand and foot. And before they get married, they expect their moms to do everything for them.

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  27. ishy: any male over 25 is “living in sin” by being single

    In early colonial New England, single people were discouraged from living alone, because nobody could keep an eye on them. In one case (and probably more), the court ordered a single man to move in with a family because his little shack had become a hangout.

    This was also the era of witch trials. A lot of the accused were older widows and single men. While some were poor, others owned land and houses that they did not have to share with anybody. I’m sure that looked Wrong and Tempting to authorities with, say, nine male heirs.

    Truly I think parts of the church have deep superstitions, and just plain jealousy, about people who live on their own.

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  28. readingalong:
    What about single men – are they not allowed to cook food and do their own dishes?
    I guess they are not “real” men until they’ve caught a slave, I mean, wife.

    I’m glad I learned how to cook and do my own dishes. Otherwise, I’d be in a lot of trouble as a never-married man in his early 60’s. I don’t have a large budget for takeout, plus I have to watch what I eat due to medical issues and food allergies.

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  29. I think those men obsessed with what masculinity is…are insecure in themselves if they have to define it in terms of having power over women. I dont obsess about my femininity. I just “have” it. Its just part of who I am! Its how God made me and I rejoice in the way He made men and women different! I agree that our culture is redefining men and women and it grieves me….but to make a list?

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  30. This guy is in his early 30s, someone was speculating?
    So, he’s apparently going through his William Wallace-Mark Driscoll phase.

    Guys like this who are so hung up on being manly-men, or shaming others for not being what they think is manly-mannish enough, have issues.

    Happiness is Complementarianism in your rearview mirror.

    I’m glad I am at a place in life where I don’t worry about living by other people’s standards on every topic, if I measure up or not.

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  31. Chuck,

    There are a few different answers for this, but if the woman in question was brought up in a family or church that promotes Complementarian beliefs, the woman was indoctrinated from childhood to think that lacking boundaries, being passive – all of which entails tolerating a lot of abuse (verbal and otherwise) – is godly.

    To not conform with that skewed version of femininity, the church/parents may say the only other alternative is for the girl in question to become a man-hating, liberal, Democrat voting feminist.

    To some women, who are conservative, they are stuck: they may not be happy being taught that “Being A Doormat is Next To Godliness,” but becoming left wing isn’t appealing or an option, either, for a lot of them.

    You only get two options in patriarchal-pushing groups, be a godly passive sweet doormat (which is supposedly godly, biblical, and feminine), or be an atheistic, God hating, man hating, feminist liberal Democrat.

    Of course, I also run into this sort of false dichotomy from progressive Christians as well, only in reverse, but it’s definitely a thing among complementarian Christians

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  32. singleman: I’m glad I learned how to cook and do my own dishes. Otherwise, I’d be in a lot of trouble as a never-married man in his early 60’s. I don’t have a large budget for takeout, plus I have to watch what I eat due to medical issues and food allergies.

    I don’t think being married is much of an excuse, either. My parents were not Christians but still big on marriage roles. When my mom passed away, my dad still had one child living at home (not me) and he didn’t really know how to do much of anything beside go to work and yardwork. I was college, but I remember teaching him how to work the washing machine, dishwasher, and how to cook several meals and read recipes.

    Likewise, I’ve had female friends in evangelicalism who didn’t get an education, had never worked, and never learned any sort of skills outside the home who were left destitute with the kids when their husbands left them for younger, prettier women.

    I think everybody should have basic life skills and at least one marketable skill.

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  33. Regarding the sexist guy’s list. What makes washing dishes “woman’s work” – nothing but arbitrary cultural assumptions, that’s what.

    In the Martha Vs. Mary story, the sister who refused to do domestic chores was praised for doing so and sitting at Jesus’ feet. It’s funny how patriarchalists /comps never seem to acknowledge the verses or biblical examples that don’t support their views.

    When I was engaged, at one point, my ex finace had an apartment that was a 40 minute commute from my home.

    He actually phoned me one day from the road (his job took him on the road) to ask me to drive to his apartment to wash a stack of dirty dishes he left in the sink (about three foot high worth, I am not exaggerating).

    I told him “no.” He said if I wanted to prove to him that I’d make a good wife, I would clean his dirty dishes.

    I asked him, did he just find out that day he had to hit the road for his job, or did his boss tell him days prior?

    He said his boss had told him about 3 days prior he’d have to leave home. I said, “Let me get this straight. You knew for THREE DAYS you’d have to leave your home mid-morning today? You had three days to clean those dirty dishes yourself.”

    “Furthermore,” I continued, I did not eat off a single dish, cereal bowl, or use a single dirty utensil or mug that is in your sink right now.
    “No, I will not waste my gas and 40 minutes of my time to go to your home to wash three foot stack of dirty dishes YOU made dirty and chose NOT to wash for THREE DAYS.”

    That is one of the few times in my life I did NOT buckle into the horrid “be a sweet little compliant doormat” teachings I got for years from the Baptists and from my mother.

    -The very same sort of teachings that the guy in the OP that Dee is writing about is promoting – the teachings are so toxic.

    Anyway, when I told him, “No,”
    My ex was all, “but my dishes will get covered in flies and mold while I’m away.”

    Me: “Lesson learned: next time, wash your dirty dishes before you have to hit the road.”

    When I was in college, I lived in a dorm or two… I had to clean my own laundry, had to scrub out my own shower/ counter/ toilet.

    At some point, men need to learn to do chores, because there will not be a wife or girlfriend to do it for them, I don’t care how manly they are.

    My mother was too weak in the months before she died, it fell to my Dad and me to cook, clean, mop the floors, etc.

    If you’re a man, you cannot always count on a woman around you to mop, clean dishes, etc, because you may be divorced, widowed, your GF/wife may be too sick, etc

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  34. So much from that guy’s post calls for comment, but let’s look at the doing dishes part. When men are bachelors, are they supposed to eschew doing their own dishes, washing their own clothes, cleaning their living quarters, and so forth? What about those men whose single lifestyles — comporting with Paul’s comments of the benefits therein for certain situations — do not allow for a woman to sweep and literally assume those duties?

    Taking this train of logic (sic) further, in World War II when it was largely up to men to do all the cooking and cleaning duties, was there a slip and fall in “manly man“ quotient because of this? Were those put on KP duty and cleaning the latrines checking their manliness at the door? Conversely, were women forced to engage in work outside of the house in order to have an income more like gleaner Ruth or automatically, categorically, and irrevocably like Jezebel?

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  35. This is a list this guy is giving to other men?
    If I understand that correctly, I must at least give him an atta boy for is it number four?
    The one about clothing?
    For ONCE – for ONCE – I see a sexist giving MEN the same impossible to follow commands that usually go to women.

    I am talking about his comment where he’s lecturing men(?) to “not wear clothing that is too loose or too tight, don’t wear clothing that is too formal or too casual…”

    Yep. That is the same confounding admonishments these sorts usually aim at women, especially in their vomit-worthy books and blog posts on how to date or marry (if you’re a woman).
    We ladies get all sorts of conflicting advice from these complementarians – we ladies are often told by complementarians to be sexy, but don’t be TOO sexy,
    we’re told to be independent but not TOO independent,
    we’re told not to focus or worry about our looks because Jesus loves us for WHO we are but we best work out at a gym daily, always wear make-up, never gain weight or get a line on our face because God designed men to be visually oriented, and men don’t want to date or marry ugly fatsos.

    You have to be Goldilocks and get everything JUST SO, or these guys will say you’re doing womanhood wrong.

    At least this guy is giving the same “speaking out of both sides of his mouth” advice to MEN. For once.

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  36. Daisy,

    Long ago I had a boyfriend who said the way to get a girlfriend to wash dishes was for the guy to “help” and to break one dish by accident. (I silently took that on board and never set foot in his kitchen.)

    I recently looked him up online and discovered he became a personal injury lawyer. Hmm… 😉

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  37. ishy: Likewise, I’ve had female friends in evangelicalism who didn’t get an education, had never worked, and never learned any sort of skills outside the home who were left destitute with the kids when their husbands left them for younger, prettier women.

    My grandfather was one who couldn’t cook at all (his farm wife managed the kitchen); when my Grandma died, my Aunt, who lived about 50 miles away, made him many home-made “TV dinners” and showed him how to use the microwave to heat them. Along with that, too many women (especially of older generation) left all the finances to their husbands, and were clueless how to manage money when widowed. All people should be educated in basic financial management and have info. about where their money is, etc.

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  38. Friend,

    Oh yeah, that’s a husband/ BF trope. They intentionally do a crummy job on laundry or whatever so the wife / GF feels compelled to do it.

    That trope has actually been used in TV Sit coms.
    I’m too old to fall for that.

    Still leaves an issue for men who are single, whether never married or widowed /divorced.

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  39. snip

    Women are happier without children or a spouse, says happiness expert.

    Behavioural scientist Paul Dolan says traditional markers of success no longer apply.

    We may have suspected it already, but now the science backs it up: unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers, according to a leading expert in happiness.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/25/women-happier-without-children-or-a-spouse-happiness-expert

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  40. dee: Chuck: I may get some push back but here it goes, why do women put up with this crap?

    Abusive men are known for their ability to find a woman who was raised to be submissive.

    Just from personal experience, too, they often pretend to be the nicest guy ever until they think you can’t leave…

    Also from personal experience, you can and should leave an abusive relationship, no matter how far the relationship has gone.

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  41. Shane Anderson: but just to say that Michael is a gentle father, you’ve misunderstood his point, and that we are not in any way abusers or supporters of abuse or those who want it covered up.

    Thank you for your comment. However, any man who says to spank their kids *hard* is not *gentle* with his kids and should be reproted to the authorities. Why should I believe what you say and not what he said? Those boys are little and I am very concerned.

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  42. JDV: Were those put on KP duty and cleaning the latrines checking their manliness at the door?

    My kids and I are listening to an audio book about a World War II tank crewman. At one point, the man was threatened with KP because he had broken a rule, and the narrator said that KP duty was supposed to make a soldier feel less manly. However, the tank crewman said that he would love three days of KP: it would be like a vacation, compared to being gunner in his company’s lead tank, and he probably wouldn’t die!

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  43. ishy: I don’t think being married is much of an excuse, either. My parents were not Christians but still big on marriage roles. When my mom passed away, my dad still had one child living at home (not me) and he didn’t really know how to do much of anything beside go to work and yardwork. I was college, but I remember teaching him how to work the washing machine, dishwasher, and how to cook several meals and read recipes.

    Likewise, I’ve had female friends in evangelicalism who didn’t get an education, had never worked, and never learned any sort of skills outside the home who were left destitute with the kids when their husbands left them for younger, prettier women.

    I think everybody should have basic life skills and at least one marketable skill.

    Amen to that – it’s all *skills*. Everybody should know how to do the basic things that make life work. And people need to be able to support themselves if it comes to that, because you never know when your husband or wife might turn out to be horrible, or decide to start smoking crack, or get hit by a bus.

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  44. JDV:
    So much from that guy’s post calls for comment, but let’s look at the doing dishes part. When men are bachelors, are they supposed to eschew doing their own dishes, washing their own clothes, cleaning their living quarters, and so forth? What about those men whose single lifestyles — comporting with Paul’s comments of the benefits therein for certain situations — do not allow for a woman to sweep and literally assume those duties?

    Taking this train of logic (sic) further, in World War II when it was largely up to men to do all the cooking and cleaning duties, was there a slip and fall in “manly man“ quotient because of this? Were those put on KP duty and cleaning the latrines checking their manliness at the door? Conversely, were women forced to engage in work outside of the house in order to have an income more like gleaner Ruth or automatically, categorically, and irrevocably like Jezebel?

    Well, see, when women aren’t around, it’s just work. But if women *are* around, then it magically transforms into women’s work.

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  45. I am disgusted by Shane Anderson’s post on this comment thread:

    “ Hi Dee— for any differences we’ve had through the years as I’ve followed your posts, they do not involve abhorring abuse or mistreatment of people. There we’re entirely agreed, and I’ve spent much of my life in various ways working to protect people. For me, the differences with Aimee Byrd et al. are theological. And I’m not a covert leader at Providence. The public controversy hurt our church deeply, so I took my name off the website. And I stepped down from our session in order to bring peace. I am currently facing charges from Byrd’s session and plan to face those with the Lord’s help. I’m not writing here to gain friends or fans, but just to say that Michael is a gentle father, you’ve misunderstood his point, and that we are not in any way abusers or supporters of abuse or those who want it covered up”

    This is just like a narcissist. “Poor me. Everybody has just misunderstood me. Everybody should ignore all those toxic abusive things I said and did and just believe me when I say I’m not a toxic abuser. Look at all the suffering I’m going through because of Aimee Byrd.”

    Hey Shane, how about you take a line from the Scripture you pretend to love so much and CONFESS YOUR SIN? Oh, and I dunno, expressions of repentance might be nice- like the complete shutting down of the Geneva Commons group, both public and personal apologies to all the women you mocked, objectified, and treated with contempt, and then a voluntary and permanent resignation from any and all church leadership positions since you have proven yourself so vastly unfit to lead.

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  46. Shane Anderson,

    “I’m not writing here to gain friends or fans, but just to say that Michael is a gentle father, you’ve misunderstood his point, and that we are not in any way abusers or supporters of abuse or those who want it covered up.”
    +++++++++++++++

    hello, shane.

    you can say that. and it may be true in your minds. however, it doesn’t comport with his words. the lack of awareness on the potential impact on others is breathtaking.

    michael spangler wears the spiritual leader hat. as such, his words carry weight and influence over others.

    he is extremely irresponsible.

    he is not sharing thoughts or suggestions. he is declaring that effeminate men are consigned to hell. if that weren’t enough fear-mongering, he tosses in “we should fear even the slightest whiff of it”.

    he stokes deep male insecurities, and makes a salvation issue out of it.

    in his audience there are bound to be those who are highly impressionable.

    how far will someone take “hit [a child] hard”, or else you are not saved, let alone even a man?

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  47. Max: Beware of preachers who preach aggressively against certain sins … could be they are living them.Remember Ted Haggard?

    Explainable as self-medicating in secret.
    Like Rush Limbaugh, number-one fanboy of the War on Drugs while dealing in secret with an Oxycontin addiction.
    Like the old joke about psychiatrists are seriously crazy and become shrinks so they can treat themselves without anyone ever finding out.

    And when you look at it from the outside, Christians are completely Obsessed with Homosexuality in general. Like how the Ku Klux Klan were completely obsessed with “White Womanhood”.

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  48. ishy: Just from personal experience, too, they often pretend to be the nicest guy ever until they think you can’t leave…

    “For Satan himself can transform himself to appear as an Angel of Light.”
    — some Rabbi from Tarsus, on how successful sociopaths are masters of camouflage

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  49. JDV: When men are bachelors, are they supposed to eschew doing their own dishes, washing their own clothes, cleaning their living quarters, and so forth?

    “Who needs a toilet? That pile of old rags in the hallway works just fine.”
    — Aqua Teen Hunger Force

    (And I’ve heard stories about RL guys who WERE that far gone.)

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  50. Chuck: What if a wife said this is crazy and abusive and I am not going period and by the way , no lovemaking till we leave.

    This post seems to be saying that women can and should manipulate men by using sex as a reward or punishment, just as if they were training dogs using bacon treats. I think this idea is just as misogynistic, misanthropic, and generally anti-human as Rev. Spangler’s whole screed.

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  51. Cynthia W.: This post seems to be saying that women can and should manipulate men by using sex as a reward or punishment, just as if they were training dogs using bacon treats.

    i.e. Trains women to control indirectly, like a Sweet Smiling Sociopath.
    Commonly called “psychological abuse”.
    As a guy, I can think of so many ways this can backfire, none of them good.
    As a guy, my first thought is “Self-Defense Male Supremacy” with a variety of justifications.

    Think of what this teaches the young man growing up in such a milieu. The LOW opinion of women this breeds. Watching the Sweet Smiling Sociopath manipulating hubby like a puppet and resolving this will NEVER happen to me. Where the only way to be safe from this Jezebel with Benefits is to keep your boot stamping on her face and Never, Ever let up. Only when she is kept in her place by any means necessary will a man be safe.

    (Aside: Can you imagine the tragedy of a man who genuinely wants companionship but feels he has to keep her in her place? From cultural normality and/or peer pressure? So he spends all his time keeping his boot on her neck to protect himself, all the time longing for someone to connect with and become “one flesh”.)

    Think of the preacher-man in the pulpit (“ME MAN! RAWR!”) who dares not lift a pinky against She Who Must Be Obeyed (In Secret). Like serial killer Edmund Kemper (who dared not lift a pinky against his hellishly abusive Mommy Dear), he’s going to take it out on anything with a slot and XX chromosomes. BIBLICAL MANHOOD! GOD SAITH! RAWR! And being a preacher-man speaking for God Himself, what sort of Authority and Influence will he have?

    It’s not just women who get damaged/destroyed inside by this sort of crap. It’s a back-and-forth synergy bringing out and cultivating the Dark Side of both, like a “Bitch and Nag married to a Drunk and Proud Of It” living unhappily ever after.

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  52. Shane Anderson,

    Just because you have only seen a father be gentle in public with his children does not mean he isn’t a tyrant with them privately at home. My father was the most charming man … in public. Everybody loved that guy. With them he was well behaved and he was ethical at work.. But at home he was mean and manipulated his wife and is kids with his anger. I’m fortunate he wasn’t into spanking hard. Also fortunate he wasn’t a Christian so he couldn’t destroy our sense of self-worth by combining verbal abuse with notions about God.

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  53. Fisher: Just because you have only seen a father be gentle in public with his children does not mean he isn’t a tyrant with them privately at home.

    Honestly, I think Shane’s post just proves he’s not credible. We have someone’s own words that people should hurt their kids and that you aren’t saved if you are not doing that, along with a bunch of other terrible, abusive things

    This feels like the lies I was fed at SEBTS and at church by people who wanted absolute control and had no problem lying to get it.

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  54. Awhile ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a blog pointing out where Christian leaders changed their message completely and highlighting that it often depended on how much control they thought they had over their audience and communication mode. For example, how TGC will say certain things on their blog and delete comments off their Facebook page, but then when asked on another platform, have a totally different response.

    There was plenty of material. I collected a good bit of it. Sure, sometimes people change their minds and grow out of beliefs, but that didn’t appear to be the case with most of them. The problem with starting the blog was that there was so much that I was discouraged by it and didn’t think it was the healthiest thing for me.

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  55. ishy: Christian leaders changed their message completely … often depended on how much control they thought they had over their audience and communication mode

    I call it the “Hybels’ Model” = tell me which way you want to go and I’ll get out in front to lead. Charlatans test the water with their audience on method and message and adjust as needed to keep the nickels and noses coming. In the end, it’s all about control and manipulation of the pew to feed the pulpit well.

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  56. Michael Spangler and his clown show demonstrate the worst of pathological patriarchy. This is a man who is so insecure in himself that it would be laughable if you didn’t suspect what was going on behind closed doors.

    The whole screed screams “I’m losing control!”. I feel bad for his family, this won’t end well.

    As far as OPC is concerned, it’s not a faith community I would consider being part of. With only 35000 members in North America – that’s tiny compared to the entire “christian” mosaic. They’ll be on the ropes soon enough – nobody is signing on to this nuttiness.

    Feel bad for those raised in this culture – just bad voodoo all around.

    When I OPC I think of “Omni Products Corporation” from Robocop.

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  57. Friend: Will you please quote the relevant passage?

    I’m confused. Cynthia *literally* quoted Chuck’s post which said, “What if a wife said this is crazy and abusive and I am not going period and by the way , no lovemaking till we leave.” – and then Cynthia points out that this is using sex as a reward or punishment – and you ask for a quotation of the relevant passage?

    Is there something more that’s required? Seems like she laid it out very clearly. And I agree, it’s a bad toxic idea to view sex as something that a woman gives to her partner as a treat, in order to get him to do things.

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  58. Wild Honey: “Clothes that are too tight, too loose, too colorful, too eye-catching, too trendy, too casual, too formal.” Given the recent posts on Carl Lentz, perhaps Mr. Spangler should consider including “too absent” in this list.

    Well, let’s see, I’m wearing a red shirt today (too eye catching), it’s got a collar (too formal), wearing jeans (too casual), Tommy Hilfiger and Levis (too trendy), I have been eating too many donuts lately (little tight round the middle), not hitting the gym as much (little loose round the shoulders). Sounds like a real Christian man needs to be naked! No doubt all that holy testosterone will ensure sufficient hairiness!

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  59. Jack,

    Just seeing all Spanglers demands for being a “real man” – this would drive a person insane trying to jump through all these hoops- you start to see how toxic this culture is. It appears to have taken a few fries from Spangler’s Happy Meal.

    Kids (both male and female) raised like this are going to be so psychologically damaged.

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  60. Rich,

    Hi Rich , concerning sex , I would expect if things were going badly between my wife and I ie.continuing to go to a church that I believe is toxic and that she was unhappy , then our relationship would not be healthy. I believe that sex is not a “ treat” but an indication of closeness and intimacy, a woman or man who IMHO makes love when there is a serious disconnect in their relationship is “ servicing” their partner and as much as I enjoy lovemaking, I would hate to think my partner was not into it. I know the scripture but I think it would pertain to cases where the partner might be tired or not have the desire at that time to go ahead and pleasure their partner. Ladies, step in here do you agree or disagree with what I said above, always open to learning.

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  61. Rich: Is there something more that’s required?

    Yes, a distinction between “post” and “comment.” I read Cynthia’s comment as possibly referring to the original post, not to Chuck’s comment.

    At any rate, Chuck is provocatively asking what would happen if women resisted the suffocating levels of submission required by some churches. Specifically, women are trained and ordered to be sexually available to their husbands even if they are in physical pain or the man is abusive. A lot of wives suffer silently in churches that preach these toxic, extra-Biblical messages. A lot of wives suffer in bed.

    Challenging abuse in a marriage or at church is not like training a dog with bacon treats.

    The comparison erases suffering.

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  62. Cynthia W.,
    Cynthia , I saw your posting, say I was a complete jerk to you, ignored your reasonable requests repeatedly, didn’t take your concerns seriously and
    that night made overtures for romance, what then?
    Would to be okay to look at me and rebuff my advances or give in? I think open and honest communication would be the healthiest and most honest. Making love to me while fuming or being hurt accomplished nothing but making you feel some emotion on the inside , anger, disgust or shame. I don’t mean to imply that a person does this all the time for any hurt but a persistent refusal to discuss a serious issue that is painful or upsetting to a partner. It is a matter of respect , why should give participate in one of the most intimate acts between a couple when I really don’t care about what’s going on with you. Make love, roll over and go to sleep and my life’s good while you lay awake and are upset. Doesn’t sound healthy to me nor biblical, it’s the height of selfishness on my part.

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  63. I was thinking further about Cynthia’s comment and maybe I did a poor job getting my point across.
    Say Cynthia I was your husband and you have repeatedly expressed that our church is not a healthy place for you and our family and I repeatedly ignore your concerns ( I am the patriarch right) or brush them off repeatedly and you feel hurt and belittled and later that night I indicate I want some lovemaking. Would it be wrong for you to refuse me till I have heard your request and am willing to openly discuss it with you? If you decide to go ahead with the romance what have you accomplished? At the end , my needs are met , I roll over and go off to sleep and my day has been good while you lay awake fuming, angry and hurt. That cannot be healthy and not biblical. I am not talking about this being done because I failed to take the trash out but for the times that there is a big disconnect in our relationship. Hope this puts it in a better perspective. My phone erased the last message so this could be a duplicate of something I said earlier.

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  64. Dee: The church sounds rather depressing to me

    I hate to keep dragging New Calvinism into these pieces, but the SBC-YRR church plants I have attended in my area (to see what makes them tick) are characterized by women and children in obvious bondage … you can see the oppression on their countenance. While the dudebros are giving each other high-fives and bumping fists, their families sit in quiet sad submission … depressing indeed. The beauty of complementarity is an ugly thing.

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  65. Friend,

    Sorry about that. I didn’t realize I’d missed a key distinction between “Post” and “Comment.” Sometimes the conventions are “Article” and “Post,” for instance.

    That aside, I want to make it clear that I wasn’t saying Chuck, the person writing the comment, is misogynist or anything. I was talking about the idea that women should use sex as a reward or punishment and that men will, in fact, be trained by that means. That is all.

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  66. Cynthia W.,

    Thank you so much. I don’t know if it’s a key distinction, but it did trip me up.

    I am sorry for whatever misfortune you went through.

    You’re really deepening the conversation. What can a woman do when everyone in her life tells her to submit no matter what? Some women would probably consider a seemingly simple answer, like saying no. Others would try to initiate a conversation. Many now retreat into depression, alas.

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  67. Friend: What can a woman do when everyone in her life tells her to submit no matter what? Some women would probably consider a seemingly simple answer, like saying no. Others would try to initiate a conversation. Many now retreat into depression, alas.

    It’s far beyond people telling her to submit. Often women in these situations have no or little education, no work experience, no money or resources of their own, and their husbands have all of those things. Men are usually bigger and stronger. Her family might be more supportive of her husband than her and refuse to help her leave the situation. She might have signed a covenant that she can only do mediation with the church’s mediator for her marriage. There’s usually a huge power imbalance and even saying “No” once could mean months of severe financial, emotional, or physical abuse of not just her, but also their kids.

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  68. Friend,

    Thank you for the kind words. I think there are a couple of lines of reflection suggested. One is about, “What is a man?” Is he defined by Rev. Spangler’s set of criteria? Is he a being defined by his genital appetite, by which he can be controlled? Is he a rational being with a wide variety of drives and capabilities? Is “he” as a male human so distinct from female humans that there are no reasonable expectations that apply to both?

    A related question is, “What are a woman’s options?” when a man may have an enormous amount of control over her, especially if he defines himself as a man based on his control of her? I don’t think there are easy answers.

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  69. ishy: It’s far beyond people telling her to submit. Often women in these situations have no or little education, no work experience, no money or resources of their own, and their husbands have all of those things. Men are usually bigger and stronger. Her family might be more supportive of her husband than her and refuse to help her leave the situation. She might have signed a covenant that she can only do mediation with the church’s mediator for her marriage. There’s usually a huge power imbalance and even saying “No” once could mean months of severe financial, emotional, or physical abuse of not just her, but also their kids.

    Yes, this happened to one of my daughters. She told her husband he was being too harsh to the children and he told her was being disrespectful to him. He didn’t talk to her or give her any money for two years.

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  70. Thanks Cynthia for your kind words, yes many women have very little resources to walk away and are trapped, either emotionally, physically or financially.
    I guess what sorta frustrates me is how as Christians, we are told not to let the world conform us, to be wise and make good decisions and yet there, right in our midst is a church system or tradition that says women can’t lead or teach in the church. Everyone else could , including slaves
    but women are forbidden based on a couple of questionable verses. As a nurse I have always worked for female managers and found most to do a good job. Women leaders have down through the ages done excellent jobs throughout history. I loved Margaret Thatcher and there was Queen Victoria and the present Prime Minister of New Zealand who won re-election by a large margin. My fiancé manages 60 employees and also a budget of 4.5 million dollars, why wouldn’t I let her run the household budget and let her wisdom dictate major financial decisions. But, Mr Spangler and other leaders would say that the final financial decisions would rest with me. Doesn’t make sense to me. I used to be one of those guys sort of like Mr. Spangler but Spangler lite I guess. It is when I read an article by Rachel Held Evans ( of all people) that said why it was wrong to deny women the right to lead using biblical verses that the light went on. By the way, can anyone find that article? I have looked on her website and can’t seem to find it. I would love to have it to give to my friends. We talk about women advancing in every sphere but the church and it just doesn’t seem to make sense when we are “all one in Christ.”

    I was brainwashed for a long time, I remember going to the bookstore and not choosing any theology books written by women, no matter how smart they were because women couldn’t be leaders so what would k ow about theology? Crazy thinking is it.

    One last thing and that was several years ago we hosted a elderly woman missionary who had spent her life on the mission field, single. Listening to her life stories were incredible to say the least, she went to dangerous places, brought people to Jesus of all genders often working alone and yet
    she would not be qualified to lead a church or teach men? Her experience was invaluable to all.

    I guess I wish more women would speak up in churches and make a good case for female leadership, the worse they could do is kick you out and would that be a bad thing? I disagreed with a lot of Rachel Held Evans views but boy could pinpoint hypocrisy in the church and so often she was right on, I didn’t appreciate her voice till she had passed away, I sure miss her wit and wisdom now.

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  71. Leslie: Yes, this happened to one of my daughters. She told her husband he was being too harsh to the children and he told her was being disrespectful to him. He didn’t talk to her or give her any money for two years.

    Ouch, painful (and wrong!). I hope she was able to dump the guy, though I realize it’s not that simple.

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  72. Rich: Is there something more that’s required? Seems like she laid it out very clearly. And I agree, it’s a bad toxic idea to view sex as something that a woman gives to her partner as a treat, in order to get him to do things.

    I could never understand this mercenary view of sex outside the oldest profession (prostitution) known to humankind.
    Bob does this (or doesn’t do that) so that he can ‘get’ sex from Belinda. Belinda doesn’t really like sex, but she knows that by using it, she can play Bob like a Stradivarius.
    If this tired old dynamic originated at the Fall, it’s no wonder they sewed fig leaves together.

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  73. Rich: I agree, it’s a bad toxic idea to view sex as something that a woman gives to her partner as a treat, in order to get him to do things.

    Yes… but there’s another side to this coin. It is also a toxic idea to view sex as something that a woman gives to her partner out of duty or fear, in spite of him being belittling, disrespectful, or harsh, or in order to get the belittling/disrespect/anger to stop. Neither views are healthy, and the church should be speaking out about both.

    (Not trying to say you follow the second idea; just that it’s also worth noting.)

    (It’s also worth noting that this dynamic can go for either gender, though more common one way than the other.)

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  74. Jack: As far as OPC is concerned, it’s not a faith community I would consider being part of. With only 35000 members in North America – that’s tiny compared to the entire “christian” mosaic.

    But to OPC, THEY are the ONLY True Church, Founded by Jesus in 33 AD; All Other So-Called “Churches” are Satan’s Apostate False Churches.

    (My writing partner has shown me a KJV1611-ONLY church in his area — a DOZEN strong, the youngest in their 70s — with the same attitude.)

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  75. Leslie: Yes, this happened to one of my daughters.She told her husband he was being too harsh to the children and he told her was being disrespectful to him.He didn’t talk to her or give her any money for two years.

    What a Manly Example of Biblical Manhood(TM), awash in his Sacred Testosterone.

    (Again, the first time I heard the word “Hypermasculinity” was in a reprint of a 1943 OSS psychological profile of one A.Hitler. If he’s the type example of the Hypermasculine Alpha Male, that should tell you something.)

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  76. Wild Honey: Yes… but there’s another side to this coin. It is also a toxic idea to view sex as something that a woman gives to her partner out of duty or fear, in spite of him being belittling, disrespectful, or harsh, or in order to get the belittling/disrespect/anger to stop

    I’ve been hit with the third side of that coin.
    What if you want Companionship, but the only thing you can find is Sex?

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  77. Chuck,

    I agree, Chuck. I have read of churches such as the OPC with a remarkable array of restrictions on women’s participation, all “Biblical” of course.

    I’m a Catholic. While the Catholic Church ordains only men as deacons, priests, and bishops, in most countries, women participate as equals with lay men in every area. In my own parish, the business/technology manager is a woman, as well as the immediately past chair of the parish council, the leader of Spanish congregation’s coordinating committee, almost all the religious education teachers, and key members of every ministry group.

    Authority, such as it is, is either positional – the music director has authority to approve or disapprove any music used, although he really just assumes everything is fine – or qualifications-based – the finance committee co-chairs are CPAs. It’s not because they’re men.

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  78. Leslie,

    “Yes, this happened to one of my daughters. She told her husband he was being too harsh to the children and he told her was being disrespectful to him. He didn’t talk to her or give her any money for two years.”
    +++++++++++

    how difficult. how did you handle this, as her mom?

    my brother-in-law is the rudest human being on earth, sometimes ridiculously cruel. it’s been hard for my parents. (my sister doesn’t mind, doesn’t notice…. sigh)

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  79. Muff Potter: Bob does this (or doesn’t do that) so that he can ‘get’ sex from Belinda. Belinda doesn’t really like sex, but she knows that by using it, she can play Bob like a Stradivarius.

    And it turns into “Who Can Out-Manipulate The Other”.
    AKA “A Give-and-Take Relationship — You Give, I Take”. Both ways at once.

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  80. Headless Unicorn Guy: I’ve been hit with the third side of that coin.
    What if you want Companionship, but the only thing you can find is Sex?

    That’s really hard, too. I’m sorry.

    I think if evangelical culture in general could be more accepting of male and female platonic relationships, that would go toward healing a lot of hurts. If that rabbi from Tarsus you’re fond of quoting could not only condone but actually recommend singleness and at the same time praise a number of women as his “co-laborers,” I think it’s worth evangelicals taking a second look at.

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  81. Wild Honey: I think if evangelical culture in general could be more accepting of male and female platonic relationships

    Society as a whole, not just the evangelical subculture, has a problem with any kind of close, non-sexual relationships between adults who aren’t close relatives. Not only can a man and a woman not be good friends without the pressure (and societal expectation) of sex, neither can two men or two women. It is simply assumed that sexual use is the highest expression of love … as opposed to a bodily function unrelated to real love.

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  82. Max: Indeed, in the contemporary “church”, they are unthinking pawns of the counterfeit pulpit

    No need for Christianese terminology, Max:
    Their Obsession makes then stupid and easily manipulated. In general.

    And these pulpiteers are masters of “Shining the Stupid Ray on them”.
    Like “Mass Charm Person as spell-like special ability” in a D&D monster.

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  83. elastigirl,

    We watched the long decline.said nothing for a few years . Then gently began talking to both of them. After we were given a letter that one of the kids wrote saying she and some of her siblings were suicidal we encouraged her to leave him. It took her 6 years to realize to get over the false teachings of their church and Bill Gothard. She left him 13 months ago.The divorce will be final next month. He did not take kindly to it and is doing everything he can to make her life miserable. We gave her the emotional support we could.and what financial support we could. In the end it was her waking up and realizing that what was going on was abuse.

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  84. Leslie: In the end it was her waking up and realizing that what was going on was abuse.

    It’s both maddening and sad that the Bible can be used to manufacture all manner of cruelty and systems of abuse.
    It’s way worse for those who languish under those kinds of systems, believing all the while that it’s God’s will.

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  85. Friend: Specifically, women are trained and ordered to be sexually available to their husbands even if they are in physical pain or the man is abusive.

    Like CeeJay Mahaney forcing himself on his submissive wifey while she’s puking her guts from morning sickness (chuckle chuckle)?

    You know where the woman is always available to service the urrrges in the man’s arrreas 24/7 no matter what?
    In PORNOGRAPHY.

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  86. Jack: The whole screed screams “I’m losing control!”. I feel bad for his family, this won’t end well.

    “It’s astounding…
    Time is.. fleeting…
    Madness… takes its toll….
    But listen closely…
    Not for very much longer…
    I’ve got to… KEEP CONTROL…”
    — Spengler or Riff Raff from Rocky Horror Picture Show?

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