“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
― C.S. Lewis link
Today, we are featuring a guest post by Tim Fall. (We have added him to our blog links.) Tim blogs at Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another.
Tim is a California native who changed his major three times, colleges four times, and took six years to get a Bachelor’s degree in a subject he’s never been called on to use professionally. Married for over 27 years with two kids (both graduated – woohoo!) his family is constant evidence of God’s abundant blessings in his life. He and his wife live in Northern California. He blogs, and is on Twitter and Facebook too. Tim does not normally talk about himself in the third person.
Recently, I read a disturbing story of a courtship which involved a 13 year old child and a 20 something Baylor "ministerial graduate," Child Marriage and the Rest of the Maranatha Story. You need to read it to believe it. The story is well known and even emulated in certain homeschooling circles. Marantha's father, Stan Owen, described as a "spiritual mentor," to the Baylor graduate, approved of this relationship and controlled it until she eventually married him at the ripe age of 15. No one seemed to question why a guy in his 20s got the hots for a 13 year old girl. (Read the account.) No one raised the specter of potential pedophile tendencies. Nope. It was accepted because "dear daddy" was such a leader.
As you read Tim's account, think about that story. Owen Strachan is a professor of theology and church history at Boyce College and executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. In Strachan's world, Maranatha's marriage would fit right into his paradigm because Dad "the patriarch" is calling the shots. It is important to understand that The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is rather enamored of Duck Dynasty. Strachan's CBMW advocates for young marriages link. How young? He doesn't say but he did not repudiate Phil Robertson's view which received widespread criticism by both Christians and those outside the faith.
Owen Strachan's "Dateship" – an idea whose time will never come
What do you get when you take the best of courtship and add it to the best of dating?
Owen Strachan says dateship is the answer to the problems men and women face in trying to get married. He starts by describing how easy it used to be in the old days.
Things used to be relatively simple: You got to know someone, went out several times under close parental supervision (with Dad eyeing a young suitor warily), and if things clicked, you ended up getting married, eventually.
He next describes the problems women and men face today, and blames these problems on – among other things – the divorce rate and the lack of strong father figures in the home.
Many families have been ravaged by divorce. In many families, there isn't a father figure in the picture, and — furthermore — divorce leaves children skeptical and hurt.
While he used the phrase "father figure", it's clear what he really means is the lack of a literal father who can eye the young suitor as he put it in the previous excerpt.
Next he describes some of the benefits of dating (not many, in his opinion) and the benefits of courtship (a "vastly better system than dating", as he put it), and takes the best from each to create dateship.
It ends up looking a lot like courtship.
1. He calls the first step "Interested Friendship"
He suggests things like going for coffee, playing Frisbee with friends, and listening to a sermon together and discussing it.
2. His next step is "Purposeful Dating".
If the first date goes well, the man asks the woman's father (or father figure) if it's OK to go on a few more dates. If yes, then you do.
So in Mr. Strachan's plan, after the first date the man asks the woman's father for permission to go on a second date and if the father says no then that's the end of the relationship. This mean the father tells the daughter which man she can and can't spend time with. This step sounds so much like courtship that I would change the title of it to "Purposeful Courtship".
3. Next comes "Serious Courtship".
The title alone strongly suggests that the previous step was actually a less serious type of courtship, not merely purposeful dating. The burden is on the man to decide whether the relationship should continue.
If he decides to take the plunge, then he approaches the woman's father (or a father figure) and asks for his permission to "court" her. If he gets permission, then he takes the woman out and asks her if she will court him. If she says yes, then they enter into a time of seriously considering whether they should marry … .
4. Which leads to the fourth step, "The Big Ask".
If things continue to click, then the man asks the woman's father (or father figure) for permission to marry her. If that is given, then he asks the woman to marry him. If she says yes, then they get engaged and then married.
One thing I noticed about these steps is that, except for the first one where the woman can decide all on her own whether to have coffee with a man, all the decision making is initiated by the man and confirmed by the woman's father before the woman is given any role in the direction the relationship will take next.
- First date goes well? The man asks the father for a second date with his daughter.
- Next step goes well? The man asks the father for permission to court his daughter.
- That step goes well? The man asks the father for permission to marry his daughter.
In all these steps the man and the father work things out between themselves, and then the woman is asked if she'll go along with it. Can you imagine what would happen if the father said yes and his daughter said no? How dare she doubt her father's wisdom in deciding that this man was right for her?
And of course if the father ever says no to the man, the woman is completely shut off from exercising her own wisdom in deciding whether to continue dating the man anyway.
Mr. Strachan fails to see that his system is completely unworkable for many families. His rules presuppose the presence of a father or father figure. Many families don't have one, through no fault of the mother and certainly through no fault of the children.
Also, Mr. Strachan never mentions the age of the people involved. Does he envision this system applying only to young men and women who are attracted to one another? I am trying to imagine dateship carried out between a woman and man in their forties.
"Sir, your daughter and I had coffee together and now I'd like to take her to dinner."
"What do you do for a living?"
"I'm CEO of a Fortune 500 company."
"All right, you can take her out this weekend. I'll tell her to cancel her trip to Europe as head of the U.S. delegation to the economic summit."
But the worst part is that his list of rules (he calls them "principles") for dateship are not based on any Scriptural guidance for how people develop relationships that might lead to marriage. He admits this when he says "The Bible does not prescribe any one direct path to marriage", but this statement is misleading.
The Bible doesn't prescribe any path to marriage.
He tries to cover this up by pointing to three passages he says will guide people in building relationships. The problem with the passages he relies on are that one speaks of people who are already married, another has nothing to do with marriage and can apply to any type of relationship, and the third is clearly based on Neolithic/bronze age tribal patriarchy.
And that's the problem with these types of systems. To borrow a metaphor from Mark 2:22, Mr. Strachan is pouring old wine into new wineskins and that leads to nothing but a big mess.
Lydia's Corner: Zechariah 14:1-21 Revelation 20:1-15 Psalm 148:1-14 Proverbs 31:8-9
Thanks for hosting me here at TWW, Dee and Deb!
Love the name of your website! Thanks for allowing us to feature your excellent work.
The blog’s name is somewhat autobiographical and self-descriptive, as you might imagine!
My daughter and I happened to read the Maranatha Owen story this weekend. It actually talks about how, once they were engaged (she was 14? at that point), they were allowed to begin sharing their hearts and building on a years-long relationship as brother and sister in Christ. They language used definitely implied that the “relationship” had had romantic overtones since the earliest days.
Maranatha was 10 when they met.
This system has actually worked well for centuries in Afghanistan.
“worked well” meaning for the father and prospective husband.
Thanks, Tim–makes me glad that I married an 'older' woman (while in my late 20's). We did not have a daughter but cannot imagine how creepy I would feel if a 20-something male expressed interest in a daughter that young.
Did the relationship work out?
It’s all just so creepy. Would they feel the same if a 20 yr old woman was interested in a 13yr old boy…or would it have to be the 13yr old approaching the older woman.
Where does female consent come in? Where is the time for the kind of unstructured relating- rather than prescribed steps – that will let a couple know if they have enough in common to really want to think about marriage. It’s so mechanical rather than human.
I’m betting that Mr. Strachan would say unstructured relating is not found in the Bible. Neither is dateship, of course, but the inconsistency might be lost on him.
Excellent post, Tim, and I’m glad Deb and Dee have hosted it. 🙂
As to Strachan’s view that marriage is not happening because of a lack of a father in the home or whatever.
What a crock. I came from a very traditional home. I have a father. My mother was a traditional, Christian lady, and having this 1950s CBMW-approved type of nuclear family did not help me to marry. I’m still single past 40.
What, no ping pong or Jenga on the list?
Anyway, that’s all funny because a large amount of other conservative (evangelical) Christian commentary about how to date or how the genders should get along, warn men to stay away from women, even from giving them a car ride home alone, or meeting them for a cup of coffee.
Because car trips and coffee dates always end in sex! I am always seeing couples performing coitus at Star Bucks, how about the rest of you? 🙄
I can just imagine how scandalous those Christians would find it for a man and woman to *gasp* play frisbee together!!
But seriously, yeah, a lot of Christian teaching on men, women, and dating boils down to this view: women are a temptation, men cannot control themselves, and all women are hot for men and will give it up, so men should flee from them or avoid.
Counter me if you wish anyone, but seems to me most husbands/fathers I’ve met, known, seen post online, and my own father, were not interested in parenting, so I fail to see how his idea there would work.
My mother did all the parenting. My dad would not have taken the time or been interested in interviewing any potential boyfriends I brought by, had I had any (in my teens).
I just do not see many American fathers getting all that involved with their kid’s dating life. Most dads want to lean back in their recliner, crack open another beer, and watch football, not keep tabs on who their daughter is dating.
Under the #3 part. So the woman’s wishes and what she wants is of no consequence?
Had any guy asked my father for my dad’s permission to pursue me / date me, my dad would have found that pretty weird, and my dad is a pretty traditional guy… But even my father would find this stuffy excessive and nutty.
True. There was a prophet in the Old Testament whom God commanded to marry a literal prostitute, and she cheat on the guy constantly. At least I think that’s how the story went.
To make stuff like this up and claim it’s ‘biblical’ is blasphemy! The CBMW and FIC crowd want to take us back centuries to the ‘good ole days’ when men were men and women (and girls) were chattels. Seriously, how can anyone read the Maranatha Owen story and not be creeped out?
So where does mutual love enter into this ‘courtship’ thing? In the stuff I’ve read by this rabble the word barely comes up. I always thought that was supposed to be the fundamental element to a marriage. Silly me.
You mean like the kids who are married off to old guys in various parts of the world? Do those "work out?" Define "work out". Do girls feel they have no out when they marry at 15? This is abusive in my book. Plus, the hubby has some major issues starting off in the marriage as well. Weird weird, weird.
I can’t get past the girl’s name: “Maranatha” Who names their child that?!!!
That is so bad. We have to save young adolescent females from themselves until they at least get an ounce of sense for a start. When I was in the seventh grade ( 13?? ) I had the biggest ole crush on one of the teachers. Maybe you all never did, but what can I say. Anyhow, nothing bad happened, but I, at 13, was just nutzo. Then at 18 I met “the love of my life” and would have run off to california given the chance. But we were both hoping to go to med school, so nothing came of it. But at 18 I was still nutzo.
I just know somewhere the bible says that God made men and women and children, but the devil made adolescence. If anybody can give me chapter and verse on that I would appreciate it.
“Dateship” sounds terribly sci-fi. Out of this world alright.
Seneca asks, ‘did it work out’. Well, my grandparents had a numerically successful marriage – racked the years up well and truly. But after they had passed and I found the one diary that hadn’t been successfully disposed of, I discovered it was not a happy marriage at all. So in answer I would say, ‘no it didn’t work out’, despite divorce never entering the equation.
Former CLC’er wrote:
Exactly. I had to read it twice because I assumed the “Maranatha” part had something to do with Maranatha Ministries (i.e., the Maranatha/Owen story). But then I remembered certain, uh, “tendencies” among said crowd. Increase Mather, anyone? . . . oh, wait, I’m sorry, I meant his brother, Stimulus Mather.
Seneca asked did it work out? Compared to what? How does anybody ever know about any number of things in life without knowing what (ed.) life would have been "if only." Only we can never know about "if only" so we just say "things are what they are. The rest of it is going to have to be God's problem."
“what” not “was”
As in, what would life have been like if I had learned to slow down and be more careful at the keyboard?
It seems that Strachan’s position doesn’t differ in any substantial way from the doctrine of “Biblical Betrothal” as practiced in more extreme parts of the Patriarchy Movement. I expect some here may have seen this study I did on that subject for Quivering Daughters a while back, but it perhaps bears repeating, if I may: http://ericpazdziora.com/the-bondage-of-betrothal/
An angry commenter and self-styled “betrothal advocate” on the original post of that argued that betrothal was of course biblical– “The Bible makes it clear, very clear”– because the Israelites in Judges 21 “gave their daughters in marriage” to the Benjaminites. Now go read Judges 21 and consider that there are people in the world who think the Benjaminite story is a godly model for marriage.
I don’t think Owen Strachan is old enough to have children who have gone through this “method.” Frankly, I think he should keep his thoughts to himself until he goes through that experience.
In any case, I see Strachan’s method as simply going back to the good old days where women were simply chattel property. No.Thanks.
@ senecagriggs yahoo:
So because one such relationship ‘worked out’ it’s to be a paradigm for all marriages? On the contrary, I’d say when a 26 year-old guy first expresses interest in a 13 year-old girl and marries her 2 years later, the overwhelming odds are that it’s more like pedophilia and the results will be rather ugly.
Sergius Martin-George wrote:
Don’t forget Wool Mather.
senecagriggs yahoo wrote:
How would she know?
And even if it does ‘work out’ (and I know one [creepy imo] case exactly like this with the marriage probably 15 years down the track now), at what stage does she find her voice, if at all?
ok, query by someone who is not American, which denomination or faith tradition are these guys associated with the most strongly? Is Boyce College and Baylor Baptist? Ignoramus here needs to know…
I’m really sorry that that’s the impression you’ve gotten. That is not at all reflective of my personal experience with my own father or generally what I’ve seen in the lives of many of my friends and family. Goodness knows there are some deadbeats but I don’t think it’s reasonable to extrapolate from them to say that fathers in general don’t care about raising their children.
Somewhat off-topic: Can anyone recommend a book or workbook for a couple to go through in pre-marital counseling? The one I’m using has a distinct complementarian slant and I am finding it (the slant) a bit annoying. (No, not something by MD)
I am sorry, there is something wrong with a 24-26 year old man being interested in a 13-14-15 year old girl….and there is something wrong with dad allowing them to date or whatever you want to call it.
Letting you daughter marry at this age without education, without a trade other than homemaker is child-abuse.
My son is 26, if I found out he was dating a 14 year old girl, I’d personally kick his rear….
It saddens me the anti-women approach it has. It is done with an iron fist. If you are a pastor or an SBC leader you will toe the party line or you are gone.
Boyce College is relatively new and is associated with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary ( Louisville KY) and is not only baptist but very baptist and conservative.
Baylor U. is much older, bigger and richer, is historically baptist (Texas) but has not been a hotbed of calvinism as far as I can determine. Texas style baptist-dom is complicated with more than one (how many?) associations and state conventions variously based somewhere on the liberal to fundamentalist scale. There are some Texans here who can explain it, but I can not.
Boyce is the undergraduate school at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary….
Baylor is a SBC university in Texas…..
Sad ain’t it….
Baylor has all kinds going there. It has been fairly moderate as of late in the SBC World, but there have been some really odd-balls come out of there….one of the biggest cults in East Texas is in Wells, TX and is lead by a young pastoral major from Baylor. ( the story on Wells can be found in Texas Monthly magazine.)
Just read the Maranatha story linked to above. That is just beyond wrong. It almost sounds like the people involved were racing to get the daughters good and married before they could gain any sort of perspective on life.
Former CLC’er wrote:
Actually, one of my classmates in seminary had that name.
I don’t know if I’d use the word “deadbeat” to characterize my father – he was a good provider, but he was not interested in the daily lives of his children.
I see that in a lot of other men, they kick back watching football while the mother (in between doing laundry and setting the table for dinner and other tasks) dotes on the children, helps the kids out, asks them how their day was, helps them with their homework, etc.
Yes, it does. And they passed the favor along to their daughter, Lauren, who was married “shortly after her 16th birthday – to another creeper in his 20s. When Mom Maranatha got married, Texas allowed marriage at 14 with parental permission. They’ve changed the law since then (2008?) to raise e age to 16.
In my mind, all of these formulas on how to date and mate correctly are simply a way of pretending you’ve got magical answers and for exerting control on young people. It’s a setup for failure in many cases.
The formulas don’t always work. You can do every step right and still marry someone who shouldn’t ever marry…anyone.
And once they have sex, the next thing you know they are going to want to… dance. OMG!
I agree that many people do what you've described, but a lot of guys are very involved in their kids' lives and take care of them from infancy onward. Two of the nicest young men (in their early 30s) that I've gotten to know through taking W. African percussion classes are, basically, househusbands w/young kids. (They also work from home.) Another acquaintance of mine feels that her husband is much more tuned in to their little girl than she is, if only because he makes care of her a lot… and because the two of them are on the same wavelength.
Please don't judge all men by the behavior of *some.*
@ numo: should read Takes care, not makes.
Ten???!!! I cannot write what I’m thinking at the moment, as Deebs would have to delete my comment.
As for that Phil Robertson video, oh how I wish his “hick daddy” act would just stop.right.now. I also wonder if he gets his “history” from David Barton.
numo, they don’t actually explain the age part, but based on their own timeline, and her husband’s age (both of which are in the story) he was 21 when he entered into a close mentoring relationship with the dad, making Maranatha 10 when they first starting spending time together within family time. They also clearly refer to him as their “spiritual son” many times. So in addition to the pedophilia, there’s an icky incesty-vibe as well.
The only reason to marry off a daughter at that age is control, pure and simple. A daughter who has been trained to obey her father from the very beginning, is now asked to transfer the same level of obedience to her much older husband. This scenario is ripe for abuse. The girl basically is dependent on her husband for everything, having no other skills but homemaking, which as I think most will agree is hard work, but does not bring in a paycheck. This whole scenario is wrong on so many levels, but this is what happens when you add extrabiblical laws to the bible. And lest I forget, we need to out breed the heathens!
Off topic here, thank you SO much for that quote from CS Lewis. I got on to the link. What a goldmine. I will be spending a lot of time reading, treasuring and posting his quotes. He has been my favorite Christian author for many years. There is so much wisdom and scripture in his writings.
Thank you again. Just what I needed today.
It already had an incest vibe, but what you’re saying – aaaggghhh!!!
‘dateship’ sounds absolutely bizarre . . . the whole extreme patriarchy thing is bizarre
young girls caught up in this don’t have a chance at a normal life or a higher education
and that ‘quiverfull’ cult is like connected up to this cultish practice
CBMW has some ‘splainin to do, and I wonder if they will own this mess or back-peddle
More specificially, are they still married? How long have they been married?
Interested in a 13 year old? Gross. Nauseating. Just . . ewwww.
As I used to tell the teenage girls in juvenile hall who had “boyfriends” 10-20 years older than they were, “He cannot possibly have your best interests at heart.”
I never said “all.” But I do stand by my impression that it is most – most American born, American raised men.
Most men I am familiar with, who I have known personally, or female friends who tell me about their marriages, and from what I see online (based on married women who complain in forums that their husbands don’t help out with parenting – really, visit child free forums that link to stuff like “secret confessions of mothers who regret becoming mothers” and such), and with various news articles and surveys that women still do the lion’s share of household duties/childcare… and it looks to me like the majority of fathers in America leave most of the child care up to the ladies.
Parents Rate Child Care as “Exhausting” and “Meaningful.” Work? Not Meaningful. (October 2013)
“In the modern American family, work and child care duties are still split down traditional gender lines. A new Pew Research Center report has found that the average American dad works more and plays more—and spends less time on housework and child care—than the average American mom.”
From USA Today:
A time-use study finds converging roles for moms and dads (March 2013)
“But it’s not 50-50 in terms of work on the job and at home. Men spend about 10 hours a week more than women in paid work, and women spend about six hours more in household work and an additional three hours more in child care, says the analysis, by the Pew Research Center.”
I find it repugnant that at an age when these girls cannot give legal consent to sex with men that much older than they, their patriarch is allowed to give it for them.
Only it’s actually worse, because they sell their daughter off to potentially a lifetime of bondage they were never mature enough to understand, much less agree to.
Baylor is not SBC. Not not not. It is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT specifically states that it follows the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963 as opposed to the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas, which was formed in 1998 and holds to the Faith and Message of 2000.
Back about 1989, the then-president of Baylor sprung a trap and basically removed the university from under the control of any organization by changing its charter. The president (rightly) believed that Baylor was a takeover target of the fundamentalists. Here’s a nice story about the shenanigans (and yes, there were shenanigans, including turning off the fax machines so an injunction couldn’t be received by the university):
“Dateship” is just another form of legalism, pure and simple. That’s the last thing the church needs.
As for the story about Maranatha Owen Chapman, I’m shaking my head in disbelief. I find it bizarre that she could legally marry at 15 while Jack Schaap got a 12-year prison sentence for his affair with a 16-year-old girl. Yes, her marriage took place in 1988 and the laws may have changed since then, but still…
Everything I read from Owen Strachan shows he is totally into legalism. The man makes a list of rules every chance he gets, then slaps the label “Biblical” on it and insists people have to follow his rules.
Here’s a link to the story of the Maranatha’s courtship. It doesn’t get much creepier and surreal than this. http://lifeandlibertyministries.com/archives/000151.php
A picture and a little story on Maranatha’s daughter: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/12/the-rest-of-the-maranatha-story.html
Tim – cool to “see” you here. One thing, though . . . where do you stand on Patriarchy? 😉
senecagriggs yahoo wrote:
How the bluidy h*** would we know?
She’s still living in the same house as her husband(AKA second owner), if that’s your question. [The part about her 19 nervous breakdowns, 18 suicide attempts, & 17 conversations with wastepaper baskets is, you see, strictly withheld from the rest of the world. It wouldn’t fit into the Desired Image].
Sheesh, Jimmy, what planet are you living on where a child can be sold to a paedophile by her father???
And be quite right in doing so.
Honestly, these people would be right at home living in caves & sucking on velocirapter bones.
Nancy – this made me laugh so hard! Adolescence is my professional specialty & I spend a gazillion hours a week with adolescents, who I love dearly & find touching & hilarious. But your word is true!
Particularly when she physically matures & begins to look more like an adult woman than a barely pubescent one. At that point does he lose sexual interest? Or does he (stop me if you’ve heard this before) inculcate a very ‘girly’ presentation in his rapidly maturing wife – must have long hair, must wear very feminine clothes, must be sweetly acquiescent & softly spoken…just a bigger version of a little girl. An actual adult woman would scare this type of man to death, & don’t even get me started on the potential danger he would be to his own daughters, who he would do the whole daddy/daughter date thing, because it’s Biblical, of course.
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Yes, yes, yes,
Click on Texas. Baylor is included.
Some of you who are professionals in this field address this issue that I have.
Looks to me like there are two issues here. One is the issue of dateship/ patriarchy/ intra-family relationships as related to control. That is a separate issue. I am not going to talk about that specifically, though I think that a father in the home can be a really good thing. Unless he is a #$%@ and then it is not a good thing.
The other issue is age, and that is divided into two parts. The youth of the girl is one part and the age difference between the two marital partners is the other part.
Now around hereabouts (that would be the area in general but for my specific knowledge the high school where my daughter teaches) two of the largest ethnic groups have large numbers (apparently) who approve of and expect sexual activity including pregnancy in teen girls at least down to the age of 15 (the quinceria being a mile marker for “growing up”) apparently. There are babies born to unmarried teens, and the school system even has adjustments and accommodations for these young mothers to continue in school. This would all be without benefit of marriage, I am talking about. The two groups do not seem to have the same level of actual acceptance of unwed pregnancy, but the practice goes on none the less.
Let me be clear. Not everybody in each of these two major ethnic groups does this, but the behavior is common, and there are even teachers at this specific school who have followed this pattern in their own lives. Yes, you read that correctly. Many of these finish high school but some do not. Some go on to vocational training, and there is a program for that. Some even go on to professional levels of education, but most do not. Some eventually marry and some do not. Some have their children by multiple men and some do not.
The young mothers do not seem to be a criminal underclass, but the unattached young males (not all) gravitate to gangs and our prisons are packed with all sorts, including those who start out young with no “roots and responsibilities” so to speak.
So, are we saying that young marriage is wrong? Or that if there is young marriage then both the marital partners should be young and incapable of earning a living? Or that any and all marriage of the young is wrong, never mind who had whose babies? Or that everybody should be middle class and aspire to middle class ideals? That would be in an economy where the factories and mills have disappeared and jobs are few and far between for a lot of people, where there is little hope of economic success at any level (often not even a “McDonalds” job) for many after high school. Are we saying that under those circumstances marriage is to be shunned (unless it meets certain rather rigid criteria) and other patterns of life are to be accepted under the heading of what-can-you-do?
I am not making a case for the destruction of high ideals. I am trying to say that life is hard enough for you and me, but it is tragically hopeless for a lot of our fellow people, and the issue of how high do ideals need to be is right at the top of the list for a lot of people. Personally, I had rather see a 15 year old high school girl “married off” to an employed man than making babies alone and without any help except for the 30 something grandmother who herself is still having babies of her own. I had rather see the men committed to wife and kids than not. And if they don’t do it exactly the way I would have, well I did not face their challenges in life either.
Celibacy is good, but how many do that? Commitment to upward social mobility can be good (or can become an idol at some point) but that is not too reasonable a goal for everybody in the current and apparently future economy. Then there is the idea of family and one hopes some social stability.
So what exactly are we saying?
As I have made no secret, I spent 30+ yrs of my life with 17-18 year old people.
Even at 18, many are just not mature enough to get married, some are, some or not.
Society today doesn’t see sex as it once did. Many of the kids I taught were on birth control in some shape or fashion. We’re talking about white, middle class families, who attend church on Sundays. The fact their kids are having sex is a secret everyone knows, but just do not discuss. ( I learned to stop asking a girl who was late to school if they were okay, most would offer up, ” no, I had to get my Depo shot.” )
I think the trouble many of us have is the fact a 20 something is dating a 13-14 year old girl. I know school superintendent in a Texas town who is now married to a girl he met when he was teaching high school. She was a senior, 18, he was 22 and fresh out of college. They’ve been married now for over 20 years. Today, the way the rules in Texas now read, he’d be doing 3-5 for dating one of his students.
There is a fine line, it is hard to define it. However a 25 year old male or female with a 13-14 year old is, well, no longer acceptable today….
In other news, India’s Mars Orbiter spacecraft completed its final trajectory correction yesterday, firing its main engine for “3.968 seconds”. I will take their word for it that it is possible to measure the firing time of a rocket engine to within a millisecond. Be which as it may, by around 3:30 am tomorrow Blighty Standard Time, the spacecraft should have completed its orbital insertion and Mars will have gained a small extra moon. (Sort of.)
Boyce College was for decades an extension of Southern Seminary for mostly bivocational pastors without a college education or with an incomplete college education, to be a “Bible college” for them — an extension program with lots of home study and occasional classes arranged through a Baptist state convention or a local association. More recently it has become a campus-based undergraduate college at Southern Seminary. I do not know whether the former extension program still exists.
Baylor is an historically Baptist university that is independent of either of the main state conventions by action of its board of regents sometime back in the late ’80s or early ’90s. It is somewhat conservative as universities go, but moderate to liberal as Baptist colleges and universities go. High academics, generally open re research and intellectual freedom of faculty and students, conservative policies (re: drinking on campus, consuming alcohol under age 21, drugs, LGBT issues, cohabitation, etc.). The seminary at Baylor is named after Truett, a champion of religious liberty, and is moderate within Baptist circles.
There have been cultural “ideals” in which men married much later and married much younger girls. Dietrich Bonhoeffer came from such a upper class society in Germany, and both he and his friend were following that pattern. In Eric Metaxis’ book on Bonhoeffer he gets into some of the details of the courtship between Bonhoeffer and the really much younger object of his affection. His friend married but Bonhoeffer was executed before he did. An older aristocratic woman was monitoring the relationship between the young girl and the older B in ways that sound somewhat similar to the case in point in this post. I gather from the book that such was the pattern among that social class in Germany at that time.
I am saying that perhaps there were a lot of sexual perverts among that class at that time, but more likely the men established themselves in “relationships” variously but simply followed the social expectations of the day when it came to marriage. Think St. Augustine and his mother’s expectations of a proper marriage, and that did not hinder his sex life nor turn him into a pervert, much as the pattern was different from ours today. ( I have no idea of any age differences for St. A but it does relate to delayed actual legal marriage for an adult male.)
I am not so sure that sexual attraction to any sexually mature person is necessarily a perversion, and I note a recent article about the age of menarche and in boys the age of change of voice as reported by choir directors in a certain study shows earlier onset of puberty than previously, and we are talking more like 12 nowadays. Time was, that females were expected to be start reproducing (getting pregnant) approximately one year after menarche. Back then that would have been about sixteen or so, but today that gets scary young. We don’t do that any more, thank goodness. There have been articles (I wish I had a link here, but anybody who is interested can check this out) saying that this might account for some of the obstetrical complications from back in the day. If we just get down to biology (as opposed to cultural expectations) things get complicated. But actual perversion, I am thinking, has to be pathology, not just breaking the social rules. And those adhering to the social rules of their class, religion, social standing and era were not even breaking the rules, at least not their rules. This does not sound like pathology when it is culture bound like that.
What I am saying is, the young have to be protected from the predators but not all predators are necessarily perverts. Not all criminals are mentally ill. At the same time, we see tremendous variation in the religious (think Islam) and cultural/ historical expectations of appropriate age for various sexual activities, and we see our own society saying one thing and doing another as long as it is “them” and not “us.” That does not sound like we are talking about biologically determined sexual pathology to me, but rather social constructs as applied to various groups.
Nancy, thank you for this set of questions and issues. I work with a lot of men who are fathers struggling to stay out of jail for not paying child support in an economy where they arrearage they owe shows on their credit report and prevents them from getting jobs where they are around money! One I saw recently I helped out several years ago when he was 15 and a father wanting to be involved in his child’s life, was ordered to pay child support, etc. And the mom was trying to get him to make another baby with her. He is out of school, out of work, and his once bright future as a college Bball candidate where he could get a scholarship education has disappeared into flipping burgers.
Thank for the info.
Boyce college (at least the buildings where they are) was preceded by Carver School of Missions and Social Work, where I went to school summers while in med school at U of L during the rest of the year. Mohler trashed Carver School and set up Boyce. I do not know the exact date when he did that. I have some negative feelings about how that went down.
My former husband was a history major at Baylor and “song leader” with a student missions team while a pre-ministerial student at said university, way back in the day before all those schools (Baylor, Wake Forest, Furman et al) separated themselves from the control of the SBC packed boards of trustees.
I have not kept up with the details, never lived in Texas (though my mother grew up in Texas) am not now a baptist, am not still married to the Baylor guy, and am disappointed at what has happened in the foofaw of recent decades in baptistdom. And I am not a calvinist–just did not want to miss the opportunity to say that. Oh, and am not a heretic or apostate, just said that for a certain person who lurks here occasionally before he started humming “just as I am ” under his breath.
I am not mad at you. I am not shooting the messenger, just letting off steam.
I understand what you are saying, Nancy. It is a mess all around and one which started when government support ceased to be available to struggling families and became available only to single mothers with children.
It is aggravated by a current philosophy of policing that involves a heavy police presence and arrests for minor offenses in poor urban areas. This has replaced the far more effective model of community policing.
Let me give you a recent example. In the poorest area of our community, a bunch of men in their eighties were arrested for gambling in public – for pennies. Why were they outside? It was hot and they don’t have air conditioning. Middle class men play poker with their buddies at home for higher stakes but no one cares about that. With the community policing model, those officers would have established a relationship with those elderly men who would alert them about serious crime. They would never have arrested them. Treating everyone who lives in a poor community as a probable criminal undermines the social supports that do exist.
If those fifteen year old girls were having babies with employed twenty-five year olds, marriage might be a preferable option, but these men are not employed; they are men who cannot attract women of their own age.
I agree with you that economics are at the root of the problem. Every year there are fewer good blue collar jobs left on which one can support a family. Tax policies support companies exporting jobs overseas. Every year the gap between the wealthy and the poor gets larger and the middle class shrinks more. Our national rhetoric focuses on the shortcomings of the poor instead of on diminishing opportunity and a threatened middle class is encouraged to demonize immigrants instead of demanding responsible government policies and to obsess over terrorism rather than possible economic collapse.
Yeah, becoming somebody’s baby daddy for a teen girl who wants to work the system is tragic. I am so sorry, because now he has that plus this crappy economy. And her, I gather, not taking the opportunities available to her for federally assisted child care and voc rehab educational opportunities or such. Bummer. So sorry.
I don’t know of a specific Bible verse that supports this, but my favorite quote to your point is: “If Isaac had a been a teenager, it wouldn’t have been a sacrifice.” I often mumbled this to myself as my kids were going through that phase. It is not for the faint of heart!
Just some evidence of the moderate Baptist climate at Baylor: The dean of the Baylor School of Social Work was on the social work faculty at Southern Seminary when that ax fell. Her husband has been the dean of the seminary at Baylor, and has served as interim president of Baylor and now is interim provost. Both are brilliant academicians and effective administrators. Baylor also has a large research and development facility in east (across the river) Waco in a former tire plant, modeled after RTP and other university affiliated research/development centers.
Oh, yes! Sing it again, Sister! And church people are sometimes right in the thick of promoting ideas that make it worse. I like your comment about the threatened middle class. So true.
Peace From The Fringes wrote:
I love that.
That is good news about Baylor. Our school, Wake Forest, seems to be thriving academically and financially, but we still have a long way to go to catch up with the methodists (Duke).
Is some of this a reaction to the ‘fatherless’ society? A society where dad is thought of as out of touch and shouldn’t be or doesn’t get involved at all in whom his children go out with? The butt of the sitcom jokes.
It strikes me as an extreme reaction to this, going from legitimate concern parents might have to outright control freakery by just one of them.
In my day in the UK generally if the church had anything to say on this (dating) at all, and it didn’t always, it was in the form of advice, rather than strict rules. For example, go out in mixed groups generally before getting too serious with one person. Take time to get to know each other, and limit how physical you get. Avoid unnecessary temptation. There was no ridiculous expectation that the first kiss had to wait until marriage, but it is reasonable and possible to wait for sex until then.
If the CBWM has gone overboard on this issue, rather than attacking them, it would be better to put forward an alternative. This is easier said than done, the whole thing requires wisdom to avoid the extremes of indifference on one hand and domination on the other. In the end, couples who marry have got to live with each other, the parents don’t have to. You can only hope and pray they (the children) make a wise decision.
Where, incidentally, is a wife’s voice in all of this? I would reckon a wife has at least a good an instinct for a loser her daughter might be going out with as dad!
On a personal note, I had next to no input about whom I should marry, I just fell in love, and last Sunday marked 29 years! We both came from stable families, perhaps that was best preparation rather than books, conferences and DVD’s.
As a public health nurse, I saw a girl who was 12 years old who was pregnant. I cannot imagine making her marry the young man in order to bring stability to her world. The world in which she exists is chaos: children having babies, drugs, crime, etc. Such a marriage would be useless. It would not survive and wold probably result in abuse.
Now, suppose there was a teacher in her school. Better yet, a preacher like Marantha’s guy. He begins to develop feelings for the 12 year old girl and wants to marry her. I choose 12 for this scenario because the feelings were in place by the time she turned 13. Most people would look askance at the relationship. He might even lose his job.
This girl lived in a protected environment in which she was taught that the role of a woman was to have babies and keep the house. Due to this overprotection, she is emotionally immature. She went to her dad to tell him she had “feelings” for preacher boy. Feelings? Perhaps she had her first teenage crush! But, of course, the “crush” was interpreted to be “love.” Can you imagine getting married to your very first crush? I am sure there are a few out there that occurred but my first crush (quickly followed by second,third…tenth, etc.) would have ended in a disaster if I had been able to fulfill my stupid teen dreams to marry any of them.
I read an article on Katie Holmes. Did you know that she had a major crush on Tom Cruise as a teen-hanging up posters, watching his movies over and over again. So, when she finally met him, she married him and soon realized that he was a major dud (albeit awesome in the Mission Impossible movies).
So, Maranatha, living in a strictly protected environment, maximum childlike innocence, never exposed to the craziness of the world, gets a crush on a guy that visits daddy for advice. All sorts of red flags here. Not only for her, but for the guy who most likely had some major issues of his own.
Peace From The Fringes wrote:
Quote of the day!
Sure. But I was addressing the issue of the mid teen years (I think I said 15) and what is going on in the culture I see, which is nothing like the Maranatha culture and nothing like 12. And I was addressing the idea that anybody who lusted after a 15 year old was necessarily a diagnosable pervert.
This is apples and oranges here, I am thinking.
And, oh, I just remember. That one year when I too was a public health nurse (sometime on a previous post I think I said that public health nurses have seen it all) one of my jobs included stopping by an elementary school to check for lice once a week. So I found lice and sent two or three (I forget the exact number) of girls on required absence for one week to get treated. Week, passed, lice still there. Another week out of school Another week passed, still lice. So the “front office” had a jolly time laughing at me for getting suckered in on this. The girls were sixth graders and working as prostitutes being pimped to high school boys and I was writing them out of school to do it. Talk about bamboozled.
Anyhow, there is a lot of mess out there for sure. And the pimping of Maranatha starting at age 10 or 12 or whenever the thing actually started is basically on the same level. But these two things, extreme patriarchy and professional prostitution are merely two relatively thin slices of a much larger pie that I was trying to address. There is also the working the system that ar spoke about. And there is also the fact that the second largest monotheistic religion on the planet has other religious ideas in this area, at least historically, and in fact christianity has a history of some ideas not currently our ideas in this area.
But, yes, this Maranatha thing looks really ugly to me too.
Julie Anne wrote:
Good questions, JA. I’d say I not only stand on patriarchy but I also grind it under my boot heel into the dust. *grind, grind, grind* There you go, all dusty now.
“It’s the beards…”
Only in PORN.
Peace From The Fringes wrote:
Attack? How so?
It would have to be a man who put the better alternative forward to CBMW. How about you? :o)
By the way, Boundless is currently featuring Owen Strachan’s “Dateship” article on their homepage. Boundless is a young adults-oriented web site affiliated with Focus on the Family.
Please forgive me if someone else has previously noted that in another comment. I’ve had a lot on my plate recently and haven’t been able to keep up with the discussions.
Nancy, I have a hunch that places like SBTS and SEBTS and some other agenda driven indoctrination centers, are going to face very some hard times in the future. More are waking up to the fact it is not education at all and one must check their brains at the door to attend them.
Undergrad was NEVER part of the SBTS charter. So why was Boyce started? Money? Increase numbers? Get them younger so they are more malleable?
Nowadays, more and more are actually avoiding SBTS grads for ministry jobs.
Another recruit for the MRA, Manosphere, or ISIL…
Having concerns about and discussing immigration policies is not demonizing. Folks might not like to hear both sides of the equation and try to make it agenda driven as in “you hate them” instead of discussing policy.
Please do not paint with a broad brush. I have friends trying to emigrate who are doing it the legal way. 5 years later they are not here yet with little hope in sight. Those who try doing it the legal way pay the higher price and we see the system for what it is.
If I remember correctly, Mr. Chapman was also advocating other young men doing what he did in part because a teenage girl that much younger would be more submissive and likely to look up to him. Apparently this is less likely for a woman around his own age. 😛 You’d think you were reading something out of the FLDS or radical Muslim worlds. It’s totally about control, because any form of patriarchy cannot succeed without females. Preferably willing ones, but they’ll take them unwilling and/or manipulated if necessary.
Absolutely, times do change. I got out of high school in 1952, and many of my classmates married that same June we graduated. Some had been dating since the eighth grade, to my personal knowledge. Nobody in my high school class had to go stay with “Aunt Susie” that I know of, though abortions were available and were (contrary to popular opinion) relatively safe and the few who performed them were frequently health care professionals doing it as a second source of income. I can only speak for my home town at that time, of course, and what we were told once we too were health care professionals.
Some who came from families with money “went to college” and were expected to be pinned as a junior, engaged as a senior and married that same summer upon graduation from college. Then work a year and then “start a family.” I believe that people earnestly tried to do that.
Of the girls I was in nurses training with, an in-hospital program that forbid marriage until graduation, many were secretly married after the second year. Nobody told; I sure know I did not.
My mother finished high school, got a job, did not marry until she was 24 and then married a man 15 years her senior. That was not considered the ideal but neither was it rare. Her sister did the same thing (the 15 years older) but then they were in their twenties at the time and thought to be “desperate” since all the “good men were already taken” by the early twenties.
The “word” as promulgated by the medical community at the time (as recently as when I was in school) was that one should have had their last (last) baby by the time they were thirty.
Those of us who did not follow this time table for dating, marriage and babies were assumed to be lesbians, though the terminology for describing this was somewhat different at the time.
As far a I can tell, the 18 year olds and the 22 year olds and the secretly married and the “desperate” and the “lesbians” all managed to survive about as well as the rest. But times were good economically and that was a whole different ball game.
That is good news. SBTS was once a good school. I would like to see it so again.
Boy, do I agree with this! It’s stupid imo for two people to be afraid or discouraged from a show of affection. Now granted, there are kisses and there are kisses, but generally, a kiss reflects affection between human beings.
Boys and girls need some interaction between them to have a healthy respect for boundaries in current or future relationships. It’s unreasonable imo to protect them from every physical connection; i.e. holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc. and then in a moments notice following a wedding expect them to discard years of imposed fearful boundaries and enjoy a healthy sexual experience from that point on. Some physical expression teaches each how to recognize necessary, helpful physical signals.
Now Daisy, if your father was not going to follow your lead and do the Biblical(TM) thing of overseeing your relationships with guys, then you should have found a nice Christian Patriarch to do the job for him. Then you could have somebody film it for a video promoting the same and make sure clips wind up on Youtube.
Sexual intercourse with someone under the age of consent is a crime if the other party is above the age of consent. Sorry. I completely fail to understand how this is not stupidly simple for so many people. Frankly, I’m not even sure how I feel about parents being able to get around that law and let their 14yos get married. The only possible exceptions I can think of would be extremely freakishly mature 15yos (and those will be very rare if we’re honest about the average 15yo). If Stan Owen really believed in good old-fashioned patriarchal protection, he would have chased Matthew Chapman off his property with a shotgun.
Thankfully we have census data to demonstrate that super-young marriages like this really were anomalous even “back in the day,” despite urban myths that “everybody” got married as a teenager in the “good old days.” Any genealogist will tell you the same thing. Historically in America, most women got married after age 20 or at least after 18. Maranatha was even only just past the medieval marriageable age of 12 for females.
Christian support, enablement and/or tolerance of child marriage needs to stop. Yesterday.
Off Topic. Ran across this article in my twitter feed. Distressing article about another extreme misogynistic pastor. Pastor Heath Mooneyham wants to “kick you in the nuts” with Christ. His rapidly growing church, Ignite, promises red-blooded young men that it will never be boring—plus free assault rifles.
Strachan’s “dateship” isn’t that different in spirit from courtship. To his credit, it’s a little better because at least they get to express interest and go out on one date without paternal permission, and there might be some wiggle room in step 3 because they’re seriously considering whether to get married (in some versions of courtship nobody courts until they’ve already decided to get married), but other than that it’s still pretty dad-controlled.
Technically, no adult (18+) needs parental permission to get married. I don’t see any Biblical commands mandating that either. I suppose it might be courteous to ask the parents, but it has no legal meaning anymore (unless she’s underage) and at this point it’s basically just a relict from a time when it did. It’s like the patriarchal assumptions underlying dads walking their daughters down the aisle and women changing their names. Dads still walk their daughters down the aisle, and most everybody finds it sweet/romantic, but legally/socially he’s no longer giving her away. Women still change their names, but legally they’re no longer subsumed into their husband’s person.
Now I do think withholding parental blessing could still have the effect of sending a message, i.e. the guy in question is horrible abusive jerk so the parents refuse to bless the marriage, but even then it has no binding legal force, and you’d have to seriously consider the fallout before doing it (i.e., you may not want to alienate your child like that if he/she really is going into that bad of a situation). With my family (which admittedly is just my family), I know that if there were concerns that serious about anyone I was dating, they would have been discussed pretty openly long before there was a ring involved.
Long story short, I won’t require any man that I date to ask my dad’s permission to marry me. If he wants to, then he can, but it would pretty much be just a formality by that point.
And while we’re on the topic of urban legends about marriage trends, it may also be of historical interest how Appalachia got an unfair reputation for inbreeding, despite famously freakish occurrences like the Blue Fugates.
I think maybe there is a misunderstanding her of what a quinceanera is about?
Thanks, singleman. I had linked to Strachan’s article in the original version of this post.
P.S. Perhaps Deebs or admin can add it back into the sentence toward the top of the post reading “Owen Strachan says dateship is the answer to the problems men and women face in trying to get married.”
Oops, looks like my last comment is stuck in moderation.
Good graph. I wish they had shown us the range and not just the median. Maybe that is where the idea of teen marriage got started. And I wish they had broken it down as to social class, and whether urban or frontier society and such. I am thinking that people got the idea from something or other.
In NC one can marry at 16 with parental consent but at 15 the court has to sign off on it, last time I checked. Some people go down to SC to get married at 14, I think, or used to. We don’t do 14 in NC, and pregnancies at 14 are not the norm at the high school were my daughter teaches. Usually, or so I hear, the girl is a senior or at earliest a junior which would be somewhere between 16 and 18. By the way, for somebody who does not or cannot get a job right out of high school this would result in some income to the mother including court ordered child support as well as various government financial assistance in specific programs. Not saying that is the reason, just noting some realities. I never heard anybody propose early adolescent sexual anything as a good idea.
My son did get a letter of protest from a methodist pastor in a large city near hear after the pastor heard on the news about a case that young son had prosecuted which included a marriage at some age where they had to go to SC to do it, but I am not specific about the age. They married so that the girl in question could not be required to testify against the accused. The pastor was indignant that anybody should object to marriage at a young age. Young son wrote back, “here is what the jury heard” about drugs and prostitution in this case, and the pastor apologized since the case was not based on age at time of marriage but rather on drugs and prostitution. So I do think you are correct that there are those who think certain ways about this that may not be what some other folks think.
However, I think you may be confusing “back in the day” as to when they are talking about. I “hear” back in the day as “little house on the prairie” days, but I would have to hear some quote of who actually said what about that. As to what I reported about what was going on when I was young, these were age peers obviously. And nobody thought you were a child or teen or whatever once you got out of high school, which ranged from 17 to 19 but was mostly 18. At that age you could vote, could and would be drafted and could marry at 18 without needing anybody’s permission. And going off to Korea to fight and maybe die may have been part of the reason so many married right out of high school. There would have been no deferment for college in that particular crowd. I don’t know. I just know they did it. And I do remember that some people felt that getting married and getting your wife pregnant before they sent you off to war was a good thing to do in case you did not come home from the war. The terminology of having something (a child) “to remember him by” was sometimes expressed. Lots of variables here.
May I say, however, that to think that everybody cares one way or the other what the law says about anything at all is pretty much a waste of time. The thieves and robbers do not care that what they are doing is illegal. Those in illegal gambling do not care what the law says. The druggies and pushers are not swayed by the law. And right now some people are going out on early release precisely because it is costing so much to house and feed so many (and justified by the fact that sentencing guidelines have changed for some things.) Anyhow. none of these “care” what the law says, in the meaning of respecting the law just because it is the law, and our jails and prisons are packed with such people who do not care. And people mostly do not let the law determine what they do or do not do sexually. I am not saying this is good, but that is how it is.
There is no misunderstanding. It is people saying one thing and doing another. I have read in wiki what a quinceanera is supposed to be, and I have heard the tales from the front lines. Two different realities. People can take any idea they want and do whatever they want with it. And some do. Including the idea that 15 is an important age. People being what they are sometimes take it and run with it, just like these patriarchal types abuse parental authority, for example. That is why I made sure to say that “not everybody” in either ethnic group was included in the activities I was describing.
I would love to stay and talk but I have to go run errands. People are coming tomorrow to put in a new water heater, and then again Friday to put in a new heating system. WhatI I have is still functional but is old and beginning to give problems. I am trying to get the house in really good shape before I die, because young daughter will keep the house and will not have the time or money to do any of this. So I am busy for a few days here. See you all next week.
I once knew a family in Raleigh
Who had two nearly-teen daughters who became teenagers before I moved from there. The dad was understandably protective, but it went beyond protective into the “Thou shalt not kiss until the minister tells you you can at your wedding” level of things. Sad to say, I learned from the older daughter that when she got farther into her teen years, she not only kissed boys, but…well let’s say she hold their hands, too (it was more than that).
Now, while experience contributes to and to an extent shapes one’s understanding, it is not the RULE for anything. That is, just because one tightly bound daughter got very loose doesn’t mean all will, but it is a risk. The cure for that risk is not permissiveness, though.
I have no wife nor children, and I am also certainly not the Holy Spirit, so I know I’m in no position to dictate as though it were by-law, Scripture or stone-written laws on “how thou must pair thy sons and thy daughters.” We find accounts of how some did this in the Bible, but those are descriptive, not normative – at least not as formula (we can learn something other than a hard-and-fast rule from Abraham’s servant’s bride-finding mission), and we find instructions and proverbs that pertain to this undertaking. This is hardly the only area where men have determined to set down laws and normative practices where God does not seem to have done so in His Word.
I haven’t actually heard Owen and Chapman make the argument from “back in the day,” I was just generally addressing an argument others have made to justify child marriage. I first learned about those statistics after hearing how some Mormons excuse Joseph Smith’s marriage to a 14yo girl in the 1840s. They used the argument of “everybody got married at 14 back then,” even though everyone surrounding the situation at the time understood how unusual it was.
And yeah, you’re right that most people don’t look at the law to determine what they can/should and can’t/shouldn’t do sexually. However, I find it disturbing that Christians who are told to obey the laws of the land, find it so easy to disregard the age of consent whenever they feel like it. (You didn’t do this, I’m talking about others who do.) It’s like they don’t even think it’s a thing. Well, it is, and since most of these people take OT law so literally, disregard for law is a weird attitude for them to cultivate. Of course some in this crowd will also tell their followers to lie to the authorities about how they spank their children (I believe it was Kevin Swanson who did that?), so I’m betting regard for the law isn’t high up on their priorities list.
I believe Dee said she once had a pastor tell her that Christian colleges should have married students as the norm, because “the Bible says” most people should be married by 18? Dee will have to confirm if my memory is correct.
The current system is so optimal that we ought not tamper with it under any circumstance. Our society is awash in mutually respectful, non-exploitative, fulfilling, and satisfying relationships.
“Dateship” is as likely to work in the current toxic environment as anything anyone else can come up with. Kwitcherbitchin
Thank you for getting to the heart of this.
I just provided the link. Sorry.
@ Mule Chewing Briars:
Looking forward to hearing you give permission to your 35 year old daughter to date! Please record it for us.
The wife and mother is nowhere to be seen. She has no say, no authority, no control. This is patriarchy, otherwise known as profound misogyny here. And it’s coming right from the heart of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an organisation founded and feted by Piper and his cronies.
The concept of dateship – I hardly know whether to laugh or to cry.
It looks great, Dee! And thanks again for letting me be such an honored guest here at TWW. I feel like I’ve hit the big time!
Mule Chewing Briars wrote:
There are flawed systems, and then there are malignant systems. Dateship is malignant. It hurts girls, it hurts women, it hurts boys, it hurts men, it hurts families, it hurts singles, it hurts the church. So I will keep on about it because I don’t like it when people get hurt.
And you can game the “dateship” system.
Just offer $20 grand in bride-price cash on the barrelhead and throw in becoming the Patriarch’s vassal and bannerman and you got his daughter.
Does he wear red speedos and black hooker boots and nothing else in the pulpit?
“FOR ZARDOZ YOUR GOD GAVE YOU THE GIFT OF THE GUN!
THE GUN IS GOOD!”
And even in Medieval times, you only saw brides that young among the Highborn, for POLITICAL ALLIANCE reasons. Binding Lannister to Baratheon, et al.
“If your family tree does not fork…
You might be a Redneck.”
— Jeff Foxworthy
Or a Spanish Hapsburg.
Clicked on the link, Emmaline.
Guy looks & mouths off like he’s trying to out-Driscoll Driscoll.
Like Glenn Beck trying to out-Rush Rush Limbaugh.
I read Strachan’s piece. Look, it’s very different than my own experience navigating the minefield of dating and relationships in public schools/universities. But who am I to say it’s better or worse? All approaches have their pros and cons. If a husband and wife both like this approach, and their 16 year old daughter does as well, whose to say it might not work for them? Now, if the 16 year old girl objects, or if a wife is not free to object, then you have an abusive situation. Of course, the idea of marrying off a girl at an illegal age is just, well, illegal. And immoral. But let’s say in dealing with college aged girls, where the girl likes this approach and there are rational people around the couple and family to help them, it seems at least as good as any other approach I’ve heard. I would oppose anyone saying Dateship is *the correct view*, but I get a pretty narrow minded vibe from some of the posts here opposing Strachan, which seems counter to the position that people should be free to choose their own path.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I thought the same thing, HUG. These folks aren’t that far from making money – cash money – from this. I sincerely fear there will be competing suitors who will be asked how much they can afford to give the bride’s family (meaning the father) in exchange for winning her for life (or until she wakes up and smells the patriarchal coffee).
Guess what” Pastor Heath had to step down. He got a DWI and his board “disciplined” him.
TWW doesn’t get called the People Magazine of the Postevangelical Set for nothing!
Including, on occasion, the young lady’s father. A patriarchal “father figure” steps in when the real father isn’t considered a proper patriarch. I read one website where they glowingly described moving a girl (with living parents) in with them so they could properly supervise her courtship/dateship.
Speaking of glowingly, have you ever read Jonathan Edwards’ glowing description of the glowingly spiritual Sarah Pierpont (future Mrs E) when she was 13 and he was 20-something?
“And yeah, you’re right that most people don’t look at the law to determine what they can/should and can’t/shouldn’t do sexually. However, I find it disturbing that Christians who are told to obey the laws of the land, find it so easy to disregard the age of consent whenever they feel like it. (You didn’t do this, I’m talking about others who do.) It’s like they don’t even think it’s a thing. Well, it is, and since most of these people take OT law so literally, disregard for law is a weird attitude for them to cultivate. Of course some in this crowd will also tell their followers to lie to the authorities about how they spank their children (I believe it was Kevin Swanson who did that?), so I’m betting regard for the law isn’t high up on their priorities list.”
Well, if they’re also part of the reconstructionist crowd, it may be that the only law they see as valid is Biblical OT law. God’s law-word, and all that. Even if they believe in Romans 13, it’s probably qualified by how much secular law lines up with Old Covenant jurisprudence.
You know, I hear that a lot. So what? If women “want” to wear head coverings (I am addressing Christians now), then who are you to critique them? The answer is simple. For many of these folks, they have been trapped into thinking that somehow the coverings show that they are not only submissive to God but to their husbands. The coverings become a substitute for dealing with difficult issues.
Now, a child raised in a home in which daddy has the say about whether she is allowed to go out on a date with a nice guy is a girl who is probably being raised to submit to men in many areas of her life.She says she wants what daddy wants.
I am on the other side of this phenomenon. I am watching women who felt coerced into assuming roles thinking it was what God demanded of them. Many of them leavethe faith due to the unhealthy controlling nature of the “men with authority.”
And, incase you are wondering if it really works, go and read Josh Harris’ Boy Meets Girl in which he proposes that healthy marriages are founded on courtship. The book which is be rereleased does not clue people into the issue that there appear to have been several divorces by those who deemed “successful.”
So ,freedom? I am all for it but I doubt that you will find much freedom in these legalistic groups which demand obedience to all sorts of rules.
Mule Chewing Briars wrote:
What a load of carp quite frankly.
Not to mention the daughter who is planning to go away for college! How would date-ship work for her? Oh, that’s right, all part of the plan to keep the girl under daddy’s roof until she is married. Ugh!
Hey There. Just wanted to say that my daughter, mother and great grandmother are all named Emmaline. Not too often that we come across another emmaline, much less on with the same spelling. 🙂
That’s my guess. Even though Jesus told people to keep paying taxes that were going directly to state-sponsored pagan temple and/or emperor worship.
Speaking of marriage, my next Botkin/SAHD post is up.
I read the Maranatha article. It appears to me Matthew and Maranatha are still together despite having married in 1988. That was the year I married my wife. This is our 26th year together.
Neither Maranatha nor her daughter Lauren appear to be traumatized by their family arrangements, and no laws have been broken.
As has been pointed out here before, the rules are all in flux. There’s no way college can teach everybody to be Mark Zuckerberg (who maintains all his billions with only 7000 employees) so all the pious posturing about kollidge on this board makes me want to vahr.
I’ll put my money on a smart, tough, morally ambiguous little t*rdroller with a young, sexy wife to support before I’ll put it on a debt-ridden 26 year old trying to elbow 13,000 other applicants out of the way for a shot at an internship that might, just might lead, to being the “head of the U.S. delegation to the economic summit” by the time she was 43.
Its obvious were in a place where we have to throw a lot of DNA at the wall and see what will stick. Let ’em toss it however they want.
You Puritans make me ill.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
The issue is not whether there is a fork, but how many of the forks point in the wrong direction!!!!
You’re speaking of my country also (recently humorously referred to as a “US client”).
w/regards to the bit at the top, I initially didn’t see the “per month” in the $6k/mth. If it was my pastor I would think he is not getting his money’s worth.
Decent dress style clothes can be a bit pricey and I could maybe see someone needing to spend $6k/YEAR on such clothing. (Maybe that’s not enough? My job is pretty low key clothing wise so I might be off in my guess).
But $6000/month? That’s like 12 car payments per month. I would require a pastor with that kind of clothing salary to also work with homeless people. (“with” not “near-ish”)
(Of course, I am estimating for a male pastor. If it was a lady buying women’s clothes…. ok, I’ll walk away before I get myself hurt.)
Good post, Hester, really good stuff.
“The Other Side Of The Coin, Perhaps?”
Certain public school officials are now blaming parents for not letting their teenage children sexually experiment, as they say sexual experimentation is healthy.
letz lõõk @ da stats:
Unmarried Teen pregnancies statistics in the United States:
Teen abortion statistics in the United States:
STD statistics in the United States: http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/
Teen suicide statistics in the United States:
Folks need ta stop drinkin da dang koolAid, huh?
The public expense and personal loss of this mis-conception is stratospherically staggering.
In late breaking news, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is promoting Owen Strachan’s “Dateship” article: https://twitter.com/SBTS/status/514502716245413889
I tweeted back, saying it’s a mistake to support his ideas.
Puritans? You are at the wrong blog. We are no fan of the Puritans here. I take it that you are not a Calvinist? (yes-it is tongue in cheek)
@ Mule Chewing Briars:
Oh man… Mule and his MRA-ness is in the house.
Dont expect kid-gloves treatment here, dude.
@ Mule Chewing Briars:
Dear Mr Rich Dad Poor Dad, you forgot to put “huzzah” at the end of your sentence.
I think theres a gamut here, per how 15 is perceived by both Mexicans and other Latinos who have adopted the custom of giving quinceaneras. And it seems to have a great deal to do with social class, whether parents have had a good education and/or are 1st generation immigrants and lots more.
I think all of that has to be taken into consideration.
I think 15 can be an important age without it being a budensome thing for the girls. But it depends on parental expectations, among other things.
Doubtless many Latinos find our whole “sweet 16” deal either similar or confusing, depending on how long theyve been here plus acculturation.
But I am rather fond of prunes, Dee.
That’s more than my take-home pay, and I’m in a high-paid technical profession.
Do you also hear the voice of the auctioneer at the auction block?
(As in the interlude of “Molasses to Rum” from the 1776 soundtrack…)
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
You just live in a high income tax state, HUG. Move to WA, TX, or FL and you too can dress like a pastor!
hmm, does he give “Pastor style” tips?
Nancy–appreciate your posts!
We also minister to a particular ethnic group where 15 is “the age” for a girl to “become a woman.”
In this case or town, those girls with papa’s who married mama and have stayed with her, and must approve the boyfriends, tend NOT to get pg or marry young.
Maybe what we need is a HEALTHY blend of bringing back in father’s who are present and take the responsibilities of a father seriously and yet not overdoing it.
But if I have to choose, I’d rather see some sort of courtship arrangement thus postponing sex and motherhood for our girls than the frequent liberated woman mentality that she can “do” whoever she wants to “do” whenever she wants to do so.
Daisy–I’m sorry for the men you have encountered. I live and work among lower (economically) class and blue collar families, and the men are just nothing like you describe. Makes me think back to the 1950’s and my mama’s laugh at women’s lib. She found the whole idea women were bored to tears as housewives and moms just hysterical. See, only the middle class and above ladies had TIME to be bored. The one’s that DIDN’T, say graduate some chic girls college, were just so busy either working outside the home plus running a home, or truly fully occupied getting homemaking done without labor saving conveniences.
Some of these issues are truly issues of class. And living in a poverty town in a poverty county has taught me that sometimes the best morals and ethics and values are NOT necessarily those of the middle and upper classes. Money isn’t everything, and parents around here really would prefer their children be poor but virgins when they marry for life than have them be promiscuous but well educated and richer. Not that those are the only two choices, but they are truly part of the considering some parents are doing. And blue collar families seldom figure young teens are old enough to make the decisions all by themselves without parental input.
As to the case of Maranatha, I wasn’t there and don’t know the situation. I’ve know girls to marry at 15 and 16 and fair poorly, and others to form good stable happy marriages. At any rate, it sure beats a preggo 13 year old. If I had a child that appeared to be heading that way I might negotiate a “wait for marriage and yes, we will give you a chance to prove an early maturity” just to try and prolong things.
Don’t know. We’ll see when the More Info comes I guess.
And why do you think courtship postpones pregnancy? Boy do I have stories!
The trouble is, and I’ve no doubt you already know this, that the text itself says the ‘covering’ is a sign of authority, not submission. In my house-church days, it was a tradition for the women to wear headscarves as their covering (and I suspect a sign of submission to their husbands as their ‘covering’, which is heretical claptrap). I have no problem with this as a freewill decision, but I didn’t like it being imposed, and in our own church no-one did.
I’m afraid I always thought it made them look a bit like milkmaids, which may help explain why I didn’t altogether fit in with the system.
From my sojourn here, I am starting to get the feeling that any word that ends in ~archy is at best dubious.
I find it a little confusing and I’m basically a WASP. I apparently didn’t inherit a big dose of romanticism about rites of passage, etc. I think it may be because I’m on the autism spectrum and such things tend to look arbitrary to me.
This stuff has never made much sense to me, either. When i was a teen (and sweet 16 parties were in vogue), i was nauseated by the whole deal. It’s not that i was uninterested in romance per se, but really???!! (Then again, i’ve never been even slightly interested in romance novels and the like. Now, novels w/relatioships that touch on the romantic aspects of same are a whole different ballgame…)
I’m from the era when men wore hats to church. There were even “clips” so they could remove them and keep them from getting mussed up or out-of-shape.
Wonder what their hats signified….
And I love croutons. There. I said it.
Sergius Martin-George wrote:
You are such.a.rebel.
Yes. Absolutely. We can’t have women with their weak little minds out there making their own decisions about anything. Especially not marriage and parenthood. We have fathers and husbands to decide that for us. And while we’re at it, let’s bring back laws that prevent us from having credit or owning property because stuff like that is letting us “do” whatever we want to “do”.
So, in these situations, does the dude’s Dad (or Mom) have veto power over who his son dates? Or is all that “protection” allotted only to the gal. In these cultures, what kind of guidance is given to the male suitor (other than the gal’s father showing him the shotgun if he gets out of line)?
situations/culture – I was referring to American courtship/dateship (ugh, feels unwieldy to type) culture not any specific minority cultures.
Yep! And women definitely shouldn’t vote because their vote might cancel out their husbands! 🙁
Sergius Martin-George wrote:
And chicken salad. 😉
Reminds me of arranged marriage in fundamental Islamic and other cultures. It seems this adding of ideas among “conservative” ideologues may not be so conservative after all. Stranger ideas may come about with the next generation of this. Who is there to hold this craziness in check? Next thing hijab like dress standards for women and women not being able to drive automobiles may become an idea?
Since when are the only two options for 13-y-o girls unwed pregnancy or courtship-and-marriage?
@ Persephone: aren’t 13 year ods suppossed to be in school?!
I’d also note that the daughter she had with Cruise, Suri, was getting to the age where she’d be pushed into lots of Scientology processing and also trained to rat on her parents. Katie was absolutely right to get her child out from underneath Cruise and Scientology’s influence. I confess: before she pulled off her coup, I thought she was a bubble-headed b*mb*. I was wrong. The lady is SMART. She outwitted the Office of Special Affairs (Scientology’s spy organization). *Applause*
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
You forgot the bandoliers and the hair pulled back in a braid. I bust up laughing whenever I think of Zardoz.
To answer your question at the top of the page, I don’t think my dh (or the both of us together, for that matter) has spent $6k on clothes in our lifetime. And we’re not spring chickens.
Might it be “When I was a child, I thought and spoke like a child…”?
Actually you’d be surprised at the number of girls in our circles (coming out of patriarchy, and threads at something of a loss as to how to father in a positive, affirming way) who wish their dads would take less interest…
For some reason my phone turned “dads” to “threads” above
You know I live a celibate life style as a single Christian, which of course I am not, at least that is what I have been told, almost always. More accurately Jesus hates me as does God and I will burn in an eternal hell because I hate God, even though I dont. All that nonsense aside, these people are sick, as Mark Driscoll believes in blessed subtraction I believe in blessed litigation. Not one of these clowns / “real men ” would last ten minutes at a deposition you would see that I have to use the restroom dance real quick. They need to be sued on a massive level and with holy vengeance. I read it and I cried, wept and howled at the moon, my neighbors think I am a nut, but this stuff kills me.
My mother was a moderate Catholic and my father loathed organized religion, I thank God daily for my father he instilled in me a rather accurate BS meter, my mother instilled in me a love for faith taken with a huge grain of salt. I am trying to be honest, I think, by His grace I would die for God, but I would never kill for Him, He can do that on His own, and a grown adult male should not have attractions for a young girl. Personally I dont date people from work, or people I do business with, I think one should wait until marriage to engage in relations, thats just me, and most of all. Women have been treated like trash in this country and still are. This is not ok, it is sin and all need to repent if they hold to such ideas.
My last comment was badly worded basically I think Women in the church are often treated very poorly and I am sorry that has happened to you. As silly as this sounds I wish I could take it back for all of the situations. But I will have to leave that to God.
What’s wrong with teaching your kids (and that DOES include girls – just to be sure the fans of patriarchy get this) good principles, living those principles yourself (and that includes admitting when you’ve failed), trusting your kids that they will do the right thing, and God that things will turn out all right?
That doesn’t mean that there will be no conversations about situations and decisions where you will have to give a little guidance or advice, but only if you trust your kids will they trust you in return and come to you with their problems.
So far, that’s what we’ve been doing with ours and it’s worked out well.
The problem these fundamentalists (and I would of course include Strachan here) is that they trust neither their own kids nor God.
The problem WITH these fundamentalists
We need to disentangle patriarchy as described here (which I reckon barely exists in the UK) from responsible fatherhood. The younger children are, and therefore immature, the more protection they need from the outside world. Conversely, as they grow older and gain maturity, ‘telling them what do do’ will be replaced with discussion and advice, but they have to learn to make decisions (and mistakes!) and live with the consequences. You cannot and should not seek to protect them from all the knocks they will get, tempting as it sometimes is.
I would say though that girls in particular need protecting (by both parents) from boys who play at love to get sex.
It’s a difficult walk between abdicating responsibility (and this is a big problem in the UK) and exercising a control-freak type responsibility that can’t let go, and I doubt if anyone gets it right all of the time.
Errata: telling them what TO do …
Oh for an edit function!!
Gus, are you implying that should trust with your child breaks down, to rely on God to remedy the situation?
@ Mule Chewing Briars:
You may want to consider putting your money on the gals. They are outpacing the guys in degrees in professions. It is no longer an unusual for the wife to be the main breadwinner for the family unit.
Suppose dad asks the teen daughter to avoid a certain teen, who happens not to be a nice guy, and she refuses? Then what? What is the remedy? Let the toxic relationship run it’s course, and pick up the pieces?
@ Mule Chewing Briars:
The orthodox church doesn’t seem to be doing much for you.
And of course we must bear in mind the powerfully corrosive effect on a woman’s spirit of choosing to have sex with someone she’s not married to, as well as the physical effects which are almost as bad as leprosy I hear. The damage that does to her value & inherent worth is immeasurable, & only the most charitable man would ever consider marrying her after that. She’s just not worthy, & should be reminded constantly. Lord save us from the plague of female choice 😉
Depends how old the girl/guy is to start with & just how ‘bad’ the bad boy in question is…plus whether you think your daughter is someone who learns better by example or by experience. No easy answers except to discuss it all with her.
Mule Chewing Briars wrote:
Describing me as a Puritan just made me laugh. I’m out in our toxic world, helping 14 yr old pregnant teenagers, as well as working with those (normally from the travelling community) whose girls get married as 16 yr old virgins & spend their lives cleaning their blinged-up vans & being ‘apart’ from the rest of the world. I spent 15 years as a church youthworker in a culture that resulted in many balanced, intelligent allowed-to-make-choices-after-being-taught-how-to-think-critically young men & women who have not had sex before marriage, have gotten their university level educations first, & then settled down. It can be done.
I’ve seen & experienced the effects of many different cultural ideas on teenage girls, & some of them have terribly detrimental effects on these young women, in different ways. It’s all the extremes that cause most of the issues, extremes of youth, of blindly making decisions without any input, of being allowed to make no decisions at all…Those (& they may or may not be Christian derived)that factor in teaching young people to think, make decisions, suffer consequences, have a variety of friends & pursuits, allow learning form mistakes, discover & fulfil a range of gifts from academic to relational to musical & so on seem to produce those who have more ‘successful’ relationships. We may just have a different definition of successful though – I don’t believe that the longevity of a marriage is necessarily a marker of success, I believe the quality of the relationship – truly loving ( I mean non-selfish, mutual love & service of the other)- is.
Mule Chewing Briars wrote:
And a final word – how exactly would a woman like Maranatha leave a marriage? If you don’t understand my question, or think she could walk out just like anyone else would you would have sorely misunderstood her context, & its psychological effects. In her world only death gets you out.
Your comment really struck a chord with me. It really summed up the issue. Well said!
Piffle. Men are in authority and know how to do the right thing. They get a special dose of the Holy Spirit. You have seen that in action with men like Driscoll, Mahaney, Haggard, Schaap and other “men of the cloth.”
I am watching with great interest the pushback that is occurring. Last week, on Twitter, Kevin DeYoung said something to the effect that when we make the charge of legalism, it usually means that other person is more obedient than us. (meaning, of course that the legalist was being obedient and we aren’t.)
I bet he wished he had never tweeted it. The response was strongly against it. The best, being succinct, was the one word B***sh**.
Piper’s tweets are getting play as well. People are realizing that he is getting weirder by the minute. Mars Hill is losing people and money.
Finally, stupid ideas have no place to hide since the churches can no longer control the sheeple who are getting smarter by the second.
Perfect? No, but a heckuvalot better.
Now, now-these homeschooled girls are taught to cook and clean and take care of all the babies. School-who needs that? Teens girls are just waiting around to continue the cycle of a gazillion kids, cooking, cleaning and running a household on pennies. Oh yeah, and spending time finding hideous jean skirts.
I followed that with great interest.
Thank you for your honest and transparent comment.
Great comment. Also, let me add that God allowed Adam and Eve to do their own thing after instructing them. God is perfect and yet His own kids rebelled. That’s because we have free will. Even the best of kids will rebel and do things that are wrong, just like mom and dad.
The question is “What is right?” As I said to Gus, Adam and Eve had a perfect parent and they rebelled. God knew that they would and allowed for that to happen. There was a deeper thing in play: freedom to choose and make horrible mistakes. God knew it, allowed for it, and then was there to help us pick up the pieces.
That is precisely what God did with Adam and Eve. Think about it. He could have made them do the right thing. Wouldn’t that have been better?
Since He is God and I trust His decision making, the answer is that He didn’t think that He should make them be good. Their free will was more important than enforced good behavior.
So, He allowed the rebellion and then walked with them, pointing to Jesus and then onward to the world to come when it will be better.
Far too many people think they control their kids and “make” them be good, pure, whatever. They can’t. All of our children must walk the road for themselves.
Pithy and on the money.
What about protecting our boys from the impulse to play at love to get sex? Why do we always focus on the passive members of the dynamic, rather than the active ones?
Yah, it’s amazing what gifts the Holy Spirit confers on the adolescent male while at the same time arresting spiritual/mental development in the female.
Well, except for the female s*xual organs which continue to mature (and ultra-fast too!), an obvious distress that creates powerful temptation for males for the rest of their spiritually-gifted lives.
So, of course, females should be married as soon as those organs appear because otherwise our courageous strong godly males will inevitably and repeatedly sin. Oh noes!
And consider the even greater burden the male must carry, teaching and enforcing the perpetually immature females to the scutt work. Because they don’t have that extry-speshul Holy-Spirit sauce for anything else.
Our men are beset!
I’d say yes. God lets us feel the consequences of our choices too, you know.
Besides, good advice only reveals itself after you didn’t take it and telling a teenager not to do something is the surefire way to get them to do it.
“…good advice only reveals itself after you didn’t take it and telling a teenager not to do something is the surefire way to get them to do it. ”
Correct. Defiance and disobedience may very well continue. Discipline can be brought to bear, but with questionable results. In the end parents can not always protect their teen (13-17) children from wrong dating decisions, wrong courses of relational actions. They can try. But how long can they protect their teen from themselves? That was my point.
It’s a spiritual reality, deep within the warp and woof of how we’re made, according to what Paul said in Romans 7:7-8. Such rules really are worse than worthless; they lead to more sin. (Colossians 2:23.)
In the context of my comment, ‘getting it right’ meant balancing the need to exercise parental control on one hand and not being a control-freak on the other. I think everyone who is a partent would agree that this is easier said than done. It’s a tad easier for maiden aunts!
I don’t think the analogy with Adam and Eve works here – they were created adult, and didn’t have a teenage rebellious phase. Human parents are fallen and not perfect like God. But I still take your point about allowing children freedom. It’s judging how much freedom at any one time that is the problem.
I absolutely don’t get the patriarchal (as described here) need for a kind of absolute control over children. I mean God himself has decreed where you live and who you marry to be decisions we have to make.
I agree with you that boys should not be left out of the equation. I said girls ‘in particular’ because sex before marriage can lead to consequences for the girl – both emotionally and physically (obviously meaning pregnancy) – that do not apply to males. It is too easy for them to use a girl and then just ride off into the sunset.
What a high price modern secular society pays for thinking it knows better than its Creator in this area. Any area for that matter!
Thank you. This is sorely missing in most of these discussions. What do we do with the predator Christian teen male?
True. Nobody gets it right all the time. But neither do the control freaks.
But boys and girls and teenagers are not robots. You can never keep all and any negative influences away from them, and even if you did, and did everything right yourself, there would still be no guarantee as to the outcome.
Have there been times when things didn’t go so well? Definitely. From being bullied at school, to depression masked as really bad manners. Last weekend we went to see our son, and seeing our kids together and in the family circle – aunt and uncle were there as well – we were really thankful at how things have turned out.
I don’t think a cast-iron set of rules, commands and prohibitions, would have improved either our relationships or the longer-term outcome.
In fact, if children have problems and behave badly, quoting scripture at them and trying to break their will is guaranteed to make things worse.
Speaking of how people find marriage partners, did anyone watch the program ‘Married at First Sight’ on the FYI network? I don’t care for reality shows but I happened across this one and was riveted. Experts matched three couples who then met for the first time at the altar. They had a month to decide whether to stay married or divorce. Two of the couples decided to stay together and they appear to be very happy and well matched six months later. The third fought from day one, probably because the woman had asked for a traditional marriage but didn’t really want to be a traditional wife.
I have been thinking about this and I am not surprised at the outcome. The couples were matched for compatibility on values, beliefs, and personality. They stacked the deck toward the couples having chemistry by choosing very attractive people (the women were knockouts). They chose people who sincerely wanted to get married and had been only finding people to date who were not interested in settling down.
This patriarchal nonsense is pure legalism – the control freak aspect you mention – and has no place under the New Covenant.
And another: Yes!
Although I admit that there are people out there kids need some protection from. But teaching them critical thinking definitely helps. My kids have definitely overdeveloped bullsh**-detectors, more so than even their parents and grandparents. Sometimes you have to remind them that getting cynical at all the stuff out there is not good for you, either. 😉
@ Nick Bulbeck:
Further update, and apologies for the delay – I’ve been out since 5:30 this morning and I’m only just back in. Anyway, the Mars Orbiter did successfully complete its orbital insertion manoeuvre this morning, making India the fourth nation to send a space probe to Mars, but the first to get it right first time.
FWIW, TgC is linking an interview with Strachan, the wearer of many hats. http://amicalled.com/the-blog/
This is part 1, mostly about the SBTS hat. Perhaps part 2 will feature the CBMW hat, where Strachan can further explain “dateship”. Notice that the interviewer/blogger is “ambitious” Dave Harvey, former interim leader of SGM.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
A few years back, so many Mars probes were failing that I started thinking Martians were shooting them down.
Crazed Driscoll fans, perhaps?
In Christian Patriarchy, it’s simple.
They’re MALE. They Can Do No Wrong.
(Except maybe raise hand against their Patriarch. Otherwise, it’s OK.)
Dave A A wrote:
I wouldn’t stake too much on the latest one either. They’ll find him fit for ministry just as he told them to.
Incidentally, is it only me who strongly believes we should make “Seattle” rhyme with “beetle”?
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Actually, it should rhyme with “Beatle”.
No they would not. There has been an almost universal double standard in this regard and even more so for them. Setting aside for just a moment the creepy umbrage we all feel with regard to Maranatha’s story, nobody bats an eyelash when older men date and bed younger women. But when a younger man takes an older woman as lover and confidant, it’s all of a sudden ‘sick’, unseemly and contrary to Paul’s missives.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
And it may well be too late for a’ that, with ever-increasing empty seetles and offering platles.
I am late, but hopefully you will see this “1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” By Monica Leahy – there is no religious slant because she is a secular psychiatrist. The advantage to that is that questions are worded in such a way that you have to actually define what you mean instead of just spouting off the good Christianese verbiage that some of us know all too well. It doesn’t go into religion. My now husband and I used it and it was great.
Best laugh yet!
I was going to use “Beatle”, but I didn’t know how many folk would have heard of it.
You didn’t need the 4th “e” in that sentence, you know.
Excellent comment Caitlin! Look at how that sort of behavior is enabled and in many ways enforced by social dynamics. I went to a Christian school K-12 and I saw in more then a few cases that dynamic play out, boys encouraged to deeply commit love as a way to a fast marriage so they could get sex. It was weird and often ended sadly. Though for a few of my oldest friends it has worked out amazingly well, getting married that young and inexperienced with personal relationships. I saw a lot of people get hurt by that though and can attest to personally getting overly involved in relationships due to skewed lessons I’d absorbed in that sort of culture.
I was raised in the southern Baptist wife beating convention.
Growing up we learned a wife is never allowed to deny her husband sex, there is no such thing as wife rape, a wife is not allowed to divorce her husband for raping her.
I was sexually abused as a child, these are my thoughts.
1)Can fifteen year old wife deny her husband sex?
2)Does fifteen year old have to get pregnant against her will?
3)What if fifteen year old decides she does not want her husband looking at or touching her underage breast?
4)What if fifteen year old decides she does not want to have sex again?
5)What if fifteen year old decides she wants a divorce, can she get one?
6)What if fifteen year old decides she wants her mother, and wants to go home to her mother?
Is it forcing underage girl to be married against her will?
Is it forcing underage girl to be pregnant against her will?
Is it forcing underage girl to have sex against her will?
Is it forcing underage girl to live with creepy man against her will?
The women in my family got married at fifteen, seventeen, and eighteen. We were to put on a joyous disposition, or be condemned by God. Really it was just creepy fathers and husbands wanting us to go along with their fetishes. These father do not want to hear or care what their wives and daughters think and feel. All that matters is wives and daughters go along with daddies and husbands fetishes, so what if it causes wives and daughters physical and emotional pain.
Thank you ES. We are going through a similar book (101 questions) that is from a religious perspective and have been finding it helpful. (this isn’t the same book I complained about above – we have a couple we are going through)
Please, please tell me that Strachan’s views are fringe stuff. I can’t believe that more than a small minority of Christendom follows this nonsense. These guys are nutcases. The bare fact that his system condones a twenty-something guy dating a 13-year-old girl should disqualify it forever from any serious consideration.
My wife and I are both believers and were when we met. We didn’t follow anything close to a rule book. It was pretty much love at first sight for both of us. I think we both knew we were serious when I asked her to trust me, get up at 4 a.m. and drive to the desert without knowing why, and she did (it was for a hot air balloon ride). Our wedding cost $500. None of our parents had enough money to help with it. I never asked her father’s permission, and he never expected me to. She was an adult woman and made her own decision.
There’s no love in this system of “dateship” or whatever they want to call it, no spontaneity, and God knows, no real joy. It’s absolute nonsense and drivel.
BTW, this December will be our 27th anniversary and we couldn’t be happier.
Tim I think you may have misunderstood the significance of Steps 1 and 2 when you wrote,
I didn’t read the plan as the father telling the daughter what to do. The woman does discuss the first date with her father. The woman may very well want to end the relationship, but can avoid the messiness of doing so by telling her father she doesn’t want the relationship to continue. The plan is a “safety valve” for the daughter because it provides the daughter an “easy way out” and the father takes the heat for being an unreasonable “mean guy” to the man.
@ Nick Bulbeck:
the closest you’ll get in real life is the airport, Seattle-Tacoma, abbreviated as Sea-Tac.
And if she wants to continue it but the father says no? She’s out of luck, the relationship is over, and the guy is sent packing. Don’t spin this as being at all for her benefit, because it’s not. It’s sad and hurtful, but it’s not beneficial.
They’re nutcases, that’s true, and they are a minority among Christians. But their influence is larger than their numbers. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (one of the largest pastoral training institutions in America) is promoting Strachan’s article.
John, love your comment…thanks so much for sharing it!
That’s Joe2 wrote:
No, no, no…..I think you’re reading this all wrong.
So, let me get this right, if the girl is 25, daddy is suppose to help her get rid of her dates? Unless he’s a stalker, dad needs to stay out of who a girl dates, unless the guy is older, much older….and she’s 13-16…
No, this is all about father being in control over the girl’s life. I can see the next thing being pushed is a dowry….pay enough, and you get to marry / date my daughter….talk about a step back…
Also, Joe2, unless the guy she’s dating is dangerous why would she need a safety valve (Dad or otherwise) to tell the guy there won’t be a second date? From my experience girls and women are quite capable of breaking up with a guy.
Plus, the scenario you propose uses this already horrible process as a subterfuge. “It’s not me, it’s my mean old Dad. Sorry we can’t go out, but what’s a girl to do?” That (just like everything else about “dateship”) teaches no one how to deal with relationships in a mature fashion.
The leaders in this movement are high profile – Al Mohler and Russell Moore are leading the way.
Remember Moore saying that he prefers patriarchy?
And then there was this lengthy piece written by Moore that appeared in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society in September 2006…
After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Gender Debate
My favorite part of Moore's scholarship appeared on page 574 of the ETS Journal. See below. 🙄
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
But if I omitted that “e”, I’d need to add an “a” after the first “e”, like what’s needed for beetle. And then the claws would come out. Or something.
Happily, prominent PCA academic and writer Carl Trueman has called them out on their patriarchal nonsense: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/09/the-problem-for-complementaria.php
Has the dating scene (ages: 13-17) become so toxic in the U.S. as to require such extreme ‘rules’ and ‘safeguards’?
Our experience agrees with you, Tim. I was sent packing by my wife’s dad 26 years ago after a 3 years of dating and 6 months of engagement (her parent’s supported). My wife’s excommunication and subsequent branding of being a “so-called Christian” (for not listening to her father) involved three churches and a ton of ignorant people who blindly did what they were told by their “leaders”.
The hurt and pain is life-long, and sadly extends to our children. But God, thankfully, has used it for our good in Christ. So thanks for taking a stand against the patriarchal mindset!
Ken, I am so sorry for your family’s hurt through all that. And I am rejoicing in the blessings you’ve found in Christ as he has brought you out of it and been with you through it all. It is for freedom we have been set free, the Bible says, and it is so true.
Okay, using Sopwith’s statement as a jumping-off point here.
Maranatha Owen Chapman was 15yo when she got married. Have we conflated this with Strachan’s dateship? Meaning, are we assuming that Strachan is talking about 13-17yos and thus the level of parental control is applied because the teenagers is question are so young? I wonder if some commenters upthread have done this. But if Strachan didn’t specify teenagers, then “dateship” could apply to any Christian girl seeking a significant other, no matter the age. Perhaps this is what is causing all the consternation? Are the people who look at it and say “it’s not that bad” assuming Strachan is talking about 14yos, while the people who look at it say “it’s horrible and abusive” assuming Strachan is including 28yos too?
If anyone upthread is assuming that Strachan only meant teenagers, they may want to go back and reread the post. At least in what Dee excerpted, I didn’t see anything indicating that Strachan limited dateship to teenagers. In fact he repeatedly uses the word “woman.” Strictly speaking, legally, “women” are 18 or older. Thus, 13-17yos are not “women.” They’re either girls, or young adults. (Personally, I’d say 15-17yo is young adults, 13-14yos are girls, but that’s just me.) So Strachan did leave the door open for this “dateship” procedure to be used on adult women.
Another good question: how are we defining “dating”? Because there is no way I would ever have applied the word “dating scene” to anybody under 15-16. In my mind, dating = seeking a romantic/sexual partner. What mainly comes to mind when I think of that is people in their 20s. How are other people defining “dating” here?
To be honest, I’m really not in favor of 13-14yos being allowed to date (using my definition given above). Dating and courtship both imply at least the potential for sexual contact, whether inside marriage or out of it. And 13-14yos are, straight up, too young and immature for that in my book.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
And we all know how well THAT turned out……
The ESV and other English *translations* have inserted “sign of” before “authority over/on her head” which is what the Greek texts say.
So, you have been misled by the translators who could not/cannot conceive of a woman having the authority over her own head regarding whether or not to wear a headcovering. Therefore, it seemed to the translators, as well a the CBMW types that adding “sign of” was a clarification of a “confusing” verse when their insertion of “sign of” is actually an obfuscation of the actual Greek text.
The editing of Scripture betrays their insistence on the “plain meaning” of the text ruling. They are hypocritical and ideological, not faithful to the actual text. In short, they are intentionally misleading many to serve their own purposes.
I’ve commented here before extensively about the shame/honor meaning of a headcovering in the Middle Eastern and particularly Jewish historical context of 1 Corinthians 11.
Apologies to any who have responded already to this. I’ve not reached the end of the comments, but could not let this pass without correction.
I was deposed at the age of 17 in a sexual abuse case against a teacher which did not involve me directly. It made me very unpopular because the teacher was well-liked, but it was the right thing to do. The teacher’s attorney did not make it easy for me and did his job well. The teacher got away with that incident, but later he was fired when he dumped the girl and got involved with another.
Waiting impatiently for the time that discovery kicks in at either SGM or Mars Hill or Harvest or any of the other multitude of cases of abusive practice. Discovery can be so interesting…
Dave A A wrote:
Owen (not John) mainly wears hats as a sign of his father-in-law’s authority over him. No one would have ever heard of Owen (not John) were it not for Bruce Ware, formulator of the doctrine of women being the glory of men and being made for the purpose of being a man’s assistant.
Is some sexual experience becoming the ‘norm’ for adult women prior to marriage; -is this what OS, and CBMW are attempting to address, in that neo-cal men are possibly finding it harder and harder to find ‘untouched’ adult women to marry?
Are OS and CBMW attempting to put the modern American woman, ‘back in the box’ ™ ?
Should The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood © ℗ (CBMW) be called, ‘Focus On The Vagina’ ™ (FOTV) instead?
So Owen (not John) has a lot in common with Dr Patterson (not Paige) when it comes to hats! Except his are many mainly manly hats. Otherwise he’d be a man-fail. And Jesus wears many mainly manly hats because he was *made* for the purpose of being god’s assistant, just like the Watchtower people teach! 🙁
Comic relief: The Temptations – “I Can’t Get Next To You”
…this was sarcasm, right? Please say yes.
I’m still a reader of the RSV on which the ESV is based. The older version has some liberal tendencies, but does have the advantage of not being specifically intended for the conservative evangelical market and subject to possible evangelical sympathy. In this particular passage in 1 Cor 11, the RSV is not at its best by using the word ‘veil’ instead of the less specific ‘covering’. When it gets to verse 10 it reads “That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels” with a margin note ‘Greek: authority, the veil being a symbol of this’. The ESV is here an improvement imo.
I would be a bit careful before accusing translators of incorporating their own theological bias into the translation. The teams translating most modern versions go to great lengths to try to ensure this doesn’t happen. Conversely we need to avoid choosing a translation that says what we would prefer the text to say.
I don’t think I have been misled on this passage, as in my post above I said ‘I have no problem with this [wearing a head-covering of some sort] as a freewill decision, but I didn’t like it being imposed, and in our own church no-one did. It is actually possible to be complementarian and not authoritarian!
I think two things are clear from this passage: God wants the distinction between the sexes maintained, especially in appearance, and that women can and should pray and prophesy in the meetings of the church. The exact nature of the ‘covering’ is secondary, but it definitely is not a man.
You wouldn’t believe the hours I spent reading and thinking about this passage in the past because the so-called apostolic team to which we were ‘related’ more or less had compulsory head covering for women, and I didn’t like it, and wouldn’t impose it!
Yes — and it’s true, as well. He has 4 official titles through which he seeks to fulfill his father-in-law’s vision.
Former-aPostle Dave writes:
“Owen, you’re an assistant professor at both Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College. You’re the director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute at SBTS. You’re also the president of the Council On Biblical Manhood And Womanhood. Above all that, you’re married and have three children. At what point of any day do you do things like sleeping, eating, personal hygiene, etc.?”
In today’s Part 2, we discover Owen (not john) is also a rap artist. http://amicalled.com/the-blog/
Back in Part 1 he says, “I am determined, above all, to be known not simply as a public advocate for God’s vision of the family, but to live it out.”
IMO, the vision is Ware’s, Grudem’s, Piper’s, and Mohler’s, with a bit of God’s thrown in.
Oh Ken…even some of the most prominent scholars incorporate their own theological bias into translations. Even the most credible translations have added words to (hopefully) make the verse clearer. I don’t even think the story of the woman caught in adultery was found in the original/earliest manuscripts. That’s why we can’t make the Bible a legal/rule book rather than one that guides and leads to more of Jesus.
“My Favorite Passage That’s Not in the Bible”
Dave A A wrote:
While I disagree with Paige on a lot of things, I do believe that he is intelligent enought not to mess with Dottie Patterson, Ph.D. As for her hats, I put them in the same category as Bill and Hillary and other power couples who are willing to play roles that are mutually beneficial, even if they make no sense to others.
Not sarcasm exactly. More like outright mockery which they have manifestly earned. :o)
Another thing to consider: sometimes it is a woman, indeed an older one, who wants this dateship thing or something similar. If a woman values the opinions of her father, and feels he knows the men of the community in ways she cannot, she may very well seek his input.
I know I trusted my own judgment in matters of the heart, but also listened to what my brother knew in the community and definitely took my father’s counsel to heart. In the end I made my own decisions, but I did value their opinions and consider them.
I’m not sure I follow your reasoning here. The actual Greek text says that a woman should have authority on/over her own head. The words added to the text in the ESV–“symbol of”–totally change the meaning of Paul’s entire argument.
The idea that a woman should have an outward symbol of her husband’s authority presupposes an authority which has merely been implicitly asserted by the translators. It has not been demonstrated. That supposed authority of male over female goes entirely against the summation of Paul’s argument in the following verses. Sometimes, it is helpful to examine Paul’s reasoning by starting at his conclusion because a premise cannot be valid if it is contradicted by the conclusion.
The translators translate within a context, and the social context of those translators has to be considered. By what authority do they add to the Greek text?
Further, they demonstrate profound ignorance (which I assume is willful because they claim to be scholars) of the actual significance of headcoverings for males in Judaism and of females in both Judaism and the broader Middle Eastern social and religious context. The short version is that the man should not bring shame on his head, Christ, who removed the shame which men covered during worship by the tallit. The woman should not bring shame on her own head by appearing with her hair uncovered, a shameful act in that culture.
If I have misunderstood your point, please elaborate. I don’t think I’m being out of line by asserting theological bias in translation. Why should they be given a pass on bad behavior by not setting off their additions to the text without any indication that it is an addition by either using italics or a textual note. The best interpretation of this is intellectually dishonesty.
In fact, it may be something very much worse–a desire of men to advance an agenda at the cost of altering the words of the Holy Spirit (or at least our best evidence of the original texts.) I’m a very conservative person when it comes to the text–possibly the most conservative person posting here. These men are rebels just like the ones the Lord called out for nullifying the word of God by adding their own “helpful and clarifying interpretations.” I don’t know how to put a better spin on this.
Go to Biblehub.com and read all the translations available there. Not all of them include “symbol of.” You can also read the interlinear Greek text there for yourself. Basically, I don’t trust any of these men because they have demonstrated the lengths to which they will go.
It matters not that a committee of men rendered a translation a certain way. If they all have identical presuppositions or agendas, then we should expect bias. Crossway has built its business on hierarchy, and I think that Crossway had a great deal at stake when it rushed out the ESV to compete with the TNIV which the usual Crossway stable trashed so thoroughly. From the evidence I conclude that this is really all about power and money. And that makes me furious because we are talking about corrupting God’s special revelation.
I don’t believe they are exempt from the effects of the fall just because some consider them holy men. I believe they have merely pooled their individual prejudices rather than recognizing and correcting for them.
And, of course, the RSV is in the public domain, so the ESV translators just needed to update it and slap a copyright on it to make big bucks by having the “gospel” Glitterati promote it as essentially literal, unlike the liberal TNIV which recognized the difference between physical gender and gender in gendered languages.
@ Ken: In all of that reading, did *anyone* address “because of the angels”? That’s one of the single most problematic things about that passage, and I have never, ever seen anyone provide any commentary on this that made sense. Most just ignore it, but clearly Paul was talking about something that was widely understood in his day, or else he’d have elaborated.
Which is a problem for all these CBMW and patriarchal types, since they don’t know what it means and therefore substitute “men” in their interpretations.
I won’t even hazard a guess as to what Paul was alluding to, because I have no answers – and I very much doubt that anyone else does, either, short of wild theorizing.
@ Ken: btw, I still have a soft spot for the RSV. The very 1st Bible I bought for myself was an RSV, back in 1973.
Still, I’ve always read other translations and in the 70s, was especially fond of the Oxford U. translation and the Jerusalem Bible, which was pretty much the standard among th Catholic charismatics I hung out with.
It’s impossible to keep bias out of any translation, no matter what you’re translating! People often do agonize over this, but if you’ve ever attempted to translate anything at all (even for language class exercises in school), the manifold difficulties become apparent pretty fast.
I helped someone edit text translated from Brazilian Portuguese to English, and even though it was brief ad copy for CDs, it was hellaciously difficult – there are commonplace ideas that didn’t work in English, typical terms ditto, and so on. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the specifics of the music itself and its place in Brazilian culture!
Asking someone close to you for their opinion is orders of magnitude different than “dateship.” For one thing, it’s up to the woman to make the decision to ask in the 1st place. The agency is with you, *not* with some man who’s related to you. Nor were your father or brother micromanaging your relationship(s?), at least, I get the sense that they weren’t.
I thought duennas (Spanish female chaperones who always were present when a young man and woman spent time together) went out of style by 1915, but apparently not.
My thoughts exactly!
Off the head covering subject, but still on the RSV/ESV topic, my *”favorite”* is in Ps18/II Sam 22:
RSV: with the pure thou dost show thyself pure;
and with the crooked thou dost show thyself perverse.
All other versions but one are substantially the same.
ESV: with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous
The ESV folks make themselves seem to add words so as to seem to protect God from actually showing himself perverse/tortuous/astute/shrewd/hostile/twisted/froward.
Agree numo. Add to the language difficulty approx. 2,000 yrs. of a very different culture and you have a recipe for doing the best we can in translating the author’s intent.
Also of importance imo is the discovery of manuscripts (dead sea scrolls) that aid somewhat in confirming the more recent translations may be more accurate.
And this is exactly what they do with “saved through the childbearing” in 1 Timothy 2. They act as if they are absolutely sure about the first parts while having no idea what the other part means. Then the part that is “plain” becomes universally applicable!
This violates multiple rules of sound hermeneutics, but especially the one about building absolute doctrine on a portion of Scripture that is obscure, as these two most certainly are.
But these “conservative” gospelicious gurus are not concerned with sound principles of conservative hermeneutics. They are concerned with advancing the agenda that makes them wealthy and influential.
When there is an argument regarding whether “angels” refers to non-human heavenly creatures or human messengers of some sort, then a reasonable person would exercise caution when building absolute doctrine on their particular interpretation.
What bugs me is these guys like Strachan have replaced wisdom with rules. It’s a good thing for young people to be open with their parents about who they’re dating. That’s wise. But needing permission? Dumb. And debilitating, IMO.
Dave A A wrote:
I suppose that depends on what the meanings of “rap” and “artist” are. I suppose this is supposed to lend some coolness to his image. Because it really is all about projecting an image rather than being conformed to Christ’s image.
In the same way, it utterly escapes me how Owen (not John) became the figurehead for masculinity. I mean, seriously? The prose he produces is the envy of every tweener girl, although I have no personal knowledge regarding whether he actually dots his i’s with a heart. The mature men and women I know who are functional in the real world would never write the way he writes. I don’t think it is Bowdoin’s fault.
Since he and like-minded men feel called to say that women like me are not feminine and are rebellious, I feel a reciprocal obligation to point out for his good and God’s glory that men like Owen (not John) are not masculine and are supercilious.
Bowdoin a hotbed of purple prose?!!! (If you hear crazed laughter, it’s only me, rolling on the floor at the thought.)
It certainly has the most severe-looking campus i’ve ever seen – a rarefied, Maine-ish version of what an Ivy League school should actually look like. 😉 i just cannot imagine anyone there tolerating such sophmoric writing; the place has quite a reputation for academic rigor. (I guess there’s not much else to do during those long, snowy winters except study, and indulge in skiing and alcohol on weekends.)
In my high school, that would have led to to “Owen are you Queer?” at the very least.
I agree that theological bias can creep into a translation, but would beware of accusing translators of this without specific evidence. The vast range of translations is a pretty good guarantee that this can be avoided, all the more so as the ‘net means you can look at twenty at once! Numo – I bought my first RSV in 1974, and I’ve still got it, somewhat worse for wear. I regularly used GNB and NASB as well.
As for 1 Cor 11, the woodenly literal ‘a women ought to have an authority on her head’ is strange English, and changing this to ‘veil’ on her head as RSV does is an attempt to convey the meaning using words different from the literal source text is not intentionally deceiving, and adding a footnote confirms this. The question is what does ‘authority’ mean here and adding ‘symbol of’ does not influence how you understand this. One view is that the covering signifies her submission to her husband’s authority, but if so, why not use the word submission here? My view is it signifies her authority, that is, as both men and women receive the Spirit and can pray and prophesy etc., on an equal footing, this is a sign of her being authorised by God to do this. God wants the differences between the sexes maintained, that women do not aspire to being like the men, but prophesy as women (if you see what I mean). They are ‘in order’ to do so.
The complexity of the chapter is due to Paul dealing with a church made up of both Jews and Greeks with differing social backgrounds and customs.
The reference to angels seems to be an area where commentators fear to tread. Going by memory from a series on this by Roger Price in the UK, he noted that angels are clearly involved in the activities of the church, and should not see anything disorderly in church meetings, and the head covering was a visible outward sign of a woman acting under the authority of God. Think of the difference between how you regard a policman – or woman – when wearing their uniform and when not wearing their uniform. It’s not the clothing but what it symbolises. I’ll have to listen to it again though.
I think the modern outworking of this is that the women should look and act like women in the church. I think the ‘long hair given to her as a covering (Gk: instead of a veil) is sufficient unless she freely chooses to wear a hat or headscarf as a covering. The rejoinder to this is that this could be understood to mean only bald men can pray or prophesy, but whatever my many faults and foibles, you cannot accuse me of not practicing what I preach on this one. 🙂
Yes, I totally agree. And that is the case in much, if not all, of Paul’s writing. He deals with the facts on the ground at the time and applies the new realities of the New Covenant to that culture. We must understand the underlying principles he is setting forth to understand how those principles should be applied in our culture.
While I am intrigued by your proposal that the symbol of authority on her head refers to a symbol of her own authority over her own head, I don’t think that accounts for the cultural significance of hair/head covering for females in the Middle East, regardless of whether they were Jew or Gentile. Women’s hair was/is a sexual object to be covered in public. To remove her hair/head covering is to shame herself (her own head), her social head(s) (husband/father/brothers/tribe, and ultimately on God/the gods.
The New Covenant removes the need to cover herself with respect to God during worship, but it does not remove the social consequences of removing her headcovering in any public place. The reason a man should *not* cover his head during worship (as he was required as a Jew to do) is because Christ has removed the shame which required covering. Christ is the covering/atonement for the shame.
The same is true for women. But women also had social shame resulting from an uncovered head in public. The shame of that behavior would also be accounted to her family and tribe. If a woman uncovered her head in Christian worship, as she was free to do under Christ’s atonement, then she would still be shaming herself and others socially and bringing shame on the name of Christ as well. Therefore, Paul is exhorting women to take responsibility for what they do with their own head. They are free to be uncovered, but they are also responsible not to bring shame on the name of Christ. This is a recurring theme in Paul: we are free but we are not to abuse our freedom, and we are to be willing to lay down that freedom for the sake of others’ well-being.
The problem is that the “complementarians” make this entire portion of scripture all about who is in authority over whom and how to show that submission. They willfully and purposefully do this by ignoring the textual and cultural context for the entire passage. They turn an exhortation to spiritual maturity for women (covering her head though she is not required by shame before God to do so) into a law of subordination of women and a requirement that they have an outward display of such subordination. That is why I call this Pharisaical. The Pharisees were all about outward displays of piety.
I read about a young man who at the age of 14 married a young woman who was 17. That was his first marriage. That marriage didn’t last. His third marriage was at the age 22 and he married his cousin who was 13 at the time. All of this was perfectly legal in the late 1950’s somewhere in the South.
Forgot to say that women in that culture were free to be uncovered in their homes among all females and among males considered family. Thus, in the household of the Lord, all were considered brothers and sisters and family to one another, so women would be free to be uncovered in their gatherings. But the problem would be that their practice of praying uncovered would be scandalous in the broader social context.
As a personal example, one of my friend’s mother-in-law is from Saudi Arabia and wears a headcovering outside their home. My husband was considered a “brother” to this older Saudi woman, so she would allow him into their home without the presence of a male relative or covering her hair. This seems very strange unless one understands their reasoning from their point of view.
For evidence of bias, consider the fact that the RSV translators translated “power/authority” as “veil.” Those words are not remotely related *except* that “veil” symbolizes “authority of a male over the female” so it seemed reasonable to the RSV translators to do what they did, given that they were living in a culture of male supremacy. That is not good scholarship nor is it good translation practice, so I ask myself what a reasonable explanation might be for this odd behavior by scholars. I don’t have a reasonable hypothesis for this other than bias due to presuppositions about males and females.
For evidence of bias in the ESV, I have already cited the addition of “symbol of” to the text without italics or notes. Even with italics and a note, one still must ask the question why translators saw the need to add “clarification” to the actual words unless the actual words did not convey what the translators presupposed to be true. Again, I have no alternate reasonable hypothesis other than the fact that Wayne Grudem, the editor of the ESV, has made his entire career and fortune on the subjugation of women.
So, he must not be impeded by the actual words inspired by the Holy Spirit. If he wants to say that he does not believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then fine, he can edit it to his heart’s content. But he can’t do that while still maintaining that the actual words of the texts we have matter.
From Tim’s OP:
“He tries to cover this up by pointing to three passages he says will guide people in building relationships. The problem with the passages he relies on are that one speaks of people who are already married, another has nothing to do with marriage and can apply to any type of relationship, and the third is clearly based on Neolithic/bronze age tribal patriarchy.”
Thanks for pointing this out. It’s the M.O. of the CBMW True Believers and Gurus. Their proof-texts have nothing to do with what they are attempting to prove, but they sound bibleish and pious, so they are swallowed uncritically by those who sincerely seek to please God with their lives.
If anyone ever stopped to actually critically (in the proper sense of that word) analyze drivel like the over 500 pages of this exact method in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, they would seriously consider the competence of the committees who examined these men and Dottie for their Ph.D. degrees.
When I actually took time from my limited lifespan to actually read RBMW, which many people I respected were raving about and relying on, I was truly astonished at the juvenile level of the work in that book. I simply cannot believe that these men and Dottie have not been trained in elementary principles of exegesis and logic. If they have not, then they should not have been granted even a Bachelor degree, much less advanced degrees in theology.
And more’s the pity, Gram, more’s the pity.
Also, Tim, thanks for providing an example of the rebranding and repackaging of patriarchy and patriarchal concepts in the wake of the SGM, Gothard, Phillips, and Driscoll meltdowns who were all proponents of this vile doctrine. They can’t abandon the concepts because their positions and money depend on perpetuating them. So courtship becomes dateship. I call bullship on the whole thing.
I am pleased to endure the pain due to a frozen shoulder in order to pat myself vigorously on the back for predicting right here on TWW that these guys would be rebranding and repackaging their product which has been tainted by these Bad Ones. TgC, T4g, 9Marks, SBTS, SEBTS, and other CBMW clones are the True Scotsmen of patriarchy and male-normativity.
Such an interesting article on Baylor. thank you so much for that. I had no idea and I am a Baylor grad -class of 2000.
I don’t know if this has been posted already as I have not kept up very well with the comments but I think I found Maranatha’s website and there are two very interesting posts filed under the “growing up” category. http://www.livinglifeloudly.com/category/my-stories/growing-up/
Based on these posts it sounds like she had a very difficult childhood. It almost would seem that she might have been looking for a way out of her family situation and perhaps that is why she was so eager to get married at such a young age.
And that’s like Bill Clinton trying to parse the meaning of “is.” I cannot for the life of me understand where you are getting all these absolutes about how women should look, act and just plain be – my educated guess is that is all CULTURAL, *not* anything that is dictated by Scripture or Jesus or the early centuries of the church or *anything* other than what the CBMW types think it means and looks like.
As for women prophesying *as women,* are you kidding me? I mean, gifts are for all. I don’t see anything there, from Pentecost forward, except equality between men and woman and Jews and gentiles and so forth (as in Colossians). I think you’re trying very, very hard to make a bunch of square pegs fit into triangular holes by hammering on them until they break.
Ken, I’m not angry at you, but at this convoluted interpretation of what you see/read. It drives me around the bend and is one of the many reasons I ran away screaming from anything that labels itself “evangelical.” In my part of the Lutheran church (in which I was raised), women can preach, teach, become ministers/pastors, and all the rest. Granted, some more conservative congregations probably still grumble about women in the pulpit, but I can remember the furor at allowing girls to be acolytes back in the mid-60s, when I was a child. As it turned out, the girls dressed just like the boys for the job (in simplified vestments) and were as good as the boys at lighting/snuffing candles. In effect, nothing about it changed. Case closed!
Comment of the decade!
And that leads me to ask: which women in which church?
@ Gram3: Through the High Middle Ages and Renaissance, most married European women wore head coverings in public *all the time.* To be bareheaded was a sign of wantonness (underage, unmarried girls were the exception). Hats/head coverings went in and out of style from the 17th c. onward, but during the Victorian era through the mid-60s, women generally wore hats, as did men. It was cultural, it was fashion, but it was also about “a woman’s place.”
The kinds of head coverings and veils worn in medieval and Renaissance Europe were often as severe as the very strict kind of hijab worn by some Muslim women today, and are the origin of old-style nuns’ wimples and veils.
Fashion changes, attitudes and mores change, cultures change. I don’t think we even really *know* much about how most women dressed in the ancient world, because there aren’t that many representations of them in art, and when goddesses are shown, they have no headcoverings of any kind.
Me, I wear a modified cricket-style cap on bad hair days (to run errands and such), and I like comfy, warm winter hats that pull down over my ears. Not sure that has anything to do with being “as a woman” in church or out – it’s just my preference. My hair is short, too – in a pixie cut.
@ Gram3: Fact on the ground: Corinth was a Greek port city, and was not at all the same as Jerusalem or Antioch or Tarsus or…. so Paul went with the local customs in his writing, I’m thinking.
@ Gram3: In their cultural setting, their reasoning makes a lot of sense. It’s just very different from what we’re used to.
As for all the people who look askance at the veiling (etc.) in many countries, they have NO idea of the lovely outfits and dresses many of those women are wearing under the drapery and that are freely displayed in the home, to relatives and friends.
Not to mention where that church is located…
Yes, it’s a little complicated culturally during the first century Mediterranean/Middle East. Jews were widely dispersed, so many Jews would be living in cities outside of the territory of Israel. It is my theory that the idea or custom of covering a woman’s hair is independent of religion, though it is/was practiced by Jews, Muslims, and Gentiles.
The nature of the headcovering may vary for women, it seems, since Jewish women can wear fashionable wigs as acceptable covering of their hair. It is all about maintaining modesty and reserving the enjoyment of the parts of her body which are considered sexual for her husband. We don’t quite consider a woman’s hair that way–as particularly sexual.
As far as I have been able to determine, and contrary to Wayne Grudem’s dogmatism, the issue in all of these cultures is modesty, not authority. A woman is not to shame her husband, family, and God by behaving immodestly. This fits well with Paul’s other instructions that the body of the husband belongs to the wife and vice-versa. So don’t offer to others what belongs rightfully to one’s spouse.
As you say, it is striking how similar the whole-body covering of conservative Muslims is to the habits of the nuns of my childhood. I’m not aware of Gentiles requiring men to have their hair/head covered during worship at any time. Do you have any info on that?
A business friend of mine has told me stories of Emirates flights where there is a steady parade to the lavatories as soon as the seatbelt light goes off. The women go forth to the lavatory fully draped, and they return to their seats in the latest fashions.
Interestingly, there is a photo on the internet of the UAE female pilot walking to her jet in a headscarf while holding her helmet. Just doing a thought experiment where she is the wife and any, *any* of the Manly CBMW crew is the husband. 🙂
Yes, some Orthodox sects require women to wear long sleeves, long skirts and wigs in public – but the latter are required of married women only. I don’t think this is eady or pleasant for most, especially in places like Brooklyn, with its hot, humid summers. But then, chief rabbis and other higher-ups in Hasidic sects wear the caftans and fur hats favored by Polish nobility during the 17th-18th centuries for weddings and other festive occasions, so i think they’re about 300 years behind the times in many ways.
As for the patriarchal culture of the Hasidim and other ultra-Orthodox, oh man… so much of what they say and do is pretty much identical to Quiverfull and other “xtian” patriarchal practices. Includes women producing lots and lots of kids.
Of course, most Orthodox don’t live this way, but those who do are highly visible.
As for gentile men and hats or other head coverings, well, thats pretty much de rigeur for Muslims, and also for Sikhs.
My point about hair is that it was very much freighted w/sexual connotations in Western culture – and, imo, still is. Look how many men find long hair sexy, look at how it’s made a comeback – and look at how many women like long hair on men. As a child of the 60s, i was crazy about that look plus nicely trimmed beards when young, and i still like the latter.
We dont have the same social taboos as 300 years ago, but who’s to say they won’t make a comeback re. fashion? It’s so odd how we humans work – how long hair for guys in the 60s was hated by so many, and how wearing your hair that way was viewed as rebellious. Now, nobody bats an eyelash – and 60s-style long hair is mostly worn by conservative men in rural areas (true where i live!) We also forget that wigs for men were a sign of respectability during the 17th and 18th centuries, though working class people didn’t wear them.
Well, then, you obviously have a Jezebel spirit and desire to confuse the genders. 😉
Thanks for the info. No one has ever accused me of knowing anything about fashion, whether current or historical, so I appreciate your insight. Mine comes from observing local Orthodox women and talking to my Muslim friends. And from the comments made by our Jewish tour guide in Israel about the Orthodox and ultras.
I can very much identify with you being fed up with ‘church’. All my reading and for a while almost obsession with the headcovering thing looks like little more than religious stupidity. In the end you have to let go of it or you’d go bonkers.
As far as the headcovering itself is concerned, this is hardly a gospel issue.
The background though was the imposition of this custom was an attack on Christian liberty, which I think a very important this to maintain in the face of authoritarianism or legalism.
Also just as important is obedience. I don’t think any of the NT is ‘not for today’, even though you have to think hard about the principle behind what may be a cultural phenomenon. What is the modern equivalent? Once you have estabilished that, the NT writers expect us to amend our behaviour accordingly. This may entail going against modern cultural norms.
So what on the surface looks an unimportant issue can have important repurcussions in the life of the church. Or drive you round the bend.