Liberation from the Patriarchal Church by R.H.
The pastor reminded me I needed to be submissive to my husband and all would be well.
The mental and emotional abuse, infidelity, and violence were not demonstrated during our year-long courtship. They came about after we moved to rural Idaho. In despair, pain and shame, I sought out the counsel of the family’s pastor.
President Jimmy Carter’s book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion and Power, expressed what I experienced. He addresses the suffering inflicted upon women by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts. Carter reveals how key verses are often omitted or quoted out of context by male religious leaders to exalt the status of men and exclude women. Carter states, “… the social creation of gender roles is not ‘the divine will.’ Gender roles are the result of human social control, greed, power politics, and the continued pursuit of sexual gratification that blames all women for the crime of seducing men.”
Over the years I realized the church betrayed me and our daughter.
Its focus was on my staying in the marriage; being complicit in keeping order over myself and our child, and assuming blame for his behavior. A good woman could turn him around.
After the divorce, within church walls or teachings, I gained no comfort. I was the woman who had a failed marriage. The status of my husband in this failure was of no matter. Anger and disappointment led me from institutional religion. I stay away to protect my heart, mind, and soul.
The church is not a friend of women.
The church needs to release its role of enforcing and protecting patriarchy rules that don’t reflect Christ’s teaching. As Carter wrote, “Jesus Christ was the greatest liberator of women in a society where they had been considered throughout biblical history to be inferior.” He and his wife resigned from the Southern Baptist Church, after 70 years due to a choice by the new leaders who promoted interpretations of the Bible including the requirement for wives to be "submissive" to their husbands.
Divorce allowed me to become liberated from the patriarchal church.
8/8/2017 06:00:15 pm
Thank you for your courage and bravery to share your story and to speak plainly about the issues that keep women powerless in today's churches. And thank you for sharing the truth and comfort you gained from Jimmy Carter's book. I experienced similar circumstances in my marriage and could not get the support from the church that was needed. Today, almost 30 years later, I am free and single, with a lovely adult daughter and I know the Lord in a way that the church could never have demonstrated for me because of patriarchy and politics. You are blessed and I will ask Jehovah God to continue to uphold you, heal you and expand your spiritual freedom in Him.
Thanks for your comments, Donna. I know they will mean much to R.H. As you noted, addressing this issue by revisiting and sharing those painful times, takes courage. Let's pray that our stories will help to bring repentance to those churches that have turned away from God's mercy.
Jeannette Marie Anderson
11/29/2018 12:35:07 pm
My first marriage ended as a result of his suicide in 1981
11/29/2018 01:00:01 pm
Jeannette, thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I'm so sorry your church was not supportive. Unfortunately, you are not alone in experience such alienation from the church because of your husband's actions. That's certainly not what Jesus wants! I hope you've found a grace-based church where you can experience a loving Christian community. God bless you!
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