Flotsam and Jastram

Flotsam_and_Jetsam_on_Hackley_Bay_Beach_-_geograph.org.uk_-_375544Yes, I know it’s flotsam and jetsam which properly speaking is “wreckage of a ship or its cargo floating on the water or washed ashore.”  It also means “worthless or miscellaneous things.”  I’m thinking of the later definition.  I haven’t misspelled jetsam but properly spelled Jastram as in the Rev. Dr. Nathan R. Jastram Professor of Theology at Concordia University, Mequon, WI.  While Jastram personally isn’t jetsam, his 2004 article in the January 2004 Concordia Theological Quarterly is the wreckage of a once coherent theology floating on the seas of feminism. And this theology is what led to the sea change at the 2004 synodical convention.  That there was a turning of the tide see the Rev. Dr. Ken Schurb’s article “The Service of Women in Congregational Offices, 1969 to 2007” in the Fall 2009 CHIQ.

The article “Man as Male and Female: Created in the Image of God” has many things to commend it, but it trips, it founders and flounders precisely where we need the most courage and clarity.  Jastram confesses the truth that men and women have distinct roles in the family and in the church.  The company of witnesses whom most certainly surround us cheer wildly.  Then Jastram falters.  We read on pages 75 and 76 the following. My comments are in brackets and in bold.

“It is not clear whether it is necessary to preserve distinctions between the sexes in exercising authority over society at large.” [If he is right, then Isaiah’s statement in 3:12 that his people are being judged in having women ruling over them only applied to that day and time.  Then I Cor. 11:3 only means that the head of the woman is the man in the home and church but not the state.]  “Since there are no biblical statements that directly teach that women should not rule in society, it is best to speak with some caution.”  [This is the CTCR much repeated refrain:  Since we don’t have an explicit thus says the Lord we can’t say.  As Dr. Preus says several times in The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, legitimate deductions from Scripture have the same force as explicit words.  This new position by the CTCR is the same old position of the so called old ALC (American Lutheran Church.)  The Central Regional Conference of the Northern Illinois District (LCMS) submitted a doctrinal resolution to the 1944 Synodical convention quoting a 1942 American Lutheran article: “‘When the Lutheran Church, which adheres to the sola Scriptura principle, uses the word doctrine with reference to its own teachings, it can mean only a restatement of what is clearly (or expressly) taught in the Scriptures, a teaching for whose every part there is a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’…granting doctrinal status only to restatements of what is expressly taught in the Bible’” (Doctrinal Resolutions of the LCMS 1929-2004, p. 69). ]

Jastram continues, “Luther’s categorical rejection of female rulers in society was undoubtedly influenced by socia1 conditions of his day, and it would be hard to prove his assertion, without explicit confirmation from God, that ‘never has there been divine permission for a woman to rule.’ One wonders how Luther would have spoken if he had lived in a country ruled by a queen. [Had he read my book Why is Feminism so Hard to Resist? he would note the quote from a secular, non-Christian who says patriarchy is so universal that nowhere is a woman selected to rule if there is an equivalent male available.]

More from the article, “In spite of the reservations that one may have about Luther’s assertions, he makes a serious effort to apply biblical teachings, historical lessons, and what appears to him to be common sense, to this question: ‘As a creature of God, a woman is to be looked upon with reverence. For she was created to be around the man, to care for children and to bring them up in an honest and godly way, and to be subject to the man. Men, on the other hand, are commanded to govern and have the rule over women and the rest of the household. But if a woman forsakes her office and assumes authority over her husband, she is no longer doing her own work, for which she was created, but a work that comes from her own fault and from evil. For God did not create this sex for ruling, and therefore they never rule successfully.  [Please note that Luther doesn’t live with a threshold argument.  She doesn’t rule in the home, so how can she rule outside of it?]

Jastram continues to quote Luther: “’In opposition to this one could cite the histories about the Amazons, celebrated by Greek writers.  [See my book where I show that the Greeks told these stories precisely because they knew them to be farfetched.  C. S. Lewis’ “Men without chests” still hope they might be true.]  They are said to have exercised authority and to have waged war. For my part, however, I believe that what is said of them is a fable. The Ethiopians select women as both kings and princes, as is their custom; thus Candace, the queen of Ethiopia, is mentioned in the Book of Acts (Acts 8:27). But this is a foolish thing to do, as foolish princes are often put in charge of a kingdom. Never has there been divine permission for a woman to rule. Of course, it can happen that she is put into the place of the king and of the kingdom; but then she always has a senate of leading men, by whose counsel everything should be administered. Therefore even though a woman may occupy the king’s place, this does not confirm the right of women to rule. For the text is clear (Gen. 3:16): “You shall be under the power of your husband, and he shall rule over you.” The woman was created for her special purpose, namely, to use prudence and reason in the rearing of children. For everyone functions most efficiently in that for which he was created. A woman can handle a child better with her little finger than a man can with both fists. Therefore let everyone remain in that work to which he has been called and ordained by God.‘”

Now back to Jastram’s words: “The major theological question raised by Luther’s treatment is whether it is legitimate to use biblical teachings about wives being under the authority of their husbands to prove that women should never rule in society at large. [Isn’t this disingenuous?  There is no question in Luther’s mind only a questioning by Jastram of Luther’s right mind.] Changing social conditions have made it necessary for theologians to reexamine these teachings, and it is no longer as clear as it once seemed that such an application is proper. [Jastram is a child of the spirit of this age.  Changing social conditions drive his theology by his own admission.  This is the argument the homosexual movement uses to defend gay marriage, pastors, and parenting.  Changing social conditions call for us to reexamine our teaching on living together, divorce, civil prayer services, etc, etc, etc.]  Luther’s conclusions on this matter have not been formally adopted as the public doctrine of the Lutheran church.” [Prior to 1969 they were certainly accepted by us.]

In the flotsam of Jastram, the God-given distinctiveness between male and female applies in the home, in the church, but not in the world.  Once you cross the threshold of the church or your home then women can have authority over men, defend men, protect men, be men.   Even Jastram trips on his own jetsam.  On page 93 in arguing against “The Response to the Dissenting Opinion of The Service of Women in Congregational and Synodical Offices” (1995 Convention Workbook), Jastram says, “Indeed, the reason given for the basic principle about authority in 1 Timothy 2 is that Adam was formed first, and then Eve.  Surely the authority that Adam had over Eve was not exclusively or even primarily pastoral, but marital” (emphasis original). I agree, and it was also societal.  Adam and Eve didn’t just happen upon patriarchy.  Jastram knows this too, but if you confess that patriarchy is God-given then the tsunami of feminism will break upon your shores and you will end up as only so much flotsam and jetsam.

The other side knows this too, and for this reason they goad Jastram.  He may not be willing or able to follow his fine Scriptural conclusions out of the church and home and into society but they sure can.  Jastram “asks” by means of quoting a CTCR response, “’Do the signers of the minority report believe that this passage prohibits women from exercising any and all authority over men? If so, what implications does this have, e.g., for questions such as woman suffrage (not only in the church, but also in society)? The questions raised in this section of the minority report have profound implications for the position on the role of women in the church which the Synod has taken since 1969.’”

The above comment is found on page 92 of Jastram’s article but it comes from page 315 of the 1995 Convention Workbook.  It is part of the “Response to Dissent.”  The spirit of the age roars in it, and our position becomes only so much flotsam and jetsam. Who dare gainsay woman’s suffrage in the church let alone society?  Who dare say a woman can’t be anything she wants to be: policeman, fireman, fighter pilot, combat solider? Yes, and who dare say a woman can’t kill the child growing in her body or that her body is meant for joining only to a man’s body?

There are definitely two sides here.  The conservative Jastram and the liberal “Response” side which carried the day in the 2004 convention where it was decided that women may rule men even in the church as long as it’s not in the pastoral office.  The two sides agree though; the order of creation applies absolutely inside the home and not at all in the world.  Jastram tries to argue that the order of creation applies in the church to more than just the pastoral office, but that’s a hard case to make once you’ve admitted that it doesn’t apply in the world.  And he can’t take that back without being against women voting, running companies, protecting men, and going to war.

The funny thing is the only ones he will offend if he takes that position are feminists and effeminate men.  But rather than do that Jastram clings to the flotsam and jetsam that is left of the good ship Order of Creation once sailed on by the likes of Luther and the pre-1960’s LCMS. Bon voyage!  You won’t keep your head above the seas of feminism for long.


Comments

Flotsam and Jastram — 90 Comments

  1. @helen #47
    Well, there needs to be a balance. My point was primarily that women seldom give their husbands credit for doing things that they themselves would not normally be doing. (Of course men frequently do the same things.)

    One thing that I heard a long time ago that helps explain part of the problem is that men count hours, while women count tasks. When a man hears a women complain about having to spend 6 hours doing dishes, cleaning, feeding the kids, and doing shopping he thinks – “6 hours, she has it easy.” When a woman hears a man complaining about spending 8 hours at a desk, she thinks “one task, he has it easy.”

  2. @helen #46
    Before the fall, we are not told that woman had children.
    That’s not what was said. She had the perfect desire.

    It takes two to get married, preferably opposite sexes. Why is this “woman’s” fault?
    It’s the fault of modern feminist philosophy, which permeates modern culture. It may take two to be married, but the woman still has to say “yes”. Frankly, feminists have also made it too easy for men to get the sex that they want without bothering with marriage. Marriage was originally created by society to protect and provide for women and children (a full discussion of the nature of marriage could and should be held at another time). One of its primary purposes is to channel and limit the behavior of men. In this instance, I would have to say that yes, women – at least certain women – bear the primary responsibility.

  3. @Paul of Alexandria #2 ” Marriage was originally created by society to protect and provide for women and children (a full discussion of the nature of marriage could and should be held at another time). One of its primary purposes is to channel and limit the behavior of men. ”

    Marriage was created by society? Wow, that kinda blows away all the Genesis and other Scripture readings that say marriage was created by God and models Christ and His Church.

    As for who’s fault is what, everything after the fall, but especially relationships, became corrupted and broken. God says that the fault lies with each and every one of us, the world, and Satan.

  4. Worth repeating as Pastor Crandall usually says:

    Rev. Kevin Vogts :
    >> Of course “God says so”, but it is interesting to consider why he says so. IMHO, it’s because women . . .
    From this point on the comments would be simply that, ‘In My Humble Opinion,” and must always be presented as such. While such opinion on matters not expressly taught in Scripture may be interesting and helpful and enlightening, it is not binding on others. Otherwise we are “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

  5. @Jais H. Tinglund #40
    The point (which Elizabeth made implicitly in#22 and explicitly in #37) is that we should all be concerned (maybe not surprised) when those who defend a more egalitarian, modern, worldly notion of how women should conduct themselves in public and private life so often do so using phrases and arguments straight out of the feminist playbook.

  6. @Paul of Alexandria #2
    @helen #46
    Before the fall, we are not told that woman had children.–hej

    That’s not what was said. She had the perfect desire.–p-of-a

    @Eric ex Cathedra #26
    before the Fall, woman had perfect desire and love to help her husband, follow his lead, and nurture him and her children.

    That is Eric’s exact quote, Paul, which I answered.
    [None of it is in the text.]

    “Desire” isn’t mentioned till the snake got into the story…

    And then, when God uses the word “desire”,
    Eric supplies the animal definition (see below) and extrapolates, besides.

    Somehow, I don’t think that’s what God said.

    {I can’t copy the original}:
    1 desire, longing, craving. 1a of man for woman.
    1b of woman for man.
    1c of beast to devour.
    [1]

    [1]Strong, J. (1996). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (H8669).
    Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship

    (Emphases mine)

  7. @Paul of Alexandria #2
    One of its primary purposes is to channel and limit the behavior of men. In this instance, I would have to say that yes, women – at least certain women – bear the primary responsibility.
    That may [have been] a societal aim, [although, when did it slow the men down?]
    God, I think, put responsibility on the man.
    Man wants privilege… Responsibility? Not so much!

    Paul had things to say about men who slept with anything available.

    If you all are Christian, you should have been flocking to the girl who was waiting for marriage, avoiding the “easy” ones. Were you? You needn’t answer. My memory is not bad yet.

  8. Buddy Wetuski :
    @Jais H. Tinglund #40
    The point (which Elizabeth made implicitly in#22 and explicitly in #37) is that we should all be concerned (maybe not surprised) when those who defend a more egalitarian, modern, worldly notion of how women should conduct themselves in public and private life so often do so using phrases and arguments straight out of the feminist playbook.

    And we should be that also when nobody has done that – and we should misrepresent what others are saying so as to make it seem as if they have?

    Yes, that point I did miss. Somehow, though, I am not devastated about it. Strange …

  9. “Frankly, feminists have also made it too easy for men to get the sex that they want without bothering with marriage. Marriage was originally created by society to protect and provide for women and children (a full discussion of the nature of marriage could and should be held at another time). One of its primary purposes is to channel and limit the behavior of men. In this instance, I would have to say that yes, women – at least certain women – bear the primary responsibility.”

    Paul of Alexandria, you’re going to have to explain this more. It seems that you are attempting to blame women for creating the conditions for men to be freely promiscuous. As if they weren’t BEFORE the rise of modern feminism, first of all (war, even in Christian nations, was always a good excuse to rape a few women, not to mention all the regular adultery and pederasty committed by married men throughout the centuries in Christian societies).

    But helen is right, too: where is men’s sense of responsibility on this one? If man really is the “stronger vessel,” oughtn’t he be able to practice that self-control and reason that, in many western pre-feminism societies, it was believed women did not even possess? Your argument sounds a little like the argument some men make about rape: “he wouldn’t have done it, but she was asking for it, what with her tight clothes and subtle flirting. She created the conditions for the rape, so it’s her fault.” Where is the agency of the man in either of these situations?

    And a note on Feminism: Feminism wouldn’t exist now, and you all wouldn’t have it as a default punching bag, if it weren’t, in the past, socially acceptable for women to be beaten (or even killed) by their husbands, denied education, denied inheritance, denied the social ability to even leave their houses without a man (once married), etc. Women in the past have been taught it would be better to KILL THEMSELVES them to let their virginity be spoiled, whether by their own will or someone else’s (this was not a recommendation for men). I’m not going to say that feminism has not gone too far, but let’s not forget that the reason feminism, as a movement, was necessary was because of the institutional cruelty and oppression of men towards women, which was (and still is, in many places) a very real and literal thing. And apart from women merely suffering at the hands of men, women have been blamed as the “cause” of men’s horrible behavior for millenia, and it is still happening, in this thread, in the comment I just quoted, which has frankly caught me off-guard.

  10. I detest liberal feminism. I agreed with most of Pr. Harris’ original post, but we lost sight of that a long time ago. My “barefoot and pregnant” slip may have contributed to that long detour, but it was taken way out of context. To label me a feminist is hilarious, if you only knew me personally. The point that I took from the original post is that ten years ago in the LCMS we got on board a slippery slope that will lead to full blown liberal feminism. We need to address this issue if we want to remain the Confessional church body we once were.

    I responded to posts which were carrying much of the argument out of the realm of God says…into IMHO. Opinions from man (or woman) are just that, opinions. I am of the opinion that some of the angry posts are written from personal relationship experiences.

    With over thirty five years of marriage and several children and grandchildren, I opine that sin has really broken us and our relationships with one another. Now it is hard work to keep a family together. We often think we can have it all – family, job, and a house in the burbs if we so desire it. Many women who are working outside the home, either by their own design or pure necessity, see that for what it is, a big lie. Often, little is done well, they are overwhelmed, and relationships suffer. Often men, too, can get caught up in their work to the detriment of their family. They come home stressed, worn out, and hungry. They readily give up their spiritual headship to sleep in or watch television and their sons and daughters see a man’s vocation being practiced so poorly that they begin to model their mothers’ instead. Broken. That’s what all relationships are since the Fall. But the big question is now how can the LCMS address women’s (and men’s) respective roles in the church, the home, and society at large after the poor decisions of past resolutions and rulings?

    The blame game being played out on the posts remind me of the Genesis account of the fall. The woman You gave me…the serpent, it deceived me…It’s too bad we don’t go back to Genesis to learn rather than blame.

  11. @LadyM #11
    But the big question is now how can the LCMS address women’s (and men’s) respective roles in the church, the home, and society at large after the poor decisions of past resolutions and rulings?

    I agree. While I sincerely appreciate the differences between the American Evangelicals (in the sense that it’s used on “Issues, Etc”) and Lutheranism, one area that they have us beat in is the concern for and care and feeding of the families that make up the church. I realize that the Church’s primary concern needs to be for the Word of God, and we don’t want to go too far in the other direction and become advocates for “social justice” and every other civil cause, but perhaps we have slipped a bit too far towards one side.

    As for slipping away from the topic of the original post, perhaps we haven’t. Either we accept Luther’s position or Jastram’s. Although, I might note that a secondary question percolating might be: how do we encourage/enforce the traditional Lutheran position without slipping into abuse of power?

  12. @Leah #10

    aul of Alexandria, you’re going to have to explain this more. It seems that you are attempting to blame women for creating the conditions for men to be freely promiscuous. As if they weren’t BEFORE the rise of modern feminism, first of all (war, even in Christian nations, was always a good excuse to rape a few women, not to mention all the regular adultery and pederasty committed by married men throughout the centuries in Christian societies).

    Come on, Leah, don’t slip into the Progressive mode of thought on me here. As has been pointed out frequently before, fault on one side doesn’t excuse fault on the other. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that.

    Marriage is a complex institution and exists for many reasons within a society. I would refer you, by the way, to “Man on Earth” by John Reader – an excellent overview of human societies on Earth. Also see the Ruth Institute and the excellent summary of marriage in the Lutheran Study Bible (I’ll have to look up the page when I get home). The primary reason for marriage, as stated, is to provide for the optimal raising of children. Other reasons, secondary but also of major importance to society, are to provide for people in their old age (via each other and their children), to provide for mutual support and comfort in life, and to provide an outlet for natural sexual urges. An important facet of marriage is to contain and channel the male’s natural aggression. It’s easily demonstrated historically that large numbers of unmarried, young males in a society cause trouble (usually wars).

    So no, I’m not blaming feminists for men’s natural (fallen) behavior, but yes I’m blaming them for helping to destroy one of the primary mechanisms used to control it. Not that some men aren’t helping, and not that there aren’t many factors, but in this case modern feminism plays a major factor.

  13. Sure, “feminism plays a major factor,” I’ve got no problem admitting that, but that’s not what you said before. You placed the majority of the blame for the failure of marriage in America in women’s lap (even though you acknowledged that men are the ones taking advantage of the sex; women just created the conditions). If you want to play the blame game, let’s take it back a little further. What about the conditions men created which brought about feminism? You didn’t acknowledge this point before. The cruelty and oppression of men towards women for millenia “created the conditions” for feminism (or maybe you think women should just have accepted it and remained silent? I hope you don’t). Perhaps the movement went too far, but it wouldn’t have happened if men had not treated women like animals for centuries. I think this locates the blame squarely back in men’s laps. We could do this for hours.

    I think it’s generous of me, as a woman, to say that men, women, and other external forces, have contributed to the decline of marriage in western society.

    One more point: Maybe women don’t want to be married because they don’t WANT to be the recipient of men’s natural pent-up aggression! I can tell you, that doesn’t sound very appealing to me. You’re also not taking into account the women for whom sex actually hurts a great deal. Asserting that women are vehicles to receive men’s aggression does not seem like a productive argument to me. I guess I’d like to get the other women’s thoughts on this particular issue.

  14. @Leah #15 Hi Leah. I am a woman. I have shared my thoughts, which have basically been ignored. Blaming one another is sin. Repentance is needed on both sides. As I posted previously, since the Fall, all relationships are broken. (Sorry about that overuse of the word “relationship,” but I don’t know another way of putting it.) We need to quit worrying about what the other guy (or gal) is doing and concentrate on our own vocations. However, Synod needs to address gender issues and get their teaching straight concerning these issues, according to Scripture and the Confessions. Right now, rulings and decrees have erred from the foundational teachings to which we have always rightly adhered. I urge you to go to the Word and BOC to see what God has to say about all of this. As a woman, I refuse to participate in the old sin of Adam and Eve: he said, she said.

  15. @Paul of Alexandria #14
    Come on, Leah, don’t slip into the Progressive mode of thought on me here. As has been pointed out frequently before, fault on one side doesn’t excuse fault on the other. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that.

    Yes, Leah, you take the blame. Don’t think you can hand any of it back… even if the Bible lays responsibility squarely on Adam! [There’s a reason we don’t like women able to read!] 🙁

    @Leah #15
    Asserting that women are vehicles to receive men’s aggression does not seem like a productive argument to me. I guess I’d like to get the other women’s thoughts on this particular issue.

    Better yet, the thoughts in Scripture.
    [I don’t see “women as punching bags” here, do you?]
    From Ephesians 5:

    Walk in Unity

    4 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you[a] all.

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

    When a football player drags his fiance/wife out of an elevator by her hair, having knocked her unconscious, even the heathen are appalled.

    But there was a time (and maybe it still is) when beaten wives didn’t bother to go to the Lutheran Pastor, because he’d tell her that was just her part of being married. And her sons would learn by observation!
    Given the argument here, I’m afraid nothing’s changed in some quarters.

  16. @LadyM #16

    Thank you, Lady M. I could let Paul lay blame primarily on women, and just accept that. However, I think what my point really is is that we COULD keep going in circles about who gets the primary blame forever: more arguments can always be made (as I demonstrated in the comment you are referencing). Instead, in my statement “I think it’s generous of me, as a woman, to say that men, women, and other external forces, have contributed to the decline of marriage in western society,” I am attempting to equalize the blame by removing the language of “primary responsibility,” because that’s impossible to calculate. As Paul noted, there are many factors in this issue. Despite his admission of men’s faults and multiple factors, he still felt the need to place blame primarily on women. I don’t think it was wrong for me to show him the folly of that assertion.

  17. @helen #17
    Yes, Leah, you take the blame. Don’t think you can hand any of it back… even if the Bible lays responsibility squarely on Adam! [There’s a reason we don’t like women able to read!] 🙁
    WTF? A debate is one thing, deliberately misconstruing everything that I say is another. Don’t overgeneralize, please go back and actually read what I actually wrote. I never said that men don’t carry their share of the overall blame, I was talking about a specific instance of a specific issue here.

    Sheesh!

  18. @Leah #15
    “You placed the majority of the blame for the failure of marriage in America in women’s lap”
    No I didn’t. I blamed modern feminism for specific things. Unfortunately, rather obviously, women are primarily responsible for modern feminism’s failings. Men have their own failings, but feminism isn’t one of them.

    To reiterate: both sides have failings, yes ultimately men – with their responsibility ultimately coming from God – are responsible. However, please accept your share of the responsibility – “take the log from your own eye.” If you keep trying to twist everything around so that it is all the men’s fault, with the poor, innocent, repressed women being responsible for nothing, we won’t get anywhere.

    And try to read what I actually write, not what you think I write.

  19. @Paul of Alexandria #20

    Ok, well, did you write this?: “In this instance, I would have to say that yes, women – at least certain women – bear the primary responsibility.”

    I’m fine with women taking their share of the blame. Their “share” being the important word here. I never said it was men’s “primary responsibility”, but you asserted that of women (even if it is “certain women,” it is still women). I was challenging your original assertion by pressing back on it with arguments designed to take your argument to the logical opposite extreme. The issue is far too complex to assign “primary responsibility” to either gender.

    My main problem with your original comment was that it sounded misogynistic. Even if that’s not what you intended, what benefit is there to sounding misogynistic? Especially because, as you’ve clarified, that wasn’t what you were thinking.

  20. I do realize I am not above reproach in this debate, however, and I do apologize for my snarkiness and uncharitable tone. There’s been lots of fightin’ words in this thread of comments, and it’s easy to get carried away.

  21. helen :
    Better yet, the thoughts in Scripture.
    [I don’t see “women as punching bags” here, do you?]
    From Ephesians 5:
    Walk in Unity
    4 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you[a] all.
    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

    True! It is very bad for a husband to mistreat his wife, whom he ought to love more than his own flesh. It’s even bad for him to mistreat his wife if she is a nagging feminist who constantly seeks to usurp his God-given authority.

    Those things are bad because our vocations aren’t dependent on how well our neighbor pursues his own vocation. Playing the game of “whose fault is it anyway” does us no good. We need to repent.

    Men for not loving their wives as Christ loves the Church, women for not submitting to their husbands as to the Lord.

    But hey, while we’re talking of what Scripture says, Let’s take a gander at Titus 2:3-5

    3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

  22. Paul of Alexandria :
    @helen #17
    Yes, Leah, you take the blame. Don’t think you can hand any of it back… even if the Bible lays responsibility squarely on Adam! [There’s a reason we don’t like women able to read!]
    WTF? A debate is one thing, deliberately misconstruing everything that I say is another. Don’t overgeneralize, please go back and actually read what I actually wrote. I never said that men don’t carry their share of the overall blame, I was talking about a specific instance of a specific issue here.
    Sheesh!

    Of course men are responsible for feminism.

    Men who, as husbands or fathers, failed to teach their wives and daughters that being a mother is the highest calling given to women. Men who taught that with their lips, but so despised the gift of children that their wives were not given the opportunity to revel in the joy of a fruitful womb.

    Men who are so afraid of their wives that they willingly take on the role of lazy idiot in order to keep the peace. And of course, there are all the male feminists.

  23. Feminism is a top down phenomenon. It was not grass roots. Do women really prefer working as hotel maids, waitresses, store clerks, etc., more than being at home? The women who wanted all of this feminist stuff were women who had the education and ability to contend for higher up positions especially high status and high power work. In the 50’s male labor participation was 95%, now it is about 72%. That only counts men 18-65 years old. Women didn’t take jobs from bricklayers, crane operators and septic tank installers. They took the better jobs or nothing at all. Poor women have to work anyway, so feminism doesn’t much affect them. Feminism’s net result for many women is just being forced out of their homes and away from their children. The winners are the most able workers. Instead of a guy making $100k and taking care of his family on that salary. He is now married to a woman who makes about as much. So, the most affluent have the ability to about double their household incomes. Feminism helped the very women who agitated for it. Of course, they were the ones who needed help the least.

    The proportion of men ages 25 to 29 able to support a family of four at the poverty line dropped from 78 percent in 1970 to 47 percent in 2012, according to Ruggles’s research. Even with the rise of dual-income households, this has had an effect, he said.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-06/in-seinfeld-nation-millennials-delay-marriage-for-selfie.html

    On other criteria, women have also lost. In the human dignity category women’s lot is worse. Domestic abuse is up, so obviously feminism didn’t reduce that.

  24. @Mrs. Hume #25

    “Domestic abuse if up, so obviously feminism didn’t reduce that”

    Domestic abuse is up? What time period are we considering here? It’s up in the past decade? Century? Since pre-feminist times? Where are you getting this information from? Do you have statistics?

    I ask these questions, because your assertion seems wrong to me. This coming from someone who studies women’s writing from pre-feminist times. Obviously I can’t say “72% of women in early modern England wrote about being physically abused by their husbands,” but I CAN say that physical abuse of wives was a commonplace, socially accepted norm, as it was in many other cultures pre-feminism. Domestic abuse is not socially-accepted, however, in current American culture.

    Additionally, I would wager to say there is less physical domestic abuse in households which claim to espouse feminist principles (I’m thinking more liberal, progressive households) compared to households which are indifferent or hostile to feminist principles (more conservative, traditional households). Remember, many fundamentalist/conservative Christian communities still believe it’s permissible for men to beat their wives if they disobey. Perhaps that’s not the norm in the LCMS today, but it may have been pre-feminism!

  25. Perhaps that’s not the norm in the LCMS today, but it may have been pre-feminism

    Huh? Where are you getting this information from? Do you have evidence?

    Thanks.

    @Leah #26

  26. Leah :
    @Mrs. Hume #25
    “Domestic abuse if up, so obviously feminism didn’t reduce that”
    Domestic abuse is up? What time period are we considering here? It’s up in the past decade? Century? Since pre-feminist times? Where are you getting this information from? Do you have statistics?

    I think it helps to see the US as the multicultural place that it is.

    First, feminism was espoused by a small fraction of well to do women. The women who complained the most were the ones with the most opportunity in the first place. Think of Amelia Earhart.

    Domestic abuse is not confined to married couples. So, a guy slapping his girlfriend is also domestic abuse.

    I ask these questions, because your assertion seems wrong to me. This coming from someone who studies women’s writing from pre-feminist times. Obviously I can’t say “72% of women in early modern England wrote about being physically abused by their husbands,” but I CAN say that physical abuse of wives was a commonplace, socially accepted norm, as it was in many other cultures pre-feminism. Domestic abuse is not socially-accepted, however, in current American culture.

    Domestic abuse is not socially accepted in my corner of America, but there are many other corners.

    Women writers in early modern England are a self selected group. Most women in that era left us nothing. So it is 72% of the tiny fraction who left anything. So, the number is interesting but not necessarily representative.

    Additionally, I would wager to say there is less physical domestic abuse in households which claim to espouse feminist principles (I’m thinking more liberal, progressive households) compared to households which are indifferent or hostile to feminist principles (more conservative, traditional households). Remember, many fundamentalist/conservative Christian communities still believe it’s permissible for men to beat their wives if they disobey. Perhaps that’s not the norm in the LCMS today, but it may have been pre-feminism!

    I would generally agree with the exception that feminism actually grew out of the general principles and respect for women so typical of more conservative traditional households. Feminism did not grow out of other sophisticated traditions such as Confucianism or Hinduism, etc. Also, we need to define the hostility to feminism. The hostility is to the creepier aspects of feminism, things like abortion, lack of regard for duty to family and other anti social aspects of some iterations of feminism. In this post modern era where words don’t have meaning, we have to devote much additional space to clearly explaining what we mean.

    Feminism arose in and from the Christian culture of respect for women. That should not be taken to imply that every individual abided by those principles, but biblical principals render every individual greater respect than any culture has actually achieved.

  27. @Mrs. Hume #28

    Please read what I said. The “72%” was an arbitrary number. I said I CAN’T say any certain amount of women were abused. What I CAN say, from women’s (and men’s) writing is that domestic abuse was a common and accepted practice. It doesn’t matter that not every woman in early modern England reported in writing that she was abused. The writing we DO have says something about the culture in which it was produced, and it often assumes that men could be as abusive to women as they pleased, even to the point of killing in certain circumstances. Perhaps the killing wouldn’t be LEGAL, but it would have been UNDERSTANDABLE.

    You’ve not given any support for your original statement which I questioned, only answering in generalizations about different parts of the country (which might be true, but still does not prove your original assertion in any meaningful way). So we can let this one go.

  28. Leah is apparently right, in a patriarchal society (which is biblical) there will be more violence against women. I DON’T DEFEND THAT, but we must admit even facts we don’t like.

  29. Is Leah apparently right when she says that it may have been the pre-feminism norm that it was permissable for LCMS men to beat their wives if they disobey?

    @Pr Fjellander

  30. @John Rixe #31
    Thank you for the question! No, that’s not my opinion. It was not the norm of mid nineteen hundreds LCMS men to beat their wives. Still I think it was more common then, at that time, than now, because the society was (more) patriarchal. But it (beating the wife) was of course a sin! But, and this is my point: abuse (of the patriarchal society) does not negate the use of it.

  31. I’ll just add this. Back in the day not so many folks got divorced. Given that there are as many bad women as men, when the men don’t have a way out of the marriage and the wife is really a nasty, then yeah, you can see how a guy is going to retaliate rather than put up with bad behavior.

    Okay, sorry, I meant to include this link earlier:
    https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/demography/v043/43.1kenney.html

    and here are CDC statistics:

    http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/infographic.html

    Bottom line, feminism has caused many changes since the 1950’s but domestic violence is not down, and affects nearly 50% of women now.

    It is one thing to look at violence against women and deplore it, but it has to be seen in context. If the woman was a real jerk, it is not like the guy could divorce her easily. I am just saying that without any knowledge of the circumstances, we can’t assume that there is anything but an even split of blame. In other words, we should about half of the guys were at fault and about half of the women were at fault. If the wife squandered the rent money, or worse, the guy couldn’t easily divorce her and might genuinely think she should try to do better.

    I think that it is wrong to assume that the woman was an entirely innocent victim every single time a guy got fed up and slapped his wife. I believe there are as many really bad women as there are really bad men.

  32. Rev Jakob Fjellander :
    Leah is apparently right, in a patriarchal society (which is biblical) there will be more violence against women. I DON’T DEFEND THAT, but we must admit even facts we don’t like.

    Yeah, I don’t concede that point. Patriarchy reduces abuse because fathers are looking out for daughters to make sure that creeps don’t get a chance to be around their daughters or marry them. That doesn’t absolutely work, but my mother said very clearly that my father was way better behaved before her father died, because he knew my grandfather didn’t play around. In fact, he tried to convince her not to marry him. If fathers had more power, there might be even less violence. I think we give far to much credit to the stories of women complaining that they had to marry so and so. Those circumstances were not commonplace. Where we live, there are many high caste Indians and their parents help them find good mates. That is patriarchy. Fathers taking an interest in the welfare of their children. I just think we overestimate women’s judgement and ability to choose good guys. With about 50% of children born to unmarried women, obviously women are not vastly better than their fathers at picking good guys. And feminism staunchly promotes women obeying their every fleshly whim.

  33. One last note. I know that history is not well taught in some schools, but the last court ordered flogging in the United States was in 1952.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_corporal_punishment

    The perception of corporal punishment has changed over time. To make this as brief as possible, let’s just recall that in the not too distant past many people could not pay fines nor could jurisdictions afford to jail many people, which reduced the options for punishments. However, offenders needed punishments and corporal punishment was cheap and it was punishing. This was pretty much universal. Go back and look at history. Corporal punishment in the home was analogous to corporal punishment in the community. In former times, children had no real luxuries to take away. Many only had the clothes on their backs and just enough food to keep body and soul together. They had no free time as they were often working as soon as they were able. The stick was used because the family had no proverbial carrots. Likewise badly behaved wives did not exactly leave their husbands many options either. He couldn’t take anything away if the family had very little. He couldn’t afford to divorce her and it wasn’t a real option often especially if he was a pretty good guy who wanted to keep his family together.

    I guess I get annoyed at the false but unstated premise that women are never at fault for anything ever. That just is not true.

    We tend to forget just how difficult life really was before the extreme and unprecedented luxury of this present age.

    In former times, men didn’t have that many options when dealing with a wife who was something of a shrew. And yes, some women are really awful. Women are every bit the sinners that men are. So, yes, some men are very creepy and abusive and it is their fault for the abuse they inflict on their wives. However, in the past when men had fewer options when dealing with an awful wife, and corporal punishment was usual for children and lawbreakers, then no we cannot apply current standards to some men who might have had to go there because the wife was really terrible. And no, feminism hasn’t fixed things.

  34. @Mrs. Hume #34
    Nice written! You may be right. Regardless of how it was (that’s a historic question) I think we agree that abuse does not negate the use.

  35. Mrs. Hume :I’ll just add this. Back in the day not so many folks got divorced.

    I can remember as a child (1970s) when my great uncle’s wife was filing for divorce. They were both raised in the same LCMS congregation. My great-grandmother yelled at her…”You can’t get a divorce…you won’t be able to take Communion!”

  36. As person who works with homeless women, many of whom are the victims of domestic violence; I took great exception to Pastor Harris’s article on feminism and the role of women in our society. I did notice that this article has been edited since it was first posted on Oct 2nd and I am grateful for that. For Pastor Harris to assert that women who become educated also become “masculine” is disingenuous but also dangerous to our children. Numerous studies, the latest published by The Lancet in 2010, clearly show that the education of mother is a clear factor in infant mortality rates. The more education of the mother; the lower the death rate for her children. If the LCMS is pro-life and loves children as we claim we do; then we must publically reject denigrating words of Pastor Harris and those like him. Too many times in my job I have encountered women who because of their lack of job skills and education stayed in violent and abusive relationships. Their children have been subjugated to abuse, neglect and violence and will carry those scars for the rest of their lives. Children learn by observation and imitation and this what they have learned. People of the LCMS, let’s stand together, join arms, and block men like Pastor Harris from our congregations. Let’s do it for our children.

  37. Susan :As person who works with homeless women, many of whom are the victims of domestic violence; I took great exception to Pastor Harris’s article on feminism and the role of women in our society. I did notice that this article has been edited since it was first posted on Oct 2nd and I am grateful for that. For Pastor Harris to assert that women who become educated also become “masculine” is disingenuous but also dangerous to our children.

    People of the LCMS, let’s stand together, join arms, and block men like Pastor Harris from our congregations. Let’s do it for our children.

    Susan,

    I’m having trouble finding the post you reference above. Where did the author write that education causes “masculinity” in women?

    Also, if you can give examples of which women and children Pr. Harris has harmed by that statement and thereby cause his congregation to rescind his Divine Call to that congregation and/or his membership from the LCMS roster, I’d like to see your statistics. This is a serious accusation and false accusations may be actionable on Pr. Harris’ part.

  38. @Mrs. Hume #35
    There is really no excuse for husbands and wives to hit each other. You listed a whole bunch of excuses (hard life, shrewish wife, difficulty of divorce, etc.) Those are just excuses, it is still wrong, it is still sin.

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