Submission. Are we really still gnawing away on this bone? This conversation recently warranted space in the Knoxville News Sentinel and Tennessean newspaper. Wonder why? Unless. Unless possibly we talk about it because there is still no unity of the Spirit.
Few people in believing circles discuss the crucifixion or resurrection. Why not? Perhaps, because there is sufficient evidence and sufficient unity of the Spirit that we believe by faith. But submission often unsettles the spirit. Is this just a case of female rebellion?
Here is the irony. When Chuck and I talked last night, he said, “Jana you can’t even write about submission because you don’t have a penis. So you will just sound like a woman who is ‘not in submission.’” How sad but how true.
I did note in the article that the woman who favored submission was a pastor. Now that’s a trick. She is qualified to lead God’s people, but she cannot co-lead with her husband.
I remember a conversation with a 77 year-old woman who didn’t understand my strain over this issue. After 50 plus years of marriage, their policy was for her to share her thoughts with her husband and he would make the final decision.
“Says who?” I asked respectfully. “If the Spirit truly leads us, then why does ‘someone have to make the final decision?’ Isn’t that His job?”
I told her that if my husband and I disagree, we wait. We wait on the Spirit to reveal our hearts. And then one or both of us would have better understanding of what caused the divide and one or both would shift as necessary. Then the Spirit would lead us to make decisions jointly. We were both stronger and closer because of it, not only to each other but to the Lord as well.
“Sometimes you have to make a decision quickly,” she challenged.
“The Holy Spirit has never been late one time,” I said.
I love men. I love mutual submission out reverence to Christ. But this is more than who is “in charge.” This is God’s story. In the beginning male and female were to co-rule. (Genesis 1 and 5) It has always been His plan. His plans have not changed.
Let’s stop to clarify the status of us modern Western women. You have only been able to vote since 1920. For not yet 100 years has your voice been heard. Only when men realized that women were voting did they deem women worthy of educating.
Since the fall there has been an overwhelming attack against the image of a woman (and man). You only have to research the devastation globally to see this is true. Can you swallow your Western sensitivities enough to hear that some men in other countries “biblically” beat their wives if they don’t submit?
But God. His overarching story is the redemption of the broken, power-based mentality of men and the redemption of the broken, silent-victim mentality of women. He has completed this through Christ. And now we are invited to walk as co-heirs with Christ, made in His Image, led by His loving Spirit.
Let’s stop acting like empowering men means for women to fall silent behind them. The objective is Husband and Wife rest in His loving embrace.
For the brave of heart:
I want to blow this topic way, way out and offer some piercing questions:
- What did Jesus mean that we are co-heirs with Him? Is this for men only?
- Who was Jesus talking about when he said has come to “set the captives free”? Does that mean everyone but women?
- What do you do with men who say submission scriptures have been largely misinterpreted by men for centuries?
- What does it mean that Christ is the head? How many heads do we need?
Take these back to scripture and to the Spirit who leads us in all truth. Listen to what He says rather than defend what you already think.