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Author Topic: Women and GC  (Read 63643 times)
mamie
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« Reply #120 on: March 21, 2007, 10:07:15 pm »

I wasn’t sure where to post this latest thought of mine - it was inspired by the latest comments on the Slanderpalooza thread but is SO not about that!! So I thought I’d come back here, to the thread I had started for the purpose of talking about the GC culture as it relates to women. What a surprise to find the last few additions - encouraging thoughts, thanks! But here’s what was troubling me as I shoveled my driveway this morning….

Those of you who are in a position and desire to change the culture of GC, please help bring women out from their invisibility. It’s hard to recognize when something’s missing, but I’m sensitive to it so let me try to raise some awareness:

In the public messages from and about GC, crafted 99% of the time by men, mostly those in leadership, I observe that:

- Women are rarely, if ever, mentioned as integral (and, in fact, crucial) to the early and current work of GC. Certainly, specific women are never (in my experience) credited as doing anything remarkable.
- Elders wives are rarely, if ever, mentioned as influential - even in their own families, let alone the church (except on Mother’s Day and children’s church appreciation day).
- Women who are uniquely gifted or who serve in extraordinary ways are not applauded, or even supported, publicly. (Example, the women who actually ran for office during the DC days when the elders were pushing for a theocracy - have they ever been commended for the hell they went through?? And just an aside - were women chosen because they were the best people for the job, as Gretchen mentioned above, or because it was a strategic choice in a liberal state to have women running?)
- In recent efforts to review the history of the GC movement (Faithwalkers, series in local churches, teachings by national leaders, etc.), do/will you get the impression by listening that women and men were equally committed, equally visionary, equally sold out, equally gifted? Are the individual women who God used in amazing ways mentioned along with individual men? Are they asked to share their perspectives and stories of the early years?

As a whole, my perception is that the fruit of women’s devotion to Jesus is very rarely acknowledged by the leadership of GC, certainly not as a matter of course, freely flowing from men’s lips as the default. The culture of GC seems to be that part of the role of women is to labor quietly behind the curtains, with no expectation of or desire for acknowledgement - Jesus will reward you. And to question that - to ask for recognition, is a reflection of pride.

It’s not that I perceive that the leaders don’t love their wives - if you ASK them, they clearly adore them and acknowledge what terrific women they are. But why do we have to ask?? And why do the elders and leaders have to be reminded to address women in their teachings - and not just the ones about marriage? Why aren’t the specific contributions that gifted women in the body could make recognized, utilized and praised as quickly as those of men? It always felt to me like the default audience for teachings was men - if women can gain from it, great…if not, that’s their deal. Equipping the men was/is the primary goal (has anyone been hearing the “Fathers and Sons” drum that John Hoppler is banging?). I understand that, if you are a man, you won’t (maybe can’t) hear that as sad or frustrating or alarming because you’re included. I’m not verbally included, affirmed, acknowledged…but I’m still expected to be fully engaged, willing to sacrifice for the cause, excited about doing the hard work.

I heard a wonderful African American woman preach once (obviously not GC!) that God designed it so that it takes a man and a woman to birth anything (what a cool insight!) and that all the best fruit of the kingdom can only come from the unique and necessary contributions of both. I believe that, in reality, that was true of GC - you wouldn’t know it by listening to the leaders speak, though. You would have to go to individual women who have been there and ask them in order to hear that side of the story.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the leaders of GC (and every other Christian body) would be quick to credit the women who are every bit as much a part of the work as the men? Regardless of what is taught about women in leadership roles, surely we could all acknowledge that it takes two wings for this bird to fly - two equally strong wings that work in tandem.

I really do wish that the women whose hearts have been hurt by this aspect of GC would speak up so that it doesn’t look like it’s just me on some personal soapbox. I know you’re there, reading….please consider making this message better, louder, more effective…I know there’s a lot at stake for some of you, though, so I understand….
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Miss Current
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« Reply #121 on: March 21, 2007, 10:07:27 pm »

Amen sister! You go girl.
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Miss Current
namaste
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« Reply #122 on: March 31, 2007, 08:47:19 am »

Quote
Okay, Agatha sent me this link, and Gene and I listened to it tonight (our version of a “date night”). Anyway, it’s from last year’s Faithwalkers (what a gold mine last year was!) called “Godly Women in an Ungodly World.”

http://www.gccweb.org/conferences/faithwalkers/2005audio/03-SeminarA1.mp3

Listen for the following:
1. Women as “pillars of support and influence” for the men who are the doers.
2. Women as temptresses, and men as erections waiting to happen.
3. GC women as pure and the “culture” as slutty (us v them).
4. Women as too talkative and needing to “watch themselves.”
5. Assuming everyone’s getting married and that they’re marrying GC men.
6. Women as servants.

Basically, everything we’ve been talking about and more (even the clothes stuff from other posts about thongs!).

Look forward to your responses!


Quote
In the public messages from and about GC, crafted 99% of the time by men, mostly those in leadership, I observe that:

- Women are rarely, if ever, mentioned as integral (and, in fact, crucial) to the early and current work of GC. Certainly, specific women are never (in my experience) credited as doing anything remarkable.
- Elders wives are rarely, if ever, mentioned as influential - even in their own families, let alone the church (except on Mother’s Day and children’s church appreciation day).
- Women who are uniquely gifted or who serve in extraordinary ways are not applauded, or even supported, publicly.


I have to agree completely with this statement.  My big problem with the list quoted above from the Faithwalkers conference (aside from the obvious things others have pointed out) was point number one.

There would likely be no problem if women were treated as pillars of support and influence.  I've seen pastors acknowledge their wives as important, but I've never observed anyone in gcm (teaching) who acknowledged that women were pillars of support.

As in, the movement could not exist without women.  The women slaving behind the scenes made this possible.  Beyond women just being complementary- but as the statement said, being pillars of support; the very foundation of everything that was happening.

The other issue, of course, is the issue of influence.  I read many individuals post how women were/are influential in their congregations.  To those, I would point out that many gcm churches are small, campus churches.  There are no building campaigns.  There are no "site selection" committees for women to serve on.  And so in certain areas, the influence a woman can assert over what happens in the church is really limited.

But the issue is deeper than that.  Women clearly aren't allowed to influence certain things.  Doctrine and teachings (to entire congregations, not just these pitiful little "pep talks" to other women at regional conferences) are not things that women appear to influence.

Historically, you'd always hear the euphemism that "behind every man is a very powerful woman."  The idea being, that a woman exerts intense influence over her husband.  He values her ideas as much/more so than his own.  She may not be able to publically influence doctrine, but one would expect that they would be able to influence their husbands, who would then go on to do these teachings.

All too often though in gcm, when a husband and wife disagree over doctrinal/other matters of faith, the husband always wins out because the wife must submit by default.  So the normal process of discussion, exchange of ideas, or heck, maybe even the husband changing his mind, is totally short-circuited by the patriarchal structure.

You can go on and on about complementarianism versus egalitarianism.  But you just proved everyone's point.  God views the roles of men and women as equally important.  The minute you have to use complementarianism as a justification for the way things are done (ie, "keeping women down"), you're no longer treating women as being made in the image of God.

Circular argument?  Probably. Wink But it's food for thought just the same.

Consider though, the revered role of the Jewish mother throughout history.  Now contrast that to the role of women in gcm.

As far Mark Darling's "I'm a man!" schtick....yeesh.  What a passive agressive way to knock women.  Seriously- harping on the fact that the world is overly feminized?!  For pete's sake, 51% of the population is female.  I can't think of a better example of subtle, disgusting ways that women are made to feel as second class citizens in gcm churches.

Just a great example of how no one in gcm would aspire to be a woman...with all of the limitations it brings.  Mark Darling apparently hates women so much that he has to be uber-certain not to be confused in any way with anything remotely feminine.  :roll:
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jehu
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« Reply #123 on: April 09, 2007, 11:48:15 pm »

I was actually thinking of doing some much needed decorating and then rewarding myself with a bottle of Merlot and a hot bubble bath with candles and a little Sarah in the background.  Love the leather jacket, though, Mark darling.  It's so you.

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steelgirl
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« Reply #124 on: March 16, 2008, 07:14:13 pm »

Quote from: archive
Mamie wrote:

Hi all -
I’ve been visiting the site for a few weeks now. First of all, may I just say how much I appreciate the level of integrity and humility that you are striving to maintain, even while discussing issues that stir up so many strong emotions.

I want to introduce a kind of new thread - I’m not really sure how to do that…this is my first adventure into participating in the blogosphere so please excuse the ignorance….

I should probably say a little about me before I get going on my topic so you’ll know more where I’m coming from. I have an eclectic church background, although primarily evangelical (am blessed by very dear Christian parents). I was not introduced to a GC church until about 10 years ago, when I was in my mid-30’s. I have attended 2 GC churches (2 of the originals, so ones with long histories and strong influences), one for five years, one for 3. I left the last one about a year ago. Some of what I know (and abhor) about GC is from my own experience and observation but much more has come through friendships that I’ve developed with women who came into the “movement” in the 70s as college students. A few are still in GC, most are not. One dear friend just left a couple of months ago, after 30 years in GC - she said it had all of the emotional wreckage of what she imagined a divorce would have after 30 years of commitment to a marriage….

…which leads into the topic. I’ve been surprised that so little of the discussion has centered around the attitudes, doctrine, treatment, and policies regarding women. “Walking wombs” started there but pretty quickly went off on a different track. Ditto with the marriage thread. So here are a few of my observations:

- Although there is a strongly held belief that women are not to hold any leadership positions except over other women and children, it is not strongly communicated (another manifestation of what I would call deception…certainly not being forthright about the extent/extremism of their view). You really only find out the hard way, and even then, it’s not a flat-out “No, your genetic make-up disqualifies you.” The message is so incredibly subtle (with the exception of the position of elder - they are fairly overt with that)…it’s only after a long while of experiencing not so much what’s said and done but what’s NOT said and done that you think something isn’t right.

- The stance of the leadership is muddied by the frequent situation in which women ARE allowed to assume leadership of tasks that men don’t want - they just aren’t given credit (title, recognition, etc.). It’s often behind the scenes - which is where GC women are told they should desire to be anyway. Of course, a person can’t bring that up because then you would be exhibiting “selfish ambition”….

- I am stunned by the neglect of single women older than college-age. This is the demographic group that I have the most contact with and that I have been a part of while in GC. I personally know of at least half-a-dozen women who in their work-lives are or have been successful, high-level leaders in national-level businesses or agencies, managing multi-million dollar budgets. And yet they can’t even be head usher in their own GC church??? They are not even asked to serve in an advisory capacity (well, okay, one was, but only in private meetings with the pastor - and he always took the credit for her ideas in public). Their gifts are ignored. GC has NEVER known what to do with articulate, bright, visionary, dynamic women - except to get them “under a man’s covering” (whatever the heck that means!) as soon as possible! If marriage didn’t happen, the result has been invisibility. I don’t know any better term. We’ve not been spoken harshly to…we’ve just not been spoken to at all - not in any meanignful way. We’ve not been treated badly…we’ve not been treated at all… You get my point.

- The archtype of the “ideal GC woman” is one who supports, serves and obeys her man, with a quiet and cheerful spirit and a focus on raising children (the more the better). I fully expect to see fallout in the next decade as the first generation of traditional GC married women hit the empty-nest phase of adult life and slowly wake up to the realization that there just ain’t a heckuva-lot for them to do any more and the men don’t really know what to do with them. And those whose marriages were based on serving compatability will be in the greatest trouble. I think we’ve already started to see the beginnings of a trend of failed marriages (whether by infidelity, divorce, or serious dysfunction).

- For single women, the archtye was morphed in the early days into (from what I’ve heard) serving either the men in general (competing with other single girls over the privilege of doing an elder’s laundry or making their lunch - I kid you not!!) or being chosen as the “indentured servant” of a married couple who had begun “filling the man’s quiver.” These relationships were so manipulative and spiritually abusive that I know of at least one 50+ year old woman who still can’t bring herself to move away from the family that she has been emotionally tied to all these years. Of course, there is a great deal of love there - the real and good kind - but the loyalty card was played so long and so well that, in spite of the fact that she would be much more nurtured and connected if she lived in a city where her longtime girlfriends live, she can’t find the strength to leave.

Last yr, I met up with a a daughter of one of the first generation.  She came from a big family and her sister told me was helping a family.  I have this feeling that they still adopt many of the traditional roles.
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steelgirl
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« Reply #125 on: March 16, 2008, 07:23:33 pm »

Quote from: "archive"
puff of purple smoke wrote:

At my GCM singles college group, women were taught in their life groups that if a brother in the life group asked them to do something, they should submit to him on the basis of his gender. I know this from talking to a female friend of mine. It was also openly taught that women were not to teach men, and that their job in a marriage was to submit to their man’s decision. Since there are bible verses that can be used to justify these beliefs, it never really bothered me too much (being honest here).

There were times when it seemed a bit excessive to me, however. For instance, an acceptable model of a Christian husband’s leadership was discussed once as such: It would not be unusual, or inappropriate, for a GCM husband to come home from work one day, and tell his wife that they were moving to another city to be on a church plant. This is without any prior warning or asking her input. This was viewed as acceptable husband leadership. Furthermore, this analogy was used to justify the way GCM pastors led their flock. They made decisions, and let the flock know after the decisions had been made. This was “God’s model of submission/leadership” that applied to marriage, the church, and so on. It was clearly taught from the pulpit as well.


This is not at all a pictured of how Christ loved the church
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steelgirl
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« Reply #126 on: March 16, 2008, 07:34:49 pm »

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puff of purple smoke wrote:

My only point is that things change. It is possible that there are still pockets of anti-intellectualism in GC. There may have been pockets or themes of oppression of women in GC, as well. I don’t believe that to be the way GC is operating anymore. If it’s that way in your area, I don’t believe it will remain that way.

I’m one of the people where that is the “way it is” in my area (in more problem areas than just the topic of women), and I have little reason to believe there will be any change any time soon. Just trying to be realistic here. It’s good that your GCM church has improved, but in my area, where a number of local churches are run by people who were with GC since the 70’s and 80’s, and continue to act as they did back then in so many ways, is it really likely there will be change any time soon? Feel free to believe so, but I have heard little to convince me of this.

It seems like GCers keep trying to convince people here that “change is afoot” or whatever, but the only evidence I’ve seen provided is anecdotal, of which I have plenty of counter-anecdotally-evidence I could provide to point to the contrary. Rather than believe after decades of this stuff GC is finally “changing its ways”, it seems far more likely that “good” GC churches (like the one ex-shep describes) will probably remain good, “bad” GC churches will remain bad, and newly planted churches will be a mixture, depending on which leaders plant them. That is, without some sort of intervention from the rest of the GC body, or from the GC leadership. Given we know that at least one highly influential national leader is opposed to any such change in the organization, I tend to view this as unlikely. But it could happen, I guess..

The church I was in, was good for college students at all times.  The community was a different story.  It started out good, but then a big move to the headquarters.  For 2 yrs I went through some Hell.  I did not realize it, perhaps thats why things started to calm down as soon I was checking out another church in addition to this church.
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steelgirl
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« Reply #127 on: March 16, 2008, 07:44:44 pm »

[
And, just for the record, Mamad, I wasn’t around in the early days when the whole women-serve-men-by-doing-menial-crap was going on. That was in the 70’s and I wasn’t in GC then…but I have heard enough women who were around then corroborate the story to believe it. From what I’ve been told, the guys believed they were following the early church model of having the elders be devoted to “prayer and the Word” - and so, of course, they didn’t have time to do trivial, mindless, unspiritual things like laundry and cooking. That’s where the womenfolk came in. I like to think I wouldn’t have stuck around for that nonsense…but there must have been something very compelling about the fervant “every nation in this generation” siren call that would cause perfectly normal, intelligent women to think this was okay….and they had some wonderful friendships among them that have lasted to this day, in many cases, even though most don’t go to a GC church any more.[/quote]

Oh yes it was funny over 2 yrs, this girl I knew through the GCM church came to a potluck at my present church with another girl who attends my present church.  I think I heard her for some reason tell how her parents got hooked up, in that men would come over and eat what the women cook.  Isn't it interesting that she was telling me this, when I didn't ask.
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #128 on: March 17, 2008, 11:44:39 am »

Quote from: "steelgirl"
I want to introduce a kind of new thread - I’m not really sure how to do that…this is my first adventure into participating in the blogosphere so please excuse the ignorance…

Technically it would be more like the forumosphere, but we get your drift.  Smiley

Quote from: "steelgirl"
- For single women, the archtye was morphed in the early days into (from what I’ve heard) serving either the men in general (competing with other single girls over the privilege of doing an elder’s laundry or making their lunch - I kid you not!!) or being chosen as the “indentured servant” of a married couple who had begun “filling the man’s quiver.”

During my GCx time (early 1980s), I was a single male. None of the sisters competed to do my laundry or make my lunch.  :cry:  I guess I was not enough of a mover-and-shaker in the church to draw such attention.

I did see some of the single sisters do a lot of babysitting work for married couples. AFAIK, none of the situations were too bad for the single babysitter.

I recall talking to one of the men in the church right after he had returned from a married couples conference. I asked what they learned and he said, "We learned that the singles should be taking care of our kids so we can go out and share the gospel." So I guess you could say the arrangement was by design.
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Immortal_Raven
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« Reply #129 on: March 17, 2008, 12:28:48 pm »

I got that impression too, that the singles should take care of children while the married couples go out and preach.  It puzzled me a lot.  These are the child's parents, shouldn't the parents take care of their children.

I don't have my bible with me at the moment, but there are several verses that mention training a child up in the Lord, and parents being the ones to do that.

As for the single women and women submitting in general thing, it was pretty evident.  My college group had about 5 girls for every 1 guy.  So it seemed like a lot of girls were competing for attention and things of that nature.  GC seems to be a harbor for a lot of girls who are raised with the idea that they should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  It also seems to be a harbor for men who think that they're always right and they have the final say.  I didn't like this methodology.  I'm a guy, I like to think I'm always right, but I make mistakes.  And my wife backs me up no matter what and supports me by giving input on decisions, giving advice, calling me on it when I mess up, etc...  That's how it's supposed to work.  Marriage is a two-way street.  Otherwise a wife could be classified as another piece of property a man owns.

-Immortal_Raven
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« Reply #130 on: March 17, 2008, 04:23:37 pm »

I was in this church for 15 years.  It was that way when I was there.  The singles were expected to help out the marrieds.  I spent alot of my time (weekly) helping a married woman with her children.  I did this for YEARS.  Once I left the church this woman wouldn't give me the time of day although she pretended to be my best friend when I was serving her and her family over the years.  

I don't like how the women don't seem to have a voice in their marriages.  I was asking a woman I have known in the past about her going back into her career field and she looked at her husband and said "I don't know am I?"  It was apparent that she had little say about this and I think it was troublesome to her (but of course, like a submissive wife would never complain).
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« Reply #131 on: May 12, 2008, 07:35:10 am »

I don't know if this is the right topic but I will put it here. John Meyer told me once that he didn't think that women necessarily should have the right to vote!! that their husbands could "speak for them". He acknowledged that as a single woman I wouldnt necesarily be included but was certainly not troubled by that. the other weird part of this was that this was during the "politcal activism" stage (1988?) (Jack Kemp was a presidential candidate?) and he had encouraged my roommate (a woman leader) to run for state office because as he told me there were no men available/ready/with time so she had to stand in the gap.
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« Reply #132 on: May 12, 2008, 10:20:16 am »

Quote from: "ustawannabee"
I don't know if this is the right topic but I will put it here. John Meyer told me once that he didn't think that women necessarily should have the right to vote!! that their husbands could "speak for them". He acknowledged that as a single woman I wouldnt necesarily be included but was certainly not troubled by that. the other weird part of this was that this was during the "politcal activism" stage (1988?) (Jack Kemp was a presidential candidate?) and he had encouraged my roommate (a woman leader) to run for state office because as he told me there were no men available/ready/with time so she had to stand in the gap.


American History is interesting on this topic. During the women's suffrage movement there were two sources of opposition that you might not expect, though since it was feminist you might expect one.

One, many women during the time actually were opposed to the idea of women voting, because they didn't think it was their right: their husband was their head, etc.

Two, Pastors.

The reason being was that the society saw itself as composed of family units, and that each unit should have a single representative, and function as one voice, and that we should in no way support any form of individualism. That is, they even thought and predicted that letting any individualism exist would cheapen the society and make things break down.

One of the gals I know at university just wrote quite a provocative paper on that subject to punch at the professor.... I don't even think this gal is a Christian, either, yet she's one of the more consistent thinkers I know, and she's been having a blast challenging modernist thought on the sexes. I might get a copy of her paper (I've only read the rough but near-final draft).

Here's a quote from 1884 that's very interesting:

"Society as at present constituted is based upon the Family as the social unit. The State is not an aggregation of individuals, but an organism, of which the family is an integral part. This social unit is represented by the constituted head of the family,—the husband, father, or householder, to whom the care and support and interests of the family are naturally intrusted. Whatever tends to disintegrate this organic family unity is a violation of the divine constitution, and can work only mischief, whether it be enforced celibacy, easy divorce, or female suffrage. Individualism is the bane of our modern social life, as is but too apparent in the theories and practices respecting marriage, which is fast becoming a mere contract, with reserved individual rights, dissolvable at the will of the parties, instead of that sacred and indissoluble union which is its divine idea. It is, whether applied to marriage, the family, or the State, an essentially infidel theory whose legitimate issue is the destruction of the family, of government, and the church, as divine institutions, and the exaltation and assertion of individual ‘rights’ under the flag of Each one for himself."

If you want to read the paper: http://www.bible-researcher.com/women/suffrage.html

Another useful paper which addresses women (by a women) at that same site (which seems ever useful and never afraid to touch on controversy):

http://www.bible-researcher.com/murray1.html

And I would cough-up some medical papers on the differences of information gathering, processing, sorting, and regurgitation...but I'm forgetful of their location at the moment...let's just say they take spouses and separate them, hook-up to brain-scanners, and start asking questions: it's very amazing, very telling, but also not something to discuss in easily offended company (some of the implications of a lot of it aren't pliable to our sensitivities); however it does often demonstrate the different beauties one finds in the very differences between the sexes...but also how massive they are as well: an illustration would be how it's well known among advertisers and politicians that men are the second thought...target women, and I don't know if they even know why it works aside from assumptions about what they know does, but we do now, even medically....although it has nothing to do with low intelligence or stupidity. Basically, though, they have a woman think about something, or regurgitate memories, and all the emotional centers light up...but what's shocking is that at the same time the parts of the brain which activate for rational thought, logic, etc. dim (! this isn't what we'd expect).

What's interesting about men is that you do the same with them and their rational centers light up...and their emotional centers shut down: EVEN IF YOU ASK ABOUT THEIR WEDDINGS! And then when the spouses (separated, and not knowing what they'll be asked) are told to answer questions like, say, "what was your wedding like", those brain-scans  I just mention result, and the men recount facts, while the woman recounts

... colors, smells, how people were feeling, what people were talking about, the emotions, the flowers and the kinds of flowers, the ...etc.

the man...

...we had 120 guests and 2 more showed up who we had to unexpectedly pay for and rush to get extra plates of food made for the reception for higher prices, we started at 9:30 and . . .

But this all seems to hold true across disciplines.

I notice, though, something. Besides just GC*, I've been in a variety of situations where women I know are in spiritually bad situation or company. It's almost never theology that seems to dissuade them, but emotional stuff. Personally I'm disturbed by this, but being a guy who doesn't want to take advantage of those kinds of things I'm often at a loss for how to deal with those situations...especially knowing how easy it would be to use those points to "help".

Anyway, if any of this offends or makes angry, I'm sorry. Just noting some history and observations...and to qualify, a bit, some of the most intelligent and satisfying company I know are women, not for their gender, but for their brains: some of them mind-bogglingly so...though I'm betting the same things will hold-up true as time passes and I'm around those people.

Anyway, again, no offense, belittling, devaluation, or any ill or thinking-down is here offered, intended, or held.
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« Reply #133 on: May 12, 2008, 12:32:46 pm »

Women's roles in GCI or any conservative Christian church, Muslim mosque, Buddist or Hindu Temple, or Jewish syngog are a matter of culture and conditioning. They can be changed.

Gottman's research into Men's "flooding" response to emotional stimuli is correct but it misses one important dynamic that is necessary to understand the bigger picture.

Men won't always react that way, and women can begin reacting that way as well.

Here is one simple exception to the stereotypical rule and it's reason.

As men age, their testosterone levels go down ( male meopause) and they tend to become less matter of fact and more emotional due to the heightened  effect of naturally occurring estrogen in their bodies. A man's mid-life-crisis is actually a fluctuation in hormone levels. Men get more emotional, think less rationally and act in ways that can get quite bizarre. ( Dress young, buy toys,  seek to regain their fitness etc.) yes, our culture gives them clues what to want ( red sports car, young blonde) but the restless urge is driven by hormones. You've seen the divorces.

After the fluctuations end, men can find themselves easier going, less driven, more in tune with their emotions. They become good grandfathers.

As women age, their estrogen levels diminish and the testosterone starts to effect them. They become more asssertive, more matter of fact, less incapacitated by their emotions. A women's mid-life crisis ( hormome fluctuation) can bring about equally bizarre behavior. Women can exhibit more decisive/less emotional  behaviors, life altering career initiatives, new starts by leaving baggage behind.... leading to more divorces.

 After the fluctuations end women find themselves capable and apt at leading. They become good grandmothers.

Adding to the complexity of the picture is the factt hat many of these recent extreme hormone storms have been brought about by the changing chemistry in our environment. PCB's, anti-biotics, growth enhancers, steroids, you name it, it is now there and it is effecting us.

The world is not a simple place and trying to blame one aspect of it for all the bad behavior does no one any good.

God knows all this, knows our frailties, knows our weaknesses, knows our pride and our selfishness. God has indeed already had mercy on us all. He has sent a redeemer to pay the price for the evil caused by our human-ness.

Hallelujah!
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« Reply #134 on: May 12, 2008, 12:52:48 pm »

Very very interesting... : )

And yes social conditions change...but wherever the word speaks it is transcendent of culture...as often though people say "that was because of culture" even higher-criticism would reject those explanations for knowing the actual circumstances are contrary to those who are trying to wriggle-out of obeying God.

Though one must qualify, saying, that the word might record something...women in the OT having piercings in the nose, for instance; yet we wouldn't take that and say "see, we MUST" do it! Recorded events might be written for our example...but we must be careful regarding getting the passage's intent right--which is usually clued by other teachings elsewhere (hope to give a great example a little later). But there are passages which are plain commands and even contradictory to the times they're given and yet people say "that's not for today".

Personally I do see a problem with individualism...and no I don't think women incapable. Yet Paul, for instance, wrote letters for distribution, in an empire where the Roman women were often quite independent, able to divorce at will (and take all their property and money, including dowry, so that the Romans actually lamented the idea of marrying rich women), and yet he still said "the man is the head of the woman"...though we don't dare forget to mention "the head of man is christ". Personally I think it would be the best idea to have a family sit-down and discuss the issues and be in agreement, regarding everything from the very important (Christ and God's Word and its teachings) to what seems petty but is important (politics and politicans, etc.), and then stand together in those things.

But the word does set-forth clear roles for men and women, from beginning to end, over thousands of years of different (no the events, cultures, and conditions in the Bible aren't all the same, and I don't even like people calling them "Biblical" as if to lump-together them all in that way) times and cultures: often in its commands contrary to the peoples and those times.

It's something we should be careful about, and study with the intent to follow God on it. More thoughts?
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« Reply #135 on: May 12, 2008, 01:42:16 pm »

I can think of only one proof text that summarizes the whole male/female dynamic.

Husbands, love your wives.
Wives, see to it that you respect your husbands.

Remember, this is a cycle. it doesn't matter where you start but I'll start with the man. These are also OVER_GENERALIZATIONS for the purpose of this post.

Husbands( men) are naturally selfish and want their way. Testosterone will express itself in assertiveness.  Cultural expressions of that tendancy differ, but we can just about predict how we expect a "man" from our own culture to behave.... as in independant person making choices and standing by them and ignoring any one else's thoughts to the contrary.

It takes something special to overcome that natural tendancy.   Love.... a sacrificial love.... a "love in spite of" love. A love that overcomes the assertive competative ego driven behavior.

No man wants to be seen as weak..... but a spouse can easily see the hypocritical weaknesses of a mate.

Women are also naturally selfish and want their own way. Estrogen will express itself in cooperation. Cultural expressions of that tendancy differ, but we can just about predict how we expect a "woman" from our culture to behave.... as a collaborator looking for consensus to stand by and despising "selfish independance".

It takes something to overcome this tendancy.... respect. Again, it is a respect that overcomes the natural tendancy.

No woman wants to be seen as  helpless or dependant. A woman can resent how she has to rely on an arrogant selfish man.But a spouse can easily see how  helpless and dependant a woman makes herself to be.

Loving a naturally manipulative self seeking person is hard
Respecting a naturally aloof  self seeking person is hard.

That is why Paul wrote that.

anything beyond that is cultural expression.

And when the tables turn at midlife.... and the woman wants respect and the man wants love,  it can be a very confusing time.
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theresearchpersona
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« Reply #136 on: May 12, 2008, 01:59:47 pm »

Um...

Personally I wouldn't want to be married to someone who wasn't dependent. And by that I don't mean I would want to be married to someone because they were dependent on me, but rather that once married we would become dependent, purposefully, (both), and rely and give and alter our own plans and desires, schedules...if I were planning to go to another country real quick but then found a wife and she wasn't ready or had other things to do first, I wouldn't go "see ya honey" (even if we weren't yet married). I hope it would work the other way around too: people adapt and make room for one another.

And as far as demands go...if they're necessary, I hope they'd be met (i.e. I would demand we seek to obey God wholly and out of love, with the proper fear of Him--He's God, after all), I hope we'd make demands on one another and be expecting, but I would also hope we didn't do so selfishly...you can tell when a gal loves a guy as she increases demands and dependence on the guy, and that he loves her (at the very least as a sister) when he is eager to acquiesce; you can also see love when people go out of their way for another, or when they just pay attention to the little things...even when the other may not return it too.

And a man may not want to be seen as weak, but I also think they don't want to be unseen in their weaknesses...they don't want to hide themselves, just as I hope a wife wouldn't try to hide herself. Testosterone doesn't just assert itself, either, though, it takes action...which can be expressed in ways no one could accuse of being selfish.

As to love "in spite of", that's a cherished love...it's also the one that costs us dearly but what we put up for.

Where do you get the thought that estrogen will express itself in cooperation, by the way? and also "we can just about predict how we expect a "woman" from our culture to behave.... as a collaborator looking for consensus to stand by and despising "selfish independance"?

I think when people are truly in love, in Christ, they will labor not only to completely unite, (bodily not being the hard part), seeking the Truth and striving to be of the same mind, therefore speaking the same thing in everything: something only possible with the Holy Spirit, I think, but which also outflows from love. Even before that, I guess, when people are in love they begin to be able to predict things about the other accurately, or tell if they're fibbing or not (say, at a game), or when something is wrong despite pretense otherwise. I also think that we see too much of "selfish man" in our society, and that there are more caring, even careful, men than we think: I don't know if I'd be one, but I try to be (though I'm neither dating nor married, I just mean in general), and hope that other would testify well on my behalf: and appreciate when they're corrective (accurately, an important illustration of an inaccurate situation being like the times when GC starts telling a someone how "unteachable" he's being when really he's just being "teachable" by God rather than being taken captive by any mis-teaching on their behalf; or when they tell everyone how unteachable someone else was).

Appreciating the thoughts.
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« Reply #137 on: May 12, 2008, 02:22:27 pm »

M y friend, I may not have the answers..... they may be beyond me.

 I have learned that after all my years I think I have it down, and suddenly it turns out that I was wrong.

Also, as I read your post about what you want, it sounds pretty inexperienced and idealistic to me. That isn't a bad thing.

Hormonal love (lust) and it's cousin ....oxytocin friendliness ( another human chemical induced delusional condition) afflict us all.

Before Science could detect them and name them, we humans had to explain the evidence of their existence somehow.

Now we should know better. But still,  when it's your time to be influenced by them, no amount of rational thought will sway you from the reality you are experiencing.

It's rather like the cult you escaped from. You didn't leave until you were ready.

Remember it is God that causes repentance and gives you faith. It is God that saves you in spite of yourself. When you see how useless, un-needed, inconvenient, and burdensome you are to God, and yet God saves you in spite of your true condition, you will see what Jesus meant when he said
"he who is forgiven little loves little, he who is forgiven much loves much."
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« Reply #138 on: May 12, 2008, 08:50:36 pm »

Remember it is God that causes repentance and gives you faith. It is God that saves you in spite of yourself. When you see how useless, un-needed, inconvenient, and burdensome you are to God, and yet God saves you in spite of your true condition, you will see what Jesus meant when he said
"he who is forgiven little loves little, he who is forgiven much loves much."

Mostly agreed except for the "burdensom" part: he's too big for us to be any real burden...we can't interfere with him.

And I do understand the idealism stuff...but I'm also not unaware (or inable to fight) hormones: I AM in a situation where I'm having to try to be faithful and not train-wreck a gal while also dealing with the GC stuff: I'm around the Christians...I'm not participating, however, with GC...and when I'm around the GC I'm there guarding, say, the unbelievers that might be there from being taken captive, and there talking to them about the Bible and contering anything unbiblical that I might.

I'm also unwilling, though, to give-up following God and follow-after a girl, or GC for a girl...ever know someone could be totally accessible to you, but in order to obey God you have to give-up what you know would "work"...but what would you be getting in trade for God? Is there anything more precious or worth more than Him, or even as much? No...and the thing that even keeps me around with that gal as well as all the others is for their spiritual states...by now she and I often seem pretty distant and inable to even communicate much, anymore: heartWRENCHING, but it's God we trust in...for His will not necessarily even "getting the girl", especially when you're more interested in her, and all the other sisters' and brothers' sight getting set on Christ...and working in encouragement for them to truly to that, and speaking about scriptural stuff that points the way, and being the guy who creates the rub that unsettles people from comfort in error...and when you're around a group and a bunch of people who outnumber you, who've been in it much longer and for years...it hurts more: seems like too much and too many to handle.

GC thinks we're the enemy...they don't seem to get that many here are just very much concerned...and protesting all that's unbiblical.
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« Reply #139 on: May 13, 2008, 04:41:09 am »

TRP,   at least you are open about your motives and how you express your frustrations.

I know this is all totally off topic, but I feel it is valid to interject it here due to the latest content, much of which I have contributed.

This is copied from an online article by  Dr. Elio Frattarolli....

http://www.eliofrattaroli.com/Chapter.asp

Whenever a psychotherapist or psychiatrist has too great a need to cure his patients—in order to prove his own worth, for instance, rather than out of concern for what the patient needs—he will tend to become easily frustrated and intolerant of patients who don’t get better quickly. Freud called this tendency furor sanandi—“the rage to cure.” It is both an essential ingredient and a universal problem in the motivation of all who are drawn to the helping professions, and one of the primary reasons why all psychotherapists and psychiatrists need psychotherapy for themselves. Until they learn to recognize and come to terms with this rage to cure, therapists generally have trouble distinguishing their own needs from their patients’ needs.

If you substitute any of the words such as "Psychotherapists" with "Church Leaders" or even  "People with Wisdom about abusive groups"  and then you also substitute "Patients"  with " Church Members of Abusive Groups".... you get a whole new understanding of some of the behavior you observe on both sides of the equation.

The Rage to Cure can apply to anyone who is helping, wants to help, thinks they are helping, or is trying in any way to lead someone else.

The harder you beat on someone to let go, the harder they will hold on. Sometimes the effect we seek isn't what we get, and sometimes the effect we seek isn't attributable to our efforts.

This is excerpted from an online article by Jonathan Easton

Theodore Jacobs introduced the panel saying that the relationship between analytic treatment aims and the goal of positively affecting patients' lives is not clear-cut. Some patients appear engaged in analysis but remain static. They leave discontented, despite having attained “the oft-cited goal of understanding how their minds work.” Others fall short of analytic goals, do not make internal rearrangements, but alter their lives significantly. Such patients may change due to nonanalytic factors, though they believe analytic work caused their improvement. Substantial analytic work can be done without affecting the patient's life, while in other instances major life goals are achieved following meager analytic change. We emphasize insight or structural change, and believe these dynamic changes result in more adaptive compromise formations. This formulation “says nothing about the patient's life.” But in reporting cases we stress “life gains,


Substitute Leader, Elder, Pastor  for Analyst,  Substitute church member for Patient,  substitute Discipleship for Analysis.

Think outside the box, people.  If you want more info, simply ask.
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