How the Fundamentalist and Patriarchal Teachings Can Create Abusive Atmospheres: Part 3

So, what do Patriarchal teachings consist of, beyond what I’ve already discussed? I think this excerpt from Wikipedia lists it succinctly for us.

*God reveals Himself as masculine, not feminine.

*God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of the created order.

*A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector.

*Male leadership in the home carries over into the church: only men are permitted to hold the ruling office in the church. A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres.

*Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home”, the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home.

*God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” still applies to married couples.

*Christian parents must provide their children with a thoroughly Christian education, one that teaches the Bible and a biblical view of God and the world.

*Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection.[6]

Michael Farris notes three examples of patriarchal teaching: that women should not vote, that higher education is not important for women, and that “unmarried adult women are subject to their fathers’ authority.”[7]

According to Rachel Held Evans, the biblical patriarchy movement is “committed to preserving as much of the patriarchal structure of Old Testament law as possible.”[8]

That last statement is the root of the problem within the patriarchal movement – preserving the Old Testament law (Torah). From my interpretation of the Old Testament and what Jesus said He came to do, and did, the patriarch structure that God set up was a type and shadow of His relationship to us through His son Jesus. It was so that no man (Jesus’ bride) had a say, or right, in what happened to them. God is the father, man is the daughter/woman, and Jesus is the groom, come to buy/redeem His bride from the tyranny of the law/God and set her free to be One with Jesus. The part about Jesus making peace with God for man and setting man free by making him a new creation in Jesus is most often overlooked or taught wrongly, if at all. Jesus said He came to fulfill the law, psalms and prophets (Torah), that He was the Word. Then the Word died for all men, fulfilling the law by being the perfect High Priest blameless, holy blood sacrifice that God required for the law to be done away with. Jesus himself said, “It is finished.” Was He lying? So if the Old Testament law has been fulfilled, done away with, finished, then why are we still trying to follow it? Even going so far as to kill people over it?! I believe that people still try to do “right” things to make sure that they are in God’s Book of Life, because they have been falsely taught they aren’t already in God’s Book of Life, if there is even such a thing. The whole point of the patriarchal system was to keep the daughter/bride in a state of submission as property and show that she couldn’t ever be or do anything for herself, especially make herself equal to her groom. What an ugly, tyrannical way to live life! I’m overwhelmingly grateful to Jesus for saving us from that daily grind, and giving to All of us the equality that He intended all along! We are all One with Jesus!

When I started to see people around me as One with me through Jesus, I began to do the “right” things. I began to love them, have compassion on them, take joy or delight in them, make peace with them, show kindness, goodness and gentleness, be faithful and use self-control. The only way I am able to be any of these things is because Jesus first did it, and He is my source for all things good, or right. Now, I am not able to follow this all the time. I have years of patriarch, church, and social indoctrination (or brainwash) that I have to dig out by the roots and burn. But I never once think that I’ve fallen away or out of God’s grace and peace – like Crocodile Dundee said, “Me and God, we’re mates!” Apologizing and asking forgiveness is necessary in my relationships with people, but never with God because He doesn’t keep account anymore. There’s nothing left to show that I’m right or wrong!

So getting back to the patriarch teachings, I hope you can see how outright obsolete they should be! They served their purpose thousands of years ago. It’s past time that light be shed on these suppressing (at the least), abuse enabler teachings and the church, as well as any Christian, should be ashamed that they have perpetrated this on people over the past millennia and more. Here is a recap of what I learned under these patriarchal teachings: women are to be homemakers while men are to be protectors and providers; women shouldn’t have a career, but stay at home and submit to her god-given head and authority, husband; homeschooling is the only godly way to teach your children these things, since public school is turning your child over to the government and humanistic thinking; a woman is always under male authority, 1st her father, then her husband, and maybe down the road her son; children are always a blessing, women are supposed to have as many as they can so that God will bless her family and to raise up little armies for God, so that we can take back the culture and restore it to its biblical foundation.

Now I’d like to share with you some of my personal history. The first, and really only, physical sexual abuse that I remember in my life happened right after my mom and I joined my dad, where he was stationed in South Korea at an Air Force base. It was around the time of my parent’s anniversary and they wanted to spend the night together without me, have some alone time. I don’t know if this was prearranged with this family or if it was last minute, but my parents left me overnight with this family that we had just met. I remember playing with their kids, one of whom was my age – 9, a girl -, and watching “War of the Worlds” movie, the old black and white version. Naturally the daughter and I shared her room that night. After we went to her room, she locked the door and told me to take my clothes off. I was unprepared for this, and yet totally prepared to be a victim. At first I thought she was joking and refused. But when she started taking her clothes off and told me that she would scream and blame me, I became scared and confused. On the one hand I knew this was wrong, but how was I to contact my parents? I also didn’t want to mess up their anniversary night. On the other hand, she was intimidating me with her stance and threats. So I submitted to her violation of me, mind and body. I felt I had no other choice. Not only did I not yell out anyway, but I never told my mom anything, even to this day.    

Shortly after this I remember that I started feeling uncomfortable around my dad. I remember one time in particular that, in my mind, started the downhill slope in our relationship. I was ten, we were still in South Korea and we lived off base amongst the friendly Koreans. I was home educated there because it was easier, but my mom worked so I spent most of my days by myself. One of the house rules was that no friends/people could come in our house without one of my parents present. A good rule. Well, of course I broke it! And of course the one time I did, my dad came home early.

Now, I was raised with spankings, which usually weren’t of an overtly abusive nature – no marks, bruises, broken skin, etc. In general, I was a well behaved, respectful child, with that occasional willfulness. I daresay like most first born kids behave. Well, my dad not only spank me, but made me take my bottoms off and bare my backside to him. At 10. My mom was not home at the time and to this day I have no idea if she ever knew of it. I felt dirty, humiliated and angry, but didn’t really know why, only that he had hurt me inside. That year was when I started experiencing panic attacks. It wasn’t until I was 22 that I even knew what those were and was able to finally do something about them. (In fundamental patriarchal homes you don’t talk with doctors, counselors, even respected church leaders about anything that you may be having trouble with before going through this whole “appeals” process. You’re taught that you are being disloyal to the authority figure when you even think about, let alone get help.) 

I understood and agreed that I should be punished for breaking a rule(or disciplined, as my dad liked to call it, which confused me for years and made it hard to change my responses to the word discipline). I was confused, hurt, etc. by the bare bottom. This had never happened to me before. Thankfully that particular humiliation didn’t occur again, though it would rear its ugly head in other ways. Like my dad giving me wolf whistles, making me sit next to him whenever and wherever we were together, tickling me (especially on my knees and thighs) even though I repeatedly asked him not to, demanding I hug him with a full body hug, making me feel guilty when I didn’t think of him first (i.e. offering him the last piece of pie before I ate it, amongst other things), comparing my mom and me to each other on Sundays when we were dressed for church. Forcing “family time” every night at dinner, where I was expected to bare my soul and have a spiritual revelation from God to share, which would then be picked apart. I was told I was rebellious because I wouldn’t share my heart with him and didn’t I know that rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft, you must be doing something to put holes in your umbrella, and the grill goes on and on and on. Exhausting, since it was every day until I married at 18, and he even tried to carry it forward into my marriage, telling me that my husband wasn’t a good leader since he didn’t lead me in a Bible study every day and we were cursed because we were using birth control, even going so far as to ask me how my sex life was! Yuk!! No wonder I battled schizophrenia from around the age of 10 until about the age of 25 – which I didn’t even know was what I was going through! I asked my husband one day after a couple years of marriage if it was normal to hear a bunch of voices yelling at me in my head, and when I closed my eyes to try and get away from it I would see faces along with those voices. I attribute immersing myself in God’s Grace through teachings by Mike Williams and reading self help books by authors Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer to healing myself of these horrid teachings, and the effects they had on me.

Either when I was 9 or 10, I did the math and realized that my parents had been living together and conceived me before getting married. For most people I think this is no big deal. But when you’re raised with strict morals – no sex outside of marriage, let alone live together! – combined with a mom who would say to me, from my earliest remembrances starting around the age of 5 or so, “I can’t wait until you’re old enough to move out!” and “I can’t wait until you leave so I can do what I want,” as well as hearing that my parents almost divorced when I was 2, I deduced that my parents only married because they were expecting me. I always felt like a piece of luggage dragged around because they had to keep it. So in the face of parents who moralized about “righteous” living, yet certainly had no right to point fingers (but did), I decided that I could get physically involved with a boy and not lose my virginity. I would show them! I wish I could have seen it for the pathetic attempt to get affection and acceptance that it was. From the tender age of mid 11 to early 14, I fooled around with several boys. I did not lose my virginity, but did lose innocence and came to the conclusion that boys were a waste of time and made me feel dirty. One of the boys was persistent, not believing me when I said I was done, and so I told my parents what was going on. I asked forgiveness for being out from under my umbrella of protection and asked their help in telling the boy to leave me alone. They helped me write out what I was to say and sat with me as I made the phone call (he lived about 6 hours away), telling him that I was under my dad’s authority and had broken their trust with me by getting involved with him. I wouldn’t be contacting him anymore and would he please honor this by not contacting me? It was very humiliating and his sister got on the phone and cussed me out. He said he didn’t understand what I was talking about, that he thought we were together for the long term ( I was 14 and he was 15), if I truly loved him I wouldn’t do this. I told him he was better off without me and I meant it. I appreciated their help, but the method was very humiliating. Maybe that was the point. My dad excelled at humiliating me on almost a daily basis, whether he knowingly did so or not.

I also battled depression to the point of almost committing suicide 3 times my 13th year. I got a butcher knife and sat at the kitchen table one time; later got a steak knife and sat in the tub (to help with cleanup), contemplating it – where to cut, how much it would hurt; got out a full bottle of tylenol with a glass of water another time. The thought that kept me from going through with it? What my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Overstreet, said to me, “Suicide is the coward’s way out. Wait awhile, life will get better.” I had asked him one day after school, since I didn’t have anyone at home to get back to right away, what he thought about suicide. Apparently I was thinking about it. I don’t remember specifically having suicidal thoughts at 11, only his response to my question. In my 14th year I told my dad in one of his “tell me your deepest darkest secrets” moments with me, alone, in the dimly lit living room, that I had almost committed suicide three times the year before. His response was to say that he had too. He went on to tell me all the reasons that were weighing on him and probably ended up spiritualizing it, but I tuned him out pretty quick when I realized that he was no help and I had not gotten anything through to him.

Not long after this, I shook my fist at God and told him to take this Christianity crap and shove off! If He wanted anything more to do with me, He was going to have to show me something else, because I didn’t want anything more to do with this false, horrible, unGodly Christianity. I spent several months going through the motions, to keep the “peace” and try to fly under the radar. I still studied the Bible, since I was required to by my parents, but I closed my heart off. In early 1990 one day I opened the Bible, seemingly randomly, to Song of Solomon. As I began to read it, I felt as though blinders were literally removed from my eyes and I suddenly, overwhelmingly felt the immense love of God settle on me. I felt as though Song of Solomon was written by God to me, my own personal love letter from someone who would always love me, no matter what. He became my lover, confidant, best friend, comforter, sanity, everything I needed to survive until such time as I could control my destiny. After this I just knew that there would be more to my life than being or staying a victim.

Thanks for reading! More to come soon!

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