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An Unnecessary Jesus?

T he day I began to write about domestic spiritual abuse and the abusive aspect of modern patriarchy, especially within the Christian homeschooling movement, initiated a response I've heard repeatedly since: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." It hasn't always been clear whether people mean to say "Don't throw Jesus away just because some Christians misrepresent the gospel" or "Don't throw away patriarchy because of patriocentrists" or "Just because there might be some bad, there's good too" or "Don't have a knee-jerk reaction to something that has a lot of good, just because some people may do it wrong." I would like to humbly state that my entire goal is to actually get to that baby ~ at least, the One born of the virgin Mary who became for us the water of life. Not that He needs rescuing, but because He's being pushed away until we're left with a murky sludge, poisonous, thick, and served with God's name in a 'biblical' chalice.

The water of death.   
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-8)
Patriocentricity is spiritual abuse. It is a false gospel. It preaches a different Jesus and renders the Way, Truth, and Life, who is our only Priest and Sacrifice and Mediator, unnecessary. In his latest article, my friend Lewis  reminds us that the veil in the temple was ripped by God at the crucifixion of Jesus, and then writes of patriocentricity:
...Sewing up the veil, stitch after stitch, until soon, their wives and children are once again separated from a loving, caring, forgiving, and readily accessible (through Christ) God. Men defying scripture to become "high priest of the home". Unfortunately for this methodology, the Spirit of God doesn't reside in a temple made by man (Acts 17:24) and doesn't dwell in the "home". This negates the need for any "high priest of the home", as the high priest, literally defined, is one who deals with God on behalf of the people. WE are the temple. I repeat...WE are the temple. WE, through the completed work of Christ, house the Spirit of God within us. There is ONE who deals with God on our behalf: Jesus Christ (1st Timothy 2:5). All of the scripture speaks against the notion of "the high priest of the home". It's a dangerous, destructive, and spiritually abusive idea. No more need for a high priest. We have a perfect and eternal High Priest who doesn't need our help. His work is complete.
Lewis calls this, rightly, "Patriarchal Apostasy."
If you take Jesus out of the equation, their authoritarian culture doesn't change. If you take the authoritarian culture out of the equation, they have no Jesus. It IS their Jesus.
Dear friends, this is serious! In the true Jesus and His gospel there is simplicity.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Gal. 3:1-4)
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor. 3:12-16)
God Himself ripped the veil. The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands. He has poured out His Spirit on all who believe ~

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:16-18,emphasis added)

Prophets are, in part, servants of God indwelt by the Holy Spirit, speaking truth. But, "Do not quench the Spirit," Paul warns. "Do not despise prophecies. Test all things, hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." Those who work to repair the veil and who quench the Spirit in the lives of those seeking to follow the true Christ serve the worst kind of evil...it is evil bathed in light.

This isn't about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
It's about spiritual warfare. 

My Upcoming Podcast with Karen Campbell of "That Mom"

This Friday, That Mom Karen Campbell will host Part One of our podcast interview with an opportunity to win a copy of my book, Quivering Daughters ~ Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy. If you haven't listened to her current Patriarchy & Patriocentricity 2 series, or the original series from 2007, please consider setting aside time to listen to these podcasts. If you have any questions about patriocentricity, you will be glad you did. (Click here for the first podcast series ~ highly recommended.)

Family Dynamics

"...no two children, even within the same family, have identically the same parents. 
That is because the personality and gender of each child 
brings out different things in the same parents." 
~ recently quoted by Shari Howerton, author of Breaking the Chains

I think about this concept often. It's especially interesting when looking at the dynamics of a Quiverfull family, where the number of children are often greater than most. Why do some experience shame and grief, while others within the same household have nothing but uplifting memories, and no apparent aftereffects? Does birth order play a role? Why do some struggle with depression, while others within the same household seem absolutely fine? What is your experience?

When the Hands are Loving, Where Does the Pain Come From?

C arolyn doesn't know why she's crying. "It doesn't make sense," she says. "I don't go hungry. I have everything I need. We are a close family. I've never been hit. I know I'm a sinner and have asked God over and over to show me what I've done wrong and what I need to change, but nothing gets better ~ in fact, it gets worse! From the outside, everything looks great. But inside I'm going crazy. I can't take this much longer."

Adult daughters like Carolyn write me often, agonizing over the cognitive dissonance of external versus internal. Of appearance versus heart, which is a theme revealed early in the pages of Scripture:  So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before Him!” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam.16:6-8)

This passage describes looking at the flesh and drawing spiritual conclusions. I believe we can find a parallel between the context of these verses and patriocentric homes where almost always, everything looks "right". Children are buried in schoolbooks or romping cheerfully around the yard. Sons are chopping firewood or plowing fields. Daughters are baking bread or sewing. We might be inclined to exclaim a similar injunction to Samuel's: "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him!" But as we see, there is danger in looking at the flesh (outward appearance, actions, and other external features) and assuming that because it looks godly and biblical, that it is ordered by the Lord. Or because there is no overt abuse, that everyone is okay on the inside. Where the heart is. And while Jesus cares about our entire being, body included, His healing isn't limited to flesh. He cares about things unseen. And we should, too.

The Problem with Appearance

It's a horrifying truth that physical abuse and sexual abuse exist, even within families who make an effort to live holy lives apart from the influence of a wicked culture. Many have told me, in the agony of alone-ness, that no one within their own, like-minded community ever knew what really happened inside their homes. But overt abuse is not the only kind, the worst kind, or even the most common within families who heartily endorse the doctrines of Biblical Patriarchy. There is other abuse that alters not one's appearance, necessarily (although it may over time), but the heart. And when abuse affects someone's relationship with God, understanding of Scripture, and leads to serious emotional and spiritual pain, it means that something terrible is happening!

Have you ever felt a raindrop land on your face? Or walked by a pool, only to be lightly splashed by children? These little droplets are relatively inconsequential. Although historical accounts of this practice are debatable, the use of water is described in the following method of torture: "A prisoner was tied to a table or the floor, and his head was strapped in place so that he couldn't move anything. Water was then dripped onto his forehead, one drop at a time. It drove the person insane, and after a period the victim would reveal the secret, confess to the crime, or agree to do anything his or his captors requested to get them to stop the torture. This was particularly favored in circumstances where torture was necessary, but no evidence of physical damage could show."  Source While obviously an extreme example, this situation illustrates how seemingly innocuous things can, in fact, over time have a grave psychological and behavioral effect while bodily signs never appear. How many adult children of patriarchy are emotionally and spiritually constrained? How many live with constant dripping on the face, held firmly by straps man-labeled, "God's way"? "Biblical womanhood"? "How to honor your parents"?

Consider the conflict in an adult daughter's heart when she looks at hands that have fed her, bathed her, stroked her hair, tied her shoes, bandaged her knees, and folded in prayer for her. She knows these are kind gestures. Christ-like, even. How to reconcile them, then, with messages ~ verbal or implied ~ like these?
  • If you move out of your parents' home for any reason other than marriage, it will be like committing parental adultery.
  • Having a job in the world is against God's plan for women.
  • Your depression is demonic. 
  • Godly womanhood means that you will not be given any calling other than motherhood, or that other callings are less important.
  • Biblical womanhood means that your father will have a vision for your life and that you were created for the purpose of being a wife and mother. This is what the Bible teaches, and there are no exceptions to His will.
  • God won't reveal His will to you. Your father will hear God's voice for you, and tell you what His will is for your life.
  • Because Eve was deceived, you cannot discern for yourself what is from God, or what is from the world. You are listening to your flesh.
  • The Bible says to honor your parents. Therefore you need to do what I tell you. Otherwise you are foolish and disobedient.
  • If you choose a college education, you are going against God's plan.
  • If you believe God is calling you to the ministry or anywhere outside of your home, you are wrong and obviously don't know the voice or will of God. God doesn't call women to leave their home.
Many beautiful, seemingly idyllic families use these messages and more to influence the lives of their adult daughters. While some might appear to have basis in Scripture, a closer look and a testing of fruit offers a devastating reminder that appearances can be deceiving. It feels like torture to consider that perhaps these messages are acquired apart from the Spirit of the Lord. It feels like betrayal to suggest that maybe these teachings are abusive even when they are delivered with gentle hands and a soft tongue.

This kind of dissonance creates confusion. While teaching is intended to support and defend God's plan for living, a thoroughly patriocentric core emerges in the daily praxis of home and family. Perhaps a better way to understand patriocentricity is found in James 3: self-seeking. Where there is self-seeking, we learn from James, there is confusion and every evil thing. Jesus reminds us that those who desire to enter the Kingdom must become as little children, and yet daughters of patriarchy discover all too often that entrance to the Kingdom itself is barred by those who hear God on their behalf.

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

This can be done gently.
This can be done sweetly, with biblical, loving, concerned words.
This is abuse.

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