Thursday, February 15, 2007

Church Lady

"I'm telling you that the church has really crippled women when it tells them that their beauty is vain and they are at their feminine best when they are 'serving others.' A woman is at her best when she is being a woman."

"My friend, Jan, says that a woman who is living out her true design will be 'valiant, vulnerable, and [daring].' That's a far cry from the 'church ladies' we hold up as models of Christian femininity, those busy and tired and rigid women who have reduced their hearts to a few mild desires and pretend everything is going just great."

~~~ ~~~ from "Wild at Heart", by John Eldredge
There she was, sloppy, slouching, sighing......and 'serving.' Half-heartedly. Same as last week, and the week before, and the month, year, and decade before that. The perfect epitome of the church lady. Not Dana Carvey's "Now isn't that special" Church Lady. No, this was the real deal. Looking into her corpse-like eyes chilled me to a shiver. "Look at her, Tom. Look. She's been that way for twenty years. Still walking behind her husband, going where he points, picking up his things, silently." Resigned, sincerely believing she's serving God, she has given up the best parts of her, willingly trading them for a fool's notion of a 'godly woman.'

This is the woman who is living out what the Christian subculture tells her is the noble woman, the one who works, who serves, who in 'submission' throws herself down and out with the bath water in order to promote her husband. Her young daughters look up to her as their example, practicing the killing of their desires thinking them sinful. "Women are to remain under the complete leadership of men." Yep. Don't misunderstand, here lead doesn't mean lead, it means dominate. For Eve isn't to be trusted. She ate the forbidden fruit first. Women must be tamed for they are baaaaaad.

The problem isn't the fact that the husband is the ultimate decision maker. When an irreconcilable difference of opinion presents itself, then the man is to make his best informed choice, which settles the matter. This is what leadership means. A wise woman kindly places her trust in her husband, for he is the one God holds responsible for the results of the marriage. This isn't the problem. It's a woman's joy to use her life and gifts to help her husband with his goal of a healthy, godly marriage. It's her goal, too. It's why she married him. They represent a team, two thriving human beings who will each stand alone before God, working in this life together to come to understand spiritual realities.

Men who have both oars in the water are in awe of their women. They don't fear them. They don't resent them. They love, respect, and know them. Constantly surprised by decades of unexpected feminine delights, these enlightened men live with tiny satisfied smiles playing around their mouths. "Smother this girl and you'll miss it," they wisely advise. "Keep your senses alert, boys, tip of the iceburg. There's more where that came from." "Forget about her age, man, look into her eyes. Life! Fire! Wisdom!" Men desire to be invited into a full on experience with a lusty intelligent woman. Their women eagerly invite them. Complete satisfaction.

Unless she's constrained by the foolishness of some hypnotized misguided schlump a woman will delightfully dance in natural step with the rhythms of life. It is in this capacity that she offers help to her man, help that flows as naturally as water from a spring. To share her many dimensions thrills her as much as it pleases her mate. Magical synergy.

The problem comes from that foolish misguided hypnotized schlump. When he has his way, he dutifully trusses his woman's passion, spirit, and self-expression then shoves her into that fusty, restricting box marked "Submissive Christian Woman." It doesn't take long before she's as passionless, insecure, narrow-minded, and misguided as he is, which seems to be the goal of the Christian subculture.

It's easy to spot that 'perfect Christian couple'. The Stepford wife has lost herself, stopped dreaming, and the man strangely resembles a spoiled sophomoric teen. Obeying what he's been taught, he orders. She serves. Serves, not helps. Serves, not delights. Serves, not inspires. Serves, not leaves him breathless, howling at the moon, exhausted from encountering a vital, mysterious force of nature who truly desires him: his wife. He's a conditioned tyrant. She's an efficient, depressed, swirly-eyed minion. A sticky straight-jacketed union which looks like something from hell, not heaven.

I remember when you were his dog.
I remember you under his thumb.
Yeah baby, when he would call
Every time, you had to come.

Hey, baby, you're a free girl now.
Hey, baby, you're a free girl now!

~~ "Free Girl Now", by Tom Petty


Deanna said...

Wow, Cherie. Let me know when your book comes out; I want a hundred copies!

You really can write it, and I know this agent...


Carolina said...

Wow Mom. The entire situation these people get themselves into just makes ya sad. Poor people.

Maybe someday they will snap out of it!


Cherie said...

Ho boy, Deanna. Book? Agent? High praise coming from you, someone whose writing skills I admire. Maybe someday. For now, I just release the words into the get them outta my head. Thanks for reading, and for your comments. Means a lot.

Cassie, my wise daughter, I hope this post helps you recognize and realize anew your freedom as a woman. Yes, maybe someday they'll snap out it. Gotta think of Cher whenever anyone says that line. "Snap out of it!

Annie said...

You are very brave to write about this topic. I hope many people read it and think about it, because it's true. Cassie is right it's sad.

LIZZA said...

So many narrow minded people giving Christianity a bad name...Narrow minded "elites" think (in their shallow way) that we are all the same.
Your blog is very good, in my opinion.

Cherie said...

Thanks for putting in your two cents worth, Lizza!

Thanks, too, for the kind words about my humble blog. Appreciated.

And thanks to you and your husband for raising such an intelligent, lusty, Christian daughter! She ain't no "Church Lady!"


Cherie said...

Annie, as always, thanks for your support. Wind beneath my wings, babe.