Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tub Time

Just thinking. Well, I was soaking in the tub and thinking. What was I thinking about? I was thinking about wives who have complaints about their husbands. They hear the admonition from the Apostle to respect these men and either throw the impertinent Apostle over the side of "Her Majesty's Ship Amazonia" or look at the attempt through narrowed gaze wondering how they shall honor their husbands when said husband is such a fool. They want to have a husband they could respect but the command did not include a special dispensation to disrespect those men that have not risen sufficiently in the wife's esteem. The husband's faults, seen clearly by fifty percent of the population, are that he has not seen fit to look and love like Antonio Banderas, think and write like St. C.S. of Lewis, and work like an AnteBellum slave. Some of these more religious women make the attempt to "honor" the pond scum that fathered her children with fake noises of reverence. This is a wide spread problem and my tub was expending all its porcelain force to resolve it.

There is a basic error here. It is presumed by the modern that the Bible tells a wife to respect something that is not respectable. Maybe the Bible is not sufficiently up-to-date. Maybe modernity is filled with stupid people. Maybe husbands, masters, and emperors are better human beings then the average wife, slave, or citizen. Maybe the universe is not just astronomical distance but is also cosmological height. Maybe in a universe infested with height, it requires faith in height (and height alone with no admixture of your egalitarian nonsense, thank you) to live Biblically at all. "But," you say (feeling your every-waking-hour-bitchiness being torn away from your french-manicured claws), "does not he have these faults?" Yes, Einstein, he does but this is about your faults, your disobedience, and your excuse making. Just sayin'. Maybe.

This is what the difference is between an licit observation and an illicit complaint. Superiors are in charge of correcting their inferiors. Seems like this is a basic task reserved for the superior. And observation of fault becomes bitchy complaining when an inferior doesn't think anything odd of correcting "uphill". They don't even believe in the "hill". Your observation of fault will blend with your definition of who you are in the relationship. Are you less, are you a peer, or are you better? Change your notion of what a husband is.

So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you.
I Peter 3:5-6

And if you don't keep thinking that you rule just as much as he, you will find that your husband's manifest errors remain observable but entrusted to agents higher than yourself to discipline. You can rest. You can reverence. You can respect.

You already know this. You already agree with me. Answer me this, should children be expected to honor a mother regardless of her outbursts, her moods, her inconsistencies, her mistakes, her outright uniformed judgments, and her lack of style (yep, really, just deal with it)? You and I think they should. I have a reason. You are just selfish.

"If you see in a province the poor oppressed and justice and right violently taken away, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them."

Ecclesiastes 5:8


Heather said...

Paul says that when correcting an elder it should be done as you would a father. Seems like that correction is going up hill. What say thee? Is there a time, a place, a manner, in which a husband can be corrected by a wife, or will it, by definition, not be accepted because it is from her?

Evan B. Wilson said...

I think it is possible to offer a corrective uphill but, as Paul says, "only as you would correct someone you believe to be your better." If one actually looks uphill at a flaw, that flaw is not an encouragement to complain. We tend to conclude that a flaw in others necessarily bestows a condition of superiority to ourselves. In modern times the social arena is mobile because we measure all by perception of merit. We seem dispositionally unable to see demerit in someone without lowering them in the hierarchy. If you stay humble, you will offer correction humbly, and either be heard gratefully because of your non-uppity voice or punished for stepping out of your place, which as a Christian you will take patiently. The non-uppity voice must carry no punishing in its tone. The lower is not there to punish but your better's overlords are. Your tone is one of hopeful and helpful content that can bless the masters in their self-correction (at your encouragement) so that they might avoid the punishment of the lords.

Ibid said...

1. Men do not admit to their elders the kinds of things they admit to their wives, and it is impossible for an elder to point out the evil of something they are unaware of.
2. The logic of this post points to the idea that all wives should regularly tattle on their husbands if their husbands, say, struggle with porn addiction, workaholic tendencies, yelling at the children, etc.
3. Rest assured, this sort of thing would result in marital disaster, particularly for the kind of man for whom this is a deadly-secret problem. The man would "repent," and then proceed to keep away from his wife so she couldn't tattle on him again.
4. "Submit yourselves to one another" applies to every Christian relationship.
5. Obviously, any correction needs to be done with a pure heart. But I imagine that the earnest pleading of a "subordinate" might be more effective than an edict from on high.