Heads of Household Meetings (Wives Not Welcome)

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For 25 years, I lived in a pagan country where women are mistreated every day in countless ways. Growing up, I saw women holding doors open for men. When I started working in a Japanese office, I had to do the same. One of the weirdest adjustments I had to make when I started living here was not to hold the doors open for the men. Women served drinks to men at parties. If there was some kind of meeting, women set up the chairs and put them away. Every situation where men and women were together, women were made sure to be put in their place, down, down, down, down, down.

All through the week, throughout my childhood, I would see how pagan men treated their women. And then we would go to church and things were right, at least in the way women are treated. Not to say that the church didn’t have its fair share of problems, of course, just like any other church of sinners. But the women are treated well there.

Women vote. Women attend all the meetings. Women can even attend the married men’s Bible study if they want to (and some do) because a man is not a husband or a father without his wife, and it is good for both of them to hear what he is learning especially related to being a husband and a father.

Of course, me being me, I took all this for granted my whole life … until I moved to where I’m living now.

So.

Early this morning, super early, my husband left me at home with all the children and went to his HoH meeting where the men of the church talked about children’s catechism class and church membership … he was gone for FOUR HOURS. Women are not allowed to attend.

Apparently, women are “too emotional” and that is one thing that disqualifies them. Well, if women are too emotional, then men being too lustful disqualifies them, too. Not to mention that lust is a sin in the Bible but “being too emotional” is not.

There is nothing in the Bible that says “Thou shalt not be emotional.” In fact, modern Americans and Europeans, so tainted with rationalism, are really not emotional enough. They would look down on many of the righteous men of the Bible for being far too emotional and “womanly” and probably even simply insane. What kind of guy cries in public? For days on end? And tears his clothes while he cries out loud in the streets?

By the way, don’t “weep inwardly” and get a sore throat. If you must weep, weep: a good honest howl! I suspect we — and especially, my sex — don’t cry enough now-a-days. Aeneas and Hector and Beowulf, Roland and Lancelot blubbered like schoolgirls, so why shouldn’t we?

– C. S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady

Apart from the whole emotional issue, if the husband is the head of the household, then what is the wife’s status? Is she one of the children?

The husband is not the sole ruler over his wife and children. The wife reigns under her husband. They are the head together. Or maybe she’s the neck!

The men may be the head of the house but the women are the neck and they can turn the head any way they want.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Either way, there is no biblical basis for her to be excluded and treated as a child or lesser citizen.

Logistical difficulties are a common “problem” that is brought up. “Women need to stay home with the children because it is too difficult to find that many babysitters.” Meetings can be held on Sunday afternoons and the older kids can watch the younger ones. Problem solved!

Since moving to the Land of the Free, I have enjoyed how well women are treated here. I can see that America really is a country with a Christian heritage even if it’s not a Christian nation anymore. But attending the church where my husband grew up, I have never felt so disenfranchised in my life. I have never felt so cut off from the covenant I was baptized into, from the rightful inheritance God has promised me.

(Part of it was because there was hardly ever any communion on Sundays and when there was then children were not allowed to take it. But that’s changed now! It’s weekly and it’s paedo!)

Women are considered lesser members of the Kingdom of Heaven at church while they are equals outside the church amongst the pagans. I understand this is a panicked reaction to feminism. But it still boggles my mind.

Hast thou not read?

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28

In the Old Covenant, women were under their fathers and husbands, covenanted by male circumcision. In the New Covenant, women are baptised and are counted as sons and heirs in the kingdom of God, (Galatians 3:26-29; 4:4-7; 1 Peter 3:7), and kings under him (Revelation 1:6). Christian men and women are made kings and priests of this world under God.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker vessel and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)

For more rational, less emotional, detailed, biblical arguments read Mark Horne’s article, Heads of Household Membership & Male-Only Voting in the Church. To read my personal study notes, read my post, The Head of Household in the Bible.

Epilogue
June 11, 2013

Writing this post got me in huge trouble with the pastor of the church who instated the HoH meetings. He showed up at our house the next night at 11:30 PM and stayed for over 3 hours, telling me to take this post down and giving me and my husband incredibly specific instructions on how to live our lives in all kinds of areas (what kind of food to eat, how many hours a day I should hold my children, what kind of diapers to use, etc.).

A few months later, he opened up the HoH meetings to boys, also, but still did not allow women or girls to attend. A friend started calling them “Penis Meetings” because that was the only thing you needed to have to attend the meetings and be a real member of the church.

This pastor, who is about my age, also went out of his way to rebuke my father, who is much older than he is and also a pastor, because this post is obviously proof that my father was a terrible dad.

A couple months later, we left that church and the CREC. In April, 2013, the church fired that pastor for his continual, unrelenting spiritual abuse. He is a graduate of the Greyfriars Hall pastoral training program in Moscow, Idaho.

Be Mary

Man for the field and woman for the hearth:
Man for the sword and for the needle she:
Man with the head and woman with the heart:
Man to command and woman to obey;
All else confusion.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess

It’s dualistic and a pretty good description of the relationship men impose upon women in pagan countries.

In my short time among Reformed Christians, I have heard similar sentiments. Real men, smart and strong, are supposed to drink and smoke and talk about lofty manly things away from their womenfolk, who go about their lowly womanly business in the kitchen exchanging recipes and caring for the children.

Why, oh, why?

Not that I don’t want the recipes … but y’know, sometimes after a long, hard day, some girls need a smoke and a drink and a good ol’ discussion about theology, or something transcendant, eternal!

Where does this need to constantly assert authority come from? It looks like so much male insecurity to me.

Over the years, a good deal of the things I’ve heard about masculinity are reminiscent of prepubescent boys I knew who ripped the sleeves off their shirts and walked around trying to flex their bony little arms.

“Asserting masculinity isn’t masculine. A man who is a man can safely forget that fact.” — Ben Zedek

Masculine men marry warrior women, which is the kind of woman Proverbs 31 was talking about; “virtuous” is a mistranslation. Their masculinity is obvious and needs no defending or defensiveness.

It takes a wise woman to keep her priorities straight. She must submit to God first, then her husband. Depending on the situation, her disobedience and deception can save him (e.g. Rebekah, Rachel, Tamar, Esther, etc.).

A wife who is a submissive doormat, who does not sharpen her husband, who sits back while he makes mistakes or is sinful is not only doing him a great disservice, she is sinning herself. (Read Mr. Arterburn’s helpful book on marriage.)

There are so many things in this world I do not understand. Why are there women who choose giggling and ignorance? Why do they let their “manly” men to stomp on them? Why do not not care about the Word and words?

It’s been about 5 years since I moved to America. Although I haven’t owned a TV the entire time I’ve been here and have never seen Martha Stewart’s show or read her magazines, I’ve learned enough about American culture to have a general idea what kind of person she is.

Now, whenever women say “Martha this” or “Martha that” as if they know her, I chuckle on the inside  … especially in light of this passage.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus did not condemn Martha, but he commended Mary’s priorities.

Women! Be Mary! Seek Truth! Seek Transcendence! Sit at His feet!