Remembering that God Loves Women, Too

by | Apr 1, 2022 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 47 comments

Friday Round Up Owen Strachan Wilson Misogyny
Merchandise is Here!

Jesus did not come to redeem men, so that men could then in turn redeem women.

Jesus is not more relatable to men than to women, and men are not more in the image of God than women.

And yet this week there were all too many examples that tried to make Christianity into a religion that is primarily for men, where women are appendages.

That makes me angry. It reminds me of the real reason that Jesus threw out the moneylenders. They were operating in the temple courts, which is where women and the Gentiles were allowed to congregate to be near God. And by using the temple courts, the money lenders were preventing them from seeking God or coming near God.

Jesus gets angry when we prevent people from coming near Him.

Today’s a special day for me personally.

Rebecca and I have been working all week finishing up our manuscript for our mother-daughter book (tentatively titled She Deserves Better), and by mid-afternoon today I will be DONE.

I will not have something else I need to do because I’m under deadline. I will not have another big project in the pipeline.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I will honestly be done. You have no idea how excited I am!

Connor just about has our new website ready to go, and we’ll be doing a migration in a month or so (that’s been a huge project too), and I have a lot of cleaning up on the back end of my blog and my email list (have you joined my email list, by the way?) and I’m so looking forward to that!

I feel so relieved.

But at the same time, it’s been a weird week, and I didn’t realize how weird  until I started to look at my social media and see how it intersected with Keith’s post this week on how Christian masculinity isn’t about being a bully, and the podcast that went with it.

On Fridays I like to share what’s been happening on social media, because a lot of the engagement in this community happens not on the blog, but elsewhere. 

First, the two fixed it for yous!

 

 

And my caption that went with it:

Our survey of 20,000 women found that when husbands make the final decision in the marriage, even if they consult with their wives first, the chance of divorce increases 7.4 times.

And when women feel as if their opinions don’t count, orgasm rates plummet and marital satisfaction plummets.

The idea that marriage is supposed to be a hierarchy is just simply poison. It has terribly bad fruit.

Marriage and sex should be a deep “knowing” of each other, a deep intimacy. You cannot have intimacy with another person if one person matters more than the other. If one matters more, then the other person’s needs and wants are erased. It’s no longer a knowing.

When we see doctrine like this, we need to reject it. And we need to start questioning those who quote people like Doug Wilson, despite his toxic views on women. If he thinks this about marriage, what else is he terribly wrong about? (Perhaps slavery, because Wilson thinks that wasn’t that bad).

We can do better, church.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Instagram

Then Owen Strachan joined the party and tweeted out something so ridiculous Twitter erupted.

I actually had another Fixed it For You planned for this one, but so many already did their own versions of what I had planned! So I went another route instead.

Owen Strachan Strong Men Fixed It

Keith’s response when he saw Owen’s original tweet was to think:

When in human history did God stake everything on one individual?

And the most obvious answer was with Esther. The king was planning a genocide of the Jewish people, and God put Esther in a place “for such a time as this” to intervene. 

Then let’s not forget that when Jesus rose, He appeared to Mary in the garden, and told HER to go tell the disciples. So the first witness of the resurrection was a woman, and He sent the woman to tell the men and set the wheels in motion. Sure sounds like God uses women, too!

But the big thing is that JESUS is our foundation, not men. What Strachan and Wilson seem to be preaching (and Partridge and Morse from Ketih’s article) has little resemblance to Christianity, and seems instead to be an ideology that justifies male supremacy. It’s anti-Christ.

Turning to something different, a number of podcasts that I’ve been on dropped this week!

I’ll mention just one–Bodies Behind the Bus. It’s a podcast telling stories of people hurt by Acts 29 churches, specifically due to spiritual abuse or the covering up of sexual abuse.

The hosts had me on even though I don’t specifically talk about the Acts 29 network (which was formed by Mark Driscoll and now headed up by Matt Chandler), but they thought The Great Sex Rescue spoke to some common themes.

(Incidentally, the best incident that most encapsulates the abuse in these churches was when Matt Chandler sent emails to the whole church and publicly disciplined and chided Karen Hinkley, a parishioner, for wanting to annul her marriage to her husband, who was addicted to child sexual abuse materials and had been even before they were married. He hadn’t disclosed this to her, and she felt this made their marriage invalid.

Chandler insisted they do marriage counseling and reconcile.

When the story hit the national news, about how they had been hounding her, even though she had left the church and rescinded her membership (they said she wasn’t allowed to do that since she had signed a membership contract), he finally relented.

On the podcast, we discussed the underlying themes of the way the evangelical church frames sexuality that lead to situations like these:

 

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the messages that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It’s time for a Great Sex Rescue.

But in all of that, I’ve also had a really encouraging week.

Our book is good. Really good. It won’t be out for a long while yet, but I’m excited! We’re going to change things.

And I’ve heard from so many new pastors this week who liked The Great Sex Rescue! Another woman told me that she got on the library committee of her church so that she could clean out the marriage books and replace the bad ones with good ones.

Another woman told me that reading The Great Sex Rescue saved her marriage, because she went into such a downward spiral after reading Every Man’s Battle last year, thinking that her husband was a monster and was irredeemable, and she had to protect her kids from being raised by a man. Knowing that the authors did NOT speak for every man, and that masturbating in gym parking lots or to sleeping teenage sisters-in-law is NOT normal was a major relief for her, and she feels as if she’s finally, slowly, coming back.

Things are changing. And the response to Owen’s tweet was so overwhelmingly negative that it seems as if people aren’t afraid to call out the bad stuff anymore. This gives me hope. We’re making a difference!

And now I’m going to sign off and go finish the last mother-daughter exercises for She Deserves Better!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

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47 Comments

  1. A2bbethany

    Are there any free places to listen to podcasts on an android phone? Currently I use YouTube channels where possible. Then ultimately us app, and this website. I’ve been thinking about expanding my podcasts but I also don’t have a list of interesting ones to try. I enjoyed a YouTube channel that talked about theology and beliefs, until she concluded that hell didn’t exist. And went to far from my beliefs…..

    Recommendations?
    Bodies behind the bus sounds interesting! But it’s apple and I’d only get a preview.

    Reply
    • Kat T

      Hi! You can listen to a lot of podcasts for free on Spotify. I listen to Sheila’s podcast there on my Android phone.

      Reply
    • Ray

      Download Google podcasts , Spotify, or Amazon music 👍🏻

      Reply
    • LaToya Edwards

      I use Stitcher

      Reply
    • Rachel

      I use the Podbean app on my android phone. It works really well for me. I like that I can still use my phone (to send/receive a text or ?) while listening to a podcast. That may be the case with other podcast apps as well, but this is the one I use.

      Reply
    • Lisa M

      I use Pocket Casts on Android. Google has a podcast app, and Spotify is another option.

      Reply
    • almadecolor

      I use Google podcasts to listen to podcasts, including this one, for free!

      Reply
  2. Charlotte

    Love the (tentative) book title and so excited for it! Raising a young daughter now (after a few sons came first) and feel in a much better place to raise her than I know I would have been when I first became a mom. This is, in a big way, thanks to a few years of reading your blog and books which was the starting point to work through some faulty teachings that had been a part of my life. Thankfully my boys are all still young enough they have benefitted from the healthier teaching as well! Thanks for your ministry!

    Reply
  3. Jo R

    So I guess a penis is now a spiritual gift.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Too funny! And probably true for men like Owen and Doug Wilson.

      Reply
    • CMT

      Apparently so is stroking…er, egos.

      Reply
    • exwifeofasexaddict

      It always has been…. I don’t know where you’ve been. (/s)

      Reply
  4. Jane Eyre

    “God has staked everything on men”?? Tell me that’s an April Fool’s Day joke.

    For the record, I don’t think God has staked everything on women, either. I can make the argument – we’re the ones who bear children, we’re the ones who were with Jesus at the foot of the cross, the only fully human person to be born without sin is Mary – but that’s foolish. God took a rib from Adam to make Eve because we’re equals, each needing the other, not a head or a footstool.

    Reply
    • Anon

      This is beautiful. And you’re proving my previous case that Catholics have a better understanding of sex and marriage equality than most evangelicals! What you said here reminds me of this lovely quote:

      “A real man never hurts a woman. Be very careful when you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears. The woman came out of
      man’s rib. Not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be
      superior. But from his side to be equal, under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.”

      Reply
      • Katy Didd

        I found SO much healing in the Catholic Church concerning my womanhood. Unfortunately, there is a movement within the church with a fringe group that is about patriarchy…not so ironically, the biggest proponents of it are former evangelical men (and women)! It’s fundamentalism in Latin, basically. But, mainstream Catholicism is FAR healthier than Evangelicalism.

        Reply
        • Anon

          Given what I’ve seen of evangelicalism, I can believe that! I’m a solid Protestant, but if I had to choose between an evangelical man who would see me as a “helpmeet” (translation: slave and incubator) and a Catholic man who treasured and loved me as I am, I’m taking that Hail Mary, baby.

          Reply
    • CMT

      Yes! (except re Mary, I’m not Catholic so I’m ok with her being a sinner like the rest of us haha) Keith made the point in passing in the podcast yesterday, about how the term “complementarian” is misleading, and it should really just be called gender hierarchy. If it were about people truly complementing one another, their individual spiritual gifts and their personal strengths and weaknesses would be what mattered, not squashing them into fixed categories with assigned roles.

      Reply
      • Lisa M

        In the UK they don’t use the term complementarian, they use hierarchists. It’s much more fitting to their views.

        Reply
        • Sarah

          I’m in the UK; we do use complementarian.

          Reply
  5. Laura

    I am looking forward to the mother/daughter book! I just wish I didn’t have to wait a year for it to come out.

    Reply
  6. CMT

    Ok, these guys are obnoxious but who’s surprised? Doug Wilson is basically a cult leader, his stuff is straight outta the high-control group playbook. And the CBMW types flock to him like sycophants to the schoolyard bully. It’s all so juvenile. “Nyah nyah! Boys rule and girls drool!” If they didn’t have others convinced that “Thus saith the Lord,” they would be laughable.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m not surprised. But CBMW is basically John Piper, and a LOT of people still revere him. I think it’s important to help people see they can laugh at how small and insecure CBMW makes men sound!

      Reply
      • CMT

        “CBMW is basically John Piper, and a LOT of people still revere him” ugh yes me too until more recently than I care to admit. Yes keep showing people they can call this stuff out, and yes laugh at it!

        Reply
  7. Nathan

    I almost don’t want to bring this up, since just a while ago, we had a post about citing sources and so on, and I can’t remember where I read this, except that it was on the internet several years ago. So I’ll just say that I can’t guarantee that it happened, but given some things that people have said, it easily COULD have happened. That Owen guys comment reminded me of this. I saw it many years ago.

    Many years ago, four teenagers (three boys and one girl) were killed in a car crash. They all went to the same church, and they had one large service for them. One of the pastors started going on and on about how God loves our sons, and grieves when our sons pass, and how there’s nothing worse than losing a son, and on and on. Finally, one woman spoke up, and said “not to interrupt, but doesn’t God love our daughters, too?” and supposedly the guy went ballistic, accusing her of disrespecting him, disrespecting the church, disrespecting the Bible, disrespecting God and so on.

    Did this happen? I can’t say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      OH, that’s awful. It sounds like how Mark Driscoll used to do weddings, according to some I know who went to Mars Hill. “Isn’t it great how God called you to amazing things and has equipped you to do great things? And you, (woman), isn’t it great how you can stand behind him and support him in what God has called him to do?” It’s like nothing about her at all.

      Reply
    • exwifeofasexaddict

      It’s plausible.

      Reply
  8. Cynthia

    Reading Karen Hindley’s story was awful. As a divorce lawyer, I wish I could say it was unique. It seems that child sexual abusers have a common playbook, acting as the wounded and outraged victim when someone finally leaves and resists their control.

    And yes, anyone who uses child sexual abuse material HAS harmed children, even in the event that they haven’t physically touched a child themselves. These materials are created through abuse, some of it truly gruesome and sometimes even fatal. This was confirmed in the Duggar case, where at least one of the videos was connected to an Australian who was sent to jail and who not only abused a number of children but also committed murder.

    I have no idea how anyone could think that any sort of marriage counselling and reconciliation could possibly be appropriate.

    Reply
    • Lisa M

      Even worse, Matt Chandler thought he and his team of pastors could rehabilitate the pedophile! That man was a chronic user of child porn, and, not to get too disturbing, but he wasn’t looking at teenagers. Matt Chandler seriously thought that he could rehabilitate that man with prayer and Bible study. The arrogance! The state laws of Texas granted her an annulment based on the facts and Matt Chandler and his buddies insisted she stay married. Very telling.

      Reply
      • Cynthia

        EXACTLY! I followed the link, and the link in that link, to read all of the emails and correspondence, and it was incredibly disturbing.

        There really is no possible way that anything other than actual professional, specialized therapy AND strict, lifelong conditions to prevent any unsupervised access to children or access to the internet could be appropriate for Justin. There is also no possible way that it could ever be appropriate to respond to a request from someone who no longer wants to be married to someone after finding out that they repeatedly used child sexual abuse material by saying anything other than “of course, and will be support you with that.” She didn’t want to be married any more. This wasn’t about her lacking commitment or changing her mind, this was about something awful that she didn’t know when she got married, that would make it impossible to safely have children and that probably disgusted her at the core of her being. Marriage counselling is not for that sort of situation! It doesn’t fix abuse or pedophilia. It isn’t something that should be used to coerce someone into an intolerable situation and to have sex with someone who makes their skin crawl.

        Reply
      • Andrea

        No, that guy in Chandler’s church was not looking at teenagers; it was Chandler who was looking at teenagers (specifically, a 17-year-old who attended a camp where he was camp counselor, whom he married after she turned 18). I saw a video where they talk about how the first severn years of their marriage were “horrible” and I’m convinced it was her vaginismus and his obligation sex conviction. Whenever you hear an evangelical couple talking in vague terms about how horrible their early marriage was without any specifics, it’s usually about sex.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I can’t imagine it either. And even though The Village Church did apologize (once they made national news), I still see Chandler being accused of covering up abuse, and acting like he is the one being victimized (just last weekend he was talking about how “the sheep bite”–meaning how hard it is to be a pastor becasue it is the pastor who is being abused. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen, but in this climate of abuse, and where Chandler himself has covered up abuse or gotten on the side of the abuser, it’s incredibly tone deaf and toxic).

      Reply
  9. Ruthie

    I’m so excited for She Deserves Better! So glad you will all have a bit of a break from deadlines.

    It is shocking that people say things like this, and yet, sadly, unsurprising. I’m grateful that you fixed these for them. It’s actually quite helpful to the rest of us to see how to articulate against such horrendous words that I can only describe as false teaching.

    Reply
  10. Angharad

    That Strachan quote is bordering on blasphemous – does he not realise he is taking an honour that should be given only to Jesus and giving it men instead?!!!

    It reminds me of the people who told me, in my single days, that I couldn’t be ‘complete’ unless I was married. How DARE you even imply that someone who has Christ in their life is ‘incomplete’ unless they are sharing that life with another human being – such a comment is implying that a human being more powerful/capable of meeting needs than God is.

    The irony is that these people are usually the first to condemn blasphemy and criticise those who don’t give glory to God. While not seeing that their obsession with glorifying men is making them guilty of the very same thing.

    Reply
  11. Jo R

    Let’s face it, folks. What Owen Strachan originally wrote was this, because this sense is coming through loud and clear:

    God has staked everything on men LIKE ME.

    Strong men LIKE ME are the foundation of a strong marriage.

    Strong men LIKE ME are the foundation of a strong home.

    Strong men LIKE ME are the foundation of a strong church.

    Strong men LIKE ME are the foundation of a strong society.

    God has staked EVERYTHING on men LIKE ME.

    Subtle.

    Reply
    • Jo R

      There is one other issue with this entire Strachan meme, in addition to its being actual, not merely bordering on, blasphemy.

      Women have no practical purpose or use in helping create a strong marriage. Or a strong home, or a strong church, or a strong society.

      Nor can GOD use WOMEN in any way, since they’re not strong men.

      Pretty sure I’m remembering a verse somewhere about God using the weak to shame the strong.

      Reply
      • Angharad

        I originally wrote that his meme was blasphemous, but wondered if it was phrased too strong so toned it down. But yes, I agree it is blasphemous. And it horrifies me that hardly anyone who has written in opposition to this has mentioned that. Instead, they’re all jumping on the ‘women are equal’ bandwagon.

        Don’t get me wrong – his comments are belittling and dismissive of women too, but that should be the last thing worrying us when a supposed Christian leader starts putting men in the place of God!

        Reply
        • Jo R

          Nope, not too strong at all!

          I’m so sorry that I forgot to address you directly in my comment. 😕

          Reply
  12. Katy Didd

    Quick background: I was born and baptized Catholic, but raised Evangelical from preschool age. For the past several years I’ve been looking into Catholicism and occasionally attending Mass.

    Today, I attended Mass and was struck by how woman-affirming it was. I looked down at the cover of the Missal and noticed the artwork. It was a pastel of the crucified feet of Jesus and a crowd gathered in the background. Upon further inspection, the crowd was entirely women!

    The reader was a woman. The cantor was a woman. And the homily was about the woman caught in adultery. Now, in the Evangelical church I’ve heard plenty of sermons on the woman caught in adultery, but never NEVER was her story wrapped in such warmth, such joy and celebration of redemption, such reverence as this priest presented it. Why? Because we are all sinners. On top of that the priest made a point about the man she was with and noted the absence and his guilt in the matter, and yet the men wanted to stone the woman.

    It was so affirming, so Jesus loves me as a woman.

    Even though women cannot be priests in the Catholic Church and the Church believes that metaphysically, spiritually it is impossible for women to be ordained to the priesthood just like it isn’t possible for men to give birth, the affirmation of women as valued, equal, cherished members is definitely felt. I’m ok with male-only priests. I really am, because women in the Catholic church can still teach and preach the Gospel and are called to!

    Even in the announcements it was full of all the things women were doing: choir director, charity organizers, event organizers, teachers, catechism educators. While this parish has a full-time deacon and a regular alter boy, another local parish has female eucharistic ministers, and female alter servers. And never is the female-lead, female-run, female-exclusive, or female-organized ministries poo-pooed, talked about, or looked at as “wimmin folk.” It is blessed and honored as if Our Lady were running it all herself.

    Reply
    • Andrea

      I’ve probably replied to you about this before, how I wonder if the Catholics’ reverence for Mary makes them kinder to women. At some point I realized that there are no equivalents of a Mark Driscoll in the Catholic church, no video or audio of a priest using the Song of Songs in pornographic ways, and that got my mind spinning about how one’s theology might impact one’s susceptibility to a pornographic style of relating.

      Reply
      • Katy Didd

        Andrea, perhaps we’ve had this conversation when I pointed out that I’ve heard Evangelicals discussing or sermonizing that Catholics are wrong about Mary’s perpetual virginity because there’s no way a healthy man like Joseph would agree to or be able to be in a sexless marriage with a “hot, young teen wife” beside him.

        I mean, how sick is THAT reasoning! If one doesn’t agree with the Catholic (and, let’s face it, historically much of Christendom until the Reformation, which, let’s face it also, was partly based on male sexuality and control…Luther wanted to break his vow of chastity and encouraged the nun he was hot for to do the same…Henry the 8th wanted to divorce and get another woman to sleep with…Calvin was kind of a nut job where even his contemporaries were like “ew”) beliefs that Mary was a perpetual virgin, ok. But to reason it the way I heard it reasoned out in the Evangelical church did so much damage.

        That’s Our Saviors MOTHER they are talking about in a pornographic style of relating!!!! That’s Our Savior’s earthly father they are saying is an uncontrolled sex fiend simply because he’s male.

        As my eyes were opened to this I noticed that so many sermons and belief systems in the Evangelical church (or at least the part where I was) are sex-related or misogynistic. Like, Vashti was a rotten, disobedient wife. They always like to point out over and over again that Rahab and Magdalene were “wh*res,” but gloss over all the adulterous men.

        Isaiah sleeps with a prophetess. Evangelical commentary says that she wasn’t actually a prophetess because women can’t be on equal ground like Isaiah the Prophet. Therefore she must be his wife and only bear the title of prophetess because she’s the wife of a prophet. Where does that make sense?! A woman isn’t a policewoman because her husband is a policeman, or a nurse because her husband is a doctor! Plus, they say she must be his wife because a man of God wouldn’t fornicate…(ahem…King David).

        As far as I know, the Catholic Church says she was a prophetess in her own right and not his wife (possibly rape?). I’d have to look into that more. But you can see how the approach is different.

        When I left the Evangelical church in a mess I started looking at all the women in my life who seemed mentally and spiritually happy and healthy, who had well put-together lives, and good marriages to caring, good, trustworthy men. They were Catholic or mainstream Protestant, or at least grew up in those traditions, even if they weren’t practicing now. I HAD to look into it.

        When the Catholic church has iconography of Mary openly breast feeding and no one bats an eye when a mother does breast feed, but my old church wanted me to hide away because even the knowledge that I breast feed “made men think of breasts,” just shows the pornography style of relating.

        Reply
  13. Estelle

    I have a hymn suggestion for Owen Strachan’s next church service – The Church’s One Foundation (is Jesus Christ her Lord.)

    Reply

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