Monday, July 28, 2008

Losing Sight of Our Purpose (Part III): Domestic Discipline as Love for One's Wife?

A few months ago, I was contacted via email by a man who was not a professing Christian but was interested in the topic of spiritual abuse and church discipline. (I'd interacted with him on a public blog for many months, so I did have some sense of who he was and what he believed.) He was also interested in what I believe to be a perverse practice named "Domestic Discipline" that essentially amounts to spanking one's wife as one would spank a child. This individual explained to me that he wanted to help those who were engaging in this activity (presumably as a part of their practice of patriocentricity) -- as a part of their "Christian marriage," and he invited me to participate in a discussion on his own blog. (I believed him to be in earnest and did not have cause to suspect otherwise.) I posted a notice here regarding this practice, referring others to his site for this discussion, but I soon realized that our purposes were quite different.

The commentary and language used on his blog quickly became inappropriate, so I posed a disclaimer and warning within my original post, but allowed it to remain on line. Because I disabled comments on this blog since that time, I did copy the comments that were offered in response directly into that post. Several the so-called "Biblical patriarchy" websites contained links to domestic discipline sites. You may read that post (my own post and not the link to any other website!) by linking HERE.

What I find to be very interesting is that this post turns up on blog searches and search engines all the time. Each time I check the site meter, in the hundred or so hits that register on the display (ranging currently from a span of 2 - 3 days on average), I will show at least one hit per day. Upon checking the site meter on Sunday afternoon (yesterday), I found the typical disturbing results. One was particularly disturbing to me. Note the image as copied from the site meter, and feel free to double click on the image at the end of this post to enlarge the view if you so desire. I removed the IP address of the person who came to this website to preserve his privacy but kept all the other information.

Note the sections of both the web search on both the sitemeter display as well as the section that I copied from the link to the actual Yahoo Search criteria.

Please note that it reads,

"My pastor recommended I
spank my disobedient wife."

Prior to posting about Domestic Discipline a few months ago and looking at one of the "Christian Domestic Discipline" sites that is so named, selling a textbook and Victorian style undergarments as part of this supposedly Christian experience, I would have thought this all to be a joke. I wish that it were all a sad mistake. As stated above, I note at least one "Christian Domestic Discipline" hit daily, every time I look at the Referring URL information which describes what search information cross indexed that search with the Domestic Discipline blog entry. Apparently on this given day, I only had one "Christian-specific" entry, but two other related searchs linked individuals to the aforementioned post from a few months ago:

Following the discussion of losing sight of one's purpose, I believe this practice is one such example. I spent an hour investigating this phenomenon (looking at three sites declaring to be Christian) and read a very disturbing blog by one woman who described her experiences -- for the purpose of discipline. The entry I read that day (approximately one year ago) described how this woman's husband beat her for leaving the stove on and walking out of the kitchen. It was horrible and quite enough to inform me of this disturbing practice, as I noted many elements of serious family dysfunction in that description. It was not a description of love but that of abuse. The victim-wife described the actions of her aggressor-husband in a perverse display of abuse, neither of love nor of correction.

So following the previous post and before I offer the post to come, I would like you to again consider the teachings of Bruce Ware and the concept of hierarchy within marriage versus mutual submission between husband and wife. Abusers of all types will exploit whatever situation that they can to justify their actions. Victims will automatically punish themselves and redefine every situation to make them the causative factor in every situation gone awry. Those are the roles that victims know well, and they will then generally seek out an enabler to encourage what they understand to be their role within all of their relationships. A victim "one-downs" him or herself in any given setting because that is what is most familiar to them, whether the context of the situation deems them to be so or not. An aggressor will always "one-up" themselves by assuming the superior role of power in any given situation, because that is their most familiar role. We choose what is most familiar to us, not necessarily what is most healthy for us. [Addendum note 7/30/08 with a suggested rewording from Kate Johnson : "Victims will automatically blame themselves and unjustly become the causative factor in every situation gone awry. Those are the roles that victims know well, and they will then generally be drawn to someone who is abusive, which keeps them in the role they know too well, that of victim within all of their relationships. A victim finds themselves in a 'one-down' position in any given setting because that is what is most familiar to them, whether the context of the situation deems them to be so or not." I think both statements are accurate; READ MORE HERE.]

When our words lack love (my own included), the implications are great. When we pursue any agenda that is not God's agenda, the implications are great. Our words are like a dandelions gone to seed and windblown. Collecting them and containing them becomes an impossible task. And depending on our authority or stature or the media through or by which we communicate, our words gain momentum and become like so many dandeloin seeds that are carried far way from us and very much beyond our reach. God's love is the glue that binds our purpose and actions with His as we are ever more conformed into the Image of Jesus. May all our words be seasoned with salt and grace, abounding in both God's love and God's wisdom. And may God grant us the wisdom to discern His Word from the traditions of men, the one thing in this world that has the power to make the Word of God ineffective.

Please ponder this as you consider the two preceding posts, and the post to follow.


Read the rest of Losing Sight of Our Purpose: