Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Review of Andersen's "Woman this is War" Part III of III (Concerning Abuse and Insidious Totalitarianism)

Why I Never Bought the Whole of Complementarianism: 
A Review of "Woman This is War:  
Gender, Slavery, and the Evangelical Caste System"

The Kingdom of God Suffers Violence,
and the Violent have Taken Some by Force.
Jocelyn Andersen Takes Back Major Ground in her New Book

Read Part I of the Review HERE. 

 The final section of the book deals with abuse in its various forms, a subject that I have largely avoided in my writings because I find the matter so deeply painful, though I did address Ware's teaching at Denton Bible Church in 2008.  As I read, my mind also drifted to writings concerning one of the the central elements necessary for totatalism:  dehumanization.  This very same demoralization and devaluing has facilitated every instance of ethnic cleansing as well as the abuse of women in Islam.

I stopped to weep for some time when I read this quote from Harriet Tubman at the introduction of the chapter entitled Happy Slaves: "If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more."  And consistent with my own perspective and other models of domination, the author notes that an author named Elwood McQuaid observed in his book about Israel entitled "It is no Dream" that aggressors conquer and vanquish their foes through with three primary goals, measures that are also taken against women: subjugation, humiliation, and assimilation (pg 260).  This is the stuff of hegemony and what all authoritarian social structures eventually become in some manner or form.

To Andersen's moving closing arguments about accursed slavery, I would like to add something else from this old blog post, quoting from "Occidentalism" by Buruma and Margalit (the hatred of the West by the East):

The view of the West in Occidentalism is like the worst aspects of its counterpart, Orientalism, which strips its human targets of their humanity. Some Orientalist prejudices made non-Western people seem less than fully adult human beings; they had the minds of children, and could thus be treated as lesser breeds. Occidentalism is at least as reductive; its bigotry simply turns the Orientalist view upside down. To diminish an entire society or a civilization to a mass of soulless, decadent, money-grubbing, rootless, faithless, unfeeling parasites is a form of intellectual destruction. Once again, if this were merely a matter of distaste of prejudice, it would not be of great interest. Prejudices are part of the human condition. But when the idea of others as less than human gathers revolutionary force, it leads to the destruction of human beings...

These strands are linked, of course, to form a chain of hostility – hostility to the City, with its image of rootless, arrogant, greedy, decadent, frivolous cosmopolitanism; to the mind of the West, manifested in science and reason; to the settled bourgeois, whose existence is the antithesis of the self-sacrificing hero; and to the infidel, who must be crushed to make way for a world of pure faith...

[T]oday’s... holy warriors don’t suffer from some unique pathology but are fired by ideas that have a history....To understand is not to excuse, just as to forgive is not to forget, but without understanding those who hate..., we cannot hope to stop them from destroying....

In my mind, this dehumanization differs little from the abuse I've seen, sitting in emergency rooms with fellow church members or hearing their stories as they hide their bruises.  The Church has been sold a terribly dangerous and profoundly destructive lie.  What will we do?   Who will do it?  What will God require of us?  What will God require of me?

Jocelyn Andersen's book, "Woman this is War," named for a play on the words of John MacArthur concerning marriage, is a must read.