Saturday, June 17, 2023

Following Bruce Ware's Primrose Path to Domestic Abuse (Part I: Ideas that fed those Shiny Happy People)

When the reporter, Peter Smith, contacted me to ask questions about my relationships with Bruce Ware and Russell Moore and my thoughts about them, I told him that I had no reason to believe that either of them had any clue about who I was. (Earlier that year, I'd earned the badge of honor through a dishonest public denouncement for criticizing their teachings in a lecture earlier in 2008.) 

He assured me that both men "knew exactly who I was," sharing deeply personal insults about me that were too derogatory for him to repeat. He was sure that one of them knew me in real life because of the nature of his comments. I assured him I'd only ever reviewed their teachings and had never met either man.

Peter identified himself as a reporter with the Associated Press, and I imagined the worst possible outcome. One never knows what a reporter will do with what you share with them, but I believed the topic's importance warranted the risk. People needed to understand the abuses within the Quiverfull/Patriarchy Movement as recently revealed in #ShinyHappyPeople, the Amazon Prime docuseries released in June 2023. That didn't make the process any less intimidating for me, however, and certainly not then.

Based on things Peter asked me, I speculated with my husband about a potential matter that would not bother me much but would upset my loved ones. I imagined my parents opening the expanded religion section in my hometown's Saturday paper to learn their daughter was in a same-sex marriage. 

At the time, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) used this new, attention-getting, shock-jock trope to advance the patriarchy, claiming that most Christian marriages were functionally same-sex unions because women acted like men. I knew that it was click bait, but the reporter didn't, and my parents wouldn't have a clue! (I wish I'd captured my husband's response on video with his facepalm gesture and in perfect comedic deadpan style, saying, “Why am I always the last one to find out about these things?”)

After many weeks of long conversations and reviewing the documentation I sent him, Peter decided there was no story! I seemed nothing like the person these men described to him-- the raging, man-hating, open-theist feminist they imagined. (It's amusing because I still don't think Christian egalitarians claim me as their own.) Peter never wrote anything about me, so my parents were spared any such embarrassment.

Consider however that I didn't learn that until the summer's end, almost two months later. Whenever I saw or heard Ware's name, I braced for a new wave of criticism. My stress level rose as new emails about him flooded my inbox.

I think it's time to revisit Bruce Ware's sermon about his Complementarian Vision of Creation that he presented at Denton Bible Church on June 22, 2008.

I don't think anyone should forget his disturbing words concerning Domestic Abuse as Ware himself came along and proved my thesis about Patriarchy's aggression towards women, the danger they faced, and how his ideology fostered it. If you wonder how the Duggar Family could lose so much perspective within their religious system, Ware's ideas explain some of that foundation of belief.

Link to Part II.