Feminism is about female superiority over men and women are even heralded as saviors of mankind. Despite its claims to humble equality, the natural result of its ideology is matriarchy, a society governed by feminine sensibilities. The evangelical church does not see the demeaning of masculinity and the deliberate promotion of female authority. In order to maintain some semblance of integrity with “biblical” ideas, it has accepted equality without calling it equality, what is called complimentarian; men and women are equal but have different roles.
Now I imagine that a distilled version of patriarchy would look like a military unit. It is obvious that some men are superior to others the superior men are given rank and responsibility above others. In family and church it not so clear or obvious because of the presence of women. While the feminine presence is the completion of man’s creation, in his current fallen state, something from God is gained and something from the devil smuggled in. A man must not only deal with his own fallen nature and the fallen nature in other men, but also the fallen nature in women. As Don Corleone said in The Godfather, “I spent my whole life trying not to be careless. Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.”
Since women are not men and function along feminine lines, when they are in charge, things should not be expected to look the same as if men were in charge. Just what a matriarchy might look like is ambiguous and difficult to imagine and that is from the natural way that the emotional storms that women are capable of cloud and confuse a man’s ability to develop order.
However, there is an idea that I think would be a perfect place to start. In fact, once this paradigm is in place, a matriarchy becomes easy to imagine and see.
… Badger explains is a ballroom dancing term referring to a woman who is “resisting the lead’s kinesthetic instructions that are part and parcel of partner dancing.”
She then goes on to explain how this analogy applies to marriage:
A wife in this situation wants it to seem like she is submitting to her husband’s leadership but really she is trying to backlead him into making decisions that she feels like submitting to and not making decisions that she doesn’t feel like submitting to. [Emphasis mine]
This is how I imagine a complimentarian marriage actually functions in reality despite what leaders claim it is supposed to be. On the outside, men attend leadership meetings, pastors preach on male headship from the pulpit, and books are written about men finding their way back to masculinity.
But it is behind the scenes where the matriarchy is most likely to grow and thrive. It is in the home, especially the bedroom, that matriarchy finds it fertile ground. Christian men leave their meetings and their church services and go home to their wives. Since they are bound by God, church, and vow to never leave their wives even in the worst situations, they must bear burden of whatever their wives throw their way (called “fitness testing” by some).
What happens behind closed doors is usually kept private, but their is some truth that Christian men deal with varying degrees of this:
In this clip from Steel Magnolias, at 2:00, Drum declares what his true motivation is:
If I don’t I’ll have to deal with my wife and I make it a point to never deal with my wife.
Before a Christian man makes a decision, he must first consider his wife’s feelings on the matter. Those feelings can easily become the decided factor. To the outside world, he is a strong leader, working to provide for his family in service to Christ, when in reality he is merely working to satisfy his wife’s endless emotional needs. In public, it appears to be biblical male-authority headship, but in private is female-feeling headship.
Consider statements like the following:
- “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
- “We all know who wears the pants in the family.”
- “Behind every good man is a good woman.”
What these statements say is that even though a man may publicly carry himself with the respect due a man who carries the burdens of responsibility, it is his wife that bears the final authority in their home. And that authority carries into public.
For those American churches that still promote male authority in the home and the pulpit, if they are going to quote things like,
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3 KJV),
then they need to recognize that what it preaches and what its congregation practices may not be the same. It needs to recognize the problem is systemic. From old mainline denominations to small fundamentalist churches, where there is women, there is the reality of matriarchy.
It is little wonder that the men in the apostle Paul’s day declared, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”