Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Safety requires hard words.

It is very clear, at least in the USA, that one’s opinions can lead to termination of employment. This is (as one of the commentators from the dread ilk pointed out) a form of economic terrorism. However, there are other risks associated with this: one is that the steps that one can take to ensure that problems are named and people are safe will not happen because people are afraid of saying words that will be offensive.

And this attitude can and will backfire.

If you are a manager or an employer, don’t hesitate to investigate your employees’ social media pages and fire those who express SJW views. The precedent has been clearly established: anyone who makes “unacceptable” remarks that do not reflect a company’s values can be terminated:

What are we talking about? Here I am using Grerp as a witness: I should have found this blog post a lot earlier, and made more of it. Grerp was shamed out of teaching women that most young men go to parties to (a) get drunk (b) meet women and (c) frobnicate. That a woman should be careful: for the sake of her sanity and soul, if not her bodily health.

Because, as Grerp confesses, traumas come to those who are naive: as she was in Russia during the collapse.

Why did I write it then? I wrote it because I really did not want to see any more girls get assaulted. That’s it. I didn’t write it to corral women and pen them back up. I didn’t write it so that rape victims would feel worse about themselves. I didn’t have a political agenda, and nothing I did or wrote made any difference at all except that it served as a rallying cry to circle the wagons and reaffirm what the right stand on women and sexual assault was within that community.

Twenty-one years ago I went and lived abroad. I’ve talked about this before, but within the last year, I’ve been examining my behavior more and trying to figure out some of my own thoughts and responses. The place I lived in, post-Soviet Russia, was not a safe place. It wasn’t the most dangerous place in the world either, but things were destabilizing quickly at the time, and the experiences I had while living there and traveling through the area have had long-term effects.

I have night terrors practically every night. I wake up two or three nights a week – sometimes more, sometimes less – screaming. Sometimes I wake up everyone in the house. I find myself pawing through my purse in the middle of the night looking for my documents, checking to see if I still have them.

I don’t feel safe traveling. I don’t feel safe anywhere near anyone in a government issue uniform. I have an almost unbearable time flying, not because of the flying itself, but because people take your things, and pat you down, even strip search you. If I have to fly anywhere it takes me a long, long time after to feel safe again. I know what it’s like to be in a place where you have no rights, protections, or legal recourse and to feel grateful when you come home alive.

None of this really has anything to do with rape at fraternity houses or drunkenness, but it does have to do with vulnerability and naivete. When I went to Russia, I assumed it would be okay. It wasn’t. From a safety standpoint this was a dumb choice for me to make. I’m old enough now with enough experience to see and admit that. And I’d like to spare other people from decades of nightmares and fear.

I still don’t understand why the shaming frenzy is necessary when people talk about the dangers out there for women and how to avoid them. Is it pride at work? Does it strike a personal chord in so many people? Why does everything have to be shouted down? Why can’t we say women are vulnerable to predation; please avoid doing these things for your own safety?

I took some souvenirs home with me from my experiences abroad, but it’s not the matrioshka dolls or the now historical currency that I examine the most, it’s why two decades later I still wake up screaming all the time. It seems like we’re doing nothing practical or worthwhile about stopping that from happening to more girls and women, and we can’t even talk about our options anymore. How is this better?

We need to say the obvious: don’t pick up strange women in bars, young men, for you will be accused of harassment or worse. And do not go to bars, young women, if you want to find a husband.

But this lack of strong speech is infecting the church and teaching of those who should be standing up to the memes of this world. Consider Paul: consider Christ: consider the church fathers, all of whom say that a man should lead as head of the family. Those who teach this are subverting the meaning of this in their examples, which use a threat point to lead from below.

There is another point worth bringing up in this episode, and that is the meaning of the complementarian expression “listen to your wife”. This is another case where the complementarian expression means something quite different than what the words would suggest on their face. Just like “servant leader” doesn’t mean headship, and “submission” means rebellion, “listen to your wife” doesn’t mean simply listen to her. When spoken by a complementarian, “listen to your wife” means do as she says.

This misses the point. I have worked with many junior colleagues: one of my roles is teaching them. About two times out of three, the junior colleague is a woman. And women react, in general, differently in interviews to men. This is useful , not because their opinion or reactions — in work jargon, contertransference — is less invalid than mine, but because if we react differently or the same, it is information that can inform decisions.

Listening means gathering data. It does not mean one will do as the other wants. Sunshine commented on the same passage thusly:

Looking at their story now, two years later, it clearly seems to support Dalrock’s charge. The Wilsons’ story is eerily similar to the Kellers’ except that Mrs. Wilson doesn’t violently smash anything. But there is still a veiled threat implicit in telling your husband that you no longer love him on your tenth anniversary date night. Pastor Wilson even talks about getting the sense that he was supposed to “just shut up and listen” to his wife, as Pastor Keller had with Mrs. Keller, while she told him what she had told him repeatedly before,.

Again, Pastor Wilson may very well have been in error in how he was choosing to use his time. But whose job is it to make that decision – his wife’s or God’s?

The creators of The Art of Marriage included this anecdote as an example of the correct way to solve what may have been an error in Pastor Wilson’s decision-making. The only way he could demonstrate that he was finally really “listening” to his wife was by agreeing with her and doing what she said.

In other words, she became the head of the marriage and his spiritual leader, and he submitted to her as unto the Lord.

And all the complementarian evangelicals said, “Amen!”

This is profoundly disturbing.

What is profoundly disturbing is that the very differences that make a marriage work: where the wife brings often another viewpoint, and informal, back channel feedback, to decisions is not not coded as something that is a strength but a source of conflict and a reason to blow up the aforementioned marriage.

As if our vows should change because of how we feel today.

This is the hard and harsh truth. We are far better to stay with the wife of our youth and the mother of our children. It protects our children: it means we avoid the enforced poverty and control of the family court, and it allows a life to be built.

Do not blow up your marriage thinking there is anything but pain.

God hates divorce. For it is bad for us.

And mistrust those who teach on marriage, for their teaching is all too often made apparent by the flood of broken marriages that follow their seminars.

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