Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In HIS perfect LOVE. asked - As a daughter of patriarchy I feel that you are misrepresenting what patriarchy is supposed to be. Why can't you do a post about what the real goals of patriarchy are? That is my first questions and my second question is can you really say you are a good person with all the commandments you break daily? Third question is how can you say you are an adult when you live off solicitations gained from a computer and do not work for yourself? It seems like God's plan for your life would have been better for you after all. In His perfect Love. A Titus2 Woman.

What are the real goals of patriarchy? You tell me. From my upbringing, patriarchy meant the man is the absolute head of the house and females were inferior. The "real goal", as far as I could see, was for men to be controlling, superior, ultimate decision makers using God's authority as a convenient means to their first position end. You're probably saying, "Ruth, what about all of their duties as patriarchs?" What duties? To provide for their family? Does providing end at getting a job because from what I've seen of patriarchy, it ends with the paycheck. You don't have to be a Christian fundamentalist to get a job and 'provide'. Is it to "protect"? I know many men who don't need patriarchy to protect their spouses and children from abuses. I know many patriarchists who USE PATRIARCHY to perpetuate abuse. I know many patriarchal fathers who use the "protect" duty to shelter and over-protect their children to the point that it's no longer quaint or honorable. Is the "real duty" to keep the family holy and on-point spiritually? If that's the duty, then aren't women being undersold as mothers?

(Disclaimer: I'm sure there are patriarchal families who enter into the system wanting to do the right thing and I know there are fathers who truly do only want what is safest and best for their families. I allow for the possibility that maybe there are families out there who've found the balance. I can only speak for what I saw growing up.)

Your second question was about how many commandments I break. Let's first ask which decalogue we should use? Exodus or Deuteronomy? Let's use the one you use.
1. You shall have no other gods before me. - Not broken. Bill Gothard is not a God. Patriarchy is not a God. ATI/IBLP is not a God.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. - Not broken. Can you say the same? Have you honestly not made idols out of the Pearls and the Gothards of the patriarchal world? When you shell out hundreds of dollars a year to these men who can "show you the way", are you not questioning God's ability to show you the way? Are you putting your faith in God to make you whole or are you hedging your bets by paying your way to being a better Christian?
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. - Not broken.
4. Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. - Not broken. I spend a great deal of each day thinking of spiritual things and living honorably. Why limit it to Sunday.
5. Honor your father and mother. - This is the one you were waiting for, isn't it? I think this all depends on how you define "honor". I think this one is "not broken". I *have* spoke about my father and mother in less than perfect light. I have still honored their privacy. I still honor the fact that they are my parents. Honoring someone doesn't mean looking past their faults or never speaking the truth.
6. Thou shalt not murder. - Not broken.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. - Not broken.
8. Thou shalt not steal. - Not broken.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. - Not broken.
10. Thou shalt not covet that which belongs to your neighbor. - Maybe broken. What can I say? I'm honest. I see quite a few things I'd like around town.

Here's the question I have for you. So what? Who cares if I broke a commandment!? Shouldn't that be between me and my God? How are you doing with this list and what does it have to do with my leaving patriarchy behind? Are you doing so much better than me IN patriarchy?

How can I say I am an adult? How can you say you are? You're likely above the age of majority and still living at home, living off your parents income. You're admiittedly living under patriarchy which means you have to be 18 to be reading my blog and surfing the net on your own - daddy and mommy wouldn't have let you feel out "the world" without first knowing you would respond as you have. Do you have a job? Do you go to school? Are you providing for yourself? Will you ever? Or, will you live off of daddy until a suitable husband is found to provide for you? How is the "transfer of authority" going to magically make you an adult? I am working. I do get "tips" for my story. I go without because I choose to go without rather than accept a life of servitude, while "having my needs met", with a husband. When I do marry- I fully intend to keep working. How is your "plan" any more "adult" than my own?

Speaking of God's plan - I think I am living it. Are you suggesting that God couldn't keep me in line with His own plan?


  1. Is the point of the Christian life to keep all the commandments and be a "good person?" If that's the ultimate goal, I'd fail. From what I've read in Scripture and seen around me, we all break many of the commandments regularly. Do I have gods before God? Every time I desire something more than I desire him, I certainly do. Do I make idols? Every time I have a sinful lust (not defined narrowly as sexual lust, but as a desire ruling me), the Bible says that my covetousness IS idolatry. So I get to break 10 and 2 all at once. Every time I live in a way that dishonors God while naming his name I break 3. I break 4 when I don't rest in Christ's work and instead try to do my own work. Christ says that murder is any time I let my wrong (not right) anger go unchecked. Adultery can be broken down to lust. Do I steal? Not physical items, no. But I do take other people's time and energy selfishly desiring my own purposes from them. Have I lied? Not often overtly with words, but I often try to project a better me than is true, and isn't that just lying?

    Long story short: and I, we both break the commandments. Razing Ruth, while you can say "all these have I kept from my youth and upwards" with the rich young ruler (and I applaud you for it!), we all sin. You know this. knows this in his or her heart down deep. If we didn't sin, why did Christ die? If we don't sin daily, why do we need his and the Spirit's prayers for us? Why do we need the Gospel?

    Being good isn't about keeping the commandments. It's about loosing your identity in Christ so that you may be totally seen in him, the only commandment-keeping man who ever spent time on earth.

  2. Ruth - 1 - nil

    Outstanding post. REALLY outstanding.

  3. Hooray Ruth!! :) As a daughter of mild patriarchy I have to say that even in it's mildest forms where the idea really is just to follow "god's order for families" and be "biblical" and supposedly glorify God - it all goes bad very very quickly. That's what happens whenever someone takes a pagan idea and attempts to turn it into a God-ordained and God-ordered institution.

    @feltspirit - you obviously haven't experienced the saving grace of Christ and the result of His sacrifice for you on the cross. If you honestly think that "not breaking commandments" makes you a "good person" you have completely missed the point of the Christian life. I'm really sorry for you. You could be experiencing so much love and freedom.

  4. This is the best thing you've produced on this blog so far. It shows, too, how far you've come.


    I thought people might like to read the above article by a noted Bible scholar and translator about what the Bible REALLY says about family values. In it, he talks about why people have interpretation that somethings are "Bibical", when really, the Bible doesn't say anything about it. Also, he notes how modern "Bibical" family values really cherry-pick: things like slavery or the prohibition of eating pork are often ignored, but other passages are held up to be infallible. It's very interesting.

  6. I am not going to go into as much detail as the posters before me, but I too am surprised that a member of a faith that supposedly espouses the idea that you are saved not by works but through faith in the saving blood of Christ would choose a works-based method in which to discredit you. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

  7. Great rebuttal, Ruth. As a confirmed heretic, I don't care about what other people do or don't do. I think many of the Protestant branches have gotten away from teaching why they exist. Most of the fundamentalists I know are absolutely ignorant about history and the bible. They can recite say what family values are but they have no basic understanding of the bible.

    Patriarchy is the last gasp of white males to be dominate. That's it in a nutshell. God forbid women take jobs outside of the home and make men compete for employment. A real man wants a partner not a slave. And a great man wants a partner who has great earning power!

    Hope school is going well. I'd love an RA and a Harris update. I'll put something in the tip jar shortly just to piss off readers like feltspirit. I proudly support smart women getting an education.

  8. Awesome job!!!! Bill Gothard is NOT a god, neither is any other movement or church!! The person asking these questions sounds like a sheltered, very ignorant, or idiotic person, happy to live off mom & dad...... You rock, girl!!

  9. Well said.

    Also - and I'm asking as someone who wandered away from Christianity fairly young, but who was raised in it - why the curious focus on the Ten Commandments? They're hardly more than a primer for Christian behavior, and a crude measure - at best - for a Godly lifestyle.

  10. Ruth--virtual hug! While I do think that no one really wins online 'arguments' that was an awesome rebuttal. Keep up the great work, telling your story and living your life. If God controls all, then this IS God's plan for you. Who is she to say it isn't?

  11. I agree... why the focus on the ten commandments.The law (Ten Commandments) was meant as a mirror to point us to Christ. The law brings death and condemnation. Jesus came to abolish the law. Praise the Lord. It is only by grace that we are saved and perfect in Christ, not by keeping the law.
    Way to go Ruth. May you know the freedom found in Christ. I pray that you are able to live in His grace daily and disregard the oppression and pride that poor girl wallows in.
    Enjoy the fall... I'm loving it.

  12. Ruth - it is so much harder to speak directly back to patriarchy then to speak about it. In this post - you have faced your past and spoken directly to it. Well done. Be encouraged. You did make the right choice to leave. God is proud of you. He loves you. In support of your rebuttal to Titus2women - the word honor in the passage, "honor your father and mother" both in the new and old testaments, use a form of the word (honor) that means "to give weight" to your parents' advice or "consider" your parents advice. It does NOT mean blind obedience. Bill Gothard routinely misuses this scripture. But simply to consider what they say and then make your own decision. (He was my mom's youth leader in the 60's so his rhetoric has been thrown at me for awhile now) Also nowhere in the Bible does God ever switch the commandment to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. If God really is disapproving our worship of him on Sunday - that means the Pearls/ ATI/ QF/P folks are really letting the Almighty down bigtime along with the rest of Christendom.

    Keep up your journey, Ruth. You inspire many.

  13. "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (NIV, Mark 12:28-31).

    If you're living according to Christ's teachings, it's pretty simple. If it's more complicated than that, better check whose rules you're following.

    To feltspirit: as for God's plan, God did not give you the incredible gift of life so you could live it under anyone's thumb, or according to narrow rules. Obviously you feel closed in, and who can blame you? But taking it out on Ruth won't help. Stay out of other people's lives until you have the cojones to live your own.

  14. Need-to-be-abusers, for whatever reasons they need to abuse, find themselves in life situations-whether intentionally or not- where they have more opportunity to abuse. Consider, child molesters. I have to wonder if men who need to dominate to fuel their starving self-worth gravitate to the patriarch movements where domination of women is promoted?

    Great job, Ruth, at exposing Feltspirit's weak accusations for what they were....ignorant and arrogant.

    Cindy@Baptist Taliban Memoirs

  15. Oh, btw, I a not "fosterstern". I am

  16. I tried counting the false assumptions in the question, but I fell asleep. Ruth, I admire you for arguing even though it might be easier to ignore these people. I think it's important for the patriarchy set to hear from those who weren't born into the nasty evil World(tm) but decided to go and investigate anyway. (That said, I do hope you don't have hundreds of similar questions to read...)

  17. well done, ruth.

    what an ill thought out attack (posed as a question) that was from @feltspirit. though it was nice how it played completely into supporting what you have been saying all along.


  18. @feltspirit: I don't give half a dead rat's hind end what patriarchy is supposed to be. Ruth is exposing what it is. You sound like the communist I knew in college who insisted Soviet Russia wasn't really communist. If a system doesn't work in the real world with real people, it doesn't work.

    By the way, you still think being a good person is about not breaking arbitrary rules handed down by authorities? Have you ever heard of Lawrence Kohlberg?

    I might also point out regarding Ruth's financial situation that she does hold a job, namely as an RA. In addition, the flipside of the contributions she receives from this site is the volume of, in my estimation, perfectly salable writing she produces for it.

  19. well said ruth! patriarchy supporters claim it provides benefits to all and stability within its system, but all healthy relationships provide those benefits while still maintaining the individual worth as a person... not merely a "vessel" for some entity or a living representation of a role (based on gender, age, or status.) patriarchy needs to put some people down in order to elevate its own agenda, real relationships elevate everyone involved.

    yes some patriarchal relationships are very healthy, because the individuals don't misuse (or use) their power. however, the danger of patriarchy is it sanctions abusive (and controlling, which i maintain is abusive) relationships in the name of religion or an organization. it's a dangerous system, and i think it is trash that should be discarded in favor of egalitarian relationships.

  20. The only thing I can add is about the Sabbath deal. It actually starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. I don't know of any Christian that is not a Messianic Jew who practices the true and traditional Sabbath.

  21. Ruth, I know you don't know me and my opinion probably won't affect you too much... but I am VERY PROUD OF YOU.

  22. By the way, she has a job, in addition to the job writing her blog. She's an RA. At least get your facts straight, Titus2.

  23. Sharp, angry words, Ruth. Well-thought out words. They were needed to get through the murky, cloying, ill-formed accusations thrown at you.

    Feltspirit, patriarchy puts man (i.e. the husband or father) in the place of God. Don't think so? Just read Gothard or Pearl. They make it very clear: parents save their children and husbands save their wives. This whole system violates the first and greatest commandment: love God first. It also violates the second commandment: love others as yourself. Do you think for a cold minute that Ruth's father would allow himself to be treated the way he treats his wife and children? Do you think he loves his wife and children the way he loves himself? He does not. Ruth is proof of that. He is the master, the king; everyone else is a peon, a serf, a slave. They exist to serve him.

    Fortunately for us, Christ doesn't work like that. He is the King of Kings, but he lovingly stooped to come to earth. To serve rather than rule. To wash his disciples' feet as both a gesture and an example of how his children should walk. Do you follow that example, feltspirit? Maybe. I don't know you. Does Ruth's father? Does Bill Gothard? Most certainly not.

    Don't go on about what commandments Ruth has violated. Look at your leaders and see what ones they have.

  24. To counter the Gothard idea that women and children can't be saved by themselves, there's a lovely phrase that I learned some years back that I always use when I run into someone who tells me that to get to God, I have to go through some human entity first:

    God doesn't have grandchildren.

    Great response to a pathetic, ill-formed and ill-informed attack, Ruth! You're growing into an independent, thoughtful, and caring young woman, and it really shows!

  25. Ruth did not misrepresent patriarchy. Her parents -- notably, her father -- misrepresented whatever good exists in the concept of patriarchy. This blog is Ruth's way of working through that mess. I believe that what she writes is a representation of what her family has been like, not a way to prove that patriarchy is bad.

  26. Ruth, excellent post.

    Feltspirit, I am sad that you are mired in a works-based salvation that tells you you must follow a bunch of stringent rules in order to please God. I will pray that God will open your eyes and bring you salvation through faith in the finished work of Christ to cover your sin with His Righteousness and to free you from slavery to sin. I pray that you will come to know the truth: God is pleased with us when we stand before Him with the cleansing blood of Christ as our only garment, our only justification. Anything else is the work of man and is odious in God's sight.

  27. Ruth!!! You rock. I can't even describe the "you go girl" going on right now.

    The fallacy is that a patriarchy is Godly. It is not of the scriptures. It can be niggled and pulled and extrapolated from the scriptures by people who desperately *need* it to read that way, but it is clear throughout especially the New Testament that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and that ALL were saved by the blood of the cross that day.

    Which brings me to the Ten Commandments, and other responders have also hit that pretty well. Earthly sanctification is also a fallacy (especially espoused by Pearl, who I personally believe to be infested with Satan himself). No one who walked or walks this earth except Christ, is sin-free. Period. End of story. The very act of believing oneself to be sinless is a sin, so... there ya have it.

    Ruth, you're doing it! You're getting through it, and you're strengthening as the posts have gone by. Good things to you, dear girl!

  28. I guess all of those lazy authors making their money from computers need to go out and get a real job. Hear that, Toni Morrison? Hear that, Stephen King? LAZY. SHIFTLESS.

  29. Go Ruth! :o)

    @Rachel: In what way is patriarchy a pagan idea?

  30. I'm not Rachel, but that is easily answered. I am sure she means "pagan" as in not Christian, specifically the ancient Roman world.

    The "pater familia" was the foundation of pagan Roman society. Google "pater familia" and take your pick of informative web sites.

    It was the system Jesus referred to negatively when he said, "The Gentiles lord it over those under their authority but it shall not be so among you..."

    But "pagan" covers far more than just the Roman world. Greeks also segregated women, except for the Spartan women, who were a force to be reckoned with physically. Still they had no political power either, and lived or died at a husband/fathers pleasure.

    Heading over to Ancient China, we see women bought and sold in marriage by fathers, and treated like slaves by husbands, up to and including the practice of foot-binding so they could not run away.

    The Hindu caste system also has man ruled families, with the added layers of some men being more equal than others. In ancient days surviving wives were thrown alive onto their husbands funeral pyres. Women had status only as associated with a man- husband or father. Even today having a son is considered a sign of the favor of the gods.

    Down in the dark jungles of South America, the Yanomoami women live under man rule also, and will be given or taken in marriage at the (pagan) decision of old(er) men- the patriarchs of their little tribes.

    Moving on to modern day America, go to any biker bar and check out the ladies wearing jackets that say "Property of...". Proud reprobates, as far from Christianity as you would think a modern American can be, and yet these bikers embrace patriarchy through and through.

    I don't know much at all about the modern pagan spiritual movement, but I don't think it has anything to do with the ancient Roman pantheon of gods or "pater familia". I think much of modern American pagan practices might even be goddess-centered, but I'm not sure where I got that idea. *shrugs*

    Still, patriarchy has a long history of being the way of the non-Christian world, quite contrary to the life and teachings of Jesus.

  31. Very nice, Ruth. I like that you respond with thoughtful consideration of the matter, instead of just getting angry (which would be understandable, but maybe not helpful in this case). It's nice to see someone who can carefully step back and sort through the assumptions, refuting each as a separate point.

    Been reading your site for the past week or so, and I have to say that your story is very touching and real, and I'm glad it's being told.

    I work as an RA at the university I attend; also, I too am somewhat older than most here. But it's okay-- you do what you have to do for an education.

    Hope that you are doing great! Have a good weekend. :)

  32. @Shadowspring: Thanks. :o) I've just seen some pagan folks get quite upset at the term being used to simply mean "non-Christian," so I wondered what she meant.

  33. I can certainly understand why, Lainey! :)

  34. @Lainey - it's an easy thing to get confused about; some groups use the term "neo-pagan" to distinguish themselves from the more traditional uses of the word.

    Modern pagan practices are hard to generalize about, because there's an enormous number of things that fall under that umbrella. Some of them can involve the Roman/Greek pantheons, and many (Wicca in particular) are Goddess-centered; but there are also Norse pagan movements (like Asatru), Celtic reconstructionists, and a host of others. Just to make things interesting, some groups reject "pagan" as a label.

    So... yeah, easy to get confused about.

  35. I am saddened by the bill gothard and patriarchy movement. I had no idea there were such teaching's out there and so many followed them. The problems is serving God and other's..purity in mind and action's, having a heart for Jesus..why these are cherished belief's to adhere to yet how these ppl. in these movement's have 'corrupted' and misaplied these concept's. What these ppl. are doing is worshipping a man(Gothard) and a set of 'principles'.Ruth..what a precious young lady you are. I wish you were my child! What an absolute joy you would have been!


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