In honor of what God has done by finding a publishing outlet larger than Greater Impact Ministries, on the release date, 12/11/12, I went to Amazon.com to check out The RESPECT Dare and discovered it had received its first “1″ review rating:
Hmmm . . . I try not to give negative reviews, but I would not recommend this book. Personally, I’m not into books that support patriarchy and this is exactly what this book is about. It’s written to wives and it instructs them to respect their husbands. While there is nothing wrong with respecting your husband, I think that this type of book can be a slippery slope for some people especially if they are vulnerable enough to grab a book like this off the shelves. I wouldn’t have selected to read a book like this if I just walked into a bookstore and was able to choose anything I wanted to read so I can’t really say that I found the content or format to be too interesting. In fact, it actually made me feel a little sad. To me, marriage is about friendship and support and I don’t think that job should fall solely to the wife as this book suggests.
I added the bold, because I think that marks the heart of what those who take issue with The RESPECT Dare find problematic. For the last seven years, we have been ministering to women in damaged marriages – women, who for the most part, have one key thing in common: They take issue with the issue of authority. They hate the thought of submission and respect as it feels like “giving something up.” I happen to understand this, because I used to be one of them. They also, for the most part, don’t know what to do to change things. Some of them are angry, frustrated at things they think they understand, but may not.
Are you one? If your heart is hard and you can no longer consider concepts outside of what you consider equitable, you might hate The RESPECT Dare. You will see “patriarchy” in its most negative of forms everywhere in the book - the stories of women dying to self within the context of marriage will not be viewed for what they really are, women living as Christ and serving others within the specific context of marriage and family, but instead, through the lens of the dominated, the lens of the oppressed. You might even call the book “dangerous” as it encourages women to serve, to obey God, to love – and you might be tempted to ignore the advice given to abused wives, which is to be safe, get help, do what God wants you to do. What is interesting is that those who criticize harshest fail to notice the title – The RESPECT Dare. It is a book created to teach us how to respect. Women in abusive relationships might be wise to consider safety options first. I didn’t write it with the audience being women who are abused, but rather the average wife, one whose marriage is difficult, and she does not know what to do. It’s also not that I have a problem with abused women, either – please don’t extrapolate that from the lack of attention. That would be the same as saying I have a problem with disabled wives (a “category” of which I actually belong) because I didn’t focus on them, either. If you expect every single situation to resonate with you in your situation, you will definitely be disappointed.
I was telling a dear friend of mine last week that I used to deeply despise the concept of submitting to God, and to my husband.
What I didn’t know then and wouldn’t even consider for the longest time was that it wasn’t what I thought it was.
For decades, I placed the secular culture’s view of submission onto the concept, instead of learning what God meant by it. Even though I loved God and wanted to know Him more, I wasted years of potential intimacy with Him, because I refused to even entertain the possibility that there was something I might not know. Fed by an extremist experience of the feminist movement’s ideology and the misled arm of Christianity that sees church abuse in every imperfection, I balked at the notion of submitting to God in this area.
What I didn’t realize was this was not discernment on my part, but rather disobedience. I saw only the good results of the feminist movement, ignoring the misperceptions it created within me that influenced my marriage. And instead of seeing the whole picture – and being mature enough to also see the bad, it was only when I gave birth to boys that I could really start seeing the negative influences. I haven’t discounted the good, either, but I do see more of the whole picture – can you?
I also viewed the Bible through the lens of my own woundedness and background – I thought I was seeing the texts in the proper contexts of the time they were written in, but instead, I was using that as an excuse to remove the power from the Scriptures. God’s Word is timeless, it’s a living document that connects with me right now – and it tells me that if I love God, I was to respect and submit to God and my husband, and if I did, if I obeyed, that God would dwell with me.
John 14:23 says, Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
I love how Mary Kassain talks about complementarianism:
Who we are as male and female is ultimately not about us. It’s about testifying to the story of Jesus. We do not get to dictate what manhood and womanhood are all about. Our Creator does. That’s the basis of complementarianism.
A complementarian is a person who believes that God created male and female to reflect complementary truths about Jesus.
If you hear someone tell you that complementarity means you have to get married, have dozens of babies, be a stay-at-home housewife, clean toilets, completely forego a career, chuck your brain, tolerate abuse, watch “Leave it to Beaver” re-runs, bury your gifts, deny your personality, and bobble-head nod “yes” to everything men say, don’t believe her. That’s a straw (wo)man misrepresentation. It’s not complementarianism.
I should know. I’m a complementarian. And I helped coin the term.
(You can learn more about this on the TrueWoman blog. Our Creator has made a large generalization about what men and women are about. Within that, there are many small nuances and differences – that’s why we can’t ever get 100% absolutes on anything. I feel called to speak to this large generalized average, instead of focusing on the smaller segments that are outside of that. Please do not judge me for not speaking to homosexual Christians, pornography addicts, abused wives, or other segments – even though I will write about these things occasionally. Try to understand that I feel called to speak to the “average” woman who does not understand respect and submission in her marriage and/or thinks her husband has to earn it. I trust God will take care of those who already get this. I trust He will also take care of those in different demographics outside the topic He’s given me to discuss. The absence of my attention doesn’t mean I’m anti-anything, it means rather I am doing what I have been asked to do – to do someone else’s work would be stepping into their calling. To criticize their lack of attention would be judgment on my part. I’m not the last word on anything, and neither are you.)
I also like how Mary talks about the concept of “patriarchy,” which seems to be the main issue for a group called the “egalitarians,” who believe there is gender equality in everything. I agree with that the genders are “equal,” and I also agree that there have been issues with forced subservience of women in societies, including churches. What I challenge, however, is that the teaching in the Bible that tells wives to submit and respect their husbands is only contextual and does not apply today because it makes us second class citizens. Not being part of the egalitarian movement, I can’t seem to find out if this perception is a foundational thought of the entire theology, or if it is a small group of extremists (like those in the complementarian camp who believe women should not even lead as worship leaders). More on this here. I believe this is an incorrect thought, whether pervasive or not, and can be explained away by our very design, as discussed here. I do take issue with how some church cultures have removed a woman’s voice completely, even from worship, made abuse acceptable, and tolerated unloving behavior from their men. While it makes me sad that some men cannot hear anything from a woman because they are so threatened, I trust that God knows this and will bring them into His truth and will in His good timing. Like those that leave that environment and attend church elsewhere, I choose to belong to a body that believes differently, as is my right. And who is to say that God will not use those very circumstances to reach everyone in a family? Just because we are right does not mean that God might not want us to endure a difficult situation like Jesus would while He works out His relationship with His other children. Or He might spare us from it – but who are we to make those choices for someone else? All the more reason to focus on our own relationships with Him so we can KNOW what He wants from us – and leave our sisters and brothers to their own relationships with Him.
These sins of the body, however, do not negate that Christ Himself submitted to the Father’s will and not His own:
Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
So yes. There is patriarchy in the Bible. God is the authority of Christ. But denying this and saying it is all bad is like saying all home school moms are bad because some abuse their children. Or like saying The RESPECT Dare suggests the “job of friendship and support should fall solely to the wife” – which is not what the book suggests, but rather gives a wife a way to learn how to respect, sometimes in truly difficult circumstances, and deeply impacts her relationship with God by obeying His Word – and yes, it is about her behavior, because it is written for her. If I were to compliment you today saying you looked nice, would you then take it to mean that I think you are stupid because I didn’t say something about your great intelligence? It makes me sad that some people think that way, but they do. So no, there’s nothing in the book about what your husband is supposed to do. Sorry about that, but we need to stay focused on our own behavior.
It’s not a marriage book for both genders. “Don’t let your husband read it, or he might get the wrong idea,” is probably good advice, however.
Yes, it is a book for women – I could write a book for men, too, or a book for both genders (although the extremists in the complementarian camp – these people really do exist, and are wrong, in my opinion – would tell me I’m sinning by teaching to men) but He hasn’t asked me to write that yet, nor do I know if He will. I did what I felt led to do and I felt led to write this for wives. If you find that fact demeaning, please take it up with God.
And know I have other pages on my blog written for men, so please resist the temptation to sin by judging me.
But know this and consider yourselves forewarned: if you choose to respect and submit to your husband, and obey God, I guess you’ll be viewed as a second class citizen and a doormat like I am by some.
And know this too: It probably won’t matter to you, because you’ll be living your life for the Audience of One, instead of trying to please others.
And I realize that those of you who vehemently disagree with me (and I used to be you) are going to insist I have no voice in my marriage, that I am “the worst thing that’s happened to women” (from another blogger), and damaging to the feminist movement. For others of you, the Spirit may be louder than the voices of the culture (whether secular or flawed Christian), and you’ll see the book for what it is – a very narrow experience to learn some possibilities and examples of how to do something God asks you to do: Respect your husband.
Strong, dignified women are not threatened by authority or patriarchy because they live their lives for God.
Dare you to listen to His voice today, regardless of what He tells you. Double-Dog-Dare you to get confirmation of His leading via His Word, the Bible, which I believe is a timeless, living document that radically applies to our lives in very personal ways today.
I’m a trainer. Not an author. I had no intentions on writing this book, but God told me to do it, and so I did. And today, you can get it just about anywhere. We are celebrating, going, “Look what God did!
IF YOU HAVE “DONE THE BOOK” already, we dare you today, as part of our celebration, to let us know what God did for you through it.
Just FYI: I also asked about putting “God” as the author, because the whole book was written in a brief span of about a month and I’m sure He inspired the content, as I had never written a book before. They said, “no,” so my name is on it, but know I don’t take credit for writing it. Also know that it funds our ministry. And that I don’t take any salary from Greater Impact for any of the training or speaking that I do. So if you want to question me, or be mad about the book and its content, okay, but know it really isn’t me you are upset with.
At any rate, God Himself has made The RESPECT Dare available everywhere – today’s the official “release” date! As for us, we are celebrating this work that God created and got to market (I literally have gobs of “coincidence” stories about how it all came to pass – did you know the guy who “just happened” to get dropped in my lap as my agent also “just happened” to be the head of the team that did the book we recommend to small groups for the men to do all the time… The LOVE Dare?
Crazy crazy stuff. But that’s the journey, isn’t it?
So glad we are on it together.
The badge below is not in the book in those exact words, but it is the main premise of everything we stand for.
To God be the glory!
Love to you,