I’ve mentioned Rachel Held Evans before. She’s got a blog I read on a pretty regular basis, and as I’ve mentioned before (this is important, now) she kinda looks like Claire Danes in My So Called Life. Not that that’s important. Except I said it was. Crap. I’m lying again.
Anyway, I was reading her blog today, and what I read made me bubble with impotent fury. My insides are percolating like a coffeemaker, only instead of making coffee, it makes raw rage. A “Mr. Rage”, if you will.
I’m angry because I read this article (written by Rachel Held Evans) about another article (written by Jared Wilson on behalf of the Gospel Coalition) that mentions a book that supports some crazy backwards views on the role of men and women. . . in sex. Per the Bible. As if my brain wasn’t already confused by the Russian doll of re-blogs that I’m presenting my readers with, I have to wonder – are people paid to talk about how God wants men and women to bone?
Want to share my rage – or confusion? Read the article.
Here is a great quote from the blog about the blog about the book written by Douglas Wilson (the book is Fidelity: What it Means to be a One Woman Man):
“When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.”
I read that, and my first thought was, “Man. . .this guy and his wife are doing it wrong!” I mean, I’m not going to provide any details of my sex life on this blog, but I really feel the need to make a point. So instead of coming anywhere near dropping an unwelcomed info-bomb on What the Faith, let me, instead, ask this question to the fellas who read this blog.
Hey fellas – if you and your woman are involved in ‘the act’, and you can characterize her response to you as ‘receiving’, ‘surrendering’ or ‘accepting’, do you interpret that response as proof that you’re. . .you know. . . decent at the actual carrying-out of said act?
You can feel free to accept that question as rhetorical – but heck, if you answer in the comments, bonus!
Also, I’ve read Song of Songs. It’s basically the Kama Sutra of the Bible, and there is nothing complementarian about it. As RHE points out in her article:
Wilson conveniently leaves out the fact that the Shulamite girl in Song of Songs initiates much of the action in the romance. She is the first to speak in the poem, declaring, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (1:1). She actively seeks out the handsome shepherd in his fields, saying “Why should I be like a veiled woman beside the flocks of your friends?” (v. 7). When the two are separated, she goes out into the streets, looking for him, and at one point is accosted by the city guards. When she finds him, she brings him into a private room. There, she says, “I held him and would not him go” (3:4). It is she who initiates a sexual encounter in a vineyard in the countryside, and it is she who offers her lover a frank invitation to drink her wine and to enter her “garden” to taste its choice fruits. Her lover confesses “you have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride.” And so the lengthiest and most detailed description of sex found in scripture is characterized by mutuality and shared pleasure, not conquering and colonization, authority and subordination. It is precisely what Wilson refers to as an “egalitarian pleasure party.”
I know I’ve been over this before, but I really don’t think that God has that much to say about how two consenting adults in a loving, monogamous relationship combine their private parts. I think that once people are a) consenting, b) loving and c) monogamous, I think that God is pretty much laissez-faire about their junk. If people who fit into those three categories want to engage in the business in a vat of Jell-O, I can’t imagine God is going to condemn that. He might look away from that, but then again, I would.
But Rachel (and several of her commenters) make a very, very good point about the language used in Jared Wilson’s blog (and by extension, in Douglas Wilson’s book). This is where the (slightly amused) confusion I’m feeling turns into anger.
His characterization of sex as an act of conquering and colonization is disturbing, and his notion that women are little more than the passive recipients of this colonization, who simply “accept” penetration, is as ignorant as it is degrading. What is perhaps most disconcerting is the fact that even after multiple women expressed their concerns in the comment section, both Jared Wilson and Doug Wilson repeatedly dismissed these concerns with exasperation and condescension, ridiculing the commenters’ lack of “reading comprehension.”
Wow. This actually happened. I read the comments. I don’t want to repost any of them (mostly because I would have to repost a long chain of comments, which is a bit distracting for people who don’t want to read them, and also a hard thing to do and still maintain a short blog post) but you can read them right here. The worst part is that two authors gave offense, and neither one of them said, “You know what? I can see how that could be really offensive. I’m sorry, it’s not what I meant.” They both took a stance that anyone who wasn’t an idiot would read those words as they were meant to be read, and be totally moved by how kind, caring, loving, and completely rad Jared Wilson and Douglas Wilson are.
They certainly wouldn’t see them as misogynistic assholes, would they?
Anyway, here I am, sitting at work, steaming out of my ears, and then it occurs to me – Jared Wilson’s article started as a commentary about 50 Shades of Grey. A book that started out as a Twilight fan fiction. It almost made me laugh out loud.
Look at what fan fiction hath wrought!
I feel like I should ask a question, so here it is – is anyone else bothered by this? Or am I completely losing my cool over nothing?