Who’s In Charge: Men or Women?

June 15, 2012

This Sunday is Father’s Day.

And in some corners of blog-land, a discussion goes on: has God put men in charge of women?  Has God given his church a masculine feel?  Has God decided what is men’s work and women’s work?

I’m not surprised it’s still going on, even though it feels at times that the horse just won’t die.  This isn’t going away any time soon.

But I think I have found the answer to the question.  It’s deceptively simple.  It’s so simple, no one is talking about it.  It’s so simple, that people are secretly saying, “That can’t be the answer!”

You could take this answer right now, and probably fix most of the problems in your family.  You could make this your credo for life and be a much happier person.  And you could be sure that it is God’s plan for men and women everywhere.

The Original Plan

When God put Adam and Eve in the garden, He didn’t give them a lot of instructions.  He told them they were a team, and they should get cracking on ruling over the earth and making babies.

God didn’t tell Eve it was her job to make sandwiches for Adam.

He didn’t tell Adam it was his job to kill spiders that came into the bathroom.

He just kind of left them to their own devices.  Weird, huh?  God just let them decide how they would do things, all on their own.  And it seems to have worked.  They got along.

The Rest is History

However, no married couple has ever had that kind of a relationship.  Because when Adam and Eve sinned, they stopped getting along.  They started trying to control each other.  God even predicts it.  He tells Eve this is going to happen, and she’d better be prepared because her husband is going to turn into a jerk.

I can just imagine the first day, outside of Eden.

“Hey woman, why don’t you make me some nachos?  And I need some laundry done, now that we’re wearing clothes.”

“Really?  Why don’t you clean your disgusting hair off the soap like I asked a thousand times?”

Men turned into chauvinist pigs and women turned into nagging harpies, both trying to control the other.  And siblings started doing the same thing to each other (check Cain, Joseph’s brothers, et. al.), nations started doing the same thing to each other, and humanity started doing the same thing to God, trying to coerce or manipulate him.  In fact, most of the Bible stories worth reading, and the history books since then, are stories of power struggles, people trying to control other people.

Controlling Them for Their Own Good

Isn’t it funny that virtually none of Jesus’ teachings involve controlling other people?  Instead he tells people to love their neighbors as themselves.

And Paul tells men and women to submit to one another, not try to control one another.

And God doesn’t try to control us.  But we feel free and morally obligated to try to control each other, through political games, war, and pointing the Bible at each other like a toy gun.  And we love to justify ourselves by saying that we’re controlling them for their own good, to “save” them from themselves.

The vast majority of the Bible can be boiled down to this: control yourself, and stop trying to control other people.

If you do that, you’ll be happy.  You’ll have a spouse that willingly serves you dinner or squishes spiders or does whatever you need them to do.  That’s so beyond the realm of “complimentarian” or “egalitarian.”

What do you think?  Can we all agree on that?  Does God really have a plan for men and women and families beyond just relinquishing our desire to control each other?

22 responses to Who’s In Charge: Men or Women?

  1. “Get your own !@#$% in order before you try to control others” probably would’ve prevented a lot abuses by churches, governments, etc.

    It’s too bad more people don’t actually do that.

  2. The world teaches us to be controller in chief. Jesus teaches us to be chief servant. Part of the curse of the fall was the need to control, part of our salvation is the removal of that curse. good post.

  3. “The vast majority of the Bible can be boiled down to this: control yourself, and stop trying to control other people.”

    LOL! You’re not serious, are you? LOL! Thanks for making the Bible all about us. LOL! Weak!

    • The Bible does boil down to us and our response to it, and our response to it should be to allow God to change who we are and the way we do things. If it’s not about us, what is it about? Who did God have it written for, if not for us? It’s not telling God how to live. He exists with or without His written Word.

    • Ah, Donald, I remember you from some time ago. Again, you don’t fail to make your opinion known, in your typically brash manner, but would you care to clarify your statement and tell us where I’ve got it wrong?

      • No. No, not really.

        But thanks for acknowledging your wrongness. That’s a definite step in the right direction.

        • **cough**troll**cough**

          • Definitely. Check out his blog. I don’t usually call people out like this, but he has a special combination of being completely bull-headed and accusatory while actually communicating very little about why he is right. He is just much more comfortable cutting down everyone else, rather than making coherent arguments. He detests “weak” Christians who struggle with faith issues or sin, accusing them of being “frauds.” Yet, he openly admits that he fails numerous external criteria that others place on him for being a “real” Christian. He tells people who visit his blog that they should be afraid of him, calls the rest of us “sissies,” and threatens to destroy (in words) anyone who “tries to speak nonsense” to him.

            Yet he claims “tons of traffic” on his blog. A simple Alexa search for his blog would suggest otherwise. But I guess “tons” is all relative. That’s ironic, since I suspect that he’s got no time for people who preach “relativity.” Relativity is just a *theory* right?? :)

  4. So much of the tenor of what has been happening online this week has been troubling to me. I have leanings in one direction, but I just want to tell everyone to STOP.

    I’ve seen phrases pulled out of context then passed around and used as a bullwhip to misrepresent the other side. Meanwhile, there is a God who loves people that’s being used to promote personal agendas.

    Some are afraid of losing control others are more worried about being offended than loving others.

    I think there’s good reason in what you’ve said here. I too am ready for this horse to die.

  5. Love God. Love men.
    Everything else is just commentary.

  6. There are tenancies in men and woman that are different. Along the lines of: woman tend to like to talk about feelings. Men tend to be solution oriented and dismiss feeling in hopes of logically solving problems. Not all but many.

    That’s all I want to say about men and woman. Harmony in marriage happens best when roles are communicated, agreed upon and acted out in loving service to the other.

    When it comes to “who’s in charge”, a good example should be the parents. 18 is not the magic number and neither is 21. It bothers me to see parents who want to be friends with their kids when they need to be the boss. It really bothers me when parents are overrun by “Magical Adults.” Just because they are 18 or older doesn’t mean they get to make the rules in my house.

    You don’t need to control your spouse, or make a habit of making male ultimatums. Save those for your kids.

  7. We don’t have a boss in our house. I mean, my wife does determine a lot of how we spend our money, where we go, who we hang out with, and what we eat, but that’s because I generally don’t care. If I do care, I tell her, we talk about it, and we come to some agreement. Since we both strive to be close to Jesus, we end up very close to each other, anyway. If one of us were not so into Jesus, we’d be further apart. But if we’re both walking towards the same point, no matter how far apart we start out on an issue, we end up coming close to each other in the end.

    If my goal is to sacrificially love my wife, then going along with what I want generally means good things for Sarah. If her goal is to sacrificially love me, letting her decide what we do tends to mean good things for me, too. The husband and wife are coworkers, fellow soldiers, and teammates.

  8. “Does God really have a plan for men and women and families beyond just relinquishing our desire to control each other?”

    My only critique of this is how many parents implement this philosophy into their parenting. Strangely, those who are least likely to “control” their children are often most likely to try to “control” everyone else. Could write for hours on the topic, especially re Church.

    Boiled down it seems that accepting responsibility that is given by God is just not as fun as taking that which is NOT given.

    • You are certainly right. The commandments require children to honor parents and Paul commands that children obey their parents…with the caveat that parents should not embitter their children. Unfortunately, many parents act as if they are desperate to keep their children’s affection by not requiring obedience.

  9. Great post. You had me laughing with the fictional exchange between Adam and Eve. And you are 100% correct. We are supposed to just love each other. Serve each other and stop trying to control each other. Awesome.

  10. “The vast majority of the Bible can be boiled down to this: control yourself, and stop trying to control other people.”

    I love that quote because it is true. I do a lot better when I acknowledge my need for grace and mercy and offer the same to the other people in my life. I think that’s especially true in marriage. My husband and I have been married 28 years. We make decisions together. We both have strengths and weaknesses and divide stuff up based on that and not traditional roles. It makes me sad when I see my younger friends buying into the current push I’m seeing in churches for men to “man up” and take the reigns of the household etc, and the church. That to me is a big step backward. I think it works better when we are free to be fully who we were created to be, not based on gender roles.

    • The only way “man up” works is if the context is “men, start being the men God created you to be,” which can be quite open ended. When it’s “men, start barking orders, taking charge, and getting your way” it breaks down.