I think men are made fully in the image of God–and can be emotionally mature and kind, with self-control.
Because men are incredible people, too!
I had a bit of an emotional birthday week (to say the least) with a breakdown on yesterday’s podcast. As a commenter noted to me–“It’s your birthday and you can cry if you want to.” Cool!
The thing that got me so riled up was the fact that the big name evangelical teachers that we found in our survey of 20,000 women were promoting ideas that harmed were still refusing to see it, choosing to attack the messenger instead. And then we looked at Mark Gungor’s presentations on men & women, and how they portrayed men as only interested in women for sex.
What I didn’t say in the podcast (I originally did, but I asked Katie to edit it out) was that I’m also dismayed that people who are friends of mine who are higher up in the evangelical world have not come out publicly in support of me. Many are very uncomfortable with the fact that I’m naming names. And in a way, the silence of friends has been harder than anything else.
BUT–all that being said–you guys left some AMAZING comments this week!
And I thought today I’d highlight some of them, because I read them thinking, “you guys get it! I’m not alone! This is worth it!” There were some great sarcastic ones that I texted to Rebecca and Joanna, which you can see if you scan the comments yourself. And there were so many ones with so much encouragement (thank you!).
But here’s just a taste. And what I really want you to see are the ones that show that men are NOT like the way they’re portrayed. They can change, and many aren’t like that in the first place. Talking about them like they are is dangerous!
Thank you to Keith!
Sheila, thank you for your clip at the end. I see what this is costing you to stand up for truth. There is real damage being done- to families, to couples, and to you and your team. I am so sorry that you have to go through this,, and THANK YOU for standing in the gap on behalf of victims and everyone reading these books.. But if I can add one thing, it would be Please do not apologizing for being emotional. God made humans with emotions. It’s part of our holistic makeup. Having emotions does not make you a demon, bad, or less-than. In fact, you have such compassion for those who are hurting.
Keith, thank you for standing up for your wife. You are refuting some of the attacks against your wife by publicly siding with her. I am sure that you are there for her in private, but it is also important that you are there for her publicly, and I appreciate seeing you stick up for her.
Praying for you both.
Evangelical Leaders Are Ignoring Harm
You know I think the “nothing box” concept sadly also applies to abuse in the church.
If Evangelical leaders can say “all we care about is right theology, preaching the Gospel, or being the number 1 marriage resource” they have a “nothing box” when it comes to abuse. There is no felt responsibility to consider how what they are saying and doing might contribute to the abuse.
That burden is left to the non-leaders (often women) to carry the burden of caring and need for change. But that burden is coupled with the need to get the “nothing box” leaders to care.
And so often they just seem to enjoy the privilege of not being responsible to care about abuse much less how they need to change what they are doing and saying.
We Are a Grassroots Movement
Sheila – you are on the side of TRUTH – I’m sorry you have to navigate certain evangelical “powers” and “personalities”. Their behaviour says everything about their priorities (wrong priorities) and nothing about you. Calling women who speak the truth “crazy” is so typically misogynistic of powerful Christian men and the women next to them who want to hold on to power. Never will they address the actual question, facts, etc of this research. They think they can make you/us go away with derogatory names and questioning our sanity. This is a grassroots movement – I hope more vocal church leaders will speak out but we can’t hold our breath. There’s thousands if not millions of us and when this tide turns they’ll need to turn with us and repent or be swept away
People Can Learn
My spouse and I grew up in a very “Archie Bunker” culture, and we both accepted it as normal because it was pretty much all we knew and saw. This was also the height of the era of dolt dads on sitcoms and capable moms bearing all the mental load. Both sides of the feminist line were all about proving women could do it all and be happy and fulfilled about it.
All it did was burn me out and stunt his maturity. We’ve made progress. For example, 15 years ago he would have been miffed that I needed time and headspace to remember all the things one does when getting children out the door. Today, he recognizes that I have things to do and remember and gives me the space and time, but he couldn’t tell you what needs to be considered and done. It’s a step in the right direction for his upbringing and generation, but not like Connor’s understanding.
But, it shows this isn’t something only found on the leg of the second X chromosome. It was taught and even expected. It can be untaught. I need to be untaught. I still hold on to these errors and when he takes steps forward sometimes I’m the one in his way as if my femininity is threatened by his acting like a parent should or a spouse should.
I’m a Guy Who Changed
As a man that has had his life totally changed because of your podcast and other content, and then learning of several marriage problems among my siblings that i feel stem from those teachings, i am so grateful that your message is wreaking havoc on these ideas so much that these authors can’t ignore you.
Men Don’t Only Want One Thing
To hear that apparently a husband is only interested in getting in a wife’s pants and that’s why he’s nice to them is so demeaning to women, men, and marriage. My husband is more than a walking talking sex drive. I am more than a sexual partner. My marriage has more purpose than just to make sure sex isn’t being done sinfully. Why on earth would a man take on the responsibility of being married if this is his only interest? His message is so unbiblical it makes me want to throw up. Sex isn’t for emotional manipulation, why is he treating it like some weird relationship life hack? It’s a gift from God not a tool for selfishness.
Yes yes yes! It is demeaning to both women and men. My fiancé would be appalled at this kind of message. We haven’t slept together yet, but he is way more emotional than I am and really cares about connection and is always worried about if he’s respecting me and treasuring me (which he is in ways I’ve only dreamed of) The small ways in which we have been “intimate” and vulnerable together he has expressed mean so much more than it did with past girlfriends because of the connection and because he feels loved and accepted. Men don’t just care about getting in our pants, they aren’t emotionless beasts or walking talking sex drives as you put it! Ugh it’s infuriating. Not what God intended when He created man in His image
I Was Traumatized by Evangelical Teaching about Men
Sheila, I can’t thank you enough for your work. I am 25 years old set to marry in November. Growing up I watched my mom get divorced twice and with each time get more aggressive in finding marriage advice. I also grew up in the church.
I was shown one of Mark’s teachings at 16 and felt HORRIBLE after. I was the little girl that cringed hearing the “s” word in church, so you can imagine how his teaching made me feel as a headstrong teenager that also really wanted to honor the Lord and have a successful marriage .
His teaching sent me into a tizzy. Trying to back track it I scoured the internet and my parents library and found all of the other books you mentioned and more.. it only made things worse.
I fell into a deep depression and truly believed God loved men more than women, and that men were more valuable. I also learned that men couldn’t be trusted and had zero capacity for emotions.
This gave me a distant relationship with God and a fiery hatred for men.
I would purposely get into relationships with men, manipulate them into falling in love with me and then rip their hearts out to try and prove to myself that men weren’t the robots Mark and everyone else described. Oh and all the while flaunting my virginity. I hated God. I hated men. I hated myself for being a woman.
Eventually I stumbled upon a lot of really great teaching that explained many of the “touchy” Bible verses and mended my relationship with God and my faith.
I met my fiancé and he was the first man to stand up to me and tell me I wasn’t going to treat him like he didn’t have emotions.
We have an amazing relationship and he is the most caring, kind, loving, and emotional man I’ve ever met. Most of the problems we have had were surrounding my incorrect beliefs about men and emotions and sex! I’m having to unlearn absolutely everything. My partner is horribly offended by my notion that he is only after me for sex and has no emotions and a nothing box and all this other BS! (It is worth noting he did not grow up in the church)
It’s just so interesting to be engaged having to unlearn all of the wrong beliefs I was taught about how to make marriage successful. These speakers and authors caused me so much trauma, and the people in my life as well. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being brave and courageous enough to seek out the truth on what God and science really says about how things are supposed to work.
My heart is so angered at how they treat you, but please don’t let it scare you off from paving the way for a new generation to experience true love and freedom in marriage. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
That’s awesome. And I want more stories like Cam’s to come out of all of this! We can change things for the next generation, and we can even change things for ourselves, even if habits are ingrained.
But that won’t happen unless we’re willing to speak up and stop this stuff from spreading in our churches.
i’m so glad so many of you are with me! Thank you for your support this week. It meant a lot.
And PS: The Audio Book for The Great Sex Rescue is doing amazingly well! Thank you so much!
The Great Sex Rescue
Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.
What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the things that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these messages?
Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.
I’m tired. I’m going to look after myself this weekend. How do you care for yourself when you get frustrated and sad with the state of things? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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