Saturday, March 6, 2010

Love in Fundamentalism II: Love Isn't Submission

So if Love=submission and the ones on the bottom of the heap are the ones who HAVE to submit the most.  Well, who the hell would really want to love any body else? [author]  
The emotionally disturbed, the chronically codependent. [commenter]
Love IS best demonstrated by submitting.  I'm talking about Christ submitting and emptying himself of glory and power in order to die for our sins.  About the injunction for husbands and wives to submit to each other, and to love each other as Christ loves us.  This is what love does, and …  it is a beautiful and satisfying thing for both parties.  The problem comes when you have one side doing all the submitting, and the other side trying to keep control and power.  THAT is codependency and should not be tolerated. That is evil.  Let's not throw out the truth because it's been corrupted, but rather eschew the lie, and reclaim the truth for what it is. [commenter]

Love ISN'T submission; it's action that spiritually benefits the receiver.  Which sometimes is submission, sometimes not.  Real love can't be exploited the way submission is because it's not always about submitting.  Sometimes it's about holding firm boundaries or about walking away.  

Christ's crucifixion isn't about submission the way we understand submission today.  The real redemptive power of the crucifixion story is his willingness to take action that would bring humanity a path back to right relationship with God. Jesus took any number of actions in the Gospels that provided a means for people to redeem themselves--the most dramatic example is clearing out the temple.  There certainly was no submission involved in that action, but it definitely provided a way for the wrongdoers to become aware of their misdeeds and start living rightly--to be redeemed.

Love is the action of spiritual renewal.  In any given circumstance, what is the action that will provide the best opportunity for spiritual growth in both participants in the relationship?  Sometimes the action will be choosing the other person's desires over your own.  Sometimes the best action will be drawing attention to the fact that they are behaving badly.  Sometimes the best action is leaving the relationship to relieve them of the chance to continue behaving badly, at least with you.

Merely because the action of spiritual growth is sometimes submission, let's not generalize that it is always submission.  Such a generalization sets up a dynamic that is rife with opportunity for inequity and iniquity.  And where does it leave the one who is doing all the submitting?  What options does she (or he) have in the face of exploitation?  Turn the other cheek? Be ever more humble? Given the sinful nature of man, how can we ever expect that the love=submission paradigm will not be exploited?


  1. Hello! I just found your blog from your comment on Razing Ruth and wanted to thank you so much for the beauty and grace you are living. I am looking forward to reading your posts!

  2. Thank you, dulce de leche. Welcome to my musings. My hope is that someone benefits by reading the questions I've pondered and some of the conclusions I've reached--at least until I change them based on further pondering!