In past years our family attended churches that promoted “Biblical Patriarchy.” I fully realize now that this is an extremely unbalanced view of scripture. It sees the father as the head of the home (not necessarily bad in itself) but by default it devalues the authority and truly Biblical role and value of a woman. The woman’s role is considered completely subservient and that she can’t make any wise decisions apart from the head of the family whether it be spouse or father.
This is a concept completely contradicted by the presence of Mary who spoke for herself her “fiat.” She didn’t consult her father or her fiance to ask permission. God did not force Himself upon her. She consented to what God asked of her with a willing heart despite the negative impact this would obviously mean for her within her community and her family.
It is no wonder that certain Reformed and Mennonite communities ignore and downplay Mary’s beautiful role in our salvation. Some go so far as to avoid mentioning Mary at all. They balk with fear and cry, “Mariolatry!” Esteeming Mary would be to promote ideals contrary to how they treat woman who are UNDER them. This call to be like Christ and serve their wife. Recall Christ’s words that the greatest should become the servant of all. That Christ, himself, knelt and washed feet. As husband and wife we are supposed to outdo one another in showing honor. Husbands are supposed to esteem their wives!
Thus a man and a woman, who by the marriage covenant of conjugal love ‘are no longer two, but one flesh’ (Mt 19:6) render mutual help and service to each other through an intimate union of their persons and of their actions.” Gaudium et Spes (48)
“Biblical Patriarchy” is a disease concocted by controlling men who would warp the image of marriage for their own personal advantage (female slavery). To certain patriarchal types woman are all still “evil Eve” and always will be. They swagger in their glorified position over woman as if they are somehow wiser and holier because they are men. They make that position known by ignoring the woman under their “pastoral” care resulting in a severely crippled and joyless church.
Marriage and family relationship are SO much more full and beautiful then how “biblical patriarchy” presents it. It has been a huge weight lifted to be out of that bondage. After many years of this type of treatment in the churches I began to feel depressed and of no value to God. I wondered as a wife or mother if I was unable to accurately teach my children how to live a Godly life because I had heard the vain and silly woman argument so many times. (Never mind Godly woman such as Timothy’s mother and grandmother also were in the New Testament.)
Then one day I started to study Mary, the mother of God. What a sign of contradiction! Here was a woman who loved God more than she feared man. Here was a woman who taught Jesus to pray, who admonished Him in front of the elders of the temple, who beseeched her Son for compassion at Cana. A woman who boldly stayed at the foot of the cross when all the men but one fled! Here was a woman to be called blessed! A woman who was bold, strong, commanding, and submissive! Words that I was taught do not belong together in a woman’s vocabulary. Mary has deepened my understanding of what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart.
Thank you Mary, for your humble example to us. Pray for us that we may be truly woman who fear God and not man. Pray for us that the work of our hands would be pleasing to God. Pray for us that we would be servants of the Lord regardless of what that means for our reputation and our comfort. Pray for us that our marriages would reflect Christ and His Church.
A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head,because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.
1 Corinthians 11:7