Tuesday, August 18, 2009


In Sunday School this week, we studied Colossians 3:18-25. As is fairly typical of my experience, the group had a good discussion of the challenges couples face as they seek to love and submit, what these look like, and how best to be faithful to God's command.

Near the end, our pastor made an interesting observation. He said that in his long experience in ministry -- he is a "Boomer", while the rest of us are "Gen-X'ers" -- he has noticed a dramatic change in the attitudes of the couples under his care, both in group settings and in pre-marital counseling. It used to be, he said, that he could count on significant female opposition to the notion that they would be required to submit to their husbands. He would regularly struggle against the assumption that Col. 3:18 was somehow archaic, or didn't really mean what it said, etc. Whereas now, women are much more open to the principle of submission, more congnizant of God's sovereignty over marriage, and more hopeful that in this way their lives will bring glory to God.

I was considering why this change in attitudes occurred. I have three possibilities, not mutually exclusive:

  • Younger women have learned from the mistakes of their Boomer forebears that a constant striving for "equality" does not a successful marriage make.

  • Their larger socio-political victory complete, younger women feel freer to choose submission in marriage from a position of strength.

  • Evaporative Cooling: the kind of women likely to object to God's order in marriage have long since dissociated themselves from the kind of churches that Φ would likely attend.



Elusive Wapiti said...

Some of all three, methinks.

#1 The younger women have reaped what boomer women have sown. Divorce, heartache, all that jazz.

#2 throws my little pea brain for a spin. But only for a tiny bit. She's legally superior, but elects to temporarily make herself a follower of a mere man. I guess the "intentionality" of it all is nice.

#3 Evaporative cooling is the strongest factor I think. Hadn't heard this concept before, thanks for expanding my brain today.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to go primarily with Evaporative Cooling. Not to say that the first two are irrelevant, they may matter in some cases, but E.C. is the simplest explanation and, therefore, the one most likely to apply.


erik said...

Okay, I give up! Firefox doesn't allow pasting into your comment box, and IE gives me an "access denied" error. :|

Burke said...

erik: I'm sorry you are having trouble! Trumwill reported trouble pasting into the comment field using a off-brand browser, but this is the first complaint I've heard about IE.

For what it's worth, I'm using IE7 on XP and am able to paste from other websites and Word without any difficulty.

erik said...

It may be work blocking my access to post via IE.

At any rate, while I was reading your post I was thinking of option B before I had even read as far as your possibilities. But I think it is really a combination of B & C such that the gains that the kind of women likely to be at your church really care about are freely available to them (and have been for most/all of their lives) so they just don't feel the same need to "buck the system."

Justin said...

Don't forget the comeback of the traditional culture of Christianity, and conservative culture in general. Liberalism is on the wane, and conservative on the rise in general, and that turnabout only began in the 1970s.