Plenty of Blame to Go Around Here, Especially on Her End

In November, Dalrock provided an assessment of this piece, by Jenny Erikson, who divorced her husband. While I agree with Dalrock, I do think his assessment is incomplete.

As I read Erikson’s post, several things stood out:

(1) If half of what she says about her pastor is true, he is a manipulative, micromanagy scumbag.

Seriously? Using the FB page of a parishioner to confront them about what you perceive to be a problem? Go back and read Matthew 5. If you believe that the husband is head of the wife, then it is on you to take it up with the husband–or talk to the two of them together–if it is that important. Facebook is not the place to be airing that crap.

And calling people out for crying babies? That’s so juvenile. While I can understand where a pastor may find such interruptions annoying, I’ve seen many good pastors–even hardcore conservative fundamentalist types–deal with these issues with grace and humor.

(2) Her husband has no balls.

If my wife is doing something of which my pastor does not approve, and he airs it on FB rather than come to me first, I’m going to let him know–in no uncertain terms–that (a) I, not him, am the head of my wife, and (b) if he has a problem with something that my wife is doing, he needs to take it up with me, and (c) if he takes it to Facebook like that again, I will personally rip his head off.

By going around the husband and confronting the wife, he is attacking the manhood of her husband. That the husband does not stand up to that is troubling.

And that’s not to say that the pastor was wrong to be concerned about the matter–her taking her kids into Victoria’s Secret. It was arguably worth a mild admonition, although I probably would have let the matter slide if I were a pastor.

(While I have no qualms with her going to VS herself–one’s intimate apparel is, and ought to be, a private matter–it does not strike me as the best judgment to take one’s children in there. Like I said, if I’m a pastor, I probably wave that off, but I can understand why a pastor might at least have a word in private with the couple about it, just to give a mild admonition. But doing and end around the husband is very bad Biblical protocol.)

Still…

(3) Jenny is wrong for divorcing her husband, and has exposed herself as a liar.

She claims that the pastor acted on a “4th hand rumor”, and yet she had already made up her mind and in fact told her husband that she had already filed the papers. There was no “rumor” at all; it was a done deal. To keep falling back on the “rumor” argument is factual dishonesty.

Moreover, she listed no Biblical reason for her divorce. Even stipulating that pastor was a jerk and that her husband has no balls, none of those stipulations–individually or collectively–make a Biblical reason for abrogating the marriage covenant.

At best, Jesus allows divorce for one case: adultery. If he cheated on her, then she has grounds.

Some folks will suggest that abuse is legitimate grounds. While I will never fault a husband (wife) who divorces an abusive wife (husband), I am not going to twist the Scriptures and suggest that the Bible endorses it. In such cases, it may be a necessary evil, but it would be less than honest to suggest that the Scriptures say something that they don’t. Even then, Jenny has not provided a case that her husband was abusive. If anything, he was too passive. But abusive? Not so much.

Yes, her pastor is a manipulative jerk.

Yes, her (now ex) husband is probably an otherwise decent man who is way too passive.

Still, Ms. Erikson is worse than the two of them combined, as she is dropping a nuclear bomb on her children.

And yes,

(4) the church is correct for excommunicating her.

Whatever their faults, they should call this crap for what it is, and call her to repentance.

Class dismissed.

6 thoughts on “Plenty of Blame to Go Around Here, Especially on Her End

  1. This situation strikes me, after reading up a bit on the background, as one where she married a man to whom she was not attracted – a “beta orbiter” — because she thought it was the right thing to do at the time. Obviously this was a mistake. Of course, in no way does this justify divorce, not least of which from the Christian perspective, but it sheds light on what happened here. People marrying into those kinds of situations in an age of hedonic marriage and easy to obtain divorce are lining themselves up for problems, really.

  2. Yep. He definitely has a fair set of issues, and really lacked the stones to stand up for himself when it was evident that the pastor was walking all over him. I can also see where she might have (rightly) felt that it was her husband’s job to protect her from the abuses of the pastor, and found herself completely frustrated with the lack of testicular fortitude on the part of her husband.

    Still, none of those things justify the nuclear bomb she dropped.

  3. I don’t see any winners in this situation, only losers. Sadly, the two biggest losers of all are the daughters who won’t be able to grow up in an intact family.

    Regarding the pastor, to whom is he accountable? He deserves discipline as much as anyone else in this sad situation, perhaps even more so because he’s clearly failed as a pastor and a leader.

    At least in a liturgical setting like I’m in, the pastors are not only accountable to their respective vestries (governing boards); they’re also accountable to a bishop, who in turn is accountable to an archbishop. And the archbishop, at least in our denomination, is accountable to the College of Bishops and serves a fixed five-year term.

  4. I’ve been reading quite a few stories about wives ditching their husbands, and while it always seems to be a case of betas not being able to step up to the plate, but I wonder if there isn’t another angle.

    I will place some of the blame on the husband in that he does not know how to bring his wife to an orgasm. In other words he’s lousy in bed and doesn’t have a clue as to what will satisfy a woman.

    Without going into details, I would suggest that men get a hold of an old copy of “Joy of Sex” and study the contents like your life or marriage depended on it.

    If your wife isn’t dragging you into bed, you need to look at your technique, find out what you’re doing wrong and then fix it.

  5. @singleman: If the account by Erikson is correct, the pastor is definitely off the rails. That doesn’t excuse her, but he is definitely a problem.

    @Omega Man: I do not recommend The Joy of Sex, as it was written with an anti-monogamous, secular bent. There are good Christian resources regarding sex that are well-written.

    But seriously, having been married for a little over 4 years now, it doesn’t seem to me that orgasm is particularly complicated.

    If a man doesn’t understand these things, then he definitely needs to learn some basic aspects of anatomy and physiology as they relate to sex. But, like I said, it’s not difficult. People have been figuring these things out for milennia.

    Still, you could be onto something with respect to the general dilemma, as the most recent study I’ve seen on the matter indicates that women, as a group, find their husbands less exciting in bed than previous partners.

    In fairness to Erikson, I will not put her in this boat, because–as far as I know–she has not cited this as a problem. I don’t know her, and what I write is solely based on her account.

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