Why It’s So Much More…

July 1, 2011 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

A commenter named Katie posted the following:

So it sounds like you all are contradicting yourselves when you talk about getting away from your own emotionally or physically abusive or abandoning husbands, but then telling Megan she needs to do everything she can to get back to her husband – even when you all haven’t done this yourselves! Give her a break!

Here is my response to Katie:

You bring up a very good point, and I can see why it would seem like some of us are talking out of both sides of our mouths here.

I can’t speak for everyone, but without the Sovereign Grace Ministries element, I’m pretty sure a good many of us wouldn’t have much of an opinion one way or the other about Megan and Kerrin’s situation, except to grieve with them and wish that they could salvage their marriage and keep their family together.

But the SGM system has its paw prints all over their relationship.  Josh Harris made them the poster children for courtship when he wrote at length about their relationship, even quoting from Megan’s journal, where she detailed how she wasn’t interested in Kerrin initially, thinking she “deserved better,” until a friend urged her to think instead of Kerrin’s “godly character.”  Throughout the years, Kerrin has been spoken of glowingly on Bob K’s website and Megan’s blog, where she detailed what a wonderful husband he was.  As recently as a couple of years ago, Megan talked about how Kerrin had kept her “fed and watered” at some conference, even as he took care of the kids and helped with the worship.  Kerrin was selected to attend the Pastors College.  Megan and Kerrin were care group leaders.

Pretty much, you couldn’t get more “in” in SGM than Kerrin and Megan were.

Historically, for SGM women, submission and following your husband’s leadership no matter what have been big deals.  Carolyn Mahaney has been held up as the example to emulate, and she and CJ have made it widely known that she “serves” CJ by never ever ever ever turning him down for sex, even when she’d spent the day vomiting or was in incredible pain right before a hip replacement surgery.

Many MANY women have been counseled that the Bible demands that they return to their spouses, even when there had been actual physical abuse.

Up until now, as far as I know, there’s been no escape clause for SGM women because their husbands shut them out or didn’t talk to them or were just plain old asses.

Now, you can think of that what you will.  I happen to have mixed feelings about SGM’s divorce policy.  I think sending a wife back to a spouse who has abused her demonstrates an appalling lack of insight into the psychological dynamics at work in an abusive marriage.  I’m actually with you in that if Kerrin has truly abandoned Megan emotionally, there ought to be some room, some grace, for her to take some sort of action to reclaim her life.

But – and this is why Megan and Kerrin’s story is so significant – my belief (and your belief) would fly in the face of everything SGM has EVER EVER EVER taught to women, everything SGM has EVER EVER EVER counseled women, prior to Megan.

So I say there needs to be some sort of open declaration from the top of the SGM organization.  If they are going to make an exception to the counsel and the accommodations they give for their poster child SGM wife, whose courtship got every SGM Seal Of Approval™ and was featured so prominently in Josh Harris’ Boy Meets Girl, then they need to apologize boldly, in no uncertain terms, to EVERY SINGLE WIFE who was ever sent back into a marital situation where similar circumstances prevailed.

No matter what you think of Kerrin’s “side” or Megan’s “side,” you have to understand that many of us have come to care about this situation not just because of the 7-person family that is – to our sadness – dissolving.  It’s so much more than that.

It’s about:

  1. The failures of the courtship system.  If the spouse-finding process is constrained and constricted and people are taught to pay little heed to their emotions and to attraction and to just that inexplicable gut-wrenching pull you get when you’ve met your soul mate, and instead reduce things down to roles, then once one spouse’s ideas about how he or she fulfills their roles changes, so does the entire basis of the marriage.
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  2. SGM’s definition of what makes a “believer” or a “godly” person.  Apparently, you’re über-godly as long as you buy into all things SGM, but once you start reading Kierkegaard and start wondering aloud if SGM employs cultic tactics, you become an unbeliever.
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  3. SGM’s apparently pragmatic approach to policy-making.  Again, if it’s OK for Megan to file for divorce and not “follow her husband’s leading” by moving where he wants them to move, then SGM owes lots and lots of women a big fat apology for the false counsel they gave in the past.  I mean, this has to represent a policy change, right?
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  4. Special treatment for the guys at the top, if this situation doesn’t represent a policy change.

So, Katie, that’s why so many of us here seem to be talking out of both sides of our mouth – it’s because right now, Megan’s SGM authorities are also talking out of both sides of their mouths!

© 2011, Kris. All rights reserved.