“I want to introduce you to my smoking hot wife, she has a killer body.”.. “why don’t you stand up so that everyone can get a good look at how fine you are.”
So, take that sentence and try to figure out its context. Where would you place the jack wagon talking about his wife like this. Then imagine what type of context this would have to be for the lady to actually stand up and show off her “hotness.”
I hate to admit it, but this was in church. I felt like it was an ironic throw back to the early 2000’s at a youth retreat, watching the guest speakers try to earn more cool points than each other. But this was at a church event with about 16,000 in attendance who look up to the leaders on this stage as role models of faith. I won’t mention the event because this one guest did not represent the leaders or the church itself.
You might say, what’s the big deal? Just ignore it and move on. Here is my issue. In light of the Me Too movement, Bill Hybels’s failing at his own 4 C’s, (maybe even replacing them with ego) and political leaders claiming God’s favour while living a scandalous lifestyles, we need to do better. This pastor objectified his wife. Period. He made her into an object whose sole purpose was to make him look better. He has worth because his wife is hot. Furthermore, he encouraged a whole room of people to join him in the objectification. Not only does this diminish his wife, but it gives license to the men in the room to do likewise to the women in their lives. I would say it’s not a stretch and say that he gave license to men to objectify women that they don’t even know.
There are two underlying issues that come up in situations like this. The first is Ego. The ego of many leaders is fed by narcissism. That mindset kept un checked, will destroy the one who holds it. I think most people who desire to communicate in front of large crowds or write books that people actually read, have a bit of narcissism in them, other wise they would be content to sit at home and write the books no one will ever read. So for me, I don’t really think trace elements of narcissism in ones life is necessarily a bad thing. They might in fact help us get to the next level where we can be more effective for the people around us. BUT when they begin to buy their own hype they fall into a cycle of selfishness that is tough to climb out of. It is like a guy from a mediocre band who still wears his own band’s shirt just incase that little bit of name recognition is what is going to help him make his big break.
The second issue is an issue of respect. It is easy to make moves away from racism or consumerism because for most people that is measurable. But to make moves away from 1950’s American gender roles is a bit tougher. It should be easier to just respect someone. But pointing out your wife and her hotness is no different than showing your friends your new Land Rover. Status symbols are not why we marry. We marry to make us better people. I would have been impressed if he got up and said “this is my wife, she is amazing, what she has accomplished in her life will inspire you and I can’t wait until you book her into your church and hear what God says through her.”
There were a few bigger named pastors in the room that day. One of the most notable and recognizable got up and walked out with his crew. I want to believe that the two events are related. I want to believe that this was annoying to more people than just me. I want to believe that the future is bright and guys who stand up and say ridiculous things are an anomaly and not the norm.
We have to do better than this. We have to think better than this. Your wife is not a land rover and your ability to communicate to large rooms full of people should not be taken lightly. When we talk about our wives with the same level of respect that we say we have for God, then we are much closer to scriptural speech.
Ephesians 5:25-28 MSG “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favour—since they’re already “one” in marriage.”