On July 14 we published “St. Paul on Marriage” in response to Father Joseph Gleason’s terrifying distortions of Christian marriage. Some ten hours later he posted an apparent rebuttal entitled “Unconditional Respect from Your Wife.” The irony is lost on no one that a website subtitled “Christian Renaissance” should host his ruminations.
We do not use the word terrifying lightly: an Orthodox Christian therapist working on his PhD in clinical psychology—and whose research examines the relationship between psychological attachment, religious fundamentalism, and authoritarianism—has stated to us that Father Gleason’s false “theology” sets the stage for men pathologically insecure in their masculinity to abuse their wives and children on any number of imbricated levels.
Gleason frames his dangerous views as “notes to Protestants from an Orthodox priest,” and imagines that adding “Rostov the Great, Russia” after his signature lends him some sort of mythic authority as emanating from “Holy Mother Russia.” He concludes his two pieces on marriage with the following:
Are you a Protestant who disagrees with this article? …[I]f you are…willing to listen, then I will gladly have a conversation with you.
“Willing to listen”…he demands the same kind of unquestioning deference from his readers as he does from his wife. To whom does Father Gleason listen? Does he realize how much of an outlier he is among Orthodox who write on marriage?
We urge Orthodox hierarchs, pastors, and lay theologians to join us in protecting women and children by responding on the pages of Orthodoxy in Dialogue or elsewhere.
Love is supposed to be unconditional. So is respect.
The Bible teaches clearly on this subject. Unfortunately, many Protestant teachers are liberal cucks and uppity battleaxes who chafe at God’s requirements for marriage. These folks claim there is no hierarchy between husbands and wives, and that a wife should only respect her husband if he deserves it. Sitting at Rachel Held Evans’ feet and clipping her feminazi toenails would be more preferable to some people than simple obedience to the Apostle Paul….
Thankfully, the ancient Christian faith—Orthodox Christianity—is a breath of fresh air. This ancient breeze blows away the noxious odors of feminist feet, making them a distant memory. For 2000 years, the Orthodox Church has consistently taught that wives owe respect to their husbands. Unconditionally.
Just imagine a scenario in which your wife is selfish and sinful. Instead of being a good wife, she is being downright catty, mouthy, and disrespectful….
God requires a wife to respect her husband. Other versions of the Bible translate this word as “reverence” or “fear“. The same underlying Greek word is used in multiple passages of Scripture, referring to godly people who have a healthy fear of God….
Therefore, as an Orthodox priest, I offer the following advice to all men:
- If you are a single man, be very careful who you marry. If she doesn’t show you honor and reverence now, she won’t respect you after marriage either. Drop her like a hot potato, and find a good Christian woman who is willing to give you unconditional respect.
- If you are married to rebellious woman, then quit rolling over and taking it like a whipped puppy. Calmly inform her that God’s commands will be obeyed in your home. From now on, if she gets catty and mouthy, immediately stop the discussion. Let her know that respect is a prerequisite for any discussions in your household. If she wants to talk about anything at all — even when she disagrees with you — she is required to speak respectfully. Otherwise, the conversation is over. Once she learns to talk with respect, she will eventually learn to show respect in other ways. You are required to give your wife unconditional love, and she is required to give you unconditional respect.
- If you are married to a godly, submissive wife, then give thanks to God for such a blessing! You are the king of your household, so treat your wife like a queen. She deserves it.
Love and Respect are duties which are required. They are not something you earn.
Also see “On ‘Orthodox’ Wife-Beating“/”О «Православном» избиении жены.”
Father Joseph Gleason is an American priest who styles himself “a priest in Russia” and finds the time to write with extraordinary frequency for Russian Faith. It is unclear whether he has a theological education from any recognized Orthodox school, a canonical release from his bishop in the US to the Moscow Patriarchate, or an assignment by the local bishop to any pastoral responsibilities in Russia.
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