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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Effect of Corporal Punishment/Spanking/Smacking on Gender Dynamics in the Christian Home

The Effect of Corporal Punishment/Spanking/Smacking on the Gender Dynamics in the Christian Home

I have been researching and studying this issue of corporal punishment/spanking/smacking for over 20 years now. My first interests in the subject began right around 1992. As I have gotten more involved in discussions surrounding the issue, I have developed a large body of feedback which talks about the impact that this issue has on the Christian family in Western countries. 

Generally speaking, the impact that is found on the Christian family is quite similar regardless of the country we are speaking about. If you are attending a fundamentalist oriented church in Canada, South Africa, the USA, New Zealand or any other English speaking country where the influence of the King James Version of the Bible either has been (or continues to be) felt, the general experiences of people engaging with this issue will be similar. 

The Added Value of Corporal Punishment/Spanking/Smacking - 
Greater Control over Gender aspects in Family Dynamics

Over the years, one area which I have noted is particularly felt over a wide scale is the impact that well intentioned (but often seriously misguided) male ministers make on women (and especially mothers) within in their sphere of influence. There are many areas where a male minister can exercise authority and influence over women in a fundamentalist church environment, but the issue of how one disciplines their children extends outside of the church door and reaches into the minute by minute daily life of the mother in question. 

This is often due to the fact that mothers generally speaking spend more time with their children. So, because of this if a male minister is focused on this issue and seeks to aggressively promote this issue, the effect that is can have on individual families can be very dramatic.

Now, what are some of the things that male ministers say about corporal punishment/spanking/smacking? I think we are all pretty aware of what families hear from many ministers. You must spank. Spanking is good. God commands you to do it. If you don't do it, you are evil. You do it for their own good. We've all heard these statements over and over and over again. They are often drilled into us and they are done so with a strong dosage of the book of Proverbs as the authority for all of it.

But along the way, there are other effects and one of them is that women and particularly mothers are controlled to ignore their motherly instincts and feelings surrounding this issue.

I have heard from scores of mothers (and a week does not pass where I hear from more of them) that they never felt quite right about corporal punishment/spanking/smacking. This is especially the case for second generation mothers who themselves were spanked often very hard and they look back on their own lives and say often that it really did not help them and they will not take these issues forward.

These issues create great conflict inside many mother's heads because of the messages about corporal punishment/spanking/smacking that they have been taught. Let's look at how this idea extends into a procedure for control.

Now, if you are a young mother who has just given birth and a pastor tells you what you need to be doing regarding that child, if his advice goes against your motherly intuition, you then will feel that your motherly intuition, which is a protective gift from God, might not be from God at all! This is a huge problem because it can cause women and mothers to think that their inner voice, feelings and intuitions are not in step with the teachings of God's minister.

I have heard this over and over again. Mothers feel torn inside because they feel like they want to please God and have to do that no matter what and this has all kinds of implications for how their interact with their husbands and especially their children. 

We have all seen some of the horrifying cases where children have died at the hands of their parents. Many mothers looking at those circumstances wonder how a mother could allow something like that to happen? But this, as I am here saying, is one of the issues that male ministers need to take into careful consideration in how they play God in the lives of the women in their churches.

Many ministers also do not understand the influence they have. This is because of many of the general attitudes that some fundamentalist Christians have about women and these ideas are projected out onto women and mothers either consciously or subconsciously. 

Women and mothers are taught that they are sinful, responsible for the fall of mankind, need to listen to and be controlled by their husbands first and then ministers second and this is all done in the name of Jesus using His Holy Scripture along the way.

I would be very interested to hear your experience or opinion concerning this issue? Do you agree with me?

There are some lessons I think we can learn from this. If you are in a situation where a minister is telling you something and your intuition or internal moral compass is telling you something different, beware! 

God has placed within mothers something special. Call it what you want: mommy spirit, feminine protective energy, I guess you could think of many such phrases. 

These feelings and intuitions should be considered in your decision making processes and given at least the same weight that you give to the opinion of a male minister giving you his interpretation of the Bible, which may or may not be correct. 

One thing is clear. Your internal voice is closely connected to your connection with your child, which is something obviously that we men just can't appreciate in the same way a mommy does.

I rejoice in your intuition because I think in the vast majority of cases it is that still small voice from the LORD reminding you of what you already know as a mother in the first place.

Download Samuel Martin's free ebook - Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy here - http://whynottrainachild.com/2013/06/22/download-martins-book/


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