Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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The Curse II: And He Will Rule Over You

It's been two years since I discussed The Curse and its long-term effect on women:
This translation captures more closely the power struggle that sin prompts between men and women. It's more than just dependency and subjugation, it is a struggle for control brought upon us by the curse of sin. The woman's desire will be frustrated by the man's physical strength, so she must resort to subtler manipulations to wrest control away. He then responds with his own sinful impulse to crush her resistance.
Those of us who live in the West can possibly be excused for thinking that this "sinful impulse to crush her resistance" is either largely a relic of the past, or we equate it with pay inequities or institutional resistance toward women in positions of power.  If this is you, you may want to consider watching The Stoning of Soraya M. 

First a warning ... The Stoning is as gut-wrenchingly violent as The Passion of the Christ, but without the latter's undercurrent of messianic triumph.  It is merely tragic and enraging.  It is based on the book by Freidoune Sahebjam:
The international bestseller book tells the true story of one of the victims of stonings in modern Iran. Soraya Manutchehri's husband Ghorban-Ali was an ambitious man, prone to fits of rage. He wanted a way out of his marriage in order to marry a 14 year old girl but did not want to support two families or return Soraya's dowry. When Soraya began cooking for a local widower he found a way to achieve his goal. Abetted by venal and corrupt village authorities, he accused his wife of adultery. She was convicted, buried up to her waist, and stoned to death.
A casual tour of the Old Testament reveals that, absent the restraint of law, custom or conviction, this base male instinct seethes to the surface.  From the practice of polygamy to unspeakable acts of violence, the Curse's impact is clearly manifest.  Witness the hideous abandonment, gang rape and murder of a Levite's concubine in Judges 19 for one of the most shockingly vile accounts of raw evil in all of Scripture (spoiler alert ... there are no heroes in this story).

Such barbarity can seem primative and nearly extinct, but the Taliban in Afghanistan demonstrate that the Curse-induced impulse by men to abuse power gained by strength and fear is very much alive and well in today's world.  The 29 July 2010 edition of Time Magazine recounts one horror:
The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband's house. They dragged her to a mountain clearing near her village in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, ignoring her protests that her in-laws had been abusive, that she had no choice but to escape. Shivering in the cold air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband's family, she faced her spouse and accuser. Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn't run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Later, he would tell Aisha's uncle that she had to be made an example of lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing. The commander gave his verdict, and men moved in to deliver the punishment. Aisha's brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountainside to die.
The fact that our modern, Western society does not tolerate such things is a testament to the benefits of God's common grace, as well two millenia of Christian influence on laws and culture.  The Stoning of Soraya M. is a grim reminder of what is possible when the effects of the Curse on male behavior rage unchecked.  There but for grace ...

2 comments:

  1. Uh..wow. I much prefer warm fuzzies and visions of an Oprah-like utopia.
    If you aren't going to deliver that, then I guess I'll have to thank you for reminding me exactly how much hope we all have without grace.

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  2. This leaves me tearful, speechless, and so thankful for God's mercy and grace! Thank you for waking us out of our comfort slumber. Blessings!

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