There are worse things than dying
I have taken the title from Don Carson. He gives more details here. Yes, I agree, being betrayed is sometimes more painful than being close to death. Who betrayed me? Here is the list, familiar to Carson, I think. At the end of the list, we read this quote,
A feature of our cultural and ecclesial landscape is warped, bastard expressions of male malfeasance garbed as complementarian. These expressions are smug and an accessory to evil. . . . Women must deeply feel that male leaders are on their side, making decisions with their concerns on the table.
And Carson/Yarborough respond,
We must lovingly stress that Scripture repeatedly grounds gender roles not in first-century Palestinian culture but in creation.
How does this help if a woman is a victim of male malfeasance and evil? How? Yes, I felt that male leaders were on the side of the evil I endured. I did feel that, for sure, and I still do.
No matter what, the overwhelming trauma of living 30 years in complementarianism will not fade. The further away I get, the more I experience a normal, loving life, the more I realize that I lived those 30 years in severe physical and psychological pain and trauma. I will never be able to describe the absolute terror of living 30 years in a form of bondage that was supposedly willed on me, not by culture, not by my own stupidity, but by God when he created the world. That is what I believed. I tremble as I write this. It brings on nausea and shaking. It was completely terrible. But that is what Carson teaches, but he has never experienced the trauma himself. He wills it on the other sex.
Not all women experience complementarianism the way I did. However, the reality is that not once, while I was in the situation, did I express my true feelings about this belief. How would anyone know what women caught in this web of suppression really think? In the situation, there was a kind of numbness that keeps one going. There is a way to live and not live, at the same time. That is what it was like. So, no, I didn’t look traumatized at the time. But the first time I spoke of reality with anyone, the shock started to emerge.
So, like Carson, a near death experience was in no way as painful to me as other psychological trauma that I have experienced in life. It is kind of sad, because I was in Quebec at the same time as he experienced a spiritual revival there. I was a part of that. We are of the same age, of the same country, the same languages, but there is no commonality between us, we are two completely different beings in his view.
Anyway, now, I try to evoke these feelings less often, and don’t write or talk about it as much as I used to. But for today, just to explain why facing death does not seem too bad, when you know how bad life can be.