Corpse Bride


or Desperate Housewives and Accidental Bride-icide

One Good Friday at a Baptist church we used to attend, we were treated to the creepy sight of a mannikin onstage in a wedding dress. [1] The lady speaker (who is not the pastor) told us of a dream she had in which she saw the church as a bride. In the vision, Jesus was brushing the bride’s hair. Ew.

I’m sure all the women thought this was wonderful, particularly those who have been hurt by men. But along with (hopefully) every male in the building, it made me squirm. I was supposed to be imagining Jesus lovingly brushing my hair? For a start, I have no hair. My haircut of choice has been referred to as “The Belsen.”

The church is a bride, but she is a warrior bride. Christians are only the bride corporately, NOT individually. This is extremely important, and it is a factor that went straight over the head of this godly woman. She defended it later with a remark about being tired of the Christian military symbolism she grew up with. But the Bible uses both, and we need to use both and use them appropriately. This problem certainly is the fault of men who are domineering but also of men who are passive. This subtle confusion between the Divine and human needs of women is not the solution.

As individuals we might be insecure and needy, but the church as a body is never these things. The menopausal, lonely divorcee-type believer, stalking Jesus week-to-week (and sometimes from church to church), is not to become the norm. The church is to look after the lonely such as widows so that they too can be warriors secure in God’s love. Even this ministry is a corporate work to be headed by corporate-thinking godly males. See the book of Acts.

At this same church, one Sunday was set aside for testimonies. This is something this church does really well. It was a fantastic time. A couple of men testified about how the men should really be taking the lead in spiritual things, and there were some tears. But then an older, single, vocal, well-meaning and “on-fire” lady got up and thanked God for this new awareness, proclaiming with passion that the women really need to be protecting the men! Now THAT was a cold shower.

Jesus is not a bridegroom to men or to women. David Morrow reports men who feel inadequate because their wives are in love with Jesus, a perfect male who doesn’t even need to use deodorant. [2] This ravishing, bodice-ripping husband-Jesus is a demonic idol.

For individuals and for families, Jesus is the army captain who must be obeyed. This is the imagery men respond to particularly. I don’t swoon at the thought of having my hair brushed. Sure I need comfort from time to time, and the Spirit supplies this (and mostly through the church), but what I need more than that—and fairly frequently—is a good kick in the arse. How is discipleship presented in the New Testament? Boot camp.

Is it any wonder statistics show that churches with woministers shrink? Focussed only on compassion and comfort they cease to be furrowed, fertile ground. The end result of this imbalance is always a sterile ward for palliative care. [3]

There is no place for any sort of feminism in the church. It’s time for men to take the lead. It’s also time for the coddling, defensive, scary sisterhood to burn the travelling pants.

[1] Interestingly, the word ‘mannikin’ is from Middle Dutch, and is a diminutive form of ‘man.’
[2] David Murrow, Why Men Hate Going to Church.
[3] See also, First Church of Sleepy Hollow, How To Grow Your Church and Christian Gangs.

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