Tag Archives: Postmodernism

Humble Submission: An antidote to Postmodern moralizing

While political activism dominates public discourse about gender relations and Feminist Theory becomes a source of moral authority, so that any conservative evangelical caught telling a female parishoner that she ‘ought’ to submit to her husband and male church leadership may quickly find themselves accused of imposing ‘Patriarchal oppression’ on her…

… how about we just extricate what we do from all consideration of politics and theory, get on with obeying what we believe the Bible says, and make submission into something that we women volunteer freely to those who don’t expect it? As in, offer it without it being demanded of us; as in, positively being what we are through it and displaying it openly as an act of witness for those who would call us evil because they disagree with what we advocate? This, I feel, is the most effective line of attack, precisely because it is not an attack.

With humble submission comes an invincible kind of threat to the confrontational moralizer. Its very power lies in its refusal to assume power. It cannot be attacked by any moralizing Postmodern, because the Postmodern’s justification for attack is that their opponent exerts violent or oppressive power over the vulnerable. For this reason, Postmoderns rely on their ability to posture as the vulnerable, or as representatives of the vulnerable, and on their ability to frame their opponents as the powerful – in short, in their ability to propagate and inculcate polarizing narratives that set up the advocates of their cause as the ‘goodies’ and cast their ideological opponents into the uncompromising mould of ‘evil villain’. The power of humble submission, however, lies in its intrinsic vulnerability and refusal to wield power, so that it cannot occupy the role of ‘oppressive, powerful Other’ reserved for it in the narrative. In fact, it presents itself as the flesh-and-blood reality of the illusion that Postmodern paradigms strive to convince people that the ‘goodies’ embody. Whilst being what it is, rather than what it might pretend to be, humble submission is also defined by what it lacks. It is not powerful. It is not willing to defend itself. It does not ‘put out’; it takes in. It is not a self-asserting force, which a dissident opponent can buffer. It is a thing that is, rather than a thing that does violence to being; it is response, rather than call – and a gentle response, at that.

The Postmodern must be the ‘response’ in order to grant their defensive mode of attack to be viable. To present the Postmodern with humble submission is to deprive them of the opportunity to do this, and is akin to trying to power up an electrical appliance with two sockets, rather than a socket and a plug: there is no violence from the one who ought to stand in the role of ‘oppressor’ to stoke the fire; no spark of aggression to light the tinderbox of ‘moral offence’. It presents the Postmodern with no ammunition for the freedom-fighting indignation under which they masquerade as moral heroes. Indeed, God uses the things that are not to nullify the things that are! Mightn’t they then be won over without a word?

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