The Bible Group Study Where A Heart Broke In Two: A Short Story

October 4, 2012 — 30 Comments

“Stop it Richard. Just shut up already!” Jane cried out. Her husband, in the middle of expounding on the Bible to the six other attendees, did stop; more out of shock than obedience to her wishes. In fact, the entire home Bible study group were frozen with shock. “I can’t take it anymore. I can’t sit here one more second and listen to your drivel. You talk like you know, like you are an expert on God. But you know what,” she said, shaking as she addressed her husband of 16 years, “you don’t know the first thing about God! You don’t know anything, and I can’t take another second of your babble.”

“Jane,” Richard said, “what in the devil has gotten into you?”

“Not you!” She cried out, “certainly not your proud theology.”

To her right, Simon, one of the elders at their church, stiffened in his seat. He cleared his throat loudly. The room gave him their attention. “Jane, that is no way for a woman to speak to her husband, you must submit to—“

“Enough! Don’t you dare say another word to me about submission. I’m sick of it. I’ve been silent my whole life because of fear; fearful I wasn’t being submissive. What has that done for me? What is now left of me? God, your sick theology has almost completely killed my spirit. I’m a zombie. I’m meant to be a free spirit, a blessed child of the Almighty, but I’m not, I’m dying inside.” She looked around the room, “Each one of you too, we’re all dying. Don’t you see. Doesn’t anyone here see. We’ve all got nothing to say, no one except my husband.” Turning to Richard, she continued, “And what do you have to tell us, straight-faced and with a heart of stone, you tell us God is using us like batteries. That we are only good for our output. You tell us of your own foolish ideas and because you wrap them up in a few Scripture verses, you think you’re teaching us about God?—enough!” She screamed, “Enough with your theology. Enough with your egotistic dreams. Enough of all the lies that are killing the life I still have in me—enough! I won’t take another moment of it.”

She stormed out of the living area. Still in full view of the whole group, she put on her coat and scarf. Outside, a dreadful storm was pounding down upon the neighborhood. “Does this matter to you?” she called out to her husband without looking at him. Continuing to dress herself frantically, she asked, “Does it matter I’ve half lost my mind by this twisted theology we’ve devoted ourselves to? Does it bother you, Richard, that your more interested in finishing your shallow Bible lesson than you are with your wife’s heart breaking in two?”

She glanced around at the group, her hollow eyes echoing off the faces before her. She turned and left without another word, slamming the door behind her.

The group sat in silence, some smiled awkwardly at each other, others stared at the floor.

Richard glanced briefly out the window, watching the rain belting against the glass. Slowly, he turned back to his Bible, reopened it and found his place. What should I do? he asked himself. The whole group was silently asking themselves the same question, but nobody knew. Nobody knew anything at all.

Short story by Mick Mooney. Visit Mick’s: Facebook Page | Read Mick’s novel: God’s Grammar

  • Cathy

    Mick, such a sad state that many are in. This is so familiar because I have seen this too, same dying inside stuff in a church denomination that tried to quiet me as a Single Mother without any Male leadership. The Men in the church couldn’t handle me speaking up, so they tried to snuff me out and cut me lose making my friends choose them or me and because their fear they choose the system.

    God choose me though, I am Loved dearly by my Father, he cares for my heart.

    • mickmooney

      It sure is crazy when a faith that is meant to revolve around the beautiful idea of freedom can become so enslaving. Thanks for sharing.

  • carolann

    Wow Mick, this isn’t fiction it’s reality! This is me leaving a controlling group I called a cult, but perhaps it was a typical church after all! Are they all like this?

    • mickmooney

      I didn’t write it thinking it was normal, and personally I’ve never been in any situation like it. However, I do think many people feel trapped due to a certain religious culture etc, or like in your case, it does actually come to a point of such inner turmoil one literally does have to cut ties and just run, for the sake of their own sanity. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kathy Caudle

    It seems to me this relationship was a little one sided and if the husband had expressed his Christian love for his wife she would not have felt the way she did, but she should have talked to him about her feelings. People can not blame their situation their decisions their reactions on anyone else. Sounds like to me the writer has a little pent-up anger toward Christianity and needs to talk to someone. Prayers for your comfort in your situation!

    • mickmooney

      Maybe it wasn’t even Christianity? Maybe the story was about a cult? Most cults, after all, also claim the Bible is their source of guidance. Just some food for thought.

      • Kathy Caudle

        Maybe if they are going to follow part of it they need to follow all of it. It really all works best together you know. I guess I should not make assumptions, I follow Church Burners to this so I assumed it was church going Christians.

      • Joy

        Oh it was christianity alright lol…and yes there are lots of wonderful pastors that live out the Love & Grace of Jesus…but many like Richard are sooooo out there:))

    • Vince Warde

      Sadly, there are churches – and one very famous Christian speaker – who do push the view of a “chain of command” in Christian marriage. This false teaching has destroyed many Christian marriages. As a Christian minister I have met very, very conservative Baptist Pastors who will not allow this guys teach near their churches. Check out my post above for why this idea is wrong.

  • Lisa-Anne GraceWriter Wooldrid

    Yes, that’s reality. It drives me insane that the foolish lies about submission are still being perpetrated/perpetuated on women in the church today. All believers are called to “submit” to each other in the verses just ahead of the “wives” ones… but submit does NOT mean what we’ve been taught it means! In the original language there, it means to live in such a way as to put each other first. It’s NOT about rank or position! Men are called to submit to their wives just as much as wives are called to submit to each other, and just as much as all believers are to submit to each other. lol, the next man who suggests I should submit more to my husband will probably be punched… by my husband. ;) Does anybody even care that the translators had to do some major surgical cutting and pasting to get that verse to read “Wives, submit to your husbands”? They actually took words from verses above and moved them to make it say that. In the original manuscripts, it doesn’t read like that, but a thousand years of the Roman agenda and male ego and “tradition” have kept it that way, and tried to keep women in “their place.” Anybody who thinks the Daughters of God are somehow less holy, less amazing, less powerful, less capable, less able, less called, less equipped, or less anointed than the Sons of God, well, I don’t think those people have actually MET HIM! :) ;) Peace and love and blessing to all y’all, no matter what gender you are. :)

    • mickmooney

      right on Lisa

    • Kris Breese

      Yes and Amen…kingdom living doesn’t look at gender or ability…it looks at our purpose and what we are created for. Thankfully, if we choose to walk into that, man has no say so in it :) it’s all between what you and God can dream up together.

    • Vince Warde

      There are only one or two passages where translation bias in involved. These are in 1 Timothy where – since wife and woman are the same word in Greek – context, and hence interpretation, determine which English word the translators use. In at least one place, newer translations indicate the alternative translation.

      The problem is not bad translation – it is bad interpretation. Specifically, a failure to take the cultural context into consideration. I have written extensively on this above.

      • Vince Warde

        “All believers are called to “submit” to each other in the verses just ahead of the “wives” ones… but submit does NOT mean what we’ve been taught it means! In the original language there, it means to live in such a way as to put each other first. It’s NOT about rank or position! Men are called to submit to their wives just as much as wives are called to submit to each other, and just as much as all believers are to submit to each other. ”

        Very good point! In addition to context (which was the main focus of my comments), it is critical that we seek all of what Scripture has to say on the subject – which is also the context of any individual verse on the subject.

  • Micheal McComber

    is there more to come with this story or is this cliff hanger it

    • mickmooney

      At the moment I’m just writing short stories that stand on their own. But, if I feel a story can be expanded I am also open to writing new sections. We’ll just see how it goes :-)

      • Heather Goodman

        i really want to know what happens next in this story

        • mickmooney

          I’ll try to write another short story that starts where this one leaves off. Hopefully sometime this week, so stay tuned :-)

    • mickmooney

      Hey Michael, just to let you know, I did another part to this story. It’s called: “Giving Up, Breaking Down, And Finding Hope Again”

  • Lisa Grady

    This story is a great illustration of how the law brings death and condemnatiion to our heart and spirit. It’s the opposite of love and freedom.

  • Joy

    this may as well be a TRUE story lol…I know many wives of pastors that left because of this very “fiction story” and yup the group was left with ..well let’s carry on the mad woman suffering from permenopause or pms is gone…but not so, the mad woman was walking in GRACE….running out the door, good for YOU! There are pastors who actually live out of grace and share the love of Jesus by living it and growing in it, but there are those who are like this character, and many of them:)) God loves them all, but yep good STORY:)

  • helena

    Call me crazy but concerning the whole submission, I do feel, as a female, we are called to submit to our husbands. It has nothing to do with whose better than who, but everything to do with the beauty of God-ordained leadership in the home.We submit just as the church submits to Jesus Christ the head of the church, so is the head of every woman a man, according to scripture.When we see the submission of the church to Christ, it is an ugly or a beautiful sight? I know woman have been mistreated in the past so we’re certainly not eager to even consider this idea considering how much ground we’ve won and are afraid to loose, however, I fear sometimes we can get caught up in this whole rebel against the corrupt church mentality that we miss some things that truly are just beautiful. Submission, leadership, and authority are beautiful.Don’t let anyone say they’re not just ’cause they’ve been abused. Just my thoughts.

    • Vince Warde

      I don’t think you are crazy for wanting to be obedient to God. I do think that your views MAY be out of sync with New Testament teaching. According to 1 Pet 3:7, marriage is a partnership. Submission – at least the kind we see in many New Testament passages – was culture based (see my post above). The commands to husbands are not – they are normative truths in all cultures at all times, including now. I detail all of this above.

      At most, the husband is the “senior partner” who can cast a tie breaking vote – and that should be seldom IF EVER. Partners are equals and should behave as such. Together they should speak, listen, reason and above all pray. The Lord usually brings us together with spouses who have different personalities and gifts. There is nothing wrong with a couple deciding who is good at what and letting that person lead in that area – yet, in some circle, this is forbidden because that means the wife is “unsubmissive”.

      Sadly, many women have low self image even before they are married and “submit” to their husband due to their inaccurate self image, rather than a desire to please God. They can even be very uncomfortable being treated as equals. These dear sisters need to learn and remember who they are in Christ.

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  • Sherry Thompson

    This is a great example how theology divides relationships. This story certainly touched my heart.

  • Sherry Thompson


  • seth

    The law has always and will always be there to show us that we are sinners. That is its purpose. Jesus came as an answer to the law. We are either under the law, without the law, or within the law. Jesus said follow me,He walked within the law and we should do the same. “If you love me you will keep my commandments”. To live without discipline is not an option as we can’t be disciples. Love ,if you have children you will know ,love is not always about the nice warm touchy feely love. Love sometimes has to be shown by punishment. That does not mean I do not love my children, it shows I love them more.
    We need the whole story of God’s word not just the bits we find palletable. The wages of sin is death. That shows God’s love because He sent Jesus for the world. That still doesn’t alter the wages of sin.

    • Vince Warde

      All true – but this guy needed to read that commands addressed to him in 1 Pet 3:7!

  • Melita Gee


  • Vince Warde

    First of all, let me state very clearly that I am a minister in a Biblical and theologically conservative denomination. My degree is from Liberty University. No one should dismiss what I say as coming from “liberal popular theology”.

    This short story is one of the most powerful and accurate condemnations of what I (and many, many other conservative theologians) consider to be one of the most unbiblical theological positions held in the Christian Church today. Let me explain why this is so.

    First, all Scripture must be interpreted in context. This includes the culture and world view of the original recipients. For instance, in New Testament times, a huge percentage of the population were slaves. Historians and Biblical scholars have pointed out that being a slave in that culture actually made many people more secure than being a free man – since a slave had value, he or she would likely be fed and sheltered in bad times. A hired man might very well be turned out to starve. So Paul tells slaves to submit to their masters. Was he endorsing slavery? Of course not – but a rebellious slave was a very poor representative of the new Christian faith and such a slave was likely to regret such actions. Of course, when Paul addressed the masters who were part of the church, he stressed the obligation they had to treat their slaves well. In fact, he reminded them that they also had a master in heaven who would judge them based upon how they treated their slaves. Paul was addressing people in a culture in which, sadly, slavery was the norm. How the Lord feels about slavery is made clear by the fact that no where is slavery commanded or praised. Indeed, the Christian faith was a major factor in the abolishment of slavery in the western world – because it makes it clear that we are all of equal value in the eyes of God.

    Today, no one would preach a pro-slavery sermon – but less than 200 years ago in the South, the theology of slavery as a “Christian responsibility” was common. Those who preached these sermons were in grave theological error when they preached that the Bible endorsed slavery. Had they preached the equality of believers – and added that if you are a slave owner, your treatment of your slaves will be judged by God – that would have been Biblical. Had Christian slave holders really comprehended that fact, many more slaves would have been set free!

    So, how does this relate to the theology of marriage and the New Testament command to wives to submit to their husbands.

    First, this command simply recognizes the reality of the culture. Women were oppressed. As with slaves, a rebellious wife was a poor witness. It should also be remembered that women were not permitted to learn at that time, yet they were taught in the church – in fact this was commanded. 1 Tim 2:11 was radical women’s lib in that culture! Because women of the day were not educated, they naturally would have required more guidance from their presumably more educated husbands. Praise God, our culture is very, very different.

    Second, New Testament teaching dramatically opposes the culture, elevating women in many, many ways – and making it clear that they are equals in Christ (Gal. 3:28). As noted above it commands that they should learn (the implied command being that they should be taught) and that they should take part in public worship (1 Cor. 11). Of course there are many other examples.

    Third, not one passage commands men to dominate their wives. In fact, quite the opposite is true. In one powerful verse that follows a command to wives to submit to their husbands, the Apostle Peter destroys the entire false theology that there is a “chain of command” in Christian marriage. In 1 Pet. 3:7 instead of telling husbands to compel their wives to submit to them, or even to teach submission to them, the Apostle Peter, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells husbands that their wives are not servants, but partners. Partnership implies equality. That, however, is just the beginning. We husbands are commanded to treat our wives with consideration. We are told that – in total contrast with the culture in which normally women were inherited as property – that our wives are also heirs with us “in the gift of life”. Finally, we are warned that failure to do this will result in our prayers being hindered. If this verse does not prove that women are equal to men in Christ – I don’t know what does. Image the hyper male chauvinists in the churches when they first heard that verse – right after the command to wives to submit. I bet their “Amens” stopped very quickly!

    In sound theology, in sound Biblical interpretation, we look for the normative truth that applies in all cultures and times. That truth is found in Peter’s words to husbands, not in the culturally influenced words to their wives. That’s why I think that Mick post above is right on the mark.

    Grace and peace,