Jesus the Gamechanger
Several weeks ago, I was troubled–no, that’s not strong enough–horrified, to read this story on the web. Let me sum it up for you:
Dentist in Iowa, a man, fires his long-time hygienist, a woman. Why? Not because she was bad with tartar. Not because of her gruff manner with patients. Not because she was chronically late. Why?
Because he was attracted to her. Because he found her “irresistible.”
It’s true. He fired her because he was worried that to continue working with her would lead him astray. That’s horrific, right? Well, it gets worse, for two reasons.
First, because following her lawsuit, the State Supreme Court, made up of–you guessed it–7 males, sided with the dentist. Yes, at least in Iowa, it is legal to fire someone because you have romantic feelings for them, because you find them to be “irresistible.”
But here’s the second reason why it gets worse, and honestly this is the one that gives me the biggest headache. Because, before he decided to fire the woman, the dentist visited his pastor for counsel. And the pastor counseled him to fire the woman. Not only that, the pastor was present when the dentist did the firing.
Don’t get me wrong, fleeing temptation can be right. Caring for your marriage is always right.
But not at the expense of another person. And not without a careful examination of what’s happening in your own soul. What ever happened to self control? Or accountability? Or confession? Or confronting your brokenness head on, in the context of a loving Christian community?
Do people still wear those “WWJD?” bands these days? Because I think it’s a good question to ask in this case. More to the point, I want to know, “Would Jesus handle this like that pastor did?”
Friends, I submit to you that the answer is an emphatic no. Why? Because Jesus is unafraid to call someone out on their personal brokenness. Because Jesus has a knack for changing hearts not situations. Because, and this is big, Jesus cares for and defends the powerless, the defenseless and those who’ve been wronged. And, from all that we know, this woman fits that bill.
So, let’s talk about Jesus. For like the next 4-5 posts or so. OK with you?
Because in thinking about what it looks like for men to respond to the reality of male privilege (my framework of “admit, submit and commit”), we must take our cue from Jesus. I’ve already shared some thoughts about how Jesus viewed power. Also, I’ve talked about Jesus as Lord here and here. Now, for the next couple of weeks, I want to make some observations about how Jesus interacted with women in his day.
So, together, let’s meet this Jesus:
Truth teller. Sin confronter. Healer. Protector of the weak. Defender of the “irresistible.”
What about you? What “Jesus and women passages” stand out to you?
“But not at the expense of another person. And not without a careful examination of what’s happening in your own soul. What ever happened to self control? Or accountability? Or confession? Or confronting your brokenness head on, in the context of a loving Christian community?”
Rob, do you know for certain that the dentist did not take any of these steps? Sure it wasn’t reported in the paper, but does that mean he didn’t talk with her about the matter? I understand that you are making a point about taking a situation wholistically, and I agree with that. But we really don’t serve our God by jumping to conclusions without all the facts. It looks a bit like you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater! (bad image, sorry!) I’m all for re-dressing injustices, but do we know for sure that an injustice was committed? In other words, can we trust our media reports?
Hi, Caroline! I agree with what you’re saying, but facts from the article would suggest that this man did not take those steps (or at least didn’t take them seriously); he began texting this woman outside of work, including one that asked how often she experienced an orgasm. Only after his wife found these texts did he seek her termination. Regardless of the circumstances of this case, I have seen the importance of self control in men take a backseat to the importance of modesty in women. Both are important, but I feel honored that Rob is shifting some responsibility back on men.
Thanks Caroline and Kelsey. It is difficult to not have all of the information, and I felt that while I was writing the post. But the reported facts that the pastor met with the dentist for counsel and then sat in the firing meeting seem to indicate the pastor’s endorsement that the best solution was to remove the woman.
I’ll weigh in albeit a little bit late – whether the dentist took any of these steps or not, it should be illegal to fire someone because the person with firing power finds the “fire-able” attractive or irresistible. If she was of another race and was let go because of this, there would (rightly) be a huge uproar. This should disgust and embarrass the people of God. What would these conversations between these two entail – him telling her that she is really attractive, her not knowing what the heck to do with that information and wanting to get back to her the work for which she was being paid? An injustice was committed.