Yesterday on my Facebook page I posted a story that got my readers a bit riled up.
Here’s part of what I said:
I’ll soon be having a conversation with podcaster Sarabeth Kapusta of Reconstructing Your Faith. We’re specifically talking about Untwisting Scriptures Book #2: Patriarchy and Authority.
I didn’t talk about “the Jezebel spirit” in that book, but Sarabeth told me a story about it. She told me that back before she had a smartphone when she missed an exit on the highway, she called her dad and was able to get back on track. Pretty straightforward, eh?But her cult pastor called her and told her, “The spirit of Jezebel is deeply entwined in your soul.” And missing an exit on the highway was apparently evidence of that. So. . . .
Do you have a Jezebel story?
Well, that got people going. Here are just a few responses:
I was about 19 yrs old and the youth pastor asked me to lead worship, first time ever. At the end of practice he told me I had to change my pants because the cargo pants I was wearing represented a Jezebel Spirit.
I was in a cult for 5 years and met my ex in it. My ex abused me for 25 years. I was called “Jezebel” all the time by the cult leader and my ex because I voiced my opinions, beliefs, and feelings all the time. I was supposed to be obedient. All. The. Time. I didn’t have a say in anything. When I left the cult in 1994, I had two babies. The leader said to everyone in the cult that I was a Jezebel and a witch.
I once wore lip gloss to church and had an older man call me Jezebel for wearing it.
And licensed counselor Tabitha Westbrook said,
I was told I had a Jezebel spirit for questioning abusive authority in a church I used to go to. A friend was told she had one when she set boundaries with an abusive husband. Having read the story of Jezebel in the Bible, neither of those situations actually are anything like Jezebel who was utterly wicked & having people killed.
Well, yes, I was thinking the same thing.
And Sarabeth added,
This is a term used to shut down independent thinking and acting women that seem a threat to the “leadership” of the church. It’s an extremely abusive application of a story about an evil woman who was not evil because she was a woman with a position of power, but because she worshipped false gods, among other wicked things she did—things not limited to women, but evil characteristics men can have too. For the longest time, I associated it with a woman who would take charge and I shrunk into the background and didn’t want to be too strong or speak my mind or anything that could have the “spirit of jezebel”.
So, when this (IMHO atrocious) meme got exposed in the comments, it only makes sense that a bit of a meme battle would ensue.
I countered with my own list, which I then made into the graphic below. (You can feel free to share the graphic below separate from this post if you so choose; no explicit permission is needed as long as the credits are on it.)
Both of the images below are from famous old paintings about their respective subjects.
And since of course some of us were wondering, “Well, what about the Ahab spirit?” (Ahab was Jezebel’s husband), Don Owsley added this excellent graphic of his own:
Another friend asked:
How did they come up with the “Jezebel spirit” anyway? Is there a “Judas spirit” for men? A “Pharoah spirit?” It’s a stupid concept to take an actual person and assign their character qualities to women who only disagree with the questionable status quo. They resort to name calling when they can’t back up their arguments with facts.
Another friend expressed her appreciation for the “Jael spirit.”
My meme above is the only one I’ll be making about the topic for the foreseeable future, but the field is wide open. I invite others to make Scripturally-based graphics comparing, say, the “Pharaoh spirit” with the “Peter spirit” or the “Herodias spirit” with the “Jael spirit.” The possibilities are vast, and the Scriptures need to be more fully explored for such a worthy endeavor.
I’d love to see your Biblical contrasts in the comments, and if you do make a graphic, I’d love to see that here too.
Carry on, my friends.
Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.