I hate being mad, so it’s a good thing that I don’t have a short fuse and don’t get my feelings hurt easily. In general, I’m more laid-back than high-strung, so while I’m in touch with angry feelings when they arise, I don’t dwell on them — usually.
Yesterday, however, two things really got into my craw.
The first was a credit card bill. We’ve been doing lots of home maintenance lately, and the cost added up to several thousand dollars. I could have taken money from savings to pay for it, but when a “0% interest” offer arrived from an Amazon.com credit card I never use, I decided to take advantage of it for six months of no interest payments.
I’m usually pretty savvy about such things and rarely get burned, though I know the credit card companies use such teaser rates because they know most people won’t pay the balance before the typically exorbitant interest rate kicks in. I make notes and generally avoid that.
When my first bill arrived, however, I discovered that Chase Bank, which operates under the guise of Amazon.com and many other branded credit cards, had added a full $285 in “transaction fees” to my balance — effectively charging a high rate of interest in advance and making the “0%” claim an absolute sham, nothing more than a big honking lie in bold print.
After scouring the original offer, I eventually found information about the transaction fee. As you might guess, it was printed in such a tiny font that it was barely readable.
That made me mad. I called, complained, and asked for the deceptive fees to be removed, but got no satisfaction, other than that letting the company know they would get no more business from me — and knowing I could warn any readers to beware deceptive claims.
While I can afford to pay the ridiculous fee and clear the account before the six months is up, I know that is precisely how credit card companies entice many other people into taking out loans they cannot afford to pay, contributing to mountains of debt that can become overwhelming. That makes me mad.
The second thing that got my goat was not a financial issue, but a theological-social-cultural one: I learned that a professor from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, while preaching in a Texas church, said wife-abuse sometimes results from a woman’s unwillingness to submit to her husband’s “God-given authority” over her. You can read about it here in Bob Allen’s report at EthicsDaily.com … I won’t go into the stomach-turning details.
The professor’s pompous position is really nothing new, as it builds on the SBC’s “Baptist Faith and Message” statement that was amended in 1998 to assert that wives should be submissive to their husbands, claiming divine sanction for such a practice.
Fundamentalists moan that Christians have fallen prey to cultural shifts that have promoted women’s rights and allowed women to think they might be qualified to stand on an equal footing in their marriages, their workplace, or even the pulpit.
They do so, however, on the basis of biblical texts that are clearly products of their own culture. The same biblical texts that talk about submissive women also speak often of human slavery but offer no words of condemnation. For modern interpreters to claim that slavery was a cultural anomaly but male domination is an eternal principle is nothing more than bad hermeneutics fueled by men who like being in charge and fear losing their power.
The professor did not put all the blame on non-submissive women for abuse they might receive — he admitted that men are sinners, too — but promoting a theology that tells men they should expect their wives to be submissive is just priming the pump for domestic violence.
And that makes me mad.
I suspect I’m not the only one.