Bishop Akron was getting more and more annoyed with his wife as was the case during most of their conversations. He felt shame and guilt because he knew what the Bible said about wives being in subjection to their husbands yet he had given up pushing for that to take place. He knew what the Bible said about husbands taking charge in their homes and leading; most times now, he just gave in to his wife’s wishes to keep the peace . . . well, to keep her quiet, and to further rationalize his claim that his stepping back and letting her have things her way showed his love for her. He also remembered Prophet Malcolm’s words which would ring in his ears ever so often from the last extended conversation they had about family life: “That part of the Bible which we do not obey, we really do not believe.”
He had stopped preaching on the home after his wife had put up a fierce fight against it one Sunday—not in public, thank God; but once they got home she wasted no time in letting him know just how she felt about the matter.
“If you think I’m going to submit myself to you, you have another thing coming. You do not deserve it. My submission to you is based on conditions—my conditions, as you well know. If you don’t please me, not only can I not submit to you, but I will not submit to you. Don’t you think that’s only fair? So don’t you ever preach that into the ears of the women, using the pulpit as a cover-up to try and convict me. You tell the men to be what they ought to be, then, maybe, just maybe, we will submit ourselves. In all fairness, you can’t even preach that because you don’t know anyone’s home situation. And nobody knows our home situation. It’s in the Bible. Let them read it for themselves. And if you think I’m playing just try doing it again. I’ll have such an army of women rallying behind me, it will make your head spin. Talk about losing half your church overnight. And with this internet thing, talk about going viral in a matter of seconds. I’d tread carefully if I were you.”
To protect his church, to protect his name, to keep his wife off his back, to keep the women of the church who looked up to her happy, and to keep the tithes rolling in, he felt it best to keep quiet about the home life in his messages. He did not preach in favor of Ephesians chapter five particularly verses twenty-two through twenty-four nor did he preach against it; he just did not say anything.
Andrea already had a reputation of leading the women of the church contrary to Bishop Akron’s vision and wishes by questioning decisions he made that she herself was not pleased with with the women often in their women’s meetings. Some of the women, having banded together, often confronted him in his office about decisions he had made or about some aspect of his preaching that they as a group did not concur with, enough times for him to approach each message with caution.
He had learned that there was no greater debate than that with a woman who was in disagreement with something one might say even in spiritual matters. One woman confronted him and this made him take a step back. In her Jamaican accent, she said: “Submit to ‘im no mattah what. Can’t do dis; can’t do dat. Can’t wear dis; must talk like dat. But when you catch deze preachas breaking deir own rules, den dey start preachin’ ’bout forgiveness. Huh! Church is a farce as far as I am concern, an I wants no parts of it, my Bishop.” She would always address him as “My Bishop.” Bishop Akron smiled. Whatever happened to Ms. Molly-Mae, he often wondered.
Bishop Akron lost count of the many times he and the men in leadership roles in the church would make a decision about something and all would be on the same page when they closed the meeting; however, once the men got home to their wives and discussed it with their wives during pillow talk time, they would return talking differently. It had gotten to the point where he would literally beg the men not to say anything to their wives, but there was always one or two who, for whatever reason, would not hold up to their end of the bargain not to say anything to their wives. And it was always the same one or two men. Bishop Akron was strongly tempted to tell them not to show up whenever he held a church meeting. It was always,
“I was talking with my wife about it, and my wife thinks . . .”
“My wife had me looking at it from a different perspective. Have you ever thought about doing it this way, Bishop?”
“I don’t know if that will work. My wife said . . . You know all about a woman’s intuition.”
I can roll with that if it will keep my wife off my back, Bishop Akron forced himself to think and believe. Not only will it keep my wife pleased, but it will keep the women in the church happy because as Prophet Malcolm said, ‘There’s nothing like an angry church woman.’ Plus, the women contribute a great deal of money to the church each week, and I do not want them leading their husbands and children out of the church. I’m all about the prosperity of the preacher and that means keeping the membership and the attendance high.
These thoughts and others bombarded his mind including the virus pandemic lockdown. Hunkered down at home with Andrea twenty-four seven? Closing up the church? Can’t do that. Not only will my people start going to other churches, but they will take their money with them. Tithing will fall. I probably won’t get a paycheck. Nope. Can’t close the doors for sure. And Andrea and myself in the house together twenty-four seven. Now that’s a laugh. A dark comedy. Nope. Ain’t happening for sure.