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TGC & T4G: It’s Not about the Nail, it’s about the SGM Survivors!

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Have you seen this video?   I liked it enough that I posted it on my blog’s Facebook page.  The person who recommended it, Denny Burk, is one who has publicly given his support to C.J. Mahaney.  Just a bit ago, a reader sent me a link to Kevin DeYoung’s blog which features the same video.  DeYoung also issued a public statement of support for C.J. Mahaney.   Hmmmm

When I originally saw the video, I was focusing on the typical husband/wife relationship in which the wife complains of a problem and the husband tries to “fix” it.  It’s a great video to illustrate this common communication challenge in marital relationships.

But let’s take it a step further.  I watched the video again in light of the fact that this video is being spread among The Gospel Coalition folks and this time it struck me differently, as it did reader who sent me the link.  When watching it, think of the SGM story.  Think of the SGM Survivors who have been saying time and again, “Yo, there’s a problem here!!!”

What was the response from SGM church leaders when confronted with issues of abuse in their churches?  It was their sin problem.  Oh no, not the leaders’s sin, but the sin of ones trying to say there is a problem.  The victims have the problem of sin because there is no problem at SGM.  Aren’t  TGC and T4G folks essentially doing the same thing with regard to their support of C.J. Mahaney?  Aren’t they saying, “there’s no problem?”  And instead they blame divisive people, women bloggers, etc.

Sharing this particular video within the ranks of TGC gives one the impression that these guys are all about having good communication in marriages.  By sharing it, they seem to be publicly saying they really want to be good husbands by being sensitive and sympathetic with their wives.  That’s fine and dandy.  While it’s nice that the people sharing it are acknowledging a common communication problem within marriages, it’s too bad the ones who are spreading it are unable to see that it’s not about the nail with the SGM survivors.

49 thoughts on “TGC & T4G: It’s Not about the Nail, it’s about the SGM Survivors!”

  1. outside of ja’s application and as a man—i absolutely loved this video. . very funny and so so unbelievably true!


  2. I’m not sure I like the video. It occurs to me as patronizing–you know, that women’s need for emotional connection is really not what she needs at all. In fact, fix it solutions are the answer after all, men are right and women are ridiculous. Surely it was a man who created this one. Yes, I’m defensive–I am married to Mr. Fix It!! LOL


  3. Ok, I see what you mean, Lisa. I’m married to a Mr. Fix-It, too, as any wife of an engineer can attest.

    I’ll be interested to read other comments. I think for me, it was encouraging to read that guys were even acknowledging that they want to fix things rather than go to the heart of the matter because that is such a common obstacle in communication.

    What about the broader context with these guys and SGM? Did you think that was applicable, Lisa?


  4. Oh, the broader context is sickening, if you think about it. This is a worn out trivial matter to be addressing while more serious issues need to be discussed and acknowledged. The body of Christ is in crisis and needs healing, not serious matters swept under the rug or carrying on as if there is “nothing to see here.”


  5. That reminds me of my recent tweet. This past weekend was SGM’s Transfer Conference and this was a tweet quoting someone from that conference:

    transfer conference


  6. Actually, I had the same response as Lisa. I can see the humor, but ultimately the man comes off as being the more reasonable, sane one. The woman comes off as just not realizing the obvious (more gullible?). Well, I may be a little defensive as well!


  7. Okay, now I can see your connection to SGM ~ it was hard for me to get past my initial reaction and see your connection 🙂 !!!


  8. Okay. I have to admit to laughing at the video. But, it really is very condescending to the woman. The man is completely ignoring what she is trying to express, because he thinks the real problem is just so obvious. It’s really poking fun at a woman’s concerns. How many women (or men) think this is really how it happens in real life? Maybe sometimes. But, men are just as guilty at missing the point. The portrayal of the woman as confused, unstable, inept, and a dingbat is sexist. The fact that Mahaney’s fans are promoting it is exposing their bias.


  9. A couple hrs ago, I posted the address to send cards to Susan Burke on RHE’s site and it’s either in spam or she didn’t approve it. Hmm…


  10. Basically, some people are saying: Women ‘don’t get it’ cuz, after all, they just ‘can’t get it’! I beg to disagree.

    Loved the video–a stroke of genius and funny cuz it is so human, but when you consider the source and ‘who’ has the nail . . . well, enough said.


  11. Yes, Robert, thank you.

    What Sharon wrote was good. I appreciated her highlighting both the “bad theology” and “sin of idolatry” (e.g., doctrinal and hero worship) in “unhealthy church cultures” that serve to “crush and marginalize the weak.”


  12. watched the short film again and just about peed myself laughing. . “all her sweaters get snagged. .”

    so i went directly to the source. . to the dude who put the video together—

    not sure jason’s in the neo-calvinist camp. . but he is one creative storyteller!


  13. from a comical perspective—jason headley hit the nail right on the head. .

    it’s not, necessarily, that the actor wasn’t willing to listen to his dear one—but the woman had a huge NAIL impaled into her forehead, surely her peripheral vision could pick that up, or one of her girlfriends could have given her a pocket mirror. .

    honestly, a skit like this could work with any gender, but it works more perfectly with the whole “men (in relation to their women) only want to fix-it” cliché.

    i don’t think we should read any sexism or condescension or take offense at what is surely meant to be only a caricature of a sometimes very real interpersonal dynamic (that works both ways in terms of gender)!


  14. Well, sure, David, but I think what I’m picking up from a couple of our female commenters is having it promoted by those 2 guys in particular taints it a bit.


  15. yeah, i know, ja. . but i’m finding it hard to superimpose this video onto the SGM madness. .

    i suppose those regarding these 2 guys as foul might find their promotion of this video to be suspect. . i understand that. . but outside of their particular context i don’t see this short to be tainted by anything necessarily offensive. .


  16. Most of the women who commented had issues with it, David.

    The portrayal of the woman as confused, unstable, inept, and a dingbat is sexist.


    I’m not sure I like the video. It occurs to me as patronizing–you know, that women’s need for emotional connection is really not what she needs at all. In fact, fix it solutions are the answer after all, men are right and women are ridiculous. Surely it was a man who created this one. Yes, I’m defensive–I am married to Mr. Fix It!! LOL

    Here’s how I think it applies to the SGM situation. The church leaders/pastors have in their mind what is the real problem. In their mind, the nail is the problem of sin: both the perpetrator’s for wrong action and the victims’ for having anger/unforgiveness in their hearts.

    They don’t realize that the real issue is: what are you going to do about the perpetrator? What are you going to do about the other children who are not safe? What about the family’s emotional needs, etc? They completely missed what the real problems were and instead blame shifted, covered up, minimized, disregarded, very real problems.


  17. ja, so i posted this video on my best friend’s fb wall. (you know the dear one i’m referring to. it was her i thought of while watching this short).

    my dearest comments back: “Yeah, strangely I understand her. Of course from the filmmakers point-of-view it’s just this simple.”

    as a man i learned years ago just to listen. . and if i were fixin’ to fix things, i wisely waited until a more opportune time to do so. . otherwise my task in the moment was to merely and duly and whole-heartedly empathize with her. .


  18. Maybe the reason some folks fail to see the humor in the video is that they have a headache due to a nail in their head, and they just need someone to help them fix the problem… (heh heh heh)


  19. ja, you write, “They completely missed what the real problems were and instead . . .”

    and that’s why i don’t find an SGM parallel with this piece of comedy, our actor did NOT miss the real problem—there was a very real NAIL in her forehead.


  20. Ok, I do see what you are saying with regard to that issue and it makes sense to me. I need to take a look at the video again, there was something that I had in my mind which escapes me at the moment.

    What about the comments from the other ladies I quoted. Can you see/understand their points?


  21. I showed this video to my husband, and we both howled with laughter. He then proceeded to put his finger on my forehead, and say in a high-pitched voice, “It’s not about the nail.” I was not amused.

    My sister and SIL loved it.

    Maybe it depends on who is sharing it, context, their perspective? I don’t know. I do think there can be something negatively suggestive about it.


  22. I get a negative reaction from it. The impression the video gives me is that the woman is to listen to her husband and do what he says by getting rid of a sin in her life and all will be well and that she’s making things more complicated than they need be. Try to picture this video with the man with the nail instead and she trying to talk to him. Ha! Would never be made.


  23. ^ what Shannon said.

    This is SO Sovereign Grace. Light hearted, slightly sexist jokes that were not overt enough to always detect until you got home later and thought about it were common place in sermons, conferences, etc.

    For those who don’t see at first glance why this is sexist, think for a minute why they chose to have a nail in the woman and not the man. A more “biblical” example would be to make a spoof with both having a nail in their heads.

    And the nail/log in SGM’s eye is so freakin’ huge, this whole spoof is embarrassingly obvious in how it highlights the core of their messed up theology.


  24. Here’s our response after being married for a few decades:

    Me: Laughing, seeing the obvious of how this contains some truth! But I also think it minimizes real issues women bring up that do need an understanding (non-fix-it) response, that men sometimes falsely interpret as an obvious “nail in the forehead” issue.

    Husband: Laughing! Agrees it’s a real dynamic in marriage and that often women do have an obvious issue that needs fixing.

    We both laughed at our typical responses.

    My husband said that if this is something that SGM is in any way putting out there to represent the abused as people with an obvious problem that they have the solution for, then that is poor form. He said, “If it were true, that’d be one thing, but it’s not true.”


  25. I agree with Recovering Pharisee. When this video is in the context of a group that already has a sexist bent, that already treats women as inferiors (Calvary Chapel does this as well,) then it’s offensive.


  26. Julie Anne – Lurker, first time poster. Heard about your story a while back on You didn’t stop! Thank you for your tireless efforts in what you do to sound the alarm and alert the sheep!
    Okay everyone, here are my thoughts:
    I agree with Shannon H. Recovering Pharisee, well said! Let’s be real, this video is demeaning to women. Any wife who has a nail in her head, who wants to “just” talk instead of getting the nail out ASAP needs to have her head examined, no pun intended. I would agree with the husband in this video about a wife who wants to leave a nail in her head. How ridiculous! In reality, that doesn’t describe any woman I know of.
    The problem with this video is that it makes fun of wives. It implies that women are irrational, can’t figure out the obvious, and that men just need to put up with them, no matter how silly and frustrating they are. Perpetuating stereotypes is normal operating business for the SGM/reformed/patriarchal groups. Is it that subtle we don’t even recognize it?
    If the point of the video is to highlight communication issues between husbands and wives, when does it show real solutions? It could have been more realistic, more convicting, and Biblical. I would take a gander that most men who view the video don’t come away feeling convicted. Instead, they get a good laugh. Some men may feel affirmed and justified in believing their wives are irrational. This does not bring about oneness. The result, in fact, is the opposite of the “supposed” message. Is that just oversight by these leaders who are loving this video?
    Does anyone see the track record here? The leaders consistently show you what they really think, regardless of what scripture they quote. Look at their fruit. Their love of this video tells you what they think of women. There are men in each of their congregations who abuse their wives & kids. If you asked those wives, what would they say about this video? Does it help them? There is child abuse in the church. What have the leaders done about that? Should we expect a funny video to desensitize us? Are these leaders respectable? Are they running to aid the hurting? Or are they entertaining themselves with videos instead? Do we even care if none of this applies to us?
    How do these churches spend their money? Monitoring your attendance? Are these churches entertainment factories? Or are the leaders in the trenches, doing the dirty work, using resources to help those who need help? Look at their fruit.
    There was a time I would have innocently laughed at this video. Not anymore. Let’s wake up. While the “shepherds” entertain & distract the whole “flock”, each sheep in reality is disposable. What kind of message is that to the rest of the world? The opposite of what Jesus taught.

    P.S. I am a pretty upbeat, positive person. I love to laugh & I think I have a pretty good sense of humor. However, what is going on with SGM & friends is very sobering & disgusting. Do we care? How did we get here?!?… wrong theology mixed with power. It’s caused me to view things with a discerning, Berean eye. And to finally find my voice to speak against it. We all can. Sorry, I didn’t intend for this to be so long!
    A girl


  27. Hi, A girl, and Welcome! Glad that you have found your voice. No, you were not too long, you were just right. You made your point well. Feel at home.

    Yes, your point of “wrong theology mixed with power” is right on. You have joined the ranks of the discerners who are tired of hypocrisy and unhealthy behaviors in churches. Hoping that you will feel free to contribute any time.


  28. The video should end with the guy grabbing a hammer and pounding the nail in order to “fix” the problem. That would be a more opt portrayal of people who think they can fix problems.


  29. Haha. Well played.

    The more I think about it, the more opt the analogy. Any medic can tell you that when a sharp object is lodged in a body, leave it to professionals to remove it. You don’t just yank it out.

    Just because these guys know a thing or two about the Bible, it doesn’t mean they can “fix” problems just by quoting Scripture.


  30. A Girl said, “The problem with this video is that it makes fun of wives. It implies that women are irrational, can’t figure out the obvious, and that men just need to put up with them, no matter how silly and frustrating they are. ”

    This says what I meant much better!


  31. Julie Anne, You gotta be watching these guys for a while to pick up on “who they say they are is not who they really are”. I know you have picked up on it but many don’t. They are desperately trying to project a new image on the comp front. Comp used to be a huge money maker but the internet has changed that as more and more people can study for themselves and hve access to great scholars who differ with their narrow interpretations.

    Expect to see the same sort of thing concerning child molestations. They can put the icaring mage out there but what they DO is entirely different. They are taking a beating even from their own movement on the T4G/TGC statements defending Mahaney and totally disrespecting real victims.

    THAT is who they really are. They chose Mahaney over children who were molested. That is who they are when you strip away the image management stuff.


  32. Thanks, Katie. I know I’m tellin’ the choir here, but this is just frustrating and horrible. I can’t think of a lower level a leader of any organization could possibly stoop to. No matter how nice they seem, or genuine their smile is, or humble, or charismatic, or right their concepts may sound. We must look at their actions and fruit, as Lydia says. Words can deceive, actions/fruit cannot. It is a clear abuse of power. We absolutely know who comes first.

    Julie Anne – keep sounding the alarm and waking up the sheep!


  33. Barb O,

    Thanks for the warm welcome. I just checked out your blog, You, Julie Anne, Wartburg Ladies,, & are giving a voice for those who many times go nameless & faceless, those who are expendable (even children) for “the bigger cause”. Thank you for standing up for those who have been trampled by those leaders who run church machines, not church ministries. There’s no earthly gain in what you do. You’re paid in grateful appreciation. And a crown for doing right awaits. I cheer you on.


  34. OMG. Seriously? I guess anything can be taken in the wrong context and made to look bad. “It’s not about the nail”!!!!!! It’s a metaphor!!! I have has thi conversation HUNDREDS of times with my wife! I now know to ask, “do you want me to just listen, or do you want me to be your knight in shining armor and try to fix this issue”. For those guys just starting out (I’ve been married to the same woman for 23 years) this is real! Sometimes, your wife will want you to just listen…. NOTHING else! The trick is to figure out when she actually wants you to step in and take all the worry/stress/problem away! Cause you don’t want to mess up (either way) hence MY “knight” question. It is a way we added humor to any situation that I can figure out what she wants. Then, when she continues with her rant, I know wether to just listen, or try to figure out a way to fix her problem


  35. Cynics unite on the internet. No surprise that cynics miss the deeper cultural message that men have been culturally and socially prescribed the roll of fixit. Enter humor, Therefore he responds stereotypically to the issue as he sees it, what else could he do? A little imagination allows the nail to be any topic that is aggravating yet un identifiable, such as idiopathic anxiety. To which a part of the path out, is to narrate. Come on people, are you tracking?


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