A script is an expected course of behavior, that we could also call a blueprint or storyline or role-playing. Consciously and subconsciously, people obey their internal scripts and play out the storylines looping continuously in their souls. Their relationships and life outcomes are the visible evidence of the scripts they carry within. Only through vigorous self-awareness with God can these scripts be pinpointed and sanctified.
For example, a person scripted for failure tends to fail habitually, even sabotaging their own success. They create a real-life play of sorts, filled with characters (real people) and developing plots (real situations), all moving towards failures. Believe it or not, the failures bring a bizarre sense of fulfillment, however short-lived.
The Truth of Theater
The script concept is borrowed from the world of theater, where plays have a cast of characters who act out prewritten roles, scenes, plots, and themes, all moving toward a climactic end. William Shakespeare said, "All the world is a stage."
Similarly, real life is theatrical. Not that it becomes any less serious, but rather, people fashion for themselves and others roles, scenes, plots, and themes, all moving towards the fulfillment of personal wants and needs. So when we say So-n-So is being "dramatic", it is more accurate than we realize. They are following an inner script and developing their drama to meet their needs.
Broader Scripts & God's Script
Scripts are not only personal, they exist on broader levels too. Entire family systems can follow expected behaviors in their relationship choices, vocational paths, and other major decisions. Many churches follow scripts. Trying behaving in a traditional Southern Baptist church the way one behaves in a rowdy Pentecostal revival, and vice versa, and see what happens.
Scripts can be observed easily in societies and subsocieties. What is expected of a woman in a harsh Muslim culture is much different than what is scripted for her in Paris or Miami. What is scripted as "normal" in Nashville is radically different than what is scripted as "normal" in San Francisco.
God has His own scripts, His own blueprints and storylines He wants played out. His general expectations of mankind are established in His Word (Isa 46:10, 2Ti 3:16,17). His preordained vocational calling for each person was written in a book before one of them ever came to be (Ps 139:16). Every prophetic word that is spoken is a revealing of God's situational will, customized scripts for particular situations.
Any and every part of life on earth is liable to be run by scripts. The question is, What scripts are Biblical, healthy, or benign? What scripts are dangerous and harmful? We must answer these and related questions as they pertain to romantic-sexual scripts.
Romantic and sexual scripts function like any other. When pairbonding happens between a male and a female, their inner preconceived roles eventually emerge. Sooner or later they start relating in ways they have been ingrained to relate, and they expect their partner to relate in ways they have been ingrained to expect. Plot lines develop, themes emerge, and each lover's script is fully operational.
This is precisely how one man becomes known as a "good guy" and another as a "player” and another as "clingy" and so on--those are inner scripts externalizing as behaviors that eventuate into reputations. This is how one woman becomes known as a "tease" and another as "wife potential" and another as "desperate" and so on--those are inner scripts externalizing as behaviors that eventuate into reputations.
Two predominant scripts, however, have dictated male-female relations throughout human history: the Patriarchal Script and the Jezebelian Script. We will finish with God's original and ideal script.
The Patriarchal Script: The Pedestaled Male
After the Fall, the male-female script became decidedly male-centered, or patriarchal. God pronounced to the woman in Genesis 3:16 (HCSB): …Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.
The rest of the Old Testament and most of human history plays this out, with males possessing the intergender priority and controlling the romantic-sexual scenario.
Sexual Revolution & Rearrangement
The patriarchal script prevailed in much of the world until the onset of Sigmund Freud and pornography. The sexual revolutions and rearrangings of the 1900s were, in large part, due to these two influences.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Though his approach to sexuality was male-centered with misogynistic undercurrents, Sigmund Freud's ideas provided the seeds for major sociosexual shifts. Freud proposed an elastic view of human sexuality, of which heterosexuality was only one "stretch" or expression. He attributed sexual repression to "the structures of morality and authority erected by society" (Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, 1905). To him, sexuality was a social construct rather than a permanent biological imperative. Thus, by transforming the social order, sexual repression could be overcome and liberation achieved.
Pornography, as we know it today, germinated in the Victorian era of a prosperous British empire (1832-1901); notably, the same time period as Freud. Major excavations of Pompeii in the 1860s unearthed erotic art from the Romans, both appalling and intriguing the Victorians. Though legislations outlawed pornographic material, a select few (the upper class, as usual) had access to it and the Roman relics.
After the 1895 invention of the motion picture, French filmers immediately began pioneering adult films. These too became outlawed, and producers went underground with their product. Eventually pornography became legalized and accessible virtually everywhere, beginning with Denmark in 1969. In the 1970s and 80s, the newfound sexual openness prompted big businesses to opportunize and cash in, financing porn into the financial empire it is today.
Other precursors also contributed to the sexual redesigns of the 20th century. Victorian and Cold War Puritanism encouraged cultural rebellion. Mass communication allowed for instantaneous and pervasive dissemination of liberationist sexual ideas. The invention and FDA approval of the birth control pill (1950, 1960), major improvements in obstetrics, and female financial independence after World War II (in America) all played their parts in a new and emerging romantic-sexual script: from Patriarchal to Jezebelian.
The Jezebelian Script: The Pedestaled Female
Jezebel of the Bible remains so notoriously famous because she is the archetype of a timeless romantic-sexual script: seductive and domineering woman, male partner who is submissive and codependent, wider group of male "friends" who are also codependent with her.
Jezebel, a Sidonian, crossed political, cultural, and religious boundaries to marry Ahab, an Israelite king (1Ki 16:31). She became the most powerful person in Israel. Her husband-king deferred to her (21:25), a large contingent of eight hundred fifty false prophets deferred to her (18:19), and Israel's ruling eldership deferred to her (21:8-11). The only ones who resisted her were Elijah and seven thousand faithful.
The Power of Venerated Female Sexuality
Jezebel was demonized; no one sets out to exterminate an entire generation of Yahweh's prophets without direct satanic inspiration. However, what stuns me, what should stun you too, is how Scripture never emphasizes Satan or Asherah or Baal as her power source. Astonishingly, it focuses on her sexuality.
Jezebel seems to have had hypnotic beauty, and she leveraged it to control every male in leadership in Israel. When King Jehu came to kill her she resorted to seduction as her last hope (or first hope?), even being advanced in age. 2Kings 9:30 (The Message Bible): When Jezebel heard that Jehu had arrived in Jezreel, she made herself up--put on eyeshadow and arranged her hair--and posed seductively at the window.
Jehu himself gives us the most revealing information about her power in 2Kings 9:22 (NASB, underline mine):
When Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Is your intention peace, Jehu?"
And he answered, "What 'peace,' so long as your mother Jezebel's acts of prostitution and witchcraft are so many?"
Jehu said Jezebel's "acts of prostitution…are so many".
The Hebrew word Jehu used here for "prostitution" is zanuwn, which literally means "prostitution, adultery" (The NIV translates it incorrectly here as "idolatry"). Zanuwn is used in Genesis 38:24, referring to Tamar being pregnant via "prostitution". It is also used in Hosea 1:2, referring to Gomer as an unfaithful wife of "whoredoms". The word is used as spiritual adultery (idolatry) only in reference to Israel, since only a person or nation in covenant marriage to Yahweh can cheat and commit spiritual adultery with idols.
Jehu was calling Joram's mother, Jezebel, a whore. He wanted Joram, Joram's entourage, and everyone listening to know that much of Jezebel's power came through sexual behavior.
The Jezebelian Script Today
Today, this same script is being played out globally to differing degrees, but most definitively and overwhelmingly in western societies. The sexual revolutions and rearrangings of the 1900s did not create an equal script, it created the polar opposite one with a particular specialization. Whereas the Patriarchal script pedestals and prioritizes the man, the Jezebelian script pedestals and prioritizes the woman, but specifically her control of the romantic-sexual process. In the former, men possess the sociosexual power, in the latter, women possess the sociosexual power.
Clarifying Terms: Jezebelian vs Matriarchal
A brief interlude to clarify terms. Why go from a structural term, Patriarchal, to a sinister term, Jezebelian? Why not use the counterpart structural term, Matriarchal?
The major sociosexual changes described above did not shift (mostly western) societies from patriarchal (largely led by men) to matriarchal (largely led by women), they shifted societies to a Jezebelish dynamic (the power and final decision on romance/sex largely controlled by women). While men might occupy structural positions of leadership in the family, workplace, or governance, it is the women who control the romantic and sexual process. Thus, the Jezebelian script is not necessarily a comprehensive, totalizing overturning of structural patriarchy, it is, however, an overturning of who controls the romantic and sexual process, pace, and final decision. Think of Jezebel and Ahab. Ahab remained in his patriarchal position as king, but Jezebel utterly controlled him, the leading men of Israel, and eight hundred fifty false prophets with sexual power. Reread the previous section, The Power of Venerated Female Sexuality, and what Jehu said about Jezebel. To put it simply, matriarchal is a structural term, while Jezebelian is a sociosexual term.
Dating/Courtship & The Jezebelian Script
In my younger years, I struggled to understand why some females seemed to pedestal themselves so highly around interested men who pawed for their attention. This subset of women gave these suitors just enough attention to keep them around, yet never really engaged them in any meaningful way. I knew (and know) some women who invisibly tether over a dozen men at once! To her, these were/are merely "friends"--with recreational, social, emotional, financial, and/or sexual benefits.
Even in my youthful ignorance I knew instinctively something was off. I know friends when I see them. This seemed more like insurance. Or an obsession with power. Or self-worship. I struggled to pinpoint it, but it was definitely not genuine friendship.
I went to God's Word, deep prayer, even literature in the behavioral sciences, for answers. Now it is too, too clear. There is a script that has captured masses, western societies, non-western societies to differing degrees, even some Christians. It has captured the pairbonding process of many singles, even some Christians.
The Premarital Script Becomes the Marital Script
Satan's ultimate purpose with the Jezebelian script is the destruction of marriages and families. If and when pairbonding leads to marriage, the pairbonding script carries over into marriage. A piece of paper does not change the infrastructure of a relationship.
If the wife is wielding a domineering sociosexual disposition, and the husband is passive to this, a Jezebel-Ahab marriage is in effect. There cannot be true friendship and partnership. Callings and blessings are forfeited. Children learn false scripts. Family scripts eventuate into church scripts. The ramifications are endless.
God's Original, Ideal Script: Two Equals Relating Across
God's original, ideal script is that of two equals relating across, not up or down. God's creation of the genders and His terminology are indicative of this. Notice the underlined portions in Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV):
Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule..." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule..."
Jesus' incarnation and establishment of the New Covenant were intended to restore original, ideal realities. Most certainly this is true for the pairbonding process and marriage. But how do we return to that? How do we find that original, ideal gender equality in pairbonding and marriage? Here are three starting points. You and the Holy Spirit do the rest.
(1) Understand the temporary nature of Old Testament-style patriarchy.
God established the Old Testament patriarchy as a temporary provision in response to the fall (Gen 3:16). However, this was not His original or ideal plan; the concepts of Genesis 1 and 2 are. Christ came to reestablish this by being a second, last, and perfect Adam (1Co 15:45-49). Therefore, New Testament Christians, especially men, are not to be scripted for hyperpatriarchy. Do your homework and study the New Testament passages that seem and sound patriarchal, and how they interface with the original ideals of Genesis 1:26-28. Are the passages theological or cultural? Timeless or situational? Ideals or contingencies?
(2) Understand the overcompensating nature of Jezebelism.
The Jezebelian script demotes and emasculates men to pedestal and deify women. Men need to become more perceptive of this, whether in pairbonding or marriage, and resist it and push back against it in a healthy Biblical way. They must retain their confidence and character at all times when relating with dates, girlfriends, or wives. Men, if you have to beg, chase, appease, placate, or sacrifice your male dignity for her, you are playing the Ahab role in Jezebel's theater.
Women, resist the urge to ride the wave. If you are single, treat suitors with honor and friendliness, no matter how undesirable they might be. Do not lead them on, do not give them hope when there is none, and do not keep them around as pseudo-friends or insurance policies or self-esteem cookies.
If you are married, honor your husband in attitude, behavior, and words. The moment you dishonor him and scheme for control, you are playing the Jezebel role.
For a disturbing, yet crystal clear, illustration of the Jezebelian script, see the movie The Wicker Man (2006).
(3) Rediscover and pursue God's original, ideal script.
Genesis 1:26-28 is God's original, ideal romantic script. It is one of equality. Both were blessed. Both were given rulership. And in their romantic-sexual relationship, both were given equal shares and equal priority. There was no male overlord and there was no goddess. There was no pedestal and no one was pawing up at the other. Jesus came to reestablish this reality. 1Corinthians 7:2-5 say this exactly. Notice the equalist wording and ethos (NIV):
But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent…
This romantic-sexual marital equality begins in pairbonding (during dating/courtship). If singles start with the right script, they are likely to continue it into marriage. If not, we are headed for many more decades of embarrassing failures, divorce, and a mass of disillusioned Christian singles still wondering why their faulty scripts do not work.