Sarah Palin and Female Submission

Hey, what’s up with this Sarah Palin? If she’s elected VP, won’t she sort of “have authority” over men? Like maybe 150 million of them! Do you think a hockey mom (self-described as a pit bull with lipstick) is practicing appropriate biblical submission? Will her husband Todd still get to be the decider on the domestic front? Will it be sufficient if, while Sarah is sending American troops into Russia or deciding to annex Canada, that Todd can decide whether the family buys or leases a Ford Expedition for moose hunting and diaper-runs to Wal-Mart? Will he still be “the head”?

I happen to belong to that weird bunch called gender egalitarians–people who actually believe God wants men and women to relate to one another in church, home and society as total equals. And guess what? I still believe the Bible is–when properly interpreted–God’s true and trustworthy word. I don’t think that the egalitarian view I espouse is a concession to be cleverly wrestled from Scripture; rather, I think it is the vision toward which the Bible’s inspired contents actually point. Yes, I have read 1 Tim. 2:11-15 and I am convinced I have a better handle on what it means than, say, John Piper or Wayne Grudem does–even though I admire the gifts, and do not doubt the faith commitments, of these talented Christian brothers. I’ve written a book defending my perspective against theirs: The Journey Back to Eden (Zondervan, 2005).

That’s where I stand. So personally I don’t have a problem with Sarah Palin running for President of the United States of America, at least not on gender grounds. But how about really conservative Christians? Don’t they have a problem with this nomination? Aren’t they a bit concerned about creeping feminism here?

David Gushee, a respected evangelical ethicist, has just written a very interesting blog article for USA Today, reflecting on the way so many conservative Christian Republicans are suddenly defending Sarah Palin’s right to be the President, even though their official view up until now is that a woman’s calling is chiefly to the home and to mothering. Up until the Republican National Convention, and John McCain’s maverick choice of a female running mate, many on the Christian Right would have insisted that a cute, perky gal like Sarah should be at home and submissive to Todd, her husband. And up until a few weeks ago most conservative evangelicals would have been adamant that Sarah Palin would certainly never be qualified, due to her sex, to speak from a pulpit or even teach a gender-mixed home Bible study.

Many hierarchically-minded defenders of Palin will explain their position like this: If Sarah Palin wants to be a tax-lowering, family values president of this entire country, then You Go, Girl. There’s nothing in the Bible to prevent her from assuming the highest public office in the land. But in the smaller spheres of church and home, Sarah (and the rest of female humanity, for that matter) must work within tighter restrictions and limitations. Why? Because that’s what the Bible seems to say–at least the way many conservative evangelicals interpret it.

What’s the divine rationale for allowing women to lead in one sphere, but not in these others? Most conservatives will shrug and admit they just don’t know. It’s as mystifying to them as it is to me, but they have to go along with it because they think this is what the Bible demands. A few have ventured to speculate about why the divine rules are different between the public realm on the one hand, and the church and home on the other. Some suggest that the church and the home are more important to God than government. Their basic idea is that in church and home we must operate closer to God’s top-down ideal for male-female relationships. This ideal is out of reach in the hurly-burly of public life, especially in Washington, DC, so God has been willing to cut us all some slack here. But in an ideal world–or when the Kingdom of God will someday come in its fullness–all human relationships will line up with God’s hierarchical gender template.

Personally I don’t find these explanations satisfactory. I find it more plausible that the restrictive view is based on a misinterpretation of the Bible’s teaching on how men and women are supposed to relate in the home and church today. Besides, conveniently dividing life into separate spheres simply doesn’t work out in real life–there’s too much overlap between them. Ask any working mom.

So in the end, we each have prayerfully ask this question from the heart: Are hierarchically-ordered Christian homes and churches really the best reflectors of God’s will for gender relations, or are they more like stubborn last bastions of male privilege? Count to 10 before you answer. Then check out Gushee’s article!

13 Responses to Sarah Palin and Female Submission

  1. Brian Tallman November 1, 2008 at 4:25 am #

    If you are weird I am weirder because I think the best thing Mrs. Palin could do would be to stay at home with her family like God has called her to do. But the reason that conservative, right-wing Christians endorse Palin is simple: Because she tows the party line. John McCain could have announced that his running mate was going to be his dog and we would hear right-wing Christians defending him as a theological genius. Bottom line: Many folks are more tied to the GOP than the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, quite ironically, their error is the same error of the egalitarian: Both seek to conform the norms of Scripture to the cultural mores. A further irony emerges though. I doubt many egalitarians will be voting for McCain/Palin.

  2. Sam Kwok September 23, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    re: Dave Harvey’s comment,
    “I have to admit that I’m somewhat at a loss to describe how the difference between the two views really operates on a practical level… I can’t see how a completely egalitarian marriage works – do you take turns making decisions? Does the “better qualified” spouse get to run the show in areas of his/her specialty? How do you resolve conflict? Who drives the car? On that note, I’d also like to know what an egalitarian view of “biblical manhood and womanhood” looks like.”

    My wife and I practice an egalitarian marriage, and actually it works out perfectly. As far as the assigning of jobs, tasks, and chores go, it isn’t a struggle at all to figure out who does what. It boils down to this: when one of us sees a need, we simply fill it.

    For instance, laundry isn’t a chore that only my wife does. When one of us notices that the laundry is getting backed up and needs to be done, that person starts the washing machine and sorts clothes. There’s no fuss that “this is YOUR chore” or “I did it last time, so it’s your turn this time”. That person just does it.

    As for cooking, my wife is more skilled and experienced than I am in this area, but that is no excuse for me to plop on the couch, watch TV or surf the net, while she slaves away in the kitchen. (Frankly, she’s had a long, hard day, too!) I am always right there with her, cutting meat, slicing veggies, or mincing garlic. This gives us an opportunity to spend time together, talking and doing something together after a long day apart. On some days when I’m not available to cook with my wife, I’ll volunteer to do the dishes afterwards so that I can serve her after she has so willingly served me. Otherwise, we do the dishes together.

    With regard to other areas: I’ve always liked Math, and I find number-crunching to be somewhat fun, so it just works out for me to take care of the bills and do the taxes. I don’t ask for anything in return, like “I’ll do the bills if you vacuum the house.” I usually drive when we’re together, not because it’s my assigned role to ‘take charge of where we’re going’ but because I like to drive more than my wife does, and sometimes she’ll drive too when she wants to. I don’t mind taking out the trash, so I do that, too, and also get to pick up the mail on the way back. I do all these things not because of some prescribed role, but because these are ways that I can serve my wife and our marriage.

    As for decision-making, we probably come to conclusions the very same way that you do — mutually! We talk about everything, and if we disagree about something, we’ll hammer it out until we come to a conclusion that we’re both happy with. We don’t move on until we’ve come to that conclusion. There’s never a stalemate, as some may presume possible since there’s no “head” to have the final word. ‘Oneness’ is the key.

    In our bathroom we’ve posted a list of mottoes that we go by, i.e. “the way we do things at our house”. Here are some of those items:

    – A wife is a wife. She’s his wife, not his mother, not his cook, not his housekeeper.
    – “Love your neighbor as yourself” applies especially to your spouse. This means thinking, “How much can I offer and how many ways can I serve the other?”, rather than, “How much can I get away with *not* doing?”
    – If you see a need, then fill it. Rather than saying, “But that’s your job,” say, “Let me do it for you. I volunteer, I choose to serve.”
    – Housework is a shared responsibility. It’s not one person’s responsibility and the other is “helping her out”. We are helping ‘us’ out by doing whatever needs to be done.
    – Nobody likes housework, *nobody*. So let’s not complain but do it together with a cheerful heart and servant attitudes (Phil. 2:14-15).
    – Even if I do X,Y,Z, it does not mean that you must do A,B,C, in order to even the score or “make things fair”.

    I hope this helps you get a picture of what an egalitarian marriage looks like — a VERY happy marriage, at that.

  3. Mark Friestad September 23, 2008 at 4:31 am #

    Interesting turn of phrase, “archaic theological vision”, and one that I think reflects the disdain some egalitarians have for their complementarian counterparts, and explains some of the suspicion and distrust complementarians hold in return.

    Is it possible that some who hold to traditional gender roles in homes, churches, and workplaces are not driven by theological vision, but are living out what they sincerely believe to be allegiance to scripture? I think it’s quite possible. Is it also possible that egalitarians can be taken at their word when they claim high regard for scripture, that they are not about the business of deconstructing centuries of tradition in favor of modernity nor casting aside passages that don’t conform to their forward-looking perspective? Again, yes, quite possible.

    Is it likely that either camp will stop believing the other is driven by anything less than ideology? Gushee’s article makes me think not.

    Gushee is right to draw attention to the illogic of a compartmentalized thinking that insists on female subordination in the home yet tolerates and even celebrates it in the public sphere. However, I don’t believe it is intellectually dishonest for conservatives to claim that 1 Timothy 2:11-12 proscribes female leadership in churches, but not necessarily in government. If anything, such an interpretation is the intellectually consistent conclusion one must draw from a strict-constructionist (if you will) reading of 1 Timothy 2. One cannot simultaneously constrain and limit the context of a passage.

    At the heart of this, I believe, is that complementarians and egalitarians read and approach scripture differently. Forget professions from either side about “high regard” or “authority” or “inerrancy” – those are only starting points, and each definitionally troublesome. The devil is in the details of interpretation, and it’s very hard to tell the degree to which each side’s reading of scripture is colored by ideology. (Even an honest broker on either side of the debate may be unable to accurately assess this.) It is a reflection of the intractability of this issue when the terms of the argument – is it hermeneutics or ideology? – cannot even be agreed upon.

  4. Scott Wildey September 22, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    I just wanted to re-iterate that the idea that Christ “is” subordinate to the Father and yet equal has significant theological problems. Cf. Kevin Giles’ work here. My point is that, for one to hold that Christ is eternally subordinate may solve one problem, only to open the proverbial Pandora’s box of other problems—equality being the foremost. Again, the discussion is still out on the philosophical problems and solutions on that issue, but I just wanted to point that out.

  5. Dave Harvey September 22, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    Well, Taeler – you’ve raised quite the conundrum! How ever will the SBC reconcile someone like Elisabeth Elliot into their neat little role-playing box? I mean, she clearly supports their ideology, but then she does pesky things like writing books and going around speaking and such. In fact, she even dared to teach me – a man – whilst giving a lecture at Wheaton College!! What nerve!

    OK, I’ll take the tongue out of my cheek now…

  6. Taeler Morgan September 22, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    As I read this comment thread over the weekend, I was alerted to another news event that is interesting in light of our current political climate. A friend sent me a link to these articles (,2933,425565,00.html and, they are about the magazine Gospel Today being pulled off Lifeway Christian Bookstores shelves because the cover article is an interview with 5 female pastors. Lifeway is a Southern Baptist Convention Corporation and in light of their confessions they feel that censoring this material from the public is appropriate.

    I find similar inconsistencies between this decision and the Christian right’s support of Gov. Palin. I have pursued the websites of Lifeway, the SBC, the FRC (family research council), and the CBMW (council for biblical manhood and womanhood). Each of these organizations have strong ties to each other in terms of financial support, board member affiliations, and doctrinal/confessional agreement. It is astonishing that their literature largely supports an ideal of wives and mothers being active exclusively in a home based sphere, yet each of these organizations have wives and mothers working in them or advertize the written material of a wife/mother.

    With regards to Palin I was most dismayed at CBMW writer David Kotter’s analysis that he doesn’t “believe that voters will be complicit in tempting her to work outside the home, since this decision apparently has already been made. In essence, it was made when she became governor of the state of Alaska.” Now, assuming that being outside of God’s will is a sin, and knowing that these organizations believe that God’s will for women is to be wives and mothers and operate within the home, than clearly the implication of this analysis is that supporting someone who is just going to choose to sin anyways is not a sin in and of itself.

    Really?! Come on now.

    Although, perhaps I have an ally with CBMW, since the 5 women pastors on the cover of Gospel Today have already made their choices we might as well support them, right?

    Consistency is difficult, and in order to be truly consistent Lifeway bookstores should ban the work of women, unless it was written either prior to marriage, after being widowed, and/or when no minor children were present in the home of said woman.
    Likewise, none of these organizations should be in support of a woman working outside her supposedly God-ordained role and sphere, regardless of whether it supports their personal political agendas.

    Lastly, I’d just like to get a word in on how disturbed people should be at the SBC’s willingness to censor this material in general. It shows a great deal of disrespect and lack of faith in the denominations members. Are they afraid that their members are so weak-minded that they could not digest this material in light of their confessions of faith? The SBC’s own confession on education asserts that “Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence.” Yet they censor an entire magazine because of disagreement with one article.

    Reading Rainbow was right, “knowledge is power” and keeping knowledge from people is just a way to keep them ignorant and therefore more easily led (please note that I am only speaking of the purpose of censorship and not calling members of the SBC ignorant). This is not a foundation for faith, and I certainly hope it is not the intentional work of the SBC to build up such a foundation.

  7. Kim Sandstrom September 21, 2008 at 11:35 pm #

    I’m new to enter into the discussion of submission, politics, and Sarah Palin. The article in USA Today certainly highlights the dichotomy of evangelical Christians in accepting Sarah Palin into office while disallowing women in church leadership. I may not add anything new or enlightening to the discussion, however, I believe that at least one woman has to log in and enter the discussion!

    Dr. Scorgie, you have written elsewhere that “when people lose sight of the deeper ethical intent of Christianity, they resort to the unsatisfactory substitute of a simplistic legalism.” Is that what we have done with Eph 5:22-24 and 1 Tim 2:9-15? Have we lost sight of the Gospel’s purpose to love one another and substituted Jesus command to love with legalistic hierarchy within the family?

    Both you and Don Lowe provide compelling arguments for and against traditional reading of 1 Tim 2:9-15, however, being a God-fearing Christian woman in the 21st century I would assert that reading 1 Tim 2:9-15 out of context (meaning ignoring the cultural prescriptives for women in 1st century Rome) does the Word injustice. We have to look at Scripture as a whole. What does God say throughout history for women? How has God used women in history to accomplish his purposes? The OT and NT are chock full of examples of God using women for his purposes and in leadership. We can only know what God’s purposes in using Sarah Palin will be when we can look in the “rear-view mirror”.

    While politics has traditionally been a male dominated arena (both church and government politics) we see a trajectory (your concept Dr. Scorgie from a lecture at Bethel from your book A Journey Back to Eden) towards more and more women being used for the spread of the Gospel within the limits of their culture during 1st Century Rome. The Word stops at Revelation, but our God is a living God, the great I AM. I can’t imagine that God would just stop using women, stop following the trajectory the Bible seems to take. Jesus denounced many a Pharisee for his legalistic rules in the absence of the bigger picture of Christ’s love and redemption. Paul was one of the most egalitarian God-inspired writers in the Word. Women cannot be excluded from that discussion.

    Moreover, would we be having this discussion if it was Hilary Clinton as Obama’s chosen VP? My speculation (being psychologically sensitive) is that because Hilary Clinton exhibits many male characteristics that are valued in American culture (tough, outspoken, more androgynous in looks–which may be her stylist’s choosing) and because Hilary has only one grown child, we treat her differently than Sarah Palin, who is a mother of 4 minors, soon to be grandmother, more feminine in appearance, and conservative. It is well documented that feminine characteristics are less valued by our society.

    I am not a feminist, male-bashing, mother of three feminist protégées. Instead, I am a woman in this 21st century trying to balance my ever-increasing knowledge of the Word of the Living God and God’s will for my life, based on that Word. I am not intellectually opposed to submitting to my husband’s spiritual authority, however, my husband was not always a Christian, which left me as the spiritual leader in our family. Once he became a Christian I found it hard to relinquish my established role as spiritual head of the household (nor have I…we have agreed upon a more egalitarian approach to spiritual matters because we rarely disagree when it comes to spiritual matters). Perhaps my plight is not so different from the women of the 1st century who found themselves the first converts in their family to Christianity and found submission hard! Ah, but I do digress…

    This discussion will not be easily resolved given the dichotomous interpretation of Scripture. It will be interesting to read future posts on this matter. As I said in the beginning, I provide nothing of scholarly enlightenment of the Living Word, but if we are going to talk about women, we should be talking to women about this!

  8. Dave Harvey September 21, 2008 at 7:04 am #

    Well, let me jump into the fray here…

    I guess I belong to that *really* weird bunch called complementary egalitarians. That is, I lean towards full equality in terms of civil and church authority, but still believe that there are some specific male/female roles that govern familial relationships.

    As such, I don’t necessarily see a contradiction in Sarah Palin’s running for the VP slot on the one hand and being a submissive wife on the other. As the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (whom I normally don’t agree with) states on their website, “The Bible calls women to specific roles in the church and home, but does not prohibit them from exercising leadership in secular political fields. ” I would debate the “specific role in the church” part, but otherwise agree that there is no prohibition against serving in any governmental role.

    To answer your specific question Glen, I think it would depend on the conversation that Todd & Sarah likely had at the outset – should she run with McCain for the election? Presuming the answer was “yes,” it doesn’t seem to matter at this point which model they followed in reaching the conclusion. Once the decision has been made, it is up to both parties to honor it, or to come back together to reassess if it needs to change.

    You also ask, “Are hierarchically-ordered Christian homes and churches the best reflectors of God’s will for gender relations, or are they more like stubborn last bastions of male privilege?” I guess I would say that ideally they should be the former, but unfortunately end up in more cases like the latter. A responding question, which I have been discussing with my wife over the weekend, is whether or not a particular paradigm, whether complementarian or egalitarian, really matters so long as the both partners agree to it and seek to model Christ through it.

    I have to admit that I’m somewhat at a loss to describe how the difference between the two views really operates on a practical level. I say that I’m a complementarian when it comes to the family, yet I would be a fool to make some decision or invoke my “authority” without the advice and consent of my wife. Even though I supposedly endowed with ultimate “veto power,” how often do I really make use of that? Similarly, I can’t see how a completely egalitarian marriage works – do you take turns making decisions? Does the “better qualified” spouse get to run the show in areas of his/her specialty? How do you resolve conflict? Who drives the car? On that note, I’d also like to know what an egalitarian view of “biblical manhood and womanhood” looks like.

    Or maybe Glen’s already answered all these questions and I just need to go read his book…

  9. Don Lowe September 20, 2008 at 4:21 am #

    I’m going to assume that when you say “equal marriage partners,” you mean equivalent roles, not in terms of value, because complementarians, as you know, affirm the equal value, worth, and dignity of both males and females before God (cf. Danvers Statement). In the same way, Christ is subordinate to God the Father, and yet equal.

    The way that I understand submission is that it doesn’t mean that one must obey every command. Depending on the situation, it may be sinful for Palin to turn her back on what she already committed to as a candidate, or be negligent in her duties. At the same time, I do believe that Sarah Palin ought to obey Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” I would affirm that this biblical instruction will make a difference in decision-making principles.

    Again, I must reassert that it is difficult to ascertain when one is being negligent in one’s duties to the point of being sinful, both in one’s job and in one’s family, but certainly Scripture’s teaching on wifely (not female) submission must be taken into account.

    In response to “interconnecting web” versus “spheres,” I do not think you can fully relinquish divisions without eliminating most earthly authority structures. As a seminary professor, you’re under the authority of the dean and the governing board of the seminary, each of the the overseers of your church, and the governments of San Diego, the state of California, the United States, and possibly Canada, since you are Canadian. That there would be tension when authorities conflict should not one lead one to conclude that one or more of these authorities are invalid. I don’t think we can be “egalitarians” when it comes to our church leadership, or our bosses, or our government.

  10. Glen G. Scorgie September 20, 2008 at 1:19 am #

    Don, you responded to my example of conflicting “spheres” by saying that biblical principles are sometimes difficult to apply. I agree with you on that. You also point out that it’s not easy when a political candidate of either sex is torn between public and family duties. I agree with you on that too.

    I guess the question I’m most interested in is this: If the Palins were to operate according to biblical principles (as you understand them), how do they resolve the issue of whether Sarah goes to Ohio or stays home? Will the decision-making dynamics be any different from the decision-making dynamics of a Christian family committed to egalitarian decision-making principles? In the end, will it make any practical difference at all whether you think God has ordained Todd to be the head of the home, as opposed to regarding Todd as one of two equal marriage partners?

  11. Don Lowe September 20, 2008 at 12:53 am #

    Thanks for the prompt reply. Mouw is being charitable with people whom he disagrees with, and it’s a trait that I admire about him. Mouw is very good at trying to look at issues from the other side in order to facilitate healthy conversation.

    All of us recognize that the church and government have different qualifications for leadership. I think we all agree that while Barack Obama and John McCain may be qualified to be president, they are not qualified to be pastors of a church. I do not think this is a muddle-headed inconsistency, but rather recognizing that they serve different purposes.

    Regarding difficulties in applying different spheres to real life, I do not think I can give a clear answer (even with the Bible, life often doesn’t have clear answers, unfortunately). Anyone dealing with multiple spheres, whether complementarian or egalitarian, runs into conflicts such as the one you outlined. I don’t think it matters if it’s Sarah Palin or Joseph Biden who has a family that needs the candidate home. A candidate has an obligation to his or her family and an obligation to perform their job well, and sometimes that is not easy.

    I don’t believe a position should be rejected because it is difficult to apply. Rather, one should come to a position, and then rightly wrestle with application, as we do with everything in the Christian life. If I were to choose a position that were easier to apply, I would have never become a Christian, because it’s difficult, and I wrestle with living out my faith daily.

    Also, egalitarianism doesn’t necessarily make the questions of decisions any easier. What do you do when there are disagreements between spouses, even if you simplify to one sphere? I merely make the suggestion to counter-act yours, but I do not wish to push it further because, as I said above, I do not believe practical difficulties should dictate a position.

  12. Glen G. Scorgie September 20, 2008 at 12:15 am #

    Don, you seem to be agreeing with Richard Mouw’s assessment that the position you hold is inconsistent. Is that what you meant? This might be worth clarifying, because it seems to me that we need to be able to hold each other to some standard of consistency. I assume you agree.

    To help focus our thoughts here, let’s consider your “separate spheres” understanding of life. (I recognize this as the one held by such Calvinists as the former Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper.) If I managed to expose some inconsistencies in that view-point, or at least serious difficulties in applying it in real life, would it even matter?

    Suppose, for example, that near the end of October, days before the election, Todd Palin believed their family needed his wife Sarah at home that weekend to help him care for their newborn, who has a high temperature and undiagnosed pain. He calls her home. But Sarah makes the political judgment that she should be campaigning with McCain in the swing state of Ohio. Which decision-maker and which “sphere” wins out here? Is this Todd’s call or Sarah’s?

    Considerations like this convince me personally that life isn’t comprised of perfectly separated “spheres.” Our lives are more like interconnected webs. But again, is it all right to continue to maintain convictions once they have been exposed as inconsistent or problematic? If we can, I don’t see much value in further discussion.

  13. Don Lowe September 19, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    I myself belong to the group of weird evangelical complementarians who take (what I will call) the traditional reading of 1 Timothy 2. For myself, consistency in all spheres of life is secondary to taking the Word of God only as far as it clearly teaches.

    For myself, I see 1 Timothy 2 speaking clearly in the realm of the church, and I will not apply it necessarily to other spheres. My theological model tends to see the spheres of the family, the church, the government, and other organizations (such as the workplace and schools) as separate and distinct.

    As egalitarian Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary states in his blog, my view is inconsistent, but not hypocritical.

    Regarding submission, I think again there is a confusion of these spheres in suggesting that the Christian Right would say that Palin should go to her husband and submit to his judgment in politics. Christians are to submit to their pastor’s authority, but the suggestion that John F. Kennedy would submit to the Pope in political decisions was pretty much discredited decades ago, and Joseph Biden’s Roman Catholicism is a non-issue. As such, I think your statement that the Christian Right would have insisted in such a submission is not accurate.

    On the same note, I’m a little put-off by your “many hierarchically-minded defenders of Palin will explain their position like this” statements, because I’ve not heard anyone defend such a position by that reasoning. I’ve noticed, from your lecture notes, that you are very conscientious about your use of footnotes! Such references keep us honest about the views we oppose. If you have a reference of a complementarian who says that Palin needs to submit to her husband’s judgment in politics, I will join you in opposing such a position.

    Similarly, if you have a reference of a complementarian who defends a female vice president with “this ideal is out of reach in the hurly-burly of public life, especially in Washington, DC” I will join hands with you in pointing out the hypocrisy in such a position. By the way, I’ve met Dr. Gushee before after one of his lectures at Fuller. He’s a very nice guy.