Tag Archives: identity

Raising Homemakers or Clipping Wings?

I joined the CBE – Christians for Biblical Equality group on Facebook and have gotten into the habit of checking in every day to see the interesting posts members share.  A couple days ago, one man, Erik, shared an article that had brought his wife to tears of shame and guilt that morning:

You’ve Trained Her in the “How” of Homemaking, Have You Trained Her for the “Why?” by Jennifer at Raising Homemakers.  This is a blog about clipping your daughters wings – training her to see her role in life as a subordinate to her husband whose sole work consists of cooking for and cleaning up after others.

Here are some highlights lowlights:

“If your husband were to come home, unexpectedly, right now… what would he find? A cared for home and family, or chaos and disorganization?”

Here was one excellent comment:  “... If you were at a paid job and weren’t doing the work that’s expected of you then your employer would be unhappy. So, depending on what you and your husband expect from your role at home, are you upholding your end?”

Exactly. Our husbands are gone all day, working for us and the children, sometimes doing work they don’t particularly enjoy, in conditions they may not find pleasant.   On the other hand, we are in the sanctuary of our homes, typically spending our time as we see fit.

Another reader wrote to me privately: “Am I doing my part? Sometimes yes, most times no.  Truly makes you take a step back and say if I was working at a real job, would I still be employed?” 

We must train our daughters that keeping their homes clean and orderly, working heartily as unto the LORD (Col. 3:23) is their reasonable service (Romans 12:1) and is necessary, that the Word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:5).

 

Although the intent of the author is clearly to encourage wives to put their best foot forward when it comes to caring for their home and husbands and “training” their daughters, the effect is quite the opposite.  Like Erik’s wife, most of us women feel the weight of impossible standards bearing down on us.  We can never do enough or be enough.  We feel judgment when our house is not perfectly tidy and our children are not perfectly behaved and our appearance isn’t perfectly put-together.  We also feel like we are losing ourselves when we don’t have any space in our lives to spend our time “as we see fit,” but are always tied to the responsibility of assisting and caring for others.  And on top of that, if we are not completely happy while trying to meet these impossible standards, we again feel like we’ve failed.

There are women who are naturally inclined to order and homemaking who could read this post and nod in agreement, without sensing the undercurrent of sexism and shaming.  But the truth is, we women come in a wide variety of personalities and giftings, and our value and worth does not come from where we land on that spectrum.  It comes directly from our Father, who imprinted us with His image so that we can display His glory as creative, life-giving people (whether that is in creating meals, sermons or spreadsheets…whatever our work may be).

crafty people maker

What I think the author gets wrong about homemaking, is that God does not command all women to be June Cleaver.  In fact, He doesn’t command any women to be June Cleaver.  God does not tell women that they are solely responsible for the laundry and meals.  The other side of that coin is that God does not tell men that they are off-the-hook when it comes to helping out with the household upkeep.  God tells both men and women to steward creation, but He leaves it up to each couple to decide how they are going to accomplish that in their own home and family.

Additionally, the author seems to be completely blind to her privileged position as a full-time homemaker.  Most families cannot survive on one income in today’s economy.  Yet the author makes it seem that the only way for a wife to be living in God’s will is to be keeping a clean and orderly home.

I would also object to the image of the husband as the disgruntled boss who inspects the home upon his arrival at the end of the day to see if you are holding up “your end”, as though marriage is merely an exchange of goods.  Excuse me for choosing to see my husband as my friend and partner in life – and as my co-warrior in ushering in God’s kingdom in our family and neighborhood.  At the end of the day, if work and child-care took precedence over the dirty dishes, there is nothing I appreciate more than family clean-up time.  What would take me two hours on my own can take half an hour when Logan and the kids are all helping me.  We are a team and we understand that we all need each other to pitch in and serve together.  In this way, we are also training our sons to take responsibility for their own messes and to appreciate that putting all of the homemaking responsibility on one person robs that person of pursuing what makes them truly human.  By dividing the work evenly, we all have at least a little bit of time each day to spend “as we see fit.”

It is imperative that we allow our daughters to be fully human – i.e. to dream and explore and discover; to follow their aspirations and giftings and to follow God’s prompting, even if that leads them into the workforce.  We must teach them to find their identity in God, not in their home or husband or career or any other category.  When we understand ourselves only in those categories and not in the light of God, we will lose sight of who we truly are.  Let us train allow our daughters to fly.

 

That’s my two-cents.  Here are some of my favorite comments in response to this post from the CBE Facebook community:

Deborah: Ok, maybe I’m jaded.  I work AND keep my home clean and orderly.  I really don’t see a reason to continue enabling bad habits in men of not being capable of both.  I teach my son how to keep his room clean, fold his clothes, and when he’s old enough, how to cook his own meals, babysit, and do his own laundry.  Because not doing that is to severely handicap him.  If he wants a maid, he can hire one, but I will make darn tootin’ sure he doesn’t think he’s going to marry one.

Joy:  The “real job” bit is offensive.  While supposedly elevating homemaking, she actually degrades it.

Beata:  “Our husbands are gone all day, working for us and the children…” – nowadays many women work outside the home too.  Why only women should clean, cook, etc.?

Bethany:  Another reader pointed out that this woman fails to recognize that it is often physically, mentally, and psychologically easier to go to work, with less demands, less headaches, less need to train your co-workers to be competent, and more immediate, measurable rewards (e.g. paychecks, health insurance, breaks, etc.).  The author responded by telling this woman to stop “making excuses” and get to work, because “God commands it” so it doesn’t matter if it’s not easy.  She tried to phrase it slightly more politely than that, but that was the essence of her response.  I was appalled.  Homemaking is valuable and, to a certain degree, necessary.  But it is not easy, and it is not always rewarding or lovable (very often, it’s the complete opposite).  To ignore this fact is disingenuous, especially from those who are attempting to elevate homemaking as a woman’s “highest calling” (barf).

Brian: Is there anything particularly wrong with a woman that wants to stay home and take care of the house and kids?

Bethany: No, not at all.  But to say it’s her only option and that God commands her to always have a clean house is false, and it makes a lot of women feel not only as if they’re failing at being mothers/wives/homemakers, but that they are failing at being Christians too.

Erik:  It is the pressure created by unrealistic expectations that is harmful.

Deb: Gak!  I guess single women have no worth, because there’s no one to clean up after.

Faith:  We taught both our daughters and sons to cook and do laundry…they taught their friends in college and tech school…Such skills are helpful to everyone.  We view the house as everyone’s responsibility.  We are each supposed to pick up after ourselves, wash dishes, cook, etc…Sometimes we do divide chores traditionally…but it is our choice to do it, not a Biblical mandate.

Faith:  What about training our daughters to be Kingdom people…seeking first the kingdom of God…taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, healing the sick, raising the daed…feeding the hungry and ministering to the widows, the orphans and strangers…caring for children and family is important…but so is the kingdom of God.

Mabel: southern Baptist seminary has homemaking classes for the women and theology classes for the men.

Ronda:  I am so sad to hear this about Southern but not surprised.  I am an alum but graduated when women at Southern could be theologians, apologists, pastors, evantelists, ethicists, counselors, etc.

Mabel: This article is NOT about if anyone wants to be a housewife, it is about telling ALL wives that’s what they should do and the reasons why.  It says we “MUST” train our “DAUGHTERS” as if sons don’t need to learn to keep a clean house.  It is all the women’s “role.”  She aslo accuses women of not doing their part, her answer to a reader’s question “am I doing my part” is “Sometimes yes, most times no.”  She shames women and accuses them of not doing their part “MOST TIMES.”

Billie: Do we want our sons to get married just to have someone to cook and clean for him?  That would be raising a very shallow child.

Bronwen: I’m a bit saddened by the implication that the only useful way to spend time with our kids is to “teach and train” them. Yep, that’s PART of a parent’s job…As a chaplain in a government school (in Australia) and as someone who has worked a lot with kids in churches, one of the things I hear most from kids is that they wish that a parent spent more time with them and listened to them.

Julie: My DH is from America.  Sometimes we have mused between ourselves, is the USA so devoted to slavery that, having lost black slavery, they must now create a new slave class to do all their cooking, cleaning and thankless chores for them?  It sure looks like male headship is less about exegesis and more about preserving male privilege and entitlement, no matter what.  Who knew that servitude could be spun to look so shiny, glossy and “godly?”

Joy:  Has perfect housekeeping become a bit of an idol?  I remember Martha and Mary had some tension over this.


Check out this great post from “Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”: God is Not Your Boss

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The Theology of Empowering Women: Part 1

A friend passed along this awesome sermon from Kris Vallotton, founder and president of Moral Revolution, an organization dedicated to global cultural reformation, and Advance Redding, which is committed to the social/economic transformation of Redding, California.  He is also the author of ten books, including this gem:

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In the introduction to his sermon, Kris tells us his publisher asked him to double his book, which required 400 extra hours of research.  You can click the picture above to purchase his book on Amazon.

Bethel provides free previews for  a short amount of time, so you may not be able to listen for free.  I highly recommend paying to download the sermon in that case, but tried to transcribe as much as I could as I was listening.  No time to pause or go back, so it’s far from a perfect transcription, but take a look.  Good stuff!!!

http://www.bethel.tv/watch/2059/the-theology-of-empowering-women-part-1-sunday-am/2014/07/06

Kris explains that he will be addressing the six passages in the New Testament that seem to restrict women.  After his introductory comments, he begins here:

Between Matthew and Malachi, before Jesus walked the earth, there was a period of four hundred years in which the religion Judaism developed.  Judaism is not a word for the Old Testament religion, which we would call Mosaic Law.  There were no Pharisees and Saducees in the Old Testament.  N.T. scribes also had a new role than O.T. scribes.  What happended was there were hundreds of extra rules added to the Mosaic Law, which included 252 laws.  When Jesus walked the earth, there were 613 laws – 113 written against women.  Pharisees hated women and the most oppressed people group in Judaism were women.

There were Jews, Romans and Greeks when the disciples were writing the Gospels and Paul was writing the epistles.  In Judaism, women were second-class citizens with no rights, no respect and no voice.  They were the property of men, literally, and were afforded no education.  Like the women in Afghanistan, women were not permitted to speak to men and were required to veil their faces in public.  Under Judaism, women could not work outside the home and marriages were arranged, so they could not marry for love.  Polygamy was legal for men, not women, and men could discard/divorce their wives.  Women could not be witnesses and were relegated to the outer court of the synagogue.  They were not allowed to read the Torah.  The most famous 1st century rabbi, Eliezer, said he would rather burn the Torah than read it to women.

The Romans were less restrictive (it is interesting how the further you get from religion, the less restrictive it is).  Roman women could work outside the home and own property.  The Greeks, though, adored women.  They believed women were more powerful than men and made gods of them.  The whole thought behind this was that the sex drive of men was stronger – women had something men wanted and had control over that, so they were more powerful.

Paul the Apostle was formerly a Pharisee, a self-described “Pharisee of Pharisees” – a former oppressor of women.  Paul wrote to nine geographic locations and restricted women in three of them – Corinth, Ephesus, and the island of Creed – all Greek cities!  Not only were they Greek, they happened to have goddesses instead of gods as the chief leader of their city.  Goddesses had more authority than gods.

Also, it is important to note that no church would have had all the letters.  There was no New Testament at this time, 30-70 years after Christ.  Paul wrote specific letters to specific churches, and told the reader who to share the letter with.  For instance, Colossians 4:16 “When this letter is read among you, share this with the church in Laodicea, and read the letter that I sent to them as well.”  In Philippians, he says, “I’m writing this letter to the saints of Philippi, and also the elders and deacons,” i.e. “I’m talking to you!”

You cannot relate to the book of Corinthians in the same way the Corinthians would have.  It was written to a certain people to address certain issues.  You cannot relate to the N.T. epistles, written to a smaller community, in the same was as the O.T. books, which were written to a whole people group.

What happens when you superimpose God’s situational counsel over universal circumstances, is  you will not come to a redemptive solution. 

The epistles tell us how God thinks, but you would only apply the counsel if you were in the exact same context.  People say, “I believe the Bible!”  But I say, “You filter the Bible through a certain context.  If you sent your son, who is struggling with pornography, to a pastor to receive counsel, and he came back with one eye gouged out and one hand cut off, you’d call the police.  Because you understand that there was a context to Jesus’ words, and you automatically apply the context whethere you think you are doing that or not!”

In the O.T., the curse over women was that they would have pain in child birth, and the husband would rule over his wife.  In Hebrew, the word for woman and wife is different, and man and husband.  We know for certain the curse is that husbands will rule over wives, not men over women.  in the N.T., there is no difference in the Greek language, so it is more complicated.  But in the O.T., we had queens, judges and prophetesses that were women, and we celebrated them.  Does it make sense that after Jesus broke the curse on the cross, we cannot have a woman elder in a church of 50 people, but we could have a queen of a nation then!  When do women get free???

We’re going to read some of the hard passages that Paul wrote, starting with 1 Corinthians chapter 7.  This was a Greek city with a goddess with temple prostitutes.  Temple prostitutes coming out of Greek mythology were priestesses.  If this woman gave herself to you, it was not a sex act as much as it was an act of anointing, and it wasn’t shameful or dirty, it was the highest act of Greek mythology.  These women were the most important women in the city.

In 1 Corinthians 7:1, “Now concerning the things you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  Paul is answering questions the Corinthians are asking.  They came out of Greek mythology, so they are reacting.  Ok, we elevated women, so now we should oppress them.  Is it ok to touch women?  They are reacting tot he religion they came out of.  But here is the challenge:  Paul will repeat the question and then tell you his answer.  But by the time he gets to the 8th chapter, he stops repeating the question.

7:1, “….but because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each wife her own husband.  The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does.”  If you knew where Paul was coming from, you’d think he’d put a period here, but he doesn’t.  “And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”  The woman went from being a possession to the ability to own her husband, and a Pharisee just wrote that!

Verse 10,” to the married I give instructions that a wife should not leave her husband, but if she does leave, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.”  There is no such thing as women divorcing a man in Judaism.  Paul has left that behind.  From our perspective this is restrictive, from their perspective, incredibly releasing.  “A woman who has an unbelieving husband, if he consents to live with her, she should not send her husband away.”  She’s a powerful woman now!  “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife.  And the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her husband.  For otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy….How do you know, oh wife, whether or not you will save your husband?”   This guy just said, wives, you might be saving your husbands.  And if you stay with him, you are sanctifying him and making your whole family holy, wives.

Some people say the letter to Corinthians was written just to men because in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul writes “…Now I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you should prophesy.”  All.  It’s not “all you men,” it’s “all you all,” and he doesn’t make an exception here.  You can all prophesy.

In 14:26, “when you assemble together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation,…for you can all prophesy one by one”….and that’s “all you all,” because Paul has been writing to wives and husbands.  This book is for everyone in the church.

And now we come to 1 Corinthians 14:34-ff:

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

There’s two schools of thought.  One thinks this is contextual, that men sat on one side of the room and women on the other, and women would shout questions across the isle to their husbands, causing chaos and disorder.  It is true that men and women did not sit on the same side of the room.  But we’re not talking to the Hebrews who would have understood O.T. law.  If we were talking to the Jews, it would have made sense that the men would have known more because they had been taught the Torah. But we’re talking about Greeks.  The men knew  as little as the women.

The other way to read this is as a question, as some theologians believe it is.  After that verse, there’s an explosive of disassociation.  There is no perfect translation, but it means, “What?  No Way!  Nonsense!  It can’t be!”  And it’s after verse 35.

God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of every man, and man is the head of every woman.  Here’s the problem, woman and wife are the same in Greek and man and husband are the same.  So you can end up with a more restrictive Gospel than the curse.  There are 43 translations of the N.T., 16 translate that woman/man.  All the others translate it husband/wife.

Then it goes on to say a woman needs to have her head covered when she’s praying.  Here’s Paul’s point in 1 Cor 11, as long as a woman is in order, she can pray and prophesy.

Let’s walk the Corinthian Road:

1 Cor 7: A man does not own his body, his wife does.

1 Cor 11: a woman needs to be in right alignment with her husband, but when she is, she can pray and prophesy

1 Cor 12/13:  you can all pray/prophesy/have a ministry

1 Cor 14: women cannot speak, just as the law says.

You can read the entire law and there is not one place in the O.T. where it says a woman cannot speak.  That cannot be written by Paul, an expert in the law.  And Paul has already said women have equal gifts and can minister.  It is opposite of what he has been saying for 14 chapters.  It also doesn’t make sense that women would have been shouting questions to men who would have replied, “I don’t know.”  And then we have the imperitve right after that question that says, That’s nonsense!  And then, did the word of God only come to you???  That makes sense, and that’s a good word.

And we have one minute and two more verses we haven’t talked about.  Jesus loves you, and if you’re a woman, you’re free.  You know when Paul says in 1 Tim 2 that women will be saved through child birth, remember that Timothy is the senior leader in Ephesus, where the goddess is Diana, the goddess of fertility, who was famous for making sure women didn’t die while giving birth.  So Paul is telling Timothy, she doesn’t need the goddess to protect her because she has a relationship with God.  They were having trouble getting women to convert to Christianity because they were all afraid of dying in childbirth.  In fact, women would travel to Ephesus to give birth.  That’s just a little taste of Timothy, and there’s a bunch more you might like.

If you’re standing near a woman, lay a hand on her shoulder and let’s pray:  Lord, we release right now, we break the power of the curse over our women that reduced them, that said you can’t live you dreams, you have to live a man’s dreams.  We break that.  We pray that women will be more powerful in the church than out of the church.  And we pray you will break the Spock-like Vulcan spirit that has overcome the church because w have no women bringing life and emotion and drama – good drama!  We release them right now to be leaders and teachers and prophetesses and judges and queens.  We release them now to fly, fly, fly!


I want to make sure you see this great comment from Susanna:

On the podcast part of Kris’s website you can download any of his sermons for free: http://kvministries.com/podcast/feed (the last one at this point is the one you’re talking about here, with ‘Part 1′ added to the title). Also wondrous is Danny Silk’s talk and book on the subject, The Invisible Ceiling. You can find a review of and link to it here: http://somebody-elses-story.blogspot.ca/search?q=The+Invisible+Ceiling


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Linking You Up.

I have been home alone this week – kiddos have been visiting with their grandparents.  It all came about suddenly and before I knew it, they were off on their trip and I was home alone.  I had a million things on my “must-do list”, the least of which was to write some thoughtful (no little ones interrupting my train of thought!  yay!!!) blog posts.

But I have had the startling experience of unproductivity in the face of all this independence.  Yes, I still had my job to do every morning for several hours.  Yes, we managed to shop for and purchase a second car.  Yes, we’ve moved Abbey’s bedroom out of our walk-in closet and into the boys’ room (this required a lot of painting).  Yes, we are still trying to get the boys’ room ready downstairs.  Yes, Logan and I went out to celebrate our tenth anniversary (I thought for sure I would have a sentimental blog post about how our relationship has grown and changed and beautifully improved over the years).  But I have been lonely and uninspired without my entourage.  I’ve also avoided everyone else in my life and turned into a hermit this week!

So I decided today it was the least I could do to share some of my favorite posts from other bloggers this week.  When I have my little posse back, I’ll be eager to be having adult thoughts again and won’t be zoning out to “White Collar” episodes every night.  Without further ado…

This week, Jon Huckins wrote about “Raising Girls In a World Where They are Less Than Human.”  I would encourage you to email this powerful post to the fathers of daughters in your contact list.  I did.

The Junia Project shared the “10 Best Sites for Egalitarians (+5 more).”  Check them out!

Esther Emery explained “What Feminists and Complementarians Have in Common (Let Me Be a Woman).”  In a similar vein, Marg Mowczko wisely taught us “How to Keep Friends and Influence People” when sharing our Egalitarian views with others.

Tim and Anne Evans share a third post in their marriage series on The Junia Project, “Co-Leadership in Marriage: Who’s In Authority?”  Earlier posts in the series: “Co-Leadership in Marriage: Let’s Talk about Submission” and “Co-Leadership in Marriage: What about Headship?”

I loved this piece by Rachel Held Evans on modesty for Q: “Modesty: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means.”

Sarah Bessey wrote this beautiful piece for The High Calling: “Rethinking Scarcity: A Legacy of Abundance.”  Here are a couple quotes to whet your appetite:

The myth of scarcity tells the powerful to accumulate and take and dominate, to be driven by the fear of Not Enough and Never Enough. We make our decisions out of fear and anxiety that there isn’t enough for us. These core beliefs can lead us to the treacheries of war and hunger, injustice and inequality. We must keep others down so we can stay on top. We stockpile money and food and comforts at the expense of one another and our own souls. Throughout Scripture, we can see the myth of scarcity’s impact on—and even within—the nation of Israel. The prophets wrote and stood in bold criticism against the empire’s myth of scarcity that built on the backs of the poor and oppressed….

…But it’s within the life of our Jesus that we see it most clearly: Jesus was the full embodiment of what it means to be human in the way that God intended. He uplifts instead of tearing down, he heals instead of kills, he lays down his life instead of fighting to survive, he chooses compassion instead of numb acceptance, he is water to a thirsty soul, bread to the hungry, oil of joy for mourning. And instead of death, he is life. Life!\

And The Work of the People posted a new video with Sarah Bessey that you should not miss: “Detoxing From Not Enough.”

Here is a link to a free ebook by Oscar Romero: “The Violence of Love.”  I will definitely be reading this.  He was martyred while he was the archbishop of San Salvador, assassinated for his work on behalf of the oppressed.

Ann Voskamp’s weekly “Multivitamins for Your Weekend” always bring a smile.

I wholeheartedly agree with Elizabeth Esther on parents who use home schooling as a means to abusing their children.  Makes me furious.  Gotta love her title: “Protecting Christian homeschooling’s reputation vs. protecting abused kids, slam poetry for menstruation, children of Christian narcissists and books I’ve been reading.”

I really love Kathy Escobar.  This week she has been sharing a helpful series on grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  We’re all grieving something, so this is powerful stuff.

And don’t miss the CBE links: “The Scroll Links Up 6/27/14”.


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