by David and Tim Bayly on March 11, 2004 - 12:11pm
With seventy-seven million baby boomers approaching second childhood (assuming most of us finally dispensed with our first), the projected cost of providing health care and other forms of assistance is staggering. Responding to a recent piece titled "Japan Seeks Robotic Help in Caring for the Aged" that ran in the The New York Times, Dennis L. Kodner wrote the editor:
Assistive devices... can be helpful tools, but will ultimately prove unable to close the huge gap between the disabled elderly's growing need for long-term care and the diminishing supply of paraprofessionals who provide hands-on assistance.
In our country, experts project the need for an additional 750,000 long-term care workers by 2008. Yet existing evidence suggests that many of these jobs will go unfulfilled. (NYT, March 9)
No wonder the growth industry in medical ethics is no longer abortion, infanticide, or even eugenics, but euthanasia. Chick Koop, father of pediatric surgery and long-time member of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, while serving as Surgeon General under President Reagan almost twenty years ago, warned of this coming danger:
My great concern is that there will be 10,000 Grandma Does for every Baby Doe.
-C. Everett Koop, Action Line: Christian Action Council Newsletter, Volume IX, No. 5, July 12, 1985, p. 3. (Christian Action Council is now Care Net.)
Poetic (or Divine) justice may demand that these parents themselves suffer euthanasia at the hands of their children. We're dealing with cosmic levels of blood guilt here, and God only knows how it will be connected in His divine economy. Suzanne Rini may well have it right:
Christian homes aren't for show, but for ministry and love. If we obey God's Word and "practice hospitality," it would be perverse for us to use that hospitality as an occasion to preen. Such behavior is the opposite of what Scripture commands:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence ...contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. (Romans 12:10-13)
We are to welcome those who cannot repay us (Luke 14:13,14), seating them around our tables and sharing with them the love and joy God has brought into our families. If our glasses get broken and our carpets stained, it should increase our resolve to be faithful to the biblical command to practice hospitality "without complaining" (1Peter 4:9).
Never in history have Christians had the kitchens, dining room tables, chairs, food, or leisure we have today, but as our wealth increases our hospitality seems to decrease. This ought not to be: "To whom much is given, much shall be required."
Brothers and sisters, when did you last have the poor, crippled, lame or blind over for dinner--anyone other than relatives? Husbands, do you have a godly wife who wants to wash the feet of the saints but she's married to a boor who is unwilling to share his table?
In her excellent book, "Open Heart, Open Home," Karen Mains points out that true hospitality doesn't vaunt itself. Rather, without pretension it aims at making others feel "at home." Look at your home and ask yourself why God has given you such riches? Is it only to satisfy a romantic daydream of life as it used to be?
When reporting a story for The New Yorker several years ago, I found that the less people cook, the more money they spend on cooking appliances. Like the people who stood in line to buy my cookbook, people bought professional-grade ranges in the hope that they would one day use them.
It should not have been surprising when, in the final decade of the twentieth century, food writers became the voice of an idealized past, issuing bulletins from a land where pies cooled perpetually on windowsills.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 28, 2004 - 2:01pm
My mother-in-law studied for her degree in Home Economics during the late '30s and early '40s, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University. After marrying her childhood sweetheart, she gave birth to 10 children in 14 years. Her husband, engaged for most of the years when the family was young as editorial director of a religious publishing house, brought home low wages, so frugality was a necessity and the degree served this young mother and her family well.
Food preservation, hygiene, cooking, sewing, and home budgeting were part of the home ec curriculum and, along with the liberal arts training which came with every bachelor's degree at the time, these young women graduated with specialized training for their profession of choice--motherhood. Other women took similarly helpful majors in Elementary Education, Bible, Christian Education (my own mother's major), and Nursing.
Then came the frontal assault on housewifery and motherhood carried out largely by a new and powerful aristocracy, the "Information Class." (Footnote 1) During the late '60s and early '70s this assault reached fever pitch and the academy was ground zero. College and university students were assigned propagandistic tracts such as Ibsen's, A Doll's House, and joined the ranks of those determined to liberate the "Noras" of the world. (Footnote 2) Oxford historian Paul Johnson provides interesting historical details on A Doll's House, noting that both Karl Marx's youngest daughter, Eleanor, and George Bernard Shaw took part in its first private reading in London, Eleanor playing the title role of Nora. Johnson writes, the "clear message" of A Doll's House was that "marriage is not sacrosanct, the husband's authority is open to challenge, [and] self-discovery matters more than anything else." Johnson concludes, "[Ibsen] really started the women's movement." (Footnote 3)
The discipline of home economics (also known as "household arts") was an early casualty. Traditionally, home ec had enjoyed a comfortably apolitical niche in the world of higher education, and the guardians of this discipline had every reason to trust their academic peers would continue to be favorably disposed toward a curriculum so integrally tied to domestic tranquility. It was taken for granted that a dignified and competent wife and mother, devoted to her home and family, was a highly desirable constant in American culture.
To the feminists, home ec was anything but apolitical, so they attacked...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 5, 2004 - 12:20pm
One of the more critical questions facing Christian parents today is how to go about raising our children so they will be inoculated against the quite-sophisticated wickedness in which they will be immersed for the rest of their lives, instead choosing to live for and please our Lord Jesus Christ. And if sex is one of the areas of our culture most toxic to Christian truth, sodomy (homo-sex) is arguably the most toxic part of this toxic area. It's the PCBs of the super-fund site.
For myself, I'm not in agreement with the Christian-home-as-fortress strategy employed by so many Christians today. The Christian home is to be a center of ministry--not a fortress into which our nuclear families retreat (except for trips to Sam's Club and the BP gas station). If Jesus gave the Apostles the command to "go into all the world" preaching the Gospel and making disciples of all men; and if Scripture promises the gates of hell will not prevail against the Bride of Christ; it's a sad commentary on our faith for us to retreat from the world hiding our children behind our aprons.
The Church is to be militant--not defensive. And I'm convinced that militancy is the fortress God intends to surround and protect our children from rebellion and apostasy. Instead of hiding them from evil, why not teach them to oppose it through a sound mind, the Word of God, and love?
And speaking of a sound mind, as you train and teach your children watch carefully the messages they're getting from the media. The hucksters of Madison Avenue are no fools.
In that connection, read this article about sodomy selling chocolate and chocolate selling sodomy. It could be an excellent talking point for the dinner table tonight.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 15, 2004 - 9:16am
This poem came from a little, battered volume owned by a friend. Edgar Guest was known as the "People's Poet." His poems were sentimental, but this one rings forever true...
Who has a troop of romping youth
About his parlor floor,
Who nightly hears a round of cheers,
When he is at the door,
Who is attacked on every side
By eager little hands
That reach to tug his grizzled mug,
The wealth of earth commands.
Who knows the joys of girls and boys,
His lads and lassies, too,
Who's pounced upon and bounced upon
When his day's work is through,
Whose trousers know the gentle tug
Of some glad little tot,
The baby of his crew of love,
Is wealthier than a lot.
Oh, be he poor and sore distressed
And weary with the fight,
If with a whoop his healthy troop
Run, welcoming at night,
And kisses greet him at the end
Of all his toiling grim,
With what is best in life he's blest
And rich men envy him.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 25, 2004 - 4:32pm
A Psalm of Christmas
Lord we blame
for only giving you
when his inn was full
but what about
all the others
who lived in Bethlehem
when you were born.
all their houses
that weren't full
against the one
who contained you?
our little homes
to welcome you
contained in those
for whom the world
has no room
a cold and lonely
by David and Tim Bayly on August 22, 2005 - 12:28pm
Speaking of the Christian vs. secular college debate, a valid alternative to choosing a Christian college is choosing a secular school based on the churches/campus ministries resident on or around that secular campus. For instance, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, has a campus ministry called Reformed University Ministries. RUM's work is called Reformed University Fellowship on each campus. Of course, this work is better on some campuses than others. It's excellent at Vanderbilt.
This was a prominent factor in our encouraging our second child, Joseph, to consider Vanderbilt.
RUF is self-consciously church-based and biblical exposition forms the centerpiece of their on-campus weekly meetings. Much different than every other evangelical parachurch campus ministry (trust me), RUF doesn't just pay lip-service to the local church but it pushes its students to be committed to a church--and not as secondary priority after their involvement in the RUF campus ministry, but as foundational to Christian discipleship.
On to a story. Joseph narrowed his choice down to Covenant College or Vanderbilt. He and I visited both of them and Joseph still couldn't choose. When we visited Vanderbilt, Marvin and Susan Olasky's son (Joseph, I think) hosted Joseph overnight and gave high marks to his experience there. Eventually, Joseph chose Vanderbilt.
So with some fear (but always faith), in the Fall of 2000 our family piled in the car and took Joseph to Nashville. We stayed at our son-in-law and daughter, Doug and Heather's, on Friday night and Saturday morning got in the minivan to move Joseph into his dorm room about half an hour away.
The building had only singles and was a pit. It's never easy to let a child go so I was feeling some gloom as we finished carrying boxes and clothes up to the room. The time came to leave and, after praying and giving him a kiss and a hug, we walked out of the room and headed to the staircase. Turning left out of his room and starting down the hall (with tears in my eyes, I admit), I was startled to look in the next door and see, exactly at the same place in the bookshelf over the desk, the same two-volume set we had just placed in the same position in Joseph's room: the Banner of Truth two-volume set of the Works of Jonathan Edwards.
I did a doubletake and looked again, thinking I'd likely been doing the moonwalk and not actually moving down the hall at all as I walked. I must still be looking through Joseph's doorway. So I looked more closely and saw through the door a stranger and his mother. I walked straight into the room and asked the young man, "What in the WORLD are you doing with a two-volume set of Jonathan Edwards on our bookshelf!? Come here, I've got to show you something."
We walked out the door and, turning right, I had him look in Joseph's room and see what he had on his shelf. Then it was time for our new-found friend to do a doubletake. Joseph's next door neighbor then told me how he had an older brother who had gone off to college--a non-Christian school by the way--and been led to faith in Jesus, there. His brother came home and told him about Jesus, at which point he too placed his faith in Jesus Christ.
His brother also turned him on to John Piper, so this younger brother began reading Piper. And he noticed in the footnotes that Piper drank waters from Edwards' well, so he went out and bought this set of Edwards and brought it to school so he could read it. Cinching the matter, he told me his name was Joseph--my son's name, also.
Praise God for His loving provision for His children, even down to determining among thousands of students that two students matriculating at Vandy who love Him would have adjoining rooms and doctrine.
Both Josephs attended RUF which was absolutely critical in their spiritual lives while at Vandy; both grew stronger in their friendship and faith while at Vandy; and our family's faith was strengthened as we saw how much God protects those who belong to Him, including their children.
Incidentally, it turned out that their dorm was sort of a self-selective group of sold-out Christians because all the men living there had asked not to be placed in a co-ed dorm.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 3, 2005 - 11:14am
Parents in Palmdale, California filed suit against the Palmdale School District following their elementary school children being questioned concerning their sexual habits and thoughts. The children were asked questions such as how often they thought about sex and were they "thinking about touching other peoples' private parts?" The children's parents were not informed beforehand of the elementary school's plans, nor were they given an opportunity to withdraw their children from this questioning.
Losing the case in the lower courts, the parents appealed to the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals from which a ruling was issued yesterday, November 2, 2005. Here's the court's summary of its decision:
We ...hold that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as stu- dents. Finally, we hold that the defendants' actions were rationally related to a legitimate state purpose. (15064 FIELDS v. PALMDALE SCHOOL DIST.)
As I've often said before concerning the courts' rulings defending minor children making the decision to kill their unborn children without parental permission, nothing strikes more at the heart of the Christian home than this increasing tendency of the state to violate the borders of the Covenant home and the parent/child relationship.
God has given children natural sovereigns and those sovereigns must not allow the state to displace or replace them. The state may claim that it has the best of motives for inserting itself between parent and child but the damage of such usurpation is horrendous, and not only to Covenant families.
The subversion of the home must, then, receive the most careful and sacrificial attention of the People of God. We must lock arms in adamantly resisting the continued growth of such tyranny by the state.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 10, 2005 - 12:09pm
Last week I wrote of our small groups' Christmas parties, saying that we had a ton of children in our house and that it was an absolute joy. Later my daughter, Hannah, commented that she and my wife, Mary Lee, had counted sixty-one in our home that night, thirty of whom were children. Other small group leaders wrote in to give a count of adults and children at their parties, also.
"How could you hear yourselves think" you may be asking? "Didn't the children make it impossible for the adults to talk? Weren't they interrupting all the time, crying or running through the room screaming like banshees?"
No, they weren't. Sure, one of the babies cried occasionally, but his parents were relieved by others so they didn't bear the full weight of his care throughout the three or so hours we had fellowship together.
"But what about the toddlers; weren't they disruptive?"
Not really. They were able to go to different rooms in the house. Others played outside for a while. Generally, we were able to have an ordered evening with eight to ten little groups throughout the house sitting (or standing) and talking together.
Which brings me to some observations about the potential children have for disrupting Christian hospitality, whether that hospitality is having others over for a meal or hosting a small group in our home.
Americans tend to see children in one of two ways, both of which are mistaken: either we view them as a liability, a drain on us, and we try to limit how many we have and how much they are allowed to change our lives; or we view them romantically as the One Good Thing in Life, and therefore the ordering principle of our lives. As I said, neither of these views is wise, good, or biblical.
Against the first view, children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127) and much of what we experience in true happiness and contentment in our lives is likely to be connected to the children God gives us. Late in life my Dad said repeatedly how the thing that really gave him pleasure as he aged was his children. As I age I hear his words all the time and only grow in my appreciation of my own children, and now their children, too.
Children are a blessing from the Lord and the man whose quiver is full of them is truly happy. Any father or mother who works to escape their child or keep him at a distance is sick, lacking the most basic indicators of emotional and spiritual health. Likely there are extenuating circumstances causing his sickness, but it is a sickness nevertheless, and others must not view his disease as simply another perspective on fatherhood. It's the very opposite of fatherhood (or motherhood). He is to be pitied.
But in the context of biblical Protestant church life, I'm more concerned about the other view of children, that they are the center of the universe. How is this an error?
Those who view children as the center of the universe have bought into the youth-worshipping culture surrounding us and inevitably allow their children to derail biblical priorities in their home and life. Nowhere is this as evident as the Christian gift and calling of hospitality. Homes ordered around children have turned God's gift into an idol. They must not be allowed to protest that God desires a godly seed and they're only fulfilling His demands.
When it's impossible to have a conversation around a dinner table because of constant interruptions by children, those children have become an obstacle to biblical obedience and must be taken in hand so this state of affairs may be corrected. This is not to say properly reared children will never spill milk, cry, refuse to eat, interrupt adult conversations, or throw up. But such interruptions should be the exception to the rule and should find the parents ready to take matters in hand in such a way that their guests don't come to feel they're only a distraction to the real business of the home--namely, children--and that the sooner they leave, the sooner the mother and father will be able to return to giving their little prince and princess the undivided attention they normally command.
When children are allowed to control the home and dinner table...
I like the first half of your latest post, but the second half will come across as harsh to many women. I think the quote from Jeremy Taylor will be seen less as an indictment of daycare and more as a requirement that all women nurse as opposed to bottle-feed.
And the sentence, "Certainly the temptation has always been there for wives and mothers of means to hire out their domestic and maternal responsibilities" makes it sound as though a woman can never hire anyone to help with duties around the house without feeling as though she has sacrificed her biblical duty. I think Mrs. Keebler was referring less to women hiring others to take over their child-rearing duties, and more to the times in history when all women with any money at all had, at the very least, one household help, because it wasn't possible to do it all oneself.
Many women today who have large families, homeschool, and also try to keep up with normal household duties would give their right arm to be able to afford someone just to come help clean, sometimes. I clearly remember (Jane Doe) talking about the unbelievable expectations being put on homeschooling moms that they be able to do it all.
Thanks for the help. Please forgive me for not being sensitive to how my post would come across to wives and mothers. A little explanation is in order.
In my experience, there are two kinds of women who employ domestic help. There are women who consider domestic work to be beneath them and have the money to hire others to do all of it (or almost all of it) for them...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 20, 2006 - 12:18pm
You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)
He was an eighty-year-old Spanish American War veteran and I was a seven-year-old boy who loved the circus. He had a television set in his house and the Baylys didn't, so after dinner every Thursday evening I'd walk down the block to his home and knock on the back door. After a long wait, Mr. Fedders would come and let me in. Then we'd walk to his front room where, together, we would watch the circus and the first half of Sing Along With Mitch. It was the only television and the only pipe smoke of my entire childhood, there at Mr. Fedders' Thursday evenings. It didn't matter how much Mr. Fedders liked the circus nor how much I liked Mitch. The two of us--one seven and the other quite ancient--were friends.
Older adults were always a part of the Bayly family. Whether it was my older brother and sister, Joseph and Deborah, cutting grass and shoveling snow for elderly people in our neighborhood, my two younger brothers, David and Nathan, hitting up the elderly lady across the street for candy, or Dad and Mud caring for a woman in her eighties in our home until she died, old age pensioners (as the Brits call them) were our friends. If we all had to choose a favorite, I'm sure it would be Aunt Gail. She wasn't a blood relation but she was a part of our family. We all have warm (and a few not so warm) memories of Aunt Gail. Here are a couple of my own.
When I was in junior high school I would walk over to Aunt Gail's house after school one day a week and spend the late afternoon and evening with her, until it was time for me to go to church for our weekly Boys Brigade meeting. (Our home was eleven miles out of town, so this saved my parents some driving.) Often there were little odd jobs Aunt Gail would wonder aloud whether I'd mind doing for her. The one I detested was washing windows...
In its pages, I've learned much about the interface of the Academy, the civil authority, historians, the law, demographers, sociologists, etc. and the family order God ordained in the Garden of Eden as recorded by the Word of God. But don't misunderstand me: Scripture is very rarely mentioned in TFIA. The monographs are not biblical scholarship...
Robert Egan, owner of Hackensack, New Jersey's, barbecue restaurant, Chubby's, has appointed himself peacemaker-in-chief between North Korea and these United States. The October 8, 2007 New Yorker had a profile of Egan and his particular brand of chef-and-shuttle diplomacy. The piece ends with Egan comparing North Korea and these United States:
This is what I like--the North Koreans ...are very family-oriented. And they have a better take on a man's role and a woman's role than we do. I think a lot of women in this country are trying to be men, and I think that could be the downfall of the family structure of this society. But, in North Korea, the man goes to work and the woman raises the family. Now, I wouldn't want that for my own daughters--I want them to be career girls, not dependent on any man but me--but in my own life I like the fact that a guy's a guy and a girl's a girl. You feel like a man when you are in North Korea. (p. 69)
Egan sounds pretty much like today's run-of-the-mill conservative Christian father who likes his own male perquisites alright, but at the same time wants his daughter to be impervious to the failures of any husband she may marry. So off she goes to college, graduate school, and her career. For himself, he wants a real wife and a real mother for his children. But for his daughters, he wants success, security, and independence.
Is this the life of faith?
Look at whatever alumni magazines you get--we're on the lists of Covenant College, Taylor University, Westmont College, and Wheaton College--and note...
There's much talk today about women needing recognition and, wanting to do something about it, it seemed a good day of the year--Maundy Thursday, when we celebrate our Lord's command that we follow his pattern in serving one another--to honor the woman who, more than
anyone other than my own family members, revealed to me the glory of
womanhood, femininity, and the humble service of motherhood. Would you please take the time to listen to this sermon preached at Mrs. James (Rita) Cuffey's funeral?
For eleven years Rita Cuffey was, other than my wife, my closest friend and wisest counselor. We met weekly and what a help those meetings were. Each time as she left, Rita would ask me what she could pray for me for? And since one of my most frequent prayer requests was that I would be faithful in my private devotional life, when she arrived one week, right out of the gate she asked if I'd had devotions, yet? One weeks the answer was "no," she'd cheerfully announce, "Well, I'll wait. You go ahead and have devotions and then we'll talk." I did while she patiently waited...
…Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed… For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him. (Genesis 18:18,19)
(Tim) When the Lord entered into a covenant with Abraham, He was pleased for that covenant’s fulfillment to be dependent upon Abraham “command(ing) his children and his household… to keep the way of the Lord….” Still today, it pleases God to use means to accomplish his will, and he has declared the Church should be built up, instructed, and guarded by men—not angels. Where those men are missing or their work is soft and effeminate, the Church has suffered the removal of her vital manhood; she has been emasculated. (n. 1)
When we speak of the emasculation of the church, though, we are not saying she has been robbed of her Bridegroom nor that her adoptive Father has cast her out of his household. Christ is “faithful over God’s house as a son” (Hebrews 3:6 RSV), (n. 2) and we have his promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. So then, the Church can never be emasculated in any definitive sense, even though her officers may be characterized by a womanly softness and sentimentality.
Such, though, is the church of our time. About twenty years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot Gren say, “The problem with the church today is that it’s filled with emasculated men who don’t know how to say ‘no’ to a woman.” At the time, I was floored by Elliot’s audacity, but now I realize she was guilty of understatement. Christian men today have a problem saying “no” to almost anyone—not just women. Preachers, elders, and Sunday school teachers place an overwhelming emphasis on the positive and have an almost insurmountable aversion to the negative.
In the mid-eighties, my father was asked to represent the pro-life side at a campus-wide dialogue on abortion held at the Stupe, Wheaton College’s student union. He began his presentation with the statement, “I am not here to represent the pro-life, but the anti-abortion side of this issue..."
Thus says the LORD, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the
midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy
Mountain.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will
again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his
hand because of age.
And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’ (Zechariah 8:3-5)
(Tim) When David and I speak privately, it's a rare conversation we don't speak of our gratitude to the Lord for the wonderful churches He has blessed us with. And this isn't the one-upmanship of two brothers who are both pastors. Trust us, we know about that. Rather, it's the true joy of men for whom the lines have fallen in pleasant places recognizing it's all of God.
My Scripture reading today reminds me of one of our principal joys--our congregations' great fruitfulness physically and spiritually. Physically?
Well, between Christ the Word in Toledo and Church of the Good Shephed here in Bloomington, Indiana, I'd estimate between thirty and forty children will be born or adopted by a Covenant family this year. And this happens year after year--fruit, fruit, and more fruit! Our aisles and nurseries and gym and hallways and cars and homes and fellowship halls are filled with boys and girls playing together...
by David and Tim Bayly on April 29, 2008 - 10:29am
(Tim w/thanks to Dan) Speaking of the loss of liberty, here's one of an almost-limitless number of articles that demonstrate where we're headed in these United States. Western European nations, Australia, and Canada are already far down the trail, but it's still a bit of a shocker here at home. "As to be hated needs but to be seen." In time, though, I'm afraid we'll all settle in and decide no Christian witness is at stake here, there, or anywhere.
I wonder whether Christians right now believe spanking their children is a basic act of biblical obedience? How many evangelicals would, as an act of conscience, oppose national or state laws banning it?
You think you know something about the churches David and I serve, right? Well, we just lost a woman who'd been at Church of the Good Shepherd for twelve years because...
(Tim) Tomorrow is Mother's Day, so here are pictures of David's and my mother, Mary Louise Bayly, and my father and mother-in-law, Ken and Margaret Taylor (Dad Taylor is deceased).
And honoring God Who gave us motherhood, here's a sermon on a wonderful Mother's Day text--Isaiah 60:10-14. This was the funeral sermon given several years ago on the occasion of the death of Bloomington's mother-in-Israel, Rita Cuffey...
As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent; When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children were around me; When my steps were bathed in butter, And the rock poured out for me streams of oil! (Job 29:4-6)
(Tim) Lord willing, in a few hours our third daughter, Hannah Marie, will be married to Lucas Dee Weeks, son of Ron and Doris Weeks. This will leave Mary Lee and me with one child still living at home--Taylor, our fifteen year old son.
As I sit here writing the wedding sermon, it occurs to me that the joyful sadness Mary Lee and I feel as our Hannah departs is a graceful sadness...
(Tim) From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd Wedding of Lucas Weeks and Hannah Bayly May 17, 2008
That He Might Sanctify Her
Ephesians 5: 21-33
Lucas and Hannah, it’s a curious thing that the God Who made us, the One who is our Creator and therefore knows us best, has not left us free to develop according to our own inclinations. He does not abandon us to our own sentiments and passions...
(Tim, w/thanks to Bill, Tom, and Priscilla) Last year, my dear friend, Bill Mouser, passed on this report by his friends, Tom and Priscilla, of the death of Priscilla's parents. At the time, Mary Lee and the rest of our family were coming to the end of six years sharing our home with my own Aunt Elaine Bayly, who died the end of December. I thought this meditation on life and death was helpful and asked Tom and Priscilla for permission to put it up for others to share. They kindly agreed and I thank them.
So here, first, is a letter from Bill Mouser introducing the letter; followed by Tom and Priscilla's letter, itself...
Register now for the Christ Church Ministerial Conference on Father Hunger October 16 & 17 in Houston, Texas. The conference is aimed at pastors, elders, deacons, and those aspiring to the work of these offices. David and I attended the conference last year and greatly appreciated it. We hope we'll see you there. (From time to time, I'll put this ad back up on the top of the page, so please look below to see if there are other more recent posts. Thanks.)
(Dr. Hollinger) will be joined in ministry by his wife of 36 years, Dr. Mary Ann
Hollinger, who is Dean of External Programs and Assistant Professor of
Family Studies at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania.
(Tim) Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is David's and my alma mater and we just received a letter from interim president, Haddon Robinson, announcing "Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger" as the president-elect.
Now, stop for a second and consider how central domestic godliness is in the qualifications listed by the Holy Spirit for church officers. An elder "must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)" (1 Timothy 3:4, 5). Again, elders are to have "children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion" (Titus 1:6). Do these qualifications apply to seminary presidents?
Well, first we must ask what a seminary president is, precisely? Is he a doctor of the church? An elder? A pastor? A bishop? Or is he simply an academic administrator to whom these biblical qualifications don't apply?
Speaking for myself, I find it inconceivable a man who will lead an institution that exists to train church officers must meet lower qualifications than the men he trains; and specifically, that he need not "manage his own household well, keeping his children under control" or have "children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion?"
But if these biblical criteria apply to seminary presidents, we look in vain for any mention of them in the two and a half pages of Mr. Hollinger's qualifications released by Haddon Robinson. Instead, the pages are filled with qualifications of an entirely
worldly nature. Degrees earned, positions held, pages published...
So, what? We blithely assume the biblical but need proof of the
worldly criteria? If so, could there not be at least a bone tossed in
the direction of the biblical ones? Something like, "The Board of
Trustees has examined Mr. Hollinger's Christian character and his
household and have found him above reproach according to the criteria
mandated by the Holy Spirit for church officers," for instance?
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. - 1Timothy 5:8
In a nation where the majority of citizens claim to have "a personal relationship" or to be "living a narrative" with Jesus at the center, how is it that babies keep being murdered at a rate of 1.3 million per year? How is it that women continue to take on more positions in which, by design and intent, they exercise authority over men? How is it that the family meal has died? That what my Dad called "that huckster" now owns the center of our living room and dying room? That no one practices hospitality any more—except perhaps at restaurants or hotels? That husbands love internet sluts instead of the wife of their youth? That one fifth of our nation's women now arrive at their early forties never having given birth to a child?
Really, the older I get the more sense it makes to me that the New Testament Epistles place such constant and heavy emphasis on simple (or should I say foundational) household matters. Do we really think that killing babies, women sleeping with women and men with men, children defying their fathers, mothers abandoning their children and home for a public life, husbands loving prostitutes instead of the virtuous wife God gave them, wives refusing to submit to their husbands and taking over the leadership of the church and state, smutty plays and drama and poetry, and spoiled cats and dogs are things unknown in the world of the early Christians?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 8, 2008 - 8:21pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Mary Lee) Being a wife and mother has always meant years of thanklessness, followed by more years of babysitting grandchildren and warily anticipating a husband's retirement. Lately, it's also meant suffering the disdain of other women--even sisters in Christ--who have chosen, themselves, to have their primary orientation outside the home.
Fathers and husbands can't be too careful inoculating their daughters and wives against the envy, bitterness, and fear attendant to such vulnerabilities. Praise, love, a little G. K. Chesterton read aloud every now and then, and gifts of gratitude will go a long way to defend the weaker sex against the enemies within. And occasionally, we'll find others coming alongside to help with the work.
I'm so proud and grateful to the Lord for the women of Church of the Good Shepherd, this blog, and my own family who serve the Lord faithfully, not resenting the call of God upon their lives. Remember, it's our Lord's promise that, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the last shall be first and the first, last.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 27, 2008 - 1:56pm
(Tim, w/thanks to David) Years ago, a missionary friend who worked in Sweden admitted to me that he couldn't spank his children without fear of government action, so he hid whatever spankings he gave them. This news item ran in Portage, Wisconsin, just a few miles from where I served prior to being called to Bloomington, Indiana.
Brothers in Christ, we live in a wicked day. Already, aided by the civil authority, our minor daughter can contract with Planned Parenthood to hire a murderer to kill her unborn son or daughter. And the government helps her to hide it from her father and mother.
As I've always said, this is the most wicked aspect of our current baby-killing regime. A godly father or mother cannot protect their minor daughter from those seducing her to become a murderer. They may well never know.
Meanwhile, spanking renders Christian parents vulnerable to losing custody of their children. The normal Christian parent who uses the corporal punishment commanded by God (Prov. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13; 29:15; etc.) is always in danger of prosecution and loss of parental rights.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 26, 2008 - 10:30am
(Tim) On Thanksgiving, my sorrow over the absence of our brother, Nathan, is most acute. Food and table fellowship were Nathan's specialty.
In his home, I envied his ability to host a meal. Whether lunch or dinner, his enjoyment of his wife, Sandy, their children, the food, the sunshine streaming through their dining room windows, music, and you, his guests, was contagious. He was a gentleman so he told merry jokes. Just before the meal, Nathan clucked over the table, finished off the iced tea, chose the music (usually baroque brass leading up to the meal and something quieter while we sat and talked), took taste tests, spiced up this or that dish, kissed Sandy--oh the Christian joy!
Thanksgivings, too, were the day each year that Nathan pulled out his soapstones and sharpened the knives of whatever home we'd gathered in. He'd work on them in the kitchen. Were they sharp enough, yet? The test was shaving hair off the forearm or a clean vertical cut down through a piece of paper, leaving no ragged edges. (Here's a great account of the growing custom knife business.)
Then it was off to manhandle the turkey. Men do it in our family, but not because we don't cook. Nathan and Dad were both superb cooks, but regardless of the sex of the chefs, carving the turkey was man's work. (Here's a short video on carving the turkey--thanks, Jake.)
Speaking of carving the turkey, back in time to our childhood home for a minute or two. Mud and Dad always had a ton of people for Thanksgiving...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 8, 2008 - 11:13am
(Tim) Last night, the Bayly, Crum, Ummel, and Weeks housholds were joined by Seth Boles, Annie Hogue (and wee ones), Lizzie Wegener, and Dani Williams for our annual Christmas season progressive dinner here. We picked this tradition up from the Taylor clan (which now numbers about one hundred direct descendants of Dad and Mom Taylor).
We started with horse dovers at Joseph and Heidi's, then soup at Ben and Michal's, main course at Doug and Heather's (bread and drinks provided by Heather, with Mary Lee providing the filling stuff), followed by dessert at Lucas and Hannah's.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 9, 2008 - 10:49am
(Tim) When I was a child, Dad subscribed to Time for a time. Then came the day they ran an ad for men's cologne pictured in a bottle shaped like a phallus. Dad wrote them strenuously objecting to such degradation.
Since then, our family hasn't been big on news magazines. The only one that's ever entered our home is World, to which we have a lifetime gift subscription kindness of its founder. Truth be told, I'm not at all fond of Time and Newsweek (especially), and Newsweek's current issue provides a good example of my reasons.
The cover story is a puff piece on sodomite marriage. The really disgusting thing, though, is that Newsweek's editors allowed their female (and yes, I believe sex matters here) religion editor, Lisa Miller, to play the schoolmarm to the nation on the true doctrine of Scripture concerning sodomy. The story's title tells it all: "Gay Marriage: Our mutual joy; Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side."
Yes, of course; Newsweek's religion editor is going to lecture us on the Bible's teaching on love. And I'm guessing she believes in the slaughter of little babies in their mother's womb, too, and could lecture us on Scripture's doctrine of love there, also. Our chattering class has Goebbels' principle down cold...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 27, 2008 - 8:58am
(Tim) Mary Lee, Taylor, and I just returned from a sweet visit to visit Mom Taylor in Wheaton. Last year was the first year we'd missed Christmas with her and the rest of the Taylor clan since some time before we were married. We stayed home with Aunt Elaine as she walked through the valley of the shadow of death, passing into the presence of the Lord one year ago, yesterday.
So this year we returned to Wheaton, and to Mom Taylor who has been a steady and godly influence over us and our children for half a century, now. The hard core traditions include lots of Christmas cookies, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatos, the once-per-year bowling outing Christmas day or the day after, gifts, quiet reading in the family room, tons of toast late at night (especially), and Scrabble. The family's always been Scrabble mad, but I never play. Being from Philadelphia, I prefer scrapple.
Well, this was simply a preface to the two really important pieces of news from the Taylor clan this year...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 31, 2008 - 1:14pm
(Tim) Things are quiet here at the church-house. It's New Year's Eve and I've been doing odd jobs in between reading Christmas cards and letters that piled up the past few weeks.
Just now, I finished my second letter in a row from friends with lots of children--one family with eight and the other nine. And last night, we sat and talked through the evening with our dear friends, David and Jill Crum, who are in town to visit their six sons now living here in Bloomington. David and Jill have been blessed by God with eleven children--ten sons and one daughter.
These are happy, happy families God has used to propagate a godly seed for His Own glory. And not one of the mothers or fathers cast a longing eye at other believers who chose money, career, or status over another child. They're all poor, and they're all joyful. Trust me. (If you want to test it, send me a private e-mail and I'll put you in touch with them so you may ask them yourself.)
So here's the New Year's Resolution I'm so impertinent as to suggest, dear brothers and sisters. Why not follow these three pastors and their godly wives and dedicate this coming year to being fruitful and multiplying? To propagating a godly seed. To making love and life, both at the same time? And if you and your wife are not able to have children, take in foster children or adopt a child.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 1, 2009 - 10:12am
(Tim) I have tender childhood memories of sitting in front of the fireplace roasting my back, my two younger brothers lying on the floor falling asleep, while Mud (affectionate diminutive of Mother) read to us. Dad was on the road speaking at conferences much of the time those years, and when he was gone our evenings had a certain leisure. Not that we lived under joyless discipline when Dad was home, but like most men, Dad was sort of daddish.
So the Life without Father routine was that, following dinner and devotions, a fire was built, and as it crackled, Mud read to us by the hour.
Books were the main course in our home, just as they were in the homes of three other families whose children were all growing up at the same time within the same congregation, College Church in Wheaton: the Ken Taylors (Mary Lee's family), the Ken Hansens (ServiceMASTER's founder), and the Hudson Armerdings (Wheaton's prez). All the children of these homes loved to read.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 14, 2009 - 7:45am
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) Since moving to Bloomington, I've often read aloud to one of my younger brothers or sisters in Christ, seeking to innoculate them against this or that part of our cultural decadence. Scripture always and foremost. But also Bonhoeffer (Life Together). Calvin. Kierkegaard (Attack Upon Christendom). A. A. Milne. The "Preliminary Principles" from America's first Presbyterians. Blamires. Baxter. Bayly--Dad of course. Sayers...
In frequency and zeal, though, my use of Chesterton far surpasses the others. For the lies popular among young men and women today, particularly those being propagandized on university campuses, Chesterton is God's man on the spot. Specifically, no one does a better job of exposing feminism's humorless and bloody corpse.
Among Chesterton's essays, read "The Drift from Domesticity" found in The Thing. (You'll find the full text at the bottom of this post.)
Sit your mother down; call your daughter or wife; read it to the woman of your love right now. You'll both laugh with delight.
Then buy Chesterton's What's Wrong With the World
and read the essays comparing the work of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. You'll never again think big thoughts about business and small thoughts about motherhood. Chesterton will have given you a lifelong innoculation against such stupidity.
All this comes to mind with this from Australia recording the growth in love for the household arts among women there. Now that's good news!
By the way, when I recommend Chesterton, people occasionally get a look of horror on their faces and inform me that he's Roman Catholic and hates Calvin...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 5, 2009 - 11:58am
(Tim) Starting tomorrow night, Friday, February 6th, Church of the Good Shepherd is sponsoring the Ted Tripp seminar, Instructing a Child's Heart (those are two of our grandchildren, Josiah and Bayly--aren't they perfect?). The seminar begins with registration Friday night from 6:30 to 7 PM, followed by the first teaching session from 7 to 8 PM and the second from 8:15 to 9:15 PM.
Saturday morning, there's a Continental Breakfast from 8:30 to 9 AM, then three sessions with the first beginning at 9 AM and the last ending at 12:30 PM.
Here are directions to the church: Church of the Good Shepherd is about three minutes west of Indiana 37, just off Highway 45 (Second Street). Come into Bloomington on Indiana 37, exit 37 at the Indiana 45/Second Street Exit. Go west, past Sam's Club, then the Super WalMart, then the BP Station (all on your left), until you you come to the light at Airport Road. Turn right on Airport Road and go about one hundred yards to Endwright Road. Turn right on Endwright Road and go about a quarter mile to the entrance to CGS on your right.
Walk-ins are welcome, so come join us! Childcare will be provided. You'll be glad you took the time to become a better Dad or Mom.
And if you stay for worship Sunday morning, I'd love to meet you afterwards. Please introduce yourself.
...the proven ‘anti-implantation’ action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion. (Pontifical Academy for Life)
(Tim) Today, twenty-two percent of our nation's children are murdered in the womb, and a growing proportion of those murders are what our nation's merchant of death, Planned Parenthood, euphemistically refers to as "medical abortions"--abortions committed by chemical rather than steel weapons. Pro-life leaders have been dreading this change for decades knowing how much more difficult it will be to oppose abortion as it moves toward the earliest weeks and days of pregnancy, and into the privacy of the home.
The change has come quickly...
Already, chemical abortions comprise over twenty percent of current abortions, and the proportion is growing rapidly. In a private e-mail sent to Planned Parenthood Federation of America on July 9, 2007, Danco Laboratories LLC (the pharmaceutical firm distributing one of the chemical abortifacients, Mifeprex) reported: "In the five years following FDA approval (2000-2005), more than 750,000 U.S. women have used Mifeprex."
This means over 150,000 women per year are taking Mifeprex to kill their unborn child. But Mifeprex is only one of the growing list of chemical agents being deployed...
by David and Tim Bayly on March 18, 2009 - 10:07am
A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:9, 10)
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) In her new book, Marriage, Mitres, and Being Myself, First Lady of Canterbury, Mrs. Rowan (Jane) Williams, speaks of the hardships of being married to a bishop. In a news piece announcing the book, the Telegraphquotes Mrs.Williams in ways that remind me a great deal of the wife of the new provost of David's and my alma mater, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:
(Mrs.) Williams said clergy and their families have to endure "poor
boundaries" between their public and private lives, "laughable"
job descriptions and "few opportunities to congratulate oneself on a
job well done". She claimed the spouses of church leaders are expected to entertain guests as
well as raising children and following their own careers, and admitted
visitors to Lambeth Palace are sometimes "shocked" at how untidy
Mrs Williams ...is a mother-of-two and theologian as well as the wife of Dr
Rowan Williams... "Housework has never been very high on my list of priorities," Mrs
"The Church can be a thankless employer, with poor boundaries between
private and public space, vague practices about holidays and days off,
laughable job descriptions and few opportunities to congratulate oneself on
a job well done and completed."
Mrs Williams, 51, said many bishops' spouses feel "bitter resentment"
and "positively weighed" down by the expectations placed on them.
How David and I have been blessed by the wives God gave us! But also, by the wives of our fellow pastors and elders! Thank you Heavenly Father.
When Sydney Anglican, Phil Jensen, and his wife, Helen, were visiting with us some years ago, one of our conversations was about choosing staff members...
(Tim) Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "The cruelest lies are often told in silence," and as I noted a week or so ago, it's been interesting to watch how the recent post about Emergency Contraception (sic) Pills, birth control, and abortion has been carefully avoided by men, but embraced by women. There are lessons here, one of which I think is that pastors today are about as concerned about the blood guilt of our sheep as the chief priests and elders were about the blood guilt of Judas when he came to them in anguish, confessing...
by David and Tim Bayly on March 25, 2009 - 11:45am
(Tim) Mary Lee forwarded a link to Moody radio's "Imparting Vision to Our Sons," adding that she was able to catch part of the interview, and that Paul Vaughn gives "a phenomenal plan for raising boys to be men."
(David) One of the fun events of Christ the Word's time with the Wilsons two weeks ago was a question and answer session following the Sunday evening service in which Doug and Nancy together with Tim answered questions from the congregation on childrearing. It was an hour that most felt could profitably have been stretched to three. Here is audio of that hour, in its entirety, for your enjoyment.
(Tim, w/thanks to the godly mothers of Church of the Good Shepherd) We offer several classes Lord's Day mornings in between two worship services. One on childrearing is taught by Pastor Stephen Baker.
Being the father of five sons, Stephen asked if I'd come into his class for a week and teach on raising daughters. In preparation, I asked Mary Lee to write down some of her thoughts. She, in turn, wrote a couple women of our church (including our daughters) asking for their thoughts...
(Tim, w/thanks to the godly mothers, daughters, and wives of Church of the Good Shepherd who obey Titus 2) This is the second installment in a series of e-mails I received from several women of our congregation advising me what to say on the subject of raising daughters to a class on childrearing held here at CGS.
* * *
Girls need both a mother and a father actively involved in their lives. Dads are immensely important in raising young women. A young woman ought to feel so securely loved by her father that she does not need to prematurely seek the affection of a boy. This means dad needs to give his daughter plenty of time, attention, and hugs. From how her dad treats her mom, she will learn what to expect from her future husband. If the daughter learns to respectfully submit to her father's care and instruction, it will be easier for her to lovingly, respectfully submit to her future husband.
(Tim) My good brother, Bob Patterson, recently did a piece for National Review Online (NRO) that I commend to our readers. In an e-mail to friends, Bob summed up the argument he makes this way:
The decline in marriage and fertility rates among the Baby Boom generation stands at the heart of what presently ails the American economy. After noting the demographic concerns of former Fortune columnist David Goldman, I suggest that national GOP leaders can no longer ignore the interplay between social and economic issues if they want the party to make a comeback in 2010 or 2012.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 5, 2009 - 10:35am
(Tim) This post is to recommend that you become a charter subscriber to a new journal from the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society titled, The Family in America.
Over twenty years ago, now, I subscribed to a small newsletter called Religion and Society Report edited by the late Richard John Neuhaus. It was helpful to me as a young pastor, thinking through how to lead and teach my flocks to honor God in our evil day. At the time the publication was humble and helpful.
Not too long after subscribing, there was notice of a breach between the editor and publisher, along with embarrassing notes of this and that person being thrown out of the publication’s offices in New York City. Who knows what happened. Happily, though, it was an ill wind that did blow somebody some good.
Neuhaus announced he was starting a journal and offered subscriptions. I subscribed and still do (having great hope for the future under Joseph Bottum's editorship, by the way, now that Mr. Neuhaus has died). Regularly, I tell men and women seeking the terminal (not malignant, mind you) degree that they must subscribe toFirst Things if they hope to be something beyond harmless as a dove or culpably naïve in the Academy.
My pride is less that I was there at the beginning than that I financially supported a truly worthy enterprise for many years. Here we had a magazine that actually deserved support (unlike Christianity Today which has been dying the slow death of morbid obesity for decades, now).
Like the rest of us, through the years Neuhaus made his mistakes...
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
(Tim) Ministering in a university community clarifies the real faith of Christians. If the altar we place our money and children on indicates anything, our help is in education, degrees, and the Academy--not the Name of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also."
Before she walks across the platform, we (along with taxpayers and rich donors) will have spent enough on our daughter's college degree to go a long way toward buying her a nice starter home. Unite two of our children in holy matrimony and the total spent on both of them for their undergrad and graduate degrees quite often exceeds $100,000. One couple from our church had a combined total of $450,000 in undergrad and graduate loans (admittedly, the highest I've come across), and another couple my wife and I were talking with this past week had $160,000 (quite normal).
Soon after entering the ministry, I was listening to one of those endless discussions concerning denominational identity we've all sat through, and I remember hearing a mainline PC(USA) leader adamantly state that the reason for the existence of Presbyterianism was...
(Tim) During four years in the late nineties and early two-thousands while pastoring Church of the Good Shepherd, I also led the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as its Executive Director. My brother, David, joined me in that work and was a great help, designing our first web site and providing invaluable counsel while also serving in the pastorate.
Part of my work was editing CBMW's journal. Periodically, we ran interviews--one being with my hero, Elisabeth Elliot. Naturally, I did the interview myself.
Growing up, the Bayly family had a long personal association with the Howards of Philadelphia--particularly Dave Howard and his sister, Elisabeth Elliot. A couple months ago, Elisabeth's husband, Lars, wrote me telling of a recent trip he and Elisabeth had taken to visit family down in South America. For those of you who know and love them, Lars and Elisabeth are doing well.
So then, here's the interview from CBMW's Journal, Volume 5, No. 1.
* * *
PLAIN AND SIMPLE: AN INTERVIEW WITH ELISABETH ELLIOT
JBMW: We are delighted to be able to speak with you. Why do you think you've been a lightning rod in the evangelical world on this particular issue?
EE: I didn't know I was! I have just proceeded the way I've tried all my life to proceed-by studying what the Bible says and living by it. If I'm asked to talk about it, of course I have a responsibility to talk about it. It is from this that I have learned that I'm not wanted in many circles...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 11, 2009 - 3:00am
(Tim) Under the post, All in all, they're just bricks in the wall..., a reader asked if sex has anything to do with how we educate our children? As a pastor to many undergrad and grad students the past fifteen years here in Bloomington (home of Indiana University); but more, as the father of five children, two sons and three daughters; this question has been relentless in its presence in every aspect of my calling as pastor and father. As one effort to wrestle with the issue, back in the late nineties I wrote the following essay. It's been published here before (in August of 2004 and January of 2006), and it also ran in a print publication in the late nineties. Readers will note this piece does better at diagnosing a problem than providing a solution, but comments could go far to fill in the gap.
By the way, during our recent vacation, Mary Lee read a book that filled in some of the history of the origin of Home Economics as an academic discipline. You'll note I didn't know of its feminist roots when I wrote this piece, for which I apologize. Still, the late history of Home Economics' demise is well-documented and, given the discipline's history, highly ironic.
PREPARING FOR MOTHERHOOD
by Tim Bayly
My mother-in-law studied for her degree in Home Economics during the
late '30s and early '40s, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State
University. After marrying her childhood sweetheart, she gave birth to
10 children in 14 years. Her husband, engaged for most of the years
when the family was young as editorial director of a religious
publishing house, brought home low wages, so frugality was a necessity
and the degree served this young mother and her family well.
Food preservation, hygiene, cooking, sewing, and home budgeting were
part of the home ec curriculum and, along with the liberal arts
training which came with every bachelor's degree at the time, these
young women graduated with specialized training for their profession of
choice--motherhood. Other women took similarly helpful majors in
Elementary Education, Bible, Christian Education (my own mother's
major), and Nursing.
Then came the frontal assault on housewifery and motherhood carried
out largely by a new and powerful aristocracy, the "Information Class."
(Footnote 1) During the late '60s and
early '70s this assault reached fever pitch and the academy was ground
zero. College and university students were assigned propaganda
tracts such as Ibsen's, A Doll's House, and joined the ranks of those determined to liberate the "Noras" of the world. (Footnote 2)
Oxford historian Paul Johnson provides interesting historical details on A Doll's House,
noting that both Karl Marx's youngest daughter, Eleanor, and George
Bernard Shaw took part in its first private reading in London, Eleanor
playing the title role of Nora. Johnson writes, the "clear message" of A Doll's House
was that "marriage is not sacrosanct, the husband's authority is open
to challenge, [and] self-discovery matters more than anything else."
Johnson concludes, "[Ibsen] really started the women's movement." (Footnote 3)
The discipline of home economics (also known as "household arts") was an early casualty...
home ec had enjoyed a comfortably apolitical niche in the world of
higher education, and the guardians of this discipline had every reason
to trust their academic peers would continue to be favorably disposed
toward a curriculum so integrally tied to domestic tranquility. It was
taken for granted that a dignified and competent wife and mother,
devoted to her family, was a desirable constant in American culture.
To the feminists, home ec was anything but apolitical, so they
attacked. The level of their hostility can be illustrated by Allan C.
Carlson's account of an address given to the 1972 American Home
Economics Association Convention by Robin Morgan, the feminist editor
of Sisterhood Is Powerful:
[Morgan] laid the matter squarely on the line. The main
emphasis of the organization, she reminded the delegates, was 'to
reinforce three primary areas: marriage, the family, and the issue of
consumerism .... Now those three areas.... [are] the primary areas that
the radical women's movement is out to destroy. So one could say that
as a radical feminist, I am here addressing the enemy.' Morgan charged
that young women who passed through home economics courses were usually
left as 'a limp, gibbering mass of jelly waiting for marriage.' Indeed,
by feminist standards, home economics was so corrupted in its nature
that the speaker had only one unambiguous recommendation: 'You can quit
your jobs.' For those who must stay on, she urged that they work to
eliminate the home economics requirement for junior and senior high
school women and impose it instead on high school men. Home economists
should also 'tell people the truth' about the housewife's role and 'the
despair she faces in her life' and 'about the economic bigotry against
women.' Above all, those who stayed in the obsolete profession must
work to 'change' social mores, not reinforce them. For home economics
was 'hooked' into institutions that were 'dying.' Morgan concluded:
'It's your choice whether you're going to crumble with that system ...
while history rolls over you or whether you're going to move with
[history]. I hope that you will join us--but we're going to win in any
The battle for home ec was over almost before it began, and soon the deconstruction of this discipline was complete. (Footnote 4)
Somewhere in mothballs there may be a beautifully preserved specimen of
a home economics department, but at this sitting I don't recall running
into one person with this major since my own entry into the world of
higher education in 1971. A woman in our congregation who teaches home
ec told me recently that her professional association changed its name
from the National Association of Home Economics Teachers to the
National Association of Consumer Education. "It no longer has the word
'home' in it!" she lamented.
The demise of home economics is indicative of a sea change in the
thought patterns and habits of women standing at the edge of adult life
today. Although elementary education, Christian education, nursing, and
even home economics are still studied, these degrees are often chosen
for their professional, and not domestic, value. Women make academic
decisions about course work and majors with little thought of the value
of specific areas of knowledge for running a home, raising a family, or
educating children. Instead, the marketability of the degree is
primary. Not surprisingly in a culture that disparages motherhood, we
see a decline of conscious preparation for this task by women making
academic, financial, and career decisions.
But in lusty defiance of all the rhetoric, men and women still
marry, give birth to children, and raise a family of their own. Yet
when children are born reality hits: Who will be this child's mother?
Not surprisingly the government's answer is more bureaucrats paid by
more taxpayers, trained and certified by other bureaucrats. Thus the
Information Class extends its influence to the earliest days of our
There are significant economic reasons for our nation not to choose
this direction, reasons obvious to thinking women and men from time
immemorial. Chesterton sums up those reasons by pointing out that
neither bureaucrats nor the money to pay them grow on trees, and that
it is quite foolish to set up an industry to do what familial--and
specifically maternal--love does naturally; "You are like a lunatic who
should carefully water his garden with a watering-can, while holding up
an umbrella to keep off the rain."
Seriously though, the reasons for Christians to raise, train,
educate, and discipline their own children extend far beyond economic
considerations. The making of the Christian home and the raising of
children are at the very center of our calling as followers of Jesus
Christ. Scripture commands fathers to provide for their families(Footnote 5) and mothers to "be domestic," (Footnote 6) to be devoted to their husbands, their children, and their home." (Footnote 7) Scripture calls mothers and fathers to train their children, (Footnote 8) to teach them about the Lord, (Footnote 9) to feed them the Word of God "from infancy," (Footnote 10)
and to explain to them the traditions of our Most Holy Faith while
sitting in their living rooms, walking through the neighborhood, riding
in the car, and lying in bed. (Footnote 11) God has decreed that one purpose of Christian marriage is to raise up for Him "a godly seed." (Footnote 12)
To purport to be faithful to this task by packing our children off to "professionals" is often dishonest and disobedient.
Its dishonesty consists in the fact that, although many Christian
parents give high-minded reasons for turning over the nursing,
discipline, and instruction of their children to others, their true
reasons are often embarrassingly secular: careers, financial security,
and peer respect hold a higher place in their values than the
approbation of God and the eternal well-being of the souls of their
This is not to say there aren't many Christian women and men who,
due to tragic life circumstances, find themselves with no choice in
such matters. Consider for instance divorcees who work full-time to pay
rent and put food on their tables; widowers whose children are cared
for during the day by grandparents; and wives and husbands whose
physical or mental handicaps require such attention that childrearing
must at least partially be provided for by non-family members.
Yet even in such circumstances the diligent Christian parent and his
or her Christian community can do much to compensate, creatively and
lovingly, for these circumstances. For an excellent series of stories
on just such a family which, while having great hardship due to the
absence of the father, maintains its health and integrity, see the
series of "Five Little Peppers" books, including Five Little
Peppers and How they Grew, Five Little Peppers Midway, Five Little
Peppers Grown Up, and Five Little Peppers: Phronsie Pepper,
published one hundred years ago by Lothrop Publishing Company in
Boston. The first volume is dedicated, "To the memory of my mother;
wise in counsel--tender in judgment, and in all charity--strengthful in
Christian faith and purpose--I dedicate, with reverence, this simple
But in the too-normal case, face the matter squarely and we see that
young women today find themselves in possession of all the old
responsibilities as well as a considerable number of new ones, not the
least of which is preparing for and competing within the wage-earning
world for the level of responsibility, opportunity, and salary
commensurate with their abilities. If they are successful in this
competition, landing a good entry-level position with significant
chance of improvement, they must be careful to maintain their
productivity and commitment such that they are in no danger of losing
the position they have prepared for and sought for so many years. Would
it not be poor stewardship to gain the department headship only to lose
it later while trying to meet the needs of one's spouse or children?
Today's college woman gathers knowledge and degrees useful for the
world of business, education, service, and health care--not marriage
and family life. Still, there is clear evidence that these same women
have not disengaged from the timeless rituals of courtship and
marriage. This then is the expectation of our culture for young women
today: prepare for life-consuming responsibilities in the world and in
the home, both at the same time, and then balance these
responsibilities for as long as you can as well as you can.
Some men and women are called by God to the single life and are aware of having been given this spiritual grace. (Footnote 13)
Most men and women, though, will be blessed by God with marriage and
children and are therefore to raise up a godly seed for the Lord. To
fail to acknowledge this and make decisions accordingly in the critical
years of life is so sad, really. Why should Christians join the world
in despising housewifery and motherhood?
When young Christian women are ashamed to admit their choice of
school, of major, and of method of financing their education is
directly related to their commitment to be ready for marriage, bearing
children, and making a home, who would deny that the Church is taking
her cues from the world?
Christians ask their children, "What are you going to be when you
grow up?" Pity the poor young thing who answers, "I want to be a mother
like Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, or Mary," because her indoctrination is
about to begin.
"Yes dear, of course you will be a mother; but wouldn't you like to be a doctor or lawyer, or to play in an orchestra, too?"
Being a wife and mother isn't enough anymore, is it?
So it all starts. And before long, our daughters will be taught it's
not sufficient to dream and plan for marriage and motherhood; they must
dream and plan for a professional life--a "career"--also.
But before it's over, the pressures of these life choices will have
a life of their own with concomitant (and tragic) results for the
woman, her husband, and their family. The collegiate woman who follows
the culturally preferred pathway comes out of college prepared to work
in a profession which will give her material rewards commensurate only
with her faithfulness to her colleagues and employer. Often she will
arrive at her first position saddled with the substantial debt she has
accumulated purchasing her education.
So when, within a year or two of graduation, marriage appears on the
horizon, even if the couple desires to place parenthood above their
reputation among their peers or their commitment to the woman's career,
the debt accrued during their pursuit of professional training and
accreditation sinks their hopes and they realize that having children
is not feasible, financially. The same logic inexorably leads the woman
and her husband to the conclusion that, in the event of an accidental
pregnancy (accidental according to the finite plans of man, that is),
soon after the baby arrives, mother will return to her profession and
give over the care of the child to someone else. Thus the mother will
keep on the cutting edge of her career and grow dull in her God-given
vocation of motherhood.
This ought not to be. In God's Household, the pillar and foundation
of the Truth, we must do our best to honor the Lord in every area of
our lives, especially this critical matter of providing for the
Christian home a Christian mother who is well-prepared in every way to
fulfill her calling.
We must do everything in our power to legitimate--no, to honor--the
calling of motherhood so our children grow up knowing no calling is
higher. Where is the mother who has found she's too bright for the task
of honing her child's mind and nurturing his heart?
A dear friend of mine, 83 years old, gave up her graduate fellowship
from the Department of Astronomy at Harvard to marry another astronomer
she had met there. Soon she had four children and, as they grew, she
devoted herself to those children, teaching them everything possible.
She never missed one of their science fairs and, foregoing the faculty
wives' coffee klatches, she stayed home so she would be at the front
door to welcome her children at the end of each school day.
"That's when they tell you everything," she explains. "When they
walk in the door they're eager to tell all the things of the
day--things are welling up inside of them then. If you don't get it
then, you will not hear it, because they'll put it aside and do other
things." My own mother adds that a parallel to meeting the children
when they get home from school is staying up late at night, when the
kids get older, to talk to them after their late-night excursions.
While her husband built telescopes, observed the sky, and published his research in the Astrophysical Journal,
my friend trained, nurtured, fed, and disciplined her little ones into
adulthood. Today, two of those four children have Ph.D.'s and the other
two married Ph.D.'s. Forgetting for the moment the spiritual side of
these children's instruction, let us ask the smaller question: Was this
a waste of good intellectual talent? Would those children have been
better off--even intellectually--had Mrs. Cuffey completed her graduate
work and been awarded the terminal degree?
At this point some would argue for inserting a delicate caveat to
indicate that there are many ways to raise children--many divergent
styles of motherhood--and that some mothers can do it all, while
others, due to native limitations, have to be more focused. But is it
not true that Mrs. Cuffey and others following her path have, in fact,
chosen the more excellent way, devoting themselves to their husbands,
children, and home in a way that another mother of children who works
full-time outside the home is unable to? In fact, was not Mrs. Cuffey's
decision to give up her Harvard fellowship and turn toward home a
decision laden with spiritual significance, not just for herself but
for her husband, children, and future generations?
If we teach our daughters the high calling of motherhood and they
take that calling on as their own, it will often lead them to make
decisions similar to the one Mrs. Cuffey made. In such cases, certainly
their own parents, but also the people of God, must be prepared to
provide them fulsome support for any steps they take to decrease, that
their husbands and children may increase, especially when those
decisions close doors behind which lie prestigious honors and large
In her excellent booklet, Where's Mom: The High Calling of Wife and Mother in Biblical Perspective, Dorothy Patterson writes:
Homemaking, if pursued with energy, imagination, and
skills, has as much challenge and opportunity, success and failure,
growth and expansion, perks and incentives as any corporation, plus
something no other position offers--working for people you love most
and want to please the most.... Homemaking--being a full-time wife and
mother--is not oppressive restraint of intellectual prowess for the
community, but a release of wise instruction to your own household; it
is ...the multiplication of a mother's legacy to the generations to
come and the generous bestowal of all God meant a mother to give to
those entrusted to her care. (Footnote 14)
As I write, leaves are falling, winter is quickly approaching, and
autumn's smells and sounds draw me through fond memories back to my
childhood home and my dear mother. There within that home Mother
deposited the warmth and love which was its engine and which to this
day causes her children and grandchildren such happiness when they
What sort of a home was it?
It was a home where the roof beams were raised to make way for
grandparents preparing to die; a home where dinners were almost always
late--seven or eight in the evening--because Mother was a perfectionist
and had to serve food which showed her love, down to the details of the
table service. Most nights, prior to our sitting down at the table we'd
go around turning out all the lights while Mother lit the candles. She
loved eating by candlelight, and we all got used to Grandpa's
curmudgeonly lament, "A man would like to see what he's eating."
Northern Illinois winters were bitterly cold and, while wind blew
through oaks standing guard around our home rustling brittle leaves
clinging to branches, our picture window framed three little boys
sitting at the hearth, roasting their backs as Mother read aloud from
the Lazy-Boy chair. Her husband again gone on a speaking engagement,
she led us in family devotions--Bible reading and prayer. Then, as the
evening lengthened, she would pick up a book and read aloud to us until
she fell asleep--often mid-sentence, or until the old mantle clock
caught her eye. Jolted awake by the clock's chimes or coming to the end
of a chapter, Mother closed the book, saying, "To bed, to bed, you
We'd beg, "Oh mother, don't stop now! One more chapter, pleeease!"
More often than not she'd relent, picking up where she'd just left off.
Around that fireplace I was first introduced to the five little
Peppers, A. A. Milne, P. G. Wodehouse, and many others.
Summertime Mother's attention turned to her gardens where she taught
us to love beauty, but also to work. We'd complain about the work, at
times, but each night the dinner table rewarded our labors with
tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, string beans, squash...
all picked fresh that afternoon from our own soil. And the table's
centerpiece would have been some combination of flowers from Mother's
perennial garden, or rose buds cut from the hybrid teas carefully
nursed through winter. When, as a high school student, I first read
Pearl Buck's, The Good Earth, I thought she must have known Mother.
Though I acknowledge this vision is misty-eyed and could well cause
some struggling mothers a bout of depression as they think about all
the opportunities they've lost over the years, who can miss the
priceless gift my family, as well as the missionaries, pastors,
neighbors, and friends who sat and basked in the warmth of our home,
received out of the abundance of the heart of this woman who chose to
abandon her life to loving her husband and children, honoring her
father and mother in their old age, and devoting herself to her home?
Can I ever express my gratitude to a mother who was present, concerned,
and content within those four walls which were the seedbed of most
everything I have come to be? Such is the beauty of my mother who
demonstrated her godliness in such domestic ways. May her tribe
increase, by the grace of God.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs
at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching
of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her
household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up
and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women
have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful,
and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised
(Proverbs 31:25-30, RSV).
(Footnote 1) Brigitte and Peter Berger, in The War Over the Family: Capturing the Middle Ground (Garden City: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983).
(Footnote 2) For a sage essay on these matters, see G. K. Chesterton's, "The Drift from Domesticity," in The Thing
(New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1948). Here Chesteron refers to
Ibsen as "a very powerful dramatist and an exceedingly feeble
(Footnote 3) Paul Johnson, The Intellectuals (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 98.
(Footnote 4) See Allan C. Carlson, "Treason of the Professions: The Case of Home Economics," The Family in America, (August 1987).
(Footnote 5) Cf. Isa. 58:6,7; 2 Cor. 12:14; 1 Tim. 5:4 .
Especially, 1 Tim. 5:8: "If anyone does not provide for his relatives,
and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is
worse than an unbeliever."
(Footnote 6) Titus 2:5 in the Revised Standard Version.
(Footnote 7) "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent
in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine,
but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to
love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to
be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so
that no-one will malign the word of God" (Titus 2:3-5).
(Footnote 8) Prov. 22:6.
(Footnote 9) "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4, NIV).
(Footnote 10) "But as for you, continue in what you have
learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom
you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy
Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith
in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:14,15, NIV).
(Footnote 11) Deut. 11:18-21; Josh. 4:21-24; and Exod.
12:26-28. Also, Deut. 6:6-8: "These commandments that I give you today
are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about
them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you
lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and
bind them on your foreheads" (NIV).
(Footnote 12) "And did not he make one? Yet had he the
residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly
seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal
treacherously against the wife of his youth" (Mal. 2:15, KJV).
(Footnote 13) See the Apostle Paul's discussion of this subject in 1 Cor. 7.
(Footnote 14) Where's Mom: The High Calling of Wife and Mother in Biblical Perspective, by Dorothy Patterson..
by David and Tim Bayly on October 19, 2009 - 11:37am
(Tim) Stephen and Sebra Baker and Mary Lee and I had an excellent time at the Christ Church Ministerial Conference last Thursday and Friday. The conference's subject was "Sexual Orthodoxy" and the MP3s should soon be available from Canon Press.
Make sure you listen to Doug on "The Politics of Fruitfulness" and his son-in-law, Ben Merkle, on "Sentimentalism and the Feminine Ethos." Doug does a good survey of the growing, worldwide birth dearth, following up with the Scriptural doctrine that children are a blessing from the Lord. This cultural critique is needed across the Reformed church, today, where money and degrees are chosen over children. Ben's talk is a helpful reminder of the necessity of letting boys be boys so they may grow up to be leaders (with a particular emphasis on the church). I found all the talks helpful, but thought these two were standouts.
Everything in Moscow isn't the life of the mind, though, and our meals with Doug and Nancy, their children and grandchildren, were a great joy as we see God providing for the leadership of the Church through coming generations. Like the rest of Doug and Nancy's progeny, keep your eyes on Ben. He's a young man married to a strong and prudent wife, Bekah; their children are well-disciplined and happy; and it's obvious God has given him great wisdom. At this point, Ben's plans are to serve in the Academy (meaning New St. Andrews). Spending time with Ben and Bekah, though, I found myself jealous for their gifts to be used in the pastorate.
Then again, what do I know, anyhow?
Summing up, every time we have an opportunity to spend time in Moscow, with Doug and Nancy, their children and grandchildren, and the other members of the CREC/Christ Church/Canon Press/New St. Andrews team, we're reminded our Savior's rule is "by their fruit ye shall know them." Godly homes and families? Living faith? Biblical discernment? Humility? The complete absence of materialism or chest-thumping?
by David and Tim Bayly on November 9, 2009 - 6:24pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) Early church fathers rebuked Christians for paying money to feed their dogs while leaving abandoned children to die on the slopes behind their homes. But today, no one calls Christians to consider the love and affection and wealth we shower on our precious pets while turning cold hearts to the handicapped, the elderly, illegal aliens, AIDS orphans, and the unborn children slaughtered each week at the abortuaries just down the street from our churches.
In fact, some churches are leading the way in making a principle of such perversity. Blathering on about dogs' deep feelings and souls, Covenant Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, for instance, has begun holding worship services for dogs and their people...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 16, 2009 - 9:24am
(Tim, w/thanks to Bob and Brian) At church the other day, I was talking with Bob Sands, a young father of ten or twenty (I've lost track), and he mentioned another man in our congregation, Brian Bailey, had sent him a link to a book on Google Book that he'd found very helpful titled The Dread of Responsibility by Emile Faguet.
"The dread of responsibility," I thought, "that's the perfect summary of leaders today--teachers, principals, professors, judges, senators, presidents, and of course, pastors, elders, deacons, fathers, and husbands. All of us have a dread of responsibility."
Bob told me the book emphasized the courage fatherhood required and I was reminded of a quote I've used at times that says something like, "The father of a family is the world's first and greatest adventurer."
So today, I went and read the part of the book Brian had recommended...