Motherhood

Aimee Semple McPherson: conflicted celebrity evangelist...

Itinerant evangelists have proclaimed the good news in crusades and tent revivals, in fields and stadiums, in tabernacles and classrooms. Over the last 150 years, Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), Billy Sunday (1862-1935), Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944) and Billy Graham (1918-present) have been household names in their eras. Each used different methods and had vastly different personalities, and was able to tap into deep undercurrents of American piety. My intent in this post is not to compare these four, but to consider a recent (1993) and major biography (400+ pages), Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister by Edith Blumhofer .

For much of the 1920s and 1930s, Aimee was front-page news. She was a relentless evangelist, a missionary to China, a megachurch pastor, the founder of a denomination, and a leader in helping to provide for the physical needs of those who fell on hard times during the Great Depression.

Yet her life was full of contradictions. Adored by thousands … 


Waiting in faith...

Thinking this exchange might be helpful to a number of Christian brothers and sisters God has blessed with singleness, I post it here. First, a comment left yesterday under a 2006 post titled, "Single Christian women: how shall we then wait...."

I would like to know what do advise for someone over fifty that has waited for a spouse and a career. I asked GOD when I was very young what he wanted for me and I am still waiting. It is hard to watch people saved and unsaved marry and have child when your GOD has left you hanging. How do you not lose faith? I am never asked if I am married by the way only why I don't have children.

Dear Diane,

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)

I'm very sorry to hear that our Heavenly Father has not chosen to give you a husband and children. This is a difficult life to live and it's clear you feel the disappointment keenly. May I give you a couple brief suggestions?


Alpha mothers...

My daughter, Michal Crum, forwarded this post on bad boy five-year-olds and it's excellent. How many times I have to give this little talk'; to mothers, usually—but also fathers who aren't pointing this out to their wives. Auntie Leila's post is an excellent reminder to mothers beginning their summers with lots of free time for the children day by day. Summer should be a joy for mothers because the whole point of bearing and raising children is for...


The invisible graduates...

This article was written by Kate (Yoder '07) Bedinghaus and Heather (Bayly '98) Ummel for the most recent edition of the Taylor University magazine.

Fill in the blank: More Taylor grads work as ________________ than in any other vocation.

  • Teachers
  • Missionaries
  • Youth Pastors
  • Business Professionals

​Answer: It's a trick question. We didn't do a statistical survey, but we're willing to bet the answer is mothers.

As young women at Taylor, our minds were consumed with endless tests, friendships, wing events, and cute boys. There were deeper spiritual questions to ponder. There were decisions about the future to be made. These thoughts left little room for the seemingly faraway possibility of motherhood. The idea of children was filed away under "Someday," after mission work, world travel, and a rewarding career...


Children are a blessing from the Lord: Jackson Tyndale Bayly...

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. (Psalms 127:4)

Announcing the birth of Jackson Tyndale Bayly to Taylor and Réze Bayly. Jackson was born around 10 AM this morning and weighs enough. He is Taylor and Réze's first child. (Our fifteenth grandchild.)

Please join us in praising God for His many good gifts, not the least of which are daughters and daughters-in-law who joyfully bear children to the glory of God.


Yes, Ms. Feminist; God does command older women to teach younger women to "be domestic"...

Today, a man sent an e-mail linking to a feminist heretic (you do know that's what they are, don't you?) dissing the Apostle Paul's command that older women of the church teach younger women this core curriculum:

  1. to love their husbands
  2. to love their children.
  3. to be sensible.
  4. to be pure (RSV "chaste").
  5. to be workers at home (RSV "domestic").
  6. to be kind.
  7. to be subject (RSV "submissive") to their husbands.

Ms. Heretic lampooned the words of Scripture, albeit in the mouths of self-styled "complementarians." (It wouldn't do to lampoon the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Apostle Paul.) It takes no imagination to come up with the scoffing and ridicule she trotted out in her post. To an old warhorse, this feminist making a living off Evangelical simpletons is immodest, indiscrete, vain, deceptive, dangerous, and thus very boring. And the great tragedy of it is that I have it on good authority that her father is godly. How his heart must break over his precious daughter's rebellion against the Father Almighty!

All this as introduction to two things below: first, my response to the brother who forwarded the feminist's attack upon Titus 2:1-5; and second, my sermon notes used to preach on this text. May God use both to keep us from the very seductive idols of our culture.

Please pray for me.

And now...


Abortion and the pain of motherhood...

"God loves life." This was the title of our sermon this morning at Sawyer Highlands Church here in Sawyer, Michigan. For over thirty years, Mary Lee and I have been attending this church just down the street from the Michigan House where I come to write. Pastor Jeff Dryden preached on abortion with Psalm 139 as his text. As usual, it was an excellent sermon. Faithful to Scripture with loving application to all of us sitting under his ministry. If you're in the area, I highly recommend this congregation to you. It's Reformed and Baptistic with elder rule, and entirely unpretentious—a godly combination.

Pastor Dryden's sermon got me thinking about the moral agency of women. It's hard to face how we have turned our wives and daughters into murderers, today. We don't mind condemning the men who failed them and their child nestled in the womb, but always remember that Sapphira was killed by God after He killed her husband, Ananias. Regardless of our own sins as fathers and brothers and husbands, women who chose to kill their baby are murderers and must be led to confess it so they may repent and believe in the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing them from all sin. Even such a horrible one.

Again, women are moral agents. Here's an excerpt from the fatherhood book I'm working on that I trust will help remind us of this important facet to the pastoral care needed by the women of our churches.

* * *

Recently, I have been thinking about an excuse mothers use for murdering their unborn children through abortion. They say they did not want to bring their child into the world, only to suffer. Their child would have been unwanted. Their child was diagnosed in the womb with Spina Bifida or Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and they could not bear the thought of what life would have been like for him. So they had an abortion. It was for their beloved child’s own good, of course.

Now I am not making this up...


Finish training your sons and daughters here in Bloomington...

Here's an interesting article on manhood today. (Or should I say boyhood?) It's the Wall Street Journal so maybe their paywall will keep you out? Teaser:

Except perhaps in very conservative communities, men with sufficient social skills can find sex and companionship without need of a matrimonial commitment (and for those who lack social skills, a willingness to marry is unlikely to provide much compensation). The culture's unrelenting message—repeated in Hymowitz's article—is that women are doing fine on their own. If a woman doesn't need a man, there's little reason for him to devote his life to her service.

George Gilder said it all back in the seventies in a book titled Sexual Suicide (since updated and retitled Men and Marriage). But you know, George Gilder is gauche. Admitting you've read him is sort of like admitting to being a collector of Dennis Rodman memorabilia or a fan of Charles Murray. Anyhow, did you get that "except perhaps in very conservative communities?"

Sadly, I'm not sure Protestant Reformed churches qualify any longer.

In our experience here in a university community where we watch college students individuate from their PCA and Reformed Baptist (including SBC) parents, the prevailing message of Reformed parents to their college and grad student children is that a good education trumps sexual purity and holiness. Of course, they don't put it so honestly. Instead, they tell their daughter that she must...


Nathan and Anna's story...

Here's the testimony of a young mother of two who was diagnosed with melanoma a little over two years ago. Please pray for Anne, her husband, Nathan, and their two sons.


Take the time and watch this...

Wonderful testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ. Wonderful example of fatherhood after the Father Almighty, a mother in Israel, and brotherhood in Christ. Thanks, Taylor.


Sweet dreams, Mommy...

So to all those who don't know the word 'jaded,' this just sent to one mother by one of her daughters who is now a mother of four herself. It was accompanied by this note: "It's very sweet and well-done, just short peeks into the lives of 3 mothers. I read the comments of women saying it helped them not to feel so conflicted and guilty about staying home with their kids. They made me want to write and say thank you. I'm so glad that you were at home with us, Mom. ...And I'm thankful that, because of the way you raised me, I have the ability to do my work without nagging questions or guilt about what else I should be doing. I love you!"

The following excerpt is from Chesterton's "The Emancipation of Domesticity" in his splendid, What's Wrong with the World. This is an essay I believe every father should read aloud to his daughters after they've had their third child. (My dear Mary Lee says the third is the most difficult because it's the first time husband and wife are outnumbered.)

Honestly, I have no desire to speak with the husband or father who can't understand and doesn't love this essay no matter how fast he can say sovereignty/providential/imputation three times in a row. True Christian faith proves itself by its fruit which, according to Scripture, always starts at home. And what greater fruit does any man give to God than his manly support of the motherhood of his wife and their flat-out commitment to everything needed to raise up godly seed?

Mothers are the greatest!

So now, this dose of ...


Sanctifying androgyny: "a woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do"...

Some may be unfamiliar with the saying, "a woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do." Trust me, this is a mantra in PCA and other Reformed leadership circles and it has received precious little critical scrutiny. Here then are several reasons why a woman can't do everything a non-ordained man can do.

First, a woman cannot impregnate her husband. A non-ordained man can impregnate his wife. There. I’ve written it. If this biological fact doesn't seem to have any application to the mantra, we can see how the androgyny of our world has seeped in and permeates the church's thinking.

An unordained man penetrates, but a woman receives. And this isn't simply biology...


Fathers who withhold spankings exasperate their children...

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. - Colossians 3:21

But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. - Hebrews 12:8

Here's a good post reminding fathers and mothers that God our Heavenly Father will hold us accountable for our obedience to His many commands that we spank our children:

You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol. - Proverbs 23:14


Raising sons and daughters to love their sexual identity...

A man of our congregation e-mailed a link to a piece on another blog written by a pastor's wife lamenting her fears that her son would have to "prove" his manhood among the Christians in her community and church down in Mississippi. The man commented, "the point (in the post) I thought was most interesting (was her writing):

...and so I come back to my sensitive son, with his preference for imaginative games over competitive ones. I wonder if he will soon find himself a misfit in the Christian community, pressured to prove himself—not by his neighborhood friends, who won't care what he is—but by other Christians, who want him to stand up for a certain kind of disappearing manliness.

Responding to this quote from the post, the man responded: "I get that some boys will grow up to be poets, and writers. I was an English major. But, I can testify to the fact that I definitely needed wrestling, and football—not to prove anything, but to learn how to just be tough and a man."

So I went and read the post and left a comment, there...


An updated reading list on sexuality...

Here's a reading list of thirteen books on the meaning and purpose of the two sexes created by God—man and woman. It's been slightly reworked since it was last published.

1. Scripture, starting with these texts
2. Henrik Ibsen: A Doll's House
3. Paul King Jewett: Man as Male and Female
4. Stephen B. Clark: Man and Woman in Christ
5. Walter Neuer: Man and Woman in Christian Perspective
6. Steven Ozment: When Fathers Ruled
7. G. K. Chesterton: What's Wrong With the World or The Thing
8. Doug Wilson: Reforming Marriage


Fatherhood outside St. Mary's and inside Walmart...

(Prince) William says he practiced making sure the car seat fit securely before driving off. "Driving your son and your wife away from hospital was really important to me," he said.

Standing in line at Walmart, I watched a normal Joe ahead of me buying his daughter her school supplies. The man helped his eight-year-old daughter transfer pencils, notebooks, and other stuff I didn't recognize from the cart onto the small 20-items-or-less checkout counter. Halfway through the piling up, the girl looked up at her Dad and demonstrated her budding gift for commanding the male sex: "Dad, let me do it!"

He acted like he hadn't heard and, thankfully, Her Royal Highness didn't protest again. Last on the pile was the annual backpack with this year's graphics and colors. Then, having accomplished her part of the mission, the girl walked a few feet and sat down on a bench from whence she surveyed her domain and awaited her father's duty of paying for her life and happiness. You know, money.

Dad wasn't tall and wore shorts hanging down to his calves. Nothing notable in his looks or clothing, nor in the way he fulfilled the privileges of fatherhood. As he ran his credit card and punched buttons, the cashier smiled and asked if school was starting this week?

He said "yup, Tuesday" and they exchanged conspiratorial looks of knowingness. I thought for a second about getting down on my knees and pleading with this innocent father not to send his precious daughter...


The family wage honored motherhood...

Bob Patterson has a piece in Philly's Inquirer on President Taft's creation of the U.S. Children's Bureau. Headed by Julia C. Lathrop, the Bureau was a "Progressive initiative that sought to protect both motherhood and childhood from the emerging industrialized order":

(Lathrop was a) social conservative (who) believed that maternity - by generating new life for society - trumped the demands of industry and commerce. Considering motherhood "the most important calling in the world," she worked tirelessly to give the at-home mother "the status of a profession".... Lathrop's successor, Florence Kelley, shared the same goals, safeguarding the "fundamental rights of children," including a "normal home life" and childhood that presumed married parents and maternal care and nurture through the early teen years.

"Childhood that presumed married parents and maternal care and nurture through the early teen years." A century ago our civil magistrates created economic policies that honored fatherhood and motherhood. Today they create economic policies that honor sodomy.

Patterson continues...


God protects widows and orphans; blesses with fruitfulness and long life...

In my reading this morning, I took delight in several texts. First, this concerning our Heavenly Father's personal care for the widow and orphan:

You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. - Exodus 22:22-24)

Oppression of the fatherless leads to...


Midwifery finally legal in Indiana...

Mary Lee and I are very pleased that using a midwife is now legal in the state of Indiana. Birth is no sickness and mothers should be able to labor in the comfort and security of their own home. Mary Lee gave birth to three of our five at home and those three are better-adjusted than their siblings born in the hospital. Which is to say the three born at home are girls and the two in the hospital, boys.

Mary Lee serves the women in our church as a doula. We don't try to talk anyone into using a midwife, but we support mothers who don't have a high-risk pregnancy and choose a home birth. Home births are safe, they save a scadgoogleplex of money, and they put mothers and women back at the center of childbirth.


The irrepressible influence of ungodly and godly fathers...

Happy Father's Day!

Anglican vicar Robbie Low has an article in the latest Touchstone riffing off one of the many studies showing the radical disparity between the influence of fathers and mothers in the churchgoing and religious faith of their adult children.

A simple summary of all these studies is that mothers who attend church do not produce churchgoing children whereas fathers who attend church do. Put slightly differently, if the mother attends church regularly and the father infrequently or not at all, when they reach adulthood their children are unlikely to attend church. On the other hand, if the father attends church regularly and the mother infrequently or not at all, when they reach adulthood their children are almost certain to attend church...