I wouldn't want that for my own daughters...

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...

how being a helpmate and mother is dead, dead, dead in the trumpeting of the institution's graduates. Rather, the women puffed are doctors, lawyers, non-profit executives, researchers, professors--anything but wives and mothers.

Really, the typical evangelical college today has made an idol of the sort of excellence the world recognizes and rewards. And consequently, the women who graduate, marry, and raise their children--those who used to call themselves "housewives"--are completely hidden. Hidden except to their husbands, children, pastors ...and of course, our loving Heavenly Father.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Tim,

Of course! What woman would want to tout her "housewifing skills" in an alumni magazine? (Weddings and "newcomer" announcements excepted.) How would you like to be a featured author in MS? Or worse, a signed letter to the editor in Playboy?

A real Proverbs 31 wife has better things to do. And she does. Like making her husband look respectable in the city gate, precisely because his wife doesn't.

My alumni magazine regularly features the former Lieutenant Governor (Jane Norton) and a woman doing her doctorate in something about improving the seminary education experience for women. When they brought on the current president, his wife is reported to have said, "With us you get two for the price of one" (a bit reminiscent of the Clinton "Co-presidency", isn't that?).

Of course we don't want to hear about housewives! We have personal chefs (just heard about those this morning) and Merry Maids to take care of those tasks for us - women have more important things to do, like get a mention in Who's Who or an interview on Larry King or make new laws to increase the reach and power of the nanny state. We have conferences to attend and meetings to be endured. And when we hit forty and realize there might be something deeper we missed? There's always a surrogate in India whose womb we can rent.

Kamilla

(I think I hear John Vincent groaning somewhere in the background. . . .)

Interesting article from U.S. News.

"Unfriendly Family Policies"

www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/mzuckerman/2007/10/05/editorial.html

Nice by Zuckerman--and if I remember correctly, he once dated Gloria Steinem. Some irony there--I guess that makes him a "bicycle" or something like that. :^)

My first response to "we need to help the family", though, is "would you start by stopping doing the things that HURT it? Could you stop paying young ladies to have babies out of wedlock, maybe?"

And as our gracious host points out, it wouldn't hurt, either, if our churches stopped idolizing the career.

Nice by Zuckerman--and if I remember correctly, he once dated Gloria Steinem. Some irony there--I guess that makes him a "bicycle" or something like that. :^)

My first response to "we need to help the family", though, is "would you start by stopping doing the things that HURT it? Could you stop paying young ladies to have babies out of wedlock, maybe?"

And as our gracious host points out, it wouldn't hurt, either, if our churches stopped idolizing the career.

Tim,

You have hit on a very interesting point - evidence of a lack of faith. The gentleman in the article does not trust God to take care of his daughters, nor does he trust his daughters to make a wise and godly decision with respect to husbands. So instead he is willing to "hedge his bets" by having daughters who have a career as their strong tower, their rock.

Well, the Southern Baptists seem to be getting it right:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-071012homemaking-stor...

This reminds me of the article that brought me here regarding Page Patterson offering an elective course to women.

http://www.baylyblog.com/2007/08/religious-femin.html

Donna and I are still engaged in a debate on this on the CBE blog the above article is linked to and after a lot of talk about how they are for "Biblical Equality" and that we have to submit to each other, one finally stated:

"I am liberated. I do not have to submit to anyone. I have my rights. I am a "Christian" feminist."

In short, it would appear that feminist want women to have choice....as long as they chose only what they want them to chose.

Ken:

"I am liberated. I do not have to submit to anyone. I have my rights. I am a "Christian" feminist.">>>>>

Great catch, Ken! Yes, indeed. So much for mutual submission.

I think that maybe I told that same woman that I refused to submit to her. :-) She has no authority over me. She was making demands of me that I did not choose to submit to.

Well, I quit the discussion over there. It was kind of fun in a way. The Complementarian always has the unfair advantage, though. We have truth on our side. It is too easy to refute their arguments. I even quote Dr. Stackhouse's book to support some of what I say. It's just too easy, really. Their arguments have no substance, really.

It is also a bit sad. They keep saying that they are free, but they carry around huge burdens of pain. One woman began to unload one of her own burdens on me, but I chose not to take upon myself her heavy burden of bitterness and pain.

I can pray for her, but I cannot be made to feel responsible for her past hurts. That was freeing for me, because in the past, I would have felt bad for making her feel bad. I may have even felt a need to apologize so that she would not feel bad. Not now! No more fear of guilt trippers for me!

I am a free woman in Christ, the one who submitted fully to the will of His Father. We can be free AND submitted to the will of God at the same time. His will for me involves submission to my husband.

Just in general, I think that the CBMW needs to have more of a focus on home makers.

On that site, there seems to be too much empahsis on women who have careers outside the home or in addition to home making. That is my impression anyway.

I do have to correct my earlier statement ""I am liberated. I do not have to submit to anyone. I have my rights. I am a "Christian" feminist." in which I stated it came from someone on the CBE blog. It was actually a statement I made in Marriage His Duties Her duties which I wrote several years ago. Although it did come from a "Christian Feminist", it was not the statement of anyone on the CBE blog. I apologize for any problems that occurred from this but I did believe it came from this person because I was asked if I really believed that. My original statement regarding that statement would show I did not believe it.

Ken:

I do have to correct my earlier statement ""I am liberated. I do not have to submit to anyone. I have my rights. I am a "Christian" feminist." in which I stated it came from someone on the CBE blog. It was actually a statement I made in Marriage His Duties Her duties which I wrote several years ago. Although it did come from a "Christian Feminist", it was not the statement of anyone on the CBE blog. I apologize for any problems that occurred from this but I did believe it came from this person because I was asked if I really believed that. My original statement regarding that statement would show I did not believe it. >>>>

DL:

Ah! Okay. Thanks for clearing that up. Even so, it is certainly the attitude that comes across from some of the more radical of the Christian feminists.

DL:

They accept no hierarchy is what I was told by a couple of the more radical at the CBE blog, even after I pointed out that the CBE itself has a CEO and employees. Of course, any blog comments are not the "fault" of a blog owners, really.

DL:

I did enjoy telling them a couple of times that I refused to submit to them. That was fun.

DL:

After I posted about Monica at the CCC, they really went into irrational overdrive. Hey, if the egalitarian feminists can't win fair and square in the arena of ideas, then about all they have left is character assination. They excel in that technique.

DL:

I am still of the mind that the religious feminist idealogy is based soley on one, long extended ad hominum. They cannot defend their ideas by proper argumentation...and I am not even a trained debater, just a woman who seeks to arm herself with the truth as best I can.

DL:

What do they have on their side? Spying, paranoia, ad hominum attacks, what else?

Folks....Donna's father died last night. I am sure she would appreciate your prayers in during this difficult time. Although he was ill for sometime and this was expected, it is still hard when it happens.

ken

One small question: can you guys count?

What you might not be aware of is that in the Christian community, there are many more single women than single men, meaning that once the marriagable ages arrive, there are not enough good Christian men to go round, and a lot of single Christian women are left *having* to go into careers, or the workforce at the very least. That isn't feminism, that's common sense (just ask Lydia or Damaris).

So, a father ensuring his daughters have a career, if they might need it, is not a lack of faith, it is prudence. Knowing a lot of Christian single women, their educations means that they have many more options than they would otherwise.

Ross,

First of all, I think it's far from the norm that young women can't find suitors. The norm is that men pursue women and eventually find one they will marry. Let's not postulate the abnormal situation as normal in order to justify our lack of faith and rebelliousness. Besides, Tim's post wasn't primarily about specific situations in which the exigencies of life demand certain compromises, but about a widespread trend and Spirit of the Age that is contrary to God's will. Can you argue with his statement that "the typical evangelical college today has made an idol of the sort of excellence the world recognizes and rewards"? Do you hate homemakers? Do you want your daughters to be praised for their masculinity? As I look at my young daughter, I know she won't have any difficulty finding a husband, nor that she could succeed at any worldly endeavor she puts her mind to. So what should I encourage and prepare her to do? The thought of her being a wage slave or paper-shuffler in some mediocre company is just disgusting.

Second, you presume that it's either get a career or get married, right? There's no third option? But what if unmarried young women were to live under their fathers' roofs, and under his authority, until the right man came along? Serious question, because some Christian women are now choosing this path as the preferable one. Plus, I think there may be some Scriptural precedent for this. Think of Laban's daughters.

But if you think that's not realistic today, I would ask, "Since when does pragmatism trump Biblical normality?" Pursuing God's plans for our lives is a privilege and a joy (at least, it ought to be), not a chore to be avoided at all possible costs. Following Him is our happiness, not our drudgery.

Third, a father ensuring that his daughters have a career is a father ensuring that his daughters never have to depend on God for their provision. This is not a blessing but a curse. Or do you think that we can be true disciples of Christ without ever coming to the end of ourselves and having to acknowledge our neediness and weakness before Him? Do you think it's a curse from God or a blessing when a man finds himself out of work for a time?

>Third, a father ensuring that his daughters have a career is a father ensuring that his daughters never have to depend on God for their provision.

You're right. I think I'll drop out of school so that I no longer am self-reliant and have to trust God for His holy manna to fall.

"First of all, I think it's far from the norm that young women can't find suitors."

Yep. Just call me Abby Normal.

Kamilla

Thanks for the thorough response to my comment, Brady. Very persuasive.

Kamilla,

Was I wrong?

Brady,

I understood you to be a Christian by your previous comments. I stand corrected. No faithful servant of Christ would speak so mockingly about His provision for us.

Oh, yeah, mucho wrongo. I won't bore you with the details.

Kamilla

Kamilla,

So was the generalization wrong only as it pertains to you? Do you disagree that it's true generally? If so, I guess we should just give up and tell Tim he's wrong, eh?

I will not stoop to name calling, and I will not judge you as a person. Just because I disagree with your opinion does not mean I am judging you to be a non-believer. I leave that judgment call to the only one whose judgment matters.

My satire was directed at your argument, not at the Lord, and I was trying to demonstrate that not everyone can just sit around and wait for God to drop free food and money in our laps, or for that perfect person to show up. I know that the PCA believes in predestination of salvation, but at least when I was growing up in the PCA, that predestination was not a universal, everything is pre-orchestrated. Some people might just not get married even if God pre-ordains them to salvation.

Sometimes women as well as men need to work to put food on the table. Sometimes a woman can not just sit around her house with her dad until a man comes and wants to marry her.

It sounds like you have a wonderful young daughter, and I earnestly hope that a man of God will take care of her one day. Some daughters might not be so fortunate as to be beautiful, intelligent, or even very desirable.

The story of Laban has a lot of cultural implications as well. If we were to use Laban as a role model, we would be deceitful in our business transactions and barter our daughters for labor.

My point was that sometimes God gives us abilities upon which we should capitalize, men and women both, and not just sit around waiting for Him to take initiative on our behalf.

It is the story I'm sure you've heard. A man is trapped on the roof of his house as a flood comes in. A man in a boat comes by and tells him to come to safety. "No, my Lord will save me." Then a helicopter comes by and tells him to get in. "No, my Lord will save me." At the pearly gates the man asks of the Lord, "Lord, why didn't you save me?" God replied, "I sent a boat and a helicopter, what else did you want?"

Sometimes a woman has the abilities to work a job, so why should she feel confined to the house of her father waiting for Mr. Right to come along?

I hope you understand I meant no ill-will towards you as a son of God. I just don't care for all of your beliefs about women. I hope that these differences do not cause us to judge one another as not Christian.

Brady says, "I just don't care for all of your beliefs about women."

Permit me to correct your sentence.

"I just don't care for all of God's beliefs about women."

I disagree that what you said about the ease of attracting a suitor is generally true - precisely because Tim is right about the culture. I have several close female friends all 40+ in age who have never married. All of whom are committed Christians who would rather have married. In our experience there is either a lack of suitable suitors or an abundance of male non-suitor pals who don't seem intent on ever being a serious suitor to any woman except perhaps someday and by then we're so familiar to them we seem more like sisters than potential wives.

I'm tempted to say the last thing I want is another guy pal but who else can talk a gal into getting her picture taken holding a small alligator or get you on a tour of Parliament (where you go off on your own because he knows more than the tour guide, having worked in the PM's office for donkey's years).

Kamilla

Daniel 3:16-18

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of the blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

I'm just as guilty as the next lady of worshiping the golden calf of success in the work-force. Are we all so blind as to what our punishment has been? Are we not bearing what our culture has sown? When woman began to be "liberated" from the home, did it really surprise anyone how our children are failing and how are men are not able to provide alone? We asked for this life, indeed many of us prayed for it, and now God has given us over to it. The life of a Christian woman is a life that looks foolish to the world but is so beautiful to her Lord and to her lord; even in the most desperate, most poverty-stricken, most "hopeless" situations. I'm only now beginning to understand this.

Brady says, "Sometimes a woman has the abilities to work a job, so why should she feel confined to the house of her father waiting for Mr. Right to come along?"

Who says she's confined? You seem to paint the picture that the father's keep the daughters home sitting on cushions and pining out the window for prince charming.

Actually, you say she feels confined. As one who continues to struggle with living from feelings instead of Truth just because I feel something doesn't mean it is Biblical or what God wants for me. Satan loves to work through feelings.

[sound of lurker clearing his throat and commenting for the first time]

I find myself somewhere between David L's earnestness and Brady's sarcasm on the issue of God's provision. I wrestle (as I'm sure the rest of you do) with living faithfully and prudently.

By faith, I know God is my protector and provider. I also lock my doors at night, and buy insurance, because to do otherwise strikes me as putting Him to the test.

My precious eight-year-old daughter will one day be of marriageable age. My prayer for her is that she will delight herself in serving her Lord, her husband, and her children as a homemaker. Yet I don't know God's secret will. I fail to see how preparing her for some sort of income-producing vocation must be defiance of God.

No one faults Paul's lack of faith for his thorn in the flesh not being removed. Maybe a godly suitor will not make his appearance at what my daughter and I would consider the ideal time. Maybe my daughter's husband will die young. Maybe he'll become incapacitated and unable to work. Maybe, maybe, maybe ...

Maybe exact application of some of these details of living according to God's revealed will should be areas in which we extend each other a smidge of liberty.

Maybe I'm wrong. Set me straight if you so choose.

Ross has a decent point, as does Kamilla for sure, that not every woman (and hey, not every man, either) will marry, even if they want to and they don't perceive "the gift that nobody wants" from 1 Cor. 7. (cheerful celibacy)

But that said, there is something of a difference between training to be able to support yourself, and training to grab for the brass ring. I've known quite a few friends who would have made great parents and family men/women, but were saddled when young with hundreds of thousands of student loan debt and got stuck on the hamster wheel of career.

In other words, there are a lot of high flying professionals out there who would have been a heck of a lot happier as a mechanic, carpenter, teacher, or secretary. I think the church needs to remember this.

I have been thinking some completely bizaar thoughts on this issue lately...I have only expressed them so far in hushed tones, and in the presence of certain godly women:

RR said: "My precious eight-year-old daughter will one day be of marriageable age. My prayer for her is that she will delight herself in serving her Lord, her husband, and her children as a homemaker. Yet I don't know God's secret will. I fail to see how preparing her for some sort of income-producing vocation must be defiance of God."

You're right, Reluctant, we don't know the secret councils of God, but we do know God. Let's say that your daughter's mother or other older women in the church took Titus 2 seriously and taught your daughter to love her husband and children, and to be busy at home. As she believes, and trusts God, and waits for that husband to love, she is busy serving the saints, and the needy and the orphans. At the same time, she is continuing under your authority. One place where women have a great deal of trouble is relinquishing authority after having held it.

If the Lord's plan for her is not to marry, she is taking care of you in your old age (a forgotten joy) and you are providing for her, and she is serving her Lord and the church.

At your passing if the Lord still has not provided a husband for her (and He very well might yet), as a faithful servant of the church, the church should take care of her.

Isn't this what the Bible has taught? (I Cor.7; I Tim. 5)

I was born and raised in this culture, under feminism, so this sounds completely foreign to me. Is this the way it should work?

RR said: "Maybe exact application of some of these details of living according to God's revealed will should be areas in which we extend each other a smidge of liberty."

Here, I think you're right, too. (Romans 14) However, I think we should encourage one another to believe God, especially when He is unbelievable (His thoughts are higher than our thoughts!)! Think of the joys and sorrows that would have made us less selfish, if we had allowed their perfecting work. Think of the regrets and sorrows we would have avoided if we had walked more closely to Him. Don't we want that for our younger brothers and sisters (and daughters)?

"If the Lord's plan for her is not to marry, she is taking care of you in your old age (a forgotten joy) and you are providing for her, and she is serving her Lord and the church."

Thank you, Rachel! Oddly, this aspect hadn't even occurred to me. I do live with my mother (my father passed away about ten years ago). She has lived in this house longer than she has lived in any house in her life but she couldn't keep it if it weren't for me being here, too. Funny thing is, I think she's about ready to get rid of me and move into some sort of retirement center. [She just got back from a visit to her sister who has moved iinto one of these within the last year, after my uncle died]

Kamilla

In posting my comments, I had not *quite* realized what I was opening up. But first, I stand by my comments that there are many more single women than single men in the Body of Christ, and the implications of this need more thinking through. Why more of the single men cannot get married is worth a separate thread at some point.

Now, in reply to people’s specific comments. David L wrote, “As I look at my young daughter, I know she won't have any difficulty finding a husband”. Well, I know many Christian women who have had *utter* difficulty in finding a husband, and perhaps it would be good for you to get to know some single Christian women who have ended up in careers. They take great and deserved pride in them – they are not “paper-shuffling in some mediocre company”. And for many of them, living under their fathers’ roofs has not been an option either. It is not reasonable for you to make a stand on a matter of principle like this, without at the same time acknowledging situations that do not fit your norm. As one of my single female friends put it recently: “I think where single women feel the same perplexity of "where do I fit into this" is in many conservative churches or organizations. While my theology and beliefs more closely matches those of conservative churches, my position in life as a woman, doesn't. I've felt the odd woman out many times over, because I don't have a baby bouncing on my lap, nor does my daily life consist of homeschooling lessons. Those in less conservative churches tend to see more value in what my life does consist of, rather than only being able to see what it doesn't”.

That said, I can quite understand Kamilla’s situation, although I can’t quite understand David L’s unwillingness to acknowledge it.

Finally, David L asked me, “Do you want your daughters to be praised for their masculinity?” I do not regard employment in the paid workforce as being incompatible with femininity, and the Bible does not seem to do so either in the case of Lydia, or (probably) Damaris. But then the issue of my having daughters is completely academic – for whatever reason, I’m mid-40s and single.

Where do I fit into your brave new world?

I talked to my wife, and she assures me that many women do, indeed, have difficulty finding husbands. My experience as a man looking for a wife led me to see the world as a sea chock-full of women who could have any man they wanted. Apparently this isn't the case, so I apologize for being so short-sighted to all the single women out there.

On the other hand, many seem to have forgotten that the original post here was about ideals instead of, as I said previously, the contingencies of life that often demand compromise. Are fathers (am I, as a father) to train up our daughters to pursue traditionally masculine careers and to praise them for being executives and soldiers, or should we encourage them to stand firm against the evil Zeitgeist and love motherhood and respect their husbands? Of course, there are exceptions, but we don't compromise our ideals (gleaned from the Bible) because of them.

Ross, you scoff but you ignored my question: "Can you argue with Tim's statement that 'the typical evangelical college today has made an idol of the sort of excellence the world recognizes and rewards'?"

And "brave new world"? Oh, please. Is that how you characterize the Kingdom of God?

Ah, I think I understand your point better ..... but then, I'm not living in a part of the world which has evangelical colleges, so I haven't come across the problem you cited. More or less, that's why I didn't address it. That said:

Tim wrote:

"... how [in these magazines] being a helpmate and mother is dead, dead, dead in the trumpeting of the institution's graduates. Rather, the women puffed are doctors, lawyers, non-profit executives, researchers, professors--anything but wives and mothers".

If the women being 'puffed', as he puts it, have *not* had the opportunity to become wives and mothers, then is it really unreasonable to close off these other options to them? Or to then judge them for doing well? That's the aspect of the situation I've been highlighting. Why the magazines don't then talk about their grads who have become wives and mothers, is possibly a separate question.

Ross:

If the women being 'puffed', as he puts it, have *not* had the opportunity to become wives and mothers, then is it really unreasonable to close off these other options to them? Or to then judge them for doing well? That's the aspect of the situation I've been highlighting. Why the magazines don't then talk about their grads who have become wives and mothers, is possibly a separate question.>>>>>

DL:

I'm not so sure, Ross, that the problem is "puffing" women who have had careers outside the home, though that may also be a problem. Women are being taught, even in our Christian schools, that home making is not what they should hope for, dream of, and prepare for, especially. They are told to aim for "higher" things, when Biblically speaking, there is no higher calling for a woman than that of wife and mother.

DL:

There are other callings, but not nearly so important, so world-changing, so high, or so "right" for a woman than that of wife and mother. Even women who are not married can be involved in helping to raise up a godly generation, or to help the widows and orphans of our world and church.

DL:

In fact, even single women missionaries have traditionally been involved with widows, orpahns, the sick, the dying, the hungry, the naked, the poor, etc. Think of Amy Charmichael's ministry in India or Mary Slessor in Calabar. One does not have to be married to be involved with God's high calling for women.

DL:

Does that mean that women cannot be doctors or involved in other professions? Of course we can, but is that what we were made for in the same way as men? You are not a woman, so there is no way that you can understand how strong a woman's desire is to get married and have a family.

DL:

I know very few single professional women who would not give it all up in a heartbeat if the right man came along and invited them to share his life with him. I know very few working mothers who would not throw their "careers" away in a heartbeat if they could stay at home with their children. In fact, many women do.

DL:

We have women friends who are doctors, nurses, teachers, software experts, etc. who have walked away from their careers in order to have their families and be able to raise them themselves. How do you explain that, Ross? We are programmed to be help meet and child-bearer. Some call it a biological clock. I call it design.

DL:

It is sad that Christian colleges no longer understand how a woman was created. Woman was created for man, and not man for woman, and she will be saved through child-bearing. That is how it IS.

DL:

Why the college does not talk about help meets and mothers who have graduated from the college is part of this same issue. It shows that the leadership in the school is loosing its moral compass and is forgetting what we were made for.

"They are told to aim for "higher" things, when Biblically speaking, there is no higher calling for a woman than that of wife and mother."

Hi Donna,

Funny, we had a conversation about this very thing this weekend at our women's retreat. My response was to, in the middle of a group of Anglican women, quote the Westminster Catechism. Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

I must be hanging around too many Presbyterians for my own good, but this comes to my mind whenever someone says a woman's highest calling is to be wife and mother. Living a holy life might be very, very difficult but I don't think God calls us to the downright impossible and with war, famine, pestilence and disease, I think the demographics are pretty consistent in leaving more of us women around than men.

Kamilla

Kamilla:

I must be hanging around too many Presbyterians for my own good, but this comes to my mind whenever someone says a woman's highest calling is to be wife and mother.>>>>

Think of it this way. Mankind's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is the overall reason to be alive.

As a woman what is my highest calling? What was I designed for as a woman? Are "help meet" and "child bearer" just job descriptions, or are they part of who I am as a human being who's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?

Of course, I suppose that we have to get into whether or not sex follows us into eternity. Will we be androgenous in eternity, or does the gendered humanity continue?

I think that God means for men and women to be in heaven, not neutered creatures. Sex is much more than just plumbing and biological functions it seems to me.

No?

Again, the answer to the question about your highest calling is found in the catechism - I don't think it is specifically speaking about males - ALL of us are to seek to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I think that stems from our both being created in His image.

Motherhood and childbearing are part of the "how", not the "what". There is also the creation mandate - and in the redemption economy there is the greatest commandment and the great commission. I don't think we can reduce women to simply wife and mother (please note that I am using "simply" in a more technical sense and do not mean it pejoratively).

When a woman's highest calling depends on a man's initiative in this way, that just doesn't seem right. Now, I hope one of the theologians or pastors (be they estimable or inestimable) will correct my theology or terminology if I'm wrong!

Kamilla

Kamilla:

Again, the answer to the question about your highest calling is found in the catechism - I don't think it is specifically speaking about males - ALL of us are to seek to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I think that stems from our both being created in His image.>>>>

I agree. It is not talking about males only. It is talking about all of humanity, every human being. It is the generic "man." All men, women, boys and girls are included.

Kamilla:

Motherhood and childbearing are part of the "how", not the "what".>>>>

DL:

Motherhood, childbearing, help meet are also in some sense part of the "what." I am a woman by nature, and I don't expect that nature to change when I am in glory. The "how" will change, but the "what" won't. I have never thought of myself as being anything but female in eternity. Even if I had never married and borne a child, I would still have had the instinct, the nature of a help meet and a mother. It is part of God's design for female humanity. I don't expect to loose my nature just because I am glorified.

DL:

If you look at all the Scriptures that speak of those who are in heaven, they have all retained their gendered humanity. Every last one of them.

DL:

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, and even Jesus Christ Himself are still male in the eternal state. They do not loose their gender, their masculinity. We don't know about the plumbing. Even so, it would not have the same purpose. It is not plumbing that makes the man masculine or the woman feminine anyway.

Kamilla:

There is also the creation mandate - and in the redemption economy there is the greatest commandment and the great commission. I don't think we can reduce women to simply wife and mother (please note that I am using "simply" in a more technical sense and do not mean it pejoratively).>>>>

DL:

We will not have the great commission or marriage in heaven. We will all be one big happy family, so that will change. However, I expect that the design features that God built into me that made me a fit wife and mother will in some way be used in the eternal kingdom of God.

DL:

I don't know. Why would I loose my femaleness? Is there any such thing as a non-gendered human being? Why would there be genderless humans in heaven? All the ones that we see in heaven now, revealed in Scripture, still retain their sex.

Kamilla:

When a woman's highest calling depends on a man's initiative in this way, that just doesn't seem right. Now, I hope one of the theologians or pastors (be they estimable or inestimable) will correct my theology or terminology if I'm wrong!>>>>>

DL:

No. Your high calling cannot depend on some man that recognizes you for who God made you to be. It is enough that God recognizes you, and that you see why it was good for you to be a human female rather than a human male or a "whatever.". After all, He made you. He uses all those help meet and motherly qualities for His glory, even though you have never married.

DL:

Does that make any sense at all, or is my grief making me talk nonsense?

Hi DL, you wrote:

*I'm not so sure, Ross, that the problem is "puffing" women who have had careers outside the home, though that may also be a problem. Women are being taught, even in our Christian schools, that home making is not what they should hope for, dream of, and prepare for, especially. They are told to aim for "higher" things, when Biblically speaking, there is no higher calling for a woman than that of wife and mother*

So, there is no higher calling for a man than that of husband and father? That seems to be the logical outworking of what you are saying.

If so, have two quibbles with this view. First, if I am not in this 'highest calling', I am going to ask why not, and if I don't ask, others will. The second is more practical - how do I, as a single man, work out my callings. I do not see any room for me in Christian leadership, for one thing - depending on how tightly you read the material in the pastorals about leaders being husbands and fathers - and about the only pastoral role I would have anyway is with other single men.

I have been in one church where the single men were considered to be the 'helpmeets' to the church, just as thoroughly as single women would be. Actually, the experience rankled; we could have contributed much more to the church, if we'd been given the opportunity.

Hi Ross,

Thanks for the post. That's just what I was thinking needed to be said at this point, but thought it would sound better coming from the less fair sex (so to speak).

That must have been an awful church. My experience of singles groups isn't much better, which is why I prefer a church without one.

Kamilla

Just a thought, since there is a shortage of godly men of marrying age what do you think these few and far between men are looking for in a wife? Maybe Titus 2 or Proverbs 31?

I don't say this to imply that any woman that is single and never marries does not aspire to godliness or been disobedient to God's Word.

Hi Dave A - the problem is not what these men, of whom I am one, is looking for in a wife. The issue is not one of character in the men concerned - we are committed to God's ways and most of us are looking for women who are also so committed. The problem for the men concerned is actually one of what i can only call "personality" - not (our) moral choices, but deficiencies, not easily rectified, in how we present ourselves, how well we communicate, and even whether we have enough money or are even tall enough! :-)

We are a fairly guarded set of individuals. We would love to marry and have families, but we have been rejected, rather a lot, in showing interest in the past. And we are not in a mood to have it happen again.

I would welcome a single woman's comments on these sentiments, but when I have heard some of my own brothers in Christ described as "complete losers", and can see the reason for the sentiment .....

BTW you wrote, "... I don't say this to imply that any woman that is single and never marries does not aspire to godliness or been disobedient to God's Word". If the good men are not there to marry, what on earth can she do?

Well, Ross, (speaking solely for myself) - I'll take Godly over GQ anyday. Now that I am older and perhaps wiser , I know I want someone I can grow old with, not flash and sparks. I care more about income stability than size. While tall is nice, I care more about what I see in his eyes when he looks at me. When I think a man handsome, it's not because he has a six-pack, a $70 haircut and speaks the Queen's english - it's because of who he is that I find him handsome.

In some ways, it is harder for us women. We usually don't know if we were rejected because we weren't noticed, or because we *were*. The pity is that each rejection seems to serve only to harden our self-protective shells.

I wonder if, for those of us without families so inclined, the Church shouldn't considered mentoring couples who might serve as mentors and matchmakers? It would be an improvement over singles ministries!

Kamilla

Hi Kamilla

(a) Are you Canadian? Just some of yr comments have left that impression (I'm a New Zealander).

(b) You wrote, "... I wonder if, for those of us without families so inclined, the Church shouldn't considered mentoring couples who might serve as mentors and matchmakers? It would be an improvement over singles ministries". What you describe is a subset of the courtship doctrine, called 'matchmaking', and practiced among European Jewry for centuries. I've argued on courtship websites that more of this sort of thing would help.

Hi Ross,

I hope I didn't sound too cranky in the last post - things shouldn't be this difficult and soometimes, thinking about how difficult they are makes me cranky so I went and made a bowl of popcorn and now I am feeling much better!

No, I'm not Canadian but have visited there ;-) I'm just a Yank who is an incurable Anglophile. New Zealand's on my list of places to visit - such a beatiful country! I just have to get over the thought of the long plane ride - I'm not good at sitting for that long.

Funny you should mention that about Jewish matchmakers. I was thinking of the film "Crossing Delancy" when I wrote about that. It's a movie about matchmaking in New York City.

Kamilla

About the "Yentah" thing; I've from time to time seen single friends of mine, and wondered if it would be possible for me to set them up with someone. I then realize that I'm not quite sure how I managed to find my own excellent wife, and thus I tend to simply pray for God to do the work of finding them a spouse.

About finding a wife: For years, now, I’ve been filled with gratitude to God for His kind gift of a prudent wife. Several years after we married, I read, seemingly for the first time: “House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD” (Proverbs 19:14).

The suffering of believers not given this particular gift is so heavy it threatens to overwhelm shepherds who, bearing their flock’s burdens, mourn with those who mourn. Similarly, there are the godly women who yearn for marriage and children, but are not granted their heart’s desire by our good God. We mourn with them, also. It’s hard saying which is the greater suffering; those unequally yoked or those not yoked at all.

Three statements of God remain true: “It is not good for the man to be alone,” it’s good not to marry, and “It’s better to marry than to burn.” Finding our own way, and standing beside our brothers and sisters in Christ as they find theirs, is much of the work of the older women and officers of Christ’s church.

But as we sojourn in this veil of tears, we must never forget that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Cheer up—He has overcome the world. Soon, the time will come when every tear will be gone and we will neither marry nor be given in marriage. Then, whatever joys marriage has brought those blessed by God with a prudent wife will no longer be personal, but shared by all in the presence of the Lord.

Tim,

I am often astounded by your shepherd's heart!

Sometimes I forget the decision I made in my twenties, that I would rather be without than be unequally yoked. Each kind of suffering has its own pain, I think. For now at least, when my feet get cold at night, I can always put on a pair of warm socks, eh?

A wise friend of yours said to me, just today, that being single forces us to examine our dependence on God. That it surely does, even on those days I want to kick Him in the shins, so to speak, and pout like a three year old until I get what I want.

I do hope you and David are having a blessed time communing with nature, nature's God and your fellow shepherds,

Kamilla

"It’s hard saying which is the greater suffering; those unequally yoked or those not yoked at all."

Unequally yoked is MUCH harder.

Been there, done that......

As a follow up to my last comment, to those who were faithful to the Word, who resisted the impulse to take (what appears to be) the easy path like Kamilla, you have my sincere respect.

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