The invisible woman...

(Tim) My friend Bob Patterson forwarded a pre-release copy of the Winter 2010 issue of The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy which he edits, and it's the point of this essay to get you to subscribe. For many years I've been reading this and other publications of what is now called the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, and they've been foundational to my work as a preacher, pastor, and father.

This particular issue's cover article details how, over the past thirty years, homemakers have been forced to subsidize the lives of privilege lived by other women who have forsaken marriage, the home, and childbearing for degrees and professions.

Professional women with salaries high enough to allow them to pay for day care and still turn a profit have not simply been content to leave their homemaking sisters behind, but have built their lifestyle on the backs of those sisters and their hardworking husbands. To anyone who matters, these homemakers are invisible.

Equal Employment Opportunity laws have piled up a legacy of systemic injustice throughout the wage earning world, leaving half the fairer and weaker sex to raise the children the other half will depend upon for their Medicare and Social Security payments when their life of childless privilege is drawing to an end. Meanwhile, the husbands of these housewives and mothers are in free-fall, trying to support the mother of their children as she gives herself to work that, despite those bright boys and girls in Economics Departments, still hasn't shown up on their gross domestic profit tally sheets...

"Housewife? Mother? You don't get it, do you? I asked if you had a job--if you worked? Watching Oprah and doing Facebook all day doesn't count, sweetie. You have to make a contribution, a monetary contribution to society. You know--something we can count."

But when the money is counted, sex-based affirmative action is no gender equity movement. It's the economic warfare carried on by women of the information class against feminine women who, still at this late date, order their lives toward marriage, childbearing, and the home. It's the rubric that cloaks what is really the War Between Women, godly and otherwise; between women who know it takes a loving father and mother to raise a child, and those who say it takes a village; women who are keepers at home and their stepsisters who are keepers at the university and the law firm and the design department and the classroom and Planned Parenthood and pet clinics and emergency rooms and the marketing and accounting and editorial and advertising departments at Christianity Today and Zondervan.

Make no mistake: feminists hate domestic tranquility and will do everything possible to deny their sisters its beauty and love. Addicted to pain, they demand the world validate their suffering by obstructing others' access to those pleasures they repudiated in pursuit of their high class. Helen Reddy and Gloria Allred were their spokesmen, claiming quite preposterously that woman's steady-state is the belligerent roar of numbers too big to ignore.

But who really gives a damn about the impact on our homes, marriages, and children of economics and public policy? Of no-fault divorce laws, Scandinavian family policy, and the redefinition of marriage?

Honestly. If I read one more Christmas letter by Christian parents bragging about the glorious achievements of their daughters who are out to change the world by pursuing excellence in every last one of their stupendous gifts; who are getting their doctorate in neuroscience ("Can you believe how smart she is?!?"); who presented a paper on snakes, donkeys, whales and other oppressed species of the Bible in the Green track of the Evangelical Theological Society's annual meeting; who are over in South Africa's bantus doing AIDS education (teaching women how to get their lovers to use condoms); who are carrying out groundbreaking research on the connection between autism and improperly tied umbilical cords; who just gave birth to their parents first grandchild while on two week leave from setting up President Obama's historic Office on Ya Ya Sisterhood.

The bragging never ends. And because evangelicals hate discernment, it never occurs to these preening parents that their letters are being read by other parents whose National Merit scholar daughters have chosen the road less traveled and are nursing and bathing and changing and feeding the children who one day will provide for the old age of their awesome Amazon.

I'll let you in on a secret. I've never been much of a fan of Mark Noll's painfully personal diatribe against Wheaton's trustees he got IVP to put out as The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. But the title? Turned to the right use, it could be helpful.

So what's the right use?

The real scandal of the evangelical mind is not that smart men and women who talk loudly in restaurants and use big words have to teach so many introductory history courses instead of being freed up to do research and write important books. Rather, the real scandal of the evangelical mind is that not one professor at Wheaton or Covenant or Westmont has ever rebuked a father and mother for raising their daughter to be rich instead of happy; for teaching her to despise housewives and mothers; for training her to think that excellence in bearing and raising children is not nearly as important as excellence in the reproductive habits of yellow-bellied sapsuckers of the Central African Republic's tidal basins.

The real scandal of the evangelical mind is that evangelical pastors and professors are brain-dead and silent concerning the impact of social policy and economics on the raising up of a godly seed.

The real scandal of the evangelical mind is that all those subjects endlessly addressed by the New Testament Epistles (about which the Evangelical Theological Society has never-ending debates), seem to have no application to our own daughters who are too busy changing the world to change a diaper.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5).

Did you know there is a history professor whose work today is actually helpful for the fulfillment of the Great Commission? Thing is, you're unlikely to have heard of him because he teaches and publishes at Harvard--not the ghetto of Wheaton and the politically correct backwater of IVP. In his superb work, When Fathers Ruled, we find out that the real revolution of the Protestant Reformation was the restoration of dignity to marriage and family life; and specifically, to the work of pastors teaching the husbands and fathers of their new church plants that being missional meant having babies, leading family worship, catechizing their children, changing their diapers, and loving their mothers 'till death.

While the Roman Catholics were off doing the monastery and convent thing, Protestants were marrying, making love, having babies, and raising them in the nuture and admonition of the Lord.

Isn't it sad that Mark Noll and his AWOL colleagues can't remember the Reformation's real fruit?

* * *

Michal'sMask Here's what my wife and NMF daughter, Michal, have been making while the wee ones are in bed taking naps. Speaking of the wee ones,  grandson Daniel calls Pepperoni "Macapony."

Comments

"too busy changing the world to change a diaper."

Amelia's female friend from what appears to be a conservative Christian family, said to her with scorn, "You'll be home with your kids while I'm out changing the world!"

Christian maids and men are under a lot of pressure, we had better be making them ready.

-Clint

We don't have children and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord in order to change the world. But when we do it for right reasons we do leave the world a different place.

Outstanding essay.

Husbands who've been blessed with faithful, godly wives should seriously remind them daily of their value and defend them against the feminist world.

Indeed, "changing the world" is a dubious motivation for doing anything, no matter who you are.

That bumper sticker always annoys me that says, "Well behaved women rarely make history." The fact is, poorly behaved women rarely make history, too. Both well and poorly behaved men rarely make history, as well. People in general rarely make history, as a rule. And the conceit in the minds of feminists is that, if women leave their kids at daycare and scurry off to a middle-management job in some obscure company, they will somehow be "making history." It's a joke and a deception. How many women can you think of in the past ten years who have "made history," anyway?

There are women in my office who have this sentiment tacked up in their cubicles, and I can only feel sorry for them when I see it. They're living in a delusion. No work that anyone in my office, male or female, is doing is "changing the word." Which isn't to say that what we do is not honorable and worthwhile work that needs to be done. But can the women who are here shuffling paperwork around really think their labor is superior or more satisfying than raising and educating (in the broad sense) their children full time?

The fallacy inherent in the feminist worldview is that men's work is somehow thoroughly satisfying all the time. But it's not. It's self-sacrificial, mainly. Most men don't have satisfying jobs. As the Marxists put it, most are alienated from their work. The exceptions are a small percentage of the whole. We go to jobs to earn a paycheck that enables our families to have better lives. I, for one, have no illusions about ever "changing the world," except insofar as I influence my kids to become Biblical and godly and then go on to raise their kids in the admonition of the Lord. The world is changed, for better or worse, one family at a time.

The essence of the Christian life, whether you're male or female, is self-denial in service to others, not self-exaltation or self-fulfillment or achieving your own potential.

>>The essence of the Christian life, whether you're male or female, is self-denial in service to others...

And how hard it is. But God is graceful, allowing us to grow little by little, one decade at a time.

With love,

David L, right on!

Before reading this post, I had already been tackled by this passage in Malachi 3 this morning:

"Your words have been arrogant against Me," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?'

"You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.'" (vv.13-15, NASB)

With all the voices inside and outside our heads telling us how significant we are if we follow our potential/dreams/develope our gifts, we must hear God say only those are blessed who fear the Lord and walk in His ways.

Bravo, Tim, Bravo!

As I was reading the essay, two things kept running through my mind - two things worth lamenting. The demise of the honorable occupation of homemaker -- not housewife, and not the putrid term, "domestic engineer", but *Home* *Maker* -- as in a woman who makes it her business, her career, her vocation, call and life's work to make a home for her husband and their children.

The other demise worth lamenting is the old truism -- The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. How many of these women who see themselves as world-changing-careerists are ever going to change anything other than at which coffee shop they get their over-priced skinny latte? The truth is the vast majority of these women will change nothing more significant than whether reports are stapled together with the staple straight or angled across the corner. No legacy will be left, no lasting change. No future. Whatever "change" they think they have made in the world will die with them because no one will be left behind to remember it. And the "sisters" who rise up behind them will obliterate everything they've left behind, wanting to leave their own mark on the world.

At this point I can't help but recall my email sig quote, which comes from Alice von Hildebrand:

"When the time has come, nothing which is man-made will subsist. One day, all human accomplishments will be reduced to a pile of ashes. But every single child to whom a woman has given birth will live forever, for he has been given an immortal soul made to God's image and likeness."

And yes, I know I will never give birth - but I can love and encourage those women who do.

Kamilla

P.S. Michal, can I have one of those masks?

"The world is changed, for better or worse, one family at a time."

If only more people knew how true this was. As a psychology major, I notice something: Psychology ignores man's need for God, for which it is blatantly mistaken. I've also come to understand that it seems as though it is through means of the family that men and women are built, for better or for worse, by the grace of God.

I don't have a family. I'm engaged and praying for one. CGS has been monumental in my growth and understanding concerning families in the ways that I get to see family life lived out within the church. Praise God for that blessing.

It occurred to me the other day as I was reading about how much mandatory health insurance will cost a middle class family if these bills pass into law, that perhaps part of what was going on here was a forcing of women into the workplace. You have to have health insurance or pay a fine, you can't afford to do that and pay the regular bills of living such as house, electric, food,etc. so how do you add to the family income? The wife needs to find a job. I don't know that our leaders have thought of it that way but it is a proven fact that communism did this to break the parents' hold on their children.

Working outside the home is taking the easy way out...America's newest favorite pastime.

Thank you for the encouragement this morning. It has been a monumentally hard 2009 financially for us and I keep thinking of the what if's...What if I had stayed in my PhD program....What if I hadn't quit working when convicted after our second was born....The answer to the first is I wouldn't have had any children and the answer to the second is that our second would have been our last.

Off to go be mommy now. :)

"Working outside the home is taking the easy way out...America's newest favorite pastime."

Working outside of the home is a pain in the neck that is a necessity for some of us. Why in the world a woman would choose to leave her home where she can order her own days and go out to work for a boss who decides what she does when plus dealing with a bunch of back stabbing co workers is beyond my understanding.

I am now semi retired and love being home more. It is so much more rewarding being able to devote more time to my retired husband, care for my elderly mother and watch grandchildren than any job could ever be. Plus I get to enjoy being out in nature and walking in the snow.

However, I am thankful for the job the Lord has provided and the flexibility I have had while working. He has always been faithful.

I really have no experience in the working world myself, but from what so many tell me, it seems like the problem is that most middle class American mothers are forced to go to work to pay the bills, and that the country is heading more and more in that direction. I think there are many young mothers who would much rather stay at home, but who eventually feel they are forced to work outside the home in order to help provide for the growing family.

With so many broken homes and single mothers raising children in the past few decades, I suppose it is easier to understand why so many daughters today learn to prepare themselves for the necessary evil of leaving the home at least part time - what if their husband dies? what if their husband leaves them like their fathers left their mothers? Its statistically likely to happen to many of them (us).

So to make the best out of the situation, we are encouraged to pursue a field that will make life easier when/if that situation does appear - preparing for a career that will give the most flexibility in schedule and still pay well. (At least that is my experience). Just hope that all the preparation doesn't force her into putting off a family too long...

I certainly hope I won't leave the home if God chooses to bless me with marriage/family one day, but if that is how life is, I have to be prepared, right? Especially if it is so commonly necessary (or at least it seems that way). How do you balance being realistic about surviving in the culture in which we live, bleak as it may be, and striving to swim against the tide? Seems a grim future when I put it that way...

>what if their husband leaves them like their fathers left their mothers?

Last study I saw showed women initiated the majority of divorces.

This came back to me while reading the comments here" the slogan of my alma mater is "engaging the culture, changing the world," but graduates don't do either, especially changing diapers, except the sparkling ones that are highlighted in the alumni magazine. I contacted the magazine sometime back about perhaps showcasing some blue collar workers instead of those who cure cancer, but that doesn't get development dollars.

Just to beat everyone to the pass, I didn't mean that the diapers are sparkling, but the graduates are. No, the magazine doesn't talk about diapers, just graduates.

Does anyone have any historical insight into age at first marriage for *Christians*? (that is, what you as pastors have observed in practice over the years).

I remember the SBC's Russell Moore publishing a thinkpiece on the size of families reported across a variety of denominational traditions. Generally, the more working-class the denomination, the higher the birthrate (as measured in terms of children born per thousand women aged 16-44). If, for example, we found that Pentecostals had larger families than PCA Presbyterians, it would mean either that the Pentecostals were in this respect holier (horrors!), or alternatively that PCA families were more affected by these socio-economic aspects than we we might care to admit.

If there are questions about the way that many Christian single women do aim for an education, the observed behaviour could well be explained by the surplus of (Christian) single women to single men, especially after about age thirty or so. Younger single women are going for an education because they cannot guarantee to themselves that they will marry. That is an hypothesis; criticisms of it are welcome.

>>Younger single women are going for an education because they cannot guarantee to themselves that they will marry.

Yes.

Also, the more I read, the more confused I get - does God's Word say that women are more holy if they have more children, or that the women that get married young and have lots of kids and don't work outside the home are more holy than women who do not live that way for whatever reason?

I would think that we are all so unholy in so many ways that we ourselves cannot even detect that everything we do amounts only to a pile of dirty rags in God's view - even after we've been saved, right? The only true holiness we can obtain in this life is that which God Himself gives us through faith in His Holy Son - a declaration of being seen as holy in His sight even though we definitely do not deserve it by what we say, think, and do. I think most would agree, but I've found that really difficult to remember when I spend so much time thinking about how to make my life more holy.

When our oldest entered her teens, she was often asked, "What do you want to do?" (as in, "What career?"). I counseled her to firmly and proudly state her desire: "I want to be a wife and mother, like my mom." Boy, that brought people up short! What could they say, "Oh, you want to aim low, like your mother?" Today is her twenty-second birthday, she is happily married and we're enjoying our first two grand-children already while we're still in our forties. We have five daughters and three sons who all love Christian family life and eschew the mess of pottage the world is trying to sell them.

It's nice to see a book by Steven Ozment being praised. He was my prof for medieval intellectual history when I was an undergrad at Yale.

Speaking of name-dropping, the problem is really that evangelicals are not snobbish *enough*. I've always thought that being a good wife and mother had more prestige than getting a degree from a second-rate college or becoming vice-president of the Second National Bank of Smallsville. Maybe the person is actually not a first-rate wife and mother, but at least it's not so obvious that you've failed to reach the top of your aspirations. Unless, I guess, you think nobody could possibly have aspired to be a wife and mother, which is clearly wrong.

Thank you Steph, me being of the older generation, no one chose me to be a wife and mother. I am glad that I had prepared myself for a life of singleness by preparing for a career. That is just the way it is, it hurts and is still a question I want to ask God when I see him,it was not the desire of my heart, but I do not mourn missing the core of

Christian faith; yes, having a family. Oh, you can argue; but every church is built on family and grandkids, it is just not the same when you do not have this. Yes singleness is still on the fringe of most churches. At 57 years of age I get tired of questions of people in churches asking are you divorced or maybe your husband died, a, ah, um, or you are in a homosexual relationship ??? Darn, the world is tough now on single women who do not live with a man....Please, Please,Please, I pray for a pastor from Clear Note to be sent to the Bolingbrook , Il area to start a church that will stand fast to Godly principles..... That is my hope for the new year.

Hugs, Suzi

This whole post drives me crazy. I could write forever on this ... with a million stories about my wife and me refuting all my own family's foolishness let alone the world's.

My wife and I met shortly before my wife was accepted to a top Med School. She had an abusive father and I wasn't a man in anything other than anatomy. We made a mess of everything until Father God saved us.

People have written about women needing a fallback position. Trouble is, idols have a way of being formed when you claim you're working toward something else. God blesses faith not insurance. It's hard to have that faith, that's where discipleship comes in, that's where men and women in the church need to be spiritual fathers and mothers to the young to teach them that they can trust God and seek Him first as scripture requires, even if, especially if they were let down by their earthly father.

Sadly, I've discipled men only to find that once they begin to see these things, don't think they can ever find a Godly woman who'd want to actually stay home with the kids. The men are looking for Godly wives and the women are saying they can't find Godly men - who's gonna break the cycle when men have been told that they can't expect their wives to stay home and the women desperately want the men to say, simply, "I want you to stay home, I will take care of you."

A friend of mine recently was approached by The World Missions Church of God cult, surely founded by men and women who fear/hate patriarchy.

My sister always said to my wife, "Must be nice to stay home" and then "I couldn't stand it." And I always tried to say that she can't have it both ways, pretending it's easy and also hard.

Truth is my wife and I have made lots of sacrifices but they were joys as well. I don't drive a Tahoe like my dad and sister. I don't have a Disney vacation budget, etc. etc. But who needs it.

People always say to my wife and me, "But I have to work - we don't have the money!"

It's almost always a bunch of bull. When I ask them how much they spend on their cable bill they will admit to paying more than I've ever paid for a car payment. When asked how much they spend on their mortgage, I find that in four years they could save enough to buy my house outright. When I ask how much they spend on daycare, I find that it's more than I've ever paid for a mortgage.

No offense to those who really do have to work, I know there are VERY RARE cases where wifes have to. And in fact, my wife has a very strange working arrangement that fits our life without changing our priorities - but it was to pay off her extensive student loans, something we wouldn't need if my wife hadn't gone to college. I wish I hadn't even.

However, my wife and I have been broke most of our lives to make certain things a priority. Most of the time, when you look plainly you will find idolatry is what costs and requires a wife to work, not putting food on the table.

-Clint

I've never posted on this site before (I enjoy reading here though). I have to say, Clint, that your comment was fantastic.

I have to agree with a lot of what Clint said. We do drive a Tahoe though! It is a 1996 so is one of our newer cars. My husband is really good at finding deals and at keeping cars running. I do have a college degree but was blessed in not having to go into debt to get it. Honestly we didn't think out a lot of things through about life and marriage before we kind of fell into them. It hurt to give up my "career" but I knew it had to be done since my husband was in the army and gone a lot. I haven't regretted it one bit. Having a large family has meant a lot of hand me downs, home cooking, and careful budgeting. On the other hand it occurred to me the other day that God has preserved us from eating a lot of junk food from fast food restaurants and ready-made store bought! (Not that we always eat healthy.)

As for being holier for having lots of kids and staying at home. I wouldn't say that. God impressed on us over the years that allowing him to number our children was right. He gave us 3 adopted and we are expecting our 10th baby. I know other families that gave their wombs to the Lord and they have 2 or 3,etc. God works holiness in us when we obey his Word instead of the thoughts and opinions of men.

I also know single women who struggle with their singleness. Feminism has opened up the work force to these women who are working higher level jobs than they might otherwise. In knowing them, I think it is harder for women to bear the load of the workplace than it is men. On the other hand, we all struggle in different areas of life. Some with not being married, some with their work, some with dealing with many children, etc. May God give us the grace to live the life he has given to us in a way that glorifies him. In saying that I have housework that needs to get done!

>>May God give us the grace to live the life he has given to us in a way that glorifies him. In saying that I have housework that needs to get done!

So do I ... :-)

I don't remember where I read this, but some years back I encountered this statistic: In a two-income home with children 90% of the second income goes to paying for the kids' daycare, on average. Put another way, when the average mom works full-time she spends 36 hours of her work week paying for daycare so that she has the luxury of having that job, and then gets to take home the pay for the last 4 hours of work in her week. No wonder we're getting overrun by DINKS (Double-Income No Kids)! If ya get married and you're both working, daycare is going to take a huge bite out of someone's paycheck, so just don't have kids!

I'm not married (yet!) so I have no kids of my own, but every time I hear or read this stuff I think "It's all a matter of lifestyle." Like Clint said, you can have kids, but you might have to sacrifice cable TV, and fancy cars, and Disneyland vacations...

>>"It's all a matter of lifestyle." Like Clint said, you can have kids, but you might have to sacrifice cable TV, and fancy cars, and Disneyland vacations...

hmmm...I think you are absolutely right. Its so easy to think you can have it all or are somehow entitled to a certain lifestyle that you grew up with or dream of. And money is so deceptive - agh! I never realized how easily it can sneak up on you and become your idol.

Love of money - the root of all kinds of evil, right?

But of course there are some persuasive arguments from the other side. Several people have tried to tell me that I would be foolish not to pursue a professional career (even though it would put me in debt for several years after school) because if I don't I might not be able to give my children all the recreational and educational opportunities that I was blessed with when I was a kid or that all their friends in the neighborhood will have. I am told that this would be the most painful thing in my life - wishing I could buy a violin or a vacation to Disney World for my child. They say it will be painful because my children will want the things that their peers have, but my husband might not be able to afford them if I don't have a degree/career. Additionally, my children will be made fun of by other children for not having fashionable clothing, an i-phone or wii game set.

I have a sneaking suspicion that while it may be true that it is a great joy to be able to give your children wonderful opportunities with which to enjoy this life on earth, if it comes at the expense of not having their mommy at home with them, especially during their younger formative years, then it is all in vain. Isn't it much more important to remember that we are aiming to be raising a godly seed? The best gift we can give our children is the Word of God so they might have faith in their Savior Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

"Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."

(Proverbs 30:8-9)

But it looks like Pastor Bayly already said it all in his initial post :)

>>Rather, the real scandal of the evangelical mind is that not one professor at Wheaton or Covenant or Westmont has ever rebuked a father and mother for raising their daughter to be rich instead of happy; for teaching her to despise housewives and mothers; for training her to think that excellence in bearing and raising children is not nearly as important as excellence in the reproductive habits of yellow-bellied sapsuckers of the Central African Republic's tidal basins.

The real scandal of the evangelical mind is that evangelical pastors and professors are brain-dead and silent concerning the impact of social policy and economics on the raising up of a godly seed.

I believe that feminism should be referred to as "masculism", as it really is the denial of all things feminine (namely motherhood and wifery), and the encouragement of women to act as masculinely as possible.

Now, Alex, there you go again being all insightful.

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