The invisible woman...

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(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?

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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."