All you anonymous commenters and folks on other blogs who try to rile me with those "fundie" insults will be surprised. You never knew I was an EXTREME LIBERAL, did ya? I guess I didn't either. But sometimes when I read blogs of other Christian ladies (some of whom I like very much, so be kind in your comments!), I'm amazed by what I read. I have come to the conclusion that I, Mrs. C, must be a liberal. Really.
I think it's fine if you want to wear dresses and headcoverings. That's great and a real testimony to what God is doing in your life, that you want to show that outwardly. But, see, I interpret the idea of being in the world but not of it to mean that I still look like I'm in it. Reasonably, anyway. I'm sure that if *everyone* started to wear nothing but a thong and a couple pasties to Wal-Mart that I wouldn't join in. But I don't think that's going to happen and our culture can't quite get that degraded. Why? Because Wal-Mart wants to sell you clothes! I am, however, opting out of the pants that show my butt crack and emblazoned with clever sayings like "Pimp My Ride" on the hiney. Ditto on the spaghetti string stuff because my arms are as big around as your legs and I'm not making any special effort to subject myself to ridicule this month.
It's also great if you want to stay home. I do, too! I'm glad to be able to do that and not starve. I think it's the ideal to at least spend most of your time with your family. BUT I am not going to sit in judgment and say everyone should if it isn't explicitly mentioned in Scripture. I know part-time moms who dovetail their schedule with their husbands or have Gramma watch the kids and they really can do both jobs well. I'm not going to get nasty about it, but I think it interesting that oftentimes we don't think of "voluntary" church ministry as being a "job," and in fact secretly expect the pastor's wife to do just as much work as the pastor. Often, especially in small churches, she's working almost every service and the behind-the-scenes managing she has to do is incredible. Everyone wants to tell her their troubles. How much support does she get?
Folks would count her as a stay-at-home mom, but I wouldn't. She's at home, but she's working a full-time job as well. I would go crazy in that line of work because I'm nice nice nice too nice and then suddenly you could do one little thing wrong and I'll tell you to flip off! (I'm working on it, but you can see where that's the sort of "womens' work" I could never do. Same thing with being a missionary. A missionary can NEVER be a stay-at-home mom even if she stays at home!)
One other thing that drives me nutty-o. If it isn't ok in your mind for women to work, shouldn't you make great efforts to patronize only male-owned businesses and have only males help you in sales, etc.? That includes your new male midwife and lactation consultant, no?
So in any event, while I see the ideal for moms being that most of their time is spent with their children and family, I recognize that there are some jobs out there that women can and should do. I would never want women to not be legally allowed to work or own property apart from their husbands. And yet, that's what I'm guessing as the "next step" when I see some bloggers as advocating the extreme patriarchal worldview. They just don't quite put it that way. It's couched in "in Bible days this" or "the Hebrews did that" and do you know what? I read my Bible and don't know that I want to be Hebrew anything the way they ran after idols all the time. No offense to any Jewish folks out there; I'm just saying that the Hebrew culture is not necessarily the "model" from which we should build our Christian Utopia. I think we should be looking at the biblical principles and applying them to our lives, and trying to change the culture accordingly.
And I do appreciate that there is a difference between the sexes. Males would naturally make better rescue workers for the most part because they would be better able to carry heavy people like me who may have fallen unconscious in a fire. I don't think that areas like police or fire protection work should have different standards for accepting male and female applicants. Figure out the standard and meet it or don't. No special treatment on the job for women and please, please, no special hiring of "minorities and women." That just gets everyone resentful. Can you do the job? OK, here's the job. And you can smack me in the comment section if you like, but I feel that way about gays in the military. If homosexuality is "legal," you shouldn't be able to discriminate in a secular job. (I just don't think these sorts of "activities" should be legal, but that's another post for another day. And really, can you punish someone for *feeling* gay feelings or just acting on them? Is the military the thought police? Ok, some other day.)
I've also heard the argument that women are naturally prone to large swings in their emotions due to their hormones; they're fragile in that way and must be sheltered in the loving home. I'm too hysterical to answer that -- kidding. It's strange that men make the vast majority of murderers and perpetrators of assault. You'd think they were emotionally unbalanced at the time or something. Just saying. Anyway, I disagree with the aforementioned premise. In fact, if all this were true, a good male leader would be a fool to leave an emotionally unstable lolly-noodle of a woman home and in charge of his children. Speaking for myself, I'm no Andrea Yates. We all have bad days but I don't think women are loopy biologically.
I suppose these ladies are reacting to the idea that women should feel *obligated* to work and the denigration of the stay-at-home mother role as being of little worth. Nothing gets your dander up more than hearing that your very life's work is of no importance to society or worse, you're doing this job of staying at home simply because you are lazy or unqualified for "better work." And certainly there are plenty of womyn out there spouting anti-male this or that, and they make the whole idea of feminism quite unappealing.
I am a feminist. I am also a Christian. I think the two can and should necessarily go together.
Now, by "feminism," I don't mean the gay tongue-kissing, abortion on demand, angry sort of shave-your-head and tattoo-your-bottom-for-Satan strawman we conservative Christians like to set up. I mean that as Christians and Americans that we should strive for laws that reflect the idea that men and women are created equal in the sight of God. Yes, I do believe that ideally we have different roles in our families and that biblically speaking, men are the heads of households. But I also think women ought to be able to vote and own property.
Perhaps we see this return to patriarchy as a result of extreme "feminism," which really isn't feminism in the classic sense at all. Perhaps folks don't remember what it was like not to be able to vote, drive a vehicle or own property. Just as an aside, I did know a woman from a certain Middle Eastern country who wasn't able to drive until her kids were teens. The stereotypical "woman driver" from days gone by was probably the woman who learned late like this. All I've got to say on that part.
In any event, I believe women to be adults who ought to be able to be fully autonomous in theory IF needed. I believe that women should be submissive in the Biblical sense, but that any husband who cannot give his wife a great range of freedoms is either insecure or he married a fool.
Ooh, that was harsh of me.
I'm trying to speak the truth in love, but I just keep thinking that if my husband were to die tomorrow or leave me for another woman, I should be able to go get a job. Life is hard enough without the condemnation of others when extreme situations happen. They DO happen! I'm not stashing secret money away or preparing to enter the workforce. I have (most days) a real sense of joy in my place at home. I feel it's the ideal place.
Feel free to leave a comment, but remember: we're just having a discussion. Read this sentence slowly in your best Godfather voice: It's just blogging. It isn't personal.
Be kind and bless you!