07 June 2008

I am an EXTREME LIBERAL

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!

9 comments:

  1. Hey, Mrs. C. Believe it or not I agree with you on a lot of what you said. One point of contention: While I agree that women are not inherently "built" to be at home based on hormones or mood swings and the like, I do think that all things considered (PMS, Menstruation, childbirth, nursing, etc.) I can see someone making the argument that God kind of did set thw wheels in motion for it to be much easier on a woman to deal with all these things without the added pressure of outside work- especially since we are admonished to be the keepers of our homes.

    By the way, I wouldn't call you a liberal- just more moderate than some. I'm probably more conservative than you on many issues, and I have found myself in some wacky discussions on blogs, trying to defend women who really need to work and are being branded as sinners because they are "disobeying" scripture.

    Oh yeah, I sort of disagree with you on the gays in the military thing too, but overall, I have no problem with your post. You articulated your points well.

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  2. I have a feeling you may be referring to one of my recent posts and that's okay, we can still be friends : ]

    I think if you were in my shoes you'd be ticked off about different things though. Women who support headcoverings and not being in the workforce are quite a small minority in our culture at large.

    Frankly, I am glad there is some support somewhere for me being at home because I basically hate working. I have never had one of these glamorous jobs I hear about. I think part of your point may be that not every woman is the same and I am okay with that.

    That said, I was watching an episode of COPS the other day : ) and they had 2 women cops wrestling this drunk guy into the car and it looked really stupid as they simply could not control him. Thus my reason for thinking men are better suited for lots of jobs but I do see your point about the midwives etc.

    You should take your liberal Christian behind to Portland, you've got nothing on the liberal Christians here, you racist Obama hater.

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  3. Catherine, I have NO DOUBT that if I were ten years younger and living in Portland, my perspective would be very different. And yes, it was the women being biologically hormonal comment that sent me typing, but I've actually been meaning to for a long time because I'm concerned that women not voting or driving would be the next step. Or worse, it wouldn't be and many conservative Christians would have what to outsiders would be a strange dichotomy of rules. Not that I have this huge bloggy following, but I'm talkin' anyway.

    Terry, I agree that we should all hang out at home for a while with a new baby if we possibly can. I'm just not wanting to go back to the idea that when a woman rants about something she is "hysterical" or that ladies "can't" be veterinarians or nurses JUST because they're women. There's just too big a world out there to say that a woman should never serve on the family farm as a vet or do translation services at a local hospital twice a week or whatever.

    I just look back about 150 years and wish that today's conservative Christian women would at least acknowledge that they are able to choose to marry, or not. They are able to get credit cards without their husbands' consent. My grandmother was unable to get her own credit card from Visa in the early 60's (I think) and was very upset at the notion that despite her own wealth she had to ask her husband's "permission" to spend her own money!

    Don't tell me you wouldn't be outraged at the idea. Of course you WOULD consult with dh before buying a yacht, but come on. We shouldn't stand for these ideas, either.

    Oh, and PS Terry on the gays in the military...

    I guess my BIGGEST BEEF with it is that the government wants private companies to never discriminate, being gay and engaging in homosexual acts is now "legal," but THEY can discriminate? Based on whether someone feels gay or just acts out? To my mind based on my limited reading, even a celibate gay who "came out" would be discharged and I just think some consistency is warranted.

    We are BOTH on the same page in that we agree this lifestyle is not biblical. That it ought not be tolerated in our society. I just feel like, um, is it legal or not??? Same with gay marriage next time I look a little wonky in my beliefs. ;]

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  4. Hi Mrs. C!
    Yep, I'm kind of out there too. My views on vision forum have gotten me into much trouble over the years... however, I really think that God is bigger than any legalism and the thing I try to do (and teach my girls) is to listen for God's leading.

    On the PMS and emotional thing and women being able to handle working with that, I think that a mature woman knows how to handle those thing. I think the nursing thing proves that God's design is for a mama to be with her baby. So, what a woman can be called to by God can be change with the seasons of her life. I love being with my kids and know God called me, for this season, to be home discipling. Praise God! It's a gift. I'm sure the other seasons that follow will be a gift too.

    On the other side, though, I have seen God redeem the lives of orphans by having them adopted by single Christian women who have to work in order to support their unique family. I'm really blessed by my friends who have chosen to serve God that way, and love that more of His children have families and the hope of heaven.

    Gods just too big to put in a box, and, thankfully, too gracious to put us in a box either!

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  5. All I can say is :D ......

    Actually, I can say more. I think you and I have a lot of differences but that is okay because that's just life! :)

    first off, I think no one should put their kids in daycare so they can have "extra income" or support their big SUV or big house. On the other hand.... sometimes people have to work, circumstances happen. There is NO sin in women working a job. That is pure silliness and legalism. I do believe that if a woman is planning on having a career, she should wait to have kids till she decides she will want to be the one that raises them instead of a daycare. That is my own personal belief. That is not my own established "10 Commandments" I expect everyone to follow.

    Second of all, I don't care what anyone says, if they tell me something is a "sin", whether it's women working a job, or a burka, they'd better have scripture to back it up. No one should add or take away from the bible. I'm the kind of person that when someone tells me an "opinion" and tries to push it on me, I'm gonna let it roll off my back unless you can show me actual scripture. I stay home with my kids because I chose to have them, I don't need anyone else raising them, and I'll do whatever it takes not to raise my standard of living in order for me to stay home.

    As far as homosexuality goes, I can see what you mean about inconsistancy with the government. I'm not sure what to think about it yet. I only know my stand on homosexuality because God says it's an abomination. So I don't care if people think they are born that way. God doesn't make mistakes in "making people".

    I am a conservative because of my standards based on Christian principles. I don't care what the world says. If they think I am a legalistic, Conservative, bible thumping Christian, then to that I give a thumbs up. The world may think I'm legalistic but I am only living my life according the the Bible. I can't go wrong with that. I don't want the extreme liberal media pushing their agendas on me. I'm not their puppet. It's made me sad to see so many Christians change their views according to what the media accepts. The best thing we can ever do is know our bible so we are not deceived.

    I like coming to your site. It's your blog, you can write about what YOU want. Just like I can write about what I want. I appreciate people like you who are not afraid to speak their minds and share their beliefs. Just because you and I might see things differently at times, doesn't mean anything. I'm glad to hear what you have to say. :)

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  6. I'm a recovering radical leftist/feminist turned recovering VF legalist and echo much of your expressed sentiments, Mrs. C. Though, I would consider you what I consider myself--an "independent" rather than a "liberal." :o)

    Although I am under the "keeper at home" conviction myself and absolutely feel it be best for mamas to be home with their kids, especially littles, I do not feel that we can deny the need for women in the workforce, especially in certain job fields. Being the big evil sexist that I am, I absolutely believe there are jobs that women can serve best in, just as there exist jobs done best by men. As one example, I do feel *only* female police officers should be responding to sexual assault calls of both women and children, both for modesty and compassion's sake. For the same reason, women are needed in the justice system and counseling professions.

    Midwives, lactation consultants, and the like ought to be professions exclusive to women as well, and personally I feel this to be a great ministry for an older Titus 2 woman to be serving in.What a lovely opportunity to "teach the younger" and see many darling wittle babies in the process! :o) There are many more such examples, far more than I could possibly name, but you get my point I'm sure. ;o) And naturally, many of these jobs may be best served by a single woman or an empty nester, than by a mother with children at home, for so many different reasons.

    By your definition, I am certainly a "feminist" and much of what is being seen in the most conservative of circles is starting to trouble me deeply. I have personally read bits about how women should vote; how this was the nail in the coffin of American marriage, in fact. And the point you bring about not driving is very concerning too. Now I am car-free myself, but that was a decision I chose for myself as an adult and one I could change whenever the need might arise, but I have read websites advocating fathers not teach their daughters to drive just in case their future husbands don't want them too. One website also spoke out against teaching girls to use tools, play sports, and do other "masculine ventures" in case they might be better than their future husband and somehow offend him with this fact. I was shocked to say the least. Sheesh, my husband can iron better me & chop veggies better than me---woe on my mother-in-law for teaching him this. :P

    Anyway, I best be off before I hog your entire comment page, Mrs. C. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking post!

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  7. Well you know we feel the same way on things. You should see the look on women's faces when i say that yes I do work once or twice a week while HUBBY watches the kids. Not only that but I work at a bail bond company. Most Christians run away from me after I tell them that. lol

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  8. I thought it was interesting that the fundamentalist Christians you describe, speaking about "in Bible days, this; and and Bible days, that," seem to have nearly the same world view as fundamentalist Muslims--that women should be kept at home with children and family.

    Fundamentalist Muslims would go right along with the idea you present in theory, that they should only patronize male-owned businesses, and that EVERY job (including doctors) should be filled by a man. Now this is exactly what the Taliban in Afghanistan believe, which is why you now have women there not being allowed to go to ANY doctors, and having babies at home with no medical assistance--because all the doctors are men, and women are no longer allowed to work!

    I really appreciate your viewpoint in this post of speaking up in favor of moderation in all things. I'm all for women staying home if they wish to and can, but you are right, there ARE certain jobs that SHOULD be filled by women, and ESPECIALLY in PATRIARCHAL societies! (such as women doctors being available).

    Eileen (American resident of the Middle East for 16+ years)
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas
    elementaryteacher.wordpress.com

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  9. ok I didn't read all your comments...who has time:):)
    BUt just wanted to say I so agree with you!!!!!
    I'm tired of those kind of blogs and am looking for new ones to read. I need no more idols in my life!!!(dresses, schedules etc)

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)