March 2007

I have had this thought for a while but it has moved to the front burner since last night when I learned that one of my friends is heading to Iraq in a few weeks.  This is a wonderful young man who was one of my pupils when my husband and I taught a Sunday school class together  22 years ago.

I am not looking for a debate on the war but I am looking for creative suggestions for ministering to him and his family during the next year he will be gone.  


I finished a really interesting book a few weeks ago and found my thinking stretched and challenged in some new ways.  The book is Men and Women in the Church and it was written by Sarah Sumner.  Sumner states that she is not an egalitarian and she is not a complementarian but is an evangelical who lives somewhere in the middle and she is looking for common ground from both camps.  I found myself resonating with much of what she was saying.  Has anyone else read the book and do you have any thoughts about the evangelical church finding common ground rather than throwing labels on this subject?

In a recent USA Today article mothers who are “educated, tech-savvy, type-A . . . multi-tasker(s), kid-centric, hands-on . . . (and) influential” are defined as “Alpha-Moms.” These women may or may not work outside the home, but when they are home motherhood is the top priority.

Are you an Alpha Mom?

(hat tip to molly mcginn . . .

Scott Brown discusses what godly womanhood looks like in the 21st century.  Here are some of his thoughts:

There is a most unusual generation of godly young ladies in the church today. I believe there have been few marriageable young women like this in the last one hundred years. At least three generations of Americans has never seen anything like this. What has happened to create this situation?

Here are some of their distinctives:

1. They saw the bitter fruit of feminism and began to understand it’s bankruptcy and destructiveness.

2. They “kissed dating goodbye” and decided in their youth that they would abstain from the modern dating debacle.

3. They trusted their fathers encouragement toward them to fulfill the biblical and normative pattern of scripture regarding the roles of women and began to prepare themselves to be wives, helpers and home makers as a life strategy – in contrast to the feminist vision of independent workers outside the home.

4. They rejected the immodest, worldly but common clothing options of their culture and the Lord put it in their hearts to be faithful to God’s commands regarding feminine dress and modesty.

5. They are striving to preserve themselves sexually for their future husbands, instead of test driving numerous partners before marriage.

6. They are spending their time serving the enterprise of the home as assistants in their fathers businesses and assisting their mothers in the teaching and raising of the children in the home.

7. They were told by their parents that if they were faithful and obeyed, they would be blessed.

8. One of the blessings they are anticipating is godly husbands.

What do you think is missing from his list?  Do you agree or disagree with what he says?

Here is a new discussion on the upcoming high school graduation of the daughter of the author of the Prairie Muffin Manifesto.  Again, the point is that girls who are going to be wives and mothers do not need to go to college. In her own defense, she quotes G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy  “When you choose anything, you reject everything else.”

What do you think?

I came across these transcripts of an interview done on March 8, 2007, with Debbie Makin, author of Getting Serious About Getting Married:  Rethinking the Gift of Singleness.  Any thoughts?

For additional insights into this way of thinking, you can check out the conversation on the Canon blog here and Debbie Makin’s blog here.

I notice, in my church,  literally dozens of singles, men and women, in their late twenties and early thirties.  I would guess that many, if not most, are young professionals.  I also know that many young men I know personally who are financially well prepared for marriage and in stable careers are living the carefree bachelor life.  Is this a good thing?  Why do you think this is?  Debbie Makin seems to be saying that there is no such thing as godly singleness.  Am I reading her correctly?  And what do you make of this?

It seems you can’t turn a corner nowadays without hearing someone saying what women should be like, what they should accomplish, or how they should do it. Flipping through the latest issue of Chicago magazine, for example, I read an interview with Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving up Too Much?

I hadn’t read the book, in fact had heard nothing about it, but the topic intrigued me. The central issue: are stay-at-home mothers sacrificing too much?

According to the interview, Bennetts says yes. After conducting research primarily through the Council on Contemporary Families, she concluded women who opt out of career-building in favor of keeping house/raising children will regret it.

She highlights the dangers of staying home: “Half of marriages end in divorce. Husbands might die prematurely or be injured. It’s a volatile job market; he might become unemployed. None of the [other] coverage [on this issue tells] women they would pay a penalty for opting out for even a year.” She also says wives who stay home put too much pressure on their husbands: “It creates an unbelievable pressure on men to be the breadwinner. Wouldn’t you feel pressure if someone said to you, ‘You’re supposed to be the breadwinner and you’re disappointing me’?”

Contrast that with what Shaunti Feldhahn calls eye-opening information in her book, For Women Only: In a survey question posed to 400 anonymous men, 78% said they felt compelled to provide for their family even if their wives earned enough or more than they needed. She writes, “[The husband’s] need to provide goes so deep that even if you personally brought home enough money to nicely support the whole family, your man would probably still feel compelled to provide.”

Bennetts goes on in the article to call for change: “Women need to get serious about what they want. We teach girls that ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ are job titles. It’s crucial to change the way we raise girls. They need to know they have to support themselves, not just economically but also emotionally.”

She says, “The good news is there are benefits of working, and it’s more than just a paycheck. Working women are happier and healthier than women who stay at home.”

I believe the decision to work or not to work lies with the individual, and she should have the freedom to choose. That said, as a Christian, the interview makes me wonder about the downplay of the value of mothers, and I’m curious how a paycheck/job title could give more emotional support than parenthood (or better, a relationship with God) could. What do you think?

*Edit: The author of this post has not read The Feminine Mistake and is not claiming to have full knowledge of its contents. She is rather discussing the interview referenced, which (see comments) she now sees may have contained misquotes. Also, she invites readers who have examined the book to comment and clear up any misunderstandings.