Home, Church, & Work


Since we often focus on the woman’s role in society in the new millenium, I thought it might be interesting to look at what other people are saying about women and this 2008 election. Rachelle brought up a lot of good points in her Palin post and I thought it would be interesting to expand it out into a more general discussion.

Here’s a sample of opinions (Randomly pulled from a google search tonight on women/election 2008/roles). Obviously, many of them center around Palin, but it’s still fascinating:

This US News article from April talks about how unmarried women are a new demographic that politicians are paying attention to.

The media talking about the media coverage of Palin: “Sexist Treatment of Palin Must End”

Huffington Post on Cambell Brown’s comments.

The Palin Predicament, a USA Today Opinion Piece~ this one discusses many of the points we’ve been discussing in the original Palin post.

Women’s Roles in the Election by a WordPress blogger, Catherine Morgan.

And a smattering of the articles linked in the first Palin thread:

The Palin Problem (National Review Online)

The Double Standard (Inashoe- blogger)

The Miraculous Sanctification of the Republican Party (Doug Phillips/Geoff Botkin, Vision Forum Ministries)

Palin and Couric Interview (CBS/You Tube)

The Palin Paradox (Huffington Post)

I find it interesting that many of the article writers, etc. have a hard time defining the whole idea of the women’s role. Even in this small smattering, there is the words “predicament” “problem”, “paradox”, etc. And this runs across the board from the extremely conservative to the extremely liberal writers.

It seems to be the same shadow we’ve been wrestling with here on TW in different forms…where do we as women ‘belong’ in the millenium? What is our role as Christian women? As single women? As married women? As voters? As working women? As stay at home women? As mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters?  How does our faith play out on in the political arena, and what does it look like? Obviously, we all have different viewpoints on this, as indicated in the first Palin thread, but I am curious to hear your thoughts.

How do these opinions of us, ‘the women voters’ make you feel? Do you think it’s right on? Do you think it’s way off?

*remember, please keep it kind and graceful. Personal attacks and incendiary language will not be tolerated. Try to agree to disagree agreeably, please.*

Advertisements

I have read with interest the reception that Sarah Palin has received in the media and particularly in the Christian media and blogs. I’ve seen a few bloggers frustrated because they believe her ambition may supercede her responsibility to her family. But interestingly, most of the backlash has come from liberal bloggers who seem frustrated that all conservatives aren’t so easily pigeon-holed as “women should stay home and stay out of leadership” types.

It does present a dilemma. I definitely think a woman’s first priority should be a family (if she has one) but I also know many women capable of running circles around me in managing both their homes and families and having outside interests and obligations. The Proverbs 31 woman had a whole lot going on and comes off sounding like quite an ambitious woman if you ask me.

Sarah’s unique situation probably affords her a housekeeper and probably a nanny that can help with her youngest son Tryg. And before getting all judgmental about leaving a baby with Down’s Syndrome, she probably was able to have him at arm’s length in her work in the Governor’s Office. I imagine it will get trickier in the Old Executive Office Building (the VPs offices), but my guess is her son will have more access to her than the majority of working moms who have to drop a child off at daycare for 9-10 hours a day.

As for her daughter Bristol, who can judge? I know many a child of two upstanding committed parents (and stay-at-home moms) who has become pregnant out of wedlock. Teenagers typically have minds of their own. Her parents can be commended for not shuffling her off to a confidential abortion (at least their second demonstration of a commitment to life) in order to protect her mother’s career.

It will be hard for a 17-year old senior to raise a baby in Wasilla, Alaska with her mom clear across the country in Washington D.C. But many a young woman has had the same challenge, though for different reasons. Could it be that Sarah Palin has released her daughter to live with the adult consequences of the decision she has made? Or is she simply putting her ambition first? Or, like other great Americans male and female, is she putting her country first?

Thoughts?

We all know that proverb is more than a little “off.” I say “I’m sorry” more often now than ever in my life, I think. And I have my 4.5-year-old to remind me when an apology is needed. “Mommy, you yelled at Sugar, my dog. You need to say ‘I’m sorry.'”

I really don’t understand the reluctance to apologize. In Christ, it really seems to me that apologies are a win-win situation, reminding all of us that we fail but in Christ we are made whole. Maybe we women–the more social and more relationship-focused creatures–have an easier time apologizing than our counterparts.

Evidence has come to light in the last few weeks convincing me that my alma mater and my former employee, Bob Jones University, needs to clarify, apologize, and reconcile their past racist policies. As a believer, I’m surprised at the resistance. As a historian and rhetorical critic of the organization, I’m not that surprised at all.

Nonetheless, check out the new site and pass it along to any BJU grads or former students you may know at Please Reconcile. For the sake of the Gospel and the Body as a whole, reconciliation is necessary, I believe.

I am an adultolescent. I’m 25, fully employed, making enough money to be financially independent from my parents. Nonetheless, I live at home, in what some would call an extended childhood. I work just 7 miles from my parents’ house; so, when hired six months ago, I thought it just made sense to stay where I was. My parents are happy to have me, and, though it’s controversial, they won’t charge me rent. Living at home, I’m able to help out a little, and I work for the family business on the side. I’m also saving large amounts of each paycheck, placing it into downpayment and retirement savings.

Life is pretty good. My dad helps me with car problems, and my mom very often cooks dinner. I come home to people I love and enjoy. In fact, life is so good, that very goodness/comfort/ease makes me wonder about things. I often wonder if I should move out–still in town but in an apartment I rent all my own, not because I dislike my parents (not at all) or because I want more freedom. I just wonder if it’s the right thing to do, if moving out would please God in a way that my child-like living situation doesn’t. And I don’t know.

Recently I came across an article by a godly man I admire very much, whose writings/teachings/messages have impacted my life for eternal good: “A Church-Based Hope for Adultolescents.”

Among Pastor John’s many points, he suggests parents should do all they can to get their kids financial independence by age 22 or sooner. (In other words, maybe I should’ve moved out three years ago.)

I compare his thoughts with those of certain other movements, Christian movements that tell single women to stay at home until marriage–no matter when and if it comes. These same movements would likely disapprove of other life choices I’ve made: college, grad school, a career. Since godly, well-meaning Christians differ on this topic, and since I find no special revelation from God that directly tells me what to do, I feel a little unsure.

There seems to be no exact blueprint for my life situation, not that there would be if I married at 22 and started a family, necessarily. We aren’t cookie-cutter Christians, thank goodness. I focus on the things I *do* know: my eternal destiny, my relationship with Christ, my need to honor my parents, my need to work in some capacity. Beyond that, I take one step at a time, wondering. Where should I go from here? Continue my adultolescence, where my parents are pleased and I’m comfortable? or Put money into rent for a more independent living situation, minutes from home?

I trust God will show me.

Last night for the first time in seventeen years of married life, I was introduced as “the woman behind the man.” I thought, “I am? Really? I don’t feel like that. Not in the least!”

I’ve been an official stay-at-home-mom now for a full four months. And I’ve learned a few things.

  • For one, it’s a whole lot easier to go to work when you’ve had a sleepless night than to stay home. When I’m exhausted, I’m a lot more brittle in-the-home than out-of-the-home, I’ve found.
  • The house gets dirtier faster.
  • The meals are better now.
  • The laundry is about the same. I get more clothes dirty, but I have a little more time to launder them. So, I break even.
  • My wardrobe is completely different, but I haven’t figured out what exactly that different looks like.
  • When the kids are sick, it’s also a whole lot easier to be an at-home mom. I think that was probably the worst part about working — having to juggle schedules and sickness and to never be sure if you made the best decision.

But honestly? I don’t feel much different now as a woman and a mother and a scholar and a wife and a person and a believer now than I did six months ago. I’m pretty much the same.

Recently I mentioned to some ladies that I was now a stay-at-home-mom, and they responded as if I was now a fulfilled woman. Yeah, I like it. A LOT! Yeah, I’m very thankful! I was thankful before too. I’m tickled that I get this opportunity, but it doesn’t cut into the previous blessings God had given me.

I later heard the same women talk openly about how selfish and unChristian work-outside-the-home moms are. I thought, “They are talking about who I was. They think they can say that because, they assume, I’m different than I was. I’m not. At all.”

I just don’t think there are the vast differences between SAHMoms or WOHMoms either side presumes. We all love our kids — a lot. We all need a better system for folding the laundry. We all wish the house were a tad cleaner. We all need creative fulfillment. We all need a few more kisses throughout the day.

What’s all the hullabaloo about?

I just finished a reading a book by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, “For the Family’s Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone’s Life.” The book is interesting in that it deals with an obvious topic, that homes are important to *everyone*. Well, of course. But as someone who is *gasp* shall I say it, a homemaker, I found the book incredibly encouraging.

I think the reason I love it so much is because I needed the encouragement. That it is important to do the same thing again and again, and that really that is what life is all about. That is security. That it is important to sit at the kitchen table with your kids while they dawdle over a snack. That it is worth the effort to thoughtfully plan your routines & meals, clean your house, and decorate your home. But that it’s not all that important to have the biggest, nicest, newest. I truly think we all know these things, but it is so easy to get caught up in the desires of the heart rather than embracing the reality of our everyday life.

This morning I was looking through the junk mail we got and noticed an ad from Panera Bread, one of *my* favorite places to eat with the family. That was the location of my “last meal” before my first child was born (French Onion soup in a bread bowl, shortly before checking into the hospital for my induction…)

On the front of the ad it says, “Breakfast, lunch, dinner.” You open it inside and it says “Or sanctuary, refuge, haven?” Three pictures on the other page are of a mom cuddled with her daughter in a big comfy chair, a roaring fireplace, and someone sitting at a table working and drinking coffee. My initial thought was, “Yeah, Panera knows that home is important! They are trying to sell themselves as a home away from home… very smart move.” But at the same time, it is sad. Why are people drawn to Panera? I have a big comfy chair, a fireplace and a very nice kitchen table at my home. I am a decent cook and I could probably produce food & sandwiches of the order that Panera does. Why would I even chose to go and spend money at Panera, when I can have the same thing at my own home? (I’m not sure, honestly!)

And even more challenging, why can’t my home be as appealing as Panera to my friends and family? I think we’re starting to get there. One thing that I have enjoyed since we moved back to NC is having my family (Dad, brother & SIL) over fairly frequently. We’ve enjoyed family meals and hanging out a great deal. But I would really love to figure out how to go beyond my close family, how to open up my home to others in the spirit of L’Abri and the Schaeffers. To me, part of the challenge is how do I find people to invite into my home? I am doing my best to get connected with mommy groups, to find a church home, to become active in LLL in hopes that I will meet people.

However, I do confess to a certain amount of insecurity about my home and its appeal. As I get to know people and want to spend more time with them, will I be brave enough to invite them into my home? Or will I cop out and say, “I’d love to meet you at Panera one day…”

I recently went to a lovely bridal shower where several older, married women shared advice with the bride-to-be. The advice was great. This post is definitely not to criticize anything that was said. The purpose of this post is to raise a question about something that wasn’t said.

 

During the “give-advice-to-the-bride time,” with only Christian women in the room, nothing was said about sex. Come to think about it, I’ve been to many Christian bridal showers where advice was given but never, in my experience, has this topic been raised.

 

Am I the only one who, during this advice time, is thinking about the unmentioned “elephant in the room”? We all know what brides and grooms do. We also know that sex is a source of conflict for many couples, especially during their first year of marriage. Isn’t it relevant, after all?

 

Young women are already getting sexual messages from the world—when they turn on the television, drive on the road, stand in line at the grocery store, and also from their friends. Why is it that the Christian community is so averse to talking about it publicly when it’s already a part of everyone’s public lives?

 

It often seems that because the world inundates us with sexual messages, Christians strive to be even more sheltering and quiet about the subject.  We clam up and let the world dominate, which is a very unfortunate lost opportunity. 

 

Whom should we best hear about sex from—older, godly women who can give us truthful messages about the subject or worldly influences and misinformed peers?

 

Why is it so hard during these “advice times,” when talking about how money can be a problem your first year of marriage, to say that sex can be a problem too and you need to communicate about this area and be patient and persistent in working it out.

 

Why is it so hard, when telling a bride-to-be that she needs to respect her husband, to say that sex (like respect) is a need—both a physical and emotional one—that men have.

 

After commenting on the failure of Christian women to speak openly about sex to other women, my husband asked me if, given the chance, I would broach the subject at a shower. I told him that I likely would but, honestly (and unfortunately), it would have required some gut.

 

How do a lot of Christian young women learn about sex? The overwhelming majority of my friends learned about the “facts of life” in only ONE conversation with their mothers (a few friends told me their mothers didn’t even do this), and then learned everything else they know about sex from worldly sources.

 

My mom told me and my sister about sex after we heard the word “rape” on television and asked her what it was. I was about seven at the time. We didn’t talk about sex again until shortly before I got married and basically it was only a passing sentence so my mom could give me a book to read. I’m really grateful she did this but I do think that there definitely should have been a better history of conversations.

 

I think it’s imperative for Christian women to get past their discomfort and take initiative in talking about this important subject. They need to provide information, accountability, and encouragement to both married and single young women, who each have their own respective needs for advice in this area.

 

I hope that I can have conversations about sex with my daughters early and often, even if it means I have to dig through Teen Magazine and ask them what they think, is that biblical, etc., in order to initiate conversation. But, because sex is so center-stage in our world, I don’t think it will even be that hard to initiate conversation, if I look for opportunities and am unafraid.

 

I also hope that other godly women in my daughters’ lives will have the courage and grace to have biblically-based conversations with them on this topic too, especially when they are young adults and need truthful messages and accountability.

 

Some people might say that all sex conversations should be in private. I disagree. Obviously you need to be tactful—and I don’t think it’s appropriate to divulge certain specifics and things your spouse would likely be uncomfortable with. But having said that, especially since we live in a sexualized world, we Christian women need to stop treating openly-sexual conversations as taboo. 

 

The more we talk openly about sex in its biblical context, and in a discreet manner, the more comfortable it will become and the more young women will think of it in a proper light.

 

Some people might also object to single, unengaged women being present during sex talks.  But at an all-female bridal shower, with Christian women present, I submit that this is an excellent forum for young girls to develop a healthy and correct attitude towards human sexuality as God intended it.  If girls are old enough to go to a shower, they are old enough to hear about sex.  As one friend put it, we live in an age where 11-year-old girls get pregnant.

 

The bottom line is this: If older, wiser Christian women don’t inform a young woman’s views on sexuality, the world is ready and anxious to do it for them.

Next Page »