Society vs. The Biological Clock (aka "God's Design")

The last century of mainstream American society has played a vicious trick on women by feeding us a big fat lie. We've all heard the lie, and most of us have recognized the lie as a lie:

"You can have it all."



There were many steps that got us here, and many will argue about the importance of each of these, but here they are, in my view (cause this is my blog and I get to say what I think) :

  • The first was the public education movement, which removed from women the career of being an educator and mentor for their children, and put children's minds squarely into the hands of government. (Unfolding Grace has a excellent new post that outlines Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on public education. Pop over and check it out to understand the shift that has taken place in our society's views on public, compulsory education.)
  • Next came the birth control movement, which suddenly gave married woman some other option than being a mother. (An incidental result at the time, this move also gave married and unmarried woman alike the freedom to sleep around without consequences.)
  • The women's liberation movement came next, suddenly giving the married woman (whose birth control and nifty home appliances gave her much unused time once her 2-ish children got off into school) the opportunity to not only work, but to "be equal with a man" and have a career.
  • Then came the sexual revolution, naturally. "Men have been able to sleep around indiscriminately without consequences," went this line of thinking, "now I can too!"
**** Note how each step progressively brought the woman's heart farther away from the home, her husband, and her children, and focused it more and more on herself.****
  • Then came the abortion movement. This is the obvious next step. When you have a society of people who have, for 50-ish years, been able to fairly predictably avoid having children, and it has become fashionable and even desirable to do so, and then you add in two ingredients that lead towards unwanted children: (1) men & women who are not married to one another mixing in the workplace day in, day out, and developing dependent relationships on one another (i.e., a businessman and his secretary- both of whom come to rely on each other- him for her assistance, and her for his praise-- sounds ominously like the marriage relationship, doesn't it?), and (2) the idea that sex is divorced from commitment and that you not only can but should engage in intimacy with anyone for whom you have feelings, then abortion is the next logical step. Of course it is; how could it be otherwise? Society now has come to *need* it. Because children are no longer a delight and gift within the family structure, and the family structure isn't the primary focus anyway. Suddenly, women who have had affairs and did not consider the consequences of their actions , OR young women who bought the lie that they could have it all and sleep around without consequences ALL find that God's plan for biology still works as it has for thousands of years... when you have sex regularly, there is a great likelihood that you will become pregnant. When the focus is all on "me", a little person inside of me seems less and less like a blessing and more and more like a liability. Thus, abortion is an easy "out". (Of course, the after effects of an abortion are far less easy.)
  • It is at this point that we come to the present generation.
Women who grew up in or after this generation of educational "freedom", "equal" opportunity, and abortion on-demand have truly had entirely different input into their hearts, minds, and lives than any generation of women before them. We have been told things like:

"You can have it all."
"You can be anything you want to be."

"We've made sacrifices so that you can live your dreams."


I should point out that it was very obvious in the "education" that most of us received from society that "having it all", "being anything we wanted to be", and "living our dreams" was, primarily about career. Not family. Not housewifery. Not being home with our children. And certainly not more than one or two of those (heck, if you really want to live the dream, who needs kids?)! See this article if you don't think that last point has become mainstream.

At this point, society's trickery catches up with all of us. Here is the way that each of these steps has the potential to harm us and our families today:
  • Little boys and girls, from a young age in this public system of education, are geared towards careers and "dreams" for which compulsory schooling cannot prepare them. They must pursue higher education if they are to obtain the dreams that they've been given.
  • They are given "sex education" from sources other than their parents, beginning at a young age, which (contrary to what proponents will tell you) has brought with it a higher degree of youths having sex at increasingly younger ages. Many are put on birth control (chemical interference with a young body) or have abortions (at an age when they are unable to even comprehend the risks or damages that it will do to them for a lifetime) to deal with the unwanted pregnancies that sexual intimacy has brought.
  • The education they receive in government schooling is, at best, amoral and insufficient to prepare them for the work they will need to do in order to make ends meet.
  • Then they are shipped off to college, where sexual misbehavior and drunkenness is the norm. They hear from parents, sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly, "wait until after you achieve your goals to get married." (I recently wrote about this.)
  • Then, if they are to "achieve their dreams", they must often enter either grad school or land themselves in a lucrative career, neither of which allows for the average person to also successfully pursue and have a marriage or family of any kind.
  • Finally, around the age of 30, they may begin to feel the desire for a family, which used to kick in and be the norm when the hormones are a'raging (around the ages 15-25). {By the way, we're just fooling ourselves when we say it's wiser to wait until you're older to have a family, because then you're more "mature". A hundred years ago, average eighteen year olds in America were vastly more mature than the average twenty-eight year old in America today. The main reason? Responsibility. When responsibility is cast on young people who have been properly trained by their parents, they mature. They grow up, even if that "family" is being sprung on a "young" 18, 22, or 24 year old. We've all seen the "kidult" phenomenon, of kids living at home well past their mid-20's. We're treating grown men and women like children, and so they act like it. OK, tangent over.}
  • All the prospects have been beaten and battered just as they have been, and it is difficult to find anyone with whom to fuse a life and become one with. (Because, typically speaking, one's life up to that point has been centered around the self: his/her own goals and dreams, and no one else's.)
  • If one is successful in finding a godly marriage partner at this point, one is then inundated with advice to "wait a few years and really get to know each other before beginning a family." There is significant difficulty in fusing two separate lives and careers after more than 10 years of self-focus and self-promotion.
  • At that point, the couple is nearly 35 (some are near 40), and the physical realities set in: it is difficult to get pregnant when one does not ovulate regularly; it is difficult to have a healthy pregnancy when the odds of disease and genetic problems have risen greatly from just 5-10 years previous; it is disconcerting to realize that one will be nearly 60 years old when a child graduates from high school ("wasn't my grandma about 60 when I graduated?"), and the difficulties become more and more apparent, and one finally realizes that you can NOT "have it all". (An interesting USAToday op-ed highlights how the limits of the biological clock are hitting women hard!)


As a peculiar people (1 Pet 2:9), as aliens (1 Pet 2:11), as strangers in this land (1 Pet 1:1), as pilgrims (Heb 11:13), as people who are called to be separate (1 Pet 2: 9-10) and different from the world in which we live, our lives should look different from the world. People ought to see the differences in how we live and ask, "what is the reason for the hope that is within you?" (1 Pet 3:15) But as John Piper has said, all too often, they aren't asking, because "we look like we're hoping in the same things THEY'RE hoping in!"

We need to consider the advice that we give, whether to other Christians or to our children, and examine whether it lines up with the Bible or with society. The two are not always at odds, but in this instance, and on many of these issues, our ideals and "dreams" ought to look different than the world's. It should be clear that our goals for our children are not the same as theirs. It should be clear that our methods for raising our children are not the same as theirs. It should be clear that our hope is in something other than the "American Dream". It should be clear that we differ from the society around us in meaningful ways- that we are not self-focused, that we do not look down on marriage, children, or the family in any way, and that we are not willing to sacrifice all things at the altar of self-promotion and career.


[Please know that it is not my intent, in ANY way, to wound or condemn those who find themselves in the situation of singleness later in life, whether of God's calling on their life, their own choice, or because of circumstances out of their hands. Rather, my aim is to clearly show that the plan of mainstream American society isn't working, and is actually HARMFUL to those who try to follow its pattern. - Jess]


Edited to add:
This related article, released January 2008 is worth reading: DOES FEMINISM FAIL WOMEN?

68 comments:

Heather said...

Excellent, excellent post! I totally agree. I married at the young age of 18 (my husband was 23), and am still happily married 14 years later. I went to college after I got married, worked a few years, and now stay home and homeschool our 6 year old, 3 y.o., and 19 month old. The one thing I haven't been able to reconcile is our use of birth control for the first 6 + years of marriage. When I look at my life from a worldly perspective, I sometimes wonder if I did the right thing by marrying so young. But when I look at it from a Biblical perspective, I think it was. Thanks for a thought-provoking post (they always are), and the encouragement, too!

EmmyJMommy said...

WOW JESS!!! What a great post...really makes me stop to think about where I am in life, where my parents trained me to be, and how I want to train my daughter during these formidable years!! Once again, thanks! Much love to you!

Mrs. "M" said...

Wow! What a great post. How do you articulate all that so well. I couldn't agree more. I have just recently discovered your blog and look forward to exploring and reading more.
I also read that article "Angels or Savages" a few days ago. It was so far out I struggle to take her seriously. I guess it is reality for some people....I feel for her kids. I look forward to checking out the Thomas Jefferson link.

Mrs. Brigham said...

Thank you for sharing this WONDERFUl post, Jess. I pray that this post might be able to reach some hearts and help people take an honest look at their lives. All of the lies society tells us are easy to swallow, but difficult to unlearn and recover from.

Samantha said...

I agree with the fact that you can't have it all. At the moment I'm living at home, traveling to my university each day to follow courses there, and am single. I'll be turning 20 this year and sometimes I feel like I'll never get married. But then, I realise that if there is a man for me, I will meet him at the right time.

And if that right time is when I'm still in college, should I 'hold the boat' because of that? I don't think so. And, given that I finish my masters education, and have a great job and children come along, should I go back to work just because I have followed an education?

I talked about that with my mother and we both feel like politicians and feminists try to push women to work. They say we have the choice to work, but if they could they would make working an obligation. If I want to stay at home with my kids, I will, college education or not. That is MY choice, not society's.

It's time society saw that. Unfortunately, it will probably only get worse before it gets better.

Samantha

Jaime said...

Wow. That must have taken forever to write!! (how do you DO that with 3 kids running around?!)

As crazy as the first lady in the Angels or Demons artile sounded... there is a grain of truth in what she said. Your life does drastically change when you have children - moreso for the mother, I think. And we are doing a disservice to our children by not talking about it. many women (& probably men) simply have not thought about the RESULTS of having a baby, and are so shocked that things begin to go terribly wrong.

No... you cannot have it all, but it is possible to find balance. I don't think it's wrong to want a job outside the home, but some jobs just aren't cut out for motherhood. (i don't think i'm explaining this well...)

A big problem I perceive from the typical 50s housewife was that deference was taken to the extreme - the man earned the money & therefore everything in the home surrounded his comforts & pleasures. he could do whatever he pleased. fact of the matter is that the hardest job is motherhood, and quite frankly i fell a man should participate more in his own house.

so we had this crazed wave of feminism in the other extreme direction.

something new I have begun to notice is that it slowly becoming okay to pick wife & mother, etc. as your goal in life. perhaps the new paradigm will feature more comprimise than the first two....

Mrs. Elliott said...

Hi Jess, nice post! You laid out the progression very well. It's easy to see how generations have been misled. The good news is that when our eyes are opened to it we can teach our children correctly.

Anonymous said...

You make a lot of false assumptions about women whose values are different from yours.

We allegedly care little about our children and our families, we can't find a mate because we've been "battered" by years of drunkenness and sexual immorality, we are selfish and never give our children responsibility, we get all kinds of crazy ideas about equality from that birth control we've been using...

And how could I forget that we "sacrifice all things at the altar of self-promotion and career"?

If you really believe that we all conform to your stereotyping, I can see why you were in such a hurry to get away from the United States.

Next time you're back in the country, try to judge less and listen more.

Laurie B

Jennie Chancey said...

Well, Jess, this post ranks in my top-ten articles of all time. I am putting it on LAF, because you hit every ball out of the park. This is a super reality check. Great links, too. Thank you!

Jess said...

Laurie B,
I'll just sum up my thoughts with a quote from Mike Huckabee on this Sunday's Fox News Sunday:

HUCKABEE: You know, there's a saying in the South... "If you throw a rock across the fence, it's the hit dog who hollers." So the point being that sometimes if people start reacting very — just vociferously to something said, maybe there's a reason they're reacting to it.

Jess

Anna S said...

Jess, I love how you outlined all the steps that, as you say, took the woman's heart away from home. And allow me to add, what a long and winding road *back* home the woman in this generation must face if they see they want something different, and had no godly model to help them build themselves accordingly.

And, if I may, a bit more on birth control: it gave men women merely the *illusion* they can sleep around without consequences. One, birth control can fail, obviously. Two, even if it doesn't fail, the emotional aftermath of premature and unsafe attachment is devastating.

Anna S said...

... Oh my, how many typos in my first comment :P

Jess said...

Jamie,
You asked how I do articles like this with three kids running around, and the truth is, I don't. I generally don't write when the kids are running around. They hit the sack around 7:30/8pm and so I have that time to either read or write. Sometimes I do both, sometimes I do one or the other. Yesterday I had a fire in my belly and just had to get these thoughts out on virtual paper. Glad to see they resonate with others as well! :)

Jess

Sheri said...

Jess, thank you for sharing your heart, so many facts, and scripture in this excellent post. Oh how I pray that my life and what I'm teaching my children lines up with the Word of God and NOT society.

You painted a wonderful picture, once again, of how messed up the church has even become. Why do we want what this world has? Why do we bow to it's idols and accept it's ways. This world needs Jesus and it's up to us to "go against the norm" and choose "God's design!"

Brenda said...

Amen! I have been wanting to say this on my blog, but you said it so well. The part I have been thinking about was your last 2 paragraphs. We should look different!!!! You got my thoughts out for me. Thanks!
And I feel some regret reading this, that we didn't start our family sooner. Maybe I can make a difference for my girls...wish I could change some things we did, though. Sigh.

Aubrey R. said...

Another thing is that those of us who didn't want to follow the crowd and get married and have a family right out of high school are sometimes riticuled and shuned by friends and family for many years. It's a hard life. But I hope that many will have the will to lean on God and not give in to 'modern' ideas about family.

dcrmom said...

Jess, you are bang-on with every bit of this. I just feel like our society seems so far gone by this point that it's almost futile to try to work against it.

By that I mean, this is the culture in which we live, so how do we draw the line between how much to try to buck the system and how much to try to work within it. Does that make any sense?

For me, the practical issue is my life at the moment is homeschooling vs. public schooling. I've been struggling with that one a lot lately, but when I pray, I have peace about where we are. And then when I'm not prayerful, I start to think too much and feel all conflicted again.

Anyway, sorry to spill my guts in your comments, lol. These are just the thoughts bubbling out of my brain at the moment.

lydia said...

Where did you get the "I Like Mike" poster? I want to add one to my blog too!

Jess said...

Lydia,
I borrowed the banner from another Blogger For Huckabee. They had apparently made it themselves, and I liked it- so I used it and added the html to make it a button so people could click on it and go to the Mike Huckabee for President website.
(You can borrow it too if you want!) :)

Jess

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Hmm, I've been thinking over my reaction to this post for a while now and was quite interested in Laurie B's reaction to it too. As you know I'm a fellow Christian woman, I was engaged at 19, married at 23 and had my first child at 25 and well, yes I've been blessed. We started out young and with nothing but we've got a great family, a great relationship and we're nice and stable. So I suppose my life illustrates quite well what you've been outlining in your post. I have never regretted marrying and having children early.

However, I think it is very important not to over-generalise the values of the secular world. I've lived in it until quite recently (just a baby Christian talking here) and *all* of my women friends faced and understood the moral consequences of their choices as women. Indeed, for them the choices seem more painful and more complex. For example, when deciding whether to stay off work or put their baby in child care, they did not have the cornerstone of Biblical teaching which puts family first, they worried about finances because they did not know that God would always provide...they were quite alone in their choices. It's a brave secular woman indeed who goes against the tide of opinion and puts their child before their career. We live in a time where every aspect of our lives has been commercialised, no wonder every choice we make is weighed against how much it will cost us financially, if not morally, and every woman, not just women of faith, is affected by this culture.

Shamgar said...

You know, there's a saying in the South... "If you throw a rock across the fence, it's the hit dog who hollers."

:-) I love it!

Jess said...

Isabella,
Of course there is a difference between the message of society as a whole and the feelings of individual women in that society. Never did I say that all women in our society are this or that, but rather that society would have all women be these things.

If you watch network television and see the sitcoms produced (sex & the city, friends, and seinfeld, just to name a few of popularity in the last 20 years), and then you see the feminist literature coming out, and hear about the "medical technologies" that are *by their design* geared towards working against God's biological designs, it is clear that society's aims are not the same as those of the Bible.

I too have many, many non-Christian friends who struggle with these things, but the fact is that more and more young people's lives (Christian and non-Christian alike) pretty much line right up with this failure of a plan that American society serves up as "liberating" and "wise" and "responsible".

My aim here is not at all to attack individual non-Christian women (as Laurie B took it to be), but rather to show that it is anything but liberating, wise, and responsible to follow the 'wisdom' of our culture.
Jess

*~Tamara~* said...

Isn't it interesting (and sad) the way this thinking creeps up on us gradually. I mean, it's not like in 1940 someone announced that mothers should work outside their homes, could do anything a man could, should put their own desires first, sleep with multiple partners before they settle down, chase after a career instead of pursuing motherhood, abort the baby if one unfortunately came along, and get a divorce once your man's not making you happy. It was one little step at a time. Now we see rampant promiscuity, millions of abortions, women in their later years spending thousands and thousands of dollars trying to have a baby they put off till later, and divorce of over half of all marriages.

Sadder still? How it has gradually crept into the body of Christ. And they bought it. And look where we are. A church that looks no different from the world. And we've invited the contempt of outsiders by telling them we can look just like them, act just like them, live just like them, and still consider ourselves set apart. We're not fooling anyone.

Boy, lately there's a common theme in all my posts...when are we going to restore a Christian culture, instead of trying to be Christians in American culture?

Mrs. H said...

I think an interesting point about the having it all argument is that no one has it all! I think many in the radical feminist camp want to model women's lives after those of men under the assumption that men have it all. Men do not have it all! My own husband says that he misses our daughter terribly while at work. He loves his work, but he does not have the same experience I do as a parent, and to a certain extent envies it. (Just as I wistfully think about the "working world too" from time to time) He says in a perfect world we would both be able to have fulfilling 20 hour/week jobs and the other would be with the kids while the other works. Not possible, but it is a nice dream. Men also make career sacrifices. My husband is an Army officer and is planning to take a "slower track" once he is done with his company command. He finds that the sacrifices required to have higher level commands are just too much. In his words "you have to throw your family under the bus." I guess my point in saying all of this is that the logic in modeling women's lives after men's lives is faulty. Life is not easy and sacrifices are made on all sides. I think you just have to accept that you can't have it all. Postponing having children until your 30's or 40's is not going to change that at all. I'm not an advocate of saying all women must get married and have kids in their late teens or early 20s, . . . but I do see a trend among many of my friends of pushing it into their 30's for reasons of career, having fun, etc. I have a cousin who rejected several boyfriends and broke off an engagement for career reasons and as she approached 40 with no prospects of marriage adopted a baby from China. She is a wonderful mother, but I do find it sad that this was the way she had to become a mother.

Mrs. H

Claire in CA, USA said...

Thank you, yet again, Jess, for writing what so many of us can see, but not articulate.

I, in my unfaithfulness, ran out and worked when my kids were small because my husband's job was barely paying all the bills. I then continued to frantically "help" with the finances, until the present time.

I just recently told him "I will not be looking for more work. I need to be here to homeschool the kids and take care of our family." I work very part-time in an industry that has slowed considerably in recent months. Not so surprisingly, he is supportive. It's always been my trying to fix things that caused me to work more and more...'cuz the world told me I had to afford more than my dh could provide. :-(

Just another take on what you wrote. When things are tough financially, God has never forsaken us, or let us go hungry. I am resting in that now *finally*.

Kim said...

I blame the menfolk. (Kidding!)

I think just as much blame for this belongs on what society teaches men to look for in a wife. Women are taught that men are afraid of women who want children, who want to stay home, etc. And so women pursue other things that are "popular" with men.

The blame falls on both sides, for sure.

Kelly said...

Great post Jess. I don't even have anything to add to what you already outlined.
My only comment is that you can tell how much society is following what you outlined by the simple fact that if you are a wife, mother, homemaker you face an uphill battle.
God Bless,
Kelly

Birth of A Midwife said...

Exceptional post, Jess. You've condensed into one article many of the factors that I've pondered over the years. The only thing I might add is the introduction of infant formula. With formula, the Mom became non-essential for the baby. Others could feed the baby so Moms could "easily" go to work & contribute to the family income. I think formula (added to the other factors you mentioned) de-valued a mother's value immensely.

Thank you for being courageous, sticking out your neck to tell it like it is. :)

Jess said...

Birth of a midwife
Thanks for bringing that up! I'm at the off-point in my pregnancy/nursing schedule to have that on my mind- so that must be why I left that out! :)

You're right that the increase of safe formula further removed the mother from the child.

Jess

CappuccinoLife said...

Great post. I remember once talking with a radio host once, since his topic was that old lady who had a baby at 65, and I brought up the ridiculousness of people trying to avoid pregnancy during the time God ordained for it to be possible, and then try to get pregnant after their bodies aren't meant to. He was utterly shocked that I thought that there was an "ordained" time to get pregnant. The concept of not doing it your own way, when you want, according to your plans, was foreign to him. And he was a preacher as well as a talk show host.

Starving Econ Grad said...

There wasn't always this division between "the people I work with" and "my family at home". The choice women face today (or the choice they think they don't face) didn't always exist.

You see when most Americans were farmers, women and men worked together on the farm at different tasks. In fact they often worked side-by-side.

Family businesses (once the main type of business) also brought families together at work.

Now work divides us and that is a problem. Women have always worked. The question to me is how can women _and men_ work in a way that brings families together. It may involve a radical restructuring of our economy to refashion work in a way that supports families instead of destroying them.

Anonymous said...

Jess, I found your post interesting and thought provoking. I do have some questions/comments.

Women who choose careers does not seem to consider the women who MUST work, not for a yearly vacation, or extras but merely to feed their families. Most working women I know would gladly give up work to stay at home with their children.

Having worked for years in a male dominated field, I can assure you that women may be told they are equal to men but often women have to be smarter, more talented and more skilled to compete at the same job level with a barely competent man. At higher levels in a corporate field, most men will not hire a woman who is married or has children. And what a waste of talent that can be.

I do not think the facts you outlined are accurate. There have been forms of birth control and abortion since the world began.

As a biblical scholar, and historian, I wonder if you are suggesting the Bible is a literal guide to life? The writers of the Bible may have had the hand of God with them, but the books of the Bible where chosen by men at Nicea in about 400 AD. I try to live my life by the lessons of the Bible but word for word it is a Book of contradictions and controversy.

God Bless,

Christine

Julie said...

Jess~ Just got intro'd to your blog today and agreed wholeheartedly with your points. If I may add one: you spoke about the illusion of using BC to have sex without consequences- but in addition to the fact that there is a definite failure ratio in all forms of BC- there is an epidemic out there of women catching life threatening STD's! As an abuse victim I was unfortunate enough to have one of those (that we are now using a SHOT of all things to avoid the consequences of unprocteted-out-of-covenant sex and telling our 8 year olds they n"need" it and WHY!)and it was made clear to me at 17 when they thought I might have cancer from it that I may never be able to have children due to the scarring from the surgery to fix the std damage.
How unfortunate that we have seen more and more women who have not had an abortion or waited to have children and only caught the lie about casual sex- now wishing to have a child only to be stymied by the result of non-monogomous sex and the diseases that go with it hand in hand.
Ever more dangerous now is that with one shot out there to "prevent" this disease which is quite preventable by simply not having sex until you are married- is that girls will think all STD's can be cured with a shot. One more lie to make sex ok outside of God's plan.
Mrs. Kelly

Jess said...

Christine,
I believe fully in a sovereign God Who not only allowed but ordained every single step in the process of canonization of His Word. Otherwise, what kind of God would He be? Yes, I humbly attempt to allow His Word to permeate, influence, and have authority over every area of my life. I am by no means perfect, but I certainly trust His perfect Word to accomplish the things in my life that He says that it will. And amazingly, it does!

I too have worked in a male-dominated field. I understand the feeling that many women have that they *must* work to "feed their families". However, having lived in China, where a thriving economy has not translated down to the workers, who often make less than $2 a day, working 10+ hours a day, and in Turkey, where the economy has grown at such a pace that literally everyone in an extended family must work just to pay the bill for one house for them all to live in, I find the "reasons" that many American women give to work are often subjective and biased to their own living standards and expectations.

To the woman who literally has to work to feed her family, I have nothing but grace and compassion. To the woman who is putting her husband through schooling and literally is the sole breadwinner for a season, I have nothing but compassion and respect. To the woman who is a single mom (whether by widowing or for any other reason) and literally MUST work to care for her family, I have nothing but respect.

But I have known altogether too many women (myself included) who have left lucrative jobs in order to be home with their families, and have SEEN the sacrifices made in order to do so, to believe that anyone who says that they "have to" actually HAS to.

Maybe she "has to" to keep her home in an upscale neighborhood. Maybe she "has to" in order to clothe her children in the latest fashions each year. Maybe she "has to" in order to be able to send her kids to prep school, or to live in an expensive part of the country. Maybe she "has to" for many reasons of her own justification. And she certainly doesn't have to prove anything to me. But one day we will ALL give an account to God for our lives.

I try to encourage women to do all they can to love and serve their families in biblical, tangible, and yes- homeward ways.


As for your comments on forms of abortion and birth control being around since the beginning of the world, it is true that there have been forms. But never before the last century were there such a variety of options for each, and never before this century were either acceptable and respectable in the secular world (much less the Christian world!).

Respectfully, I disagree with each of your assertions.
Jess

sharyn said...

Jess -- a very thought-provoking post and full of smart points for women to pay attention to. I was just in a conversation this morning at the playground about the different barometers women have about what constitutes 'having' to work. (as we were all moms on the playground on a weekday, you can imagine which way the conversation swung about priorities ...)

In tandem with your aside about young people not learning responsibility -- the below link is to a NYT review of a new book out on this very topic -- how adults are remaining children in many ways in today's society. (The review kind of slams the book, but the points the book brings up as cited in the article are very interesting. To me at least!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/books/29grim.html?ref=books


Thanks, as always, for keeping me thinking!

-- sharyn

Anonymous said...

Christine wrote:
As a biblical scholar, and historian, I wonder if you are suggesting the Bible is a literal guide to life? The writers of the Bible may have had the hand of God with them, but the books of the Bible where chosen by men at Nicea in about 400 AD. I try to live my life by the lessons of the Bible but word for word it is a Book of contradictions and controversy.

What follows is a brief summary of the process of canonization. Suffice it to say, a group of males did not vote aye or nay on a stack of books at Nicea.

Please feel free to quote from the below summary at will and may God use it to correct error and defend our faith.

There were a number of factors involved in the development of the New Testament canon. Early on, after the letters of Paul and Gospel of Mark were written, people, even churches, began collecting these writings for the purposes of corporate and personal worship. When considering the process of canonization, it is important to note that it was simply acknowledgment and recognition of the inspired Scriptures by the Church. There is no veracity to claims that Constantine chose the canon himself for political reasons.
Another reason for canonization was the rise of various heretical views. For example, Marcion cobbled together a canon (about A.D. 140) that included 10 of the 13 Epistles of Paul and an abbreviated Luke. In addition to the Marcion canon, the circulation of pseudonymous writings, like the Gospel of Thomas, motivated orthodox Christians to determine once and for all the writings that were trustworthy.
Especially after the rise of heretical writings, lists started to be made. Papias, a bishop of Hierapolis, includes most of the New Testament. Knowing people who knew the apostles, Papias’ list is one of the earliest in existence. The famous, early Christian apologist and theologian, Justin Martyr, in Against Marcion (160 A.D.), also attempted to identify acceptable books. In this work, Justin calls the gospels the “memoirs of the apostles.” Tatian, a disciple of Justin, thought it helpful to harmonize the four gospels into one, in Diatessaron (170 A.D.); however, the unique voice of each gospel author is lost in the attempt. The most significant reply to Marcion was penned by Tertullian (207 AD). By this time the general outline of the canon was complete. Another example of an early canon list is the Muratorian Canon, so-named for the man (L.A. Muratori) who discovered and published it in 1740. Notably, it does not include Hebrews or 1 and 2 Peter but does add in the Book of Wisdom (a part of the Apocrypha). The famous church historian, Eusebius, also had a list that left out James, Jude, 2 Peter and 3 John. He also did not include Revelation, because the Montanists, a heretical sect, abused it for their own purposes, which was a common reason for excluding particular books. Finally, in A.D. 367, Athanasius, perhaps the most important theologian and defender of the early orthodox faith, wrote a letter to the churches under his authority naming trustworthy books. It was the first list to match the New Testament as it is today. Interestingly, he attributes Hebrews to Paul. At the Council of Carthage, 30 years after Athanasius’ list, the church officially recognized the New Testament canon as authoritative for life, devotion, and worship. There were basically two bodies of writings, the Gospels and the Pauline letters. These were more easily brought together by Acts, “the hinge which joined the two.”
The criteria of canonicity are four-fold. First, the authority of Jesus was considered of utmost importance in authenticating early writings. Next, apostolicity, in a broad sense, was noted when recognizing which books were acceptable; that is, only writings from the apostles, themselves, or their immediate circle of followers, were judged for the canonization process. Third, usage in the Church, was considered (i.e, is the book useful for worship and devotion?) Finally, only those books that were orthodox in their actual words and teaching were even deemed worthy of consideration.
Thus, there was a clear progression in the process of canonization of the New Testament. The canon was not ‘invented’ or ‘voted on’, but simply recognized and acknowledged by the early Church.


In conclusion, let me ask, Christine, are you the "biblical historian and scholar?" If so, please list just one so-called contradiction or point me to a website listing them out. Why claim to be an adherent of a faith that is so full of error?

For His Glory,
Doug

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you pointing out that it is difficult to have everything at once. I agree with this. However, I have had a great education and a rewarding career for which I thank God, and have put a lot of energy into marriage to a brilliant and difficult man with whom I (again thank God) have no children. I am a Christian who truly believes that God meant me to do what I'm doing, and I do not feel that I have been in any way morally or personally compromised by the work I do or the education I have. Not every Christian woman's path is the same; I simply cannot understand how anyone could say otherwise. I stand by any woman's right and desire to follow a traditional path--but I am deeply saddened at the thought that my own path, pursued with due consideration and prayer, automatically makes me "wrong" and displeasing to God somehow, and that I would have the support of, I gather, no-one on this board in this matter. Well, I suppose He will let me know when He sees me! Meanwhile, I urge you to think charitably of the many, many Christian women running households and raising children while also pursuing the rich opportunities God has given them in the larger world. They have contributed much, I think.

kat said...

to christine

herein lies the problem with modern day christians - you are a biblical scholar that does not believe the bible - or at least isn't gonna take it literally. i agree doug, if you don't believe it, why pretend? try to add a little belief to your erudition. yield and find out that God did mean what He said and says.

Michele Davis said...

While I agree with many of your general conclusions, particularly those expressed in the comments section, I think the argument you make is unnecessarily dogmatic. One of the (many) problems with the feminist secular view is that it wholly dismisses motherhood as a noble pursuit and says women must have a job, i.e. be like a man, in order to live a meaningful and worth-while life.

Your view essentially states the opposite: in order to be a good Christian woman, one must restrict oneself to the home. This is not true. Both the Old and New Testaments contain examples of Godly women who worked to build the Kingdom outside of the home.

How each women decides to use her life is a matter between her and God. Just like whether a family choses to homeschool, attend public school, or private school is personal matter between the family and God. Same for non-abortifacent birth control.

Michele

Anonymous said...

Doug, I am a theology student with much to learn, so please do quote your sources.

I am a believer because I have been saved by Jesus. I have felt, firsthand, his intervention in my life and it was glorious and is a source of strength to this day.

My concern is the warping of religion and faith to serve the needs of the individual. There are numerous examples of how man has warped religion and faith and, next to nationalism, religion has been responsible for the death of more people in our world history than any illness or tragedy.

God has given us talents and the intelligence and free will to use them with His guidance.

Once, I heard a Catholic priest say that Hell is living in the absence of the grace of God. I firmly believe that. I think there are many interpretations as to how to live in the Grace of God and that we must speak carefully about the sins or lifestyles of those we do not agree with...forgiveness comes from God and he is wise and generous, however difficult the route to Him is for all.

I do not feel comfortable here. I am solid in my faith in Christ. I do not know if there is much to be gained in what I see as a very close minded group. I cannot see any hope of an ecumenical discussion here, and I firmly believe my Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist friends and family will be with me in this life and the next. (OK, the Buddhists are planning on being reincarted, but you get the idea).

Of course, it may be my mind which is the closed one and on that I will pray.

Blessing to all

Christine

Ticia said...

I love your disclaimer at the bottom of your post. It sounds like me sounding off about public schooling and then telling people (I swear I am not condemning you personally.)It's the system and the way of thinking I have a problem with !

Melissa said...

Great post Jess! Truth is liberating, isn't it? It's good to talk about hard things even when you know not everyone will agree or understand. And thank you Doug for your great comment.

Jess said...

Christine,
It is unfortunate that you feel unwelcome here; perhaps the reason you feel unwelcome is because this is a blog that espouses an absolute truth, as Jesus Himself did, when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. Those are pretty absolute words.

When one has been miraculously changed and saved by Jesus Christ, there is a burning desire to encourage as many people as possible to seek after and find that same salvation in the person of Jesus Christ. I cannot understand "faith" which does not believe the book on which the faith is based, which does not desire for others to share that faith, and which believes that any faith is the same (from an eternal perspective) as any other.

If that was my "take" on Christian faith, I'd check out of it. There's no way I'd devote my life and heart to a book that I believed to be errant. There's no way I'd commit my life to a person I believed to be optional. I can't comprehend why anyone would claim to have "faith" in such a way. My mind is not totally open to any and every philosophy of man, but my mind is fully open to the things of God revealed in His Word. That is why I study it, and is the only reason why I could comprehend someone else devoting years of their life to studying it.

My intent is not to have, nor to further, "an ecumenical discussion", as I am firmly and squarely convinced that Christ is the only way, and that the Bible is the sole written revelation of Jesus, and that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This is why I encourage women *not* to follow MY pattern, but to follow the pattern of the Bible rather than the pattern of the world.

You're welcome to stick around and offer tips on frugality or talk politics- but you just need to know up front that if you enter any conversations regarding faith in the future, the Bible is not a basis, but is the basis for any conversations about faith here.

Jess

Jess said...

Anonymous,
I let your post through (even though I've said no anonymous posts would be published) because I could hear your heart and I wanted to respond to that.

My point is not to condemn anyone, but rather to cause every Christian woman who reads this post to examine her life in light of the world's pattern. The point is really not whether one particular issue or another lines up with the world, but rather, if a majority of them do...

If our lives look MORE like the world than like lives lived with biblical priorities (of family, relationships, and pouring ourselves into others, rather than ourselves), then something is wrong. We are not to be imitators of the world, but rather imitators of Christ and followers not of the world, but followers of Christ.

We should live lives of sober estimation, where we carefully examine our own lives and the biblicality thereof. That is my attempt here, to spur women on to do that very thing.

Jess

Jess said...

Michele,
You are right that many of these areas are gray areas- areas where personal convictions and beliefs come into play... I bring them up, however, to warn Christian women against patterning their lives after the world.

You wrote:
Both the Old and New Testaments contain examples of Godly women who worked to build the Kingdom outside of the home.

Yes, and in none of those circumstances do we see women with children, particularly with young children, working. And your comment in itself contains part of the problem. MOST Christian women who work are not working to "build the Kingdom".

And if there are women who are working outside the home to "build the Kingdom", while having young, impressionable children at home, why would it be seen as good to pour all of your strength, your heart, your labor, your energy, your wisdom, and your talents, into something other than investing in the Kingdom of God that can grow right in your home?

We have our priorities totally out of whack when we abandon our homes, families, and children to the devouring lion who seeks to destroy us while claiming piously that we're "working outside the home" for Kingdom purposes. No wonder Christian homes and marriages are completely falling apart! No wonder nearly 90% of Christian youths turn from their faith! No wonder the world doesn't desire Christ...

When we live no different from the world, and our hearts, lives, and families LOOK no different from the world, it is NO wonder why they're not interested in the "hope" that we have.
Jess

Anonymous said...

Christine wrote:
I try to live my life by the lessons of the Bible but word for word it is a Book of contradictions and controversy.

Before I quote my sources, I ask again, cite one contradiction.

As for my sources, I am happy to do so; first, let me apologize for not including them in the first place. I thought the actual citation might be more confusing than helpful, but I was wrong.

So, here goes...ask and you shall receive.

Most of what I summarized can be found in much more detail in D.A. Carson & Douglas Moo's 'Introduction to the New Testament.' The last chapter discusses the canonization of the New Testament. Theologians of different denominational stripes all essentially agree with the summary I wrote. Where they differ is about authorship, place of writing and so forth. What's important to realize on this point is where scholars deviate from orthodox (little 'o', notice) notions on authorship, etc. they are actually faced with the burden of proof and in every single case, the evidence is lacking. (i.e. Did Paul actually write all the letters bearing his name? Answer: Yes, because overwhelmingly all the evidence, from earliest manuscripts to the testimony of the Ante-Nicene Fathers stacks up in favor of this view.)

Another source for my summary can be found in 'Dictionary of Jesus & the Gospels' by IVP and ed. by Joel B. Green and Scot McKnight, on p.95. Again, this was contributed to by scholars of widely differing denominational views, even non-Evangelicals. The point being, my summary is not some hair-brained, off-the-wall, sectarian nonsense. It is basically what any intellectually honest historian would agree on.

Christine also wrote:
My concern is the warping of religion and faith to serve the needs of the individual. There are numerous examples of how man has warped religion and faith and, next to nationalism, religion has been responsible for the death of more people in our world history than any illness or tragedy.

You are correct, only if you include Atheism (Red Russia, China, Cambodia & Vietnam, etc., etc.) and Fascism (i.e., Nazis). Otherwise, it is simply not accurate to say religion (i.e. Evangelical Christianity) is responsible for all the heartache and suffering in the world.

Again I ask, why believe (or claim to believe) in something so full of error and so responsible for much pain, suffering and death?

For the glory of His Only Son, my Lord Jesus Christ, whom He sent to live a perfect life, pay the penalty of our sins by dying on the cross, and providing the only way to the Father by rising from the dead,

Doug

FreeIndeed said...

Looks like Eve is still the primary target.

Just discovered your blog and loving it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Doug, for quoting your sources.

I feel uncomfortable here, Jess, because I think that you are trying too hard to convince yourself that your religious life is black or white, when religion is shades of grey.

I am a Christian and I believe my faith can hold up to any scrutiny I give it. In fact, my faith only grows stronger as I research.

The cruelty that assumes only those who follow Jesus are "saved" is mind boggling.

I could continue, but there is no debate here, only antagonism. Definitely, this is a blog with a single purpose and I am interested in discussion and debate.

Rather than accept your views, I think I understand why people turn so easily to the secular world. Your are not welcoming, and hardly encouraging to those who might be considering salvation in Christ.

I will pray for you.

Christine

Michele Davis said...

Jess,
I am not sure why you assume I think that working while one's children are young is fine. I don't. In fact, I gave up a coveted tenure-track position at a university in order to care for my son and now new baby -- which by the way, is definitely NOT something the World encourages. I think any women who seriously and honestly ponders what is best for her children will reach the conclusion that at-home care by a parent, especially a mother in the early years, is by far the best. (As aside, there is plenty of social science to support this view.)

My problem with your post is that you question the authenticity and sincerity of Christian women and couples who have choosen a different path from the one you outline. In my case, marrying and starting a family at later age (early 30s) was best for me -- because it was God's plan for my life! Becoming educated and teaching young persons was clearly part of God's plan for that part of my life.

The reality is that many jobs need to be done to build the Kingdom. If everyone simply followed the same path and did the same job, much work would be left undone. Why is one job somehow more noble than another?

kat said...

but christine
you never answered the question. at two people, not including jess' precise commentary, asked, "why claim christianity when you don't believe the claims and statements made by Jesus. you remind me of myself 15 plus years ago - all head knowledge and NO heart knowledge of the Lord. "Jesus didn't REALLY say those things. well if He said it, He didn't REALLY mean it - it was a metaphor." if you grow IN HIM, you will learn.

Anonymous said...

I believe in Him and His Word in the New Testament. I question the possible exclusion of some gospels. I also accept the contradictons of the Old Testament. What is it, an "eye for an eye" or "turn the other cheek"?

But I think perhaps I am taking it too personally...if women want to abdicate their co-responsibility of the head of their households, do so. I have no idea why some of you feel giving up your career is frowned up by society. If anythng women are envious of you. If you are so lucky as to have your husband never desert you, die, etc before you do, then go ahead and rely on him for protection. If God forbid something does happen what are you going to do? Quickly marry anyone else? Who's going to protect your children? Yes, God will provide but you must too.

Does the real gift from God to women elude everyone? We need men to give birth but they do not carry a new life to term. This is something a women can only do and as such should be seen as at least as a sign of our equality. So, yes, I am a feminist but that seems to have become a dirty word. I am not a lesbian, yada yada, but I will not abdicate my life to my husband to run, and frankly, he would find me dull indeed if I couldn't use my own good sense and reasoning abilities to work out, with him, now to run our lives.

Mostly I will pray for your children as fervently as I pray for mine.

Christine

Anonymous said...

Jess,
I'm a friend of Shannon's and am really enjoying reading your blog. I just wanted to offer a little encouragement - not that you need it. 10 years ago I bought into it - all of the feminism. It's true - society as a whole does look down on women who marry early and choose to stay at home - 'neglecting' your responsibilities to provide. I was one - and looked down on my own mother when she said all she ever wanted to do was be a mother. Not until stepping outside of the American dream and learning to see my society's faults did I begin to see the evils of feminism. I appreciate your candour and ability to speak to cultural problems without pointing fingers and specific people but at cultural trends.
Blessings,
Tiffany

Kate said...

I think this is my first visit to your blog; I came across it from another one.

I am a Christian woman who married at 21 whilst still at university, and had my first child at 24, whilst a graduate student; I did not finish my second degree.

My concern is that you unfairly criticise the proven historic merits of public education. Prior to public education large numbers of people were illiterate. Even if poorer parents wished to teach their children, their own illiteracy, and the many hours they and their children must work to eat, prevented them from doing so. Widespread schooling enabled children to learn, and also to have less of a work burden than they had before. Even today in the third world, poor women with literacy skills have a greater chance of improving their families' live than those who are illiterate.

We are all able to blog because we have had the opportunity to learn to read and write in a way that was not an option to many boys, let alone girls, in the past.

Jess said...

Kate,
The reason I criticize public education is because I don't see the "proven merits" of the system. Considering Thomas Jefferson's goals, which I highlighted, the poor (who would not be able to afford private education or do it themselves) would be educated through a public system of sorts anyway.

But still, even with over-priced, excessive-time-demanding, compulsory schooling, over 25% of Americans are functional illiterates, meaning that they never read a book, never pick up the newspaper, and live their lives in a way that does not require reading anyhow. I'm not going to praise a system that does a mediocre job *at best* with an extraordinary excess of my (and your) tax dollars, without having to account for it just as a business would.

Let's face it. If the department of education was a company trying to get a "bid" for a job, NO ONE would use that company. They waste money. They waste time. They produce a mediocre result. NO one would pay the amount of money tax payers pay for such a poor result. Well, maybe some people would. I wouldn't.

Jess

Jess said...

Christine,
Words like "rights" and "equality" and "running our lives" have no place in a truly Christian discussion.

Look at passages like Philippians 2:3-8--

in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

There is no "demanding" of one's rights- no "equality" that must be proven. In fact, Christ humbled Himself and acted in ways that were confounding to those around Him, because He WAS God. We don't "run our lives"-- we humbly submit to what God has for us- which, amazingly enough, is always infinitely more exciting and fulfilling and rewarding than anything we could dream up for ourselves.

The impact of society on our verbage is evident when words like "equality" and "running my own life" become part of our vocabulary.

It is an illusion to believe that you can protect your children. Can an ant protect other ants from the footfall of a shoe above them? Neither can anyone "protect" their children more than the mighty hand of God does for each of us. If it is His will for one's husband to die, it is His will to show His glory and power through that situation, and I would trust Him to do so. I don't have to work NOW out of fear for the "what if's" of life. My whole life is subject to God's will. If He wants any circumstance in my life to change, it will, and if He doesn't, it won't. If He wants my children to be fatherless, they will, and if He doesn't they won't. I'm not so self-glorifying as to think that I have much of anything to do with the ultimate protection of and provision for my children.

Psalm 145:15-16-
"15The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing."


I look to Him whether in good times or bad to provide for my needs. Sometimes He will do that through my efforts, sometimes despite my efforts, and sometimes miraculously all of His own doing. I have seen Him do all of these things, and I'm so grateful for HIS provision and protection over my family.

Jess

Jess said...

By the way, Christine, there is no "co-responsibility" on the part of women as head of households, at least not as described in the Word of God.

And the "cruelty" that says that only those who believe in Jesus will be saved comes straight from the Bible, not from me. Which then tells me that you don't believe the book of Christian faith, as it itself makes the claims of absolute truth that you find so distasteful.

(Just a few additional thoughts as I read back through your comments here.) I have noticed that you raise all kinds of objections, and then when your objections are soundly answered, you never rebut them but instead try a different mode of attack. I would challenge you to prayerfully read back through the comments that have been left for you. Your concerns have been addressed systematically and you have then ignored those responses and moved on to other lines of attack.

I don't mind discussions- but I do mind rabbit trails which aren't really important to you except for the purpose of distraction and argument.

I'll again let you know that you're welcome here- however, biblical truth is not in question in the articles I write and in the topics we discuss, so your disagreements on these issues, it seems, will be perpetual.

Jess

Kate said...

Jess, I should have pointed out that I am writing in Australia and so am commenting more on our education system, and the ideal of free education for all, than on that of the US, about which I have no direct experience. Sorry for not having made that more clear.

Surely though, there are some good public schools in the US.

The best schools here are those which are strongly rooted in an involved parent and wider community. I believe Christians can make a real difference by being involved in the secular community and being dedicated to creating positive changes, rather than absolving ourselves and only relating to other Christians.

I became a Christian at high school and an important factor was being meeting Christian kids and being invited and welcomed into Christian homes.

Jess said...

Michele Davis,
Sorry to just now be getting back to you- somehow I missed your comment.

I think you may have misunderstood the original post. My point was not to lay out the path that every Christian woman should follow- but rather to lay out the path that the world wants us to follow, and encourage us not to fall victim to the patterns of the world. (Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 2:8) I think some (perhaps including you?) have misunderstood the point of this post. Rather than to be PRESCRIPTIVE, telling women what they ought to be... I'm just saying, "let's look to the Bible, rather than the world", and then outlining what the world's pattern is, so we're all clear on societal trends.

I didn't mean to offend or imply that Christian women, following the Lord's leading, who end up in a different place than me, or than whatever path you think I'm promoting, are wrong. Rather, I think that if our lives wholly line up with the world's patterns, then we ought to soberly take an account of our life and see if we've gone astray from the Word, because it's likely that we have.

I hope this clears things up a bit.
Jess

Jess said...

Kate,
You're right that parental involvement makes a huge difference. In many places in America, magnet schools, and individual school districts, parental involvement is mandatory- which is excellent and certainly yields good results all around. But the fact is that schools like these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Thanks for your comments- and blessings on ya down under! :)
Jess

Charley said...

Jess,

What a wonderful post! I'm so glad you had the "fire in your belly" to get this out on virtual paper! As the father of teen daughters, this resonates strongly with me, for I want God's best for them rather than the world's best...and that means taking cues from the Bible and not from the world. Unfortunately, as you have so eloquently stated, the world has stacked the deck against my girls.

I love the way you emphasize the need to be different and set apart from the world. That theme runs through many of my own posts at my blog.

Now...Christine...

Your posts are a textbook example of the fallacy of the post-modern mindset. (See my post HERE on post-modernism/education.)

They indicate that you don't believe in absolute truth, but rather in the illogical, "what's true for you isn't necessarily true for me and vice versa."

You claim you don't feel "comfortable" on this board and that you desire "discussion," yet you won't engage direct debate on your statements. That's another mark of the post-modern: the elevation of feelings over fact/truth.

You claim to be a "Christian," but don't embrace the book from which get Christianity. It seems you see it as more of a philosophical lifestyle than actual salvation. Jess and others have done a masterful job of presenting the basis of our faith, so I won't rehash it here. But I will state the obvious in a direct manner (which will feel harsh, but maybe harshness will save your soul!) By what you have stated, you do not know Jesus Christ, and more importantly, He does not know you...and therefore, regardless of how often you say/type the words, "I am a Christian"...you have given every indication you not; you are lost. Go to First John...read it carefully and apply all the if/then tests John puts forth for determining if you are in the faith. Let God's word convict you, and then run with all your might to the foot of the cross, crying out for mercy from God through His Son. Your eternity depends upon it....

Charley
Get Serious Blog
HomeDiscipling Dad Blog

Anonymous said...

Debate's over. I suggest you all reflect on the sin of pride. Douglas, I re-read First John but honestly...it's not worth more tedious discussion.

Thanks to those who gave me actual quotes from the Bible to reflect upon. God Bless you all.

Adieu,

Christine

Jess said...

Christine,
It is easy to lodge complaints but then not respond to those who bring their own, isn't it? This is the very reason why I have thus far tried to respond to any and all criticism on this blog.

I understand you may not have time or energy to take time to answer all the detractors, but I do think that if one is going to make all sorts of outlandish claims that completely contradict the original thoughts of the post, one ought to at least have the courtesy to back those claims up (as you've asked others to do- i.e., Doug with his sources, etc.). Or at the very least back one of their thoughts up.

I'm sorry you've felt unwelcome here- although I think that's rather an interesting perspective, considering that it was you who lodged complaints and brought a variety of undocumented criticisms in each of your posts. Others have at least had enough respect for you to actually respond to your comments.

Again, I do understand that you may not have time to deal with all of this, as you are a student, wife, and mother, but I do wish that those who bring criticisms would bring more than the modern argument for "tolerance" and their feelings to the table.

That said, I know you are probably a busy woman (as are we all), and I pray for God's blessings, truth, and grace to be poured out on you in each of your roles in life~
Jess

Charley said...

Whether Christine comes back or not, her posts were quite illustrative of the problems associated with the post-modern worldview. Her last comment was classic post-modernism: accuse those with whom she disagrees of pride and lack of humility because they have convictions. This accusation is to close off all debate because lack of appropriate humility (post-modern definition, by the way) presupposes ignorance. (If you look at my last comment, you will find a link to a post I did on this subject using John MacArthur's material.)

Christine...if you do come back...the very fact that you were unfazed by First John should raise all sorts of red flags about the state of your soul. No one can read First John and not spend time in repentance and prayer...unless they have a heart of stone that has not been regenerated by God.

I'll say again what many have said previously: Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life with the Father. That eternal life is found through continual repentance (turning away from) sin and continual faith in His atoning sacrifice. Adherents to all other religions are following false gods and will be judged by God with an eternity in the fires of Hell. It's really that simple. As Jess stated earlier...Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." That is exclusive and exclusionary and will not fit with the postmodern idea of everyone has their own truth.

If you wish to follow your postmodern train of thought, you have to be honest with yourself and realize you cannot also claim Christianity...the two do not mix.

My prayer is that God will give you a "heart of flesh" such that you will be able to see your true sinful condition before Him, and see the truth of the only solution to your position before an infinitely holy and perfect God: Turning from your sin and embracing His Son as Lord and Savior.

Charley
Get Serious Blog
HomeDiscipling Dad Blog

Anonymous said...

Wow! Another excellent post. I'm going to have to put your blog on my favourites list, as until now I've been coming here through LAF.

I too have noticed the "you can have it all" attitude to be terribly prevalent today. Women everywhere are spreading themselves thin in an effort to attain this unattainable goal. Nobody can do it. Something has to give, and all too often the children are the ones who give. Well, lose. They lose out on their time with Mommy and miss out on the wonderful relationship that could be theirs if only Mommy wasn't so career-driven.

I think that, if we live God's way, we WILL have it all! The Bible clearly outlines what God wants His daughters to do - marry, bear children (if we are physically able, of course!), guide the home as a SAHM. When you do that, you will find that you have all that matters. I have the love and faithfulness of a godly (and studly!) man, I have children who love me and have a good time just hanging out with me, I have a comfortable happy home, my needs are all met. Okay, so I don't have a job title other than Mrs and Mommy. I don't have a paycheck, I don't have people oohing and ahhing over my resume. Who cares? I have love in spades, and I know that I am in God's will. What else matters?

Valerie

noneed4thneed said...

I agree that people can't have it all. That goes for a woman and a man.

The woman's movement has meant that women have the choice of what they would like to do with their lives. In the past women were homemakers, educators, nurses, and secretaries. The woman's movement has opened up doors and given woman the choice of what they want to do with their lives. If they decide they want to be a homemaker, educator, nurse, or secretary that is fine. However, women have many other options open to them because of the woman's movement.

Shamgar said...

Christine, in case you're still checking this, I thought I'd reply to your "contradiction" that you brought up. Doug is really busy, and I'm guessing he is distracted elsewhere. Hopefully he won't mind.

You said:
I believe in Him and His Word in the New Testament. I question the possible exclusion of some gospels.

Well, if you'd like to bring up specifics we can do that. I'll tell you up front though that it's probably not worth it. Those gospels were written much later in most cases. Those few that were written at the same time were left out because they were not inspired, i.e. not written by the apostles.

The process by which the NT canon came into being is the same one as the old testament. The content of it is consistent and has a specific purpose for us. There are no "gospels" which are valid which were excluded. Even the untrained mind can read scripture, and then one of these "gospels" and see that it is completely out of place.

These people wrote gospels (often) hundreds of years after the last disciples died - and then forged the name as if it were from one of them to try and gain credibility. It's amazing that the people living then were not fooled, but yet so many today are.

But on to the critical part, your contradiction:
I also accept the contradictons of the Old Testament. What is it, an "eye for an eye" or "turn the other cheek"?

It's both. This is only a contradiction because you have not bothered to research the context. You have pulled the passage out of its contextual time and place and put it into today's context - particularly as it is often misused by many Christians.

First, we have to start with 'eye for an eye'. You see it as a mark of how severe punishment is to be, but in the time in which it was given it was not remarkable for that reason. Rather it was remarkable for its restraint. In the OT cultures retribution was often far more severe and was generally out of control.

Next, you pulled a line from the sermon on the mount, where Jesus is instructing regarding this very teaching. He suggests 'turning the other cheek'. In the first century culture a master would backhand a slave in order to shame him. Jesus is teaching here that when someone does that, turn the other cheek to them - in other words he is saying we should invite them to hit you again...but this time as an equal. In easter cultures the left hand was used for ...lets say, less sanitary pursuits. It was never used for touching someone else, and it is impossible to backhand someone with your right hand. So they'd have to strike normally, treating you as an equal.

The other provisions in that same passage have similar cultural roots. If someone takes your coat, give them your shirt too. This means they have left you naked and would shame your oppressor. In the same way, soldiers were allowed to force you to carry their load for up to a mile but not further - going an extra mile would cause them shame and trouble.

As much as some christians think otherwise, there is nothing here teaching that you are to let people walk all over you. More importantly for this conversation, there is no contradiction between the OT and NT teaching. He has merely expanded upon the teaching.

Doug said...

Excellent, Sham, and thanks for the comment; you're right, I am about to leave for a while and busy packin'.
Blessings,
Doug

elizabeth said...

This discussion is too biblically literate for me, a "beginning" Christian, to follow, but I feel the need to address two seemingly minor points. First, Mrs. H -- no one "needs" to adopt. Adoption is not a punishment (for infertility, or for "waiting too long" to start a family) nor should it be considered a last resort parenthood. It is a loving, blessed way to become a parent and to imply otherwise is insensitve and even insulting to not only the parents but to the miraculous children who have joined their families. I am as proud of my daughter as I am of the way she came to be my daughter.
Secondly, Birth of a Midwife -- please, please, let's not be too quick to demonize formula. The guilt and accusations that goes along with the breastfeeding/formula debate is tremendously hurtful. Some women just plain can't breastfeed.
I know my points don't have much of a Biblical basis of truth to them, and I don't take issue with anything in Jess' original post. I just wanted to speak up for those of us who haven't been able to create families the "easy" way. Thank you.