Last week we discussed the role women are given in the Bible in their marriages—to submit to their husband’s leadership and to honor and respect him as her head. Coincidentally, just this morning I discovered that this Friday is International Women’s Day, and it has been celebrated here since 1909 when the American Socialist Party did so in New York City. It gradually spread around the world until the United Nations encouraged all countries to celebrate it as a holiday in 1975. Though a proposed bill has not been voted on in Congress, many here in the United States have chosen to honor women on March 8 with a special “day,”
Isn’t that wonderful? The whole world is gradually realizing the value of women and the role they play in their families. Everyone around the world is waking up (getting “woke”) to the difficult job women have to do to follow the Bible’s instructions about how they should live in their families and they are finally being honored for faithfully doing so with a special “day!”
At this point, you are probably certain that senility has finally got me or you have stumbled onto another blog posting by mistake, maybe my good friend’s excellent blog specializing in fearless, bold, Christian satire (“Iamcurmudgeon”). Of course, what I just wrote in the above paragraph could not be further from the truth.
The first “National Women’s Day” in 1909 marked the time when the Humanist movement in America went public with its attacks on the biblical family. What had been clandestine and surreptitious until that point, became open and overt. Woodrow Wilson, WWI and the establishment of the Frankfurt School a few years later in America gave the new movement a legitimate face. It was an obvious attack on God and His plan for the family.
While this was occurring, the church, for years a force in the public square and the arbiter of public policy, was in retreat. The church was intellectually flummoxed by the advent of Marxism and evolution in the mid-19th century and felt they couldn’t compete with the Humanists in this world of ideas, underscored by the highly publicized Scopes trial in 1925. There the creationists won the trial but decisively lost in the court of public opinion.
By that time, a new theology had arisen in England, also in the mid-19th century, that taught the world was getting worse and worse and was doomed, Jesus was returning at any time to save His children from the evil in the world, so why fight it? As one famous Bible teacher taught, “Why shine brass on a sinking ship?” This gave the church a perfect out. They could withdraw from the battle of ideas in the world that they felt they were unequipped to win, and retreat behind the stained glass windows of their churches, and wait for Jesus to return to rescue them. They could jettison the mission of Christianity in the world, discipling whole nations (Matthew 28:18, 19), and just concentrate solely on saving souls.
As this theology grew more popular in the early 1900’s, most Christians withdrew completely from the public square, leaving the culture and its institutions to the enemy of our souls. Today’s view of women and the state of the family in America is a result of that withdrawal.
How tragic! Because of the lies of the Humanists and the failure of the church to educate its people, the vast majority of Christian women have not discovered the creative, challenging opportunities the Bible says are available to them in His kingdom.
Some 30 years ago in my daughter’s Christian high school, the seniors, both boys and girls, took a career-survey class in which all the students were encouraged to think in terms of independent career choices. The only girls in the class who volunteered that they wanted careers as wives and homemakers were my daughter and a couple of other girls from our church.
This idea was perfectly acceptable to the teacher, and it was not ridiculed or made light of by the students, but it was interesting that there were only a few of these Christian girls who would admit to such a desire. I suspect there were many more who harbored a similar ambition in their hearts, but somehow they had been made to feel that doctor, lawyer, or engineer were better and more challenging professions.
This was thirty years ago, so you can imagine how this idea of homemaking as a profession would fly today. There is absolutely no reinforcement in the culture of the idea that a full-time homemaker is a desirable, first-choice profession. The message proclaimed today is that homemakers must lack ambition or be incompetent and not capable of landing any other job. Homemaking isn’t even considered today a legitimate career option and, as such, is even ridiculed and denigrated by today’s society.
Is that what homemaking is? Only one inferior career option among many for our Christian young women? Before the watershed years of the 1960s, when our culture still bore a semblance of our Christian heritage, vast numbers of female college students still majored in “Home Economics,” not to pursue a career as a professional dietitian, interior decorator or fashion designer but in anticipation of homemaking as a career. Does God have an opinion on the matter?
Every married woman will be a homemaker. The question is, what will she make her home to be? If she is also an engineer or a lawyer, or holds down some other full-time job outside the home, home will be a place to sleep and catch a few hasty meals, a place to refuel for the real race that is occurring somewhere else. It will be a place for a mother to try to have “quality time” with the children on weekends after five days of sending them to daycare or seeing them for a few fleeting minutes each evening after giving the cream of her energy to her job.
On the other hand, a full time homemaker can see her home as a destination stop, not a place to eat and sleep on the way to somewhere else. As she creates her “work-place” to be an expression of herself, rather than a house with furniture in it, it can become the hub of a potentially powerful ministry, first to her family and then to the world around her. Next week we will explore how that looks and the myriad opportunities available to her if “homemaker” is her profession.