The “Dad Mom” and the “Man Fail”

In a discussion over at the CCEF podcast, some counselors suggest that there’s nothing necessarily biblical about men assuming the role of primary provider for their families.

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/ccef/HH_-_TL2C_WS2C_CC2C_AR_-_is_it_OK_to_be_a_stay_at_home_dad.mp3]

I think that Owen Strachan hits much nearer the mark when he argues that the biblical ideal does not treat men and women as interchangeable with respect to the provider role. He writes,

The “Dad Mom” concept is a “man fail” in my view. Men are not called by God to be “working at home” as women are in Titus 2:5. The ground is not cursed for women in Genesis 3:17, but for men, whose responsibility it was to work outside of the home–and to protect women, which was the first “man fail” of all time.

The curse bore down upon Eve’s primary activity, childbearing, showing that her intended sphere of labor and dominion-taking was the home (Genesis 3:16). This is true of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 as well, who though something of a whirling dervish of godly femininity was not, like her husband, by the city gates with the elders (Proverbs 31:23), but working tirelessly to bless her family and manage her home for God’s glory.

Read the rest here.

18 Responses to The “Dad Mom” and the “Man Fail”

  1. Scott November 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Except when men go to Seminary or pursue doctoral studies. Then, they have no qualms about their wives working long hours while they study in the library or take care of the kids when class is out.

    So sick of this meme.

  2. RD November 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    I truly don’t want to steer the conversation into any kind of political debate, but I have to ask in all sincererity, how can so many evangelical Christians be supportive of politicians like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin if they are serious about treating these few scriptural references as if they were written as law for all cultures for all time? These women are clearly violating the scriptural mandate regarding their proper “place” within the family structure. Why is it fine for literally thousands of evangelicals to donate money, campaign, turn out for speeches, etc for these women who are violating God’s word? There are SO many who would never let Michelle Bachmann be their pastor but they have no problem trying to assure that she becomes the country’s Chief Executive Officer. Because of six or seven isolated verses in the Bible she can’t teach a male Sunday School class, but the interpretation of those verses don’t apply to her being the final authority to iinitiate a nuclear launch sequence?

    If we’ve reached a place in our society and culture where we can Biblically accept female surgeons to operate on us, and female CEOs to run some of the largest corporations, and female politicians to write and pass laws that impact thousands of men whom they represent, etc, haven’t we also reached the point where we don’t have to label certain men “Dad moms” and “man failures”?

  3. Jim W November 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, RD. The only thing I’ll say is that throughout the Bible, women seemed to step up when the men weren’t doing what God had appointed for them I think there is a lot of that with Bachman and Palin. There just haven’t been truly strong men standing up for God’s truth (in the political arena), and so it appears that some women have stood in the gap.

  4. Christiane November 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    So that’s what’s wrong.

    My brother’s family.

    Both mom and dad worked, my brother a doctor, my sister in law a nurse-practitioner. So they have four kids. And the daughters grew up and DIDN’T STAY HOME !!!!!

    If my sister-in-law had only stayed home, her girls would have learned. But they didn’t.
    What happened to those children?
    one son a Navy doctor, one son an architect . . .
    the girls ?

    this is the sad part . . . no thoughts of remaining ‘in the home’

    one is a nurse practitioner specializing in pediatric cardiac care at a major university hospital

    the other ? (this is REALLY terrifying)
    she is serving as a critical care nurse in Afghanistan . . . in an ‘outlying’ post, and she is right in the middle of the carnage

  5. Justin F November 3, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    The thing the thing that bothers me about this discussion is the narrative stating that the man in the provider/leadership role is the biblical ideal and the culture around us is fighting “God’s plan”. This is bogus. This view only looks at American history for the last 40-50 years, and completely ignores nearly all the rest of recorded history. Nearly every culture throughout all of history has placed the man in the leadership role, and the woman under the man. In some cases the woman is even treated as property. The biblical passages cited are espousing the status quo throughout history. The revolutionary idea is that women are equal to men, and are just as competent as men. And that is why the passages that Owen has ignored, such as Paul’s statement that there are neither male nor female in Christ are in fact the counter-cultural biblical passages.

  6. Chris B November 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Justin, I agree with you whole heartedly that in Christ men and women are equal completely. But just because they are equal doesn’t mean they have the same role. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all equal but they have different roles. Just because men and women are equal in Christ doesn’t mean that men should now be women and bear children and be stay at home dads, etc.

    • SM November 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      Chris B,

      Who said men should be women and bear children?

      Men are only husbands and fathers.

      Women are only wives and mothers.

      How they function as such may be different from one family to the next or even from one season of life to another.

  7. Donald Johnson November 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    I am currently a (mostly) work at home dad, that is because I am an independent consultant at the moment. My wife works outside the home and goes into an office as a consultant also. This arrangement works for us as otherwise there would be additional costs of caring for kids before and after school. So, yes, I end up doing much of the food shopping and yet I often take the kids to the doctor when not consulting. This does not turn me somehow into a “Dad mom”. We need to grow up and realize that tasks are not required to be done by one gender or the other, especially in this society. A marriage is a partnership, and a partnership is always between equals, do not let anyone tell you different.

    A commercial wants to sell product and to do that it wants to be memorable, the makers of Tide WANT you to remember its product and so will use methods of humor or outrategeous situations, etc. I think that ad worked.

  8. RD November 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Donald said:

    We need to grow up and realize that tasks are not required to be done by one gender or the other, especially in this society.”

    Great point!

    So much of this kind of “classification language” – Dad mom/Man fail, etc. – seems very divisive to me. What purpose does it serve?

  9. Jerry Corbaley November 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Why focus on the physical and ignore the spiritual?

    By grace, the husband and father are empowered to lead the wife and mother.

    So let those who name themselves as Christian men actually lead! Let them be the first and the best at being repentant, humble, unselfish, patient, self-controlled, and all other sound Christian spiritual virtues.

    And if the wife and mother want to ‘compete’ with their man in being repentant, humble, unselfish, patient, and etcetera; I don’t see a problem.

    What spouse of either sex could possibly complain about someone who was more like Jesus than they were?

    As for American-Christian decisive male leadership: No one is better than a gorilla at getting their own way with physical things.

  10. Charlie November 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I think that it boils down to whether one sees the need to distinguish genders or whether one is for a blending of the genders. If one is buying the cultural experiment in trying to erase gender distinctions then removing any distinction between men and women is progress. However, if one believes that the genders are distinctive and we should keep the distinctiveness there will be thought given about how the distinctiveness plays out in life.

    I am with Denny and Strachan in seeing distinctions between genders. And this difference brings glory to God because he made men and women different. Thus, to remove the distinction is calling what God called good, not good. We should give thought about the difference so that we are not blending the genders. A man is a man and not a woman.

    Donald you said, “We need to grow up and realize that tasks are not required to be done by one gender or the other”

    I think we miss the point if we start the discussion about what tasks are right and wrong. I might be wrong but I think that the foundation resides in the greater aim about what I stated above, namely keeping the genders different. I don’t know where you stand with regards to the culture’s experiment, whether you are for it or not. But once we see the main aim is to glory in the design of the creator then thinking through how I can reflect God’s deign in making me a man is something I want to do. I don’t want to send the message to anybody in this culture that God did not make me a man or that God’s creation of the genders was not good. And one way this is communicate is through the tasks that I do and the over all orientation of how I live life.

    And this puts us right back into this world and what the culture is pushing. I am with Denny and Strachan in that the bible affirms the difference of the genders being shown in domestic spheres of life. The glory of the woman is in building and raising up a home. If this is what a woman should do (and what a hard task it is!) then I, as a man, should not call what God has called good bad by trying to take that role myself. And I must communicate that action by watching what tasks I do.

    • Donald Johnson November 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

      Genders cannot be blended in the fundamentals, only a woman can bear and nurse kids and only a man can impregnate a woman; no one can change this aspects of being a man or a woman.

      But other than those few things, the tasks in a family can be divided up by the spouses as they determine is best for them. And another couple can make different choices for their own marriage. There is a basic principle of Christian freedom.

    • SM November 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      Charlie,

      Blending genders? Only males are men, husbands, or fathers. Only females are women, wives, or mothers. How they function as such will differ from one family to the next or, even within the same family, from one season to the next. Even Strachan admits he sometimes helps with the dishes, is plugged into his kids, and helps out around the house. He acknowledges rightly that this doesn’t make him a woman. I agree. It makes him an engaged, responsible man just as the husband and wife who with their set of circumstances see the wisdom of the family being served best by dad working at managing the home and children and the wife working to provide income are an engaged, responsible woman and man.

      A man does not become a woman by working at home and a woman does not become a man by working outside the home, no more than me swimming in the ocean makes me a fish.

      Indeed, the main aim is to glory in the design of the Creator and to send the message to the culture that as believing men and women, husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, we are new creations in Christ Jesus being made into his image and likeness and to communicate this by having an over all orientation in life that whatever tasks we do it is to be done in such a way that it reflects God’s character and is done for God’s own glory so as to make the gospel attractive to the culture.

  11. Charlie November 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Thanks for your impute Donald and SM. I fully agree that trying to blend genders is a effort into futility. But our culture is attempting it none-the-less. Hence, why some are taking the position that children can chose their genders by getting surgery.

    I believe that we are just going to disagree over this, which is fine. I would point to the biblical verses Strachan quoted to say that the bible gives a picture of the woman being the main worker in the home. Thus it is not up to different marriages to decide what they are going to do or which cultural context we find ourselves in but instead it is up to us to be faithful to the bible. And SM, I am not saying that switching the roles actually makes the man the woman. But what I am saying is that the glorious picture of the bible becomes distorted when the differences laid down in scripture are blurred by men acting in ways which are prescribed for women. Since we are new creatures in Christ we have the wonderful ability to be faithful to these prescriptions.

  12. chris taylor November 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Interesting to read all these comments. Sad to read about CCEF.

    For my part, I just had an excellent discussion tonight with my 14 year old daughter, 12 year old son, and 10 year old daughter about what steps they need to take now to be good spouses when they grow up. For my girls, it was explaining to them about how God finds a “quiet and gentle spirit” to be so beautify and why it was important for them to cultivate a spirit of submission. For my son, it was how God expects him to submit to proper authority in the church, work environment, and state.

    We are all under authority. But we submit to proper authorities. The ones Jesus commands us to. As for men sending their wives to work, I’m okay with it, as long as the man is working two or more jobs and simply can’t make ends meet. Hopefully, this will be a very short season in their lives.

    My problem with seminary students asking their wives to work, is that it sets a pattern that many can’t break later on. It seems all too many pastors also practice this. Shame on a church that doesn’t provide its pastors sufficiently! And shame on a pastor who is well provided for, but still asks his wife to work outside the home.

    If I was really pressed, I think I could agree with Doug Wilson. But I still just think, why go there at all?

  13. Donald Johnson November 4, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    The thing to see about the Bible is that there are some sections of the Bible/NT that establish principles and some that reflect applications of those principles inside the culture in which it was written.

    I see Titus 2 as being in the application category, it is not reflective of timeless principles, per se, unless you believe slavery is intended by God. In other words, the Titus 2:1

    Tit 2:1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” is not saying the following IS doctrine, but it what follows from sound doctrine given the realities of the 1st century.

    The other thing to see about Titus 2 is that Paul is giving ways for Titus to ensure that everyone gets taught, giving 1st century sensibilities about morality. Since Titus is a young man, it is considered immoral in that culture if he would directly teach young women; so Paul says that older women should teach younger women; so that everyone gets taught. The idea that everyone is WORTH teaching is a very radical idea for that society and Paul even finds a way to ensure the young women get taught without bringing claims of immoral behavior onto Titus. Paul was very wise.

  14. Nathan November 4, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Strachan assumes the agrarian curse implies that man should work. He makes a leap and broadens work to non agrarian tasks. BUT he can’t fathom the biblical examples of manhood, womanhood, and spousal roles were made in a culture that treated women as inferior and maybe even property.

    Somehow we’re supposed to believe these examples are completely absent this bias and follow them without having much direct teaching in the Bible that supports his view.

    I would like to know the Biblical passages that tell ALL men and ONLY men what to do and be. Those are the biblical definition of manhood. I can’t give much weight to the examples (unless the Bible tells me to) and I don’t trust Strachan’s interpretation of them.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Strachan Mixes It Up on the Her.meneutics Blog | Denny Burk - November 22, 2011

    […] Owen Strachan wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago critiquing the “Dad Mom” mindset that is often praised in popular culture. His article provoked a response from Laura Ortberg Turner at Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Turner contests Strachan’s reading of Titus 2:5 and Genesis 3:16 and argues that Strachan’s vision of manhood is not the same as Jesus’. She writes: […]

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