The State of the American Woman–Part 2

CBMW hosted a short, informal discussion about feminism last week between Jim Hamilton and me. The article from TIME magazine that I wrote about last week is the point of departure for our conversation, and the video is above.

15 Responses to The State of the American Woman–Part 2

  1. Sue October 29, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    Will you also address the fact that rape with bodily harm, assault and domestic homicide is all reduced by about two thirds in the last 40 years.

  2. Roger Sharp October 29, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    It seems it would be wise to have a woman for the interview 🙂

    Roger Sharp

  3. Jada October 29, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    Denny, I loved your quote, “I don’t believe a woman’s place is the home, but her PRIORITY is the home.”

    Sadly, I think there are many Christian women, whose priority IS their marriage/family/home, who work outside of their home, or in their churches, who are being looked down upon by other Christians as not ‘godly’, or following a biblical view of womanhood.

    Your view of the Proverbs 31 woman is vastly different than many other “Christians,” who think women can’t/shouldn’t work outside of the home, if they desire to be godly, or to follow Christ.

    I know, I, personally, have been one on the receving end of such views and tongue lashings. Not to mention, as I posted in Part I of this discussion, many of my pastor wives friends, who TRULY see their working outside of the home as a ministry TO their pastor-husbands and families for a variety of reasons, many of which are for necessities, not outlandish wants, or to “keep up with the Joneses.”

    While you and I differ on certain roles that woman can hold in the church, we share the view that a woman’s priority is in the home and with her family. Period. No matter whatever else she does, marriage, family, and home are to be her priorties. And they can be.

    I am a multi-tasker. Even with homeschooling, church planting, teaching private/group music lessons, I still have down time. Moreso now than ever before in my married life. My home is welcoming, filled with warmth, love and care; my children are my joy; my husband is my bestfriend. Perhaps it is because of having the support of my husband to follow my own calling, use my own giftings because he knows that by doing so I am a better wife and mother. It feels me up, to where I have more to give him and my children, if that makes sense.

    ~Jada

  4. Francis October 29, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    I remember God creating the women as a help meet for the man. Sometimes the helpmeet is needed to work outside the home, sometimes in the home. Each woman is different. Each family has different needs. A woman can serve God best, by being a help meet to her husband, be it in our out of the home.

  5. Don Johnson October 29, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    help meet is a pretty good translation of ezer kenegdo, except you need to speak Shakespeare’s English to know what it means and many today do not.

  6. paul October 29, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    what Roger said.

  7. Marilyn October 29, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Amen, Denny (in comments), re a woman’s priority being the home.

    Amen, Don, re meaning of ezer.

    Amen, Jada, re commentary on working wives.

    Sue, I believe that secular policy analysts are in agreement that the primary driver of the stat you just cited is the aging of the US population – not the move towards egalitarianism.

  8. Don Johnson October 29, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    I agree with much of what Jim and Denny said.

    I have some concerns with something Jim Hamilton said, so I will note them here. He claimed that “that’s Bible” that in Gen 2 the man was told to work and keep the garder and the woman was to be his helper.

    1. Adam was told to “work and keep” the garden; but after being cast out of the garden, it was no longer possible to directly keep these commands. One might claim that these commands continue, but that would need to be demonstrated.

    2. More importantly, the woman was to be an “ezer kenegdo” but Jim simply refers to her as “helper” to the man. Ezer is most often used to refer to God helping Israel, so if you wish to translate ezer as “helper” you should at least also teach that God was Israel’s helper, that is, there is no sense of subordination in the term, which might not be clear the way Jim used it.

    Furthermore, kenegdo means “facing” or “corresponding to” or similiar, with the idea that this is a peer (but different) that has been created for the man, again negating any hint of subordination.

  9. Sue October 29, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    That’s possible Marilyn, I really don’t know, but an analysis of the data on women’s happiness also shows that there is no change in women who are not happy and five percent change in women who are “very happy.” Perhaps this also is due to an aging population.

    I do know, and I was an adult in the 70’s, along with my friends, that laws were pretty inadequate in many areas.

    I also find it very difficult when women who are themselves succedssful professionals support the complementarian dictate that a husband should make the decision as to whether a wife has access to birth control, further education, working outside the home, any kind of career at all etc. etc.

    I will soon visit a friend of mine, faced with her own mortality, who was denied a university education by her father or working a day of her life outside the home. A brilliant woman, she has become an artist, and has a lovely family, but she has expressed her “regrets” such a mix of happiness with her dear children, but also a question, is this her life, is this the last chapter, and did she really have to live it this way,

    Facing death, after a life of restriction by men, … I have seen too many women with this look of intense regret ….

    I come out of partriarchy and no, the women I know, do have some things to be happy for, but overall, even for the most fortunate, there is an intense sorrow, when they know that they are near the end of their life.

    I love the home as much as any woman and support the focus on the home. But male authority in my life, meant that I lived without a home, and now that I am single I nave a home again, full of young people and happiness.

    I cannot support the notion that putting women under the decision-making of men, and restricting their movement increases their happiness. I have seen too much tragedy.

  10. Nathan October 29, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Sue,

    I want to say this as gently as I can, but you have now jumped to this post to continue your agenda. We get that you came out of an abusive relationship. Your post here expresses the same for your friend. However, and I am not advocating abuse at all, many men, from the vantage point of “regret,” could make the same arguments of a life spent sacrificing for a wife and children only to get to the end of life and wish they could abandon that way of life and do something else.

    Point being: Everybody is under the decision making of men/women. You live under the federal government, state government, local government and will either abide by their decisions or probably go to jail. Even in your new situation (living single with young people) you are under their decision-making to some extent if they disagree with you and you both cannot come to a consensus. Either they will submit to you or you will give-in to them. You may even have to put them out of your house (if they are over 18) if they refuse to live in consensus with you.

    Setting aside the issue of physical abuse (if you can) life is all about give-and-take and sometimes decisions have to be made even if consensus cannot be found. When that time comes, somebody will take charge.

  11. James Cole October 29, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

    Sue, I am a complementarian and I just want to sincerely apologize to you for men who claimed to be complementarian but abused you and your friends. They misrepresent complementarianism, which is a beautiful thing. The men you speak of were obviously not loving their wives as Christ loved the church and they weren’t shepherding their children in the right way.

  12. Sue October 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm #

    Either they will submit to you or you will give-in to them.

    That seems to make sense. But a one way street is not so pleasant.
    No wonder there is a growing group of women blogging about coming out of the complementarian churches.

    I am disappointed that when the studies show a 62% decrease in violence against women, this can somehow be discounted, but a 5% change in the “very happy” response, and no change in the “not happy” group is supposed to be significant.

    The fact remains that the greatest danger a woman faces in our society, Christian or secular, is from her partner. Reinforcing the power and authority of this person does not keep women safe.

    It does not help much either when a woman who has the freedom to complete graduate school and work in the university seems to agree that other women should submit to those husbands who prevent their wives from ever earning anything. This does not address the retirement issues that women face in the real world.

    Not being able to make decisions for your own life can create enormous difficulties.

  13. KR Wordgazer November 5, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    It has been said here that a woman’s priority should be her marriage, children and home. Fine. But should not a man’s priority also be his marriage, family and home?

    Or are you advocating that men put their jobs before their families? Their co-workers over their children? Their workplaces over their homes?

  14. Mrs. Webfoot November 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    Do women have a calling as women, or do we just have an ordering of priorities?

  15. Mrs. Webfoot November 7, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    KR, I agree. Husbands and father’s should also have the home as their priority. They should not sacrifice their wives and children to their work, activities, or friendships.

    I think that family is more than just one more thing that we do. It involves God’s call on our lives as much as any other call.

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