Evangelicals & Motherhood
Vance and Erickson, by the way, also go on to argue, as we saw in that subhead in the article, that young children are clearly "happier and healthier when they spend the day at home with a parent." And that's not a radical idea, but you might think it is because in yesterday's edition of the Washington Post, there arrived in article with the headline, "Conservatives say they want to help 'parents'" the word parents put in quotation marks "stay home. They mean mothers."
I will be the first to admit times are changing and that change is not always inherently negative. I am wholly on board with running water and flushing toilets. I am so thankful for modern medicine, the cell phone, and for the very Apple Mac computer; I type this very blog post. The Holy Book even weighs in with “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4).
So, I am not the crusty old guy shouting to the young whippersnappers, “get off my front lawn.” I both celebrate change and am simultaneously resistant to change when the proposed change conflicts with the clear, explicit teaching of the Holy Writ. I, a male and one damn proud of it, and I will forever champion the vocation of Motherhood for the rest of my earthly days. Now, I grant I am late to the party, but thanks be to the good Lord, I made it to the party before it was too late, and the door shut with no more admittance.
What once would have been low-hanging fruit by the larger society is no longer the accepted manner of worldview. The secular elites now view the previously long-held and Biblically revered concept of Motherhood as hostile and a necessary off-shoots of male hierarchy, toxic masculinity, and an entire array of polemic rhetoric by those of the radical Left. Let me state from the offset one of the most crippling ideologies that have done irreparable harm to the family: The Feminist movement, period, end of story, and full-stop. Outside of voter suppression and a few other course corrections, the Feminist movement has been a colossal moral failure. I say this with no hint of misogyny whatsoever.
Women have their place, and men have their place, and as an Evangelical, I make no apology whatsoever for affirming whole cloth what God has revealed in His Word that most advance human flourishing. God has decreed men would provide and protect, which necessarily implicates he do so outside the home. God has decreed women would nurture, which necessarily implies that she does so inside the home.
There was a time when it would not be controversial to espouse children developed more holistically if there was a full-time parent in the home, especially during their formative years. So far, so good, right? The Gospel According to Ricky, I affectionally call this Gospel; GAR =Gospel according to Rick, would have Miss Monique (my spouse) being the full-time parent who would forsake a vocation outside the home. Biblically, I would be the one who would trek out into corporate America and bring home the bacon with every nary a serious consideration Monique would ever seek to reverse roles, all things being equal.
Now, the erudite thinker would leave room for exceptions for a myriad of reasons. Maybe I became incapacitated, or I went off to war, or perhaps I was a bum and left Miss Monique high and dry (even though the Bible still has much to say so that Miss Monique would have safeguards in place to allow her to remain in the home).
So, I am clearly speaking about the normative manner of life, not the exceptions. The Biblical norm is for the female to nurture and for the male to provide and protect. I am a foremost advocate of never living in a state of regret. However, I still posit if I were to be given a mulligan and redo my parenting as the head of the home with small children, I would insist Miss Monique would refrain from working, at least until our children reached their teen years. I recognize these are the very issues that must be discussed and contemplated during the very early parts of any courtship where matrimony becomes a serious consideration.
That is my very counsel to Ricky Jr. (my son) and any young person. It may very well require economic sacrifice, but we always pay one way or the other as a society. I would much rather pay on the front end by forsaking some of the temporal niceties in the short-term for the profound and lasting benefits that will speak and material for generations to come when we wisely chose the path decreed by the Creator.
Outside of teachers, I know of no entity with a more personal and influential impact on the next generation than Mothers. The only reason I include teachers is the numerical exposure they have with our children. I am typical of most males as I am not patient, and I confess being relational in that way is my strong suit. I know the average reader knows precisely what I mean by in that way, as all human beings are relational.
Yet, talk to any of my now adult three children and ask them who they preferred helped them with their homework. I can remember Constance with tears streaming down her face after I sought to help her with her math homework. Now, I do not share that to make light of being impatient; I share that because being nurturing to a young female was never going to be my go-to move as a father. Now, Miss Monique strived in that environment, and I soon came to yield that role to her gladly. As a result, our home functioned with me as the Disciplinarian and Miss Monique as the Relater. I would be the first to acknowledge if the situation ever demanded that I pick up the mantle of Relater; I am most confident I would have found the resolve to take the role and flourish.
Much like when someone asked D.L. Moody if he could be as faithful as some of the Church’s Martyrs have been during the Church’s distinguished history of enduring persecution with honor and distinction. Moody quipped he believed, “God would give him the requisite faith IF God decreed him to become a martyr.” Thus, I resolutely believe that if God decreed I assume the destiny of being a Relater, then and only then would God would graciously grant Relater Grace to me.
Baseball, Apple-Pie, and Chevrolet was a slogan popularized by the car manufacturer Chevrolet during the 70s. Old heads like me conjure fond memories when we reminisce about the good ole days with thoughts that remind us of this classic expression. Although my mother was not a stay-at-home mom, this was due in considerable measure because of economics in our home. I long for a return to those times though I know we will never put the genie back into the proverbial bottle ever again.
My formative time as a father to three small children was shaped by a secular pursuit of chasing the American Dream that I naively accepted and embraced. While I assume full culpability and fully own it, I still posit the Church failed me as an individual and failed my generation collectively. Both the collective, Universal Church, as well as my local Church.
As the Apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of Holy Scripture, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
I cannot enter my mother’s womb and live life all over again, but the one thing I can do is acknowledge my flawed worldview thinking and Biblically seek to live in fidelity to God’s Word for the remainder of the fourth quarter of my earthly pilgrimage.
Motherhood is not a necessary evil that females must seek to endure with askance of a flawed desired to be all she seeks to be, as if the vocation of Motherhood is not an illustrious gift from the very Creator of Heaven and Earth. We have relegated the vocation of Motherhood to secondary status when the Bible grants Motherhood supreme status. Listen again to the Apostle Paul when he again writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Timothy 2:15).
It would be beyond the scope of this blog post to fully unpack the correct interpretation of this passage, but I can confidently posit the Apostle is not declaring the virtue of bearing children spiritually saves women. Yet, I can confidently postulate that Apostle declares something profoundly spiritually pleasing to Almighty God when women do bear children.
Men and Women are different. Men and Women have always been different. Men and Women will always be different. See Titus 2:3-5
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled [emphasis mine].
Children develop better when a parent is home full-time. Women, in the main, do a much better job, and God has sovereignly wired Females to biologically, psychologically, and emotionally thrive in the home; Q.E.D, the Female is better suited to be the parent who stays home to raise the children, period, end of story, full-stop! You will not a corresponding Biblical passage directing Males to be homeward-focused in this manner.
This is my story, and I am sticking to it. Let me know what you think? If you disagree, then inform me where my thinking has gone off the rails. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to Serve for an Audience of One. P.S. I refer the curious reader to Dr. Albert Mohler's daily podcast, The Briefing, for a complete look at the topic. It can be accessed @https://albertmohler.com/2021/05/05/briefing-5-5-21