Pastor Actually Questions, in the Year 2017, If It’s Acceptable for Mothers to Work Outside of the Home.
I cannot believe we are in the year 2017, and Christians are still asking about this sort of thing and pontificating about it. To even ask and muse about this in 2017 is just sexist.
In regards to this story linked to below, Dee of Wartburg Watch asked on Twitter, something along the lines of, how much money does preacher Todd Wagner earn so that his wife (assuming he has a wife and kids) is able to stay at home all day to watch their kids?
How many of the women in Wagner’s church congregation (who may even be mothers themselves) have jobs outside the home, part of whose job income are paid to him in tithes, so that he can afford to have his wife stay at home and be a stay at home mother?
July 28, 2017
by Sheryl Lynn
The pastor of a multi-site church in Texas [Watermark Community Church] recently responded to a question on whether the Bible says it’s OK for moms to work.
While it’s not forbidden, Todd Wagner questioned the motive behind a mother choosing to work over being at home with her children.
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“While it’s not forbidden.” – Yes, you can end it right there. Anything beyond this is Wagner’s opinion.
This reminds me of this older post I made on my blog a couple of years ago:
If the Bible does not explicitly forbid something, or even so much have a whisper of a groundwork against it, whatever “it” may be, please, don’t make rules about it (that are based on your opinions, preferences, and personal convictions) and insist other people follow your rules, opinions, preferences, and convictions.
“If the reason you’re doing it (working outside the home) is because you want to, then I would say let’s not be motivated by that.”
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I’m sorry; what? Who is this guy to question a woman’s motive for why she works?
So what if a woman’s only, or partial motive, is in fact because she derives a sense of purpose from it, or it boosts her self esteem? It’s not his place to judge that or to condemn it.
You notice, seldom do religious types (gender complementarian Christians above all) ever question why men who are fathers work, or if it’s acceptable if a married guy works. No, such judgement is usually only levied against women.
About the only time I see Christian preachers comment about employment and fatherhood is if it’s by a “manly man,” arrogant, snot ball of a pastor, such as notorious sexist Mark Driscoll, or former CBMW sexist spokes-head Owen Strachan, who think it’s their duty and right to judge and condemn stay- at- home- fathers for being stay- at- home- fathers while their wives hold a 9 to 5 outside the home to pay the bills.
Wagner stressed that the question he was addressing specifically referred to mothers and that this was not about whether women in general should work.
….Nothing, he said, is esteemed more in God’s eyes than giving birth to and shaping a human made in the image of God.
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Nothing is ‘more esteemed more in God’s eyes than giving birth to a human’? So, women like me who never had children, or infertile married women, are not esteemed. And, of course, this omits men from the picture entirely, I presume.
The Bible, by the way, does not say that “nothing is more esteemed in God’s eyes than giving birth…” That is his conjecture.
Citing (Link): 1 Timothy 2:15, Wagner said, “Women will be given purpose and significance among other things through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”
…”One of the things that marks a mother is the way she sacrifices for her children even maybe her career for a season.”
Wagner acknowledged that not all women — such as single moms — have the luxury of not working and staying home with their children.
…The Texas pastor didn’t leave the responsibility solely on women, however. He stressed that the presence of fathers is just as important and rebuked workaholics.
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I’m a never married, childless woman over the age of 40. To suggest that my only purpose or significance is if I have children (which I did not do, as I never married) is deeply insulting, and the part most Christians are most interested in: it’s not a biblical attitude, either.
The Bible does not say women will have purpose or significance in having children.
1 Timothy 2:15 is not even teaching what this pastor thinks it is teaching: there are multiple interpretations of this passage, such as (Link): this one.
A woman’s value, or purpose, or significance, is not in if she marries or has children. I thought Christians were supposed to believe and teach that woman’s value is based in Jesus Christ and being made in the image of God?
In the end, Wagner concluded: “Is it a sin to betray your highest calling which is to care for those that are made in the image of God that you are stewards of and responsible for?
“You bet it is, whether you’re male or female. So don’t mess with that for more comfort, promise or worldly acclaim.”
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The Bible (Link): nowhere says that motherhood is a woman’s highest calling – that is his value and his opinion.
The Bible actually says it is better for a man and woman to remain single (see 1 Corinthians 7), and hence, celibate and childless.
The Bible does not delineate how much time a woman should spend with her children, not does the Bible say for men such as Wagner to question their motives and then pass judgement on them or shame them.
The Bible also contains examples of women who “worked outside the home” (not that people in ancient days usually went to an office building and worked 9 to 5. A lot of them seemed to run a business in or around their own homes).
From the Bible, here’s an example or two of women who “worked outside the home,” and the Bible does not condemn them for doing so, or ask them if they are more devoted to their jobs than to their children (if they even have children):
One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Luke 8 (link):
8 After this, Jesus traveled from one city and village to another. He spread the Good News about God’s kingdom. The twelve apostles were with him.
2 Also, some women were with him. They had been cured from evil spirits and various illnesses.
These women were Mary, also called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; 3 Joanna, whose husband Chusa was Herod’s administrator; Susanna; and many other women. They provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples.
As you can see in Proverbs 31, this married woman is not praised for spending all her time with any children she may have – but she is praised for having an out of the household job, where she is shrewd with making money:
Proverbs 31 (link):
A wife of noble character who can find?
…. She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
…She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
…Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Yes, it says “let her works bring her praise,” not, “let her motherhood” bring her praise.
It’s 2017, please get with the program.
Some women never marry, whether it’s by choice or circumstance, so they never have children. Some women do not want to have children, so they never have children. Some married women are incapable of having children.
We’re no longer living in Greece, Rome, or Israel in the year 30 A.D. We’re in a different time and culture.
Not everything in the Bible was meant to be (Link): prescriptive for all people every where in all times and all cultures.
Teachings that presume that God is happier with women who marry and/or have children and/or parent in only a certain way (e.g., staying at home all the time) are insulting and hurtful to women, not to mention, again, that they’re not biblical. Some of these views even conflict with teachings found in 1 Corinthians 7 (link).
These views promoted by Wagner and pastors like him are straight out of 1950s “Leave It To Beaver” re-runs. June Cleaver was a fictional character and not in the Bible.
And the actress who played June Cleaver, in real life, had to leave her real-life children in the care of a baby-sitter when she went off to the studio every day to play Beaver’s mother for the television show. (Playing June Cleaver was a job, it was not her reality.)
Off site links:
Not only was Mary Magdalene one of Jesus’ most devoted followers, who stuck with him all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem, from the ministry to the cross and the tomb, but also she provided for him from her own means, said Mark Goodacre, a professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Duke University.
When the Gospels speak of her “ministering” to Jesus, they are explaining that she was one of the key figures in Jesus’ everyday mission, Goodacre continues. Along with other women like Joanna and Susanna, she was one of those who made his mission viable.
(Link): Jesus Was Funded by Rich Women
2. Women Give More than Men
This Scripture is very clear that women were funding his ministry at a high level. Check out (Link): THIS STUDY done on the generosity level of women. Women are statistically more generous than men. If this is true, why do we leave them out a lot of times when having meetings about funding the vision? Never have a fund-raising conversation of significance with JUST the husband. Include the spouse always! Very important.
During a panel discussion at my Christian college years ago, one scholar explained that bearing children is God’s plan for womanhood, referencing 1 Timothy 2:15—”Women will be saved through childbearing.”
A graduate student stood up and addressed him tearfully, “I have just learned that I can never have children. Where is there room in your gospel for me?”
The panelist paused for a long time. Then he said, in a broken voice, “I don’t have a theology for that.” There was no resolution, just pain.
(Link): “I Regret Having Children” – Various Mothers Interviewed (via NY Post)
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified