Calling

Something that happens often is that I sit down and write what I think is a perfectly brilliant blog post, and then God says nope, that’s not quite right. Occasionally I even post the thing while knowing it’s not quite right, kind of like plugging my ears and singing “lalalalala” and hoping God won’t notice.

I’m well aware that sounds a little crazy to some of you, that God would care what I write here (or maybe that God exists at all). But I feel in my gut that he does. I’m not going to make the claim that everything I write is God breathed, because I’m not that good at listening to him. But my hope is that he can use me to convey some of his heart to people who read this, despite the fact that my human-ness gets in the way so often.

But to come back to the point, awhile back I posted an article where I dealt with fiction as metaphor and the role of women in society, referencing the character of Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings as an example.

I had to take it down after a few minutes. It just didn’t feel right. My focus was on stay-at-home-momhood vs. marketplace calling, in response to the ideas of some modern male pastors.

Then I realized that the relevant thing isn’t one vs. the other at all.

It’s that women HAVE callings. Callings that will take them beyond the home, whether they choose to be stay at home moms, choose to be working moms, or decide not to pursue motherhood at all.

I have a problem with the following types of statements (these made by a fairly famous American pastor):

“The woman’s domain is homeward. The man’s domain is marketplace.”

“…women, only when pushed because they greatly value the opinions of other women, do not naturally gravitate toward the marketplace.”

I take issue with this, because these statements preclude a woman having a calling that is anything other than motherhood and homemaking.

I propose that every woman has a calling that is beyond those things.

This does not mean that I’m anti stay at home moms – no way. Stay at home moms are fabulous. I also don’t mean to say that raising children is unimportant. Of course it’s not.

However, motherhood/homemaking is not in itself an exclusive calling. If it were, and if the above statements made by that pastor are to be believed, then raising girls would become a futile circle:

Mom raises girl to become a mom, who raises other girls to be moms, etc. That then becomes the purpose of woman. Women would exist to create and train other women to exist to create and train other women.

So where would Deborah fit into that circle? She was married, and I can’t imagine that she didn’t have children.

She led a nation.

Huldah, a prophetess – explaining scriptures to the men of Israel. To the men. Funny that one never comes up when Paul’s letters are preached.

My conclusion is simply this: motherhood is amazing, but it isn’t the only thing women were made for. I can’t imagine teaching that to a daughter of mine: “Sweetie, I’m glad you have hopes and dreams, but your purpose in life is to stay home. Let the men handle the marketplace. God doesn’t need you on the front lines.”

Heaven forbid.

Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a working mom, or not a mom at all, remember that you are a daughter who walks in power.

Don’t let anyone take that from you, or try to limit you.

God’s calling knows no limits.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Calling

  1. Wondering….what do we do with Timothy 2:15? “But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

    • Well, in that case, I’m screwed if I get hit by a truck tomorrow. But seriously, you’re right, that verse is a tricky one, especially considering that a literal interpretation contradicts Paul’s other writings (by grace are we saved through faith). Other obvious problems with this verse – women who can’t have children, or women like me, who haven’t had children yet.

      So what did he mean? Well, to start, we need to look at how forward Paul was in his thinking about gender equality. The fabulous thing about Paul’s letters to Timothy is that they actually advocate the education of women (1 Timothy 2:11). This was completely revolutionary for the time and day in which Paul was writing, because Jewish and Greek customs permitted only the education of men. Props to Paul. The part where they were to listen in silence? Women of the day would not be at all accustomed to sitting, listening, and learning, so it’s a very logical (and not sexist) instruction.

      Why go into all that? Well, context exonerates Paul of gender bias, which makes Timothy 2:15 seem even weirder when interpreted literally and free of context. Now, during the time that Timothy was written, Paul was dealing with heresies in the church, likely some brand of Gnosticism. It’s theorized that the references to Adam and Eve here are to contradict the Gnostic version of the creation story, which is quite different. The emphasis on the transgression of Eve then makes sense, as some Gnostics believed that Eve’s sin actually was a positive turning point, freeing mankind to pursue bodily pleasures without restraint.

      As for verse 15, there are (of course) several interpretations.

      a) The verse, continuing the discussion of Adam and Eve, is actually referring to Eve – that somehow her transgression is made right through her descendants, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness.

      b) This verse refers to someone specific that Paul knew, who may be saved by her believing children (just as Paul wrote about how a spouse may be saved through the example of their believing spouse).

      c) It may have been referring to women being saved from death in childbirth, which was common in that day and age, if she and her husband continue in faith, love, etc. (although I don’t personally subscribe to this one, as I’m sure that believers have died in childbirth before and since then).

      d) It may also be referring to the birth of Christ, and that “she” in this case is Mary. In fact, it could also be construed as Paul saying to those who thought women to be inferior: “Hey, remember, God provided our salvation through a woman’s cooperation.” This also could have been a reference to the Gnostic belief that flesh is evil (although the sect I’ve referenced here didn’t believe that it affected the spirit at all, so that meant that physicality was a free for all), and a reminder that salvation came from a flesh and blood woman’s womb in the form of a flesh and blood Christ.

      All that said, Paul’s letters need context study to interpret. I realize there are all kinds of schools of thought here on the subject, but this makes the most sense to me.

      My reference is this book.
      Been a pretty fascinating read so far. I don’t know what you’d make of it, to be honest, but I’m okay with us agreeing to disagree on some points. 🙂

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