Monday, May 22, 2006

Your thoughts, please

I read this article the other day and wanted to know what you think about it. The subject is women in ministry. At first it angered me, but the more I read it and thought about it, I realize she makes some really good points. I would really like to know what you think.

Mothering From the Heart Journal

After you've read it, go here to read her explanation of why she wrote it.

I'll post my thoughts later. It's sparked some interesting discussions in my head and with others lately.

10 comments:

Laura said...

Here's my thoughts, off the top of my head.

First, I'm not sure I like her tone in several places where she is referencing the behavior of the "celebrity ministry women." She seems very critical, mean-spirited almost and takes assumptions that I'm not sure she has the place to take - such as "discussing their husband at a board meeting at Starbucks" and the Prada clothes and the line about not knowing how to be a stay at home mom or thinking it's important. Does she actually know that these women she mentions talk about their husbands behind their backs, wear expensive clothes or weren't at home during their children's younger years? I'm not too sure of the history of the ministry of the women she references, but is it possible that these women are out teaching and speaking to others now that their children are grown, just as she does occasionally and were stay at home moms and wives themselves? I'm not defending these women, nor am I attacking them personally as I don't have the right to firstly, but secondly the information or knowledge of them and their personal day-to-day choices and thoughts and actions.

I see her point about the money-making side of it, the celebrity of it and the teaching aspect of the call on wives and mothers to the home being left out almost completely by most women speakers.

And I appreciate her value and perspective of scripture, both in what it says to young women with children at home and to older women to teach the younger women.

I'm completely on my own in this wife and mother adventure where it concerns "older women" to mentor and guide. No mother, no other church women, etc. Even if we were members of a church (which we were and this was one of the reasons we stopped going) there aren't any older women there willing to taken anyone under their wing so to speak to teach them anything much about their role at home.

It is very frustrating to be a young christian wife and mother and to get such contradicting messages from the church and christian celebrity speakers.

I'm thankfully not alone in this role completely as I have God taking me by the hand each day to guide me through His calling. But it would be nice to have some older women alongside me to add some wisdom and even practical teaching in my place at home.

Sites like Choosing Home and Holy Experience and As I See it Now have been HUGE in the encouragement arena and if you haven't seen them, you should check them out!!

Thanks for sharing the article and I look forward to your thoughts.

Heather Smith said...

Well girl. I'm neither a wife or a mother. But here is how I feel about it. She's right in some aspects and way out there in others.
Here's some of the things I feel.
Do I think I can have a ministry outside of the home if I were married with children? Yes.
Should that be my primary ministry(If I were married)? No.
Do I think that women should be included in all areas of ministry? No.
I am from the group that thinks women should not be preachers. I know it may sound old-fashioned or whatever, but it comes from beliefs similar to this woman's. Though I'm not quite so extreme as her. I think a woman's sole ministry should be the home. Not necessarily her only ministry. Which is why I think it would be a hard thing to keep your focus on your family and be a preacher. My grandpa is a preacher. There are many times that it has taken him from home late at night or to places that, well, women just shouldn't have to see.
But I sing. That is a ministry. My sister who has two children and a husband sings with me. She never lets our singing ministry come before her family. I think you can minister outside of the home so long as you keep your priorities straight. I just think that some ministries are the type that would take major precedence, so women just shouldn't be there.
I'm probably not making a lot of sense here, but I don't think that God would give women the talents He does if He didn't intend for us to use them.
But any talent can be abused, so we must make sure to follow God's leading and not the call to "something bigger and better."
Those are my thoughts on this. Agree with them or not. To me, doctrine is a "side issue." Yes, it's important, and you should know what your convictions are. But the main point isn't to change the convictions of believers. It's to lead the lost to Christ so that they become believers. That's what I think anyway!

Angie said...

Boy, what a hot topic! I absolutely agree with everything that MFTH says. Younger women should be home with their children, rasing their families, submitting to their husbands. It is very clear in scripture. God has clearly given us instruction to do just that. Titus 2.

I am very blessed to be apart of a Bible believing, Bible preaching church. We are taught directly from the Bible, by our pastors and by our SS teachers and of course our Titus Moms. I am so thankful that I have fallen under the direct teachings of Audrey (MFTH). She is an awesome mother, a great teacher to us younger women, and a great asset to her husband.
She believes in what she says and she does what she believes, how many of us can really say that? She has great courage for approaching matters such as this. And catches great flack from it, but that is ok with her. She knows that she will not please everyone. She is just doing what is right, she is doing what the Bible clearly states.
I appreciate her views because they are not her own, they are our Father's.

erinlo said...

Jenn- I've been thinking about this article for a while. My first thought was, "YES!!!"....until I read Laura's comments. I agree with Laura that the writer sounds very critical and really.....gossipy when she names names. (Am I gossiping about HER now???) Anyways- I think she could have written the article and gotten the same point across without being critical of specific people.
That being said, I do think that motherhood- even in our churches- is being "dumbed-down." How many times do we feel guilted into participating in a ministry at church because no one else is doing it and they really needed help and since we're stay at thome moms we have more time on our hands?? I know at our church, I have heard occasional rumblings by the younger women that the older women rarely teach children's classes or particpate in things like VBS. I do not know this to be true, but I've seen it in prior churches. The attitude of "Well, I've raised me children I'm through with that!" is far too common. I feel like most older women do not have time for me and I would not want to burden them with my "Could you tell me how to cook this ham?" questions. I am so so blessed to have "Grandma Hop" in our family. She is an amazing and wonderful "older woman" who has taken me under her wing and has helped me through many a struggle and rejoiced with me, also. She is always ready with a scripture encouragement or prayer. Sometimes, she calls jsut to see if she can take me out to lunch. She has given me everything from mothering advice to cooking advice to spiritual wisdom. I wish every young mother had a Grandma Hop, but I feel that our older women are too busy. I don't know why and I wish it weren't the case, but it just IS. The scripture references about "older women teaching the younger women" are something I wish more of us would take seriously. I think for me, personally, the message I took away was that when I am older and my children are grown, I need to be on the lookout for younger women to take under my wing and encourage. I hope that I will be in a postion financially where I will not have to be working all the time in order to put my kids through college or pay off credit card debt. I hope I am not sounding critical of older women. I, personally, am very very blessed, but I know so many who do not have the benefit of a Grandma Hop.

Dave & Lisa said...

Wow, I just read both of those meaty articles. I guess I went into them thinking that I probably wouldn't have much of an opinion on this, but I have decided that I do have an opinion after all! (That usually happens!)

I guess she seemed pretty angry and even hasty in some areas, but from her position I can understand why. I think she's just fed up, and it seems to be a righteous anger. I myself have even felt like I need a "real ministry" of my own, especially since moving to Alaska and being more of a housewife than anything else (at least for now). It's taken me months to see that praying for Dave while he's at work, grocery shopping and cleaning during the day, and serving my husband, encouraging him, and spending time with him when he comes home really ARE significant ministries. If the Lord brings more my way -- and I know He will! -- then I will be glad for that. BUT, I need to be careful not to shirk the responsibilities I have. I WANT to serve my husband and cook for him and wash his clothes and help him get organized. Those aren't just mundane things, though they can at times feel that way. I once heard a woman in Sovereign Grace Ministries say that one of a wife's most important jobs is to "free up" her husband to bless others and use his gifts. I know I was made for my husband, and not him for me, though of course I reap the benefits, too. :-)

I guess I agree with her in many more ways than I disagree. I'm glad I read the other article where she said she was not trying to single out these famous women and criticize them specifically. Seems like she is criticizing the worldly mindset in the church more than anything and begging older women to fulfill godly roles. How can I not agree with that?

As far as all she said about children, it's hard for me to have many comments since I don't have any. :-) I will say that you, Jennifer, are an example of a godly woman who loves and cherishes your husband, gives your days to your son, and turns to the Word and to Biblical fellowship when you need some "adult" time... but all without compromising your sacred calling as a wife and as a mother. Justin and Caleb will never doubt that they are the most important people on this earth to you (at least until you have another little munchkin, then I guess Caleb will have to share the billing!). You're doing it right, my friend. Thank you for provoking this conversation and giving us something worthwhile to think about.

I love you, and I thank God for you every day!

Dave & Lisa said...

I thought I was done with the computer today... until I read something I just had to log back on and share with you. Betsy Ricucci wrote a book with her husband Gary called Love That Lasts, and it's a really good one. I've been poring over the chapter entitled "Walking in Wisdom: The Role of the Wife." After reading the article you posted and thinking through it enough to leave my own comments, this statement in the book just floored me and jumped off the page:

"While worldliness grabs for the visibility of a leadership position, godliness serves, often unrecognized, in a position of influence."

That speaks to me. How many times have I done something that seemed godly because I knew other people were watching me, and they would praise me for it? Being a mother must be a job that receives very little praise in the worldly sense. So much of what you do is behind-the-scenes, but it does not go unrecognized by the Lord.

I guess I think that maybe some women ARE desiring "ministry" roles for the wrong reasons, out of a sense of pride or selfish desire for praise. I like that there are women out there brave enough to warn us of that danger!

Sassy Diva said...

I too felt her comments were of a negative tone. There was no need to annouce the "celebrity" women ministers as she did. She could've gotten her point across just the same without that, which to me, seems like she just wants to complain out loud.

I do agree with her point on mentoring, yet she doesn't actually talk about that in detail. She mentions scripture (yet doesn't actaully put it in writing), but we all know that behind every scripture is history and our Bibles are just translations...and sometimes the history is lost in the translation. Makes me want to go learn greek so I can read originals...I know just from being in Bible Classes that the history behind verses are very eye widening and better explain the meaning of the scripture.

I think we all get frsutrated with the mundane, but we are human. Any SAHM will tell you about frustrations, lack of sleep, lack of alone time, domestic house cleaner, cook, sex goddess, and so on are DRAINING on you as a person. Just because you have children doesn't mean you completely lose yourself and have no feelings! What's wrong with wanting something a little more than being in ministry at home? I don't think there's anything wrong with it...especailly if you are fulfillg your current role. We are all made differntly, and certain people can handle other things as well as taking care of the family. And be successful at both. Yes, it would be MARVELOUS if we had older mentoring women to help encourage us, but we might need to seek them out. I wonder if this lady has ever heard of MOPS (mothers of preschoolers)?

And, I don't think Beth Moore would EVER down a woman's ministry at home. I think she values that and would be heart broken to be named like she was in that lady's article. Shame on her for naming names...I bet she doesn't know any of them personally. And I don't think you should write things like that based on reading or assumptions.

There's my comments Jen!

~Lea Ellen

blestwithsons said...

You might be interested to read a follow up which Audrey has posted. It's on the main page at www.mfth.org

For what it's worth, I was privileged to sit under Audrey's teaching for three years while we were stationed in SC. She is an awesome woman of the Word. Doesn't mean she's perfect, but she is a wonderful teacher and example for younger moms. Her kids are pretty cool, too!

aggiejenn said...

blestwithsons--Thanks for commenting. I believe what you say about Audrey; I wish I knew her personally--I think I could learn a lot. I read her explanation and it did help to know her intentions.

Mary said...

I am going to have to really process some of this before I respond, but I do have to say that you can speak the truth without attacking other people and I think she went too far. I did not think that article sounded very godly. I know we have to discern truth for ourselves, but I would start by saying 2 things to her. 1)Judge not lest you be judged. 2)Make sure you've got the beam out of your own eye before you try and get the speck out of someone else's. Do I want to open a can of worms and post about this on my blog? I'm not sure yet. As a woman without kids, maybe people would not listen to me anyway. Well, Jenn, you've got me thinking and I'm pretty sure that at the very least, I will e-mail her.



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