CTBHHM: Get off the Internet!

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 211—222

I am now armed with a fresh copy of Created To Be His Help Meet and ready to resume my reviews. For reasons completely unknown to me, my previous copy never reappeared. I have utterly no idea where it is. But lest my readers worry, I bought my fresh copy used.

Leaving Home by Phone, E-mail, and Chat Rooms

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (I Timothy 5:14).

God’s will for a young woman, according to the verse above, is that she guide the house and provide no occasion to bring reproach upon the family from Satan, In the previous verse, the apostle Paul tells what the young women were doing that enabled Satan to bring reproach upon the family. ” . . . they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” 

And this is where it pays to read something other than the King James Version. It also pays to not be willfully deceptive about the passage you are quoting from. This is incredibly blatant. The passage is actually talking about widows. The question being broached in this section is which widows should be put on a church list of some sort. I’m going to quote the full passage using the New International Version, bolding the key difference between this and the King James Version Debi quotes.

As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

I looked the Greek up, and the NIV is correct here and the KJV is not. (One benefit of growing up in a Christian homeschooling family is that teaching teenagers Greek is trendy.) The Greek only includes the word “younger,” meaning that you supply the subject from context. The context is obvious—younger widows.

But what is this bit about it being a problem when these widows marry, and what is this about them thereby breaking “their first pledge”? I did some quick googling, and one explanation I found read as follows: “Apparently the widows made a life-long pledge to serve the church in return for its financial support, and remarriage was a violation of that pledge.” This makes perfect sense of the context. It also makes Debi’s use of this passage absolute bullshit.

This passage isn’t about women in general at all. It is about widows who pledge lifelong celibacy and church service (much like later nuns) in return for funding from the church. Apparently the author of this passage is worried about younger widows’ ability to keep the pledge of celibacy, and also about their ability to remain industriously and singlemindedly focused on service to the church. It’s a lot to ask, after all.

I also feel the need to mention that scholars believe that I and II Timothy, along with Titus, were some of the last books of the New Testament written, and that they were forgeries. Evangelicals like Debi believe that Paul wrote these three letters, two to Timothy and one to Titus, but scholars do not believe that is possible. It appears to be likely, in fact, that these letters were written, and then passed off as Paul’s, in an effort to curb the significant influence of women in the early Christian church. These passages, then, should be read in that context.

And with that, back to Debi!

The sum of their sin was being idle instead of being industrious, visiting from house to house (phone to phone), tattlers (just talking about people) and repeating everything they heard, and giving their “righteous” opinions about everyone’s business.

So let’s see, then. According to Debi, women are not supposed to visit each other or talk on the phone. They are not allowed to talk about people or repeat anything they hear. They are also not allowed to give opinions about other people’s business. Now maybe this isn’t actually what Debi means, but if it isn’t, she sure as heck doesn’t say so. She risks leaving readers wondering whether talking on the phone is okay for any reason, or just what subjects aren’t off limits when talking with friends. This is a problem.

The Scripture tells young women to be keepers at home because of their natural tendency to loaf around doing nothing except seeking entertainment.

Can I just say how freaking offensive this is?

Yes, everyone enjoys some down time, but individuals of both genders tend to also have a need for doing things that are productive, that are rewarding, and that keep food on the table. Young women are no more likely to loaf or just seek entertainment than are young men.

Modern inventions have provided a way for a woman to stay at home and still not be a keeper at home. We can sit at home in body while traveling in spirit by means of the telephone and the computer.

Okay I have a question. What about books? Books allow you to travel in spirit too. Is Debi okay with women reading? I’m honestly not sure. I mean obviously, she’s okay with women reading her books, but I rather wonder if her books and the Bible are the only things on Debi’s approved reading list. I can’t see Debi approving of novels, for instance.

I’m also a bit baffled about Debi’s prohibition on traveling in spirit by means of the computer given that Debi runs what is effectively an internet forum attached to her book, Preparing To Be a Help Meet. In answering a woman’s question, a No Greater Joy staff person advises a young woman looking for something to do with her life between graduation and marriage to check out something called iMissionaries. iMissionaries trains individuals in how to evangelize via facebook. Does this mean Debi is no longer against young women “traveling in spirit” by means of the computer?

Perhaps Debi draws a distinction between married women and unmarried women. Is it okay, in Debi’s view, for a young woman to travel in spirit by means of the computer before she has a husband and children, but not after? If that’s what Debi would argue, she is straying even further from her twisted proof text. After all, the passage was specifically condemning the actions of young unmarried widows, and its lone solution was that they should remarry.

You cannot keep your home and everybody else’s at the same time. More churches and individuals have been destroyed over the knitting table, the telephone, and now the computer, than by any other means. “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones” (Proverbs 12:4).

This knitting table thing—Debi really does not like church women’s fellowship groups. This is something we’ve seen before. Debi does not appear to approve of women banding together, or developing close friendships, probably because she wants women to be completely dependent upon and directed toward their husbands.

“Keeping the home” is more than just staying at home; it is having a heart that is fixed on the home. A help meet will be engaged in creative enterprises that challenge and inspire the children. She will guard the home against outside influences, and she will always be on the watch to protect the children from their own inventions of evil. She will not be idle and neither will her children. She will ease her husband’s load by painting the hall and cutting hte grass. She will be frugal in all her endeavors, and she will teach the children to love serving Daddy. She will keep the home so that when Daddy comes home, it is a sanctuary of peace, love, and order.

A real help meet will make herself useful to her man instead of wasting her time. :)

Debi insists that women must spend 100% of their time and energies engaging with their children and serving their husbands. In other words, if a woman is doing something other than making herself useful to her man, she is wasting her time. Debi has absolutely no concept of self-care, but this goes beyond that. Debi doesn’t think that women have the right to their own interests, their own desires, or their own lives.

And ladies? If you’re using your computer to leave your home in spirit and read this blog post, Debi’s not pleased.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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