Quoting Quiverfull: “Despots”?

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Mary Pride in Homeschool World “Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy” 2009

Actually, the Bible does say a particular parent is the “home despot.”

However, it isn’t Dad!

In I Timothy 5:14, young wives are told to “guide the house.” The word in the Greek is oikodespoteo, which literally means “be a home despot.” Or “home boss” or “matriarch.” Does this sound like an oppressed doormat hanging out by the sink? No way! Mom is the ruler of the house. Or, as I quoted Janet Dittmer in The Way Home as saying, Mom is a manager, not a maid.

Traditional Christian cultures understood this quite well. Mom had her jobs, and Dad had his. If Dad tried to meddle in Mom’s work, she would shoo him away. Although he could help if she asked for help and no female friend or relative was available (e.g., if she was sick or after giving birth to a child), or he could take over if she was absent or unfit (e.g., crazy due to psychoactive drugs), under normal conditions it was not his job to supervise her job. She was in charge of her area of responsibility.

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

About Suzanne Calulu
  • http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com krwordgazer

    This one actually isn’t too bad. Pride is right about the translation of “oikodespoteo.” And she’s right that men and women had their own spheres in New Testament times. Where she’s wrong is in turning this cultural norm into a divine mandate. Paul was talking about how Christians were to get along in the larger society, not setting up a “Christian culture” to be followed by all Christians everywhere in every age.

  • suzannecalulu

    I cannot get past this – ” he could take over if she was absent or unfit (e.g., crazy due to psychoactive drugs), ” – because she’s talking about not only pain pills or illegal drugs but drugs to treat psychiatric disorders….and oh please, when is it ever okay to expect your girlfriends to help you out when you’re in a spot but put the hubby as the last resort for help?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia lucrezaborgia

    Just what my female friends and family would love to do, right?!?

  • Rae

    Yes! Because it’s psychoactive drugs that cause people to be “crazy”, not any of the wide variety of mental illnesses or other conditions that psychoactive drugs are used to treat!

  • texcee

    The problem I have with the strict segregation of His Jobs vs. Her Jobs is that there is huge margin for error in Real Life. Here’s my example: I worked my entire married life (37 years now) because we opted to have two incomes to be able to afford the things we wanted … oh, little things like electricity, running water, a roof over our heads, and food. My husband made about 2-3 times as much money as I did because he worked in technology and I worked as a secretary. But like most women, I also did 99% of the housework and, when our daughter came along, I raised our child as well. Happy little family … until my husband got laid off. Suddenly we only had my little income to survive on! Fortunately, after a couple of years, he got called back to his good paying job and we relaxed again, even considered buying a new house. And then — Y2K happened. Or it didn’t happen. All the things people were expecting at the turn of the millennium were a no-show and my husband’s employer downsized drastically. He was laid off again and this time his health, which had never been too stable, cratered. He became permanently disabled and went on Social Security. He hasn’t worked since January 2000. As his health continued to nosedive, I was forced finally to quit my job to care for him. I worked temp jobs and we began to sell things on the internet. His health improved, but we became almost completely dependent on the money I was bringing home. But guess what? I was still doing 99% of the housework and raising our child. I became the “man” of the house. I have a good job now and our daughter is grown, but the “women’s work” around our house goes undone unless I do it. My husband was raised in the his/hers jobs mentality. His contribution is to do the dishes once a week and occasionally make Saturday morning breakfast. If I left him (and don’t think I haven’t thought about it), he would be helpless because he doesn’t know how to do simple household things … and resists learning them. He’s not dumb. The man was a math and computer major in college, ferpetesake! But he can’t figure out how to run the washing machine. The His/Hers is a disservice to all family members. Boys and girls should both be taught how to run a household and make a living, because they may need to DO it one of these days!!


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