A silly, little article has swept the internet by storm. I call it silly not necessarily due to its content – to be honest, there isn’t a ton within the article that I take exception with. Tattoos, college education, and a wife in the workplace, are a matter of preference and freedom, but matters of sexual purity, demeanor, and money management all find commands rooted within the Scriptures. These things shouldn’t be controversial in the least: every Christian is under obligation to be shrewd in matters of finance, bearing a general disposition of self-controlled, godly behavior, and reserve intercourse for the marriage bed.
However, even in terms of these matters of conscience, a woman deciding to forego college in order to manage the home, likewise, shouldn’t be controversial (or even an unwanted thing). I personally know many stay at home moms that are far more intelligent than their college-educated peers. I also know college-educated women (and professional women) who have left both of these things behind to, gasp, become stay at home moms. Daddy manned up and went to work to provide for his own family, as he should.
Despite our culture’s obsession with earning a degree, universities are literally circling the drain, financially and academically. It makes little sense for the system, as it stands, to continue. Not only are trade jobs in overwhelming supply, but the university model is on decline. Thousands of educated graduates are not working in the field they desire, nor are they finding job openings in these fields any time soon. One can blame it on the boomers – yet the reality is that not everyone should be getting a college degree, men included. Couple this with the crippling debt college grads often have, while making minimum wage and barely scrapping by, and the prudence of pursuing college is often underwhelming, to say the least.
On the matters of the post itself though, much issue is taken with the object being that the individual writing the blog makes some fairly broad-brush statements on the nature of college-educated women. Again, it’s a broad-brush (and should be dismissed as so), but people have to simply address what’s at the heart of the command for women to bear a gentle and a quiet spirit. Regardless of what often gets inserted into that meaning, it is a quality well-pleasing to the Lord, inasmuch as a man’s meekness would be pleasing to the Lord (and arguably, his spouse).
Secondly, we live in a culture that consistently degrades stay at home mothers, and this is largely owing to our culture’s general hatred of children. Not only is the prevailing attitude against children much like this mother’s, but stay at home moms are publicly viewed as simpletons who contribute little to society. They believe women are not fulfilling their true potential if they forego college and/or the workplace, conversely, stay at home moms don’t provide tangible value; these same women are subjugated to their brutish husbands if they place themselves under their headship. As an aside, if you didn’t view submission to headship as a choice, you’ve sorely misunderstood what that time leading up to marriage involves. All women are free to not marry an individual at any point leading up to the nuptials.
Third, we live in a culture that holds no value on sexual purity whatsoever. Virgins are openly mocked, and the marriage bed is openly profaned by adulterers, homosexuals, the effeminate, and other devious persons of perversity. Christians think little on the value and beauty of an individual who has maintained sexual purity; it is an increasingly rare thing in our culture, and the pornographization of our nation only adds to this mess. Beyond this, people wish to remove all elements of shame connected with losing this purity – yet the reality of living in a sin-tainted world is that some sins have lasting consequences.
If I drunkenly blow off my fingers in a moment of in discretionary folly with fireworks – I don’t get to have my fingers back once I become a Christian in submission to Scripture’s commands to flee drunkenness. Likewise, having sex prior to your spouse naturally incurs a form wherein that bond, specifically designated for that union, is broken to a degree. This does not relegate Christ’s atoning work to the trash-heap, but it does simply speak to the reality that sin distorts everything. Everything.
Yet the pity of the outrage on these “criteria” this woman chose stands upon the fact that it is built upon these semi-gnostic leanings demonstrated above. Yes, the gospel has cleansed the sinner and made them white as snow. Naturally, forgiveness of sin and dignity of worth are bound in Christ, thus, even such measures as sexual purity and debt-management find their loci in pleasing God. However, if you sense that God being the maximal object of your obedience does not carry a proximal effect upon your spouse, you’re missing the plain benefits and beauty of marriage.
Surely, my wife and I strive together toward holiness in order to please the Lord, yet many of my choices (as well as many of her own) are bound in principally trying to please her. This is, in part, what the apostle Paul speaks to in 1 Cor. 7, in the same context as his own preference (that all would remain as he: an unmarried virgin). The point Paul drives toward in this passage though is that all would live as they are called; some are called to singleness, some to marriage. Within each of these contexts one finds a plethora of baggage simply due to the nature of one’s own life prior to Christ. Regardless of where one finds they are in life though, the apostle simply encourages they remain in the condition God called them, with particular focus on honoring the Lord.
Of key interest for our purposes, we see Paul’s argument unfold in vv. 32-35, specifically speaking with reference to the married man or woman being concerned with how they might please their spouse. My wife and I do various things for one another in consideration for that other person, yet we have a clear set of distinctions set in our roles, per Scripture’s own qualifications. The only detriment to this, according to Paul in this passage, is simply bound in the matter that the married will have divided attention; they will be concerned with how they might please one another, rather than having an individual (read: single) focus on pleasing the Lord.
I chose to take on a debt-laden, tattooed, non-virgin as my wife because it was a picture of the gospel and I loved her deeply. But guess what we fought about in the early years of our marriage? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t tattoos. However, we stuck it out. We remained where we were called, and focused on pleasing God and our spouse rather than ourselves. Over years of repentance, diligence, shifting focus, and hard work, we’ve struggled our way through to having less debt. You caught that, right? We still have debt we’d both prefer wasn’t our current reality. We also both wish we’d not have ventured into territories of sexual exploration with people other than each other. We have to live with the repercussions of our sin to this day, even though we are both faithful members of our church in good standing.
Sin has consequences, often, lasting a lifetime. If you think that simply because you’ve come to know Christ that this erases any of these things, you are naïve to how devastating sin can truly be. The article then is silly, not because she broad-brushes a host of people and gives no demonstrable, scriptural proofs of her claims, nor even for the fact that she might confuse preference for command – but for the reaction it has drawn out from many.
In the mad dash to grab the low-hanging fruit of what’s wrong in the piece, people have simply taken offense at the wrong thing. It’s the ol’ bait and switch. What you should be mad at here is the fact that virginity is scorned, submission is painted as this oppressive reality rather than the flourishing it is when done rightly, the worth of a mother is downplayed, child-rearing is seen as a horrid thing, and financial prudence is also something that should tossed to the side. God forbid we hold lasting regret for making foolish decisions – let’s hold selective outrage because we are the persona non grata.