To Launder or Not to Launder? Christianity Today Hosts Debate on “Dad Moms”

To Launder or Not to Launder? Christianity Today Hosts Debate on “Dad Moms” November 22, 2011

Some of you took note of the “Dad Mom” post I ran a couple of weeks back in reference to a commercial by Tide detergent.  The ad showed a man folding laundry and avowing that he loved “being awesome” and working at home while his wife brought home the bacon.

I wrote a short response to the commercial which drew an intense response on the part of evangelical egalitarians.  Christianity Today took note of the conflagration on Twitter and elsewhere and soon agreed to run a two-part debate on the subject between Laura Ortberg Turner, daughter of prominent California pastor John Ortberg, and me.  As of today, both parts have been published.  I strongly encourage you to read them both.

Here’s a snatch from Laura’s piece, which critiqued my original blog post:

More even than that, however, is the notion that Jesus would have insisted on maintaining a masculine image that would have kept him far from the laundry room, the kitchen, and anything that might smack of femaleness. It is hard to imagine the Jesus who washed his disciples’ feet and cooked them breakfast and said that slaves were the model of greatness turning up his nose at laundry as something beneath his masculine dignity. We can imagine many figures in the ancient world who would have ferociously guarded their masculine dignity—Samson, Alexander the Great, Caesar Augustus. Jesus, it seems to me, would be at the bottom of that particular list.

Here’s some of my response to Laura:

The question, though, is whether I am to take on the burden of such work as a man. My read of numerous scriptural texts is that I am not. I try to help out where I can, but I am called of God to break my back to provide for my family so that my wife can care for my children and also my home in order that they and it might flourish. The pattern for such a life comes from texts both obvious and less expected. Genesis 3:16 shows that the Fall brings the curse to bear on the woman’s sphere of cultivation: children. Verse 18 shows that the Fall brings the curse to bear on the man’s sphere of cultivation: provision, whether located in the four walls of the house or outside it. We are redeemed from the curse, but not from God’s wise plan—and childbearing and provision are not effects of the Fall.

It is men who are out in the fields and tending the sheep in the Old Testament, not women; that seems so plain as to be obvious. The proverbial husband is outside the home in Proverbs 31, providing and leading, while the proverbial wife cares for and nourishes the home and family. Titus 2:5 upholds exactly this kind of arrangement. Women, not men, are to work at home.

I would encourage you to go to the Her.meneutics blog and read both pieces (Laura’s and mine) and scrutinize them according to Scripture.  It is not my word that should be trusted, after all, but God’s.

I appreciate the CT Her.meneutics blog hosting this debate and for giving this self-professed “Dad dad” a chance to talk respectfully about disagreements in the evangelical camp.  It’s clear that Laura is a sharp thinker and a strong writer, and I’m always thankful for a principled conversation.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve got to get back to “being awesome.”


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