The Mommy-Wars, Christian Woman-Style

Now that I am blogging more often, I thought I would try to discover some fellow bloggers, especially of the Christian woman variety. I was excited when a Canadian pastor I esteem and follow recently posted a list of his favorite lady bloggers. I chose a few that sounded like they might be up my alley, and began to peruse their sites. Now this pastor that I esteem has always seemed to me very level-headed, and middle-of-the-road kind of guy. He’s certainly not liberal, but he’s certainly not fundamentalist either, which is why it surprised me that he recommended a particular women’s blog.

I am going a very different route with this article by actually not naming names, mainly because this pastor and this women’s blog could be any number of other pastors and women’s blogs out there*. The name is not as important to me in this case, as the general problem. The general problem was this women’s blog sent a very clear, manipulative message to striving, Christian women which I will get to in a moment. This blog was pretty impressive with the sheer number of female writers and guest writers it listed. Next to every lovely face was a short bio, most of them cute and/or sappy. In addition to their stated ministry goals was a snapshot about their personal lives, and here is where it hit the fan for me.

Landscape

At least 50% of these ladies were married to pastors, a few had pastors for brothers or fathers, and one lady, if my memory serves me correctly, had a pastor for a brother, father, and husband. All but one woman (as I recall) was married, and she was finishing some kind of theology or ministry degree. As if that were not enough, nearly 100% of these ladies had at least three children, and many had homeschooled or were currently. That sends a really ugly message to single, childless Christian women that their voices are just not worthy of being heard. Most sickening of all is the fact that this women’s blog is a ministry partner of a very popular Christian women’s ministry, and the lady who heads that ministry is…single and childless!

Now I would fit in with their requirements for Christian women because I am married and have had 4 children. I may even have more to “brag” about because I have quite the pro-life story to tell about my first child, and yes, I even homeschooled for a short time. But I don’t talk about my family on this blog because they are not what lends credibility to my voice. I will not play this game which only engenders division and elitism and a false, hypocritical message in the church and among its beautiful women.

I remember Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 11:17-12:10, which the church, it’s writers, teachers, women, men, and pastors should all keep in mind:

*Please note items in brackets are added by myself as examples for illustrative purposes only.

“In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews [women]? So am I. Are they Israelites [married]? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants [mothers]? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison [hospital] more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again…I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying… I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord… Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

*Ok, I lied. The name of the women’s blog is True Woman, a subsidiary of Revive Our Hearts Ministries, headed by Nancy Leigh Demoss. Click here to view the list of authors and their bios.

See also: http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/01/04/bad-news-for-victims-from-nancy-leigh-demoss-and-holly-elliff-by-katy

8 comments

    • L. Lawrence

      Thank you, Megan! I hope so. I recently came across an old piece I had written several years ago when I was in the throws of these ideas of “perfect Christian women ought to look like…” and it broke my heart. It was such a sad, discouraged, lonely, and confused young mom who wrote it. I wished I could go back in time and give her hug, and that is my hope with my writing today as well: that it be challenging and encouraging, and that others will learn from me but also respond so I can learn from them too. Stories and words are very important things. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Jeff Crippen

    A pastor’s wife who is homeschooling, working on her theology degree, active in her church, probably has written a book or is working on one, is a guest speaker at seminars, is the idol we see so often held up before women as the perfect wife model, when in fact this image is counterfeit. No one can live a life like that and those who want us to believe they are, well, they just aren’t being truthful (not even with themselves). After 32 years of pastoral ministry I can assure everyone that this kind of thing is nothing to be sought after or envied. Behind the scenes, where no one sees, it is an entirely different picture and it is not a pretty one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • L. Lawrence

      Hi Jeff, thank you for commenting! Could you please elaborate on what the picture really looks like? I fell into this trap of idolizing women like this years ago, and it was one of the loneliest times of my life. I read a lot (I read books by women like this and their husbands), was encouraged to keep up the good fight, and only came to the end of it through a lengthy illness in which I just could not homeschool anymore. It continues to amaze me how many women and families strive to keep the mask on, when real community only requires we remove it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Roberts

    Amen!
    True Woman and Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s teachings are VERY bad news for victims of domestic abuse, and for any woman who is stuck on the mousewheel of legalistic works righteousness (most people who are stuck on that mousewheel don’t realise that’s where they are).

    Professor Steven Tracy (Phoenix Seminary) strongly criticises True Woman and Nancy DeMoss, in his article ‘Concepts of Gender and the Global Abuse of Women’ which was published in the journal “Cultural Encounters” vol 9 (2013), pp 4-22.

    Liked by 1 person

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