We're wired differently. There's no question. That's part of why relationships are so hard. We see things differently, treat things differently, react to things differently, and generally speaking, there are certain characteristics we associate more with women than men (kindness, sensitivity to others...shopping) and others we associate more with men than women (physical strength, fighting...eating lots of meat). So are we wired for different purposes after all (generally speaking), or are men and women really supposed to do all of the same things? Is this really an issue about equality, or is it really about different, yet equal roles in order for a family to benefit from the particular strengths and giftings of both the man and the woman? Is this really about "I can do anything you can do" or "How can we most effectively work together as a dream team to raise our kids well?" Mark Driscoll is a spiritual leader in Seattle. He and his wife Grace clearly come down on the side of different,  yet equal in the video below. What do you think? (Please discuss peacefully).
11/3/2010 02:56:07 am

I totally agree - there's a difference between being equal and being the same. A man can earn a living and provide for his family and still respect and love his wife, and acknowledge that she does a lot of work, while not "working". A woman can care for her children in a stay-at-home environment and still be a contributing member of society and not be "under the rule" of her husband. In any effective partnership or team, each member recognizes his or her strengths and plays to them, and his/her weaknesses are supplemented by the other team members or partner. There's nothing wrong with a woman who wants to care for her children in the way she was built to, and who expects her husband to provide for his family, and I don't think there's anything wrong with a man who want to provide financially and protect, and expects his wife to stay at home with the children and care for them, feed them, etc.

11/3/2010 05:00:22 am

Stackhouse addresses this issue as well...


11/3/2010 05:01:59 am

That's actually where the idea for this post came from, Sid. Thanks for posting. :)

11/3/2010 06:20:35 am

Wow. That was really offensive.

(background - our current situation has my me working and my husband home, most of the time, with our 11-month-old son while he is completing his undergrad degree)

I agree with many the things they said. I do think it is vitally important for children to have a parent at home, and that is the optimal situation for kids. In most cases, that is likely the mother. We are certainly created with different, but complimentary gifts as men and women, and many women are well suited to stay home with their children.

BUT…and I have a lot of ‘buts’…

I do think that it is unfair to make blanket statements like “a mom is built to be home with her kids” and “If you cannot provide for your family, you’re not a man.” Although they try to avoid the fact that scripture was written in a different cultural setting, the reality is that women were not able to earn a living outside the home at the time that Paul wrote. In our society where women have access to education and job opportunities, it is possible that a woman is in a better position to provide for her family than her husband. Enabling her to do this by humbling himself and staying home with his children may be a way, albeit undtraditional, for a man to provide for his family.

In urging men to provide for their families, he is calling them to be responsible in a way that women were not able to. He also speaks about the importance of working and caring for your family rather than being dependent on others, which I believe is the context of many of the ideas that the Driscoll’s were referring to. The issue to which Paul is referring is not about gender roles, but not burdening the church with the care of your family.

Furthermore, the scripture they refer to in 1 Timothy providing for your family comes from a passage that is discussing caring for widows that you are related to, and not leaving their care to the church. He says “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8. Nothing in this chapter makes reference to husband and wives, and it is flagrantly out of context to be used in this way.

Family situations are so different, and what God calls each family to will be so different. I believe that these decisions should be made by the conviction of the Holy Spirit with the support of a believing community, and not made as general prescriptions as “what is best.” In my short journey as a parent, I have found that I have often done things differently than I would have anticipated, and that what is right and best for me and my family are not the same as what is right and best for my neighbour.

11/3/2010 07:04:55 am

I agree with you that the verse is out of context, Rae. A lot of theologians have been blogging about that same thing recently. I think he does acknowledge that there are exceptions to what he is saying though (as in your case). Every family situation is different; that's for sure.

Darren Lung
11/3/2010 08:29:59 am

This is where I roll my eyes at Mark Driscoll. He does a lot of things well, but one of the things he does NOT do well, is to be nuanced.

This issue is not a conviction level issue -- it is at best, an opinion. Not EVERY mother should stay at home to be with the kids. Look at Proverbs 31 -- the woman actually goes in the field, and does what one would consider "work".

Prior to industrialization, it was acceptable in Christiandom for both men and women to work. It was the expectation. Historically, at that point is when our views began to shift on that issue (ie: all 'godly' women should stay in the home).

Different but equal, yes. But it's immature (I think) to say that that automatically looks like women staying at home with the kids. I understand what he's trying to address, but I think he goes about it in a tactless way.

Todd Tillinghast
11/3/2010 10:47:10 am

Hey guys, great discussion on this topic. I've seen the video before and I read Mr. Stackhouse's blog on the issue. I think we should stop pretending that this disagreement is really about proper biblical exegesis and we should call it what it really is. This is purely a cultural issue about whether or not men and women are equal. It's the same old hot button issues that we keep arguing over and we have the audacity as I believe both Stackhouse and Driscoll have done in this case to use the bible to support our own cultural bias. I cannot speak to what Paul really meant in second Timothy 5:8 because I have not yet done a complete exegesis of the entire book of !st Timothy not just this verse. I don't think that the frustration surrounding this particular debate has anything to do with people's outrage that the Bible has been misinterpreted. It would do us well if we would be more outraged by that. What people are really outraged about is the fear that someone has dared to say something that is not PC. (politically correct)

I think the thing that we miss in all of this is not whether or not a woman is equal to a man or whether or not she can work outside of the home but what is best for the children. Once a couple decides to have children that becomes what is more important than anything else. Studies have proven over and over again that children, especially infants need the nurturing, constant care of their Mother in whom they formed a special bond with even before birth. This does not mean that women cannot get a part time job outside of the home and tag team a few nights a week with the husband or that she cannot find a way in our highly digitized world to run a successful career out of the home. But as far as not being there for the majority of the time for at least young preschool aged children is just not beneficial for the child.

Mr. Stackhouse makes an argument that in earlier centuries fathers and mothers both worked from the home together on family farms. Well this argument falls in on itself because the obvious fact is that the mother was home as was the father.

Mr. Driscoll has a tendency to make every argument when it comes to these types of issues all about masculinity and how the man is not man enough if he doesn't do and a long list of very macho things usually follow. He's missed the point in this issue. It's not about what the women or the man wants once children arrive on the scene it's what's best for those little helpless dependable creatures that rely on us for not only care but the right kind of care.

Women are just simply better at really nurturing and taking care of children because God made them that way.

5/15/2012 07:29:43 am

Great post and very interesting website!


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