Have you, do you, or would you advise your daughter to pursue career training? How does "keepers at home" apply?

Yes, a woman should seek a career in our day just as a man would
31% (4 votes)
Yes, but in traditionally female fields (teaching, nursing, secretarial, etc.) or home business
0% (0 votes)
Yes, just in case of divorce, singleness, unemployment, etc., but ideal to stay at home. esp. for kids
69% (9 votes)
No, women are to only be keepers at home and should prepare to be wives and moms only
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 13
3176 reads

There are 15 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Titus 2:4-5 (ESV) reads:

... and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

How does this verse apply to Christian women today and to daughters we might raise?  Can a woman work a fulltime job and still be characterized as "working at home?"  I take a pretty moderate view myself, "Yes, in case of divorce, singleness......esp. for kids."

 

What is your viewpoint?

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Couldn't quite find the right vote to describe me on this one.

I'd advise her to develop her gifts and abilities as much as possible with the goal of using those as productively as possible. For me, it isn't about career vs. not. She isn't going to know if God's plan for her includes marriage until later... and at that point she'll have to decide what being her husbands helper means in the various contexts they'll find themselves in together.  But if she marries, she should do so understanding that her role is a supporting one and that she is embracing her husband's work... and her own is an extension of that.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Within the family unit, a woman's primary role is to take care of the home. If she can manage this while maintaining a career, then wonderful! There are many married ladies at our church who work outside the home. The litmus test is where her priorities are. If work begins to overtake the role of "mom" in importance, then work should go. This is ultimately something each family must deal with on their own, in an honest attempt to be faithful to the Scriptures. It is incorrect to issue blanket statements like "yes" and "no."

I believe the real issue cannot be resolved by proof-texting, and racing to the Bible for a bullet-proof verse. The overarching point is about the different roles men and women have within the family. If the proper roles can be maintained alongside a career, then there should be no problem. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

TylerR wrote:

Within the family unit, a woman's primary role is to take care of the home. If she can manage this while maintaining a career, then wonderful! There are many married ladies at our church who work outside the home. The litmus test is where her priorities are. If work begins to overtake the role of "mom" in importance, then work should go. This is ultimately something each family must deal with on their own, in an honest attempt to be faithful to the Scriptures. It is incorrect to issue blanket statements like "yes" and "no."

I believe the real issue cannot be resolved by proof-texting, and racing to the Bible for a bullet-proof verse. The overarching point is about the different roles men and women have within the family. If the proper roles can be maintained alongside a career, then there should be no problem. 

Emphasis added

I've never been comfortable using this reasoning. Really, within the family unit, what is the husband's primary role? Isn't it to love his wife as Christ loves the church? Followed by raising his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Followed by working to provide for the physical needs of his family? If the husband can balance his role within the home with his responsibilities outside of the home in accordance with scripture, it seems like a weak argument in the opposite direction that women for some reason cannot balance their responsibilities within the home with some role outside of the home. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Men can go too far the opposite way by neglecting their families by worshipping their jobs. Some men frequently do. They may take job promotion and move their family with little regard to finding a church, looking for a good school, etc  -  completely outside the will of God and with terrible consequences to the family. The pendulum swings both ways. 

I didn't mean to imply the same pitfalls I addressed with women, above, cannot equally apply to men. They certainly can. We all know men who work themselves to death, their kids and wife never see them. In this case, a re-examination of priorities is certainly in order.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

handerson's picture

Amen to Chip and Aaron! Also in my own processing of these verses, I wrestled with the question of whether home was a primary calling among others or an exclusive one. I appreciate Chip's reasoning about how a man is called to fatherhood in this respect.

Also another tangential consideration in investigating Titus 2 and II Timothy passages about a woman's role is this: What is the major thing that Paul is warning against in calling women to be keepers at home? I believe in both situations, he is warning against sloth, ildeness, gossip and being generally troublesome. Certainly this is part of a larger discussion, but it seems to indicate that being a keeper at home meant more than simply staying at home exclusively. It seems to be a call for women to engage in productive godly work instead of rushing around town wasting time with petty things as much it is about calling women to care for and nurture a family. Clearly that is a major thrust too, but simply saying that it means a woman will never work outside the home doesn't seem consistent with the overarching argument against sloth and becoming troublesome. Work wasn't Paul's concern; the lack of work was.

TylerR's picture

Editor

This is one of those times where I wish the conversation could be made in person! 

When I mentioned a woman's role within the family unit; I was assuming she was married and had children. I see no Scriptural reason why women (any woman) should not work, unless the supporting role in the home is in danger of being usurped by the responsibilities of a career. Likewise, a man should not allow his job to usurp his responsibilities as a husband, father and spiritual leader of the home. 

I hope we can all agree that a woman's supporting role in the home is essential and should take priority over a career, if push comes to shove (this also holds true to men in their roles as fathers). I want to emphasize I do not hold to some sort of derogatory view of Biblical womanhood, which is why I am at pains to make myself clear on this point.

One of the most difficult verses to interpret on this point is 1 Tim 2:15, which comes at the tail-end of a passage discussing behavior of Christian ladies within the church. There are no shortage of interpretations, ranging along predictable theological lines, but it must be dealt with. I would be very interested on anybody's take on what, precisely, 1 Tim 2:15 means. 

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

handerson wrote:
Amen to Chip and Aaron! Also in my own processing of these verses, I wrestled with the question of whether home was a primary calling among others or an exclusive one. I appreciate Chip's reasoning about how a man is called to fatherhood in this respect. Also another tangential consideration in investigating Titus 2 and II Timothy passages about a woman's role is this: What is the major thing that Paul is warning against in calling women to be keepers at home? I believe in both situations, he is warning against sloth, ildeness, gossip and being generally troublesome. Certainly this is part of a larger discussion, but it seems to indicate that being a keeper at home meant more than simply staying at home exclusively. It seems to be a call for women to engage in productive godly work instead of rushing around town wasting time with petty things as much it is about calling women to care for and nurture a family. Clearly that is a major thrust too, but simply saying that it means a woman will never work outside the home doesn't seem consistent with the overarching argument against sloth and becoming troublesome. Work wasn't Paul's concern; the lack of work was.

As usual, the context places Paul's admonitions and directions in order and gives them meaning. These verses are not about forbidding women to work 'outside the home'. We are all supposed to keep family and others as a priority in service to the Lord. We are all commanded to keep Godly priorities in the forefront of our minds.  

We also have examples in Scripture of women engaged in commerce and nothing is stated or implied that this is a bad thing, and in Prov. 31, it is extolled as a virtue.

Anecdotally, I know more women who are SAHMs who do not do anything productive besides put 3 squares on the table and run the vacuum when the dust bunnies take over than I do 'working women' who neglect their homes for their career. What do they say about getting things done? Give it to a busy person.

When I think of 'career' women, however, what comes to mind is a vocation that demands not only a significant degree of higher education, but a serious investment of time, focus, and energy. I chose family over a career as a medical examiner, because I did not believe that I could be a dedicated wife and mother, and also juggle calls at 3am to go out and declare someone dead. And the dinner conversations... "Honey, how was work today?" "Oh, you would not believe the gall bladder I saw today..." 

Edited to answer the poll question: There isn't a choice that fits what we do. My daughter is being educated according to her abilities, gifts, and interests, and taught to develop her skills to their fullest potential. How she uses them will be a matter for her to decide, since we do not know what life will bring. But she is being taught that whatever situation she is in- single, family, widowed, etc... her priorities will always be to honor, obey, and glorify God, and be a blessing to others. 

Just as there is confusion about the word 'career', IMO, I think there is also confusion about what it means to "guide the house" or be a "keeper at home". Does this mean we have to go Martha Stewart on everything? Many women feel a sense of discontent because they believe that 'keeping the home' means that the house itself must be spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated, and that gourmet meals need to be on the table at regular intervals. A husband under pressure to provide a budget that can sustain such interests is not going to feel that his home is a haven. It's going to look more like a black hole into which all their funds disappear.

 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Your choices are very restrictive, even as general ones. A woman is not forbidden from having a career. So that is clear. But she cannot pursue a career like a man because she is not a man, even in the most general sense no more that Joe can pursue one like Bill or Natasha can like Mary. Each personal context differs. I am sure this is assumed by many but the choices don't assure this.

Ultimately a woman is free to pursue a career so ling as such a pursuit does not produce irresolvable conflicts of interests with her other divinely assigned obligations which is not just true of men but all people Per marriage in the future. If a woman has a career and decides to marry she is under her husband's headship. What this means is before they marry they come to agreed upon terms regarding her career, his career, potential children and the overall administration of such matters. This is because once the union is formed it is contractual based on this understanding.

Thus, if a man does not make clear his expectations or a woman is unclear with the man regarding hers, after the fact conflicts are often irresolvable. Marriage is a government with many options. But whatever they are they must yield to their constitution unless both parties consent to am end it. This does not speak to powers vested in the Commanding Officer or Executive Officer (husband, wife respectively), which do not require an administrative vote and of which such powers should be clearly defined and understood before marrying.

Therefore men, if she has a career and you marry her and did not clearly come to agreed upon terms and wish to implement a new policy you are at fault for not making your administrative design and its expectations clear to her before entering the marriage.

Ladies you are at fault for not making clear your special conditions and/or needs which required administrative acquiescence before entering the marriage.

Thought I would cover a few extra bases.

handerson's picture

One additional thought: I like to think of my gender as an element of gifting. We will educate our daughter in context of her unique capacities and help her gain a skill set that will enable her to use those capacities in an economically rewarding way. But I also believe her gender is part of her gifting set.

 

Also I agree that the word career is loaded with all levels of meaning and that being a "keeper of the home" and/or working is highly dependent on context, family needs, unique gifting, etc. This is where we must extend liberty.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Susan said:

 

Edited to answer the poll question: There isn't a choice that fits what we do. My daughter is being educated according to her abilities, gifts, and interests, and taught to develop her skills to their fullest potential. How she uses them will be a matter for her to decide, since we do not know what life will bring. But she is being taught that whatever situation she is in- single, family, widowed, etc... her priorities will always be to honor, obey, and glorify God, and be a blessing to others.

Alex said:

 

Your choices are very restrictive, even as general ones. A woman is not forbidden from having a career. So that is clear. But she cannot pursue a career like a man because she is not a man, even in the most general sense no more that Joe can pursue one like Bill or Natasha can like Mary. Each personal context differs. I am sure this is assumed by many but the choices don't assure this.

Let me defend my poll a little.  The poll is about what direction we should steer our daughters (who have not grown up yet) about training for a career.  We do not know the future, whether they will marry or remain single, divorce, become a widow, be childless,, etc.    I do see a slight difference (esp. with Aaron and Susan) about pursuing career training (my term) and developing their interests and skills (their perspective).  That was a case of my narrow pragmatism (I view college as career-oriented education).  

"The Midrash Detective"

Jim's picture

It would be interesting to know what percentage of Christian women get married and start families at 18 (or upon H.S. graduation). Do you think it is even 1%?

If it were even close to a majority then answer # 4 would work: "No, women are to only be keepers at home and should prepare to be wives and moms only"

They wouldn't even need to graduate from H.S.! 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Jim wrote:

It would be interesting to know what percentage of Christian women get married and start families at 18 (or upon H.S. graduation). Do you think it is even 1%?

If it were even close to a majority then answer # 4 would work: "No, women are to only be keepers at home and should prepare to be wives and moms only"

They wouldn't even need to graduate from H.S.!

There are some who believe that education in general is a waste of time for women and encourages them to rebel by allowing them to think.

Not kidding.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Let me defend my poll a little.  The poll is about what direction we should steer our daughters (who have not grown up yet) about training for a career.  We do not know the future, whether they will marry or remain single, divorce, become a widow, be childless,, etc.    I do see a slight difference (esp. with Aaron and Susan) about pursuing career training (my term) and developing their interests and skills (their perspective).  That was a case of my narrow pragmatism (I view college as career-oriented education).  

Of the choices,

  • Yes, a woman should seek a career in our day just as a man would
  • Yes, but in traditionally female fields (teaching, nursing, secretarial, etc.) or home business
  • Yes, just in case of divorce, singleness, unemployment, etc., but ideal to stay at home. esp. for kids
  • No, women are to only be keepers at home and should prepare to be wives and moms only

The one that comes closest would be the first- "Yes, a woman should seek a career in our day just as a man would". I'm uncomfortable with the wording "just as a man would" but can't, at this moment, articulate why, except that it sounds like something Betty Friedan would say.

I don't think that college is the only way to pursue a career, and attending college doesn't necessarily indicate one is in pursuit of a career. Attaining a useful, specialized skill set is a good enough reason to pursue higher education. We just assume that college=career. 

I wouldn't teach my daughter that she should only seek traditionally 'female' fields per se, because even in male dominated areas like construction or the military, there are tasks that would fit a woman's abilities quite well (especially now that technology is a significant part of almost every vocation). I can drive a tractor, a harvester, a backhoe, a cherry picker, bale hay, and till a field. Should I only use large equipment in the context of a farm, and never to help build a road? But I would not I ignore that, as a woman, I have limited upper body strength (and I'm 5'2"), and should avoid using a tool like a jackhammer (for my safety as well as the safety of others). 

I think we can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out what woman 'should' and 'should not' be able to do. And ditto men- angels forfend a guy pursue an artistic or nurturing career in today's world. 

Along the same vein as Hannah was pursuing, women, generally speaking, are hard-wired with certain skill sets, right down to their brain chemistry. Some things come naturally to women, and ditto to men. I think we need to teach our daughters that this is something that is God-ordained and cause for rejoicing and gratitude. Our girls are not in competition with boys (or with each other). They are to seek to develop their own potential to the glory of God. This should include higher education and training if that is what furthers this goal.