In my previous blog, “Christianity and the Role of Women – A Woman’s Place,” I wrote on the phrase – “the woman’s place is in the home.” In it, I quoted a minister who used these two Bible verses to show that a mother should not work outside the home:
1 Timothy 5:14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.”
These verses are also used to perpetuate the old adage mandating a good wife to be “barefoot and pregnant,” an even more humiliating phrase. It reduces women to nothing more than a tool used for producing a son to carry on the family name or for working in the field.
Where is my place? I grew up in a conservative Christian home, so that very familiar phrase rushes back to me like a crashing wave – “the woman’s place is in the home.” It washes over me and leaves me feeling small and ashamed that I was born a female. I can still see the many faces I’ve heard say it, even my own family. I can also still feel the gut-wrenching anger that would well up in my stomach each time I heard this stifling phrase.
In his booklet, “Should A Christian Mother Work Outside the Home?“, Pastor Art Kohl writes on two doctrinal passages from the Bible that define the role of women:
According to Wikipedia, over half of the world’s population profess to be followers of Christianity and Islam. These religions have significantly contributed to what many consider “traditional family” concepts. However, whether or not atheism and feminism are the underlying reasons these concepts are quickly becoming obsolete is questionable. I think there were several factors working together that ushered in a new type of family framework for the 21st century family.
The industrial age, with its long working hours, certainly did not help the traditional family. In fact, this era seems to be the beginning of the end for the concept of a working father with a housewife and good little kiddies at home.
The sexual revolution helped everyone shake their prudish ways and realize there was more to life than a single monogamous relationship. Men have known this for thousands of years, but the sexual revolution opened the door for women to put aside their religious teachings to instead explore their sexuality.
Since I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, I know full well how the Bible Belt would define a godly woman. She would submit to her husband, she would meekly obey her husband and she would take care of the kids and the house without complaint. That is what their holy book demands.
However, if you ask me, that version of a godly woman is dated and sexist. Therefore, I think it is high time to revise that stale definition of a godly woman and to make it something that is far more gender equitable.
As a Christian, I struggled with wrapping my mind around the injustices meted out to women by holy books written eons ago. It is bad enough that little girls must hear how evil they are because some fictitious woman ate an apple long ago in a far away place, but it is even worse when normal biological occurrences, like painful labor during birth, is attributed to the curse of being a woman.