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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Your Thoughts Please...

Below is a quote given in 1872 (when women couldn't vote and therefore had no political power) in regards to women being members in the state bar (and becoming lawyers):

"It is true that many women are unmarried and not affected by any of the duties, complications, and incapacities arising out of the married state, but these are exceptions to the general rule. The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator. And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things, and cannot be based upon exceptional cases. " Justice Bradley, Supreme Court,1872



Lizzie @ Lizzie's Home said...

As one of the first places in the world to grant women suffrage - I live in Adelaide, South Australia - and coming at things with 27 yrs of agnosticsm and then 2 years of faith under my belt, I find myself caught between two camps on this issue.

Yes, we're created beings but God gave us (women) brains, too (and by that I don't mean being a housewife has no intellectual merit. Don't freak out! LOL). It's like the argument about trusting God in the face of disease. Yes, He has the power to heal, but He also gave the skills and knowledge - and arranged for the discovery of medicines, He's clever like that, LOL - to the doc treating you. Reminds me of that old joke about a Christian stuck down a well. Three men come along to help him out and three times he says he's got faith God will get him out. In the end he dies and takes God to task over not lending a hand. God's like 'hang on a second, I sent you THREE MEN!'

Okay, so doctors and lawyers are very different and I'm overgeneralising on purpose. But I do not think it is necessarily 'against God' for a woman to have a career. You still have to discern His path for you, but if you're genuinely convicted on the issue, then that's what you do. God gave you the brain and aptitude to do it, just like He gave us the medical world.

As to whether a woman should give that up and return home when the children arrive - it's personal choice. Although I watch people around me run themselves into the ground trying to keep up with the demands of work and home and I can't imagine doing it for my own family. I'm a SAHM by choice, and I had my kids young, before I even had a chance to train or become established in a career. This was something I 'knew' about myself from a very young age, in other words, even before I found faith I had a deep conviction that I would be staying home. God clearly took care of me on that score :) But I just can't judge others who choose differently :)

She's So There said...

Hmmm "noble and benign" well, he got it half right. The truth is that I do believe women, in their best role, are wives and mothers before working outside the home. My education was important to me, to use my brain is a daily desire, but my God, my husband, my marriage,and my children DO come first on my priority list before any career path I am on. I have led the pack in my youth, I have actively chosen to change my priorities to return home. Society must find value in those who influence our young, who help define and develop boundaries in their developmental belief systems...but whether or not that must be defined by the adult's sex, I do not have answers for. Society must carefully walk the line of equality for both genders yet provide some system of protecting our young and those who shape our societies future by rearing them. Biblically I do believe that a man protects and provides for his household, but I also believe that our Proverbs 31 woman was so much more than simply at home...she was a leader, a business woman, an administrator of property, servants, order....and that too must have a place and honor in our society. God gives us each a purpose, and I want the right and the privilege to walk mine.

Valerie said...

My thoughts? If I had lived back then there would have been a lot more men murdered! Only by the grace of God that I was not born in that time!

Robin said...

My thoughts...Titus 2 speaks directly to this.

Older women are to teach the younger women-
to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips
nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands,
to love their children,
to be sensible,
workers at home,
being subject to their own husbands,
so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Leigh said...

wow. Noble.. yes! benign? I looked it up... 1. Of a kind and gentle disposition.
2. Showing gentleness and mildness.
3. Tending to exert a beneficial influence; favorable.
OK - I like that. better than what I thought just off the top of my head about benign (as in limp and lifeless - not effectual).
The Lord has brought me from being a hard-core "feminist" to having a MUCH more conservative Biblical view on womanhood. I do happen to believe that it is the law of the Creator (as Justice Bradley said) for a woman to be wife and mother. However, today, THAT is the exception to the rule...
I'm very interested in what else you are going to say about all of this. This stirs up heat in my blood - but is it my flesh rising with my "old convictions" or what the Lord really has for us as women?

BeLoVed AiMeE said...

look how far we've come in the opposite direction of the laws of the Creator....

I believe that a woman's place is in the home. I understand that there may be extenuating circumstances where this is not possible, but that a family should strive to have that motherly, wifely, home making, godly presence IN THE HOME where God can use her the most efficiently in building up His next generation for His kingdom. Especially WHILE the children are being brought up. Once you are done rearing your children, (as if we ever are! ) whenever you deem that you are needed less, and God speaks to you that you are needed somewhere else AS WELL..not saying give up being that godly mother/wife/home maker but that you can add to that a new direction that He may be taking you. I think that has to do with seasons too. Like right now I am in the season where I am a stay at home mom of three children. I plan to stay that way until my children are all old enough to get themselves off to school and home and eat and be responsible and safe before I even contemplate broadening my horizons away from my home. Ultimately, each of us individually should seek God on this issue.

Anonymous said...

There is a wonderful article written by Gregg Harris (Father of Josh: who wrote "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", and also of Alex & Brett: who wrote "Do Hard Things') in a recent HSLDA-Home School Legal Defense Association magazine. I HIGHLY recommend it! Tangentially it very much relates to this very subject (and to some of the comments as well).
...He has been 'raising kids willing to do hard things, and then learning to let them go.'
grateful for HIS grip, HveHope

Debbie said...

You certainly know how to provoke thought.

I do believe our role as women, by God's design, is to be the Home Keeper. We are to be on the frontline for the home - in managing, caretaking, and nurturing our families.

Does that mean we have no voice in government? Considering that Sovereign rule was replaced by the mortal, fallible governing of and by men - is it possible for us to know what God thinks about this?

In faith we are equal in God's sight. In our actual roles, we are no less equal, just organized in a system of authority. Does that mean a woman has no voice? No public say in any matter? That's a good question and one that I honestly wonder about.

Kris said...

I agree with Lizzie. I couldn't have said it any better myself.

HeathahLee said...

After having spent the night on a torture device disguised as a hospital room cot (my mom is in rehab for her leg surgery now), I am sleep deprived and therefore can't promise any coherency (did I even spell that right?) to my thoughts.

I have one side of me that scoffs at those old beliefs, thinking that women should be treated as equals in whatever career they choose. And while my other side does believe that people, no matter their gender, should be treated equally in the workplace, I do think that women in general should be at home. I know that is so unpopular today. Not staying at home, because more and more women are doing it. But SAYING you should be at home. I know there are situations where women have to work (I grew up in a family with a single, working mom), but as a general rule, if deciding where God wants you is the question, start at home and then go down your list of options. Does that make sense? Probably not...I've only had about 4 hours of sleep. : )

Anonymous said...

I am very much for women fulfilling their roles as wives and mothers, above all else. I don't think that means they cannot do anything else, but if you're not fulfilling your role as a wife and mother, you really shouldn't be taking on something else. If you were really struggling at your job--not meeting deadlines, working sloppily, etc.--would you think it wise to take on a second job?

BUT, I will say that even if I was pro-feminism, something he said jumped out at me. "...the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things, and cannot be based upon exceptional cases." How far have we strayed from THAT?

N. said...

All I can do is speak from a practical perspective. At the age of 25 I was a wife, mother AND lawyer. I couldn't do it all well. It wasn't possible. Something had to give. So, my marriage fell apart (not all by reasons of my own however) and he moved several states away. Now I was a SINGLE mother and lawyer. REALLY HARD! I was stressed and impatient and I know that my children suffered.

When I remarried I knew that I didn't want to practice law anymore. It just wasn't possible to be the wife and mother I wanted to be while devoting so much time to law. So, I took another position. But it didn't take me long to figure out that it wasn't law, it was working full time outside the home that made it impossible for me to devote as much of myself to being a wife and mother as I wanted to.

I have been home for almost 9 years now. I do not plan to go back to work full time, ever. Even though my kids are almost all in school now, I still want to be here for them, not only physically but mentally as well. And at home is where I best help my husband.

I am thankful that, as women, we have the CHOICE to do what we want to do on this front. This woman just personally believes that you can't do both, and do both well.


Anna said...

This one grabbed my attention for many reasons. "Benign" seems like such a wonderful thing to be. The more time I spend in the work force the more I see my gentleness weakening and slipping away. I feel like I need to fight and prove myself in order to get ahead (men have to do this too, it's not just women). I HATE seeing that in myself. It's not a quality I want. I want to be a kind and gentle woman, not a woman who can balance it all but might snap at you in the meantime because she's a little frazzled from the experience.
Also, the world truly has turned. I want to stay at home and my hubby and I have been working toward that but I can't be out of work for even a week before someone in the church asks me if I'm bored and where I'm applying to next. The pressure to be a working woman comes from every single direction these days. Why have SAHMs become the exception these days, even in the church?
Last, women can get that education and then stay at home and use it for the benefit of others. You don't have to feel like your not using your brain! If you're a lawyer then help people out in the church with legal situations now and again. Even if it's just advice! Imagine if you had a service like that through your church when you needed it!

"Intentionally Katie" said...

Can I get an AMEN!?!?

Suzanne said...

Scary! I believe women are best suited to being at home, but I sure don't want the governing law of the land to forbid competent, capable women from doing otherwise if that is their free will, which remember, God gave us, knowing that some may choose wrongly. Didn't the Taliban try to legislate their religious vision of a woman's role into the "rules of civil society"? And yes, I know, they aren't a Christian religion and so one could argue that we have the 'right' set of rules and that would be okay while their way was not. However, the point here is not about one's view of a woman's role based on religious belief. My point is that you can't legislate the free will of people according to your interpretation of Scripture, Torah, Koran, etc. And incidentally, while I too believe that women were made to be wives and mothers first, who says they can't do that and something else besides?

Bobbie said...

My thoughts... as a woman lawyer... are that God gives each person a talent and expects each person to use that talent. God gave me a talent to become a lawyer and I am using it. He needs workers in every field.

Lizzie @ Lizzie's Home said...

Can I add a post script to my earlier comment?

It's not something I publicize readily online, but my husband is a police officer. He often uses me to offload some of the emotional baggage at the end of a long day (I encourage this). Today he told me that his team had had four r*pes reported in just 24 hours. This is a medium-ish suburban police station and that many is rare.

You might be wondering what on earth this has to do with the 'home vs work' issue (*smile*)

Well, simply put, we need women police officers. Specifically, CHRISTIAN women police officers. There are certain professions where being a woman in the workplace is desirable and even preferred. Though DH is a top rate police officer (and totally supportive and sympathetic toward r*pe victims), there are delicacies involved with this sort of thing that I honestly believe would be better served by being dealt with by a female officer. This is the precise reason body searches are undertaken by female staff.

I'm not sure I was terribly clear before, but I agree with the majority of responses - I do believe a woman's role is at home. I'm proof of that - I was pregnant at 18 and apart from a short stint at the Golden Arches when I was a lot younger, have never worked outside of the home. My youngest is fast approaching 8yo so I *could* have been out working for a couple of years now. In fact, I've felt enormous pressure from society in general to do so (not my husband, he's supportive). Yet I stay at home because we - DH and I - realise it's where I need to be (our eldest is autistic, so that simplifies matters).

That said, life is life - in all its messy glory, and I thank God that He provided us (women) with options, if there's nothing else that can be done about a situation. I watched my mother work (I have mixed feelings about that, but that's another story for another day :) and I am proud of her for doing that, because the strength that it must have taken to absorb some of that role and still carry on day to day must have been enormous.

I guess what I'm trying to say (probably unsuccessfully) is that I feel so incredibly blessed to find myself in a situation where I do not have to work. My husband leads biblically without even realising he is, as he is agnostic - again, God's way of tapping me on the shoulder and saying "Hey Liz, I've got your back. Trust me. Everything's going to be fine" :) I have no doubt at all that this is the role He meant for me. But He also gave me drive and ambition outside of the sphere of home (I studied much of the way through my kids' early years and trust me, He got me through that, too :P) I can't ignore that, either.

Off soapbox now. Promise!

MissMeliss said...

I believe that we as a nation need to encourage Womens' rights. I think it is for each woman to choose the role and/or roles she leads in her own life. Marriage and Motherhood are two fantastic ways to live, but it is not the only way. I liked the post from the Lizzie where she said she thinks there is a need for women christian police officers.

And I really believe we ALL have our own talents and that God will use us wherever we are.

I am raising my daughter as a Single Parent and while I'm very happy right now, I wasn't a year ago. I believe for me and my daughter that i need to have a job/career that affords me time with her. So, where I am now is very close to home and doesn't require as much time away from her.

I think it is best for both of us, because I have the opportunity to be a professional woman (Christian) AND be a Mother. I do not feel like this keeps me from being gentle in spirit. I think that life in general can sap that spirit out of us.

At the same time, I respect EVERY WOMAN for her decision to parent or to not parent however she chooses in this capacity. :) All those SAHM's out there, I applaud you. I just don't think I could do that full-time.

And, it is a HUGE deal that we have these rights!! They are rights every single person should have, regardless if they are male or female, IMO.

Love your blog, as always!! :)