Misplaced Conservative

If you follow this blog with any regularity, or have taken a moment to read the blurb on the right side of this page that tells you a little about me, you can probably guess that I am a pretty conservative person. The problem is that sometimes I feel like a flaming liberal in some of the groups that I am associated with.

In a recent post, I stated my disagreement with Dorothy Patterson’s view on what forms of birth control are the most “scriptural.”

A post from last spring revealed that, according to many conservatives, I have a heretical view of a woman’s place in the church.

I find myself being vehemently opposed to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s “Homemaking Degree.” My opposition is based on the fact that the name of the degree seems to have been chosen simply to stir up controversy, and would have been readily accepted if they had called it “family science.” The degree itself underlies a much more problematic way of thinking among many conservatives, and although many will deny it, the name of this degree only proves my point: a woman’s place is in the kitchen.

So I guess I’m a flaming liberal, at least theologically. This is despite that fact that I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, a seven day creation, a world-wide flood, justification by grace through faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ, the total depravity of man, a husband’s leadership in a family, and many other issues.

I’m sure that you have noticed that all the above issues that I take with conservatives center around women. This is because the more time I spend in education, the more I see how many intelligent and capable women there are, and many conservatives seem content to to chain them to an oven for the rest of their lives. There is not a conservative Christian leader who will admit to it, but these ideas are based on an archaic way of thinking that believed women were less intelligent, less capable, and unable to adequately handle theological issues.

I think the reason why this archaic thinking has been bugging me so much lately is because I got married. I have been married for a little over two years now, and my wife is my equal. I take issue with anyone implying that my wife has to chain herself to an oven for the rest of her life or is somehow less capable than I am at discerning theological truths. I take issue with someone saying that my wife has to submit to me without prefacing that with the fact that I also have to submit to her because marriage is about mutual servanthood. I take issue with the conservative ideal of a good preachers wife (i.e. quiet, submissive, hosting teas for the women in the church) because my strong-willed, intelligent, and very opinionated wife is going to be an excellent Chaplain’s wife and an incredible asset to my ministry.

Yes, I would say we conservatives have a long way to go. I am hopeful, however, that as more and more women seek advanced theological training and rise up in the ranks of conservative denominations, that they will finally be given the equality and respect that they deserve. I hope that the male leadership of those denominations will realize that a woman can be a wife, homemaker, and theologian all at the same time and that they are not mutually exclusive.



3 thoughts on “Misplaced Conservative

  1. Being a stay at home father whose wife teaches calculus to troubled high school students, I see exactly where you’re coming from.

    Make no mistake, my wife is smarter than I am by a long shot. I know it, almost all of our friends know it, my family knows it, and she’s too gracious to say it out loud, but I know that she knows it.

    She and I have debated various bits of theology, and at least 60% of the time I wind up conceding.

    By the way, I like to cook more than she does.

    She and I have our own roles in the family, and even if they aren’t completely conventional, I don’t see anything anti-Biblical about it.

    It’s a good article. For my own part, I’m not really in favor of artificial birth control, but I don’t see that it’s condemned.

    Christianity isn’t supposed to be about legalism, but a lot of people seem to enjoy making up new rules to replace the old ones. We’re able to eat bacon and crawfish, but don’t let women tell you anything about what Scripture means.

    Sigh …

    I guess we’re just a couple raving, wild-eyed lefties, huh?

  2. I hear you brother. I have noticed your Huckabee post and I believe that you and I (and many others) want to see growth in the evangelical response to many different issues. To often we Southern Baptist get our culture confused with our theology.

    I don’t think you are a “liberal” just because you are offended by the “homemaker class”

  3. I wasn’t nearly as opinionated about this until I read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It makes me shudder when I hear the same reasoning that Muslims use for women wearing the veil and being cloistered at home being used by Christians for women being stay-at-home moms. Suddenly all those nice reasons I used to give for women staying home made my stomach turn.

    I don’t think conservative evangelicals want to hold women back. I just think they don’t realize the ultimate consequences of some of their rhetoric and that their arguments are based on straw men.

    Rather than prescribing an antiquated ideal, we should celebrate a woman’s right to do exactly what God wants her to do. That includes raising children, working in the business world, serving on faculty at a university or seminary, or teaching theology in her local church. Maybe some conservatives are just not ready for that.

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