got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Keepers of the Home (Allison)

(Now, more than ever, as a teacher instead of a student, I appreciate the school-year calendar with it's built-in Christmas break... which leaves me time for blogging while my holiday cookies are cooling!)

A long while ago, back in September, there was a short-lived discussion of the "Titus 2 woman." Though I can't promise much, I thought I'd finally post my reply to one commenter in hopes of reviving that discussion.

In the comments below, someone asked:

"Speaking of the old housewife vs. college girl controversy (which probably a lot of us think shouldn't be either/or), I have a question for you college girls here:

I just finished reading a Christian book on the Titus 2 woman. An entire chapter was dedicated to the author's opinions on women in the work place (they shouldn't work outside the home in her opinion).

Her main argument lies in Titus 2's admonish that women be "keepers at the home."

I've loved the dialogue and intelligent discussions on this blog; I'm hoping you may address this argument if you haven't already.

Obviously God's Word is always true, so how would you respond to her application?"


Since I am in the present position of working outside the home as a young Christian wife, I'll attempt to answer this question. However, let me say that I only speak for my husband's and my own beliefs here; I cannot presume to speak for anyone else.

First, I believe this is the main section of Titus she is referring to:


"...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." Titus 2:4-5, ESV

"...so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." Titus 2:4-5, NASB

"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." Titus 2:4-5, KJV


What does it mean to be "keepers at home"? Obviously, it does not mean that a woman can never leave the house. It does mean, however, that a woman's primary responsiblity should be her family and home. That said, I do not see why this prohibits a woman from working outside the home if her husband believes this is the right course of action for their present situation. I think God gives each family wisdom to decide what is right for themselves in this area, and sometimes, a wife can be obedient to her husband by working away from the home.

I teach high school. At school, I am still subject to my own husband. Everything I do and say reflects on our family and affects him. He knows that I know that he is my first priority. Therfore, if something needs to be taken care of for our home that day, I will either get up early or stay up late to get it done. Sometimes, I am able to make calls after school before businesses close, and I usually have time to run at least one errand before he gets home. Before I began teaching and before I went to graduate school, I was still "working outside the home." For three years my husband and I worked with a ministry called Apartment Life where we planned events and provided community services for the people who live in our apartment complex. For me, it was at least 15 hours of volunteer time every week, and on top of that I had a stint as an office receptionist for a missions organization two days a week. Of course, my apartment has not always been perfectly kept duing the past three years (whose has?), but if anything ever got in the way of me "keeping our home" then we dropped something. First, I dropped the receptionist position to go to graduate school. Currently, we work with Apartment Life only in an unoffical capacity, as mentors to the new team that has replaced us at our apartment complex.

For now, my husband and I feel that in order to be good stewards of what we have been given, I may work as a schoolteacher. Thankfully, I was provided with a debt-free college education through scholarships and my parents' generosity. However, my husband was not. Therefore, we are attempting to pay off our debt in order that we might better provide for our family if God sees fit to bless us with children. If (hopefully, when) He does, then I would refrain from working outside the home while the children are growing up, since my primary responsiblity is caring for my family, and with young children, I believe it would be very difficult to do if I were still teaching. However, some people may have family living nearby that can care for their children while they work and feel that is the best option. We do not; therefore, I plan to be a stay-at-home mom. And, like so many who are either contributers or readers of this blog, I will be proud of it!

A good friend of mine-- my college roommate, in fact-- recently had her first child. While most of her time is spent at home, she continues to add to her husband's income by tutoring and acting as a nanny 2-3 days a week, and in addition, assists her father with his accounting. I admire her as a balanced model of a faithful Titus 2 wife and mother. By getting to know many of you through this and other blogs, I see you all as examples to follow and know that I still have much to learn. Thanks for all of your contributions.

So, would anyone else like to share their insights of what it means to be a "keeper of the home" with a college education?

11 Comments:

  • At 3:09 AM, Blogger flacius1551 said…

    I think people often forget to read Titus 2 in conjunction with Proverbs 31:10f.

    "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

    Key for me here is the insight that women are active and "eat not the bread of idleness," as well as taking responsibility for charity activities and so on. College is a good preparation for whatever comes the way of the wife, whether that is the blessing of children and homeschooling or other activities in which she enriches her husband, her household, and her community. To me anyway, at some point the task of being a keeper at home is accomplished well enough. (I concede that different families will have different definitions of "well enough.") I'm bothered when I see people using Titus 2 as a justification for finding new and creative ways to make being a keeper at home more timeconsuming and think that our time would be better served, when the task of being a keeper at home has been fairly accomplished, in undertaking beneficial activities along the lines of Proverbs 31.

    Insofar as college is about learning critical thinking, it prepares a woman for whatever comes her way. How can that be bad?

     
  • At 8:07 AM, Blogger Kathryn said…

    I'm looking forward to reading more of this blog. I work full-time, and have a 4 month old baby. My husband is in college fulltime and takes care of the baby when he is not in school. He helps me so much with the housework, etc. If I would stay home to be with the baby, he would be working fulltime, going to school fulltime and making half of what I make. We would never see him, and it would be unreasonable of me to make him shoulder everything. Even after subtracting daycare costs, we could not live on half of what I make. This is my contribution to our family coffers, once he is out of school, I will get to stay home. I try not to let people put me on guilt trips.

     
  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger Heather Ivester said…

    Hi,

    I just discovered your blog, sent over here from Sallie of Two Talent Living. Wow -- you've definitely struck a chord with my way of thinking. I could name a dozen reasons why I want my daughters to earn college degrees before they marry (perhaps I'll write something about this in my blog).

    Personally, I have a bachelor's degree in English, as well as a master's in English education. I used to teach high school, and I also taught overseas. While I haven't worked outside of our home in the past decade since starting my family, I use my degree every day while instilling a love of learning in my children. My writing and research skills gleaned during college encourage my husband in his career. I also contribute a good bit to our family income through writing from my home.

    This year, as I wrote my Christmas cards, I realized also what a gift my four years of college were to me -- I had time to cultivate special friendships during the time I lived away from home in a college dormitory. I have no regrets, which I might have if I'd rushed into marriage. I want my daughters to feel this way one day.

    Thanks for starting your blog. I'll be happy to introduce my readers to you if you'd like to visit. I write primarily to literature-loving moms. Blessings on your writing.

     
  • At 9:38 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    I was most interested to find your site via Two Talent Living. You provide an interesting flip side to the points of view on college I see expressed on other Christian blogs. I'm a homeschooling Christian mom with a B.A. -- my oldest daughter (incidentally, the only one of the children who wasn't homeschooled) is currently applying to colleges. I also work out of my home as a proofreader. I'll be reading your site with interest. Merry Christmas! Laura

     
  • At 9:51 AM, Blogger givengrace said…

    Hi. I am the commenter cited in this post, and let me just say "Thanks!" for addressing this issue.

    Kathryn said:
    "If I would stay home to be with the baby, he would be working fulltime, going to school fulltime and making half of what I make. We would never see him, and it would be unreasonable of me to make him shoulder everything. Even after subtracting daycare costs, we could not live on half of what I make. This is my contribution to our family coffers, once he is out of school, I will get to stay home. I try not to let people put me on guilt trips."

    I agree with you completely.

    The Titus 2-based book I read included many opinions of the author. Perhaps the most distressing to me was her belief that if a husband doesn't make enough to support his family, he should take on more jobs (or whatever he needs to do, even without their having children) in order to keep the wife at home.

    I wish I could say that her thoughts make her an absurd minority (and I say that while admitting she/they have a right to their opinions), but many Christian women really do believe this.

    I went to a Christian college where most of my friends had no aspirations beyond marriage. For them, college was merely a way to find a husband and never work again.

    Over the past few years, I've wondered where this idea even comes from - this mentality where girls should almost fear working in society in favor of requiring extra work from their husbands.

    Thoughts?

     
  • At 1:54 PM, Blogger Ben said…

    I agree with flacius and givengrace; each family must determine within itself the best way to fulfill the collective calling of sustaining the family, the individual callings of each member to be good stewards of resources Divinely provided, and how to harmonize those things. Outside influence that intends to control and produce only Fear, Obligation & Guilt should be given no quarter.

    Here are some further comments of mine on the subject:

    Fathers, not tyrants: Women & Kids are people too.

    Strong, productive women are nothing to be afraid of.

    Motherhood is not a commodity, Children are not a cost center.

     
  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger flacius1551 said…

    Where does it come from? I think it comes from reading the Bible verses in the light of media-created nostalgia for the television family of the 1950s and 60s. Even then, many mothers worked hard inside and outside the home, but that wasn't the picture that was transmitted in the media. Then people take that nostalgia in conjunction with what they see as a biblical command and project it back on long-term history to make it an absolute. We'd all be much better off without TV!

     
  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger Mrs. Work said…

    I'm a college graduate (Bachelor of Arts, Covenant College, 2002) who is now a married woman. I too grew irritated with my college classmates who decided that there was nothing for them outside the home once they married. Of course a married woman's primary responsibility is caring for her husband and (when they come) children, but to ignore a precious commodity we all have is irresponsible and lazy.

    In the Garden of Eden, God called the Man and the Woman to take dominion over creation. This includes both the Man's and the Woman's intellects. God did not call the Man to take dominion over the whole world and the Woman just to take dominion over her home.

    In my first year of teaching, one of my colleagues was explaining to our seventh-grade homeroom why algebra is important to study. (Students don't understand the 'it's part of a standard liberal-arts college-preparatory curriculum' argument.) "You don't know what God has in store for your future. Now is the time to store up every bit of knowledge and every learning experience you can so that you'll be prepared. God may call you to the mission field when you are 45 years old, where you might need to know how to repair plumbing. You don't know what's in your future! So get ready now." I was truly impressed, and remember seeing those cynical, immature faces light up with purpose and drive.

    We do not know what God has in store for us, ladies. All of us--even those with husband/household responsibilities--have been given gifts and talents that we are responsible for developing and training. And for you husbands out there...when you married, you promised to husband your wives. Do you know what that means? It means you shepherd her, care for her, and cause her to grow in maturity and discipline. If you have a wife with a talent and you ignore your covenant headship responsibility to enable her to develop her talent, you are shirking your responsibility.

    Enough. Let me step down off my soapbox now.

     
  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger Virginia said…

    Thank you for that post. As a teenage Christian girl, I hear a lot of stuff that says godly women shouldn't be pursuing a career, and I didn't like hearing that, because I want to go to university a lot. There are so many things that I want to learn.

     
  • At 5:29 PM, Blogger Kristie said…

    I think this a great discussion, and I appreciate your blog. I am a college grad, loved college, and I currently work with college students. man, I was just buying coffee beans (at this place that roasts their own beans locally) and started chatting with this guy selling me the beans who is going the community college route...and I was walking away thinking, I love these people (like they are thier own people group).

    Anyhow, I have to go make dinner for my three kids and husband, so I can't blog right now...but I'll be back later...

    I am reading a book called the Miseducation of Women that I hope to comment on later over at my blog. Have any of you read it?

     
  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger Kristie said…

    I think the whole thing about not working outside the home is extreme. You sound like you are being wise in paying off your debt before having children. Your decision to cut back on the ministry situation in order to focus on work and home sounds good. I think as women we get into trouble when things outside the home start taking our energy from our husbands and intimacy with him, as well as keeping the home in working order. Sounds like you re-assessed and cut back.

    Where are you getting this pressure like you are not doing the right thing? Is it the church you grew up in? What precipitated this blog? Can you point me to a post to help me understand?

    I guess what I am sensing from these posts is that there is this "energy" coming from all of you that you have had people in your life coming down on you for going to college....and if that is so, I really feel for you.

    And I consider myself pretty conservative Titus 2 following sort of woman....I mean, I am always examining myself about whether I "have the mind of Christ" or whether I am operating on the basis of worldviews (like feminism) that I may not be aware of in my life.

    So I am surprised to find so many people that take issue that women should not go to college.....I guess I don't run into many of those kinds of people since I work in ministry to college students. Maybe those who hold to that view have been keeping quiet around me about what they think!

    One verse that is helpful to me in matters like this is Romans 14:22:
    The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
    If you believe you are doing the right thing before God after looking at his Word and seeking wise godly counsel, then who cares what other people say? And if you are wrong on a matter, won't God point you in the right direction soon? That is part of walking humbly with Him.

    Keep walking with Christ and loving Him and enjoying Him.

     

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