Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Women Lose, Part 4


I began this series as a response to the government's disagreement about whether or not to fund Planned Parenthood. 

We are a lost people. We are sheep without a shepherd. As in the days of the Judges, we have no King, and everyone does what is right in his own eyes.

Still, we are nation of people -- men and women created in the image of God. Though we don't know our Maker, we are still His creatures. Deep down, many of us still dream about the desires He placed in our hearts. 

Rebecca Jones is an author, homemaker, and writing instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. In April, 2000, she gave an address at Bryn Mawr College titled "Does Christianity Squash Women?" In her talk, Jones spoke about what women want.

In my own experience with women in the thirty years since I graduated from college, I have found that most of them-whether Christian or atheist, single or married, aged twenty or seventy-long for the same things.
  • In their relationships with men, they want faithful fathers, brothers, husbands and sons who love and respect them, rather than mocking, ignoring, or hurting them. They want fun, but meaningful sexual relationships.
  • In their relationships with women, they want honesty, and true sisterhood, as well as older women who can mentor them.
  • They want the satisfaction of bearing and rearing children well.
  • They want a place to call home-not simply an apartment, but an affectionate, safe "sit by the fire" home where they can be themselves without fear and where others can come to receive something from them.
  • They want a sense of significance, of doing something that really counts in the world. Something only they can offer.
Because some of these desires seem mutually exclusive, women have given up their hopes in one realm in order to explore a path of satisfaction in another. Thinking that freedom from authority structures might give them a sense of individual identity, they have advocated autonomy. ... Thinking that men needed to learn some things about treating women with respect, they have tried to power them into that behavior. Thinking that they could assert their worth and individuality by affirming their control over their own bodies, they have chosen to claim a right to sexual satisfaction without constraints and to abortion without guilt. Thinking that the best way to bear and rear children is to have fewer children later in life, they have placed career before children, both chronologically and sometimes in terms of value. Thinking that freedom must behead the king, they have stormed the palace of the ultimate Patriarch, the Christian God.

Our country is full of lost and hurting women. According to Jones, these women want good things -- things that God created them to desire. But like the sheep that had gone astray, they have taken the wrong road home. And the result hasn't been heartbreaking.

According to Crittenden, women today are more likely to be divorced or never married, more likely to bear children out of wedlock, more likely to be junkies or drunks or to die in poverty. They are more likely to shoulder the lion's share of the housework, even if they work outside the home. Her thought-provoking way of stating the problem is to say that thirty years ago too many women were not treated as humans, while today, too many humans are not treated as women. (Jones)

As the Church, the representative of Christ on earth, it is our job to stand against the tide of culture and start treating women as women. It's our job to display God's design for gender complementarity and equality. It's our job to speak plainly about healthy sexuality and honor marriage. It's our job to celebrate the family and the role of wife and mother.

It's time that we started applauding women for the work they do -- be it inside or outside the home.

Until Christ returns, there will always be suffering. People will always make mistakes. But what if we helped create a culture where Planned Parenthood was obsolete? What if we came alongside unwed mothers with compassion and understanding? What if we embraced their children and welcomed them, not with judgment, but with celebration?

What if we really loved the women of our world?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 ESV)

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