More Proof that I am a Cuddly Moderate

Our good friend at Many Luxury Vacations has this to say:

So, let’s take all the Marriage Mandate stuff and set it aside for one moment. We know many single Christian women want to marry. However, it doesn’t matter how feminine, lovely, intelligent, capable, etc. they are. If we are absolutely honest about these women, it is clear they are seeking a traditional relationship – and seeking it through the churches. They want a 1950s housewife existence with 1980s-style dreadful excess (mostly excess spending). And why not? They aren’t bar skanks or trashy waitresses, they are good women with virtue who don’t sleep around. They deserve very successful and attractive (and also very good and decent) men to marry them and sire “godly” children.

The problem with this is that due to our new socio-cultural reality, there are only a very small number of men who fit this description. Most men and women struggle to be successful equally in the workforce. Men don’t always earn more (or as much as) women. If you artificially inflate the numbers of women workers and feminize the workplace, you’ll have fewer successful men to choose from. It’s a simple numbers game and expecting perfection in a man when women compete with men for jobs, wages, promotions, children, assets, etc. It’s no wonder women are so lonely and miserable; either wasting precious years with pathetic men or waiting decades for a fairy-tale prince charming type.

Nobody is saying women shouldn’t work or pursue education. Nobody is saying women shouldn’t use their talents. Nobody is saying women shouldn’t have the strongest possible role in religion.

The problem is: This doesn’t work. It means matriarchy and stagnation. Biblically speaking, women were meant to serve men. Women’s contributions are important, but women aren’t supposed to lead or be primary breadwinners.

So, complain all you want about there being “no good men” left. The few of us who are decent and successful Christian men willing to marry might be better off staying single. If you expect perfection from a man and little of yourself, men can turn away without regrets.

Women who understand this reality will adapt and find happiness. Women who don’t face reality will follow the siren song of Marriage Mandate demagogues until their fertility is gone, their hearts are hardened, and the few men who would have them are in full flight.

Is he overgeneralizing? Is he on the money? What say you all?

91 thoughts on “More Proof that I am a Cuddly Moderate

  1. Nobody is saying women shouldn’t work or pursue education. Nobody is saying women shouldn’t use their talents. Nobody is saying women shouldn’t have the strongest possible role in religion.

    The problem is: This doesn’t work. It means matriarchy and stagnation.

    Um….I wonder if he really means this or if he is engaging in some hyperbole because I don’t think the logic really follows. I’m not sure how women working, becoming educated, or using their talents = matriarchy. Why isn’t male leadership possible if women work, go to school, or use their talents? I don’t get it.

  2. It’s somewhat off topic, but do you have any thoughts on the following blurb from an article in the New York Times:

    According to Hans-Peter Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania, analysis of recent studies showed that “high fertility was associated with high female labor-force participation . . . and the lowest fertility levels in Europe since the mid-1990s are often found in countries with the lowest female labor-force participation.” In other words, working mothers are having more babies than stay-at-home moms.

    Note that this is Europe that the article is talking about where “high” fertility is still sub-replacement level.

  3. MLV is a blowhard who may not have the standing to make some of the utterances he does…I do not see Christian maturity in his writings. This does not take away from the (very occasional) useful thing he says; but the way he says them is as bad as some of things said by his muse, Ms. Maken.

    We single christian men need to walk in intellectual integrity and balance if we are going to tip the scales for ourselves in the Body on earth. This man does not seem to fit the bill.

  4. “They want a 1950s housewife existence with 1980s-style dreadful excess (mostly excess spending). And why not? They aren’t bar skanks or trashy waitresses, they are good women with virtue who don’t sleep around. They deserve very successful and attractive (and also very good and decent) men to marry them and sire “godly” children.”

    Yep. I agree with this. And wow … is the competition among women, through their appearance and the appearance of their children, fierce.

    An no one’s happy.

    My friend’s ex was never happy with what they had … but was unwilling to live under their means while he was the only breadwinner … and was unwilling to work. However, she was perfectly happy whining and complaining and bitchin at him all the time.

    This is more common than it should be.

  5. I think MLV is over the top, but Ame is also correct: there is a fair number of women out there like that, just as there is a fair number of men who have to have the best truck, the largest house, the best television…

    Covetousness is no respecter of gender.

  6. “They want a 1950s housewife existence with 1980s-style dreadful excess (mostly excess spending). And why not? They aren’t bar skanks or trashy waitresses, they are good women with virtue who don’t sleep around. They deserve very successful and attractive (and also very good and decent) men to marry them and sire “godly” children.”

    Yep. I agree with this. And wow … is the competition among women, through their appearance and the appearance of their children, fierce.

    You really agree with this, Ame? Because I was just going to comment on that paragraph and say that I certainly don’t know any young ladies who want a 1950s-style housewife existence!

  7. Adam: He’s referring to those who wish to marry rich so they can be SAHMs while hubby makes big bucks. (He’s actually aiming at the woman he calls The Prophet.)

    Like I said…he’s over the top. We cannot forget that covetousness is no respecter of gender. Men succumb to it, too.

  8. He’s referring to those who wish to marry rich so they can be SAHMs while hubby makes big bucks.

    Okay, but how many of those can there really be? It’s one of the things that I think makes MLV and others like him sound silly. Lots of these ‘men’s rights’ blogs talk about ‘spoiled’ women who hope to marry rich and live easy, but honestly, how many women can there really be who think they have a snowball’s chance of marrying a rich man? I think the rhetoric on this is seriously overdone.

  9. Adam – i happen to live in a fairly wealth county. there’s a lot of ’em here. a lot. and almost all of them are miserable. he works too much, makes too much, she has too much time while their maid cleans their house and her kids are enrolled in every sport, etc, they can possibly cram into their after school schedule. yep. it might be more a generational thing … i don’t know … but there’s lots of it in my age range.

  10. Okay, but how many of those can there really be? It’s one of the things that I think makes MLV and others like him sound silly. Lots of these ‘men’s rights’ blogs talk about ’spoiled’ women who hope to marry rich and live easy, but honestly, how many women can there really be who think they have a snowball’s chance of marrying a rich man? I think the rhetoric on this is seriously overdone.

    I wouldn’t come close to suggesting that what he is aiming at is the norm; it is, however, representative of the view that is getting the coverage among Christian leaders. He is, in fact, aiming at Debbie Maken.

    Trouble is, he is committing the same error that Maken commits: he imputes the particular (Maken) on the general (women). In the process, he undermines himself.

  11. Okay, but how many of those can there really be?

    Personally, I don’t know many. I do know they exist, though.

    Most of the girls I know that want comfy existences want to work for them (which falls into the feminists in the work place side of things). When I suggest I want to be a SAHM, its been suggested that I hunt down a “sugar daddy” because the economy can’t support a one-income household on a standard income.

    Yeah, my “Fantasy” man happens to be rich with horses in the countryside…but that was more when I thought I’d be sending my kids to private school and I just wanted horses…though I must admit, his income level has dropped incredibly in the last 8 years…probably when I started dreaming of marrying a priest, my ideals on financial income became a bit more realistic.

    An “I can do it” mentality has taken over for me. I’m learning how to budget, manage finances, milk money for all I can get out of it. I don’t mind doing it. It tends to be a bit fun when I have the time to work on it. However, I don’t have that much time on my hands to work on it =p

    And I see THAT more often among my friends than this desperate need to marry rich to support their habits.

    I know more men that want their wives bringing in the money so they can stay home and play video games =p

  12. Dave: And I’ll bet that is even worse when you separate the Muslims out of the statistics, as Muslims are keeping the birth rate in Europe from accelerating even farther downstream.

    Quite frankly, I am not surprised, as Europe is largely post-Christian. Even the Christians have bought into the population control mantra. I see that here in the States, too.

    I cannot even count to you the number of times I’ve seen snide comments directed at families that have more than 3 children. Folks act as if it is some great sin against the earth to have large families.

    In fact, low birth rates are fueling the need for nursing homes and other “long-term care” facilities. Heck, that is an emerging market for insurance products.

  13. I find it amusing that people are putting Anakin as more extreme than Triton when that was how I felt before you were claiming Anakin was more moderate “like you”.

    =p

  14. On a completely different note, I would like to point out that while the jury may still be out on wether Amir is a “moderate”, it is a scientifically provable objective truth that only the insane could find him “cuddly”.

    Just how many teddy bears have you ever seen in store windows packin’ serious heat? :>P

  15. Christina: Triton is more polemic and pessimistic whereas Anakin is more reasonable in his theological presentation of the issues.

    MLV, on the other hand, has taken the warpath way too far and–sadly–has committed the same error that got Maken into trouble.

  16. Amir (re: #12): Just regarding your comment on the Muslim population, Philip Longman’s book, the Empty Cradle, argues that these immigrants (by and large) are quickly* adapting the same views on family size as already exist there, and that these same trends are also taking place in the middle east.

    I can probably dig up a page reference from my copy if you’re interested.

    * – interpret quickly for the purposes of population trends as taking no more than a generation or so

  17. Dave: And that low birth rate is killing Western civilization. It’s quite regrettable that Christians have bought into the population control/family planning agenda.

    That European Muslims are buying into it is indeed quite surprising. Then again, many Muslims who emigrate to the West are doing so to get away from the fundamentalism of the Middle East. So to a certain extent this trend makes some sense.

  18. Amir: It’s not just European Muslims, but the Muslim world as a whole.

    Similarly, those televised images of desperate, unemployed youths broadcast from the Middle East create a false impression. Fertility rates are falling faster in the Middle East than anywhere else on earth, and as a result the region’s population is aging at an unprecedented rate. It took fifty years for the United States to go from a median age of 30 to today’s 35. By contrast, during the first fifty years of the twenty-first century, Algeria will increase its median age from 21.7 to 40, according to UN projections. (Philip Longman, The Empty Cradle, p. 8)

  19. I am going to shock the party and say that MLV is mostly on the money. No, I don’t believe women had to be barefoot and pregnant, but MLV’s main point about women wanting to have their cake and eat it too still stands. As women’s opportunities have increased, so have their expectations. I believe that many of their expectations are unrealistic and MLV is highlighting this. Women are edging men out of the economy and yet act if as if they are entitled to marry the one of the fortunate few who makes over 70,000 year and hasn’t had his job outsourced to China, India, or one of this seasonal workers from south of the border.

    There’s an old saying – “It’s the kicked dog that howls.” Naturally, women are going to object anyone insinuating that they are overly picky and socialized to be materialistic. We all like to think the best of ourselves. But what is critical is not what politically correct oval we fill in on a survey, but actions we ACTUALLY take. When I see a sizeable body of literature indicating that a 40% or more career women are marrying men of a lesser social status than them and are HAPPY in the marriage, then I will hold my peace.

  20. Another thing has come to my mind:

    Willard Harley, author of His Needs, Her Needs, said this about the man women supposedly find to be “irresistible”:

    “He assumes the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe the family. If his income is insufficient to provide essential support, he resolves the problem by upgrading his skills to increase his salary. He does not work long hours, keeping himself from his wife and family, but is able to provide necessary support by working a forty to forty-five-hour week. While he encourages his wife to pursue a career, he does not depend on her salary for family living expenses.”

    Read that last line again. Obviously the wife wants all the choices, while fobbing the responsibilities on men (what’s hers is hers, what’s his is “ours”). Willard Harley’s book was a bestseller that I believe ran for several reprintings and editions. All I heard from Christians I interacted with was praise for this book. No mass numbers of Christian woman that I know of stepped out of the woodwork to condemn the portrayal Willard Harley made of women. Now, MLV, says something similar about women –but the context is different. Now, a trait that women saw as a birthright is revealed as liability (i.e., men are not going to put up with a materialistic, entitlement-minded attitude). It does not surprise me that women would now object to the portrayal. It’s a like someone, “Oh, I was not a member of the Baathist party … I uh … was just the gardener in the Tikrit palace!”

    1. Remember, what women might say they will do is not as reliable indicator as what they actually do (It’s instructive to look at the relationships they actually get into instead of the values they profess). Really, we heard nothing but years of incessant droning about how women just want to find “a nice guy who is caring, considerate” yada, yada … while decent men get turned down left and right nonetheless. An amusing personal story: I know of one woman who claims to have been led by God to her current boyfriend. I wonder why she didn’t fee led to a man who balding, pot-bellied and makes less than the man she is seeing. I think we can guess at the answer.

    2. We like to hold out hope by pointing to anecdotal evidence of women on here or to female friends we know that don’t find MLV’s description. But that doesn’t explain the aggegrate behavior of women in the culture at large.

  21. “On a completely different note, I would like to point out that while the jury may still be out on wether Amir is a “moderate”, it is a scientifically provable objective truth that only the insane could find him “cuddly”.

    Just how many teddy bears have you ever seen in store windows packin’ serious heat? :>P”

    LOL!!!

  22. Anakin: And that’s where I would take some exception. We really don’t have stats to show that Christian women generally have such expectations. While we can all point to cases where there are such divas, I’m not ready to say that women–in general–have such expectations.

    On the other hand, MLV would be right to point out that the Makenites tend to foment that line of thinking.

    The bottom line is to ensure that we are not imposing our particulars on the general, at least absent an objective basis.

    While I agree with your points with respect to women in the workforce–a huge consequence of that is the driving down of men’s wages–that is a completely different matter than the premise that women expect their men to make huge bucks.

    Also, keep in mind that a woman who wants to be a SAHM would be right to look at a man’s record of employment. Lack of financial responsibility–defined as a spotty history of employment and paying bills on time–is not conducive to a good home life.

    Aversion to the latter would not–in my opinion–be akin to materialism or covetousness.

    That said, expecting him to be able to afford the “many luxury vacations”….now that’s a different animal.

  23. Learner: The extreme would be the person who blames the women for everything that goes wrong, or someone who blames the problem of protracted singleness on the women to the extent that the mandaters blame it on the men.

    At the end of the day, Total Depravity is exactly that: total. While feminism is perhaps one of the largest contributors to the protracted singleness dilemma, both sexes in the Church have actively and passively accepted it. This puts both sexes in the same boat in terms of blame.

  24. Ok, I think I get what you mean. I wasn’t sure if “moderate” meant in the middle of radical feminism (the SCUM manifesto-men should die-type) on one end and radical um…manism (Or is it masculinism maybe?) (women are property-there is no such thing as rape-type) on the other end….or is it radical masculinism (or whatever it is called) on one end and someone like Dave Morrow who wrote “Why men hate going to church” on the other end. Moderate on those 2 scales would probably be pretty different positions.

  25. Anakin says:

    Willard Harley, author of His Needs, Her Needs, said this about the man women supposedly find to be “irresistible”:

    “He assumes the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe the family. If his income is insufficient to provide essential support, he resolves the problem by upgrading his skills to increase his salary. He does not work long hours, keeping himself from his wife and family, but is able to provide necessary support by working a forty to forty-five-hour week. While he encourages his wife to pursue a career, he does not depend on her salary for family living expenses.”

    While I agree with your assessment of Harley’s book–it is a load crap that the Church ought to oppose–I would hardly suggest that Harley is providing an accurate assessment of what women generally want or expect.

    1. Remember, what women might say they will do is not as reliable indicator as what they actually do (It’s instructive to look at the relationships they actually get into instead of the values they profess). Really, we heard nothing but years of incessant droning about how women just want to find “a nice guy who is caring, considerate” yada, yada … while decent men get turned down left and right nonetheless.

    Dude…the same is true for the men: what ANYONE says is not as reliable an indicator as what they actually do.

    And, as I’ve maintained, men and women each have their preferences. And there are credible studies–from both Christian and secular sources–suggesting that women are more visual than traditionally thought.

    An amusing personal story: I know of one woman who claims to have been led by God to her current boyfriend. I wonder why she didn’t fee led to a man who balding, pot-bellied and makes less than the man she is seeing. I think we can guess at the answer.

    Probably for the same reason a man might not be “led” to an obese woman who can’t balance her checkbook.

    Don’t get me wrong, Anakin: I’m not saying there aren’t divas out there who only want high-income men who can give them certain lifestyles. Remember: materialism and covetousness are hardly gender-specific.

    I am, however, suggesting that your narrative, at face value, is about as unfair as Maken’s narrative on page 185 of her book.

  26. A little late into this discussion:

    While he encourages his wife to pursue a career, he does not depend on her salary for family living expenses.

    Its funny because prior to kids, I fully intend on doing exactly this. The husband’s income is going to be for all living expenses while my income will be going into savings, paying off my student loans, and paying of all credit cards that have been accumulated prior to marriage (between BOTH of us).

    But that’s a bit different from claiming “Obviously the wife wants all the choices, while fobbing the responsibilities on men.”

    Yeah, my income will not be for living expenses. But hopefully, under this system, by the time a baby is on the way there will be enough money saved for a healthy down-payment on a 2 or 3 bedroom house with most of our accumulated debt paid off and still have money in savings.

    And we will not be un-used to living on one income…we will not be unaccustomed to scrimping and saving to manage on his income alone.

    And, Anakin…

    We like to hold out hope by pointing to anecdotal evidence of women on here or to female friends we know that don’t find MLV’s description. But that doesn’t explain the aggegrate behavior of women in the culture at large.

    You hold out hope by pointing out the ones you know exist because where there’s one, there’s bound to be more. Hard to find, yes. And yes, aggregate behavior of women in the culture at large is not representative of the views the kind of women you are looking for hold. But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope in their existence.

    There is a remnant. And hopefully, God will use us to restore what was lost.

  27. Amir:

    I am, however, suggesting that your narrative, at face value, is about as unfair as Maken’s narrative on page 185 of her book.

    Thank you. Thank you VERY much. That’s what I’ve been thinking since I began reading Anakin’s blog.

  28. Anakin (and anyone else that lost hope because of bad experiences or numbers),

    I find it so strange that while myself and my friends went through 22+ years of not being pursued by seriously minded and intention oriented men, being surrounded by cads and guys that want just one thing out of a woman, we never gave up hope that our “Mr. Darcy” existed.

    We kept holding out hope that if God wanted us to marry, he’d bring about someone worth marrying. That didn’t make us too uppity for our own good (as you would lead other men to believe), turning down “nice guys”, nerds, fat men, balding men, etc. If anything, it made us more forgiving of who we would date.

    We’re all happily dating some of the strangest conglameration of men. But they’re the only ones who have been willing to put up with us… You have no idea how hard its been to hold out hope that someone exists who completes you. Its not that you don’t have the circumstances for it, its simply that you have not held out hope.

    But there’s no reason not to hope. You pray, you trust, and you rest in God’s love and omnipotence… trusting that Jeremiah 29:11-12 is true and that his plans for your life and anyone else’s life were meant to give hope for a future.

    And don’t anyone DARE to even give me an exegesis in how those verses are used out of context and don’t apply to just anyone and only apply to Israel.

  29. Christina: On the other hand, in fairness to Anakin, he is attacking a paradigm that is getting all the promotion among evangelical leaders.

    It may not be the general rule that describes the field of Christian single women, but it is the conclusion that many otherwise reasonable men may infer based on surveying the high-profile authors who are speaking to the issue of singleness and “manhood”.

  30. Wow . . . 33 well thought out comments that came from a post about an article that made my blood boil.
    First off: The title gave me a good chuckle.
    Secondly, I must be part of some weird sub-culture of Christianity or completely oblivious to the world around me, but I don’t know of any woman that fits this description to which MLV refers to any extent.
    I am a few hours aways of completing week 1 of living without a T.V. . My other (single) female friends who aspire to be a SAHM are working hard to figure out how to function as a female, in the Church, and yet not letting the pursuit of a career become so overwhelming that it blinds them to good martial prospects.
    There is not one female friend of mine (single or married) that I can point to and say “Oh! They are SO materialistic!” If anyone is guilty of that it would be me . . . and I have no television or desire to get one.
    I just got done with a week of unpacking (among other non-work/”vacation” activities) and sorting through all my stuff and making my yard sale pile bigger.
    In my closet I can count how many outfits I have – and of those clothes I have bought 2 of the skirts and 1 blouse. Everything else has been given to me.
    My “luxury vacation” has consisted of not paying more than $25 for gasoline for a WHOLE WEEK AT RECORD HIGH GAS PRICES!
    If I could point to females who fit the description that Anakin or MLV refers to, I wouldn’t be so angry, but I’m at a loss.

  31. The bottom line here is that Total Depravity is TOTAL in scope.

    I’ve seen women who are just like what Anakin and MLV describe. I’ve also seen men who are just like what Debbie Maken confronts.

    In fairness to Anakin and MLV, the guys are further behind the 8-ball in this, due to high-profile authors publishing smear jobs against men, combined with the “blame it all on the men” evangelical leaders who get all the press.

    That said, we cannot afford to let the rightful backlash against feminism–and its tacit supporters among otherwise conservative Christians–turn into a “kick the women over everything that is wrong” movement.

  32. As you’ve said, Amir, the hurt goes both ways. Maybe you are, indeed, a moderate.
    Cuddly . . . well as Russ said: “How many teddy bears do you see packin’ serious heat?”

  33. I will say this: I fully agree that a lot of men treat women shabbily. They should be exposed … and, in fact, they are. We have had roughly 40 years of non-stop analysis of what is wrong with MEN. So, to say that men are bad, too is a truism in my book. Now here is the kicker: How many voices in our families, schools, government, popular culture, church, etc. look at the problem with WOMEN in how they treat men? What I often have seen is a galling denial that women could ever do anything wrong to men. There is simply little or no accountability demanded of women in that regard. Now you know why my discourse seems to be lopsided, and why I don’t apologize for it.

    We can point out that we shouldn’t extrapolate from the peccadilloes of individual women to the aggregate. But the problem is that there is no accountability for bad women the way there is for bad men. Until there is such accountability, we have unwittingly declared that bad and good women are equal. This ultimately hurts good women. Relationships become a risky proposition for men, and so men understandably back away from all women (good or bad). If the women on here are good, then they will stop complaining about men who are on a marriage strike. Stop barking up the wrong tree. Men are doing what can only be expected in a dysfunctional culture. Blame the demented women and the warped, feminized, neo-chivalrous society that supports these women.

    Dr. Helen Smith gets it:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/ask_dr_helen_6/

    Wendy McElroy gets it.

    The Sisterhood of Female Evangelical Writers? I’m not so certain.

  34. If I may, I like to point out an article in Christianity Today (one that I actually quoted in part 16 of my pan of Debbie Maken’s book at the Scripturally Single blog). In the article a sociologist is interviewed about the mating preferences of women (I am pretty certain he has in mind Christian women, too). I suggest all here read it …

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/october/53.122.html?start=1

    Here is a quote to masticate on:

    “If the husband earns more than 66 percent of the income, the wife is more likely to report that she’s happy with her marriage, and she’s also more likely to report that she spends quality time with her husband.”

    66 percent. I believe that comes up to about two thirds … or shall we say twice the income of the wife. If she makes 20k, the implication is that you should make 40k. 30k = 60k, 50k = 100k. Don’t know about the rest of guys reading this, but that sounds like one expensive honeymoon to me. Can you afford it? Can you afford to make twice the amount of women that work around you at the office? Do you see where this all leads? Women want the job of their male peers in the cubicle but the marriage proposal of the guy in the executive office.

    And people accuse me, Triton, and MLV of being extreme? I know the female padawan defense already: “I’m like that, Anakin!” I never said that you were, my female friends, but a sociologist says your sisters sitting in the pews next to you are. If you are the exception to the rule, then how is that any comfort to the Nice Guy whose hoping the odds are in his favor?

    “No! That’s not true! That’s impossible!”

    MGTOW Sith: “Search your feelings, you know it to be true!”

    “Nooooooooooooooo!”

  35. Anakin says:

    66 percent. I believe that comes up to about two thirds … or shall we say twice the income of the wife. If she makes 20k, the implication is that you should make 40k. 30k = 60k, 50k = 100k. Don’t know about the rest of guys reading this, but that sounds like one expensive honeymoon to me. Can you afford it? Can you afford to make twice the amount of women that work around you at the office? Do you see where this all leads? Women want the job of their male peers in the cubicle but the marriage proposal of the guy in the executive office.

    Aren’t you leaving out a factor, Anakin? You are assuming that she has a full-time professional career. What about the SAHM scenario, where the hubby makes close to 100% of the income?

    Basically, one can interpret the statement to mean that the wives are more likely to be happy in their marriages if the husband is the primary breadwinner. Isn’t that the model we would like?

    Does that mean that there are no materialistic women out there who want the walking ATM for a husband? Certainly not. As I’ve pointed out, they’re out there, and they sadly get unwitting validation from some high-profile evangelical “leaders”.

    While you are correct that the women get little accountability from the mainstream whereas the men are getting clobbered for faults both real and imagined, keep in mind that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Ergo, categorizing Christian women as overly-materialistic is too much of a stretch.

    That an aspiring SAHM would be concerned about the job and income stability of a potential husband does not make her materialistic; after all, just as men are hard-wired to be the breadwinners, women are hard-wired to want a secure household where she can raise the children.

    That is a way that women may practice risk-aversion/prudence, just as men may practice it with different parameters. Like the men, that may not always be exercised fairly, but some prudence is in order, as the overall risks of divorce–due to the onslaught of feminism–have gone up for both sexes.

    On the other hand, when she starts demanding a certain lifestyle–certain type of house, being able to take “many luxury vacations staying in 5-star hotels–now that’s a different matter. That’s crossing the line between prudence and fear.

  36. In 92 my ex and i built/purchased our first house. when we moved in we’d been married close to 7 years. it was a great house in a great neighborhood, but the payton-place town was a horrible place for me as a sahm who was not raised there.

    we looked for a long time for another house in a town that was more universal. the deal was, my ex wanted a bigger house than we had; he wouldn’t move for the same size house … one reason was the same size house would cost a little more (not much, but a little bit) b/c the property values were so much better.

    so we bought the size house he wanted. i totally disagreed with how he financially managed the whole deal, but after years of trying to implement healthy ways of managing finances in our home with much aversion from him, i finally took my hands off and let him do his thing.

    the consequences were not pretty; he completely blames me (though he told me to go spend the money on the house); and i’m still living those consequences today.

    ***

    i have a friend whose ex wife talked him into selling his paid-for beach house so she could have the ‘house of her dreams.’ it cost so much money was tight … and she complained all the time that she couldn’t have everything she wanted … but she wasn’t willing to work. she wanted him to get another job to cover her a$$.

  37. Anakin:

    Having read the CT article, it appears that you are presenting a one-sided view here (emphasis added):

    How do evangelical women fare in all this?

    Based on my earlier research, evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis. This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.

    How much less likely?

    I estimate between 35 and 50 percent less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don’t attend church at all. It is true that people who say they’ve had a born-again experience are about as likely to divorce as people who are completely secular. But if you look at this through the lens of church attendance, you see a very different story.

    Therefore, there’s at least a prima facie case that regular church attendance is a key predictor of marriage stability. This is a good thing.

    Continuing…

    What makes married women happy?

    The biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife, this is the most important factor in predicting the wife’s happiness. This basically drowns out every other factor in our models.

    Did we hear anything about income level in the preceding paragraph?

    Now, let’s look at the context of the quote you provided:

    What are some other key predictors?

    Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. They’re more likely to embrace the idea that men should take the primary lead in breadwinning and women should take the primary lead in nurturing the children and managing the domestic sphere, managing family life.

    Considering the social changes in the last 40 or 50 years, what percentage of women still hold those traditional views?

    It’s around 35 percent in the population at large. But it’s not just a question of who works inside or outside the home. What’s more predictive of a woman’s happiness is whether or not her husband is the primary breadwinner. The income actually is a more important predictor of her happiness than whether she works outside the home. Having a husband who earns the lion’s share of the income makes the average woman happier in her marriage. If the husband earns more than 66 percent of the income, the wife is more likely to report that she’s happy with her marriage, and she’s also more likely to report that she spends quality time with her husband.

    Again, the emphasis is not so much on whether the husband earns $100,000+ per year, but rather whether he is the primary breadwinner.

    On one hand, this DOES put the high-flying career women in a bind. On the other hand, if we are dealing with someone having a traditional-values SAHM-wannabe mindset, this may not be a problem.

    This study focuses on what makes married women happy, not what single Christian women are looking for.

    Ergo, I would suggest that it leaves many questions unanswered, and it does not provide impetus for the “women only want a walking ATM” model that you have imputed from the particular to the general.

    I’m not saying those types aren’t out there–you and I know that they are–all I’m saying is that we do not have a substantial case that this is the general situation.

  38. Anakin,

    In essense I agree with alot of what you have to say about the negative effects of feminism in the culture at large and in the church, but I have often wondered if you really want women to understand what you are trying to express. All it would take to help women (I’m not saying all women, but some…certainly more) understand would be to express the truth that not all women are a certain way instead of painting all women with the same broad brush. Simple things like saying “some women in the church” instead of “women in the church” would decrease defensiveness and enable the reader to actually consider what you are saying instead of trying to prove that “all women are not like that”. Perhaps you feel that it is not your responsibility to help women understand…and perhaps it is not, though what would it hurt?

  39. “The biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife, this is the most important factor in predicting the wife’s happiness. This basically drowns out every other factor in our models.”

    a wife who is treated like this is THE ENVY of every woman around her who is aspiring to love and honor God in every area of her life sans a marked influence of feminism.

    i would even state that the most independent feminist would have a place of envy deep inside her for a woman who is loved this way by her husband.

    as females, we are born desiring to please males. Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Cinderella” highlights what those of us who have little girls know. little girls crave and long for the positive attention of males. it’s hard-wired into us. we’re born that way.

    for most women, when their cup is full or overflowing from affection from their husband, they are more than willing, even craving and desiring, to completely and continuously please their husbands.

  40. Amir,

    Mea culpa. You were right that I lent too much weight to the income factor and did not appreciate that the article’s more important factors. My mind must have focused on what I found to be negative.

    You wrote:

    “This study focuses on what makes married women happy, not what single Christian women are looking for.”

    Perhaps, but conceding this for the sake of argument draws attention to a matter that cuts both ways. Are single Christian women less demanding than their married counterparts … or more demanding? The question is still open to debate in my mind.

    Learner,

    I want men more than women to understand what I am saying, because it impacts their lives the most. Most of my writing is addressed to men in that regard. I am not used to making a case to women that are sitting on the fence. I suppose it is because my experience (and the experience of many other men) leads me to believe many women are not willing to listen to men in the first place. I would like to believe their is a critical number of women out there that believe as you and Christina profess to believe. But I have difficulty getting my hopes up too high on that count. I will say that my goal is not to hurt or seek vengeance on women. My goal is equip men to defend their sanity and their freedoms.

    The problem that keeps rising to the surface of my conscience is why are nice religious men who are responsible and not all that bad looking getting ignored by their religious sisters?

  41. The problem that keeps rising to the surface of my conscience is why are nice religious men who are responsible and not all that bad looking getting ignored by their religious sisters?

    Good question. I don’t know what the stats are on that dynamic, or the extent to which it happens the other way around.

    Coughlin hits on the dynamic of “nice” men getting turned down for specifically that reason: “nice guys” are not necessarily “good guys”. There may be some truth to that. I’ve seen “nice” guys remain single for years. Are they proactive enough? I dunno. They’ll have to answer for themselves.

    I will say this, though: in those particular churches, there hasn’t been a deluge of single Christian women in that age bracket who have been knocking down the church doors. I know, because I was there.

    On the other extreme, being a badass just doesn’t strike me as a perfectly Biblical model either.

  42. Amir:

    This study focuses on what makes married women happy, not what single Christian women are looking for.

    This information could be used in a very good way FOR the single Christian women via Titus 2 🙂

    Anakin:

    I want men more than women to understand what I am saying, because it impacts their lives the most.

    That’s not true. The more men are afraid (or wary) of women, the more women are hurt as well. You don’t do yourself credit by making men think negatively about the general female populace. You’d help men more by warning them that these women exist, but not all of them are like that and trying to inform those that will listen how to IMPROVE the situation. Not get out of the situation all together.

    And, you focused on the income AMOUNT much more than you did on what the article was actually saying. They never mentioned amount, as Amir pointed out.

    I’d think that that information would be priceless to single women today, because if it is actually spoken about and heard, then hopefully the young single ones will be more inclined to tone down their expectations on income and re-evaluate their role in the family.

    Do note that the income variance came hand in hand with the traditional gender roles in the home.

  43. I’ve seen “nice” guys remain single for years. Are they proactive enough? I dunno. They’ll have to answer for themselves.

    I don’t have “nice” defining un-wanted’s’. I will say this…most of what Coughlin describes as “nice” guys are so laid back and would do just about anything for a girl that a girl could practically walk all over him. The funny thing is that even in this feministic society, very few women WANT that. And occassionally you get the girls that are so door-matty that they work well together =p

    I’m serious here, the “bad” boy gets it because he doesn’t let the girl walk all over him. However, he’s not very nice about it, either.

    The “good” guy doesn’t let the girl rule the roost, but neither is he mean or disrespectful.

    But Anakin, I know what you mean. Trust me on that…I know EXACTLY what its like to be nice, attractive, and overlooked. And I feel for them.

  44. And, you focused on the income AMOUNT much more than you did on what the article was actually saying. They never mentioned amount, as Amir pointed out.

    I’d think that that information would be priceless to single women today, because if it is actually spoken about and heard, then hopefully the young single ones will be more inclined to tone down their expectations on income and re-evaluate their role in the family.

    In fairness to Anakin, your last paragraph is a point that many career women aren’t understanding.

    If, for example, you have a gal making $50,000 per year as a consultant, and she expects her husband to make $80,000, she’ll be excluding a heck of a lot of good guys.

    On the other hand, if she’s an SAHM wannabe, it would be reasonable for her to want a man who has a track record of working hard and being responsible. She may not necessarily be concerned about his income, but rather his demonstrated responsibility.

    The consequences of being a career-first/marry-later type: many women who are in that world have a tendency to view men in terms of their abilities in a worldly sense. That is the dynamic to which Anakin may be speaking.

    I remember an ad I saw on a dating service, where a gal in a midwestern state–very conservative, very “family values” oriented–had an impressive profile, except for one thing: she demanded that only men who made at least $100,000 need apply.

    Yep…they’re out there. I dunno what the stats are, and I ain’t gonna lump all women in that boat. But yep…they’re out there.

  45. Anakin:

    “I would like to believe their is a critical number of women out there that believe as you and Christina profess to believe. But I have difficulty getting my hopes up too high on that count. I will say that my goal is not to hurt or seek vengeance on women.”

    I think what Learner is saying is that, if you come from the perspective that there are a critical number of women out there like us, (and I believe there are), the way you present your information oft times comes across as though you are trying to hurt or seek vengeance on women.

    fwiw – i think your ‘message’ is very important and needs to be heard. i think it would be beneficial if your message were able to reach women, too. however, you often loose me in your style of presentation.

    i agree with Christina that the income stats should be more widely known.

  46. “On the other hand, if she’s an SAHM wannabe, it would be reasonable for her to want a man who has a track record of working hard and being responsible. She may not necessarily be concerned about his income, but rather his demonstrated responsibility.”

    absolutely.

    however, as a woman, i think the info on the salaries would give them more of a perspective when evaluating upper level educational choices and ‘career’/working choices.

    there’s a LOT of pressure out there on women to ‘spread their wings and fly!’ even my 2nd grader’s teacher kept saying of her, “when she reaches *this* milestone, the sky’s the limit for her.”

    what i try to teach my girls is that, although very gifted and talented and able in many areas, the ones they need to choose are those God desires for them. so, the sky may be the limit … but God’s thoughts and ways for them will look much different.

  47. Anakin,

    But if things are going to change don’t women need to understand as well? I’m not saying it has to be your goal to help women understand but perhaps just something to be aware of and consider when you write. I don’t think you are consciously trying to hurt or seek vengence on women (and not to disagree with the fabulous Ame…’cause she rocks!) but just that sometimes how you say things encourage defensiveness.

    Amir,

    Ok, this: I remember an ad I saw on a dating service, where a gal in a midwestern state–very conservative, very “family values” oriented–had an impressive profile, except for one thing: she demanded that only men who made at least $100,000 need apply. made me snort diet coke out my nose…I hope you are happy. lol I know there are women like that out there because I know a few too but that kind of hypocricy always takes me by surprise.

  48. Anakin: You wrote:

    “…Mea culpa. You were right that I lent too much weight to the income factor and did not appreciate that the article’s more important factors. My mind must have focused on what I found to be negative….”

    This is the kind of thing that makes me see leadership potential in you.

  49. Learner, Christina, and Ame

    I acknowledge your concerns. If I may, I like to say that I am grieved for the way men have mistreated or neglected all three of you (I am familiar with your struggles as you have talked them on forums and your respective blogs). Far be it from me to take away the human factor from the names I see on this forum. Yet, I feel confident that there are other women who will give you sympathy and men who come to the defense of your honor.

    I, as a man, am not sure that I have that privilege. My belief is that when men talk about their concerns, other men will not sympathize with them and very few women, if any, will come to defense of our honor. One might say such is the price for being the sex charged with leadership. But men have given up some of the leadership at the behest of women in the name of “equality”. So why are we still asked to pay the full price, especially in relationships?

    There is some concern about my tone. I feel that it is worth consideration. As a child of God, I most certainly do need to weigh my words carefully. I don’t pretend to have been 100% successful in that department. But among secular men and women, the gloves have come off. There are plenty of non-religious men out there that make me look very tame (I may have already alluded to this) in their viewpoints about gender issues.

    Ladies, “you don’t know the power of the Dark Side” on this one. I have seen it in the online communities discussing men’s issues. Many men are getting fed up. They are used to the shame and blame from women and other men. Whatever contempt is directed at them will only embolden them as such only proves in their mind that society doesn’t care about men’s issues.

    Evangelical leaders are making a terrible mistake as they are merely reinforcing the suspicion that the religious conservatives don’t care about men. Boundless, Albert Mohler, Debbie Maken, CBMW are examples of target rich environments. One merely need cut and paste the irresponsible things said by these people and post them to a online forum for men and watch the feeding frenzy begin. I have seen men have a laugh at Debbie Maken’s expense and use her as Exhibit A of what’s wrong with conservative women.

    While your concern about my influence is understandable, the water has already broke through the dam with other male voices out there. It was happening before me and is going on in spite of me. Five years ago, men’s rights slanted websites were not so numerous. Now, they are mushrooming in forums, blogs, etc. They fill a need that men feel they have. Even religious men are attracted to what MRA’s are saying. As a Christian man, I find myself uncomfortable with some of the hostility out there, but the anti-male nonsense of religious leaders (as well the rest of the culture) is only going to add gasoline to the fire.

    As a Christian man, I try to live by the restraints that my religion puts on me in terms of my writing and my thought process. I could really blast a lot of people a lot harder than I do, but I don’t. I am ever conscious of the dangerous trap of bitterness and I been in a lot of angst-ridden prayer about it. That said, the Chaldeans are coming and they are not going to be as agreeable as I am.

    Let me reiterate that I do not see my personal goal as recruiting women to “the cause.” I and other men have not been optimistic about that. We welcome women who are willing to listen to these issues that we discuss, but we do not expect that many will.

    There are some secular women out there that are supporting the cause of men’s rights, but as I have said, I do not see where many religious women are doing this. The anti-feminism of religious women is often in the context of supporting traditionalism (or neo-traditionalism). That’s something which is not necessarily beneficial to men (e.g., notions of chivalry which seem to be little more than pampering and spoiling women). Let me point out that I have seen feminists blast Debbie Maken. That should tell you something. Liberals and conservative women which are putatively at odds with each other … can still end up bashing men.

    But I digress … I see my goal as providing a psychological firewall for men so that they won’t cave in to the false and dehumanizing messages of religious leaders regarding manhood. I make no bones about wanting to destroy their influence among men. If the folly of these religious leaders needs to be exposed in a very bright fluorescent light, then I am probably going to do it. That is why I think my tone is what it is.

    I also want to let religious men know, by example, that it is acceptable to voice misgivings and concerns about how women mistreat men .. about how women’s views regarding men can be very unfair. It’s the other half of the story that needs to be told. How many women are guilty? That’s a point worthy of discussion. You are right to be concerned about being painted with too broad a brush. But bad woman exist, they have an undue amount of influence, and they need to be exposed.

  50. Anakin,

    Thank you.

    May you be so filled with the Holy Spirit of God … that your ‘mission’ will always be from Him alone, that your message will not be void, that bitterness stay far from you, that in the end, you are more concerned with honoring God than anything else, period.

  51. Amir:

    “In fairness to Anakin, your last paragraph is a point that many career women aren’t understanding.”

    And that’s why I think that CT article may actually come in handy if used in the right way =p

    Thank you for what you had to say, Anakin.

    It kinda gives me inspiration. Now to figure out how to use it =p

  52. “Ladies, “you don’t know the power of the Dark Side” on this one.”

    How can we pray for you … for what is going on. What can we do to help in this war?

  53. SXM, Anakin, Ame, et al: It seems that a large sector of the evangelical community has joined the Dark Side.

    Only they don’t dress up like Darth Vader; instead, they are telegenic, always looking for a radio/photo-op, are bandied as top speakers at conferences, and their books touted as the next best thing since flush toilets.

    Of course, their books are materials that flush toilets were designed to transport…

  54. Amir:
    It seems that a large sector of the evangelical community has joined the Dark Side.

    I think SXM and Anakin were referring to the “dark side” of men’s rights…

    Not the Evangelical “dark side” of men-have-no-rights.

  55. Christina: I’m referring to the marriage mandaters, the “blame the men for everything” crowd, the neo-Pharisees who would hand us more bondage at a time when we need less.

  56. Anakin,

    I think communicating about this issue can be difficult on all fronts, man to man, woman to woman, and man to woman because it is loaded with sensitive and complex issues such as identity, “power”, and emotion. Thank you for your thoughtful response, I appreciate and respect it.

  57. I just got back to this posting, and saw that my comment was “clipped” — what I meant to say was that I agreed with anakin, and believe him to be saying something like “wait until all these seeds grow into fruition”.

  58. I’m happily married to a Christian woman who lives as my helpmeet in my calling of ministry.

    I feel so lonely on this site………

    Its like I need to go on Oprah and explain to the curious world my strange lifestyle. :>P

  59. Omg…revelation…

    Who is Paul talking to in the book of Titus?

    Is he talking to Titus? In which case, Titus is instructed to “teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.”

    All of this actually DOES originate with church leadership. And your right, the leadership has bought into the lies brought on my feminists et al.

    If the church leadership doesn’t know what the older women should be teaching, then they aren’t teaching them. Instead, older women are teaching what THEY think they should be teaching… which coincidentally hasn’t been teaching young women how to love their husbands and their children. Instead, they seem to be reaming out the men and attempting to teach them to get a wife…at least the ones that are teaching.

    In my experience, very little is done in having older women teaching younger women…unless the younger women are stay at home moms who are available for Tuesday morning bible studies.

    Its kinda frustrating.

  60. Russ – LOL!

    Christina – very few ‘older women’ even know God’s Word intimately in order to share it with younger women. Most older women are all caught up in themselves.

    That I found a godly, biblical Mentor was nothing short of a miracle.

  61. Ame says:

    Christina – very few ‘older women’ even know God’s Word intimately in order to share it with younger women. Most older women are all caught up in themselves.

    And that is one of the facts that I found staggering in my teaching experiences. Given that most of the really cool Bible study materials are written by women–Beth Moore, Kay Arthur–and given that there seemed to be so many women who wanted Bible studies, I figured they’d be really on the ball.

    I found out that underneath the veneer was not much depth.

    In fairness to the ladies, at least they showed up for the game. Proportionately, the men were nowhere to be found.

    And no…none of the women were single. All were married.

  62. So where does a woman go from there?

    I mean, I’m young…there’s a lot of experience I lack…however, I really think this needs to happen and I’m willing to do it if necessary…I just don’t think I’m the right person to DO it…maybe start it or find someone to do it, but not actually lead a study…

    Where do you start?

  63. Bible study requires prayer and practice. There is no substitute for each.

    As for Bible study methodology, I am a big fan of inductive Bible study. It’s more systematic, and tends to allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves.

    Inductive methodology makes for good exegesis, minimizes eisegesis, and almost eliminates the possibility of assegesis (the latter interpretive framework being popular among feminist theologians).

  64. Christina – where does a woman go – go where? where do you plug into a bible study or mentoring? how do you start a bible study? who should teach a bible study?

    do you know your spiritual gifts?

    ***

    Amir – yep … it’s been shocking to me, too … and the older i get, i’m finding the same. not only is there no depth, but there is no *desire* for depth.

    In “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow, she writes of a woman named, Eva, whom she met while a missionary in Poland. Eva and her baby daughter had no home and were staying with these missionaries for two days before moving onto the next home. In the book, Linda writes:

    “Eva and I sat and talked. I asked her the question that had been roaming around in my heart all day. ‘When you see all the modern conveniences here for mothers of small children – washing machines, disposable diapers, baby food in jars – how doyou feel? Life for you in Poland is so much more difficult!’

    “Her response pierced my heart. ‘Linda, when I lived here in the West, I observed Western women. They have so many things that they don’t need God.'”

    ***

    I’ve watched them, observed them, sat through with them, as woman after woman went through every Beth Moore Bible study that came out … and then some. but never once did these studies change the women.

    i’ve wondered, over time, if Eva’s words are not so powerfully true … we don’t *really* NEED God here in America. He’s nice, helpful, good to have around when the going gets rough … but how often do we (speaking to the general and not the specific) really NEED Him?

  65. Amir – I concur … Bible study requires much prayer and practice … and i’m also a really big fan of inductive bible study.

    i think a great place to start is Kay Arthur. i don’t always agree with anyone, but she’s a great place to learn how to study your bible more in-depth.

    another thing i’ve found personally enlightening and powerful … i often read small portions of scripture at a time, reading straight thru a book of the bible. i’ll write down the verses that strike me the most in my journal … then i’ll write out praying those verses. i’ve stunned myself at how much i have ‘caught’ writing the verses out and then writing out my prayers as i pray the verses that i never caught when i read thru them, even when i read thru them many times.

    i’ve found praying scripture to be extremely powerful … and convicting … and strengthening …

  66. Ame: I agree. Kay Arthur is good. Precept Ministries probably has the best resources. I’ve taught Precept classes many times.

    Beth Moore isn’t bad, but Kay Arthur has better resources regarding the methodology.

    Also, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) is very good.

  67. Hmmm…it was more along the lines of where do you start to get a solid women’s ministry going.

    The church I’m attending operates out of “Home” groups. Its to the point where they’ve nixxed most of the ministries…except, of course, youth group and music =p

    The idea is that the mentoring and discipleship and much of the teaching takes place within these groups…so there’s no men’s or women’s ministries, no sunday school, no bible studies…

    It has me a bit concerned. I guess I’m looking for the traditional set up and I’m not so certain how well the home groups actually work without someone trained in theology training the study leaders…

    I have this hierarchical view of how things should be working…with the pastor training the elders…the elders training the lay people, the lay people training the congregation…that kind of thing (not necessarily those groups…)

    Anyway, I’ve done the bible study with no resources and I simply love it =p Simply reading and studying what you read…I think that was my favorite because the entire congregation was reading the same thing every day…

    Ame:
    My spiritual gifts, after learning about them and stuff, would probably be teaching and prophecy…same as my mother =p There was another one that hit home, but I can’t remember what it was…

    Anyway, I just don’t know how well equipped I am to lead a women’s bible study…I really don’t know that much…I’ve never been married and have yet to actually develop a long term, healthy relationship… (still hoping this one goes in the long-term direction).

    Thing is, I’d want to actually be teaching about what it means to be a woman made in the image of God…and I’m still trying to figure that one out…and from listening to all the guys in this group, I think they’re still trying to figure it out too… That and they can’t stop complaining about the women to say something actually useful.

  68. Christina – sometimes … you’ve just gotta teach what God has taught you. is there a group of women who are interested in the same thing as you? would they be interested in getting together regularly? they do not all have to be from your church.

    i am more than willing and able to teach, but any kind of administration/management gifts/abilities are best left to another. i *can* organize and do admin/mgmt stuff, but i don’t like it. i’d much prefere someone else orchestrate all that and tell me what time to be ready to teach.

    just some thoughts, ideas.

    pray about it. if God is leading you to organize a group of women like this, He will provide.

    sometimes we have to pray a looong time … sometimes God answers quickly … i’ve experienced it both ways here.

  69. Christina, since you are close to my age, but younger, I’ll caution you against leading a Bible Study. Yes, you are quite strong, but strength doesn’t necessarily mean much. With age, hopefully, comes wisdom. I would encourage you seek out godly women in your area. With RTS in your neighborhood, I have a hard time believing that you can’t find a good, wise woman in reasonable driving distance.
    As far as using your gifts, start by offering to do something mundane and that just falls under the “servanthood” command of Christ. Clean someone’s bathroom, babysit, or pick up trash. Go out, invest yourself, and see what happens.
    Even though it has been painful, I’m glad my church doesn’t have a plethora of “ministries” to participate in. You are expected to be like Christ and serve your neighbor. Since each neighbor has different needs, there isn’t anything formal to sign up for.
    Two months ago I wasn’t in need of kitchen stuff. Then I made a few decisions and *bam* the need was there. The church sprang into action and I have just about everything one could desire for the kitchen.
    Some people need a babysitter every week, others are fine with once a month. Life tends to happen and then other people need someone to tend their garden while they are otherwise occupied. In each task, you can serve your neighbor in your own way with the gifts that God has given you.
    Seek these sorts of relationships out. Life will get bright and beautiful when you least expect it.

  70. Oh, and I’m organizing a Church Yard Sale in August. This is so not one of my “gifts”. I don’t organize and make decisions, at least not very well. However, due to rising gas prices and such, tiny out of pocket expenses like my church’s annual Women’s Retreat would be nice to not have. I had the idea for a Yard Sale and now I’m the organizer. Since it’s “organization” is not one of the talents the Lord has blessed me with, I’m praying for help.
    Some times, we can get “stuck” doing things that aren’t what we consider ourselves strong in, but what an opportunity for us to improve our weaknesses! (at least that’s what I’ll tell myself if I end up having to direct traffic and answer 20 questions the week of the Yard Sale)

  71. Carrie:

    That was my thinking. I kinda lack the wisdom for leading a Bible Study…which is why I really don’t want to be the one running it.

    And Amir, on the prophecy one, I don’t “use” it…it kinda just drops in my lap and I use it for edification more than anything (meaning if i have a dream about something happening, i document it and don’t mess with it unless something DOES happen).

    There’s some odd things that have happened in my family with that gift =p

    I also heard that prophecy is “truth-telling”…in which case I usually have a hard time keeping my mouth shut if I know something to be true that isn’t being considered =p But you wouldn’t know anything about that 😉

  72. Carrie:

    What you had to say about serving where you’re needed is well said…

    Thing is this IS needed. Women teaching women in the church is incredibly needed…and not just teaching them anything, but teaching them what the Bible has to say.

    RTS, though not as bad as it could be, does have a bit of a more liberal swing towards women’s roles (I attended a couple classes there last fall…)

    Even if I’m not the one to lead it, I see this as a much stronger need in my area than baby sitting. I will baby sit my best friend’s baby and one of my friend’s nephews. I will serve my family and friends, reaching out to more people (hopefully) than I have in the past…

    But THIS is needed. And even if the first place I start is meeting with the pastor and his wife over lunch, I want to help make people aware of this need…and participate in making it a success…because men’s and women’s ministries really need to take on a more inter-generational role than they have and less emphasis on single’s and youth ministries needs to be made =p

  73. I forget how important group Bible Studies are. My church has a women’s Bible Study (that the pastor leads), but it’s 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday mornings. So, it’s not possible for me to go. I still manage to push along, persevere (sp??), and continue to be sanctified.
    I took 3 days off for a friend’s wedding in November. I made sure that I “treated” myself to the Bible Study. Everyone was a little worried when I showed up because they thought it meant that I had lost my job! It was little on the humorous side.
    When it comes to Bible Studies I tend to think of them as frivolous.

  74. Let my try again and see if my comment gets “clipped” or not: That passage in Deuteronomy about false prophets is about that one claiming to be the messiah… in the NT leeway is given for prophecy; so we infer from that fact that it is to be “judged”.

  75. SXM: Actually, SXM, that passage in Deuteronomy is about someone who claims to be a prophet, makes a prophesy, and it doesn’t come to pass. It is hardly exclusive to one claming to be a Messiah.

    An example of such was Hannaniah, who imposed his wishful thinking into a prophesy of freedom from Babylon. Jeremiah smacked him down with a counter-prophesy: that Hananiah would die within a year. The latter came to pass, the former did not.

  76. Maybe because I’m a mac user? I’ll retry to “clear” my browser history each time I post. There are passages in Dt. 13 and 18 that we are speaking of; and I think a reading of Dt. 18 is consistent with the idea that this coming prophet – the Messiah – can be tested by whether his words come to pass or not. But I can see how it can be argued either way.

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