How about instead of Critical Race Theory, we do critical thinking? Because you can’t do both at the same time.
The woman described in Proverbs 31 is meant to be an ideal. But in practice, she’s almost an object of ridicule among dedicated Christian women. Who could do all that?!
At the same time, we don’t dismiss her. We ask her to wear a lot of our hats. She is called upon to endorse our preferences.
I have heard too many times from well-known pulpits and theologians and from other women, that the woman in Proverbs 31 is an ideal picture of a woman who has it all. She had a fulfilling home life and a career outside the home. I cannot find the evidence.
I certainly do not object to wives having careers. But let us refrain from misusing Biblical text. Let’s let Scripture say what Scripture says, and not press it into our service. There may be Scripture to support our career choices, but I do not find that support in Proverbs 31.
Does the woman in Proverbs 31 have a career? Can we take a look together?
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Certainly no one can deny that this woman works. She is incredibly busy at home. She is such a diligent, efficient, committed worker that she seems to do the work of several people. Mentally walk through her day. When exactly do you find time in there for her to go to a job between “…she gets up while it is still night”…and “her lamp does not go out at night”?
Where is the career in this proverb? Is it this?
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is the wife-manger of her husband’s estate. An estate would include a home and the land where all that the man owns is located: the fields where food is grown, animals are pastured, and other agrarian products produced, all for the provision and wealth of the owner’s family.
She is the manager of all she surveys. She possesses the trust of her husband and her household, and the prerogative to increase the wealth of her estate. She buys more property to add to her family farm. This makes her an independent real estate agent?
Or is it that we’re so addicted to the trope that says that ancient women were subservient and socially powerless that we are blind to the plain meaning here: she is a respected woman of social standing with perfect freedom to manage the household estate and broker a land purchase in the marketplace?
Is it this the career?
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
I use some skills I picked up in art college to create handmade books, which I sell. I do it all at home. I do not receive a paycheck. I do not spend my days assigned to a different location than my home. I do not observe company hours. And most importantly, I do not work for a boss.
Mrs. Proverbs 31 does not answer to any “boss” but her husband.
The woman in Proverbs 31 excels at sewing. She creates garments for everyone in her household so that they are properly, modestly dressed and warm in winter. In addition, she is such a diligent worker that she designs and sews sashes which she then sends to the marketplace to be sold. She ingratiates herself with the merchants who will offer her products for sale by gifting them with these beautiful sashes. This has been a common practice of homesteaders and farmer’s wives throughout human history. This makes her a businesswoman with a career?
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
Picture her sitting in front of the household accounts at night after everyone else is in bed.
This woman is a wife and mother who works tirelessly for the benefit of her family’s estate. She feathers her nest, she builds up her home. I do not see any evidence in the passage which places this woman under the authority of a boss not her husband, or transplants her effort to another sphere outside her home, non-inclusive of her home
I just can’t find that outside-the-home job in Proverbs 31. If you find it, please let me know.
She opens her arms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy.
This woman, and by extension her family, profits from the overflow of her domestic activity. She is doing all these things for her household, and she is so diligent that she produces a generous surplus and God rewards her industry. This is the home overflowing out into the world, not the world — a job—inserting itself into the home. Nor is it her leaving her home to be profitable for another’s interest.
Charity begins at home; her generosity sends her wealth out into her community. Missions begin at home; her abundance sends the next generation out into the world and into the future.
Generosity, charity, philanthropy, obedience to the Lord’s commands to love your neighbor. Call these a career if you like but I don’t see it.
Don’t we have to devalue her hard work at home in order to insist that she have a career in addition to her homemaking? If so, is that because the work done by a woman in her home, for her home, isn’t perceived as being “real” work? Or significant work?
Let’s find other sources of blessing on our lifestyle choices. Proverbs 31 Woman is busy enough without putting on all the hats we need her to wear.
This, written over a few weeks’ time. Then today’s update.
I overdid it yesterday. I was a little too active, but more foolishly, I was mentally positive and energized about some projects I hope to work on in the future. This morning I am exhausted, especially mentally. Once again, everything seems overwhelming and unfocused.
I live on a rollercoaster. Not a fun one. I never know what the next day will bring–physically, mentally. I live on a razor’s edge. Too much exercise produces a “crash” but how much is “too much” changes constantly.
I have M.E., or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Disorder. Take your pick; most people don’t know what any of them mean anyway. “Most people” includes most doctors.
To list, I also have migraines, P.O.T.S./Orthostatic Intolerance, and Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM), to name just the biggies. I don’t sleep well, and even a long sleep produces no refreshing. I must maintain a strict low carb-no sugar diet to function, and I have digestive system issues which I have never really pursued. I cannot tolerate hot weather and sitting in the sun makes me feel ill, whether or not it’s hot. I also have a sometimes symptomatic MVP. Not a comprehensive list but it will do.
I am also struggling mightily with depression and anxiety. This should be its own topic.
Owing to both physical and mental challenges, I’ve had an ongoing dance with being housebound for the last 26 years. At one time I was bed-bound for almost a year.
How did I get here?
When I was 19, at the end of my freshman year of college, I picked up mononucleosis. I had a rather mild case and I felt back to normal after two to three weeks. Life went on normally for several years. I completed art school, and married my long-time fiancé. I had two children. After the second, I started to feel my stress levels somatically. I developed minor chest pain and got my diagnosis for mitral valve prolapse. Harmless, but disturbingly symptomatic.
While pregnant with my third baby, I was wiped out and had very low blood pressure throughout. During the next pregnancy I developed intermittent hip pain. Over the course of the pregnancy the joint became problematic.
I bore that son and carried on, albeit that walking was difficult. Graduslly my hip deteriorated until my foot was turned inward several inches off the ground and rotating it was painful. If I could lean on the carriage handle for balance, I was OK. But by the time the baby was a few months old, I had a diagnosis and a prognosis for the hip. It was idiopathic, meaning nobody knew why. But it was an autoimmune disorder: my body attacked my hip and destroyed it. I had total hip replacement surgey at the age of 33, when my fourth baby was 13 months old.
Too many triggers.
Hip surgery was in June 1993. In March of 1994 I was three months pregnant and not feeling too well. This wasn’t first trimester ill. It was something new. On March 20, I got myself dressed, got the kids dressed, got to church and started feeling deflated and woozy. I lay on the floor in the nursery until the kids were done Sunday School and my husband helped me to the car. I went home and stayed there for the next several months. After that day, I quickly progressed to a bedridden state. I emerged only to birth my daughter and returned to bed for three more months.
Written down this way, telescoped, I see that it looks like I worked hard on getting ill. I had five children in nine years. In addition, I was a highly stressed person by temperament. I have lived in a state of overehelmn-ness most of my life.
But I was always very healthy. I had normal stamina and rarely caught things. I still am rarely sick. I still think of myself as a basically healthy person, who has a few chronic maladjustments which give me symptoms, but do not pose any serious threat.
If you have a chronic condition, you constantly evaluate your present state and adjust accordingly. Food, activity, exercise, your to-do list— it’s all contingent and subject to change. You push forward most of the time but your condition calls the shots.
And sometimes you realize that you just have to lie down and let it roll over you. That’s where I am, right now. It will pass, but I have to be realistic and patient.
It’s been months though. I am convinced that I am unlikely to improve a lot while living under this black cloud of anxiety. You know the one I mean because you’re living there too. The relentless drumbeat: fear the virus. Fear the virus.
I lost the presumption of invincibility which young people normally have long ago because of my chronic symptoms. I feel vulnerable. So the news on the pandemic worked on me, even while I saw the manipulation and dishonesty about it. Shouldn’t have, but honestly, it did.
Update. I came down with shingles at the end of March. I spent the month of April on the couch. I spent the beginning of May slowly returning to my normal, which was staying in, pacing myself carefully, eating a super-nutritious diet, and living with moderate ME. Then came a couple days of feeling pretty well. I remember thinking: I’m definitely over the shingles, in fact I feel better than I did before the shingles!
Of course, I overdid it. If I tell you how little I did to overdo, you would be appaled.
I have now been back on the couch for a week. I have crashed, big time. I am looking more deeply into POTS. Orthostatic Intolerance. Dysautonomia. I do know that this is a huge component of my illness, but I haven’t done much about it. The way I feel this morning moves me to pursue this issue for some solutions.
If only for myself, I will now list the evidence for POTS. Right now: standing for more than a few minutes produces high heart rate, a sickly feeling, queasiness, weakness, dizziness. At times of best health: pre-syncope. A feeling I ignore of needing to lie down, inability to change position easily– I began sitting throughout the church service while others stood because I would have a feeling of vertigo or spatial disorientation. Since I was a kid, my feet would swell and turn red in hot weather. I have never tolerated heat or the sun well; for some years now they are intolerable. Summers in humid PA are long months to dread.
Most of my symptoms can be chalked up to POTS. But one is the marker only of ME. PEM.
The one thing characteristic of ME is PEM: post-exertional malaise. Everything is delayed. I may overdo today but I crash after 5 days, and for who knows how long. Payback is out of proportion to the effort expended. Everything is delayed. I may be eating like a bodybuilder monk and that will pay off, if I’m consistent, in 8 months.
It’s very difficult to perform so that you stay functional because it’s hard to know what caused or is causing a crash. How do I avoid the next one?
I have to live like someone prepping for a triathalon just to function poorly. Minus the exercise. Exercise is actually BAD for you if you have ME. Do too much and the payback is you in bed for extended periods.
I will now need to crawl toward my normal–and that’s other people’s version of getting over the flu. You could say I’m discouraged.
Being able to choose to work from home/ being able to stay home and stay safe
Being oblivious to the huge number of Americans who have had to keep working outside the home during the pandemic
Not caring that your grocery checkout person has been working every day while you refuse to go back to work teaching even after you’ve been vaccinated
Criticizing others for not getting a vaccination not available to most people in the world
Criticizing others for getting a vaccine because you expect your immune system to make illnesses minor, treatable events
Criticizing people who protest lockdowns as murderers
Indulging in thinking within the context of the lockdown culture and all its nuances of change..but only for your socioeconomic group
Being a celebrity/ rock star/ actor/ media spokesperson
Appearing in video or film indulging in expensive hobbies such as surfing, traveling, or whatever the latest expensive fad is
Being a college student
Being a protester
Being an activist/ being an activist/ being an activist/ being an activist
Spending time on social media/ spending time playing games/ spending time and money cosplaying
Changing your gender/ deciding to be gender fluid or transgender
Making your parents support your identity crises
Manipulating your parents
Crushing your parents with your sanctimonious self indulgence
Extolling the virtues of traveling as the alternative lifestyle to having children. Extolling the high-mindedness of a life of travel. Traveling.
That’s my list so far.
My mother was born on April 30, 1921. She would have been 100 years old today.
When my great nephew was told that his great grandmother had passed way, he was disappointed. “Now she won’t make it to 100.”
She made it to 96 1/2. That last year, I had occasion more than once to say to her that getting to be almost 100 was quite an accomplishment, that she didn’t have anything to prove, that she should relax, and that to accept help when you’ve attained such an age was no shame.
She did not listen. Her atty-tood endured to the end. But I guess that’s how you get to be almost 100.
We threw her a surprise party on her 70th birthday, then on her 80th, then on her 90th. What a party we would have had this year.
Happy Birthday, Marguerite Theresa Smith Mercer.
Her 90th birthday party.
Anne Bradstreet (1612–1672) was the most prominent of the early English poets of North America and the first writer to be published in England’s North American colonies. She is the first Puritan figure in American literature, and is notable for her large body of poetry, as well as personal writings published posthumously. Born to a wealthy Puritan family in Northampton, England, Bradstreet was a well-read scholar, mother of eight children, and the wife of a public officer in the New England community. Bradstreet managed to write poetry in addition to her many other responsibilities and duties. Her writing developed into a unique style of poetry which centered on her role as a mother, her struggles with the sufferings of life, and her Puritan faith.
It would be great if we stopped stripping wifehood and motherhood of their values.
I was heartened to notice, in the summary of Anne Bradstreet’s life, that she was given credit for doing important work which she found time to write in spite of. Do you hear it? She was the mother of eight and the wife of a busy and influential man in the community. Even so, she managed to find time to be the first poet of the New Nation.
I truly want to thank the author of this surprising summary.
Wouldn’t it be nice if when we extoll the achievements of accomplished women, we recognized their work as mothers and wives, as managers of households and superintendents of families?
Even the stay-at-home community, even the SAHM homeschooler community engages in this marginalization of traditional women’s work. We feature the homeschooling mom because she runs a successful home-based business, because she creates a useful ministry, because shes an author of this women’s group study or that Christian market fiction series.
We do not extoll the woman who invests her entire supply of energy and committment to her family. The one who has eschewed outside pursuits to put her whole focus, to pour herself out, for the building up of those in her household— to single-focus on the service of her husband and children.
A list of things so far that liberals don’t have a problem with since they are happening under a Democrat:
Kids in cages. Kids crossing the border with coyotes, being trafficked. Kids held in detention. Kids ripped from their mothers’ arms. Kids exposed to covid in crowded cages.
Blue states re-opening 100%.
Border crossing immigrants who test positive with Covid-19 not quarantining but getting on buses and traveling to your home town. Because there’s no possibility of superspreader events.
Absurd, incoherent or nasty public comments by the POTUS.
The nation’s capitol fenced off from its citizens. Indefinite military occupation of our capitol.
Nursing homes being forced to accept infectious covid patients into their general population so that covid spreads among the most vulnerable people like wildfire. Many thousands dying because of these deliberate policies. As long as the governor is a Democrat.
It’s not an exhaustive list! I am certain we will be adding to it over the next few years. I welcome your suggestions.
From silence, just watching, I can learn much. A few things I have noticed follow.
To the extent that you let one particular person become the context for your perspective on all other things and all other people, that person has become your god.
I have been blocked on FB by one or two brothers or sisters in the faith. For what? For not being sufficiently anti-Trump. Someone who swallows whole the media caricature of Trump as the abusive autocrat, and who admits she identifies Trump with her abusive ex, is dumbfounded that anyone could support anything he does. Note: I am not a Celebrity Trump fan, nor a Populist Hero Trump fan, though I have enjoyed his political fearlessness and his savage humor. My support is for policies and I avoid commenting on the personalities of any politicians. I do not promote the man, but say so when I support the job done.
For that I am blocked. Erased out of social media existence.
Many of my friends have allowed Trump to be the alpha and the omega of all judgements. All arguments begin with: because Trump is detestable…, and all arguments end with: because Trump is hateful. That is the definition of making Trump the center of your universe, your all in all, your moral standard. He’s your god.
It must stink to be a committed, Christian church member who is also a committed Democrat when the subject of abortion comes up. You can never be an activist on the side of life. For all your good works, you can never, ever post pro-life thoughts on social media, and you must scroll past when your pro-life friends do. You can never speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. That would betray your political loyalties.
When I post thoughts on FB in support of simple free speech, non-partisanly noting my concerns about the censoring of one brand of political thought, none of my Democrat friends like those posts. One or two actually argue and justify censorship. These are people my age, who grew up hearing that only totalitarian regimes censor free speech. That I disagree with what you have to say but I will defend with my life your right to say it.
How easily people are persuaded to give away their rights. Or, as they see it, yours.
No matter what, there is one lesson to be learned. People are more comfortable with me, like me, approve of me…if I keep my thoughts to myself. Almost all of us could say this. Even, or especially, people who love us, do not like hearing our opinions. In fact, they do not seem to have any hesitation to shut us down.
The well-considered thoughts of this woman make my unequivocally feminist friends uncomfortable. My friends who were fans of #RESIST will not engage, like or acknowledge MY resistance. I have been told to shut up and I have been erased (blocked.) They would rather I be quiet, and not think what I think.
It’s hard to turn on a dime from 4 years of hate, contempt and high levels of outrage to peace, love and unity. As you see.
My “friends” have allowed FB friends to insult me personally, liked their comments, and sat silent while they ridiculed me.
While eagerly posting the daily rant of hate-monger “historian” Heather Cox Olberman who takes particular care, not only to criticize political actors, who are fair game, but to condemn our neighbors and friends who are on the right. Hate us, fear us.
Without saying a word, we can train ourselves to hate the other, the ones who have a different perspective. Our God, our culture, and our families taught us that the greatest virtues were love, tolerance and patience for the different-thinkers, and that friendly persuasion was the way we would change minds. Somehow maybe a third of our fellow Americans have been persuaded that constant hatred of the Other is more virtuous.
Calling on my blogging friends to advise me. Several years ago, I posted a picture on a post which I found googling. The photographer has contacted me, demanding that I remove it. He has sent an invoice and claims that I infringed on copyright.
He has begun to harrass me, sending several emails a day, threatening to report me for copyright infringement, and listing the penalties.
I deleted the photos after his first request.
Is this a scam or an unhinged harrasser?
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
I imagine someone immersed in instant communication and transitory exchange, in shallow feels and binging drama–opening a Bible to this passage. Upon reading it, he or she realizes there are words for the vague despair he has experienced, the sometimes private terror he tries to suppress.
Someone else has known his feelings..and his experience is validated. Someone else has realized the depth and weight of his troubles. Finding that there is a remedy.
Finding that there is Someone who cares about his problem and is ready to help.
God is not the fault-finding Judge but the one who hopes for me, and who wants to make me guiltless.
What he wants for me is guiltlessness, purity, and the obliteration of obstacles which divide me from His love. He wants my true relationship and worship. Praise the Lord.