Desiring to be God-Part 9

Barefoot and pregnant.  Wikipedia defines “Barefoot and pregnant” as a figure of speech most commonly associated with the controversial idea that women should not work outside the home and should have many children during their reproductive years. That fits current fundamentalist beliefs.  We see this particularly in Texas, where politicians are embracing that philosophy because that is how they will be elected by the Christians in conservative areas.

A few years ago, Baptists decided that Christians were wrong to practice birth control. At the time there was some discussion about it being too Catholic, or too Mormon, and then it dropped off the radar screen.  This week it reappeared. The Associated Baptist Press’ editor Bob Allen brought it up, not in agreement with that belief, but as informing Baptists what Baptist leaders are saying.

Southern Baptists’ attitude changing on birth control,” appeared in the March 10 edition of the Baptist Standard. “A good many evangelicals hope to do far more than sow seeds of doubt about the morality of birth control,” (Al) Mohler replied. “Our concern is to raise an alarm about the entire edifice of modern sexual morality and to acknowledge that millions of evangelicals have unwittingly aided and abetted that moral revolution by an unreflective and unfaithful embrace of the contraceptive revolution.”  (Associated Baptist Press and the Baptist newspapers have an affiliation and what one carries, the others generally do, too.)

Then the subject also appeared in a letter to the editor in my local newspaper, and this time it was by a woman writing against birth control. She said “those who truly believe in God as the author of life…” (paraphrased) will not practice birth control.

Now why do you think that Southern Baptists want every Baptist household to be like the Duggar family?  The Duggars are fundamental Baptists, and have probably stopped at 19 children, after a miscarriage of their 20th child.

You can chalk it up to one thing.  Cynthia Kunsman explained it well when she facetiously said, “It is the duty of Christians to bear large families full of godly seed to populate the earth and bring forth what God intended us to have, particularly in America,” Cynthia Kunsman, a writer and blogger who specializes in spiritual-abuse issues, said at a 2008 conference at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “That’s how we’re going to get our Christian America.”

To complementarians, a Christian America means a male headship America.

Take a minute to read what the article by Bob Allen says as printed in the Associated Baptist Press and the Baptist Standard. Pay particular attention to the paragraph  ‘Saved through childbearing’ that I have copied below.  This is what I have been talking about in my book Dethroning Male Headship, and Women Equal No-Buts: Powered by the same Source, and now this blog series, Desiring to be God.

Bob Allen says, “Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggests that “women will be saved through childbearing” in 1 Timothy 2:15 should be taken literally, noting the Greek word translated in the New Testament as “saved” always refers to eternal salvation.”

This series is going to be about Desiring to be God – Living. The first was Desiring to be God – Salvation.

Barefoot and pregnant.  God is the “author of life.” Who do complementarians claim represents God on earth? Husbands.

Barefoot and pregnant. We’ll tell you why in the following weeks.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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21 Responses to Desiring to be God-Part 9

  1. Kristen says:

    Mohler has no sense of evangelical history. Evangelicals have always been pro-contraception since they arose during the First and Second Great Awakenings; and they used to be what we now call “pro choice” as well, because they believed (as did Augustine and many other church fathers) that human life didn’t become human until “ensoulment,” which was thought to occur around the 4th month gestation.

    Today’s evangelicals are not capitulating to some worldly “contraceptive revolution,” Rather, they have become more and more affiliated with the Catholics on this issue, due mostly to political alliance considerations. This book by an evangelical scholar explains:

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    • I think there is an ominous reason behind what they are doing. I think they know exactly what their plan is, and the result will be clamping down on women, pulling the net tighter. They have received little resistance from women sitting in the pews, and lesser still of pastors speaking out for women.

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      • Terri Tippins says:

        Many a fundamentalist is feeling the effects of the upside down Kingdom of God starting to actually play out in the reality of peoples lives in the here and now. The only thing that they can do is to double down, hang on, and preach patriarchy, in hopes that they can keep those that have already accepted this false belief, as well as capture the ‘unsuspecting’ christian. The fundamentalist Baptist intend to grow thier congregations mainly by birthing them into the denomination (like Catholics.) So yeah, Birth Control is on thier hit list.

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  2. Tom Parker says:

    Shirley: I often wonder how many FUNDAMENTALIST Southern Baptist Churches are growing through people being born again.

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  3. Waneta Dawn says:

    There may be some truth for today that women will be physically saved through child bearing. (I never thought I’d say this!) If Muslims, Mormons, and male headship Evangelicals all have large families, their numbers will grow to take over the earth. Their teaching brings bondage, not salvation to women.

    On the other hand, if free men and women produced large families, the number of free men and women would overtake the number of men and women in bondage, and increasingly more women and men would be free to serve as God calls, instead of as their leaders dictate. Then women would indeed be saved (ie: freed) via childbearing.

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    • krwordgazer says:

      This assumes that their children will automatically follow in their parents’ ways. From what I’ve seen, nothing is less likely. :)

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  4. Regina says:

    I realize this is an old thread but I wanted to post my thoughts. First on the “Christian” America that will never happen until Christians repent and start following Jesus’ teachings. We as Christians need to love our neighbors, love our enemies and bless them even when they curse you in this case SBC and others.

    Regarding the Duggars I don’t think they want every Baptist or any denomination to look like theirs. They believe in allowing God to plan their family size because only God knows how many children they can handle. Michelle will welcome another blessing if that’s His plan.
    God knows how many children we can handle whether it’s through birth or adoption.

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  5. Waneta Dawn says:

    Regina, you said: “We as Christians need to love our neighbors, love our enemies and bless them even when they curse you in this case SBC and others.” How do you propose that we bless SBC and CBMW and others? Does blessing mean ‘stamp of approval?’ or are we speaking of prophetic type blessing, like the ones Isaac and Jacob spoke over their sons, speaking wealth and who would rule over whom into their lives? Isaac blessed both Jacob and Esau, yet his blessing stated the elder would serve the younger.

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  6. Waneta Dawn says:

    Regina, you said, “God knows how many children we can handle whether it’s through birth or adoption.”
    Although I agree with you that God does know how many we can handle, I do not agree with the inference that we should take no responsibility for how many children we do or don’t have. There is many a wife who became ill because of the physical stress of bearing too many children, who then was unable to care for them.

    Through the years God has worked with me in different ways. Sometimes He gives definite direction, and other times He lets me know He wants ME to be more adult and do the required research, etc that is needed to make an informed decision. I have come to the conclusion that although we are God’s children, He doesn’t want us to remain as clueless as children. He does want us to grow up and even works in us to help us grow up. Part of growing up is decision-making, making wise choices. Apparently the Duggars are financially and physically able to have a very large family. They can have the viewpoint that ‘God knows what they can handle.’ I have seen other large families, who have neither the health nor the finances to raise, provide for, and handle their children; they are sad families, indeed. The children often just exist, with no hope or promise of a better life. There is no money for the training needed so the children can find careers in something to make a better income, not enough money to deal with their health issues, barely enough money for food, shelter, and clothes. Depression tends to set in for the whole family. I have a hard time calling that what they can “handle.”

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    • pnissila says:

      Waneta,
      Your insightful post prompts a little bit more to add to my own responses, below, from the viewpoint of both having been reared in a large, poor (catholic) family, and from my professional background.

      You are right that “depression tends to set in for the whole family.” Not only that, worldviews are soon skewed when a child “comes of age” to realize, really understand, the seriousness of the situation. For me, it was age twelve. As I noted the declining health of my father and mother although they struggled on, and the true financial situation, I consciously made two decisions: “my life starts after high school,” and I. Need. To. Work. Literally, that is what I told myself as a young teen. I did whatever it took to make sure I got to college so that I did not have to live in poverty–not just of body, but of spirit as well. I made it through, but there have been ramifications of having adopted a survival mode as a child. Not all positive, but I grow and learn.I also had outside mentors.

      Other siblings have other stories of truncated youth, and a few, the tragic tales, told at great length and great pain, of the crimes committed against them by the one who preyed upon them, taking advantage of that minimal and/or distracted at best parental supervision, and available, emotionally needy, little ones…

      I am not a regular viewer of the Duggar show, really, but I have done the research out of curiosity and because the family’s cultish belief interest me, particularly in light of what has come out about the Gothard influence on how they live. He was suspect in some circles back when I worked for the ministry specializing in counseling people who had come out of religious cults. But I do check in on the show once in awhile. One of the last times I viewed an episode, I noted the not-so-Duggar-worthy but little “looks” one of the girls would display from time to time. She was maybe fifteen. Normal, typical… I raised two girls. Kids mature out of this with parental guidance. I also noted the not-so-happy facial expressions of several when it was announced, in another episode, another baby was on the way. But it was that one girl who stayed with me. A couple of years later, I caught another episode. She has now adopted the “little girl voice” for lack of a better way to put it, of Mom and a few of the other girls, and the Duggar smile is a permanent fixture on her face now, too. No more eye rolls, little smirks. I can only wonder:

      What.

      Happened.

      To.

      Her.

      As I said, I pray especially for the Duggar girls, now women, still on the compound waiting for their only way out: to marry…when, sadly, they may NOT end up with a man who appears to be so god-like perfect, but who may have suppressed emotions of his own and notions about the inferior position of women in a family and his entitled position over them and the children, and not the money and status of the famed Duggars…

      The emphasis on sex, in various ways, is also very disturbing. But that’s a whole other topic…

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  7. pnissila says:

    Regina,

    I believe the Duggars DO have more children than they can handle. How do I know? They hand the babies over to the older children to parent. The babies, after a few months’ of age, even sleep in the older children’s dormitory-styled rooms (one for all the boys and one for all the girls) and are thus attended to by them at night as well as by day.

    When older children are mandated to rear younger children (call it “mentoring” or “group leading,” or whatever you want: it’s still children doing the parents’ job) this is not good for any of the siblings. As the older child parenting the younger, your own maturation process is stunted due to unnatural responsibilities. As a younger child being parented by an older sibling, you know she does not have ultimate authority over you, so this is also an unnatural situation (I was the oldest girl in a large Catholic family with a lot of younger sibling responsibilities, but nothing like the constant caretaking the older Duggar girls do). Parents need to parent. Children need a chance to grow up as we are intended to grow up. Period. The Duggar situation is very different from occasionally babysitting younger siblings.

    On another issue, years ago I worked for a minister who counseled people coming out of religious cults. I did the books, wrote the newsletter, kept track of the research. I can’t tell you how many markers of a full blown cult exist in the Duggar family, not to mention their allegiance and adherence to Bill Gothard, recently outed as a sexual predator, and his teachings. And don’t let the constant smiles fool you. Duggar family rules mandate constant smiles. A negative facial expression indicates disrespect for their “headship.”

    As Catholics, we were also trained to revere the Roman Catholic institution and to remain fiercely loyal to the family. It was some kind of sin, it seems to me, to not do so, with an attendant Purgatory penance. I don’t know what the Duggar penance is upon having affronted Daddy, but it must be potent. Think about it: real families don’t always smile. They cry, they yell, they disagree with one another, they fight, they make up, they get frustrated. They ACT REAL… it’s how kids grow up and learn how to manage their emotions. And, worse yet, in big families like that where parenting responsibilities are handed over to the children there is a much greater likelihood for certain kinds of child-on-child abuse to occur–no matter if, as in the case of the Duggars, camera crews are present a lot of the time, nobody has a private bedroom, or any other factor.

    I pray that the Duggar children, particularly the girls, will come out of that influence. I pray it won’t be too late before they, constrained by Jim Bob’s take on spirituality–and his god-like status in the group–mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, completely succumb to being denied natural emotions and the freedom to explore the gifts and callings God has planned for them that might not necessarily keep them on the family compound until Daddy deems they may leave to enter into a marriage he approves (or in the case of the boys, a career he approves of, as I imagine he also heavily influences what they end up doing).

    As I said, I pray for the Duggars–especially the girls.

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    • May I use this, or parts of this, in my new book I am working on? If you want to rewrite and tighten it up and/or remove personal info please resend. Thanks a bunch.

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      • pnissila says:

        Shirley, you certainly can use this “at will” however you want. I will tighten it up, though ;). Will have it to you in a couple of days. If you can share at this point, what is the theme/premise of your new book? This may help me contextualize it. Word count? I actually cut out half of what else I wanted to say in the interest of staying focused on the topmost points and keeping it relevant to the previous poster. There are points on which I could elaborate more such as the cult markers, etc. I admire your dedication to putting books together. I know what a task that is. AND I love that you are “staying green,” as it were, as an older adult! It’s an inspiration. I’m not too far behind you in age, still working, but in a few years, if the Lord tarries, comes retirement and who knows what books may lurk inside ;). You can private email me to respond. Blessings and cheers.

        And one more thing to Regina: truly, I completely understand how mesmerizing it is when watching this unbelievably nice, charming, bright, talented, good-looking, and always smiling family doing all of the amazing things they can afford to do. They are also blessed to have no special needs children (I also have a background in special ed.), no extended family members or friends outside of the family and their group causing them trouble with opposing views (as far as we know), a mom who is so far intact after the natural depletion to her body from so many pregnancies and the miscarriages (my mother suffered greatly from arthritis, osteoporosis, heart issues, bladder problems and so on in her later years), etc.

        Although God did bless all of us in my big family with health, as the children kept coming, the money did not stretch. As soon as we could, we had to get jobs (paper routes, outside babysitting, picking crops in the nearby fields in the summer, and ANYTHING else we could find) to purchase school clothes and supplies, tuition for the Catholic school we felt greatly obligated to attend when scholarships and/or grants were not forthcoming, and pretty much everything else, really, we needed outside of the roof over our heads and the very basic menu that was provided.

        Now, I look upon this as a good thing in many ways; however, each child is different and there is that sense of helplessness and fear that does creep in. We also lent or gave money to Mom for groceries and sometimes other essentials (and she did as best she could with what little money there was). For whatever reason, my father, who we think suffered from clinical depression, and chronic ulcers, accepted lower paying jobs although he was a highly intelligent man and worked nine-ten hours per day, taking on weekend jobs as well. But, well, the almighty roman catholic church representative, from the office of his lovely living abode staffed with housekeeper, cook, and secretarial staff, had told them before they married “Have as many children as God gives you,” and they obeyed, fearful of the consequences, I suppose. Not fearful for us, though…

        Well, I should stop here. Except for one sibling who did commit crimes against a few of the little ones, which we found out later on and has been dealt with, the rest of us love each other dearly and stay close. But we realize our closeness is in part due to the sort of “survival kinship” that occurs among people who have survived an ordeal together.

        And, having also worked in the international adoption field and having studied, for my job responsibilities, the effects of “institutionalization” on children to inform prospective adoptive parents on the realities of this as they considered adopting older children from orphanages in certain countries, I can tell you my siblings and I also experienced some of those ramifications.

        I apologize, really, for going on, here, but this is very important information left out of the Duggar equation, indeed, rarely read about elsewhere, either, outside of professional publications.

        In short: PARENTS NEED TO DO THEIR JOB. We are fearfully and delicately formed–not just physically but also emotionally, psychologically, mentally, and spiritually, and we NEED the two parents God designed to take care of us, while ALL the children in a family, not just the youngest ones, have the chance to process through the natural stages of development intended without having to assume adult responsibilities–with no of the adult authority.

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      • I don’t have your email address. Please go to contact me and send it to me. Thanks.

        Date: Sat, 3 May 2014 14:08:54 +0000 To: bwebaptist.women@live.com

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  8. Mara says:

    Pnissila,
    Your words are needed. People simply don’t understand how they harm their children with religious ideals that they cannot live up to or ever do well.

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  9. Regina says:

    First of all I want to sincerely apologize for bringing up the Duggars and causing possible judgemental posts about their family. I didn’t realize that was going to happen and I’m so very sorry.

    I believe when Jesus spoke about loving and blessing our enemy I don’t think He was talking about blessing like Isaac pronouncing a blessing on his sons or like a prophetic blessing.
    I believe He met we should for starters pray for them which I admit it’s hard for me to phantom praying for someone who has wronged me. Do something kind for them.

    I have this lithograph of Dirk Willems an early Christian who was jailed for his faith. He escaped and was being chased by a jailer who fell through some ice. Dirk who could have kept on going turned around and rescued him. My lithograph depicts Dirk rescuing the jailer from the ice .Even after all that he was still burned at the stake for his beliefs.
    So that picture is a constant reminder that even though I’m not giving a stamp of approval for the person or persons who have wronged me, I need to love them anyway. I didn’t always believe this way and I still struggle with people saying things that I know is just plain wrong :(
    It’s something I need to take to prayer..

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    • Regina,perhaps we do judge. I value your opinion, just as I value the opinion of those who wrote in response to your comment. We are all strugglers in this quest for women’s equality and as such, we have learned to look at things with a more critical eye than is normal. We are trained to look beyond the surface. We may not always be right, but we have no intentions of hurting anyone, the Duggars or anyone else. Please accept my apology to you.

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    • pnissila says:

      Regina,
      Touching story, to be sure. It reminds of a recent terrorist attack in the Middle East where medical staff in a hospital were murdered and others hurt, including one or two on the terrorist side. The doctors who were not killed immediately began to work to save the lives of “the enemy” as well as the lives of those on their staff. Fortunately, altruism is also a characteristic of the race, in both Christian as well as secular circles! And of course in a more profound context, we have Jesus Who gave the example of forgiving those “who knew not what they were doing.”

      But please note: should your comment about judging the Duggar family be directed at me, as one might read your words to imply, that is not my intent nor is it my job. God alone handles that, if I understand where people are often coming from when discussing that issue.

      I am, however, operating in an educated “discernment.” Based on my personal experience, long-term research, and professional involvement with the issues I have related, I can tell you that whatever the state of the Duggars with regard to their eternal destination, which is a completely separate issue from any of my concerns, it is necessary to warn others of the possible misapplications of Scripture in that group here on earth.

      And so, one might ask, where is the “perfect group?” Nowhere. And that is why the Holy Spirit gifts us with discernment along with love, patience, and so on. In addition, in the spirit of “iron sharpening iron,” we are urged to speak up and speak out when we discern a false way. How do we know it might be “false”? What do the Scriptures say, properly exegeted, duly studied, fitly applied? That is how we can find out, relying always upon the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and correct us.

      But one might ask, what does discernment look like when applied? Well, the Duggars value a smiling face and obedient spirit. This is very admirable. However, to sometimes not present that way is not tantamount to disobeying God, Himself, or even the man of the house. Consider: the only sinless One, Jesus, defied his parents at age twelve, tipped over tables in the temple in righteous anger, called the hypocrites white washed tombs and snakes, and told Satan, manifesting in one, Peter, to “get thee behind me.” It’s no wonder many questioned His claims, no? He was not the picture of the mild-mannered passivist some would have us believe.

      Sometimes true spirituality calls for speaking against the “flow,” nailing a list of grievances on a church door while risking one’s life as Martin Luther did, or walking out of a cult that establishes anti-biblical hierarchies of spirituality that bind its members to man-made dogmas that quench the work of the Holy Spirit while the leader gains power over others that can harm, if not destroy earnest, honest people with hearts for God.

      As for “the place of women,” which is one of the issues that concerns me regarding the agenda of groups such as the Duggars subscribe to, consider other stories from Jesus’ own day: the woman who defied every social norm regarding one in her condition by pressing through a crowd to obtain healing from Jesus for her chronic “issue of blood,” another woman who should have been stoned, by the mandate of the day, but instead was freed by Jesus Who then challenged her accusers. And consider the teenaged Mary, Jesus’ own mother, and what she endured and how she defied “the law” and what that ultimately meant for her, and for us…

      I doubt such disobedience, let alone even the appearance of it, would be brooked in the Duggar family and others of their group.

      Regina, don’t feel bad! As I implied in one of my posts, this family has a veneer of perfection that everyone watching longs for, to be sure. It is almost Disney-perfect–and in the flesh! And the family has every advantage, seemingly, to be even honestly so well adjusted and thriving: money, health, looks, property, a television channel to support their dreams and goals. When I was growing up Catholic, the family to emulate was the Von Trapp Family Singers (on whose lives The Sound of Music was based). However, truth be told about that family (and it has) the real Maria had a terrible temper and ruled the roost with an iron fist at times, in between the singing and dancing and fame and glory…

      Thanks for your patience, and take heart. These conversations are necessary.

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  10. Regina says:

    No apology needed and I was directing my comment at anyone in particular. I will though bow out of this thread. Before I go please keep those precious girls who have been kidnapped in Nigeria in prayer. I can’t imagine what they or their parents are going through.

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    • pnissila says:

      Will do. The darkest side of female repression, to be sure. Interesting to note that when civilizations begin to crumble and despots take control, women and children are often reduced to “the spoils of war.”
      P.

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