Monday, June 5, 2017

COLUMN | A pretty big little lie

By John Bianchi

I don’t usually comment on people of faith since I find that to be somewhat nonconstructive. Better we deal with our internal faith based problems ourselves than attack each other publicly. However, something came to mind this morning which I feel the need to share. I recently completed 4 the new HBO series, Big Little Lies. It is a marvelously acted and directed show. I will warn that the show deals with graphic content as it is a zoomed in look at the various pitfalls of marriage and raising children etc, so it is certainly not a family friendly show just FYI. That aside, if you like a good drama I was totally hooked.

What came to me this morning on my commute was something that Celeste Wright, Nicole Kidman’s character, expressed when doing some pro-bono legal work for her friend Madeline Mackenzie played artfully by Reese Witherspoon. Her quote was, after not practicing with her law degree for years, due to a mental breakdown because of stress and a controlling husband, she finally breaks her shell and expresses, “I feel so ashamed for saying this, but being a mother is not enough for me. It’s just not. It’s not even close.”

Now on first glance a lot of more complementarian and conservative Christians might take offence with that statement. We hear all the time, motherhood is a woman’s highest and best job! Being a mother is the be all and end all! God created women to be mothers! But wait, is that true?

I think we may have indeed missed the mark on this fundamental issue. Was Eve created to be a mother? No. She was created by God to be a helper. In the same way that Adam’s role as father would not have existed until a child was present, so his initial role was to care for his garden and love and care for his wife, a part of that created garden.

Let’s break out Eve’s role of a helper for the greater society and not just that one man, her husband. Women should be integral to the workforce and Christian men should recognize and uphold this important work. Now, if a woman wants solely to be a mother is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. (I had the greatest one, sorry guys.) That’s her choice. But to block and suppress women from choosing careers or from allowing them to feel fulfillment from anything other than motherhood is cruel and completely against God’s intent for nature.

Let’s examine one more example popular among Christian fundamentalists, the Proverbs 31 woman.

Read the verses. (As a side note to this passage, there is phrasing that this account is both inspired by God and was directly taught to the King by his mother. Wow) In this passage, the woman buys and sells fields, plants vineyards, trades, is buying and selling linen, potentially owns and skillfully operates charity organization, takes care of her family, her servants (equivocal let’s say to any employees a woman might have today either employed in the home or at a business) and so much more. Is this a woman that’s just involved in motherhood? No! So why as Christians are we not supporting more the careers of women in the workplace?

This troubles me. I am not against traditional marriage in any sense, nor if people want to engage in what have become more traditional roles and values in a marriage. To each his own. What I think we cannot do, is prevent women from being involved, or shame them if they find any type of fulfillment outside the home. That’s ridiculous. It’s time we realized that a woman’s worth is the value she can provide to society just as it should be for any man. Being a mother is awesome. Being a stock broker is awesome. Being a teacher is awesome. Better for women to find that fulfillment and instill that desire for societal service in their children.

I have never expected my future wife to simply sit at home watching my kids. I would in fact, rather that she had a vibrant and successful career and we could employ someone to watch our children while we worked. That creates jobs and potentially allows someone more specialized and trained in childcare to help them develop. Does that mean I’d be absent from my child’s life. Of course not! It’s important for working parents to carve out time, like dinners and other activities, to bond and grow with their children.

These are just some thoughts. I know all may not agree with me. I think about some of the career minded women I know who I admire because of the service they bring to society. It’s time we had a service oriented mentality, a real fulfillment of that job that God gave to Eve, The Helper, in all aspects of our lives both men and women. Find where you can help society and humanity grow and you are a little closer to doing God’s work on Earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment