The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15,16 NIV Bible Gateway
We first published this post in May 2009, when no one was reading this blog except for our friends and family. We think it is important to understand some of the thinking behind those who hold to certain views on complementarianism. To those of you who are single, infertile, and estranged from abusive parents, our hearts reach out to you. Know this, you are part of an eternal family in which we all share the same Father. We are brothers and sisters to one another, although to some of the folks that we write about, we are probably the black sheep of the family!
Better yet, I bet that some of you are mothers and fathers to others. There is a husband and wife that I know who are both professors of the same surgical specialty at a major university medical school. They have never had biological children. But, year after year, they reach out in love to the medical students under them, providing support and a home away from home. The students love them back, often going to them for counseling on everything from ethics to their love lives. They even are known as match makers. I guarantee you that she will get some expressions of love on this Mother's Day.
I have edited the original post to update links and to recognize that we are now in 2012.
Today we will address an article written the day after Mother’s Day, 2009, by Dr. Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Louisville, Kentucky, entitled "On Second Thought — Why Mother's Day Is a Bad Idea." Link
In Dr. Mohler's article, he claims that some feminists with the wrong motives started Mother’s Day. At the end of the post, he does admit that he took his wife out to dinner and gave her a card so somehow his criticism rings hollow.
Here are some of his concerns.
- It was highly endorsed by the floral and greeting card industry to increase revenues.
- "As Rosen explains, the women behind Mother’s Day were convinced that the moral superiority of women was grounded in the experience of motherhood."
- "There is nothing wrong about sentiment in itself, but there is something pornographic about the bathos of sentimentalism that this observance produces — a sentimentalism so often devoid of content."
- "Mother’s Day is a bad idea because it subverts the reality of faithful mothering and robs faithful mothers of their true glory."
- "In the end, we are all like little children who push crumpled hand-made greeting cards toward Mom, who then accepts our grubby offerings with love and gratitude."
- “Mothers deserving of honor are handed cards and taken to lunch, when songs of praise should instead be offered to the glory of God.
- "Undeserving mothers, who abdicate their true responsibility, are honored just because they are mothers. Children, young and old, who ignore and dishonor their mothers by word and by life throughout the year, assuage their guilt by making a big deal of Mother's Day.”
How cynical! If one follows Dr. Mohler's ranting to its logical conclusion, then the following should be banned: Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day, and birthdays. Furthermore, we should ban Medals of Honor and programs to honor our brave firefighters and policemen. Darn it, outlaw that pesky National Honor Society. In fact, we shouldn’t even say thank you because all of the glory belongs to God alone, and we are just a bunch of screwed up sinners!
Here are two comments from other blogs on Mohler’s strange views:
1. Christianity.com (The link no longer works but this is the statement from that page
May 11, 2009 at 4:52 PM
"Um dude are you um, totally crazy? I mean totally crazy? It's a good thing I'm not a mother. Mothers should not have to meet some ridiculous standard to be honored, that's ridiculous. We are all growing, it is really tough to be a woman, and I'm sure it's tough to be a mother. Of course getting a mother a card is commercialized and what not and is not equal to her full honor, but its still a really nice idea. Mothers clean, cook, and they get very little to nil recognition most days of the year… so you want to get rid of the one day they could have…I know its not about recognition but still. Yet another reason why feminism still survives, you men say these ridiculous things… did you tell your own Mother what you thought about this? Seriously…
SGM Survivors Link May 12th, 2009 at 9:29 pm-Walking Wounded
"A classic example of hidden meaning was on the Girl Talk blog this week: Link It referenced Al Mohler’s blog about Mothers day. Al Mohler does not like Mother's Day (in part) because: “Undeserving mothers, who abdicate their true responsibility, are honored just because they are mothers.” On the Girl Talk blog which was linked, Nicole posts “let’s give faithful, godly mothers appropriate honor all-year long. ” Sounds great, but what was she really saying?"
Of course she is saying don’t honor your mother unless she is a faithful, godly mother. What does the Bible say about honoring your mother? Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger once offered some motherly advice to a caller who complained about her own mother. The caller explained that she was cursed with a mom who ignored her and had recently died. Dr. Laura advised this caller to think back on the things that her mother had done right. For example, she did not abort her baby. Instead, she elected to care for, feed, and clothe her, which many parents throughout the world are unable to do or won't do. Yes, even mothers who are not Calvinista Christians can do some things worthy of praise.
I would like to tell you about my own non-Christian mother. She did not teach me the faith; however, she loves me dearly. She has been a constant support throughout my life, always cheering me on. She even dropped me off at a local church youth group in which would eventually help to point me to Christ.
When I became a Christian, she was happy for me. I believe it was her love that allowed me to be open to hearing about the perfect love that God has for me. She is now elderly and lives nearby. She still does not know Jesus, but I never cease witnessing to her in both word and deed. I love her and I am grateful that God allowed her to be my mother. She deserves my unending gratitude despite the fact that she is not a Christian. I will give her flowers and treat her to a nice dinner on Mother’s Day. Even though I appreciate her throughout the year, it is a joy to honor her once a year and remember the great sacrifices she made for me.
So, according to Mohler and the "girls" at Girl Talk, am I supposed to ignore my mother because she is not a believer? Is my love for her devoid of meaning because she doesn't fit into Mohler's paradigm?
The Bible clearly makes the point that the world will know us by our love. In the early days of the Christian faith, the believers formed burial societies. During that time, the dead were often thrown over the city wall to burn on the garbage heap. These dear Christians would go to their neighbors and offer to bury their dead. They lovingly cared for the body and, during those moments, offered their love and condolences to those left behind. They compassionately explained that the body was precious because God designed it and that they respected the life of these loved ones. Guess what? They did this honoring service to those who were not Christian as well. Their acts of love and kindness greatly contributed to the spreading of the Christian faith in those early days.
We are busy humans. Yes, we should slow down and remember our mothers more regularly; however, it is good to be reminded to honor our mothers at least once a year. The medieval church had set times during the day that they would turn to the Lord in prayer. The church bells would chime to remind them to do so. Of course we should pray without ceasing; but many of us often need a reminder. Mother’s Day is a bit like those bells.
Al Mohler and other Reformed Christians have joined together to create an interesting organization called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). This group does not believe women should be in any position of leadership within the church. They claim that women are more easily deceived than men. Perhaps Al Mohler has a certain agenda in his denigration of Mother’s Day. Let me repeat the quote from the post. "..the women behind Mother’s Day were convinced that the moral superiority of women was grounded in the experience of motherhood." We certainly don't want any men thinking that women can be in any way superior when they are supposed to be submitted to men for eternity, right?
The following video is a bit slow in the musical performance but I found the scenes of Mary and Jesus from the movie, The Passion, to be deeply moving. Sometimes, I feel that the Protestant church gives short shrift to Mary and her relationship with her son. She spent many years with Him before He began His ministry that would lead to the Cross and Resurrection. She was on His mind on the Cross when He asked John to care for her. "John, behold your mother! " You see, she should would function in that role, once again with a man who was not her son by any sort of biology. Many of our wonderful readers are in some way mothers and fathers to others who are not biologically related to them. May you find joy and fulfillment in those relationships. And most of all, may you find the love which will never pass away.