Mary Kassian Unfamiliar with Passionate Housewives Desperate for God?

"The second woman Rachel quotes is Stacy McDonald, who wrote a book entitled, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. McDonald is associated with the Vision Forum and the biblical patriarchy movement, so it’s clear that she isn’t representative of the core of modern evangelical complementarianism either. I don’t even know who she is . . . though if I googled “housewife + homemaking + evangelical” and threw “homeschooling” in there for good measure, her name would undoubtedly come up. (p. 24)."

Mary Kassian

When I read Mary Kassian's remark (quoted above) in her critique of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I wondered — does Mary live in a vacuum? (no – not the kind housewives use! 🙂 )

Then I realized it is virtually impossible that Kassian does not know about Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald, authors of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.  Why? 

(1) Mary Kassian joined the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2005 (link) – two years before Passionate Housewives was published by Vision Forum.

(2) Kassian and Dorothy Patterson have served together as Council Members for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood for YEARS, probably since its inception.  Surely in her dealings with Biblical Womanhood matters at SBTS and with CBMW she has discovered that Dorothy endorsed Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.  Here is that endorsement proudly featured on Doug Phillips' blog — Mrs. Paige Patterson Endorses Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.

“The biblical paradigm for womanhood is marked by clear, though often hidden, distinctives. Especially are these noted in the Proverbs 31 description of the ‘woman of strength.’ PASSIONATE HOUSEWIVES DESPERATE FOR GOD provides the bookends for the life of this remarkable woman—on the one hand, she is passionate, enthusiastic about everything to which she puts her hand, even the most mundane tasks in her home; on the other hand, she is totally committed to what God wants her to be and to do without being swayed by culture or peers. She makes no apology about devoting her foremost energies and greatest creativity to her own family and household, and in so doing she is confident of offering her best and most precious gift to the Lord! Give us passionate women who are desperate for God, and we will change the world!” Dorothy Patterson, wife of Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."

(3) Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Kassian's close friend who recently co-wrote True Womanhood 101: Divine Design with her) interviewed Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald for her radio broadcast when their book was published.  Here is DeMoss pictured with these two passionate housewives.  I find it difficult to believe that DeMoss never mentioned this interview to Kassian. 

Before Dee and I launched The Wartburg Watch in 2009, we read everything we could find on 'biblical patriarchy' and 'godly womanhood'.  Here are just a few of those resources:

Southern Baptist Leaders Echo Biblical Patriarchy Theology (Ethics Daily)

And What Is It About Biblical Patriarchy That Scares Us? (Wade Burleson)

Baptist Seminary to offer homemaking degree for women only (USA Today)

Given that Kassian is on the faculty of Southern Seminary, isn't it her responsibility to stay informed on these matters?

As an aside, I find it interesting that Doug Phillips' father – Howard Phillips – and Nancy Leigh DeMoss' father – Arthur DeMoss – worked together with Jerry Falwell to establish the "Moral Majority".  Here is how Howard Phillips described that connection.  (link)

"During a series of meetings, I proposed that the name of a new organization which Jerry would lead be the “Moral Majority”. In this, I was supported by several of Dr. Falwell’s colleagues, including Arthur DeMoss (head of the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company)."


Then there are these remarks by Mary Kassian in her review of Rachel Held Evans' book:

"A few sentences later, I had my first and best laugh of the whole book. “Evangelical complementarianism,” claims Rachel, “[is] a movement that began as a reaction to second-wave feminism and found some of its first expressions in the writings of Edith Schaeffer (The Hidden Art of Homemaking, 1971) and Elisabeth Elliot (Let Me Be a Woman, 1976).” Rachel goes on to explain that complementarianism rests on the “uncompromising conviction [that] the virtuous woman serves primarily from the home as a submissive wife, diligent homemaker, and loving mother.” (p. xix).

“The Hidden Art of Homemaking???!!” I just about fell off my chair. That book was written seventeen years before the inception of CBMW and about twenty years before we adopted the term “complementarian.” I have never even heard of it. I highly doubt whether John Piper and Wayne Grudem—the founders of CBMW—have read it. So to cite it as the first expression of evangelical complementarianism is hardly defensible. Complementarians would certainly not identify it as such."

Had Mary Kassian been keeping up with the 'girl talkers' (Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters), she would have discovered this fun fact in their post — Girl-to-Girl Talk: Noel Piper.  Here is what Noel had to say:

"The best “spiritual” book I’ve ever read (besides the Bible) is: …and besides my husband’s books . . .  Combining bad memory with too many books, I’ll mention authors instead: Elisabeth Elliot, Joni Eareckson Tada, Edith Schaeffer. One with long-lasting impact is Schaeffer’s Hidden Art (now with the unfortunately-limited title, The Hidden Art of Homemaking."

If Kassian has been a close friend of John Piper for all these years and an author of books on womanhood, why doesn't she know that Noel Piper has been tremendously influenced by Edith Shaeffer's book The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Finally, why is Mary Kassian consulting the matriarch of the homemaking movement – Dorothy Paterson – if she (Kassian) is disparaging homemaking to some degree in her review? 

Kassian has been involved with CBMW since its inception, and I would really like to know why their website has been 'under construction' for over SEVEN MONTHS?!  Are they scrubbing it? 

It certainly appears that Mary Kassian is obfuscating, and we have to wonder why…

Lydia's Corner:   Numbers 15:17-16:40   Mark 15:1-47   Psalm 54:1-7   Proverbs 11:5-6


Mary Kassian Unfamiliar with Passionate Housewives Desperate for God? — 195 Comments

  1. Disingenuous in the extreme… and how – or why – anyone with Kassian’s background would claim ignorance of Edith Schaeffer’s book is beyond me. (It was 1st published under the title “Hidden Art,” and only recently reissued as “The Hidden Art of Homemaking.”)

  2. Doug Phillips’ use of language is interesting. How can something be clear AND hidden? Sounds rather contradictory.

  3. Sorry, that’s Dorothy’s comment being quoted by Doug, isn’t it? Either way, it’s a strange understanding of language.

  4. strange…. strange… she seems nervous. No one perfoms well when they’re nervous and anxious.

    Afraid of something. Perhaps it’s agitated anger at how her CBMWness and her spokesperson career is being compromised by “her people” who say the darnedest things that contradict her and her position — and she’s trapped with those feelings since she presumably can’t say much (if giving driving directions requires tip-toeing on eggshells, I can’t imagine that confrontation is even a remote possibility).

    And perhaps she’s afraid of these feelings — they are presumably quite powerful, but she can’t do anything about them. Submission & all that. Not to mention the unity she is supposed to have with “her people” and her CBMW eliteness, from which her career stems.

  5. And she is a professor of Women’s Studies? (just looked her up) I’m not sure how she can claim to be an academic in such a ‘field’ and be completely ignorant of such major players, especially ones on her own side of the fence. I’m sitting here wondering how I, a fervent egalitarian on the other side of the world, can know more about that book (which I have NO intention of reading) than she does. Ignorance or disingenuity? (I am trying so hard not to use the L word here, I want to be fair, and untruthfulness is a serious accusation to make against a fellow Christian.) Either way, it hardly qualifies her to be an ‘official’ spokesperson for the comp position.

    Somewhere in all of this is some enormous gamesmanship — I’m catching the whiff of smoke and mirrors.

  6. Lynne T on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 03:04 AM said:
    “Somewhere in all of this is some enormous gamesmanship — I’m catching the whiff of smoke and mirrors.”

    LOL! I love it. So true, how can Mary Kassian pretend to be ignorant of all the ‘women should be home with their kids or they are sub-mothers’? We all get that no matter what they say about anything else.

  7. Numo – I have a copy of Edith Schaeffer’s book, which I bought years ago, before I was married. It was printed in 1986 and the title on it is The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I also think its absolutely ludicrous that Kassian claims to have never heard of this book which has been very popular among evangelical women for many years.

  8. “A few sentences later, I had my first and best laugh of the whole book. ‘Evangelical complementarianism,’ claims Rachel, ‘[is] a movement that began as a reaction to second-wave feminism and found some of its first expressions in the writings of Edith Schaeffer (The Hidden Art of Homemaking, 1971) and Elisabeth Elliot (Let Me Be a Woman, 1976).’ … ‘The Hidden Art of Homemaking???!!’ I just about fell off my chair. That book was written seventeen years before the inception of CBMW and about twenty years before we adopted the term ‘complementarian.'”

    I find it interesting that she went for Schaeffer here instead of Elliot…because CBMW/comps reference Elisabeth Elliot ALL THE TIME. I haven’t heard the name Edith Schaeffer nearly as much, though I have heard it. This is very odd.

  9. Here is an interesting tidbit I just read in the Wiki article about Edith Schaeffer:

    "Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking (1971) has been influential among women in the Christian Patriarchy movement,[11] and has been described by Kathryn Joyce as 'perhaps unintentionally, a landmark book for proponents of biblical womanhood.' "

  10. Lynne T said: “Somewhere in all of this is some enormous gamesmanship — I’m catching the whiff of smoke and mirrors.”

    My review (on my blog) of the Danvers statement contain the words “smoke and mirrors.”

  11. Does anyone remember Elizabeth Elliot's radio broadcast Gateway to Joy which ended in 2001?

    "After almost 13 years on radio, Elisabeth Elliot and Back to the Bible concluded the Gateway To Joy radio ministry."

    Now it's finally coming back to me… I remember hearing Elliot's last broadcast and being skeptical about the woman who took over her time slot. It was none other than Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

    "The conversation you are about to hear originally aired 10 years ago on Elisabeth’s radio program, Gateway to Joy. Elisabeth Elliot was passing a baton to Nancy Leigh DeMoss."

    We've come a long way over the last decade, and I believe we are going in the WRONG DIRECTION!

  12. Ooops we need to get the Complementarian to English dictionary out again, where something is both clear & hidden….but of course if black is white, love is power, equality is heirarchy then we should be expecting this. Funny how the only words that don’t seem interchangeable in the Comp movement are masculinity & femininity….

  13. I was involved in homeschooling circles for a long, long time, so I’ve seen how various “streams” of patriarchy overlap and mingle. You’d have to have your head buried in the sand to be completely ignorant of the big names of the various streams, especially if you’re a writer or a blogger doing even a minimum of research.

    Going back a few decades, I don’t remember reading “Total Woman,” but Edith Schaeffer’s “Hidden Art” was a big deal in the shepherding movement of the seventies. Probably because I was surrounded by complementarianism-by-another-name, the book didn’t bother me at the time. I’m sure parts of it would bother me a lot now, but I would probably still enjoy her focus on creativity.

    At least in my little corner of the shepherding movement, women were also encouraged to read the cringe-worthy “Fascinating Womanhood” by Helen Andelin, a Mormon. So…the complementarian stuff was circulating way back then, even if that particular word hadn’t been coined yet.

  14. Meg,

    Great comment!  Dee and I found out about the Passionate Housewives book when we were novices at blogging.  Veteran blogger Mary Kassian, friend of Dorothy Patterson, has absolutely no excuse for not knowing about a book that her colleague “Mrs. Patterson” endorsed. 

    I was born on a Tuesday, but NOT last Tuesday!!!

  15. It seems to me that Kassian is playing by Stone’s Rules.

    “Unless you can fake sincerity, you’ll get nowhere in this business.”
    “Always praise ’em before you hit ’em.”
    “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”
    “Lay low, play dumb, keep moving.”

  16. “Anyone remember Marabel Morgan’s “Total Woman” of the early 1970′s? It was filled with sexual exploits all designed to help women understand the meaning of submission to their husbands and “rekindle” the flame in their marriages.”

    I’ve heard of the book. I remember hearing from someone that she and her husband eventually ended up getting a divorce, but I *cannot* find whether or not that is true. They may still be married.

    I have read a book, Rekindled, by Pat and Jill Williams, telling about how Jill wanted out of their marriage and Pat, through using a book written by Dr. Ed Wheat (I think the book may have been Love Life for Every Married Couple) won her back.

    They moved to Orlando . . . and Jill ended up leaving him and getting a divorce.

  17. First, the title. When you realize that today “passion” and “Desperate” default to “sexual”, the title Passionate Housewives Desperate for God starts getting these weird vibes of Fifty Shades of Grey. Bonus points when you realize that “bored housewives” are the target audience of Twilight, 50 Shades (almost typoed “50 shags” for that one — paging Austin Powers…), and other “porn for women” best-sellers.

    “The best “spiritual” book I’ve ever read (besides the Bible) is: …
    Late Great Planet Earth?
    Left Behind?
    Prayer of Jabez?
    I Kissed Dating Goodbye?
    That Joel Osteen one?
    That Bee Jay Driscoll one?

  18. When I was newly married our women’s Bible study read that book. Thank God the older women in the study had tons of issues with it. Shallow and manipulative being the general consensus.

  19. Doug Phillips’ use of language is interesting. How can something be clear AND hidden? Sounds rather contradictory. — Pam

    doublethink, comrade, doublethink.
    war is peace
    freedom is slavery
    ignorance is strength
    two plus two equals five

    Does anyone remember Elizabeth Elliot’s radio broadcast Gateway to Joy which ended in 2001? — Deb

    “Gateway to Joy”? Sounds like the name of a North Korean extermination camp. Do they use the same PR spin firm?

  20. Sorry new in posting. Our study group, read The Total Woman. We ended up calling it, the totaled women…as in being a wreck.

  21. When I was newly married our women’s Bible study read that book. — Lin

    Just as an aside, Lin, I’ve seen a lot of “Bible studies” where nobody ever opened a Bible — just the Christianese fad “spiritual book” du jour. In my day it was Hal Lindsay’s Late Great Planet Earth (original edition not-quite-setting the date in 1988), and I’ve heard of Left Behind (all 22 volumes?) being used the same way. And there are doubtless others — Prayer of Jabez, Driscoll’s Real Marriage? At least Hal Lindsay quoted a lot of Proof Texts, so you could at least argue a case that it was still a Bible study(TM)…

  22. Regarding Nancy Leigh Demoss, her book Lies Women Believe was used for a women’s Bible study at an SBC church where a family member of mine attends. I read part of the book myself and didn’t find anything wrong with it. But what is troubling is that when I looked at the notes I found she cited Elizabeth Rice Hanford’s book Me Obey Him? That book teaches an extreme submission view, I believe. Hanford is the daughter of the late IFB leader John R. Rice. Not only is Demoss reading the wrong people, but her notes could cause people to be directed to a bad resource.

  23. @ Headless Unicorn Guy……yes, I agree lots of Bible study groups are heavy on book reading and light on Bible reading. Not that group though. Any book we did read was filtered through the lens of scripture. They were a great group of thinking women, passionate for truth.

  24. I read Hidden Art in the eighties. I loved it and can’t remember anything offensive about it. I wish I still had it so I could take a fresh look. I most recall it being about life as an art, and developing your skills in small and faithful ways so they could eventually bless others in a wider sphere. And I love Elisabeth Elliot.

  25. Also, it seems like Kassian is basing her objections on a technicality – the term “complementarianism” was coined at Danvers, therefore anything pre-Danvers cannot be “complementarian.” This is probably how she defined away Elliot and Schaefer.

  26. Virginia Knowles,

    Perhaps a decade or more ago I attended a conference at Emmanuel Baptist here in Raleigh featuring Elisabeth Elliot. Her husband and daughter accompanied her, and enjoyed hearing her.

    I haven’t read Hidden Art but may try and track down a used copy.

  27. (LOL)!! Loved that one HUG — Eagle

    I’m operating on maybe four hours of sleep a night, and things are getting decidedly WEIRD. Who needs alcohol?

  28. @ Nicholas re Me Obey Him
    The first review, which is a good review of the effects of these teachings, doesn’t address the theological issues with the book.

    The 2nd review recommends Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as a better and more recent description of an appropriate relationship between husband and wife. He also fails to pick up on some subtle but important issues. At one point he quotes a portion of the book that claims a woman shouldn’t offer her opinion without being asked. While he does argue with that point, he doesn’t address the following: In another of his quotes the book says that women should only resort to tears when absolutely necessary. A woman’s tears should never be a manipulation tactic and people shouldn’t treat them as such. The wording in the book does what many of these books do, which is subtly teach that a Godly woman’s only recourse is manipulation. Of course they never phrase it that way. They instruct on how to make an appeal that is more likely to be heeded (ie if you say it right, you won’t make him feel threatened).

  29. Are any of you familiar with Frank Schaeffer, son of evangelical royalty? He is the son of Francis and Edith Schaeffer and former Religious Right evangelist. The Schaeffers – and Frank himself – are part of a core group of evangelicals who began meeting with a few Republican lawmakers in the 70’s to create the Religious Right. If I remember correctly, Frank helped Ronald Reagan write a book on abortion in the 80’s.

    Frank has since left evangelicalism and the Religious Right and writes about the disastrous marriage between evangelicalism and conservative politics. I don’t agree with him on everything, and there are lots of folks who were/are horrified by Frank’s decision and subsequent writing and speaking. But having been raised by two of the original Religious Right, I think he deserves a listen.

    Last year his new book Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics – and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway came out. I haven’t read it, but from the reviews, it sounds like he adores his mother but found her to be two different people – one at home and the other in public.

    Frank says when he was 8, Edith told him his dad demanded sex every night and showed him her diaphragm (birth control!). Francis Schaeffer’s porn habits and sexual demands were frustrating.

    From his book:

    “My mother Edith Schaeffer herself was the greatest illustration of the divine beauty of paradox I’ve encountered. She was a fundamentalist living a double life as a lover of beauty who broke all her own judgmental rules in favor of creativity: She read us real books, swearwords and all; she bought me a Salvador Dali art book that included his hypersexuality and blasphemy….”

    By the way, Frank spent a week with Edith in 2010 discussing this book with her. She was 96 then.

  30. Wendy – don’t be fooled by the 96 thing – Edith comes from a very long lived family, although has had a lot of TIA’s I think, which have weakened her. I want to read Frank’s book, but know a bunch of people who worked with his parents for decades, & knew Frank as a teenager (inc. his tutor), but strenuously and very kindly, disagree with his memory of things, to put it mildly. Most of them feel Frank is a great example of an emotional agenda-led writer. And I’ve seen his sister roll her eyes more than once over him…

    But I would absolutely say Edith was much freer than many women, & that her & Francis would not have been impressed by the shepherding movement, or any other movement come to that, which replaced the Holy Spirit with anything, including a husband or pastor, in someone’s spiritual life. Even in her 80’s she was known to dance around her house to REM etc, cracking up her assistants.

  31. Beakerj,

    As we in the counseling profession say, everyone’s memory of the same event is different.

    I’m not fooled by the 96 thing at all. From what I read, Edith fully understood what Frank was writing and verified things for the book.

    Also, I saw Frank interviewed sometime last year, and the interviewer remarked that his father would probably be disappointed at something (can’t remember what it was exactly). Frank replied that he thought his father would be proud of him for challenging things as they are now. He said his father never intended for things to get this out of hand.

  32. I feel as though my earliest married years are flashing before my eyes! I attended a lady’s Bible study in the mid ’80’s while living in Germany and we studied Me? Obey Him? One of the women into class is now the head of women’s ministries at Puper’s church. Just put this together this am! And The Total Woman? Seriously, I read it while in the hospital in labor withy first baby and vowed to never have sex again. Foolish vow.

  33. Kassian is ignoring RHE’s wording. Rachel said that the complementarian movement found SOME of its FIRST expressions in these books. Rachel is only saying that what has now become modern compl. had bits of its infancy in books like this. She’s not claiming that these books represent the main face of compl. today, which is what Kassian seems to think she’s claiming.

    Also, does Kassian think that the compl. movement literally sprang out of thin air when she and the others sat down at that meeting? Does she really think that there wasn’t any kind of movement already going on that pushed herself and her colleagues to define the term?

    I just feel like she is nitpicking at the weirdest things!

  34. Passionate Housewives? Sigh! This is an apologetic for promoting domionism to Anerican Woman. Full of caricatures and legalism. I understand they are coming out with a new edition because we all misunderstood them the first time. If they are such poor communicators that we all didn’t get their message of one size fits all, perhaps they should consider another line of work!

  35. I was in a monthly group in my former church. My husband liked me to go there because he said I came back nicer for a few hours. We did The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. Total waste of headspace. They were going to do The Hidden Art of Homemaking, I suddenly found other things more important. Geez, the title alone. Then, someone picked a book written in the seventies by the woman who did the Unshakled radio program. We read the introduction, which stated that all women were either depressed and unhappy, or they were deflecting. I got really angry, I had a problem with people who made such statements. Two women ganged up on me, and said that I made them feel inferior because I didn’t want to be the same as they were. Luckily, my husband called me for an emergency, and I left. That was the catalyst for my family leaving. Of course, when I tell the rest of my story, you will say “why dint you leave sooner?”

    My favorite religious book besides the Bible? Dante’s Inferno, although I don’t know if you’d count that. I loved the vivid imagery, and terza rima poetry style. Almost every other book I have read is too shallow and unhelpful. Of course, at my new church, the women do Beth Moore studies, last year was “Jesus the One and Only”, this year is “Living Beyond Yourself”. Not much spiritual meat, but I go for the company of the women.

  36. Virginia said: “I read Hidden Art in the eighties. I loved it and can’t remember anything offensive about it. I wish I still had it so I could take a fresh look. I most recall it being about life as an art, and developing your skills in small and faithful ways so they could eventually bless others in a wider sphere.”

    I agree. Our pastor at the time happened to be a very artistic and creative person, and he and his wife encouraged the church to pursue both “the arts” (in the classic sense) and also homey arts like creating centerpieces for the table. I think our pastor put together beautiful centerpieces as often as his wife did, so he was a great example of the truth that artsy creativity isn’t just for women!

    I hope I still have my copy of “Hidden Art” because I would love to read it again.

  37. I don’t have a lot to offer on this, but it appears that Mary Kassian is attempting to do two things:

    1) Discredit Rachel Held Evans using as much snarky sarcasm as possible; and

    2) Take all the credit for complementarianism (all others are laughable or she’s never heard of them or they’re not true complementarians because they don’t use her invented word).

  38. Meg – I do indeed remember how popular Fascinating Womanhood and The Total Woman were in the shepherding circles I was in, back in the 70s…

    Beakerj and Wendy – I don’t think Frank is *nearly* as “off” as many people claim. so much of what he said about growing up at Swiss L’Abri (in Crazy for God) rang all kinds of bells for me personally, based on my own time there. (Must add that I wasn’t there long, but felt that there were a lot of very odd things going on… but kept most of my observations to myself, because they were not exactly well-received by fellow students and L’Abri workers…. this was in the late 70s, btw.)

    Further, I think that every branch of L’Abri is different from others – and I know that L’Abri was never like it was presented by Edith Schaeffer, in her book titled L’Abri, or in other books.

    Hidden Art (original title) does have some good material, but I leave it to you folks to decide what you think on how that material is presented (including evaluation of the numerous family anecdotes).

    fwiw, Frank’s sister Debbie Middelmann – and her husband Udo – endorsed what he said about growing up at L’Abri, as did his sister Prisca (aka Priscilla). While I think Frank has always been a bit over the top, I also think he’s a gifted novelist (loved the 1st two books in his “Calvin Becker” trilogy) and that if one can look past some of his more obvious mannerisms, there’s a *lot* of honesty – in his more recent work, at least. His early stuff (includes books written in the 80s and 90s) is really – imo – angry and judgmental and just plain painful to read. (See his Sham Pearls for Real Swine, ostensibly about art, that was more or less desktop-published back in the day and never circulated widely.)

    Swiss L’Abri was – probably still is – a bit eccentric. Am not saying that to be unkind, either… it’s my take on many oddities I saw and experienced there. (Like the worker who insisted that everyone eat with chopsticks, even if they didn’t know how, because the noise made by cutlery upset her.)

  39. Frank Schaeffer said his mother would spend hours and hours outside collecting moss, ferns, grasses, sticks, and rocks that no one could possibly envision being used to create art. He said Edith created the most beautiful displays and centerpieces out of things that most would have discarded.

  40. I have read some of the things written by DeMoss and have heard her on video – personally, I like her and the way she expresses herself. I agree with her on quite a few things….but the problem I would have is that if she personally promotes submission/housekeeping/patriarchy and the like, I would have a hard time taking advice from a never-married woman. That would be the same issue I have with Patterson – how can educated, globe-trotting women tell me to stay home? I DO stay home with my children and gave up my career to homeschool them, but it would not be from THEIR advice. They don’t see the dichotomy between how they live and what they teach. That is what bugs me. Kassian, too.

  41. Re. E. Eliot – When I was younger (70s-90s), a lot of her work was a big deal in evangelical/charismatic circles – might be still, for all I know.

    The thing is, I found her books about living single, going through widowhood, etc. etc. to be SO depressing, and I wasn’t alone in that opinion. But… it wasn’t something that people talked about in public, either. to this day, I feel like cringing inside whenever I see her book “Passion and Purity” mentioned.

    There’s not much freedom in those books, let alone help and support for people who have never married, even (I think) for divorcees and widows, though I’m not able to comment in a truly informed way on either state, never having been there…

  42. Wendy – I think Frank almost worships his mom. Not saying that’s wrong, but just my opinion, garnered from reading a number of his books.

    If you read a lot of her books, you’ll see that she brings up *many* things that Frank has been criticized for saying (she talks about her husband’s horrific temper, etc. etc.). I remember being shocked when – back in the 70s – I read a passage in one of her books about how she used to buy whole sets of dishes at garage sales when she was a young woman (and they still lived in the States). The reason for her purchases: so Francis could smash them against the wall of the garage when he got angry. That happened a lot.

  43. … and both francis and Edith Schaeffer did a *lot* to help promote the arts in evangelical circles, through their books.

    I went to L’Abri thinking it was – more or less – a kind of xtian art colony, based on some of the things I read in books by both of them. I also expected cozy discussions around the fireplace with snacks.

    Nope to both.

  44. justabeliever wrote “I DO stay home with my children and gave up my career to homeschool them, but it would not be from THEIR advice. They don’t see the dichotomy between how they live and what they teach. That is what bugs me. Kassian, too.”

    The pastor at my last church told my wife (a high school teacher) that she could find meaning and purpose in doing chores around the house, thereby implying that her place was in the home. Of course, when it came time to pay his mortgage, his wife worked as a part-time nurse and had another woman in the church watch his kids during the day. Some animals are just more equal than others…

  45. Numo,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight. I haven’t read Frank’s books, but I’ve read excerpts and lots of reviews. He actually accepted my friend request on facebook, so I keep up with his articles on various sites. I can’t say I agree with him on every political or spiritual issue, but I think he offers some important insights, and many of them resonate with me.

    I think Frank has probably gotten a lot of heat for simply ditching the Religious Right and then on top of it being honest about his parents, his childhood, their ministry, and formation of the Religious Right. People who are still entrenched in the movement or idolize the Schaeffers undoubtedly have some resentment. It’s hard to hear things that don’t line up with our own perceptions and worldview. It’s a threat to our identity and the views we’ve held so long.

    Frank clearly adores his mother though and seems to have made peace with the hypocrisy he saw in his father.

  46. From what I was told by Swiss L’Abri workers who’d been around for a while, there were American tourists who used to hire tour buses to take them up the mountain for potential Schaeffer-spottings (this was in the late 70s).

    Both of Frank’s parents were semi-retired when I was there, and his dad was already ill with the cancer that would eventually kill him. They lived further up the mountain, and weren’t around much. (I only saw them once, and deliberately avoided trying to approach them, since they were already the object of much attention… but I did get a good look at his dad’s alpine-style hiking knickers – made of heavy wool – and thought his mom looked very sophisticated and elegant.)

  47. Numo,

    “I remember being shocked when – back in the 70s – I read a passage in one of her books about how she used to buy whole sets of dishes at garage sales when she was a young woman (and they still lived in the States). The reason for her purchases: so Francis could smash them against the wall of the garage when he got angry. That happened a lot.”

    Instead of being hit and thrown against the wall herself, she got creative. I was shocked too when I learned that Francis Schaeffer was abusive to his wife.

    From a psychological standpoint, I can understand how Frank would adore – and could even be unhealthily enmeshed – with his mother. This happens quite a bit with men who have watched their mothers get beat.

  48. As for books: Crazy for God and his novels Portofino and Saving Grandma are excellent. I have extremely mixed feelings about the 3d book in his Calvin Becker trilogy, if only because it’s likely more revealing than he intended – and painfully so.

    Contrary to many claims made by irate readers, he does love his parents and sisters. And so many of the things that people think are unbelievable – like performing artists being told that they had to give up their careers for God upon conversion – were de rigeur at the time. The idea of being able to do both was almost shocking – and pretty new – when I was in my early 20s, back in the day.

  49. Instead of being hit and thrown against the wall herself, she got creative. I was shocked too when I learned that Francis Schaeffer was abusive to his wife.

    From a psychological standpoint, I can understand how Frank would adore – and could even be unhealthily enmeshed – with his mother. This happens quite a bit with men who have watched their mothers get beat.

    yes to all of this.

    My hat’s off to Frank in his honesty about how *he* started to become abusive to his children, and how he knew that he needed help – and that his behavior had to change. he talks about that in Crazy for God.

    I also think that the conditions at L’Abri were really, really bad for him and his family – far from ideal for kids – and that his over-idealization of his mom partly comes from the fact that she provided some things (books, etc.) that helped him get through all of that.

    His character Calvin Becker is a wonderful surrogate, though Calvin definitely isn’t meant to be Frank’s alter ego.

  50. Os Guiness got very angry when Crazy for God came out, and wrote a lengthy screed that was published in Christianity Today (or maybe their magazine Books and Culture – I can’t recall which one it was) which was backed by all kinds of people.

    Frank was asked to respond, and he did so in a remarkably peaceful way, referring people to statements by his sisters (in the book).

    The thing is… if you do a bit of reading, and/or if you know some folks, it becomes very clear that Os had … well, let’s say that he felt he should be asked to step into the place that Frank was asked to fill. (Os has pretty much said it, in that xtianity today piece and elsewhere.)

    Sadly, there are L’Abri feuds – but people are people, and rifts and splits and jealousies do happen, regardless of what we profess to believe.

  51. Wendy – in one of Edith’s later books, she does talk about being abused.

    Frank wasn’t the 1st to say it, nor was he simply airing dirty laundry, let alone trying to harm his parents or their reputation.

    I can’t help wondering what other MKs would say, given the chance…

  52. I’ve also read “Crazy for God” and the Calvin Becker trilogy, and my feelings are much the same as Numo’s. I have a lot of sympathy for Frank and for the rest of the family, and I wish people who haven’t read the books wouldn’t bash them.

    That brings us right back to RHE’s book and the same kind of problem. Some critics don’t bother to read the books they’re criticizing, or their prejudices are so strong that their reviews are screwy.

  53. Meg (and all) – I was amazed by how many things Frank said about Swiss L’Abri – as well as its inhabitants and their uneasy relationship with the villagers – were borne out by my own experience.

  54. I feel physically ill after reading some of the excerpts from The Excellent Wife. I can remember being a young girl when it first was released, and it spread like wildfire through our church. My Mom and older sisters hosted a ‘bible study’ about The Excellent Wife. Now, as I look back at that time, I have to wonder if what was taught in that book contributed to my sister staying in a terribly abusive marriage for so many, many long years. (She has recently escaped that hell, thankfully).

    I am fascinated by some of the comments about the Shaeffer family… their books were influential in our family as I was growing up, although we never read anything by Frank. I’m thinking I should read his books, somehow in my head I’m still holding Francis Shaeffer up on a pedastal as a “good, godly man of God”. I never really learned much about him, only was told things as a child/teen about his books and ministry.

  55. I hear what you’re all saying, & will do some thinking & asking around… I certainly never idolised the Schaeffers & I don’t anyone that did, they’ve always been presented to me as truly flawed humans, as well as faithful christians. I do think L’Abri has always been eccentric…in an artistic way, & that has saved the faith of many, being allowed to be the slightly eccentric artistic individuals they were, & being allowed to truly think. I also have to confess to being British L’Abri’s painter in the attic of the stables for a few years, while I was doing my art degree & doing talks & table discussions on creativity & my own work(!) It was a fantastic place for a christian artist with no patience for christian kitsch to work out her abilities & take on things! The only time I ever got into trouble was when playing the 5 Nirvana albums back to back, it got a bit loud for the lunch table downstairs…

    I also know a LOT of L’Abri kids…for many it was awful, but for many amazing, dependent on branch, personalities,era etc. I’m not sure I’d take children into it, if I had any, but that is exactly what a good friend of mine ( & Edith’s!) is about to do.

    I would recommend people re-read Hidden Art though, it is a gem, even if like all of ES’s books she could have done with a decent editor…

  56. Beakerj – heehee on being the painter hidden in the stables. I can imagine the reaction to your Nirvana marathon, too. 😉

    Would love to talk off-list if you’d like… I can ask Dee to send you my email addy.

    As for kids growing up at L’Abri, I was mainly referring to the early days of L’Abri in Huémoz, though I *do* think that being subject to strangers traipsing though the house (and staying in the house) would be very hard for any couple, let alone the kids. There were almost no boundaries – and no place of escape – for the folks who worked at Swiss L’Abri when I was there, and with the extremely limited time off, well…

    The *only* time that I felt truly comfortable there was when I was eating at John and Priscilla’s place, on a Saturday evening. They are the loveliest people, and made us all feel at home. I think the fact that they *didn’t* have people staying with them (etc.) made it much easier for them to reach out and make people truly welcome.

    Don’t get me wrong: I met some really wonderful people at L’Abri, but was also caught in the crossfire (because I was charismatic) and thought that some of the customs (like the mandated high tea on Sunday) were, well… pretty stilted.

  57. beakerj – Swiss L’Abri in the late 70 struck me as a place where lots of people wanted to *talk about* the arts and creativity, but the actual practice thereof wasn’t possible, unless you got up at 4:00-5:00 a.m. (As one of the workers told me to do!)

    Given the work/study regimen plus extra (mandatory) discussions and lectures *and* dinners at various peoples’ houses, there was almost zero down time, except for when we were asleep.

  58. Os is speaking at an SGM conference??!! Wow, he has gone off in a strange direction.

    I haven’t read anything by him in years. He was a longtime member at Truro Episcopal out in Fairfax, but as to whether he’s still there…

  59. Eagle – in all honesty, I think I’d skip that talk. It’s not worth being in a toxic atmosphere, though if you were a journalist, it might be *very* interesting.

  60. @ Eagle & Numo:

    I know very little about Os Guinness except two things:

    1. The anti-Emergent Church crowd don’t like him. No idea why.
    2. He appeared in Focus on the Family’s curriculum The Truth Project (link below). It’s really just a series of talks given by someone named Del Tackett, and we went through it in homeschool co-op one year. I don’t remember what Guinness had to say, but I do remember that The Truth Project was the first place I ever heard anyone connect the Trinity with family/gender roles.

    That is NOT encouraging that he’s speaking at an SGM conference.

  61. I’d imagine that it’s Truro Anglican now… they were one of the churches that left the Episcopal Church 10+ years ago, along with (locally) The Falls Church and Church of the Apostles.

  62. Eagle – on Os G’s site, there’s a note that they have one child, a son named “CJ.” (No full name given, no periods after the caps.)

    I don’t *want* to make assumptions about whose namesake he is – lots of names start with C and J – but it *is* a bit weird-looking to me. 😉

  63. Eagle and numo,

    Os Guiness is speaking at the Gospel at Work conference, hosted by Covenant Life Church – not to be confused with. SGM 😉

    Mark Dever is also speaking at that upcoming January conference. The conference details are on the CLC website.

  64. CLC has been SGM’s flagship church since forever, though… even if it’s now moving away from SGM, it’s still a fortress of SGM-ish-ness. (Along with Fairfax Covenant, over in the northern Va suburbs of D.C.)

    I wouldn’t want to go to a CLC event for love nor money.

  65. Eagle @3:50pm –

    CLC is still with SGM, but a vote is being taken as to whether or not they continue to be a part.

  66. What Happened to Carolyn McCulley’s Brand of Female Servility ala SGM?

    Interestingly, Carolyn McCulley, who has probably made a lot of money and has certainly built a strong personal brand based on her female servility schtick, by working with SGM, has completely and quietly cut ties with SGM.

    She no longer attends an SGM church or references them in her blog posts or internet sites. It’s as though she wasn’t a major part of SGM’s and CLC’s PR efforts for many years.

    I’ve always suspected that McCulley never believed her femal biblical submission schtick – it was just a good business venture and her decision to neatl cut ties with SGM reinforces that belief as they’re not a good business bet anymore.

    And that’s her call.

    The problem is that McCulley is still presuming to be an advocate for women’s issues and complementarianism even though she hasn’t addressed how this philosophy to gender relations, that she encouraged at SGM and CLC, produced a significant number of men who’s idea of godly masculinity was abusing women and children and/or covering up sexual and physical abuse.

    McCulley has some explaining to do…

  67. Eagle, That's wonderful news! 12/1/12 – a great day for a baptism. Why not wait and get baptized on 12/12/12?

  68. Thanks for the feedback. Redeemer of Arlington has been dropped from the official list of SGM churches on SGM’s website. These are the VA SGM churches and Redeemer isn’t there anymore:

    Thus I think McCulley’s making a pretty strong statement by choosing to attend a non-SGM church when there are so many to choose from in the D.C. area.

    I did not know that McCulley was planning to speak at CLC but then I take anything CLC says it will do with a grain of salt because Josh Harris has no idea what he’s doing. For instance, this vote to leave SGM is meaningless because according to SGM’s latest financial statement, CLC and SGM have legal ties that can’t be cut easily no matter how this faux election Harris has set up turns out.

  69. Eagle

    “I propose that the next “tell all expose” will probably come from John Piper’s daughter or child, or Mark Driscoll’s daughter.” You don’t know how prophetic you might be. Will you be around on Saturday at all?


  70. McCulley was a member of CLC for years until she helped plant the church in Arlington. No surprise that she will be speaking at the upcoming conference to be held at CLC.

  71. Hester

    Perhaps Os is going to use the platform to actually challenge some SGM assumptions. I will be interested in seeing what is going to happen. However, it sure would be nice if he said something about the elephant in the room-abuse lawsuit.

  72. notamohler fan

    Wow! I did not know that about McCulley.  When did she do this? She was a major supporter, doing the submissive female thing. I bet something happened.

  73. Eagle

    No way!!!  How did this come about? What an absolute wonderful surprise! Details, we need details!!!!!!

  74. The thing is, I found her books about living single, going through widowhood, etc. etc. to be SO depressing, and I wasn’t alone in that opinion. But… it wasn’t something that people talked about in public, either. to this day, I feel like cringing inside whenever I see her book “Passion and Purity” mentioned.


    With the exception of one book, A Chance to Die, I have never been good with EE. I used to (try to) listen to Gateway to Joy and found it depressing beyond belief. One time she said a mother should not put one of those pain killing sprays on a child’s scraped knee, that the child should have to be in pain from it. That is not an exact quote, but that was the teaching. I was horrified, to be honest. I don’t know how withholding available mercy is Godly.

    Another time, and this was the last time I listened to her, she was talking about singleness and marriage, speaking to singles, and said sometimes God gives us desires (such as being married) for the express purpose of denying those desires to better produce Christlikeness in us. So God causes us to want something He never intends to give so we will become more like Jesus from not having the desire met. She used the Israelites and the manna incident as her proof. Because, the way she put it, the people said they wanted meat so God gave them manna instead to expressly deny them the meat they wanted. As I understand it, though, the meat issue came after the manna was given, not the manna was God’s answer to a desire for meat He gave but had no intention of filling. The quail thing was God’s response to the meat thing, and that was because they were complaining 6 ways to Sunday about not having any, like they did with everything else. It wasn’t a desire He gave them in the first place let alone one He gave for the express purpose of denying it. But this she used for singles and their desire for marriage. Thankfully I was married at the time myself, but before I was married I found being single horribly painful and to have been led to think God did that to me just so He could deny me ever being married would have been just too much. Given my experience I was very upset on behalf of any singles who might have heard that and thought it was of God. I don’t know how that teaching is not God giving a snake when one asks for an egg. Only more so because the original desire for an egg was given by God specifically so He could respond by giving a snake instead, and by so doing conform you into Christ’s image.

  75. Anonymous – the examples you cite from Elliot are … wow.

    To withhold medicine from a child in pain is really sick, imo. And her interpretation of longings/desires seems equally twisted.

  76. I’m sorry I don’t have much to say on the particular topic about what Kassian knew about the ‘Desperate Housewives’ book and when she knew it (or if).

    Regarding this quote (endorsement of the book):

    The biblical paradigm for womanhood is marked by… 

    One problem is that the gender complementarians’ main “biblical paradigm” usually assumes marriage with kids.

    I’m sorry to harp on this (this won’t be my last time, either, I’m sure, and I apologize if I am annoying anyone with it, but it’s a sensitive spot for me):

    I’m in my early 40s, a Christian woman, and I’ve never married. In the world of Christian gender complementarians, such a creature is not supposed to exist, for all women (and most men) get married by age 25 and have two kids by the time they are 30 years old.

    The majority of sermons I hear contain these types of comments, or come with titles such as, (and remember, I’m in my 40s, Christian female, never married, with no kids):

    “How to raise godly children,”
    “How to be a supportive wife,”
    “Remember, the greatest role you will ever aspire to, ladies, what God put you on earth for, is to support your husband and be a loving mother,”
    “Ladies, you will never have a more rewarding ‘career’ than to raise godly children,” and,
    “When you are young and living with your parents, your father is your “covering” and protector, but when you marry, your husband becomes your “covering” and protector.”

    (Yes, I’ve actually heard such comments / titles in sermons in person and on television.)

    Even the title of the book under discussion: “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God” – screams tunnel vision and ostracism.

    After all, why are there no books from these people with titles such as, “Never- Married Christian Women Over 40 Years Old With No Kids Who Are Desperate For God?”

    I guess Jesus Christ died to save only the married women and the parents.

    Unmarried people (and those singles who’ve never had children) need not apply – and we have no use, role, purpose, great life purpose, or ‘covering’ or protector in this life, according to these types of Christians.

  77. Daisy – I think you’ll find that you’re not the only commenter who has gone through all of that.

    My “solution,” such as it is, was/is not having any further contact with evangelical churches and/or other churches that are so insistent on so-called “traditional” gender roles.

    It’s helped me feel a LOT better, even though in the early days it was tough. (I got booted from a church, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.)

  78. Carolyn McCulley Needs to Comment on What Went Wrong With Her Female Submission Product Line at SGM and CLC

    Hey Dee and Deb:

    I did kind of remember that McCulley left CLC for the Arlington church plant several years ago. However, the fact that she’s sticking with the Arlington church, now that it’s not an SGM franchise, makes a strong implicit statement about her priorities and current relationship with SGM.

    McCulley seems to have extricated herself from SGM so masterfully that I don’t know when she decided to cut ties with the organization or if the process was sudden or gradual.

    Any number of things could have happened yet I think that McCulley is simply an outstanding business person who realized that being associated with the SGM brand was no longer in her best interest. Instead of acting with integrity and drawing attention to the non-godly male behavior she saw/helped create at SGM and CLC, she jumped ship quietly by dropping those clients (I’m pretty sure she won’t officially interact with CLC as long as it’s part of SGM).

    Not truly caring about abused women in her community is her call.

    The problem is that she still presumes to advocate for women’s issues in general and the efficacy of complementarianism specifically, despite the branding/credibility problems that the complementarianism products are having at SGM and CLC, her biggest clients to date.

    Carolyn McCulley has some explaining to do if she wants to be considered a person of integrity instead of a ruthless business person ala Mahaney and Mohler.

    Does she care to comment on what led to the many allegations, backed up by a serious lawsuit, indicating that many women were physically and sexually abused regularly at her former church and para-church organization, or is her stated belief in the complementarianism schtick really just a business thing which is why she’s not talking about what really went on behind he scenes at SGM or CLC?

    I think the answer to that question is pretty clear yet I hope someone does call attention to McCulley’s decision to throw abused women under the bus so she can keep selling her female submission schtick.

    That’s not a nice thing to do and should affect people’s decisions regarding doing business with her. 🙂

  79. If you get the chance read Os Guinness’ “Dust of Death”. Truly Inspirational. Bit disappointed to see that he has cut his hair and looks respectable now.
    From one hippy to another.

  80. I thought most theologians wanted to build a case for a historical thread on their views, not deny it and pretend they innovated it themselves. It has to be an old teaching passed down from Bible times, even if just by a small remnant of the faithful. Whatever we do, whatever we teach, we stand on the shoulders of others. You would think Kassian would be proud to acknowledge that today’s generation of mothers received their wisdom from a chain of Titus 2 mentors. Isn’t that the Biblical way? Did Kassian make up her shtick out of thin air? BTW, I saw a copy of Biblical Womanhood in the Home, edited by DeMoss with essays by others like Kassian, on clearance the other day. I bought it, if only to revisit what I once held as gospel truth. I want to see with new eyes what is good, bad and ugly about it.

  81. Gavin – I never made it through all of Dust of Death, and am really not sure how accurate it is, after all these years.

    He has some good points, but I think overall, he was too negative.

  82. Daisy,

    Dee and I have discussed writing some posts directed at those who are single. There are a number of single people, male and female, who comment here.

  83. notamohlerfan,

    Did you know that Carolyn McCulley spoke at the Resolved Conference last summer?

    It was the first (and last) time a woman will ever speak at this conference since it met its demise.

    Of course, her audience was all female…

  84. Numo, I haven’t been to a church in awhile. The small one I went to a couple of years ago was into assuming all women over 30 are married with kids.

    Most churches are like that, however (the ones that are otherwise sound on other matters, such as the deity of Christ).

    Churches that are more liberal towards women (allowing females to lead, teach, etc.) are horrible about other doctrine, though, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable attending them.

    I no longer have a car so getting around is a problem too.

    I stopped going to the small church due to other reasons, one of which is I had confided in a member there, an older lady, about some personal problems I was undergoing, one of which is that my mother had died a year and a half before, and this one woman at the church – she started out trying to be supportive, but the longer I went there, she felt more at ease judging me.

    Instead of giving me support and empathy at a time she knew was tough for me, she would either offer flippant platitudes (which hurt and made me feel as though she had no idea how much pain I was in), or she’d get critical. She bit my head off one day in Sunday School class, over a trivial thing. That was the last straw for me. I stopped going.

    I’ve been watching Christian TV for several years now, but even on 99% of those shows, the preachers and hosts assume every women over 30 is married with kids, and about 90% of them believe that a woman’s only role/ value is in getting married and having a kid.

  85. Eagle,

    So are you going to write a guest post for us on your faith journey and your baptism? We would love it! 

    I hope you know that many here have prayed for you (including my mom who reads our posts and all the comments faithfully – Hi Mom!!!)

  86. Daisy – I think you might need to take a closer look at some of the churches you say are “horrible about doctrine.” You might well find that your conclusion is a bit premature.

    But then, my trajectory since leaving Evangelical/Charismatic-Land has been toward more “liberal” views on a number of things.

    If you keep trying to find decent treatment of women (etc.) in the same kinds of evangelical churches that you’ve come from, I’m afraid you’ll be looking in vain. (Have been through my own version of that re. trying to find a non-abusive church.)

    Also, I’m not certain how doctrinally aberrant a lot of mainlines *really* are, though Lord knows, they get tarred and feathered by segments of the evangelical/fundy community for not being in lockstep with them.

  87. Anonymous, thank you for that on EE. very revealing, and a dreadful use of scripture. I’ve always felt like I was the only Christian in the world that didn’t like them. I think it was her severity that repelled me.There is something very cold and inhuman and joyless about her theology — very bad medicine for abuse survivors.

    Confession time: I read Marabel Morgan as a young wife. Even at my most heavily comp I thought it was ridiculous — and SO manipulative!

    Did anyone ever come across a course called the Philosophy of Christian Womanhood? No idea who the authors were, but I know it came from the states. Very dangerous stuff!

  88. Deb on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 07:30 PM

    That would be nice. We singles over 30 are ignored – at other times, we are subjected to insult and put down by other Christians.

    I don’t think married Christians realize how very bad it is. I’ve had a few (married Christians) flat-out deny that singles are mistreated or marginalized.

    Just as there are some strange views in extreme Christian groups regarding gender roles, father-daughter relations (e.g., ‘Quiverfull’) there’s some equally strange, disturbing stuff out there by very conservative Christian groups about singleness and marriage, how to date, how to get married, and insulting or strange theories by them as to why there’s a huge number of Christians today over 35 who never married.

    To me, the Christian singleness issues dove-tails the ones about gender complementarianism you blog about.

    I know that one main topic of concern here is physical/ sexual/ spiritual abuse of church members, but I picked up an undercurrent of concern for Christians who have been hurt by other Christians in other ways, even if not specifically in the areas of sexual/ physical abuse.

    After my mother died a few years ago (she was a very loving Christian woman, and I was so lost without her), and I tried reaching out to other Christians for support and encouragement, I was shocked to see just how bad it is – how judgmental or rude other Christians can be towards Christians who come to them hurting and vulnerable.

    I didn’t have a spouse I could turn to at that time (or even now, I’m still single). I was alone.

    A few years before my Mom died (when I was in my mid 30s) and I tried going to a different church or two in that area (I have since moved), I was appalled to see how marriage-and-child- centric the church was.

    I used to attend church every Sunday from the age of about four to ten. I remember feeling welcomed at those ages.

    But come back to a conservative church when you are 35 years old (or older), never married, don’t have kids, and you feel like an outsider and unwelcomed, because everyone else is married with kids, 95% of the sermons are about marriage/ parenting, 95% of the church activities are for or about married people/ parenting.

    There’s a lot of negative and offensive stereotypes, and views about Christian singles over 35 years old among conservative married Christians.

    There are some Christians, including some at Focus on the Family’s “Boundless” blog, who say (or who will not clearly condemn the view) that prolonged singleness is a sin; that the Bible commands that all Christians marry (and marry young) -unless you have some kind of physical impairment where you could not perform sexually for a spouse. (Author Debbie Maken is one of the more vocal proponents of those views – it’s called “Marriage Mandate”.)

    Then you have the other side of this debate in American Christianity which shockingly tells Christians (such as me) that if I want to get married (and I do), I’m still sinning because I’m making marriage into an idol; I should be content in singleness; singleness is a gift, and I should remember Jesus is sufficient to meet all my needs.

    So to this other group of Christians, a Christian who wants or seeks marriage is sinning.

    For more information, facts, and anecdotes about the discrimination singles face in the Baptist and evangelical church today, you might want to read “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin, and a book called “Singled Out” by Christine Colon and Bonnie Field.

    One of my only misgivings about the Colon and Field book (‘Singled Out’) is that they sort of lay a guilt trip on Christians over 40 who still want to get married, which is not right. (I don’t see where the Bible puts a time cap on getting married or in a person wanting marriage.)

    IMO, the authors came rather close in their book in suggesting that a Christian investing any time in spouse hunting, or praying for one, is not focusing on Jesus enough – we’re being immature or selfish for still wanting a spouse, and that is a view I don’t care for at all.

    But the first several chapters of their book do a good job of giving you an idea just how rotten the church treats singles over 30/35.

    Their book also does a good job explaining and exposing the flaws in the abstinence message evangelicals give to teen agers, and how it also, in the long run, damages Christian marriages and the relations between married people and singles in the church, and how it impacts the divorced and Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction.

    The bias and mistreatment against singles past 30 – 35 years old in the American church is amazing, and it makes me cringe when I hear preachers go on about how important it is to win the teens and twenty somethings to Christ and to serve them and equip them. It’s like any single past 30 and their needs and struggles don’t matter to them.

    Thank you for allowing me to post, by the way. I had a heck of a time (technical problems) posting a few weeks ago.

  89. Numo,

    Daisy – I think you might need to take a closer look at some of the churches you say are “horrible about doctrine.

    I mean specifically ones who deny that Christ literally died and was raised from the dead and that sort of thing.

    Some of them do that, or flirt with it, beliefs such as Christ merely swooned on the cross, or He was not literally raised from the dead, only that his apostles resurrected his teachings (so he lives on in theory), etc. I wouldn’t feel comfortable at a church like that.

    I’m not alone on this point. I was reading a book about why people quit church, and a lot of Christian women are like I am: not comfortable with the liberal theology of some churches, but feel unwanted by conservative ones (who get most all doctrine correct but gender roles, so women aren’t permitted to play a real role, and single women with no kids are not wanted).

    I’m actually kind of doing okay on my own, by reading Christian blogs and such.

    It would be nice to have fellowship and companionship with nice Christian people (face to face or by phone), but since my mother died, I’ve found that most Christians are not genuinely interested in sitting down on a Saturday over a cup of coffee and letting someone share their struggles for a couple of hours – without giving judgment, advice or condemnation, or hurrying them along.

    I’ve sort of had to learn how to get by on my own. I think I’d rather learn to handle loneliness than sit around with Christians who judge and criticize or who give platitudes, but I’ve always been an introvert so maybe it’s easier for me than some people.

  90. Daisy, the two denominations I linked to above, LCMC and NALC, left the ELCA because of its liberalism, but they both allow for female clergy.

  91. Where on earth do they get this ‘marriage mandate’ from when both Jesus and Paul specifically commended singleness?

    Although we married young ourselves, some of our closest friends have always been singles (oh dear, did that sound like ‘I have friends who are gay’?) both male and female. I’ve always believed that an important part of Christian hospitality is inviting singles to join some of the things we do as a family, after all, somewhere in Psalms it says “he puts the lonely in families”. And now my daughter is almost 28 and very single, I’m seeing it from the other side of the fence as well. Her feeling is that some evangelicals don’t think you’re a real adult until you marry, no matter what sort of responsible life you might be living.

    I also totally agree that most churches have NO IDEA how to help the hurting. as an abuse survivor myself, I have some horrible stories I could tell. I have also seen the bereaved get told they should be over it by now. An incredibly high number of people in churches are personally threatened by other people’s pain

  92. Hey Deb:

    I didn’t know that an all-male conference found a way to accommodate Carolyn McCulley but I’m not surprised as she likely brings in lots of revenue. She’s a genuinely talented and engaging writer/speaker that people really want to see, whereas most of the guys at these conferences are hacks people feel obligated to listen to b/c their franchise-church/pastors told them to.

    She’s currently working on a project with John Piper, through her film company City Gate, and I suspect she’ll gradually let go of the complementarianism business as it seems to have run its course and has little credibility left.

    Hey Daisy:

    Carolyn McCulley specializes in promoting Biblical complementarianism for single women as she’s a never-married 40-something. She has a book entitled “Did I Guess Marriage Goodbye” and she’s written lots of articles in that vein for Boundless.

    I’m not a fan of her ethical standards or what she preaches about gender roles, yet acknowledge she probably produces good material for people committed to the idea of complementariaism.

  93. Daisy – there are a *lot* of churches out there that don’t believe anything like what you’re saying re. the divinity of christ, his death and resurrection, etc.

    I can only encourage you to do some more looking around… and keep in mind that there are always going to be a lot of married people, no matter where you go, but also that most normal churches aren’t in the business of making older single people feel ashamed or like something must be wrong with them.

    I know that my mom found a lot of support after my dad died, from widows in her church as well as other women around her age who were/are widows.

    And… I’m so sorry for what you went through after your mother’s death. You mentioned not having a spouse to comfort you in such circumstances, and I’ve been there, too, but the thing is – a spouse isn’t the same thing as a good spouse. The right kind of person would be there for you (or whoever they’re married to), while there are all too many people who might be emotionally distant, etc.

    People who rush into marriage – whether it’s because of cultural pressures, disapproval from family re. their singleness, whatever – are courting disaster. If the goal is simply to get married, boy… watch out!

    Better to be unmarried and OK than in a loveless marriage, or [fill in the blanks].

  94. Nicholas – by “(because of liberalism),” do you mean acceptance of gay people?

    If so, I might suggest that you say that upfront, because “liberalism” is an awfully big term, and you’re tying it to a very specific set of beliefs.

    Just my opinion, though, to take or leave. And as I’ve said, there’s a very broad spectrum within the ELCA…


    Lynne, I agree that most “church people” don’t know how to help others who are in pain. It’s awfully hard to run into that, and I have.

  95. Thank you Nicolas, for the information.

    I’m still skipping around in the comment section here and have not seen all the posts yet, but I’ll check out your links whenever I get to that post. (I’m still working my way down the thread.)

    Headless Unicorn Guy said:

    …Driscoll’s Real Marriage?

    Is that the one where Driscoll says a husband can’t or should not live without sex for more than five days in a row, that living without sex for more than ten minutes is a human impossibility? *roll eyes*

    He said something like that somewhere, maybe in a sermon or blog if not in that horrid book. For my take on that view by Driscoll, please see my post here on this blog.

    Headless Unicorn Guy on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM said:

    First, the title. When “bored housewives” are the target audience of Twilight, 50 Shades (almost typoed “50 shags” for that one — paging Austin Powers…), and other “porn for women” best-sellers.

    I finished reading Gone With The Wind this past week.

    I’ve not read the ‘Twilight’ books but have seen two of the Twilight films on cable. I was not impressed and found them to be rather silly.

    Give me Rhett Butler over a sparkly vampire any day.

    I also wrote about the similarities between the attitudes towards women among Christian gender complementarians in 2012 being frighteningly like those of the 1936 Gone With The Wind novel, which was set in 1860-1865, on this blog. I wrote about that here and here.

  96. Numo, yes I’m aware that being in a relationship is not a guarantee of happiness and support.

    I was engaged in my early 30s. The guy was wrong for me.

    My ex cared only about himself and took little interest in me or my dreams, goals, or needs. I was better off single than with him.

    About rushing into marriage though – I’m between age 40 and 45. I’m tired of waiting. Your point about rushing may be pretty wise for a 20 year old, but I’m older, no time to spare, and have more wisdom than a 20 year old.

    About my mother’s death and reaction from Christians.

    I’ve found that Christians, even ones who go to whatever kind of church weekly – some are Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist (a few of my extended Christian family even volunteer at Christian- based charities to help the old/ poor/ homeless), ones that are single/ married/ divorced, have been of no help.

    Bottom line is that Christians of all stripes, marital status, and denominations, are either dis-interested in providing comfort and encouragement (too lazy, feel ill at ease about it), or some go the other route and are rude/ judgemental/ critical.

  97. I have seen a few posts for me above, which I will try to answer later, but I have to get off my computer for the next couple of hours to do some other things. I’ll try to get back on to leave some more replies 🙂

  98. Re. rushing into marriage – in one of your previous posts, you were talking about books (etc.) where that’s overtly encouraged, and that’s what I was addressing.

    sorry if I wasn’t as clear as I might have been – I definitely wasn’t referring to you. (fwiw, I’m in my mid-50s and have never been married.)

    As for people being disinterested, I think the church is a microcosm of society, and we find all kinds of people there, just as in the world that’s beyond the church doors. (am sure you know that; just making a discussion point. :))

  99. … I’ve found that most Christians are not genuinely interested in sitting down on a Saturday over a cup of coffee and letting someone share their struggles for a couple of hours – without giving judgment, advice or condemnation, or hurrying them along.

    Daisy –

    I’m not single and I’ve had similar experiences. I think some Christians have convinced themselves that being in Christ magically renders the believer immune to difficulty, and that anyone who struggles whilst following Jesus is somehow “doing it wrong,” and OF COURSE it’s their job to inform and correct her. So much for weeping with those who mourn …

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your mom sounds like she was a wonderful lady. I’m fresh out of parents myself; my mother passed 14 years ago and my father passed earlier this year. It’s a difficult thing to go through. May the Lord give you great peace and comfort.

  100. numo, teaching that homosexual acts are not sinful is an example of theological liberalism.

    The mainline liberal denominations (and their predecessors) have for the past century tolerated leaders, clergy, and professors who denied cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith (virgin birth, subsitutionary atonement, miracles, deity of Christ, bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by Christ alone, and the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture.) This is common knowledge. Their current teaching on homosexuality is part of a decades-long process of abandoning Biblical authority and doctrine.

    I acknowledge that there are many theologically conservative congregations left in the mainline denominations.

  101. Maybe TWW should do a post on liberal theology vs. conservative theology and just what nuances cause the great divide. A good starting point would be to include only those theologies on both sides of the divide which hold to say the Apostle’s creed as axioms which are not on the table for debate.

    “liberal” is often bandied about as a pejorative, just as the term “fundy” is used to marginalize those who hold different views from liberal theology.

    I think that in this way, unproductive warfare between extremist camps can be avoided, such as what happened when Pinnock was branded heretic and apostate by Geisler even though he never denied the virgin birth and bodily resurrection. Interestingly enough, Pinnock was labeled a neo-fundamentalist by the Jesus Seminar for believing in the virgin birth and bodily resurrection.

  102. Is Stacey McDonald’s book title inspired by the title of the TV show Desperate Housewives?

  103. Eagle,
    I was surprised/fooled as well, until I saw the “snowballs in hell” context. I have a dozen LDS neighbors who’d be happy to baptize you, and you wouldn’t even need to be here! (It might help, though, if you were deceased.) Seriously, weren’t you baptized already when you believed? No need to become Anabaptist if you return to faith!

  104. Nicholas – Are you including sexual orientation in your view of gay people?

    Sexual orientation just is, like eye and hair color and height and what town or city you were born in.

    I’ve known gay people (both xtian and non-) who can put a lot of so-called xtians to shame per commitment to a partner, as well as in their seriousness re. religious beliefs.

    My personal feeling is that gay people have become the evangelical church’s scapegoat, not to mention the group of people that they feel they have a right to bully and push around.

    So *not* good…

  105. NotaMohlerFan,

    As I understand it, Carolyn McCulley only addressed the women who attended the Resolved conference. Heaven forbid that she would speak to men!!!

  106. Nicholas – I’m tempted to ask you for specifics of the history of the “mainline liberal denominations,” but I’ll pass… (Again, though, my point is that you seem to be making blanket statements about very diverse groups of people.)

  107. numo, homosexual acts are sinful, not orientation.

    The homosexual movement seem to be the bullies to me. That is why Christian photographers and caterers are being sued for refusing to cater to same-sex “weddings.” It is why Christian-owned bed and breakfasts are being sued for refusing to allow same-sex couples to share a bed. Pastor Chuck McIlhenny’s church and home were bombed by homosexual activists. Also, google “Hamilton Square Baptist Church Riot.”

    Christians are not bullying or pushing around homosexuals. It is the other way around.

  108. @ Nicholas:

    “Christians are not bullying or pushing around homosexuals. It is the other way around.”

    I see what you’re saying per the highly visible/public level, but I think it can happen both directions depending on what circles you run in. The Christian form usually looks more like disowning/shunning/”pray the gay away” than lawsuits and riots. I know many, many Christians who would not be able to cope with a celibate gay Christian.

  109. To not treat a celibate homosexual Christian as a brother or sister is hypocrisy on the part of those Christians indeed.

  110. @ Daisy:

    “Give me Rhett Butler over a sparkly vampire any day.”

    Rhett Butler could kick Edward into next week…because frankly, he doesn’t give a damn if he sparkles.

  111. Nicholas – so someone who’s not celibate is automatically… cast into outer darkness?

    “Funny” (as in, not humorous at all) that xtians seem to give so many on-celibate straight people a pass, but if someone is gay, no way. At all.

    No matter how kind or caring or committed they are.

    to me, that’s hypocritical.

    Also, what Hester said!

  112. Hester – But Rhett butler is (imo) a pretty despicable character.

    Don’t mind me; I’ve never seen why GWTW is so popular, and have always wanted to crawl away whenever poor Butterfly McQueen has a line or two. It makes me feel bad that black actors and actresses were given such horrible roles, and (for that matter) are still being cast as “the help.” (If “The Help” had been about the lives of black women, I’d find it much more tolerable … but the white narrator/”savior”-type character, well…)

  113. “Maybe TWW should do a post on liberal theology vs. conservative theology and just what nuances cause the great divide. A good starting point would be to include only those theologies on both sides of the divide which hold to say the Apostle’s creed as axioms which are not on the table for debate.”

    That is a great idea because the labels are not working anymore.

    ““liberal” is often bandied about as a pejorative, just as the term “fundy” is used to marginalize those who hold different views from liberal theology.”

    I also think politics and social policy get thrown into the mix to make it even more confusing. I have become much more Libertarian in my old age. I am not only sick of the government trying to be my nanny from every angle but the church trying to micromanage my salvation!

  114. I dug out my 1978 copy of “Hidden Art” to see what it looks like from 34 years on, and I don’t think it is as bad as a lot of books which have arrived on scene since then.

    From the back cover of “Hidden Art”: “Each person has, I believe, some talent which is unfulfilled in some hidden area of there being, which could be expressed and developed”.. “In this unusual book Edith Schaeffer presents a fascinating view of the ways in which every home and place of work can be made more attractive.”

    The chapters in Hidden Art include Music, Painting, Gardens and Gardening, Writing, Drama, Clothing, etc.

    It has been ages since I read, or dipped into, Hidden Art. But I really don’t think the spiritual manipulation of more recent books is present. The chapter on Clothing seems to say nothing of “pleasing you husband” or getting his approval for what you wear or how you cut your hair, as I have seen Martha Peace followers do.

    It just seems odd that Kassian never heard of the book.

    The book is available in the SBTS library, and is now checked out 🙂

    Hidden art
    Edith Schaeffer 1914-
    1973, c1971]

    Checked out from SBTS General Collections Bookstacks – Main Library (NX180.R4 S32 1973 )

  115. Oddly enough, I don’t have a problem with the idea of a wife dressing or hairing (I know that’s not a word, but it should be) to please her husband, provided that it works both ways, and that it springs from a genuine desire and not a dutiful – or fearful – obligation.

    Lesley checks her clothing purchases with me, not because she has to, but because she wants to. In the same way, I like my designer stubble (don’t know whether it shows on my avatar pic!); and it so happens that Lesley does as well. But if she didn’t, I’d shave; not because the bible orders me to, or because any half-baked concoction of over-interpreted, half-quoted verses could be made to suggest that it does, but because I love her.

    The basic problem I have with all of this patriarchal complementarianism is twofold. One: it slams the box-lid shut on the Holy Spirit himself, restricting what he may and may not do in a person’s life. Whereas it is as obvious that God is gifting and anointing women to lead and teach today as it was to the early church that the Holy Spirit was falling on uncircumcised Gentiles. The early church kept their theology in line with God. Fundagelicals today keep their God in line with theology. And two: far too much time is spent lecturing women on what men are entitled to expect or demand from them, and not enough in teaching men how to earn it.

    If complementarianism is practiced honestly, men and women are free to be different, not forced to be different. Moreover they are truly equal; in both notional “value” and functional liberty. How many calvinistas have described SAHD’s as “failed men”? And how many of those same calvinistas describe Hilary Clinton or Condoleeza Rice as “failed women”? A man who lives, in patriarchal eyes, “like a woman”, needs to repent and step up. Whereas a woman who lives and works in a “man’s role” needs to repent and step down. This underlines, to me, the vacuity of the phrase “equal in value” as typically used.

  116. Nick
    You must get your wife to talk to my wife!

    When I have my stubble, the family laugh and say I look like a tramp. When I shave everything off, they laugh even louder and say I look like my mother_!!!

    Happy Saturday

  117. Nick- fantastic comment! I have often wondered why comps seem (how it works out in practice, not their rhetoric) to want the woman, in submitting, to somehow be less than she is, less intelligent, less astute, less able – rather than requiring that men who are to lead show themselves to be more, & therefore able to give intelligent,able women ‘guidance’….if they’re going to use a hierarchy why hasn’t it gone this way?
    The linguistic clues you’ve pointed to are very telling, because they show the underlying concepts ( often expressed in metaphor) around a topic…here the metaphor would be something along the lines of ‘height is superior/better’, a picture we use in many ways, not only to include ranking, or correct placement, as here, but other things we measure as in mood : on top of the world vs in the valley…especially as in Xtian thinking up = heavenward & down = hellbound so that concept adds in its influence as they speak this way.

  118. Gavin – could a goatee beard be the solution? Especially since Rio Ferdinand made them cool (albeit in a Man*****r U**t*d shirt).

    Dee – that’s brilliant! Does “comment of the day” come with a sticker or something? It’s just that my daughter got a “star writer” award at school the other week and I need to keep up.

    Beaks – “… comps seem… to want the woman, in submitting, to somehow be less than she is” – I think you’ve hit it smack on the head there.

  119. Surreal moment here. I’ve just read, on the BBC Sport interweb page, the phrase “England thrash New Zealand”; in the context, not of tiddlywinks or punt-jousting, but of Rugby Union.

    If today gets any weirder, Liverpool will actually hang on for a home win. I’m off to do some paint-stripping (manning up) and put the chicken in the oven (man-failure).

  120. Hiding McCulley’s Status as a Powerful Woman

    Thanks for the info, Deb. I can’t imagine McCulley being allowed to speak to men on her own at any of these conferences no matter how much money she brings in.

    These guys do have to keep up appearances by pretending that McCulley isn’t a powerful and affluent member of the Evangelical community even though she’s a single woman. 🙂

  121. Eagle,

    You beat me to posting that link about Pat Robertson lol. Facebook newsfeed is blowing up with angry reactions to it. I did read one comment that said, “this is easily the most rational thing he has ever said.” Ha!

  122. “far too much time is spent lecturing women on what men are entitled to expect or demand from them, and not enough in teaching men how to earn it.”

    Nick Bulbeck,


  123. “…and put the chicken in the oven (man-failure).”

    No man-failure in my book, Nick. Chefs of the masculine persuasion are welcome in my kitchen…which reminds me of an aside. Back to the pastry chef necessity at Pecan Manor. I am curious if the chef was/is?/ever had been male? Anyone know? Would a male pastry chef be allowed at Pecan Manor? What if the Pattersons really really really liked the pastry creations of a certain male chef over all the female chefs they interviewed? Would that be an acceptabel use of a man…being in the kitchen, after all? Would love to know if they employed a male pastry chef.

    How wonderful for your wife to have a husband who can and will cook. I was shocked one afternoon several years ago to come home and find my husband in the kitchen…blanching and freezing sweet corn that he had just picked from our neighbor’s farm. Shocked, because I had never done it before and I was wondering what in the world he was doing. My law enforcement, black belt in martial arts, deer hunting, gun collecting (all qualities which, I am sure, a certain machoman pastor in Seattle would deem admirable) husband found out how to do it on his own. He made 30 bags of corn to freeze and I didn’t help. What a man!!

  124. Well, it’s taken me a while to read through all these comments, but it was worth it!

    Daisy, I sympathise strongly – as I’ve said before, I noticed how my status changed when I went from being married to being a divorcee, even though I wasn’t the one who walked out. Happily not all Christians, or Christian leaders, are like that.

    I do remember though Tim LaHaye in one of his books saying he thought that it “our humanistic age” that made people put off marriage till later, which even at the time (over 20 years ago) baffled me. Since then I’ve come to agree that marriage does require a certain level of maturity and commitment, and if you’ve got other plans, issues or dreams, then you may be kinder to yourself and the prospective partner if you wait. I think like most things in the Christian life it’s a question of balance and bringing it to God. There’s nothing wrong with praying for a partner or keeping an active look-out for one. I think it does become a problem when it becomes an idol in one’s life, but then so does eating when it becomes gluttony.

    I agree with the statements made that “liberal”, like the words “Calvinist”, “fundamentalist” or even “evangelical” could do with a bit of clarification! Just as there are different shades of Calvinism, so I think there are different shades of liberalism. There’s a world of difference between, say, the old-style Anglican liberals and the radical “death of God” people of the late 60s, although I have to be honest here and say I would probably still be in disagreement with both.

    I do remember reading one of Elisabeth Elliott’s books on manhood as a young man and finding it a bit daunting. Other than that I can’t comment.

    Ooh, the whole Abri/Schaeffer thing has come up again…. it was known that Francis Schaeffer had a fierce temper even before he died, I think, and his other children were open about it. Obviously I wouldn’t condone any abuse of his family, but I haven’t read any of the detail and as someone else has said, different accounts to vary. I do think it is a shame that he is now being remembered as part of the Religious Right, whereas he was in the 50s and 60s a genuinely countercultural man. But then Frank Schaeffer seems to imply that he himself pushed his father into the arms of the Right in the 70s, only for them both to regret it later on.

    I’m a bit surprised that Oz Guinness is addressing the SGM conference, although I think Guinness was always probably Calvinist in his outlook. I know he has had his spats with Frank Schaeffer but I have largely respected his work (I thought I was the only person who had read “Dust of Death”!). “Fat Bodies, Thin Minds” is definitely worth reading, and quite slim. I hope Guinness is not going to be “sucked up into the machine” so to speak.

  125. Daisy – I understand where you are coming from with the difficulty in finding a church that balances equality with sound teaching. I would love to find a church that not only allows women to preach and hold leadership but also that does not teach complementarianism. (So sick of that made up word, btw. They picked a strange one to label their views) We are looking at trying a church tomorrow. (Yay! Haven’t been since September. I am only going for the husband and children, though. I have no desire to ever set foot in a church again) It is a methodist church. However, their ladies “Bible” study was one that promoted submission. So not interested in that.

    Anyways, just to let you know, Daisy, that you are not alone.

  126. PS forgot to mention that I also read “Hidden Art” in the 80s. It was an interesting book but it never struck me as being a tool to keep women at home as mothers and housewives. Does anyone know why the title was later amended to “The Hidden Art of Homemaking”?

  127. Kolya –

    My guess is that someone wanted to make sure that the “art” stayed in the womanly realm and didn’t entice any men from their manly roles.

  128. @Dana
    I’ve been reading Team Pyro as well. I doubt that they realize how Pharisaical they look! They certainly like to limit God to their view. How narrow!

  129. Dana: I just saw your link above at TeamPyro. I may have to post a comment such as:

    Gentlemen: What about women bloggers? Are women allowed to blog and are men allowed to read them?

    Maybe it would be better to somehow include the word “biblical” or “gospel” – -oh, maybe “winsome” would be better – it sounds more feminine, doesn’t it?


    Oh and guess what I saw on the sidebar, Deb and Dee? Phil Johnson is BAAAAAAAACK! He said publicly in June he would be leaving social networking, but he’s now tweeting again. He just tweeted a Spurgeon quote.

  130. Julie Anne: I expect that winsome gospel women are allowed to blog about gospel cakes & gospel cleaning tips & gospel make-up & good old gospel stuff like that. Of course men would be allowed to read this! Silly woman, who else will check it for gossip & error? Certainly those homelovin’ gals won’t spot it, being the spiritaul midgets they are.

  131. « Salvaging PiecesWherever it may be, there’s no place like it! »
    A Tribute to Edith Schaeffer . . . and to a Good Friend!
    February 26, 2010 by Margaret L. Been

    The saying that books are friends is so eternally true, that it cannot be labeled “an old saw”! More times than I can count, books have come through where people have goofed.

    As a new Christian, 39 years ago, I was catapulted into a foreign-to-me culture. Although I now held the deeper answers to life in Scripture, some questions concerning lifestyle surfaced. Suddenly I was supposed to be a “church lady”. But I was shocked and horrified by the church ladies who tried to entice me into their midst.

    I discovered that, in this fellowship, church ladies met frequently for “prayer meetings”. The prayer meetings consisted of a perfunctory opening prayer, lots of cake, and an overload of social conversation mainly focussed on those who were not present. We were supposed to pray for the absent ladies. To “help” us pray, personal details of their lives were spilled out for all to hear. The actual prayer following this chatter consumed—at the most—5 minutes. Also characteristic of church lady meetings were jokes and criticisms targeted toward husbands.

    After a couple of these church lady gatherings, I realized I simply could not stomach any more! I have always detested gossip, and I believe that husbands deserve our loyalty. (If there would be a husband problem, a church woman’s group—or any kind of a group for that matter—would not the place to share!)

    When I came to faith, I already had many long-standing friends—some of whom I’d grown up with. Although most of the women I knew did not publically profess faith in Christ—and they certainly did not run around with Bibles in hand—they were gracious, kind, and considerate. Gossip was anathema. My friends were home-loving women, steeped in arts and crafts, committed to creating beauty, and dedicated to gracious family living.

    Hence, the gossipy church ladies were an enigma to me—especially because I had thought that, with Scripture in their hands, they would be extra sensitive kindred spirits. Not so! I was soon thought to be “odd” because I didn’t want to socialize with the women, and doubly “odd” because I was so very contented at home—knitting, making bread, reading, etc!

    I had expressed my passion for the natural world (after all, it was God’s witness in creation that finally led me to Him at age 37) and that passion made me appear to be a kind of pagan. Coupled with my interest in old-fashioned home crafts, my penchant for nature branded me: I was an old Hippie in the church ladies’ eyes!

    You can imagine my dilemma. I wanted to be friendly to those who shared my new faith, but I was constantly aware of their thinly veiled disapproval of my lifestyle. Was there actually something wrong with me, for hating gossip (even when it was called a prayer request) and wanting to stay home or hike in the woods?

    God saw my confusiuon and loneliness, and came through by putting the perfect book in my hands: THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING*, by Edith Schaeffer. I had already found answers for intellectual questions from books by Edith’s husband, Francis Schaeffer. Now here was a book by Francis Schaeffer’s wife—a treasure advocating the lovely, creative aspects of being a “keeper at home”.

    The chapters in this book deal with ways to incorporate every area of arts and crafts into family living. HIDDEN ART is a joyous book, and it affirmed that my chosen vocation of homemaker was pleasing to God. Old Hippie or whatever, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The church ladies had it all wrong!

    I’m eternally grateful to Edith Schaeffer for HIDDEN ART, and the other faith and family based books she wrote. According to web sources, Edith is still alive with some of her family in Switzerland. I hope that somehow this blog entry will reach her or other family members!

    The ongoing ministry of L’Abri, started by Francis and Edith Schaeffer in the 1950s, has produced (and will continue to bear) fruit which will astonish us when we get to Heaven and learn the facts! And the fruit of this godly couple’s books may be like the stars in the sky and the sands in the sea!

    *THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING is still available, but now it’s called HIDDEN ART. Sometime in the 1980s the word “homemaking” was dropped, during a time when homemaking was becoming less popular (how very tragic!).

  132. I followed the wee pyro link. The opening gambit (“Scripture is clear.”) was not promising, because it nearly always precedes a very juvenile piece of theology. I got about as far as the bit where the writer referred to a female preacher as “shaking her fist in Christ’s face”, and didn’t bother reading any further; I just don’t find this kind of thing upbuilding. Disagree with me, hate God.

    I believe I’ve mentioned that I used to be like that when I first became a christian at 18, but that was 26 years ago and I grew up. At least one of the pyro authors is easily old enough to know better.

  133. “I got about as far as the bit where the writer referred to a female preacher as “shaking her fist in Christ’s face”, and didn’t bother reading any further; I just don’t find this kind of thing upbuilding. Disagree with me, hate God.”

    Unfortunately, I read past that. I’ve been sick to my stomach ever since. I don’t see much love in the post or comments… lots of resounding gongs and clanging cymbals, though.

  134. “Unfortunately, I read past that. I’ve been sick to my stomach ever since. I don’t see much love in the post or comments… lots of resounding gongs and clanging cymbals, though.”

    I read some of the comments. There’s a whole lot of “soul searching” about whether or not women should even be allowed in seminaries. It has occurred to me that God must have a hard time getting through to these people. They only look for His voice where they *think* it will be. That so limits God to human standards.

  135. Nicolas,

    I don’t expect you to befriend any “homosexuals,” but they do prefer the term “gay.” just FYI.

  136. I’ve just posted a comment over at teampyro. I’m either getting braver or more foolish but I was lying awake formulating the following:

    ‘Christ came to set the captives free, he gave sight to the blind and speech to the voiceless.He treated women with dignity and conversed with them as equals, much to the shock and horror of his disciples. At His Resurrection, He charged Mary Magdalene to announce to the men that He is Risen and He poured out His Spirit on men and women alike, even His mother, at Pentecost.

    The interpretation that women may not teach men or in any way tell them what to do, especially in the body of Christ, leads to arrogance which, last time I checked, is not found among the fruit of the Spirit nor the Beatitudes.

    Who can dictate through whom God will speak? Did Moses expect a burning bush? Or Balaam that his donkey would talk? And a carpenter? From Nazareth?!

    The dissonance between this spirit of arrogance and the example of my Lord, plus the many women I see God using around me, led me to re-evaluate the translations and interpretations of the passages in the epistles relating to women. I have become convinced that the traditional interpretation, as held by many on this site, is not what Paul or Peter intended and actually diminishes the Body of Christ, both the men and the women. Instead of a crown of beauty, it gives us ashes, mourning instead of joy, despair instead of praise.’

    Let’s see what happens! Constructive comments from my friends here at TWW welcome.

  137. Estelle – I read your comment. For those who didn’t see the post, the subject matter is on female writers. They are discussing whether it is ok for women to go to seminary, whether guys should listen to women teach or speak or read what they write. Just when I got the nerve to post a comment, I noticed they closed the comments. Ugh. I was going to ask them what they thought about men reading blogs that were written by women. On my blog, I discuss specific scripture references to illustrate how my former pastor twisted it to enforce his spiritually abusive practices. In essence, am I “teaching” men? Or am I showing my audience how I came to the conclusion that my pastor was spiritually abusive?

  138. Estelle,
    Did you see the commenter’s reply at Pyro?
    “So just to be clear – obeying the direct command of God is arrogant, but defying it is Spirit-filled Beatitudinal humility. Got it.”
    So that commenter, at least, really believes “that women may not teach men or in any way tell them what to do, especially in the body of Christ”.
    I presume he, and many others there and on Burke’s blog, from what I’ve seen, would also answer that “Just because God uses someone doesn’t make it right. Joseph’s brothers selling him, meant for good by God, etc. They’re less likely to directly with the Direct Command of God to the women at the tomb, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” or the Direct Command of God to two of those brothers who didn’t believe them, thinking it an idle tale, “Oh foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
    Then there are the indirect commands of God given in I Timothy 2:1-8 which tend to be ignored by many men, such as “pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” or defied and dissembled

  139. …dissembled (if I can use it like that) and denied like ” This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” and “who gave Himself as a ransom for all…” oh well– Estelle– you’re braver than I am. I think it’ll be a long time before I read Pyro again.

  140. I haven’t been to the Pyro blog in a long time. After reading so many good blogs and discussions elsewhere in recent years, it is painfully obvious how shallow the discussion is there. Even the discussions at Denny Burk’s blog have much more meat and substance.

    I have “The Hidden Art of Homemaking” on my shelf, but haven’t looked at it in ages. I pulled it off the shelf and skimmed through it after seeing this discussion. The subtitle is “Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life” and I think that does sum it up. It isn’t a treatise on being a “biblical woman” per say. It is actually a book about taking the time to bring beauty into different aspects of our lives because God is the Creator of beauty and beauty is to be enjoyed.

    Frankly, I think there is a lot of wisdom in what she’s saying. But then I’m an INFJ and aesthetics and beauty are super important to me. My husband is the same way. So maybe that’s why I can read a book like that and it nourishes my soul. Someone else who isn’t inclined in that direction might read it through the lens of “you’re a failure as a woman and homemaker” but that doesn’t mean that is really what it is saying.

  141. I haven’t been to the Pyro blog in a long time. After reading so many good blogs and discussions elsewhere in recent years, it is painfully obvious how shallow the discussion is there. Even the discussions at Denny Burk’s blog have much more meat and substance.

    I have “The Hidden Art of Homemaking” on my shelf, but haven’t looked at it in ages. I pulled it off the shelf and skimmed through it after seeing this discussion. The subtitle is “Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life” and I think that does sum it up. It isn’t a treatise on being a “biblical woman” per say. It is actually a book about taking the time to bring beauty into different aspects of our lives because God is the Creator of beauty and beauty is to be enjoyed.

    Frankly, I think there is a lot of wisdom in what she’s saying. But then I’m an INFJ and aesthetics and beauty are super important to me. My husband is the same way. So maybe that’s why I can read a book like that and it nourishes my soul. Someone else who isn’t inclined in that direction might read it through the lens of “you’re a failure as a woman and homemaker” but that doesn’t mean that is really what it is saying.

  142. Eish, so they closed comments, did they? While I’ve been mulling over a reply so that it doesn’t look like they scared me away.
    I wanted to point out that if there’s a disconnect between what one reads in scripture at face value and what one knows to be true and fair, then check to see that you’ve got it correct from the source. People like Katherine Bushnell have done a lot of research into the progression of translation and how the meaning of a text changes over time. I started off with the traditional / complementarian viewpoint as the default ‘right’ view but I have definitely changed from there as a result of studying these things for myself and from seeing women playing an active role and preaching and leading faithfully and effectively in my own church experiences.
    I don’t think they really read my comment, I chose my wording very carefully and was critiquing their interpretation which I have come to reject, not the scripture itself. I think they just knee-jerked a response.
    Thanks, Julie Anne and Dave. I appreciate your support.

  143. Since I last looked, Phillips summed the discussion up by saying, “Otherwise, Estelle, read the article and Scripture and the other posts in this blog.”
    Obviously, clearly, and unambiguously, Estelle could not possibly have read the article and Scripture and the other posts in that blog—otherwise…………..
    Then Phillips was *forced* to close comments, to avoid the need to delete any more by A Amos Love (see My Comment Was Deleted).

  144. Yes, Dave, because not only can women speak and have listen to them, but we also can’t read. I noticed a woman making a sentence at the end of her comment that she was going back to the kitchen.

    Is it my imagination or are the main treated differently than the women in the comments?

  145. Well, since I was the one who brought the whole subject up….

    I thought it interesting that early on in the comments on the Pyro blog, someone said that no one with an opposing viewpoint would come and bother them in their weird little intramural debate and they seemed quite pleased about that. I don’t really believe that they think that their viewpoint is prevailing amongst most American Christians, so I guess they are learning to be happy at how irrelevant they are to the rest of the world. Maybe that proves their holiness.. *shrug*

  146. Fendrel –

    Oh, ouch. I’m in a walking boot right now myself. Do what you can to keep your leg in one piece.

  147. Thanks,

    I’m fine, didn’t even really hurt…just sort of fun watching my leg bend backwards in slow motion. 🙂

  148. Also, read the Team Pyro blog and about half the comments (mulling over whether to continue). Some of the commenters are – how to put this in a polite way? – arrogant pricks. That Tom Chantry guy in particular. All his verbosity boils down to one of two options, as far as I can see. He either thinks women are naturally stupid and so we shouldn’t be taught anything, or he wants to keep us stupid so we shouldn’t be taught anything. Either way, the entirety of his arguments can be summed up with ‘but I want to keep it so that men ‘know’ more about God than women because men are manly and male and women have cooties and their cooties will destroy Christian learning’.

    Maybe I should stop reading those comments now, they’re making me a bit ranty.

  149. Yeah, Tom Chantry doesn’t want women in seminaries, and Scott Shaffer won’t read commentaries written by women. These guys have really missed the mark.

  150. Against my better judgement I kept reading and came to this in one comment from Jeremiah Greenwell:

    “That being said, I do not believe it is ideal for women to be in the workplace by biblical reasoning, for their own protection, and to protect the men they’re forced to work with.”

    I really don’t even know where to start with that one, the level of crazy is above the stratosphere.

  151. Pam –

    Tom Chantry actually helps with the blog. I can’t stand that blog. Many people seem impressed with those guys . . . which is a bit scary.

  152. Yeah, the number of ‘Oh thankyou Tom, your explanation was the best thing ever!’ comments made me suspect he’s part of the blog and not just a commenter.

  153. Take heart Fendrel, you’re still probably fitter than I am! At least when it comes to intercepting tennis balls!

  154. Eagle,

    I included “sounds like” ’cause I suspected a hint of sarcasm. But then I read it in the blog banner and thought they had an inside scoop. Correct me if I’m wrong, but have been baptized before, no?

  155. Miguel

    That assumption on my part will go down in history as a prominent Dee fail. I even emailed Chaplain Mike. I need to be as careful with something like that as I am with the post on this blog. But, the spirit of Christmas, read i am a bit tired, prevailed. Lesson learned.

  156. Julie Anne

    I can’t be the worst sinner. CJ Mahaney is so insistent on this matter that I have decided to let him have the title. So, comes the next question. Why would they want him to be the head of SGM? I am offering them my services since I am at least better than the worst sinner in the world.  From now on,I shall call him CJ Mahaney former Head Aposlte and self styled worst sinner that he knows. 

  157. Dee, He had to maintain that title in order to get people to read his book, Humility. And you can forget about them accepting your generous offer. You have the wrong private parts. (I’m sure your husband would disagree with that statement.)

  158. Yeah, the number of ‘Oh thankyou Tom, your explanation was the best thing ever!’ comments made me suspect he’s part of the blog and not just a commenter. — Pam

    Sounds like sock puppets or drooling-fanboy yes-men to me.

    Or Twitards: “Oh, Tom! You’re My Edward Cullen! Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle SQUEEEEE!”

  159. Sounds like sock puppets or drooling-fanboy yes-men to me.

    Or Twitards: “Oh, Tom! You’re My Edward Cullen! Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle SQUEEEEE!”

    I read both the Pyro links above. There was a lot of this kind of sucking up over there and not just to Tom. The sucking up to Johnson was really something to behold.

  160. Again, animal behavior. Parasites and Scavengers always suck up to the Apex Predators. The Apex Predator might drop some scraps for the Scavengers to fight over in their own dominance fight.

    Remember Tabaqui the Jackal and Shere Khan in The Jungle Book?

    Or those two hyena sidekicks of the main lion villain in Kimba the White Lion and its big-budget knockoff The Lion King?

  161. Oh yes, the original Jungle Book!…. just started rereading it recently after a very dear Christian lady let me go through her book collection after she died. Quite different to the film – Kaa’s less the goofy and sly snake and very much more a dangerous predator, even if Kipling does promote the canard that snakes can hypnotise people. Love it!