Sunday, November 26, 2006

they can train the younger women...

When you share your thoughts and opinions, you run the danger of insulting and offending others. That's not my intention, but I must share an observation my wife had tonight.

The Bible says in Titus 2:3-5, "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

Over the years, we've seen a lot of churches trying to do just this. And we have seen Christian women who are convicted about sharing in this manner, or learning in this manner. And that's great. We heartily encourage this (just as we heartily encourage the commands given to the men in Titus 2).

But now comes my wife's observation. In the Christian home schooling movement she has seen more of this happening, and seen this happening in a more consistent way, than she has ever seen happening in churches. The older women are encouraging the younger women "to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands". Although Karen and I would disagree with some of the ideas homeschooling folks have presented, they are really working hard to make this happen. Each night Karen is able to surf web sites filled with advice and encouragement to follow this pattern of life described in Titus 2. They talk about loving their husbands in a self-sacrificing way. They are concerned about Biblical submission (which is much different than what the world believes it is, and much different than what most churches are preaching). Children really are seen as a blessing. Family life is encouraged. And nobody thinks you weird if you have more than the national average of 1.3 children per couple. Homemaking is seen as something honorable and joyful, while the world (and all too often the church) is telling women to get out into the workforce so they can be self-fulfilled.

These Christian homeschooling mothers get together to encourage each other during the week, and phone each other, and use blogs and forums to communicate. They are training each other to be better wives, mothers and homemakers. This is something really positive she has seen among homeschoolers. And even if there are people who have a negative view on homeschooling, it must be acknowledged that this is a strength. We’d encourage local churches to look at what the homeschooling moms are doing, and to fulfill the mandate given in Titus 2. This mandate includes trying to live Titus 2, having a dramatically different attitude towards children than the world around us, and sacrificing ourselves for each other. In this regard, many churches are not living up to their mandate. And just as nature abhors a vacuum, if this is not being done in the local churches, the women who are convicted about this will seek support elsewhere.

I could continue on about the ways in which some local churches discourage homeschoolers and seek to drive them away. And in fact I could continue on about the way in which many homeschoolers have not given the local church its proper place of importance in their lives. But my wife raised an excellent point, and frankly one which local churches need to address.

Disclaimer: I'll avoid making the disclaimer in the text since it waters down the focus of my posting. But it is important to make this disclaimer. I have never claimed homeschooling is a panacea. There are lots of homeschoolers whom you would not want to pattern your life after. Yes I know some women honestly need to be in the paid workforce to make ends meet. Some couples cannot have children, or can only have one child. There may be reasons why a couple chooses to not home school their children. And yes there are churches and individuals who are deeply burdened about Titus 2. If you fall into one of these categories, God bless you as you seek to serve Him, live for Him and raise your family for him! The purpose of this posting is not to tear you down, but to build many people up.


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