Keepers at Home

Fundamentalists no longer literally keep their women barefoot and pregnant  (or at least not barefoot) but they do tend to want to keep them at home. After all, “keepers at home” is what Paul said, right? Of course, he also gave rules for how a man should treat his slaves, so there may be a wee bit of a cultural gap there. But cultural context is for liberals and feminists, amen?

After all, the Proverbs 31 woman is the perfect example of  a keeper at home. Yeah, she bought and sold goods but that was a…uh…home based business! And all that stuff about her traipsing around buying and selling real estate is…um…well, I’m sure it’s a lot more complicated in the original Hebrew and a fundamentalist pastor can set it all straight if given half a chance.

Turns out there are a lot of women doing all kinds of stuff in the Bible: Deborah, Lydia, Priscilla, Phoebe, Mary, Tryphaena, Typhosa and Persis to name a few. And other than being judges, businesswomen, deaconesses, and apostles, I’m sure none of them would ever have dreamed of putting on shoes and leaving the house.

35 thoughts on “Keepers at Home”

  1. Oh good call on Deborah, but as you know, there are “explanations” for these.

    For example, H.L. Wilmington’s guide to the Bible simply refuses to list Deborah as a Judge of Israel.

    pg 93 – The Judges Stage, Subpoint D: ” Fourth Judge: Barak (as helped by Deborah)”

    So his list of judges reads:

    Othniel
    Ehud
    Shamgar
    Barak
    Gideon
    Tola
    Jair
    Jephthah
    and on and on

    No women’s gettin’ credit fer sittin’ in authority over a MAN!

    To be fair, a bit further down the page he does say, “At this time Israel was judged by a woman whose name was Deborah”, however, his full listing on page 97 simply describes Deborah as being an “encourager” and gives the full status of Judge to Barak yet again.

    bollocks, i say.

  2. I’ve been told by a fundie pastor that the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19 was in “sin” because she did not respect the authority of her husband when she went to her father’s house. The sermon continued with an implication that HER actions caused her own death and the subsequent warring between the tribes of Israel.

  3. After extensively flipping through the KJV1611 and listening to a veritable plethora of preaching tapes, I can say without a shadow of a DOUBT that Deborah was probably a dear sweet little old judge, and that she was cute as a button, bless her heart. Would to could that I could find a little honey like her, amen?

  4. Sweet and cute? Sure–I, too, would like a woman who can send armies into the field, cow military commanders with her mere presence, and sing graphic songs celebrating the crushing of a man’s cranium with a tentspike. Well… actually I would.

    Stuff fundies like: condescension.

  5. I think abandoning your children to serve your own calling is what the scripture forbids, whether it be a male or female doing it. The women mentioned on your post, Darrell, have no kids. There is definitely a calling for women, who have kids to guide the home, giving no occasion for the enemy to speak reproachfully.

  6. Alan: “The women mentioned on your post, Darrell, have no kids.”

    Darrell: “the Proverbs 31 woman”

    Proverbs 31:15, 28 “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens…Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”

    Need I say more?

  7. Mmm…you’re walking on dangerous ground when you decide to dismiss the Bible based on current culture…

    You know, it’s funny, the first time I thought about the whole cultural interpretation thing was in high school when a particularly precise government teacher (who I appreciate WORLDS more now than I did then) advocated slavery as Biblical because there were tons of commands to both masters and slaves in the NT. Of course he wasn’t serious but it was a good way of making a point.

  8. I have been what you would refer to as a “keeper at home” for almost 18 years now. I couldn’t think of any career I would rather have then to stay home and care for my family. Being a “keeper at home” is the highest calling IMO. My husband doesn’t make me stay home, I want to stay home and care for him and our 4 kids. I hear time and time again wives and mothers say they wish they’d stayed home and not gone out to the work force. Why? Because their life is a rat race which leaves them very little time for their family. They’ve realized when it was too late that they’ve got their priorities all wrong.
    Our highest priority is our family not how much money we can bring home. If one views that as slavery or oppresive, then they have a wrong view of what being a wife/mother is.
    Now I will say that I have also seen many wives viewed as little more than a baby factory by their husbands. Their worth is their cooking skills, cleaning skills, and ability to run a home and care for children with little to no help from her dictator husband. That woman is truly oppressed, not because she cares for her home & children but because she is nothing more than a slave who has no worth as a individual.

  9. Full Disclosure: My wife is a homemaker too.

    It’s not being a stay-at-home mom that I have a problem with. It’s people using Scripture to try to prove that it’s the only thing a woman is good for.

    I think that the “highest calling” is whatever God has put in your heart to be and do. So if a woman is doctor, that’s her highest calling. If she’s the mother of 12, then that calling is no less high.

  10. “I think that the “highest calling” is whatever God has put in your heart to be and do. So if a woman is doctor, that’s her highest calling. If she’s the mother of 12, then that calling is no less high.”

    YES! This is absolutely the truth. Thanks, Darrell.

  11. I could use many scriptures to prove that keepers at home, though not completely clear what it looks like, is biblical….But…I have read some of the blogs of the people who comment on this blog lately, and have seen that type of readers on this blog like to watch PG 13 movies, which God has commanded not to do in His word. Then, I think to myself, what does any one who watch PG 13 movies care about what God has commanded? I really do not think that if we pulled out scriptures on any issue today, it would really be matter, because most “Christians” do what is right in their own eyes anyway. The god most Christians believe in is permissive of almost anything.

  12. “I think that the “highest calling” is whatever God has put in your heart to be and do. So if a woman is doctor, that’s her highest calling. If she’s the mother of 12, then that calling is no less high.”

    I have to scratch my head at this one… Are you saying that if the doctor is the mother of twelve, she should still continue to pursue her career? Or are you saying that the mother of 12 has just as high of a calling as the lady doctor?

  13. In response to the last poster:

    Remember, not all moms are able to take care of their own children. Some are single moms. Some are widows. So, we have to be careful not to generalize.

    Even if a mom *could* stay at home w/ her children, that does not mean she necessarily should. I know of homes that are so bad the mom would definitely be better off working so the poor kids could be in a stable, non-hurtful environment. Just saying. . .

  14. Of course there are definately exeptions. I know this. I have a close friend whose husband (and infant daughter) were killed in a car accident. She obviously has no choice but to work while her other two children are with others, but obviously it is not ideal to be a single mother. It happens, but its not what she had planned at all. She wants to be with her children.

    I am a mother of 4 children whose husband can support us.

    I think it would be wrong for me to choose to work and leave them with someone else. My business is raising my kids. In this season of life, that is where my vocation is. When they are grown.. it probably will not be. I may get a career.

    I do believe that the bible supports that.

    The Proverbs 31 woman would not have been capable of doing all of those things during 1 season of her life. Rather, I think that description fits throughout her life, but not all at the same time.

  15. What about the context?

    Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate…
    3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness
    4 That they may teach the young women…
    5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home
    6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded

    This is a passage on how EVERYONE needs to be godly.
    It has nothing at all to do with women working outside the home.

  16. context??? that sounds like the mad raving of a wishy-washy southern baptist to me, amen?

    (also, i had forgotten about how “, amen?” was used as punctuation in fundyspeak. i had a good laugh over that one, amen?)

  17. Actually I found the opposite in the IFBx college I went to. If you were anything “less” than a Christian School teacher, or serving on staff in some way, than you weren’t doing your best for God.

    The Pendulum swings both ways in my opinion. I was and another friend of mine were chastised for “throwing our education” away for being “merely” a wife and mom. And that the Lord had “more” for us.

    Also there is the fact that husband’s in the ministry aren’t paid enough to keep a family alive so the woman “has” to work…even if her desire is not to. She has no other choice but to “help” her dead beat husband.

    I have *ALWAYS* wanted to be a stay at home mom, and yes, I am led of the Lord to do that. I don’t believe all women are called to keepers of the home, but I do have strong beliefs that those who choose to bring a child into this world, should make every provision to have someone in the home with them during their toddler years…at the very least. My opinion is if you don’t want to stay at home don’t have kids. If you have kid’s and can’t go home, then the Lord will work with ya. 😉

    And there are actual secular studies done on the benefits of having a parent at home.

    God designed it that way, by nature. Breastfeeding is designed so you can’t leave your child during the work week. Sure there are breast pumps to help in that aspect, but eventually your milk will dry out and you will put the baby on formula.

    And I know MANY women that did this all in the name of “serving the Lord” underneath their dictator pastor.

    Now on the other hand there is the barefoot and keep her pregnant mentality that is going on in the quiver full movement. But that movement wasn’t started nor is it maintained by the IFB’s. There just happen to be individual IFB’s who believe this notion. But it wasn’t in *MY* experience. (I went to four IFB churches, and an IFBx Bible College)

    In my honest opinion it is maintained by other ministries that ironically are Calvinistic. 😉

    Now Bill Gothard…not sure what his theological position is. But if you’re a *true* IFB you don’t hang out with him. 😀 😉

    And I know this post was meant to be humorous, but there are other thoughts out there.

    Maybe in the 60’s days of fundamentalism they taught this, but it really is not like that any more.

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