Many women don’t like this phrase [keepers at home]. Even Christian mothers. And yet it’s in the Bible! Isn’t that amazing? However, I think it comes down to the fact that we either believe the Bible or we don’t. If we believe the Bible we must receive every word as the living, breathing Word of God. It is an eternal Word. It is as up-to-date as tomorrow’s newspaper!
Therefore, if you believe the Bible, would you like to come with me on a little word study? Let’s look into this phrase and see what it really means, shall we?
The phrase “keepers at home” in Titus 2:5 is translated from two different earlier manuscripts.
The first Greek word is oikourogo, coming from two words: “oikos” meaning “home” and “ergon” meaning “to work.” The word literally means HOME-WORKERS!
I am a great believer in working mothers. However, we must know the place where God wants us to work. It’s in the home. It says “home-workers,” not “career workers.”
The home is not a prison to lock us away from all the wonderful things we could do in this life. The home is where we CAN DO all the wonderful things that will bless our own lives, the lives of our family, and many others.
The home is a place of function and action. It’s a place of nurturing where we have the privilege of nurturing and teaching the children God gives to us. It is also a place of creativity where we can accomplish all the creative ideas God brings to our minds. It’s the most exciting place in the world. We make our own hours and are free to create. We are not bound to an employer (submitted to another man rather than our husband).
That’s why we are workers in the home. We are not lazing around, but working. As we work, ideas come to us to do things in a better way. God gives us anointed ways to teach and minister to our children. Solutions come to us to solve problems in our family life. Inspiration comes to our hearts about hospitality and how we can reach out to the lonely, hurting, and those who need encouragement.
Maybe you’ve been longing for this day. Or maybe it’s a surprise! Maybe it wasn’t the news you wanted to hear! Whatever the reason, I want to remind you that it is a MIRACLE FROM GOD. God is the author of this life. He destined this child. He has plans and purposes for this precious one. Let’s contemplate on the MIRACLE.
God chose you to be the MOTHER of His child. God is INTERESTED in every minute detail of your baby, from creating every part of his/her body in the womb to His plans for his/her life in the future
If, as Nancy Campbell believes, the Bible is a Christian-God-inspired and inerrant text, and everything found within its pages is true, what can we can conclude about God and his supposed interest in every minute detail of the lives of infants? What conclusions can we come to about God’s love for children? Is God who Campbell says he is? Is God really pro-life? Is he really L-O-V-E?
I agree with Campbell in one respect: women becoming pregnant is quite an event. One might wonder, though, if the God who created this process failed human engineering class. Surely, there are better ways to bring new little humans into the world. God impregnated Mary without Joseph’s sperm and the messy act of sexual intercourse. Why couldn’t God do that for all women? And while he’s at it, why can’t God make sure every fertilized egg implants in the endometrium. Campbell and other Evangelicals rail against abortion, yet God’s inability — he is the First Cause, he who opens and closes the womb, right? — to ensure implantation make him the number one abortionist in the universe. It seems, based on the evidence, that God is one shitty miracle worker.
Campbell says that God has a destiny and a plan for every child — what that plan and destiny is, Campbell does not say. So, we must let the Bible and history tell us God’s wonderful, awesome plan for every miracle child. Can anyone reasonably conclude that God means good for children, that he loves them, and as he does for the sparrow, cares for their every need? In Genesis 6-9, we find the story of Noah and the flood. By Noah’s day, millions of humans lived on planet earth. All of them were the descendants of Adam and Eve and their children’s incestuous relationships. These descendants began having sexual relationships with fallen angels, producing what the Bible calls giants. God became so incensed over this (Why didn’t God kill off the angels instead of killing everyone?) that he decided to kill everyone save Noah, his wife, sons, and their wives. (No children?) Out of the millions of living people, God chose to save only eight. Left to drown were millions of dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, hamsters, guinea pigs, and lots of children and pregnant mothers. If God is pro-life and deeply interested in the welfare of babies, why did he drown countless babies and fetuses in the flood?
How about the story of Moses and the Israelites in Egypt? Let my people go, Moses said to Pharaoh. Using ten plagues to make his point, God:
Caused the waters of Egypt into blood
Caused frogs to inundate Egypt, including their cooking ovens and beds
Caused a plague of lice
Caused flies to swarm the land of Egypt
Caused the cattle to become diseased
Caused the Egyptians to be infected with boils
Caused large hail to fall on Egypt, killing countless people
Caused a swarm of locusts to destroy Egypt’s crops
Caused three days of darkness to fall on Egypt
and — drum roll please — number 10: God killed the first-born child of every Egyptian family (and any Israelites who didn’t put blood above the doorposts of their home).
Who killed these babies and children? God did. The very same God that Campbell says is pro-life and the very same God who has a destiny planned for every baby. I guess being murdered in your home is a “destiny” of sorts, but I suspect Campbell is using the word “destiny” in a positive sense. Wanting to pump pregnant women full of Jesus, Campbell wants these women to know that the awesome God of the universe has a wonderful, super-duper plan for their fetuses.
Everywhere you look in the Old Testament, you see God smiting and killing people for their sins. Some of those who got on God’s bad side were non-combatants and innocent civilians. Did God give them a pass, punishing instead those who actually pissed him off? Nope. On multiple occasions, God commanded men, women, children, and fetuses be killed, regardless of their culpability. Can it really be said that God is interested in the minute details of the lives of babies — or anyone else for that matter?
Well that’s the Old Testament, Bruce. Fine, let’s talk about the slaughter of all the children under the age of two by Herod at the time of Jesus’ birth. Herod did it, not God, Campbell might say. What a minute. I thought God has a divine plan for every baby? Was his plan for these children to be born to loving parents only to have them hacked to death a year or two later?
And what can I say about the book of Revelation, one of the most anti-human, anti-children, anti-babies books in the Bible. Campbell, a Bible literalist, believes that Jesus will one day judge and destroy the human race — except for those who are Christians, of course. Revelation is the script for God’s upcoming horror show. Will pregnant women or children get a pass and escape God’s violent, bloody temper tantrum? Not according to the Bible. Again, how can an honest reader of the Bible conclude that God is the least bit interested in babies and children?
Consider modern history for a moment. Think of all the wars, genocides, famines, and plagues. If the Christian God holds the world in the palm of his hand, and nothing happens apart from his purpose and plan, what conclusion must we come to about God’s actions throughout human history? Does the evidence at hand suggest that God is loving and kind, and, as Campbell implies, has an awesome plan for EVERY baby? I wonder what Nancy Campbell would say to this mother and child:
Pray tell, exactly what is God’s wonderful plan for this woman and her child? This child had only known suffering and pain. Where is Campbell’s wonderful, action-figure God?
I urge mothers to steer clear of the Nancy Campbells of the world. They are snake-oil salesmen, selling a God that does not exist. There is no God who has a plan for your children. There is no God who has a wonderful destiny for your children. Your children’s futures depend on you and your fellow humans. It’s up to us. We are the only gods who can love and care for children. Surely, this is good news, yes? Imagine how it would be for mothers and their children if Campbell’s God is real? Imagine how awful it would be if the “kind, loving” God of the Bible acted today as he did in the Bible and throughout past human history. Thanks be to the gods, he is not real. We, collectively, hold the future of our progeny in our hands. It is up to us to build a world where love, kindness, and peace provide a foundation for children to grow and mature. The God-sellers have had their day, Time for us to, as John Lennon so wonderfully wrote:
Imagine there’s no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today… Aha-ah…
Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too Imagine all the people Living life in peace… You…
You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world… You…
You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will live as one
It’s hard to believe what is happening [liberals, communists, socialists, atheists, secularists, and humanists taking over America] in our nation, isn’t it? It’s difficult to comprehend the corruption in someone [Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump] who wants to lead our [Christian] country! There was a time [when exactly?] when America was the least corrupt nation in the world. Now it is rife at the top [especially since Obama took office]! But we thank [the Evangelical] God for answering prayer. We have been praying earnestly and consistently [look at us, so faithful in serving Jesus] for [the Evangelical] God to expose all deception, corruption, and the hidden agendas in our government. God is answering prayer and exposing it [exposing meaning Benghazi and Hillary’s emails].
We must keep praying. Praying begins with families, not the church. Are you praying earnestly [for Donald Trump to be elected] as a family each day for these coming elections which are just about upon us? This country is at tipping point [tipping point being Christianity losing its preferential seat at the cultural and political table]. These elections will determine the course of this nation and ultimately the world.
We must pray and we most vote against evil—against corruption [Hillary Clinton], against the murdering of babies in the womb right up until the day they are born (which is Hilary’s [sic] agenda) [which is a bold-faced lie Nancy Campbell keeps repeating over, and over, and over again] , against euthanasia, against the appointment of liberal Supreme Court judges (which Hilary [sic] plans to do) and it goes on and on [as does Nancy Campbell’s whining].
If you are not currently praying, can you begin today? [not today, my favorite TV show is on] Gather your family together at your evening meal tonight and PRAY TOGETHER, Everyone around the table. Don’t just pray. CALL out to God to save our nation [from Hillary Clinton]. You may have to rearrange your whole schedule. We can’t even consider that sacrifice when we consider that our nation hangs in the balances.
Can you imagine what could happen if every God-fearing, Bible believing family began to gather their family together morning and evening and cry out to God for this nation. [ yes, absolutely nothing]
According to the Above Rubies website, Nancy Campbell is an “internationally known author, speaker, and authority on Biblical Motherhood and Family.” Campbell preaches the old-time Fundamentalist gospel of patriarchy — a world in which women marry, obey their husbands, bear lots of children, and keep the home. Recently, in a post titled A Higher Vision, Campbell detailed her vision for her children and grandchildren. Here’s what Campbell had to say:
I want children who love God above all else. I want children who are growing into the likeness of Christ. I want children who love righteousness and abhor evil. I want children who have a biblical mindset and stand for God’s truth. I want children who will not compromise godly standards. I want children who will not be tainted by the spirit of this world. I want children who will not give in to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, but who will pursue the will of God. I want children who love God’s Word and love to pray. I want children who will blaze across this world with the gospel and message of truth.
As you can see, Campbell’s vision for her progeny focuses on the Evangelical God and the Bible. Like many Evangelicals, her vision is singular and blinkered, making Campbell blind to the wonders of the world outside the narrow confines of the Christian box. All that matters to Campbell is that her children and grandchildren turn out to be good little Christians who follow the approved way of life.
I too have children and grandchildren, and like Campbell I have a vision for them. However, my vision is far different from that of Campbell’s:
I want children who think for themselves. I want children who enjoy life. I want children who treat others with respect. I want children who love their families. I want children who value hard work and enjoy the fruits of their labors. I want children who aren’t afraid to stand against bigotry and racism. I want children who will live every moment to its fullest, realizing that life is short. I want children who value fun, pleasure, and relaxation. I want children who will travel far and wide, enjoying the wonders of earth. And most of all, I want children who are happy.
Campbell’s vision is one of exclusion, whereas my vision is one of inclusion. Campbell’s vision focuses on right beliefs and obedience, whereas my vision focuses on embracing and enjoying life. Campbell’s vision sees the goal as a room in God’s celestial kingdom, where my vision sees the goal as a life well lived. Campbell envisions life as that of Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Trudge on dear Pilgrim, remembering that Heaven awaits you IF you make it to the end. What a sad way to live life, squandering the too-short time we have on earth.
I have more of a Dixie Chicks way of looking at life. In 1998, the Chicks released the single Wide Open Places. I think the song aptly describes how those of us who are rooted in there here and now view life:
Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out To find a dream and a life of their own A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone
Many precede and many will follow A young girl’s dream no longer hollow It takes the shape of a place out west But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed
[Chorus] She needs wide open spaces Room to make her big mistakes She needs new faces She knows the high stakes
She traveled this road as a child Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired But now she won’t be coming back with the rest If these are life’s lessons, she’ll take this test
[Repeat Chorus] She knows the high stakes
As her folks drive away, her dad yells, “Check the oil!” Mom stares out the window and says, “I’m leaving my girl” She said, “It didn’t seem like that long ago” When she stood there and let her own folks know
[Repeat Chorus] She knows the highest stakes She knows the highest stakes She knows the highest stakes She knows the highest stakes
Wide open spaces, that’s what I hope my children and grandchildren find as the meander their ways through this life. Who knows what might lie ahead. Campbell wants to keep her children and grandchildren safe within the confines of the Evangelical box. (Please see The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You are in it and What I Found When I Left the Box) While there is great comfort and security that comes from knowing everyone is safely in the box, this is no way to live and enjoy life. That’s what Evangelicalism does. It confines people for life in Bible Prison, safe from the evil, sinful world. Humanism, however, opens wide the gate and says, You are FREE! Enjoy life. Embrace all that it has to offer, knowing that we don’t know what tomorrow might bring. Life is like the steam rising from a radiator on a cold winter’s day. It quickly dissipates into the air and then it is gone (James 4:14). Solomon was surely right when he said:
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour …. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? …. Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. …. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Let me conclude this post with the advice I give on the ABOUTpage of this blog:
You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.
Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you best get to living it. Some day, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.
Snark ahead. If you are an easily offended Evangelical, please leave now before you feel a wedgie coming on.
Fundamentalist Nancy Campbell, blogger extraordinaire for the Above Rubies website, asks the question What Goes on in Your Home? Campbell wants to know if people “feel” the presence of God when they come into a Christian’s home:
Do the people who come into your home feel the presence of God? Are your neighbors and those around you aware that your home belongs to God?…
…How will folks know your home is truly God’s home? It will be a house of prayer. Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” Sadly, not much prayer happens in Christian homes today, but if our home is called by God’s name it will be filled with prayer. It will be filled with confessing the name of the Lord throughout the day. It will be filled with the riches of His Word. It will be filled with joy, singing, and God-inspired music. It will be filled with the inspiration of a mother who delights to be in her home, nurturing, feeding, and training her children to be God-seekers and God-lovers.
How are people on the earth going to know the name of the Lord? When they see our homes called by the name of the Lord. When they see that He lives in our homes. Everything comes back to the family and the home. We can get involved in all kinds of ministry, but if God doesn’t fill our homes, we miss the boat. It grieves my heart to see many people serving the Lord in different organizations and yet their families are in disarray…
Campbell thinks that a Christian’s home can give off some sort of God vibe, a feeling that resonates with the person entering the home. Evangelicals are taught that they have some sort spidey-sense that allows them to discern whether a person is a Christian. While their interpretation is out of context and does violence to the text, many Evangelicals think Romans 8:16 is a proof text for their Christian spidey-sense:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God
According to Evangelicals like Campbell, a Christian should be able to walk into a home and “sense” that they are in a bought by the blood, filled with the Holy Ghost, followers of J-E-S-U-S home. (please emphasize the word Jesus like Oral Roberts or Robert Tilton would) Here’s the problem with this kind of thinking; if the standard for a Christian home is that it exudes love, joy, peace, and kindness, well…I know of many homes that are like this and none of them are remotely Christian. I also know of uncounted Christian homes where the pretend game is on full display when other Christians are around, but as soon as their fellow Christians walk out the door the home reverts to some sort of Simpsons/Girls Gone Wild/Animal House/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest home. Anyone can fake it. I guarantee you that Polly and I could, come Sunday, put on our Sunday-go-to meeting clothes, dust off our KJV Bibles, and visit a nearby Evangelical church and everyone would think we are a wonderful Christian family; especially if we have Bethany the love magnet with us. Everyone would “sense” that we are super-duper Christians on fire for Jesus, especially once they hear Polly and I lustily sing harmonies on whatever song the band is playing. And their sense would be dead wrong.
The infallible marks of whether one is part of the Evangelical club is not some sort of seventh sense, can’t say sixth sense since six is the first number in the mark of Obama, 666. Evangelicals recognize one another by the clothes they wear, what bumper stickers are on the back of their car, what euphemisms a person uses in their speech, and how much Jesus Junk® is on display in a person’s car, home, and work place. Ask any former Evangelical, they can spot an Evangelical family or a homeschooling family from a mile away. Polly and I can be shopping at Meijer and we will see a family in the distance and both of us will say, homeschoolers. We will then laugh, remembering that we were, for many years, THAT family.
How do you know which car in the parking lot belongs to an Evangelical? It’s the car with a faded Ronald Reagan bumper sticker, Obama is the Anti Christ sticker, a partially removed George W Bush bumper sticker, a Ted Cruz 2016 sticker, an Abortion Stops a Beating Heart sticker, and a bumper sticker that advertises what church they attend. If you look closely, you will likely see a Bible in the back window, right where it landed when it was chucked there after church last Sunday. If you don’t see it in the back window, move closer to the car, acting like you are trying to steal it, and look down on the floor. You might see a Bible stuffed under the front seat, partially covered by a McDonald’s Big Mac wrapper.
Drive by their house and what will you see? Wind chimes with a small Christian cross as the chime ringer, a brightly colored gnome holding a sign that says Welcome! This is a Christian Home; a Jesus is Lord doormat, and out by the front of the house a sign that says Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, A Christian Lives Here, or Protect Religious Freedom, or some other sign recently purchased from one of the fear-mongering Evangelical parachurch groups.
Once inside their home, what will you see? Everywhere you look you’ll see Jesus kitsch, likely made by child labor in China or some third world country. From Bible verse signs and paintings by Christian alcoholic Thomas Kincade to clock chimes that play Sweet Hour of Prayer and potholders with Christian slogans, Jesus will be on display everywhere you look. In the bookcase you will notice deep intellectual books by Tim LaHaye, Kay Arthur, Joyce Meyer, and Beth Moore and dusty, well worn copies of The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose Driven Life. (What!! Harry Potter? Starting to wonder what kind of Christian home this is.) Even in the bathroom there will be no escaping Jesus. Try as you might to defecate in peace, Jesus and the trappings of 21st century Christianity will be staring you in the face. J-E-S-U-S is everywhere. (please say Jesus in the voice mentioned above)
Visit them at their office, what will you see? You will likely see a picture of their family sitting on the desk, but the picture will be housed in a frame that says. As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord. The calendar on the wall will bear the name of the church they attend or an Evangelical parachurch group they support. Perhaps there will be a Bible or the latest Christian get rich quick book sitting next to the family portrait. The screen saver on their computer will have a picture of Jesus or a Bible verse. Everywhere you look you will see visible proof that the person who works in this cubicle is on Team Jesus.
And here’s the thing, all the things I’ve mentioned in this post that are meant to say to other Evangelicals, Hey, we are on the same team, mean nothing. I suspect the home Josh Duggar grew up in had plenty of Jesus Junk®. I suspect the homes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, Eddie Long, Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, David Hyles, Paula White, David Loveless, and Tullian Tchividjian, to name of few of the Evangelical pastors who have run into sexual “sin”, gave the appearance that they were devoted, spirit filled followers of Jesus. Yet, in real life they were fornicators, adulterers, abusers, and child molesters.
All that the Jesus Junk® tells you is that family has enough disposable income to invest in the trappings of Evangelicalism. The clothing and the outward appearance of a person tells you nothing about the what kind of person they really are. Anyone can play the Evangelical game. Give me a few days and I can take a Muslim family and turn them into Bob and Marsha Evangelical. The Evangelical shtick is easy to reproduce, so much so that anyone can do it. I regularly correspond with closeted atheists who attend an Evangelical church every Sunday with their believing spouse. Everyone thinks the atheist is a Jesus-loving, praise and worship singing Baptist. I also correspond with several closeted atheist pastors. Everything about their life, including their demeanor, says to others, I am a follower of Jesus, Yet, if an Evangelical knew they were an atheist they would say the person is a follower of Satan.
Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t know what a person is made of. While we can never know all there is to know about a person, we can, over time, observe their life, and come to a conclusion about the kind of person they are. Here’s what Evangelicals need to understand. Non-Christians are not interested in or wowed by the consumer culture on display in your home, car, or workplace. They aren’t interested in what takes place on Sunday Morning at the church you call home. They are not interested in your Ken and Barbie pastor. What does interest them is the words you speak and your behavior, not only in public, but also when no one is looking. How do you treat your spouse, children, and grandchildren? How do you act towards minorities, the weak, the defenseless, and the marginalized? How do you treat those who are not your flavor of Christianity or vote differently than you do? How do you respond to those who have no interest in your God and have told you please don’t? What do your non-Christian coworkers say about you?
These days, when I see an Evangelical whose life is a walking billboard for the Christian Ghetto, I immediately doubt they are what they say they are. They are trying too hard to be viewed as a Christian. They are like the car dealer who tells you he is the most honest dealer in town or the husband who tells everyone around him how faithful he is to his wife. I don’t trust those who have to publicize their virtuous character. Just live it and everyone will notice.
…However, there is another fact that many young mothers don’t yet realize because they haven’t yet experienced it. And that is that it gets easier to have another child when you have older children. It’s not the mothers of six, seven, or more children who feel so overwhelmed.
What happens is your little children grow, and as you train them, they become such wonderful helpers. When a new baby comes into the home, instead of this little one adding a burden to the home, they bring more joy and blessing, not only to you, but the whole family. When you have children who are growing older, you have so many hands on deck to help–to hold the baby, to goo and gah at the baby and keep your baby smiling and laughing, to bring this and that to you while you are nursing, to help with the dishes and housework, to cook a meal, and to keep the home running smoothly. You are getting to the reward time of mothering…
Campbell reveals the dirty little secret of the Quiverfull movement, that having a large family requires older children to become surrogate mothers to younger siblings. Non-Quiverfull parents look at the Duggar family or the Bates family and ask, how does the mother properly care for all those children? She doesn’t. The real mothers are the older siblings who are tasked with everything from feeding their younger siblings and changing their diapers to educating their younger siblings and making sure they are dressed. While learning to care for younger children is not inherently bad, Quiverfull families often require older children to be full-time caregivers, robbing these children of the opportunity of enjoying childhood. Instead, their workload is viewed as preparing them for their future adult life as a Quiverfull family. From elementary age forward, these children are forced to take on roles meant for adults. Is it any surprise that some of them, as soon as they are old enough to do so, flee the Quiverfull cult?
Polly and I have six children, ages 36, 34, 31, 26, 24, and 22. We have two distinct families, the three older boys and the two younger girls and boy. There is a five-year space between the two groups, at the end of which we adopted the Quiverfull belief concerning children. Devout Calvinists who believed God was sovereign over the womb, we determined to have as many children as God gave us. In rapid succession, the ever-fertile Polly popped out new little Gerencsers every 18-24 months. After the birth of our sixth child, the obstetrician told us that Polly should not have any more children. His words? She’s too pooped to pop. He warned that having another child could kill her.
When confronted with the reality of our theological beliefs, we decided to listen to the doctor and not have any more children. Polly had a tubal ligation and the Gerencser rabbit was killed. Did we betray our beliefs? Yes. Were we hypocritical? Yes. I had preached sermons that asked women who could no longer have children to pray that God would reverse their tubal ligation. I even implored them to come to the altar and cry out to God, asking him to open their womb so they could once again have the blessing of God on their life. I can only imagine the deep pain such sermons caused, a fact that haunts me to this day. Fortunately, God didn’t answer their prayers. Every closed womb stayed closed, all praise be to Jesus!
Our three oldest sons had to grow up in a hurry. While they have wonderful stories about childhood, about playing in the woods, riding bikes, and sword fights, they also have stories about being required to live in an adult world by the time they were ten. While they have accepted and come to terms with the why’s of their childhood, it doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t get to enjoy manying of the things non-Fundamentalist children get to enjoy. Not only were we part of the Quiverfull movement, we also home schooled and I was a pastor. All of our children, but especially our older children, were forced to live in an adult world much too soon. While it has made them mature and wise beyond their years and given them a strong work ethic, I can’t help but feel sorry for what they were deprived of growing up. No, they are not scarred for life, and all of them have grown up to be wonderful, productive adults, but nothing can change the fact that they missed out on a lot of normal childhood experiences because of their father’s job and their parent’s beliefs. I hope someday that several of them will put pen to paper or keyboard to screen and share how they view growing up in the home of Rev. Bruce and Polly Gerencser’s home.
If there is a silver lining for our family it is that Polly and I, along with our six children have escaped the cult and are now free to live our lives as we see fit. None of our children are Evangelical; most of them claim no religion, and those who do are live and let live Catholics. It’s refreshing to know that our ten grandchildren will not be raised under the curse of Evangelical Christianity and the various other beliefs that once enslaved our family. We’re pleased to watch our adult children allow their children to enjoy childhood, while at the same time teaching them the value of work and service to others. There’s nothing wrong with a teenager doing housework, cooking, or learning to change a diaper. After all, part of parenting is preparing children for adult life; and cleaning house, cooking dinner, and cleaning up a baby are all part of the “wonderful” adult experience. The difference now is that our adult children don’t expect their children to be stand-ins for them. Their is a balance that was not part of their life when Mom and Dad were lovers of Jesus, ardent home schoolers, and disciples of John Calvin.
If you are not familiar with the Quiverfull Movement, please read Vyckie Garrison’s article, What is Quiverfull?
The most common word for “children” in our society today is the word “kids.” Is this a word that God has chosen to call our children? We do not see it anywhere in the Bible in relation to children. In fact, if you check the 1928 Webster’s Dictionary you will not find this word for children. “Kids” is a modern word, which has been added in later years.
I have to confess that for a long time, I also used this word. I did not like the word and never felt that it was right, but I succumbed to the trend around me. How easily we do things just because everyone else is doing them, without thinking whether it is actually the best thing to do!
However, there came a time when I was challenged. I read an article about a sheep farmer in New Zealand. This farmer had diversified into raising goats, as well as sheep, and he noticed an interesting comparison. The ewes remained close to their lambs, watching them while they fed. He noticed, however, how the goats herded their young together in one spot on a knoll of a hill and left them while they went off to forage for the day. They did not provide the same individual attention which the sheep gave to their offspring.
My mind ticked over as I read this, but before I accepted it, I thought I should check out if it was really true. I asked my father who is an authority on sheep. He was the World Champion Sheep Shearer in his younger days and has shorn over a million sheep in his lifetime.
“Yes,” he said, “Sheep will never go further than earshot from the little lambs.”
I was very challenged. Has “kids” become the accepted word for children today, because we have become a generation of “goat mothers”? Instead of staying close to their lambs, thousands of mothers drop them off at nurseries and daycare, leaving their little “lambs” to fulfill their own careers. This is “goat mothering.” No wonder we call our children “kids”!..
…After realizing all this I decided that I did not want to be part of the goat company. I did not want to impose the goat character upon my children. Our children should be different from the children of the world. I therefore made an effort to stop using the word “‘kids.” And now I hate to hear other people using it.
Let’s start a revolution and eliminate the word “kids” from our society!
I’ve got a better idea. Let’s start a revolution and eliminate crazy fundamentalists ideas from our society! I just checked an old Webster Dictionary and it didn’t have words like computer, internet, website, or blog. Using Campbell’s dictionary logic, shouldn’t Christians refrain from using a computer, accessing the internet, building a website, or having a blog? Oh Bruce, that is stupid. Yep, it is, just like Campbell’s assertion that calling children kids is akin to saying they are goats.
In Part Two of her anti-kids-word article, Campbell lists a number of “Biblical” names parents could call their children:
It was in the 1960s and 1970s that a slang term began to be introduced in certain circles that were trying to be up-to-date and modern. I am talking about the introduction of the word ‘kids’ used to refer to children…
…The word is all-pervading – “Buy Big Kids or Little Kids shoes or boots.” The implication, of course, is that we are all kids – frolicking little goats that never grow up. Then there is the “Big Songs for Little Kids” – gospel music for little goats?
Even nice restaurants, museums and exhibitions have taken to using the term: “Kids’ meals available,” “Kids under 12 enter free.” Book titles justify the word for parents and offspring: we have Real Kids’ Readers, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Everything Kids’ Cookbook, and so on.
I realize that there will be critics who think I am overstating the ills of saying kids and not children. “There she goes again, making a mountain out of a molehill, nitpicking about what to call your kids as the world falls apart around us.”
Children, not kids, please… No, I am not just being finicky and pernickety. There are certain principles at stake in the matter.
Today we hear much about the importance of the dignity of man. At the same time, we adopt language, customs and dress that persistently reduce the dignity of men and women.
Need I recall the daily clothing of men and women – the unisex sweat suit, the tiresome blue jean and t-shirt, the perpetual tennis shoes – that diminish the dignity of men and erase differences in professions and social levels? Not to mention the immoral women’s fashions that give even teenage girls the appearance of women of the street, not children of God.
Our customs have likewise been transformed: Gone are the formal greetings, the polite address of Mr. Jones or Miss Greene, gentlemen opening doors for ladies, and so on. The list is interminable and gloomy for those – like my good Readers – who oppose the hippy Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and do all they can to oppose and fight it in the ambiences of their own homes.
But the Cultural Revolution does not just influence customs and clothing. The same leveling, vulgarizing trend has found its way into daily language, habituating a generation to accept common and egalitarian forms of speech. Men and women are addressed ambiguously as guys. Persons are said to crack up instead of laugh. They are no longer described as blushing, but turning red. Instead of distinguishing an event with an appropriate adjective, everything is cool – to the point that the word has no meaning. And children are, of course, just kids.
Young goats… Unfortunately, the term applies in many cases. Many children prance around, careen and react spontaneously to every stimulus or feeling like mountain goats, instead of well-disciplined boys and girls. Perhaps there is a lesson in the tendencies to be learned here: If you anticipate your children acting like young goats, call them kids. If you want your offspring to behave with decorum and Catholic manners, please call them children…
The damnable 1960s and 1970s, they are to blame for everything. We baby boomers sure have fucked up the world. Children are now routinely called kids. Surely this is a sure sign of the coming goat apocalypse, a time when children who were called kids turn into zombie-like goats and cause untold havoc and destruction. I beg parents to stop calling their children kids before it is too late!!