Friday, February 10, 2012

passionate, joyful homemaking: the pleasure/duty paradox

"when christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." 

-dietrich bonhoeffer, german theologian and martyr under the nazi regime (pictured above)

"our pleasure and our duty,
though opposite before, 
since we have seen his beauty,
are bound to part no more"
-john newton, former slave trader turned christian pastor (pictured above)

in this exploration of a mother's responsibility through the lens of christian spirituality, many have said something to the effect of "what if a mother really wants a career?"

this is a valid argument.  if you are looking through the lens of secular humanism (which is, in its own way, a type of spirituality).

by contrast, in christianity, there is an interesting paradox when it comes to desire.  sometimes, we must deny our surface desires to tap into a deeper, more satisfying desire, namely the desire to know Christ, see his beauty and serve him.

as bonhoeffer says, when christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die to these worldly, surface level desires.  why does he do this?  is God a kill joy?  more specifically, is God a cruel sexist for giving women the responsibility of keeping the home?

when you come from the perspective of believing that God created the world, created men and women, and specifically that he created each intricate part of you and i, it is not a great leap to think that he created us with a best purpose.  and from his Word, the Bible, it is clear that the best practice for a woman is to be homeward focused.  to step outside of this is dangerous, as it goes against how he created us.

but lest you think of this as enslaving, know with joy that "our pleasure and our duty/though opposite before/since we have seen his beauty/are bound to part no more".  when we walk in the way that He created us, it will bring true joy and fulfillment to ourselves and our families.  furthermore, if we are doing something, anything, just because it is duty, there is some disconnect between that duty and God, because anything done for Him should ultimately be a delight.

if you still have trouble believing this, you may need to take a step of faith in order to see and understand why he has given women the direction to be homeward-focused.  a precedent for this has been set.  when the israelites were putting their desires before God's purposes and withholding their tithes from Him, God said:
"bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. and thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need." malachi 3:10 

his mercy is amazing: he does not squash them for their disobedience, but instead woos his people and even promises to bless them when they finally do obey.

if you are walking in opposition to the biblical directions of being homeward focused, take a step of faith.  it could be that God will "open the windows of heaven and pour down a blessing [for you] until there is no more need".

go on to part five...

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