July 2, 2010...8:26 am

Motherhood: A Blog Fight, a Culture War, and Grace

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This week my brother, Jason Boyett, asked me to guest post on his blog, O Me of Little Faith, in response to surprising debate that displayed itself (in all its nastiness) this week on several progressive Christian blogs. The issue at hand? Whether it is “biblical” for a mom to work outside of the home. Seriously?

Here’s my response.


  • What up, Micha!!

    I appreciate what you wrote and the manner in which you offered it, which I found to be fair and kind and full of grace.

    My thoughts are veering away from the “issue” of whether or not it’s okay for a mother to work (because, frankly, mind y’alls beezwax). As much as I cackled and/or nodded along with every rebuttal Mr. Turner offered to the Rev. Dr. Piper’s statement, I have to ask, what’s the point?

    I’d like to be shocked that people are asking the question that Piper was answering, and in the way he’s answered it, but I’m not. In fact, I’m a little surprised that anyone else could be surprised. Based on every statement I’ve ever heard John Piper make, this is among the least surprising YouTube videos I’ve ever seen.

    In fact, given what he seems to believe about God, sex, the Bible, power, history, and culture, it might be crazy for Piper to answer any other way. And that’s where I’d identify the primary issue here, which I think is what people are getting at when they leave comments like, “Depends on what you mean by ‘Christian’ and ‘Feminist.’” John Piper does not speak for me, and I think it’s fair to say he doesn’t speak to me. Even though we both follow Jesus, our assumptions are just too far apart to really expect a great deal of common ground.

    With that in mind, I don’t have a problem with any of Piper’s statements, except where he uses the words “biblical” and “Christian” in some exclusive way that ignores the breadth of biblical interpretation and Christian expression, and even then, I know that he means those things as he understands them (although I doubt he’d ever add that qualification). It would be as fruitless for me to argue with John Piper (or his disciples, for that matter) on his idea of the so-called “biblical family” as it would to argue with Pope Benedict XVI regarding his position on contraception (which Benedict would also call “Christian” and “biblical”).

    So, I guess all I’m saying is that, for me, the only satisfying response I can have to just about anything Piper says is to take a deep breath, count to ten, and then either try to understand how he got to his conclusion, or else find something else to do.

    PS, I like your blog.

    • Lex Lex Lex:

      You won’t believe how happy it made me to see this comment Sunday morning. (I’m lame that it’s taken all week to respond.) Chris was still asleep but I yelled anyway: “Lex reads my blog!” He knows all about the good times you, John and I shared in that Lewis class…

      I hope you’re doing well and I am really looking forward to hearing your opinion more often around here.

  • Micha,
    This is such a GREAT response. I’m blogging about mothering next week and I’m pumped to include this discussion. I appreciate your take on this from a historical perspective, taking us out of the suburban mommy box and into reality: women have been working since the beginning of time.

    I wonder if the question is also “will you let someone else watch your kids for a significant amount of time? How much is too much? What if that time with others is quality, and your time is spent shooing them away while chores, work, other children call?” And I challenge anyone to give a “biblical” answer on that one. After working, staying at home, working from home, and everything in between for the last seven years, I’m convinced that, like so many things of the faith, there is just not one answer. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all stopped trying to conform everyone to our narrow understanding of what “Christian” looks like and focused on some of our own planks-in-the-eye. Great job.

    • Nicole,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I love your thoughts about how much quality time SAHMs actually spend with their kids and how much is spent shooing them away. You’re so right. I hope you’ll stick around the blog…I’d love to hear more of what you’re thinking about!

      Now I’m heading over to your blog to see if you posted anything about motherhood yet. :)

  • Thank you for the excellent post. Your points are valid and have given me a lot to think about, particularly by what ‘work’ and ‘home’ really mean in the context of today’s culture. I really appreciate it.

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