Will Work for-

Continuing in her introduction, Ms. McDermott moves into the discussion of work, talent, the mind, and our responsibility to society based upon our strengths.  I disagree with her.  I don’t owe society anything but adherence to the laws therein.   I am, however, responsible for my mental and physical employment whether financially rewarded or not.  He gave me my talents, strengths, and the duty to utilize them.  I owe Him the appreciation shown by my diligent work.


This introduction inimates that Mrs. Sayers was opposed to the idea of women remaining in the home if they didn’t choose to be there.  The objection is to the “placement” as though they are therefore only quailfied for basic and domestic tasks because of their womanhood.


Here I think they make a valid point but I reach a different answer.  Paul specifically gives married women the responsibility to “keep house” in Titus 2:3-5.  Specifically, the word used means “house despot.”  I think this refers to the specific running of the home.  I don’t believe the scripture means that the woman must do every specific task related to that job by herself, nor do I believe she must limit herself to the purely domestic.  Furthermore, tasks generally characterized as ‘feminine’ should be carefully scruitnzed by scripture before being defined as such.


For instance, the birthing and nursing of babies is a definite feminine accomplishment.  Why, however, do we consider sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting, and other needle arts to be so “effeminate?”  I think I remember reading about Scotch fishermen crocheting or knitting out on the moors or maybe it was fishermen.  Somehow I thought they invented the first cables.


Why is woodworking, auto mechanics, or hunting specifically masculine? 


I think it would be wise to classify things as masculine or feminine based only upon physical or emotional limitations.  And yet-


In our androgynous society, blurring gender distinctions is a serious problem.  God created us male and female.  This was intended to be distinct.  We’re physically created differently.  We need to be sure not to blur that. 


However, can we not allow the BIBLE to define what is masculine and feminine rather than present or past culture?  If scripture says that women are to have a meek and quiet spirit, I think that a truly feminine woman will be humble and at rest in Jesus in her spirit.  If we are to win our husbands without a word, perhaps true femininity doesn’t nag.  If we’re to be modest and not obsessed with the ‘putting on of gold and pearls and wearing of dresses’ then maybe true femininity is not a fashionista or a diva.


Notice that scripture seems to address the heart more than the specifics of action?  Rather than a list of actions that may or may not suit a given woman, God addressed her heart.  Rather than defining femininity as loving pink, ruffles, cooking, sewing, or crocheting doilies, God seems to say through His Word, “A godly feminine woman is gracious, kind, her words are pleasant, her spirit is untroubled by the world around her, and she’s not ostentatious in her garb…” 


I’ve met women in jeans, flannel shirts, and working on vehicles with gracious words and a calm spirit and I’ve seen women in floral dresses crocheting on a couch sipping tea and eating freshly baked cookies from their own ovens and shredding their brothers and sisters in Christ with their tongues.  Honestly, which is more feminine? 


This is the point Ms. McDermott (and ultimately Mrs. Sayers) is trying to make.  We’re trying to genderize (Cool word huh) actions rather than the people behind the action.  What is almost worse than this is the idea that what we do is who we are.  That’s the next point in the introduction though.


3 thoughts on “Will Work for-

  1. Really good points. I think that what you are saying IS what we should strive for but I think it is going to be tricky to “get there”. The societal standards of “boy” and “girl” activities have been there for quite some time. Our society seems to have dropped some of the domestic arts in general but other ones they’ve assigned to women ones that used to be more “neutral” (weaving, sewing–most tailors were men, cooking–again, MANY famous chefs are men….).

    Did you ever read Anne of Windy Poplars? In a hilarious, but telling scene, the last straw that brings Cyrus Taylor out of a sulk and back to talking is his wife saying, “And he can crochet so beautifully…he made the loveliest centerpiece for the parlor table last winter when he was laid up with lumbago.” To which LM Montgomery continues, “Every one has some limit of endurance and Cyrus Taylor had reached his. He gave his chair such a furious backward push that it shot instanctly across the polished floor and struck the table on which hte vase stood. The table went over and the vase broke in the traditional thousand pieces. Cyrus, his bushy white eyebrows fairly bristling with wrath, stood up and exploded at last.”

  2. Ms. McDermott moves into the discussion of work, talent, the mind, and our responsibility to society based upon our strengths. I disagree with her. I don’t owe society anything but adherence to the laws therein.

    Ah, but God gave us gifts for the building up of the body of believers. Our responsibility to our community is very great. As I read through the epistles, in fact, I would say that “living in community” is one of the primary themes. Loving our neighbor isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling.

    That whole scene with the sheep and goats is a bit alarming, too.

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