Monday, August 4, 2014

Keepers At Home

If those words sound familiar, you may be one who reads the Bible in the King James Version. Here is the passage from which it comes:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.    Titus 2:3-5

We shouldn't be confused into thinking that the admonition for women to be "keepers at home" means that women should not work. Of course women should work. Everyone should work; men, women and children. Working is part of God's design for us to be fruitful and to take dominion over the earth. The aged women don't teach the young women NOT to work, they teach them to be workers or keepers at home. Or at the homestead, or within the household, or to work within the goals and requirements of the household. 

Sometimes non-believers can explain it better. Here is a game-blogger who is concerned about the destruction of western civilization who is explaining why women working outside of the home are contributing to that decline:

Within the church we seem to be oblivious to what creates sexual attraction in women while secular observers are not afraid to state what they see and to take note of what to avoid when trying to prevent divorce and adultery. From the above linked blog post:

What we have today is that same working-woman hypergamy now directed to powerful men who are not her husband. The modern wife leaves the world of her husband every morning to submit to sexy male rulers presiding over the parallel world she inhabits during the day. She still has a boss, but it’s no longer her husband. The temptation for her to cheat, either bodily or in mind, must be great. The male equivalent would be as if dutiful husbands were catered to on the job by a steady stream of swimsuit models. Even the firmest virtue will bend to perpetual succulent vice. 

When I was first married, I was working at a law office. My boss was a male lawyer. I only continued working to finish up some projects in which my contributions were important to the clients, then I quit. But my husband had this to say about those days when I was still working, "This is not what I felt about you working for X (name of lawyer), but another form of it was the inherent betrayal of loyalty to me.  You were required to act in the best interest of your boss, over and above your duty to act in my best interest. Which is an unavoidable reality." I was only working two mornings per week, for a total of 8 hours, but even this small amount made our entire household subject to the needs of my boss and his schedule. As my husband noted, it is an unavoidable reality of employment. An employer really needs the commitment and loyalty of his staff to his goals and responsibilities. Even Jesus commented that no one can serve two masters. 

Without second-guessing what Paul had in mind when he wrote the letter to Titus, we can identify at least two very practical reasons why women should not be working outside of the home. The first is the temptation she will feel towards a man who is exhibiting alpha qualities and the second is that the woman is subjecting herself to a master who is not her husband, and therefore her husband has to become subordinate to her boss in terms of her time and efforts. Is any amount of income a fair trade-off for these threats to the marriage? 

When we look at the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31, we don't see a woman who doesn't work. But we also don't see a woman who is the servant of another master, a master other than her husband. Her work originates in her husband's house and all of her work is for the enrichment and benefit of her husband's house. It isn't a separate, parallel world to the work of her husband. Her husband's heart safely trusts in her and her children will rise up and call her blessed.

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