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Marriage and Family

This post originally appeared on September 12, 2013 on the blog of House2House Magazine: Growing up in the South, being Southern Baptist, and even serving on staff at a few institutional churches, the issue of “gender roles” has always been on the forefront of my mind. At twenty, I had the opportunity to serve at a summer camp, where I taught 150-200 high school juniors and seniors each week. In this context, the Spirit of God confirmed to me that I was gifted to teach and to lead, the only problem was…being female. This tension led me to press into the Scriptures and ask the question: “Is the only viable expression of my gifts in a female-exclusive context?” In aski... Read more
So-called “traditional gender norms” within a marriage create an imbalance of power, and the less equality between intimates, the less intimacy. It is difficult to experience intimacy with someone who is in a position to make decisions about your life. When social structures allow the other person to control your life, you normally protect your innermost-self from being known by that person. Unequal power makes full reciprocal self-disclosure less likely, and therefore traditional marriages are less intimate. One fears engulfment; the other fears invasion. Perhaps it is power that explains the paradox of the stereotypically expressive yet inaccessible and unfathomable female on one hand, and the inexpressive male on the other. She tries to get him to talk so as to monitor... Read more
“I don’t believe God loves me—not really.” These words erupted from my wife in a season of personal crisis. One of the deep roots of the crisis—not the immediate trigger—was the traditional teaching of the church that women must be subordinate to men and are not qualified for certain offices of leadership. This lie had rooted itself in Debbie’s heart from her childhood years growing up in church. At the very same time as these words came forth from my wife’s lips, a sliver of glass, the result of a moving accident when a mirror slipped and crashed on my head early in our marriage, made its way to the surface of my forehead. I picked out this irritating sliver that had been working its way to the surface for some time. I thought at the time... Read more
Lauren Jacobs is a writer, poet, daughter, wife, sister, friend, and servant of the King. She has a master’s degree in divinity and, together with her husband, she is passionate about teaching biblical truth and inspiring women to value themselves as daughters of God. She makes her home in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. This post originally appeared on her blog “The warrior and the flower” on September 19, 2013: The following story is based on Joshua 15:14-19. Caleb peered down at his arms, his battle-scarred muscles remained strong although he had grown tired. He had remained faithful to God and to the cause and now it was time to enjoy his inheritance. To bask in the sunlight and enjoy t... Read more
Margaret Mowczko
I was reading Leviticus recently and I came across this verse: “Every one of you shall reverence his mother and father. . .” Leviticus 19:3a (NASB.) I was intrigued that “mother” was mentioned before “father” so I decided to search for other verses in the Bible that might also mention “mother” first.  I couldn’t find any.  But what I did find surprised me. I found over a dozen verses which command honouring, respecting and obeying your father and mother, with both the father and mother always mentioned together. I had anticipated that in Bible times, when the culture was predominantly patriarchal, that the Old Testament authors, in particular, might have written verses that just mentioned hono... Read more
According to the Pew Research Center, 2.6 million households in the U.S. are led by a single father in 2011. This means that in the U.S. about 25% of single-parent families are now headed by a father, not a mother. And, the number is growing. I read this on July 3rd and it struck me: Here’s a bunch of guys, many of whom are in way over their heads. They could use the support of Christians, both men and women, who have been there and are doing that (not to mention all of the single mothers who still need our support as well)! Giftedness is not just ability, it’s the experiences God has gifted us with, too. As the dynamic of the American family, and I’m pretty sure in the Western world generally, changes, we have a lot of people, including single parents, finding them... Read more
Tim Krueger
Few things bring me more joy than seeing the gospel incarnated in the different cultures of our world, and few things shed more light on the gospel. Each culture has the potential to reveal something of the nature of God and his love. I was reminded of this recently when I read two accounts about Bible translation in Cameroon, both distributed by Bob Creson, the president of Wycliffe USA. The first story relays the experience of Lee and his wife Tammi, who work as Bible translators among the Hdi people of Cameroon. In the Hdi language, verbs generally end in i, a, or u. But the word for love only seemed to come in two forms, dvi and dva. Why was there no dvu? Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the... Read more
In last week’s Arise, John considered the apostle Paul’s view of marriage, parenting, and slavery that opposed the hierarchy of his own culture. This week John will explore the basis of mutual relationships. Mutuality “Wives,” Paul writes, “be subject to your husbands…” Now before we get into a knot, it is important that we keep on reading. “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18 NRSV). Notice first of all that Paul places a condition upon the wives’ submission. And notice secondly that Paul does not stop with wives. “Husbands,” he continues, “love your wives and never treat them harshly.” If Paul had been typical for his time, he would have given inst... Read more
Margaret Mowczko
Time and again I hear Christian speakers and writers reminding women to be submissive (or be in subjection) to their husbands. Some churches and ministries emphasise and elaborate on wifely submission to such an extent that, for some, submission has become an all-pervasive principle that deeply influences a woman’s sense of self. It also impacts on every aspect of a woman’s life including her place and role in the family, in the church, in the work force and society, and, of course, her place and role in marriage. Limits of Wifely Submission in Marriage? Disturbingly, some Christians have tried to work out the parameters and limits of wifely submission and attempted to define what types and amounts of harmful and hurtful behaviour a... Read more
The blogosphere is buzzing with backlash about recent articles that are advocating for “young marriage.” Apparently, the millennials (18-29 yr olds), my generation, have a low marriage rate at 21 percent in the U.S., compared to other generations during this age range. I posed a question on my Facebook status to my unmarried or later-married friends: Why are YOU delaying marriage? (Besides not knowing anyone you WANT to marry.) I chose to get married instead of waiting, so I’m curious about other people’s choices.  The responses included: ·         Wanting independence ·         Needing time to mature and figure out life ·  ... Read more