". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, June 5, 2015

It's Really Not That Hard

My friends wrote a book about female vocation. You should buy it and read it. The purpose of the book is to ponder what it means to be a Christian woman, living under the Cross, in these gray and latter days. Beyond that, there is no one kind of woman to which the book is addressed. It is for single women, married women, young women, old women, mothers and those who are not, sisters, widows, and any other kind of woman you can think of who looks to Jesus and Him Crucified for purpose in her daily life.

I am confounded, then, how negatively the book has been received by a few (a very few). The tone of the book has been attacked as being angry and resentful (nothing could be further from the truth). It has been implied that the authors are hypocrites because here they are doing something (writing a book, or editing, or teaching online classes) beyond what they see as their primary vocations of wives and mothers. (Quick aside: as the authors define it, vocation is something that God gives you to do that you can't quit doing (at least, you can't quit without its being a sin). So writing is not a vocation. Music is not a vocation. Such things are hobbies, jobs, interests, and aptitudes. But the callings of wife, mother, daughter, sister, and neighbor--these are vocations. They are the stations in life into which God has placed us and from which we are called to serve.)

Okay, I guess that wasn't a quick aside. Back to the point of the post. There are those who seem to think that because LadyLike suggests that service to the people God has placed in one's life should come ahead of other stuff that they are therefore saying there is something wrong with, or no place for, the other stuff. That is not what they're saying. They are actually not saying anything different for female vocation than they are for male vocation. Whether we are male or female, our most important calling, after that of baptized child of God, is to serve our neighbor. When it gets to the specifics of how men and women do that, yes, there are differences because men and women are different (does this really need to be said?). But for both men and women, vocation is about service to others. Those in our immediate family are the ones we are called to serve first. From there the circle of service can expand to church, neighborhood, town, country and world. So if there's time after the family has been taken care of, then by all means, write a book, learn a Beethoven sonata, teach a class, volunteer at the library, draw a picture, engage in politics, or do some work for money. But don't let those things take precedence over serving the people you love, the ones God has placed before you in the life He has given you. How you work that out, on your own if you're single or with your husband if you're married, is a matter of Christian freedom.

Seems pretty simple to me. There is no conflict here, no contradiction, no hypocrisy. Why some people have such a hard time with it and insist on setting up what in Logic 101 is known as a false dilemma is a mystery to me.

LadyLike was the Issues, Etc. Book of the Month in May, and the authors spent some time talking to Todd Wilken, the host of Issues, about their book. Yesterday was their last appearance, and listeners were invited to submit questions, which I did. Here is the question I asked:

How do you respond to those who say you are being hypocritical by promoting a traditional view of womanhood (one that says a woman's highest calling is to care for her family) when you are taking time from your family to write a book, go on a book tour, and give radio interviews?

There wasn't a lot of time to answer on the program, so Rebekah wrote a blog post yesterday that provided a more detailed answer. If you would like to read it, go to the LadyLike blog. And stay tuned for information about how you might be able to win the LadyLike book I won for asking what was determined to be one of the three best questions on yesterday's show. (I already have a copy, and as great as it is, I think one is enough and so desire to share the love.)

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