September 5, 2010 by Stacy McDonald

The Culture of Christendom

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A Mother and Child in an Interior by Peter Ilsted

Today, I read a review of Passionate Housewives, the book I co-authored with Jennie Chancey; and, I breathed a sigh of relief. Since writing our book, Jennie and I have read numerous reviews and received hundreds of emails from readers testifying to the fact that God is using Passionate Housewives to remind Believers of the beauty and magnitude of a woman’s role in the home. However, it is certainly not without its detractors.

Having been misrepresented at times, it was especially refreshing to read the following review by Robin Phillips, a man who seemed to not only grasp the “heart” of our book; but was also able to expound upon it so powerfully.

“Many Christian young people have willingly walked away from a faith they knew to be true because they were enticed by the illusory attractiveness of idols; but few people ever abandoned a faith they believed to be both true and beautiful.”

I think, often, in a fleshly attempt to be holier than Jesus, we forget about the importance of passing down the significant beauty of our faith.

“Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:16-17)

And, as Robin points out:

Here’s the catch. In order for parents to show their children that the faith is lovely, they must be there to successfully model it.

Please take the time to read Robin’s excellent insights:

We are all familiar with the way feminism has undermined the integrity of the family, leaving many women feeling guilty, or at least defensive, if they choose to stay at home to be housewives. What is generally given less attention, however, is the way Christian motherhood has suffered grievously from within the ranks of the church. I am not referring to direct theological challenges from Christian teachers who think women ought to farm their children off to day care or go and pursue careers. That is just feminism in evangelical packaging and is easy enough to spot, though sadly that mentality is rampant even in the church.

What is more difficult to discern, however, are the multitudinous ways that the individualistic and dispensational theological paradigms have indirectly contributed to many Christian mothers abandoning their primary vocation. An entire evangelical culture has sprung up over the last two hundred and fifty years which sees salvation purely in terms of going to heaven when you die, with no understanding of the need to build a Christian civilization here on the earth that will last for thousands of years.

Worse still, many Christians believe that the institutions and culture of Christendom are a Constantinian innovation and hardly a worthy goal for the 21st century church. Failing to understand God’s purposes covenantally, we would prefer to wait to be ‘raptured’ away from the earth, working to get as many people saved in the meantime, than to seek God’s promised blessings on the thousands of descendents that come from those who love him.

As a result, the concept of family and child-rearing has suffered grievously. Not seeing ourselves as links in a golden chain, both receiving and transmitting the traditions of the covenant community to the next generation, we fail to pour ourselves into our children in the way that we could. (As an aside, this relates to why I am against the ‘conversion experience’ model for children of believers, a topic I deal with here.)

Because of our failure to invest in the next generation, our children are falling away right left and centre, giving credence to the second edition of the Confession of Faith, presented to Parliament in 1658, which includes these words: “Wherever thou goest thou wilt hear men crying out of bad children – whereas indeed the source must be sought a little higher, ‘its bad parents – that make bad children -, and we cannot blame so much their untowardness as our own negligence of their education.”

The education we should seek to give our children, and which is central for successfully transmitting the faith to the next generation, is more than just the education of correct ideas. It is not enough to simply convey to our children the sense that Christianity is true. Neither is it enough to give them a Christian worldview that interconnects all knowledge into a Biblical philosophy.

These are both necessary endeavours, but they are not sufficient. We must also strive to convey to our children the beauty of the Christian faith. If we are to be successful in transmitting our religion, we must show the next generation that the truth is lovely. Many Christian young people have willingly walked away from a faith they knew to be true because they were enticed by the illusory attractiveness of idols; but few people ever abandoned a faith they believed to be both true and beautiful.

But here’s the catch. In order for parents to show their children that the faith is lovely, they must be there to successfully model it. If a mother farms her children off to daycare so she can find fulfillment in pursuing a career, if the father comes home from work and takes more interest in his newspaper than his kids, if the parents use the television as a baby sitter whenever they are tired, if the parents are always grumbling or bickering and never promoting an atmosphere of joy, if the parents send their children off to be educated by the local priests of Baal, then we cannot be surprised when the children grow up to reject the faith their parents purported to follow.

This being the case, fathers and mothers need encouragement to focus on the primary mission field God has given them: their own children. That is why I so appreciated Stacy McDonald and Jannie Chancey’s book, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God: Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker. In an age when mothers are constantly being pressured to abandone their God-appointed mission field, McDonald and Chancey give much needed hope and encouragement.

CLICK HERE to read Robin’s entire review of Passionate Housewives.

As an aside, I can hardly pass up the G. K. Chesterton quote Robin offers:

Woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. . . . when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. . . .

If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun a Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colourless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it.

How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.

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8 Responses to “The Culture of Christendom”

  1. Jennifer says:

    You and Jennie both encouraged me with thoughts I had not had before about the home and wives, Stacy; thank you. I appreciated your humble words about assuming that the thoughts of others toward you were negative, during one of your last pregnancies; that’s been an easy sin of mine too, I’m afraid. And Jennie made some great demonstrations about how masculinity is under-appreciated in the country today; I also loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I’m so glad the two of you banded together to write this book! I didn’t even know it was your idea until recently.

    Thanks for sharing Robin’s words, too; I hadn’t read them all yet, and it looks indeed as though he understands the heart of your book :)

  2. Deanna says:

    What a wonderful review! And so full of good stuff in and of it self. I loved the book, and passed it on to a friend, who said that it mad her angry so she stopped reading it. Then, she said, that she picked it back up one day wanting something to read, and “got” it. She realized that the reason she had hated it was because she had been so influenced by feminism.

  3. Ginger says:

    WOW! I am flabbergasted! That was an amazing review and so insightful! To God be the glory!

  4. Stan Butler says:

    I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become a follower of it if you wish.
    I wish more Christains would think of our God as a God of covenant.

  5. victoria says:

    Your book was such an encouragement to me even after 27 years on the ‘job’. I have to remember that what I do in my home will have implications for years and generations to come. I have never regretted giving up a career to stay home and raise our children but there are days of discouragement, and it’s then we mothers need to remember that what we do in our homes will one day reach far beyond our front door.
    We are part of a glorious link in God’s expanding kingdom. I hope I never forget that. Thank you for writing the book.


  6. Jennifer says:

    Did you know, Stacy, that there’s a man on another blog somewhere that tells me women have never really done anything for our country? His reason: because we haven’t fought in historical wars and had largely paying jobs for nearly as long. He claims that raising children is something we’ve only done “because men were out doing important things”. He says that we don’t deserve the vote because we didn’t “work” and utterly demeans what stay-at-home wives do, claiming that we’ve never really fought for our country’s good.

    It’s people like this that make me doubly grateful for your book.

  7. Jo says:

    I am a working mum (full-time), it is a decision that was arrived at without any discussion quite a number of years ago. As I grow closer to God I am beginning to question this – however I am married to a non-believer so walking away from my high paying career isn’t something I can consider at this stage – however I am leaving it to God as He will reach the decision that He knows is right.

    I have just received my copy of your book “Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God” and when I have completed it and will place a review on my blog (as I do with many books I read). It looks like something I will really enjoy and benefit from.


  8. Colleen G. says:

    Not all of us “who are waiting to get raptured away from the earth” are forgetting to build godly families or passing down that heritage. We just have a different view of how God is going to wrap it all up, so to speak. Our children are our first mission field and our family is our best witness to Jesus.

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