Women, when you wake up in the morning, are you ready to take on your curse-ravaged homes?
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
1 Timothy 2:15
Kim Ransleben wrote an article for Desiring God blog (John Piper’s baby) entitled, “When Women Face Their Cursed-Ravaged Homes”. The article makes me question which is cursed-ravaged, the home or the woman’s body as an “earthly home?” By using 1 Timothy 2:15 as the key verse for the post, I would have gone with the latter explanation for the article. But then in reading on, the meaning was lost on me and all was blurry. Here is the gist of the article:
1. Relationships (spouse, children and friendships) are painful.
2. Women grow weary and seek escape outside the home.
3. By reading stories of women in the Bible, we can gain strength to keep on going.
4. The Gospel turns us back to our homes.
I’m still confused. Who, or what, is exactly cursed? How exactly does “the Gospel” turn us back to our homes?
The author mentions the curse placed upon Eve in Genesis 3:
Paul knew that in mentioning Adam, Eve, and childbearing in the context of this verse, he would call to mind that very real curse from Genesis 3. Yet here he isn’t condemning us by that curse, but is telling us that the very area of the woman’s curse is now one of the most powerful tools in our sanctification.
Here I assume she is talking about woman, as a person, being cursed; the specific curse placed on woman. However, at the end of the article she says,
As we embrace our calling to face our curse-ravaged homes with hope, we will find ourselves overflowing that same faith and love for a world desperately in need of it.
Now I’m wondering if she is talking about the home-life being cursed due to dealing with difficult relationships and women wanting more in life.
“Being a life-giver and a most suitable helper is wearying work.” Kim Ransleben
When I read the author’s bio, I noticed that she is a curriculum writer and Bible study teacher. Her article, however, gives us no indication that she did any exegetical study on this verse. Simple questions such as, “Who is the audience this author is writing to?” and “What are the cultural issues Timothy is dealing with?” are essential in Bible study. I read it more as “women’s lives are nothing but cursed, so pull yourself up by your bootstraps and quit your whining for something better.”
The final advice that bothers me is:
Turn your heart back to your family, back to childrearing, back to the place of our sanctification.
Family and childrearing is not a woman’s place of sanctification. If that is the case, then there are many women that I know and love who are not sanctified because they either choose to not have children or they are physically unable to. But, I’m sure Piper and his crew would have something to say about that.
Honestly, something didn’t sit right with me when I first read this article, and as I write this, I’m struggling to figure out exactly what bothers me. How does this article sit with you? What are your thoughts?
photo credit: taken by Kathi at Sistine Chapel
122 thoughts on “Christian Women and the Curse and Their Curse-Ravaged Homes …. Oh My”
oops it was Keith Green!!!! Wore those LPs out. and thanks for the Lyrics. Printing them out.
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The guy’s quote:
Aside from this being wrong for all the reasons I listed in part 1 above, note again how most of this garbage thinking does not even address unmarried women, those who are divorced, never married, widowed.
I guess in this guy’s theology, the curse does not apply to me, since I have never married or been pregnant, as I am celibate. Woo hoo!
Also, while I would like to be married, part of me is glad I never was. My mother raised me with some of these very old fashioned, sexist ideas of gender and marriage.
I was raised with the hope and expectation to marry a Christian man, and Christians drilled the “don’t be unequally yoked” nonsense into my head (so I thought marrying a Non Christian was off limits), but as I see so many Christian men believe that a husband can and should rule over his wife, that God designed for women to be doormats for a spouse, I have about zero interest in marrying a Christian man, unless said Christian man does not buy into this malarky.
See, the comps complain about marriage rates being down, but it’s their horrible views about marriage which play a part in some women being reluctant to marry in the first place.
By the way, the verse from Genesis says something like, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
That is, that is a consequence of the fall, God did not intend for marriage to be that way, and God was not saying that women desire to rule over men, as complementarians so often assert.
What God was getting at – and I’ve seen this in my own mother and read countless books about this dynamic- is women will turn to a husband, hoping the husband to be a protector and provider, because women are socially conditioned by culture to be dependent, afraid to live on their own, to make their own choices, etc.
Women willingly give up their agency, independence, and control to a man, in the hopes the man will love her and provide and protect her.
What happens often, though, is many men exploit this tendency women have, and abuse women as a result, or take advantage of them. That is what God was warning all women about in that quote to Eve.
God actually does not want women to turn their power over to a man and submit to a man (submission as taught by Christian gender complementarians, which turns out to be authoritarian).
Nor does God want women to allow a a man to control them, because it becomes codependency, it encourages a woman to make a man responsible for her choices and behavior (when God holds each person accountable).
This behavior by women (which is unfortunately being encouraged by gender complementarians as being God’s design) can lead to abuse or exploitation of women.
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HA, selah – Phil Keaggy did it, too. And Russ Taff, and Rebecca St. James. I switched it out while you were typing.
oh, and an a cappella GLAD version. Obviously, the lyrics touched a lot of people.
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This post, I’m realizing, is hugely emotional for me. To think that I have been held bondage to this doctrine for so many years – – tried to roll with it, thinking I was being Biblical, wondering what was wrong with me, why I was so “sinful” when I couldn’t simply accept it when it just didn’t jive with the rest of what I was reading in the Bible. . . . . but men were teaching this – – supposedly godly men (husbands, leaders, pastors) – – men who were suposed to care for my soul. The waves of emotions, the betrayal, the realization that women have been squelched, lied to, hampered from being all that they can be because of wrong interpretation of scripture, makes me angry.
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For most of the world, the Peruvian motto of, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” is their reality. So, this supposed “curse” of pining away for something better outside your home is nothing but b.s.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m off to work! (Because I long for a better life of working retail. NOT!)
Can you imagine how many friends are happy for me as they have listened and watched me through my two years of breakthrough? There are so many women who are waiting for His LOVE to BREAK through. Leaving them and moving on is necessary for me. I hope that my breakout is a catalyst for a few of them. Some of them won’t talk to me or are of course critics of the fact that I am now out of state, getting a home and starting work here.
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made me angry too Julie Anne.
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I’m still trying to figure out what is divine about a curse. I realize it came from God, but was it a curse or consequences. I have been thinking more and more that sin did come into the world at the fall of Adam, but God was really talking to the participants in that folly. Yes, we live in a sinful world and had Adam have listened and obeyed we might all be living in a great garden right now. Don’t we fight to keep the weeds and thorns down. Shouldn’t we fight to keep the pain down too. I’ve known women who have given birth very quickly and without much pain. I’m just sorry that I wasn’t one of them. I have worked outside the home since my youngest was 4. I have also gone to school, done the gardening and canning for as many as 5 kids. There was was sweat and labor involved in all of that. So the men aren’t the only ones doing their fare share of labor.
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Regarding the comment about the man who now has to “toil”, it is so easy to misapply scripture in your own situation. One of my fundie brothers speaks of ” being a slave” in service to his boss at work. Somehow he mixes it up with serving Christ in all things. He totally doesn’t understand how offensive this comment is to people who have been victimized as slaves (such as sex trafficking, the situation in Darfor, workers whose passports are seized and are at the mercy of heartless employers, etc). This is not history, but happening now. So how can my brother, a white male, with a college degree, living in a first world country, with a white collar job consider his voluntary employment as consistent with being a slave??
Brenda, Thank you for continuing to let us know how you are. You are such a treasure here and I hope you know how sad we are for your grandson’s death. If you don’t mind: You mentioned your daughter’s silence when you tell her about God’s work in this. I think we all grieve so differently. She may be extremely angry now and is closed off to any thought of God’s love and mercy now. Please forgive me if I am projecting, but when I feel a loss, I get very angry at God. I am so imperfect that any talk of God in my suffering makes me mad. Thankfully, God is patient and waits for me to come back around! 🙂 I pray that your daughter is patient with herself and her fluctuating emotions as she heals. Meanwhile, she is lucky to have such a loving mother as you are!
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Thank you for your candor. I know that it will take some time and she may be blaming God right now and doesn’t want to talk about it. When this first started, my daughter gave instructions to her husband to get ahold of me quickly because she knew I would be on top of passing on the word to please pray for us. When we didn’t get the answer we wanted, I know a part of her world shattered. She has lost 2 boys now and would like for God to quit loaning them for a little while and allow her to keep one for a long while. I can sincerely say, I am with her on that one.
We also want so much for her husband to accept Christ. This probably didn’t lead him in that direction. I have been very angry with God in the past (and it took a long while to get beyond that) so I know how you and she feel, but not this time. I know there is a purpose in this tragedy, I just don’t have a clue what it could possibly be. I know she will get through this and I am sure there are a lot of “Why God’s” being expressed. I had a couple of short one’s on her behalf. I also ask, why can’t you take me instead. Apparently he isn’t done with me yet and my dear daughter says, “no mom, you are going to live a long miserable life along with me.” Then she goes off on a tangent about the book and movie, “Misery”. I personally didn’t read the book and didn’t like the movie, which she, for whatever reason, does.
She did send me an email a little while ago. The rest of the paperwork for their house went through and they will close on May 18. She was very excited about that. They will have a lot more space and Lord willing another miracle baby will be conceived.
Brenda, Thank you for your openness! You are the example we all need of a believer who is willing to stand with someone who is angry and suffering. Many mothers would not allow their children to work through their pain and deny them that experience. I know as a mom that I hate to see my son suffer and want to make it better. She may hate God now. She may deny Him now. But He loves her and is patient. After all, He gave her the emotions that allow her to mourn and be angry.
What is difficult to see now is the big picture. That will come in time, but for now she is in agony and I believe God honors all her emotions. As for you, I pray you are able to be gentle with yourself during this time. You have had a double loss-a lost grandchild and hurting daughter. For that, I am so sorry. As a believer, I want to encourage you in your walk during this horrible time. Even in your own pain and anger God is somehow there loving you. I know my words are so insufficient, but my heart sends you love. Thank you for showing us how to love by sharing your pain.
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I mentioned the curse thing because of the comments that railed against the article as if the author was a dunderhead who didn’t understand that Jesus’ death actually meant something. It just wasn’t a well reasoned reaction, in my opinion. If you’re going to disagree with something, you need to be able to at least articulate what you’re disagreeing with to be credible.
My mother chose to stay home and raise her kids, and 35 years later she would tell you she’d do it all over again. My wife chose the same path. Sanctification can actually happen in the home. It’s not the only place, and it’s not to say that singles and widowed and childless or whatever the reasons are that a woman isn’t a full time housewife (career wise) that she can’t be sanctified. That’s just silly and reading a predisposed bias against anything desiring God puts out. Hate it fine, but at least be honest enough to deal with what’s actually said without ascribing words to the author she didn’t say. So she disagrees with you and you with her. She’s not calling you unsanctified but she is trying to demonstrate that the struggles of a wife (and I just got off the phone with mine… The baby is terrorizing the place!) can be and are a tool to make her more Christlike. Should we mock that? I think not.
Daisy, I like Deborah who lead the nation as a judge.
Someone from our ex-church tried hard to convince me that this had to do with God’s curse on Israel. I never did quite get the gist of their point. When I asked if they meant that God cursed Israel by having a woman as their judge, they backed off and came at it from what felt like a slightly different (but still, to me, identical) direction. Israel was under God’s curse (maybe it was that “every man did what was right in his own eyes” business), and no men stepped up to be judges, so God allowed them to have a woman judge. I still don’t get if they were saying that Deborah was the curse, or a consequence of the curse.
In any event, the hyper-patriarchists can go to great lengths to explain away any woman doing anything in the Bible that is not strictly homemaking and throwing away any vision of her own she might have, so that she can transform her vision into supporting her husband’s vision.
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Brenda R. *hugs*
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Selah said: I am still married to a man and have a son and daughter who are still in it. I would like to see more women come out. I would like my husband, son and daughter to come out. I tread lightly in my new found freedom because it feels unsafe to do otherwise. Careful, Cautious. If there are other women who are working through the painful cognitive dissonance of new revelation that the complementarian system is a false gospel, please support them. Thank you.
I am in the same place, though I am not the only one in our family who has come out. Our family is more or less split down the middle. I walk softly. Though my husband knows I don’t believe in complementarianism anymore, he still does. He just thinks it’s the wounds from the old church talking, and that once I heal I’ll come around to “truth” once more. Though he hasn’t said so in so many words, that is the meaning I take from him. We are going to a reformed-light version of church now, and there are still references to Piper and Grudem, and recently there was a book by Doug Wilson on the free book table (Father Hunger). I wish I had the courage to just stop going to church.
Since we are a one-car family, it’s either go where the majority of church-goers want to go, or not go at all.
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Daisy said: Jesus extended an invitation of belief to the Well Lady. He told her plainly he was the Messiah, a fact he usually beat around the bush about with men.
If Jesus associated being married to being saved or sanctified, why on earth do John Piper and Piper’s buddies make of Jesus inviting SINGLE women and PROSTITUTES to join his kingdom?
Well, Daisy, Jesus also told the woman at the well, at the end of the exchange, to “go and sin no more”. At least, I think so. I’m too tired to look it up at the moment.
So that made everything all right.
(Is my “bitterness” showing?)
refugee Re APRIL 25, 2015 @ 9:24 AM
Oh yes, I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen Christians on TV and a few complementarian ones on the internet who try to diminish the fact that God chose a woman (Deborah) to lead a group of men by arguing that God was using her to shame and disgrace Israel because it was shameful for a woman to lead men.
I find this interesting for several reasons, one of which is, the complementarians only bring up the cultural aspect when it suits them.
That is, when you point out that
1. some comments by Apostle Paul in the New Testament about women teaching and preaching to men were perhaps due to cultural biases of the day, or that
2. one reason Jesus picked 12 men as his first Apostles was due to the sexism and patriarchal culture of his era, the comps want none of that.
No, Christian gender complementarians insist Jesus picking 12 men or Paul forbidding a woman teaching in some church 2,000 years ago were meant to be a universal truth for all women for all cultures and times.
A second thing is that comps will go to great pains to downplay or explain away any Bible verse or story that goes against their beliefs.
Galatians 3.28, where it says there is neither male nor female, slave nor free in Christ, is explained away with the non-sensical, strange notion that this verse is only talking about all people being “equally saved.”
Complementarians always have loop-holes and distorted interpretations to escape the clear and plain meaning of the biblical text.
And yet, in addition to that insult, many of them claim that those who reject comp are the ones who are dishonest with the Bible’s text, or are allowing secular feminism to influence how they read certain biblical passages! Hello, pot meet kettle.
Christian gender complementarians need to go look in a mirror, because complementarians are guilty of the things they accuse egalitarians or gender mutualists of.
I saw a paper on the internet a couple of months ago refuting the complementarian spin on Deborah, who was judge over Israel. I can’t remember the exact page, but I’ll see if I can find others about it.
Who was the judge of Israel, Deborah or Barak? (from Women in Ministry blog)
Deborah and the “no available men” argument (from Egalitarian Christian Alliance)
Here is just the first part of that page:
Kathi said: The following of prescribed gender roles squashes any unique gifts given to men and women that do not follow the curse narrative.
Amen. It was watching my daughters despair (and wondering why a god would give them such gifts, and expect them to bury those gifts in the ground), that began to waken me from this mindset.
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Ladies, we all know, and can see the the curse of the ramifications of Sin, the fall of man. As for me, I focus on the Blood of Christ that reverses that curse, back to a blessing, think about Abagail, her husband was rude, selfish and ungrateful to David. She was kind, generous, and took the blame for that Donkey of a man, do you know any of his relatives? And, behold, living Grace was found in wonderful Abagail. Could this be the overcoming spirit? Christ in me, Patty Lynn Smith, is my hope of glory, just like my sister, Abagail.
“She was kind, generous, and took the blame for that Donkey of a man,”
Actually she was wise and a strategic thinker. She saved a lot of lives but not her husband. But she gained protection in David’s harem.
Your comment reminds me of “women’s ministry” study literature. :o)
She was kind, generous, and took the blame for that Donkey of a man, do you know any of his relatives?
Proverbs 31 Woman,
It seems that you have a distorted view of Abagail. As Lydia pointed out, she was wise and a strategic thinker. She did what she had to do to save the lives of men who were undeserving of dying over her husband’s evil. He was beyond being a “Donkey of a man”. He was abusive!! How you can minimize what happened in this story is mind boggling.
Do I know people like this? Yes, I do!! I divorced one of them 2 years ago and hopefully will not end up in someone’s harem only to be discarded for the next beauty that comes along. Do you honestly think that Abagail’s life was better being with David?
I focus on the Blood of Christ and His complete work on the cross, also. I also focus on the fact that he rescued me from an abusive cruel man. Well, we are no longer legally bound. His abuse did not stop after the divorce decree was signed. It continues on. I wasn’t as fortunate as Abagail.