Marveling at How The Gospel Coalition Marvels at Women and Their Womanly Creativity

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The Gospel Coalition, Women’s Roles, and Creativity

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-by Kathi

Every once-in-a-while Julie Anne and I will chat back and forth over an article. One of these days we’ll show you one of these conversations because they can become quite humorous. Recently, we chatted over Erik Raymond’s recent post on The Gospel Coalition’s website, “How to Marvel at Your Wife’s Creativity.”

Raymond’s (non)how-to post describes how he marvels at his wife’s creativity to put together parties for people. Specifically, he marvels at the details that his wife goes into when preparing for parties:

She, like many women, gives considerable time and attention to the details. In particular she works to ensure that the colors, design, and even the most minute matters are covered. I’ve seen gum balls color-coded, paper cut outs, cup cakes and napkins match, balloons, sparkly soda, snow sprinkles on a red table cloth [sic], swirly straws, and even a big metal bucket filled with ice to [sic] so people will feel “festive” when they get their drink. This is what women do.

“This is what women do.” Of course, men are not as detail oriented. In fact, men seem to be more cave-like in their approach to such things because they reuse forks and wipe their chins on their sleeves. And, to show that men are not into details:

While struggling to pull this type of thing off my self, I have come to appreciate it. What’s more, I’ve come to baptize it into the spiritual realm so as to love my wife more, appreciate our differentness [sic], and marvel at God’s design.

Translation: “I love my wife more because she’s able to recreate a Pinterest board. That’s hot.” 

Now, for those of you here who love Pinterest and can successfully recreate elaborate Pinterest ideas, please do not be offended. I think that’s great! I can appreciate the amount of work that you put into a party. As for me, Pinterest stresses me out. I’ve never signed up because I’m afraid it will be a time sucker, and I know I will stress over making everything perfect. Plus, finding different ways to use chalk paint does not excite me. You know, “Elf on a Shelf?” I think that’s horrible! As if Christmas isn’t stressful enough, now parents have to come up with multiple creative ideas for a little doll each night before they go to bed.

Sorry, I got off track for a moment. Let’s look back at “this is what women do.” Creativity and paying attention to detail makes women different from men? How about the many men who are architects and design, with many details, beautiful buildings? What about men who are fashion designers who create clothing and need to consider fabrics, stitching and notions? And, don’t forget men who are professional chefs who need to think about small details such as seasoning, pairing and plating. I guess we should zoom past the details of men who are creative because that is not part of God’s design.

I suppose we should also zoom past the details of many women who work outside the home and use their skills to make a difference in the lives of people. There are many women who are CEOs or managers of companies, or who are social workers or run domestic violence shelters that are also married and mothers. These women must pay close attention to details on their jobs if they are going to do their best work on behalf of their employees or clients. Some women actually hire men, who in turn provide financially for their families. Do these women exist in the world of The Gospel Coalition?

There may be hope, though. In the end, Raymond says:

Therefore, when I look at the frills, the colors, the designs, the Pinterest Boards, the sketches, and the actual parties, I can marvel at the way in which my wife loves the person she is honoring. This reminds me of how our Father loves to honor our glorious Savior. Far from zooming past the details we can spend a moment to marvel at these reflections of creativity that express love. We will find ourselves appreciating the way our wives honor others while seeing the Father express his love for Jesus.

This is about as close as The Gospel Coalition can come to say that God has some feminine characteristics. Perhaps one day they will acknowledge that creativity is not a gender-specific characteristic.

photo credit: #20ThingsIlove via photopin (license)

56 comments on “Marveling at How The Gospel Coalition Marvels at Women and Their Womanly Creativity

  1. It’s stuff like this that used to make teenage me wonder if something was wrong with me. Rather than being a visually oriented creative type, I have always been a logical thinker. I always found it stifling and frustrating to try to channel my (very intellectual) interests into handicrafts. I got so little joy out of it, but clearly it had to be ME that was wrong, not the legislators of Complementarian Land.

    Now it’s my wonderful fiance who says we must get art for the walls and decorate each room of our new home, while I try to count up how much it will cost. According to TGC, what is going on there?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sarah – About as creative as I get is with knitting. But, I’m following a pattern. I don’t think I could ever design a pattern, but follow one, yes. Same goes with cooking. I usually follow a recipe, but will change it up here and there. As for decorating, my husband is better with that than me. He has a great eye for color and is able to hang a picture straight. Straight is hard for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I’ve come to baptize it into the spiritual realm…” This is the part which bothers me most (emphasis on most, there are other things). What authority does this man have to baptize actions into becoming spiritual? The language of such statements, and there have been several others from TGC and the like, disturbs me to no end. These men seem to really think they are God, or at least, have His power.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. If we are all created in God’s image – don’t we all have some gift of creativity in us?

    I’m pretty sure we all do, My Daily Joy. But for the TGC guys, maybe women are “supposed” to have a special anointing of creativity.

    Now, truth be told, I think Kathi is pulling one on us. She knits, plus she has an eye for photography (look at her recent SSB Gathering pics she took), and she sent me a jar of delicious Oregon berry jam that she made. But what if a woman wasn’t creative as Sarah suggested. A creative-less woman might internalize that “deficit.” Could these men be putting unnecessary pressure on women – – that they will never measure up? That doesn’t sound too loving or protecting.

    This article could also tell men that if their wives aren’t using their creativity (whether they have it or not), they are less-thans. Way to build up your wives, guys!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I have a male client who is a benefit auctioneer. Part of the service he offers is event planning. He learned from a woman who was fanatic about details; now he is just as fanatical. He’ll check a banquet room to make sure all the folds in the table cloths are facing the same way. Wonder what TGC would make of that?

    I also have to wonder if this woman and her friends spend so much time planning parties in great detail because it’s one of the few acceptable ways they’re permitted to express their creativity and skills. It sounds like this woman would be an excellent event planner or interior designer, if she were permitted to get the education needed and work outside the home.

    This also reminds me of my maternal grandmother, who died when I was in second grade (1968). She was soooooo talented — she was so skilled at ceramics she had a kiln in her basement. She sewed clothes, lingerie and swimsuits for all her granddaughters. She was an excellent cook and used to hand-paint Christmas cookies. I could go on and on. . . . . I’ve often wondered what she would have accomplished if she had been born 30 or 40 years later, and could have gone to college and had a career.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie Anne – I swear I need to follow directions. Which, when done the right way, can produce something “marvel”ous. But left on my own whims, I would be clueless.Now, make me write a court report, and I am all about detail. Probably too much.

    Loura – “I’ve come to baptize it into the spiritual realm” – that stuck out to me too. I really don’t even know what to make of that.

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  7. You know what this is? It’s evangelical Christian homophobia, that’s what it is. “I can’t *possibly* imagine what it must be like to think like a woman! It’s so mysterious! Unlike those darn homosexuals! They *totally* think like women! A man who understands how to think like a woman certainly must be gay! And I’m *totally* not gay! Hahaha! Nope, no gay here!” Numbskulls.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. “this is what women do” ha! Well I guess God really screwed up when he put me together then. But I knew even before the first time someone kindhearted and very
    , very misguided invited me into a scrap booking class for girls and I ended up hiding in their backyard hoping I wouldn’t be missed. I have spent too much of my life hiding a scream of frustration behind a smile and not fitting in anywhere thanks to this bs.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This article makes me uncomfortable for many reasons. It strikes me as one of their typical manipulative diatribes designed to pressure people to be like them.

    “We are right, be like us. Model yourself after our perfect wives, ladies. Maybe one day you can be as valuable and Godly as they are”.

    I don’t know, maybe its just me. I buy businesses out of bankruptcy, rebuild them over a few years and then sell them. Currently I own three nail salons, two daycares, a hair salon and another business that I won’t mention for sake of my own privacy.

    Needless to say, I have a bunch of women, very creative women on my various payrolls. Some are also excellent managers. I’m not sure why some people have to pigeon -hole other people into certain roles or categories. Sometimes I get the feeling someone needs to remind these folks that they are NOT GOD and need to mind there own business. Let other couples run their own lives and go build your Christian Reich where it won’t bother normal believers that just LOVE GOD.

    I

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m not sure at why men need to know how to marvel over their wives no matter what her capabilities. Why not marvel over that she is beautifully made by the Creator? I am a capable woman. I’m not sure about creative. I play piano and sing to songs other people wrote. I can produce that looks rather pretty in the jars. I make quilts…I think that is the most creative I get. I choose where the stitching will go. I know a man who creates beautiful wedding cakes and can make a flower arrangements that is simply outstanding. I suppose he must have more female genes than I do??? I also know a woman who is a truck driver and another who is a pipefitter. I suppose we weren’t there when the female DNA was handed out.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I asked my husband about that line. He comes from a very conservative Christian background, but has left that behind. He told me he thought it sounded like “high-falutin’, super-spiritual mumbo-jumbo.” Just something to sound superior without actually saying anything. He wondered if it might be this author’s “fancy” way of saying that he blessed his wife’s activities, which still sounds a bit…is blasphemous too strong of a word?

    Where are these men getting from Scripture that they have such authority to “baptize spiritually” or bless someone’s doings?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Okay, Julie Anne. I get it. I’ll concede to being creative.

    There are plenty of men who are not gay who work in areas that may be viewed as women’s jobs – hairdressers, makeup artists, cake decorators, bakers, interior designers, chefs, clothing designers, etc. How do these guys even manage to talk to a man who works in one of these fields?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Gosh, I must have gotten a bunch of male stuff in me when God was handing out the DNA strands. lol While yes, I can make a beautiful wedding cake, design a quilt, plan out a costume, the idea of making sure the napkins are placed correctly, and the decorations on the table match the theme makes me run away screaming. I’m an accountant for crying out loud. I fuss over $20 that is missing from my bank reconciliation. But napkins? Puhlease!

    Creative ability knows no “sex” or “gender.” We all have it in one amount or another – much like every other talent out there. Some have tons, some have none. Doesn’t care if you’re a boy or girl. Much like being able to play the piano.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dash–your comments are like a secret code key!! So true.

    “My wife lovingly instructed me that it is an expression of creativity, joy, and love. It is festive.”

    LOLOL–um…like he didn’t have a clue that decorating for someone is an expression of love?

    Well, thank God her instruction was done lovingly–and thank you, Erik, for letting us all know it was done lovingly… because heaven forbid a wife instruct her husband on anything…much less done unlovingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I believe this pastor has created an entire philosophy of men, women and detail to excuse his poor spelling and grammar. He needs an editor!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is so irritating. Being something of a Myers-Briggs nerd I think the matter has more to do with personality than anything else. Certainly not gender. I know a man who was a very gifted artist. His best works were incredibly intricate and delicate, highly detailed. And then there’s Mozart, who used a great many notes (but not one more than necessary) and put them together with such ingenious creativity that we still listen to them 200 hundred years later. So what that they are sounds and not colors?

    These guys are just so dog gone determined to grind everything into gender sausage and stuff it through the sausage tube into complementary casing. Bah, says I.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I will at least give the guy who wrote it partial credit for veering away from the only gender complementarian compliment they usually pay their wives: her smokin’ hotness.

    Most of these guys cannot see any value in their wives past their physical appearances (until they get to the awful Mother’s Day sermons where they make all the childless or childfree women like me feel like failures or freaks of nature for having not procreated).

    The career I went into does involve creativity. I don’t want to specify exactly what it is. But it revolved around a lot of creativity and technology. I consider my career gender neutral. It’s something a lot of women AND men excel at.

    I am tired of the gender complementarian (what some at the other blog are now calling CFS – Christian Female Subordinationism) teachings placing people in boxes like this, and it’s not biblical, contrary to what they think.

    Where women are given these well meaning, yet ultimately, IMO, condescending pats on the head for doing “girly” things like party planning and incorporating Pinterest into it (with most people being aware that most users of Pinterest are women, who use it to Pin recipes and knitting patterns, though not all pin that sort of stuff).

    It would be a little like me writing a blog post extolling a boyfriend of mine because I adore and am captivated at how well he changes the oil in his car, or how he’s able to clean his own laundry with no help from a woman (i.e., men are incompetent doofs at using washing machines or performing other household chores, as the stereotype goes). Or look at how well he drinks beer while watching NFL, that man o mine.

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  18. The Bible mentions artisans in the Old Testament (guys who could sew and carve stuff, etc), and I think some of them were noted to be men?

    Funny how gender comps would probably view cooking as “woman’s work,” something, a talent God specifically bestowed on women, yet many of the top chefs (who are worth MILLIONS) are men.

    There are women in the field too. Just watch The Food Network a couple days in a row, and you’ll see it seems about evenly split between male and female chefs.

    I think if God exists, God gives talents and skills without regard to gender, and that is what the Bible seems to say in a few verses. I think it’s culture that tries to divvy and classify skills and talents into gender categories.

    I have read in articles that talents and occupations that were once considered “women’s work,” or in the woman’s sphere, were not valued by society until MEN entered those fields – and then society said, “this activity had value!” Then women get shoved out of those areas pretty much, and the men earn more at whatever it is.

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  19. Diane said,

    Well, thank God her instruction was done lovingly–and thank you, Erik, for letting us all know it was done lovingly… because heaven forbid a wife instruct her husband on anything…much less done unlovingly.

    The reverse of this, and what is getting on my nerves lately (though I’ve picked up on it years ago), is how gender complementarians try to sugar coat their sexist views by telling women things like
    (this also comes up in a lot of televised sermons I see about marriage by male pastors, and some female pastors who buy into comp):
    —–
    “But it’s all done in love!! If your husband is a “servant leader,” and he LOVES you, that makes you being “second class” and submissive in the relationship a-okay!
    “You should be happy, feel safe and secure, knowing that you are under your husband’s authority.
    “If your husband is a
    NICE, loving, benevolent dictator, it shouldn’t bother you at all to submit to his leadership!!”
    —–
    Some gender comp guy at the other blog was trying to say some of that today or last night.

    He doesn’t understand how or why so many women find the gender comp teaching about womanly submission and other gender comp teachings offensive.

    We should view it as being a good thing, he thinks, because it has good and loving intentions behind it, and if this stuff is carried out lovingly, well, we should be fine with it and not see it as insulting.

    I’m sorry, but no. I have a hard time accepting that sexism is right or good, no matter how pretty a package it comes wrapped in, and no matter how many cherry picked Bible verses are tossed into the mix to try to justify it.

    I don’t like nasty sexism, and I don’t like smiley-face sexism, either. Both have the same results: treating women poorly, putting unnecessary and artificial limitations on women, treating women lesser-than.

    And, on a more serious note, even “Sexism with a Happy Face” on it variety of sexism (softer, kinder gender complementarianism) endangers women and girls, who are often told things like to stay in abusive relationships and just pray for their abuser more, just submit more, rather than to get out and seek help.

    I was exposed to a kinder, gentler type of Christian gender complementarianism while growing up, and it harmed me a great deal in other ways from youth and my adulthood, which I won’t get into here, or else this post will be ten feet long.

    I’m having to work through the negative ramifications of the softer, gentler Christian sexism I was brought up in as an adult.

    I also just find a lot of the assumptions about women and girls that is inherent in the “Happy Face” form of Gender Complementarian teachings very insulting and condescending.

    Like

  20. Dash said,

    “DUUHR LOOK SHE DONE MADE SUM PURTY THINGS DUUUUUUUHR”

    I used to watch a lot of HGTV, a show where designers remake rooms and what all.

    It’s another network featuring a creative career area that is evenly split between men and women.

    I was all the time seeing men on there who did wonderful jobs redecorating rooms. They could pick nice paint colors, fabrics, etc., just as well as the lady designers did.

    Like

  21. Kathi said

    Okay, Julie Anne. I get it. I’ll concede to being creative.
    There are plenty of men who are not gay who work in areas that may be viewed as women’s jobs – hairdressers, makeup artists, cake decorators, bakers, interior designers, chefs, clothing designers, etc. How do these guys even manage to talk to a man who works in one of these fields?

    When I was a tween, my mother got her hair cut by a hetero man. She felt he was one of the best hair dressers she ever had.

    Anyway, he frequently shared with her how often people assumed her was a homosexual, even though he was not. It drove him nuts getting mistaken for a homosexual all the time.

    Like

  22. I have the same concern Brenda R mentioned about him baptizing her creativity. It’s a by-product of comps/patriarchists seeing a husband as the priest for the wife and kids. Blech. He’s not their priest, and baptizing something into the kingdom just cheapens people’s understanding of what baptism really is.

    Also, if being that creative and attentive to detail is what women do, how does he look at Bezalel and Oholiab and their skills for constructing the tabernacle? Does this author think they were womanly because they could make beautiful things?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Tim said,

    Does this author think they were womanly because they could make beautiful things?

    Some of the gender complementarians seem to think of God the Father as Ultimate Manly Man He Man.

    Well, Jesus said that God the Father made the “flowers of the field.” (The NT also says Jesus played a part in the creation too, but I digress).

    Their manly man He man God made the pretty flowers in the fields. I wonder how they reconcile stuff like that?

    Like

  24. How about he marvel as much when she’s cleaning up the house, cooking and taking care of his laundry, and serving the whole family. Does she only get to be marveled at when she’s doing something “frilly” and “cute”? Is she still “hot” away from her Pinterest board?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. “Ultimate Manly Man He Man”

    Sounds like a parody comic superhero idea in the making…

    Like

  26. “I’ve seen gum balls color-coded, paper cut outs, cup cakes and napkins match, balloons, sparkly soda, snow sprinkles on a red table cloth [sic], swirly straws, and even a big metal bucket filled with ice…” = Wow… Imagine all that TGC creativity…under a blacklight, with a little Dark Side of the Moon on the turntable. Who said these folks don’t know how to party?!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I’ve come to baptize it into the spiritual realm
    What does this even mean? Does this even have semantic meaning?

    Like

  28. Oh how I am marveling at all of your marvelous, creative responses. I almost zoomed past them all, but decided to read the details.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Kathi said,

    Oh how I am marveling at all of your marvelous, creative responses. I almost zoomed past them all, but decided to read the details.

    I see what you did there.

    To be fair though, I’d say men are equally capable of stopping and marveling at our genius remarks, not just the ladies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Well, I think this fella had to compliment his wife in such a fashion to bolster the Comp doctrine. Because, see….her creativity can be *baptized* since she isn’t going outside the acceptable boundaries to use her creativity. So he comes off patronizing…you’re a nice, little wifey. You know your place. Just don’t try to use that creativity outside of homemaking. Then I, as your Servant/Leader/Master, will not be able to baptize such creativity. But his semonette fails when he begins by saying that “We all know that women are very different from men.” – Then goes on to praise his wife’s creativity and attention to details saying: “This is what women do.” – Only to tear town that thesis by observing that: “…God is a God of detail.” So, if God is a God of detail, and women are good at details, but men not so much, then I suppose we must conclude that women imitate God in their creativity. Furthermore, there must be some feminine creativity in God’s character according to Erik, thus dismantling the Complementarian view of God. Erik, your conclusion about God does not support your thesis statement and the statements about your wife’s attention to detail. Hello? He really should have had someone read his article before he posted it to TGC. Perhaps his wife with her attention to detail could have pointed out this contradiction. Sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

  31. And to add to my above comment – if God is a God of detail, and men aren’t that good at details but women are, then perhaps it isn’t out of order for women to advise their husbands on matters of significance when making decisions in the home. And perhaps hubby doesn’t always have to have the final say in everything if he is lacking in certain areas where his wife is more gifted. Just a thought for Erik to consider should he ever visit this blog. 😉

    Like

  32. By the way, I commented on Lori Alexander’s blog article, “Never Abdicate YOur Throne” in which she encourages women to endure verbal abuse from their husbands, all in the name of God. I doubt whether she will post it, but one never knows. Julie Anne, I think that particular article would be a good one for you to dissect. It’s got to be one of the most detrimental views in Patriarchy. A woman is supposed to allow her husband to bully and abuse her, even in front of the children, and this will somehow cause the children to want Jesus over the world. That article should be titled, “Being Joyfully Bullied For Jesus: Instruction on how to suffer abuse from your husband.”

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  33. Dash: Loved all your comments! You nailed it!

    Ken Garrett: I laughed so hard at this that it took more than a full minute before I could open my eyes to reread it. Thanks for the laugh — I really needed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I just left a comment on Lori Alexander’s blog article, “Never Abdicate Your Throne”. She obviously has never read the entire story of Abigail. She actually went from one undesirable marriage to another of a different sort. David not only married Abigail, but another woman at the same time. I see that as less than desirable. I am also sure than my comment will not make it through moderation.

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  35. Brenda – I read Lori’s article about sending young women to The Master’s College for the Home Economics program. I have a feeling that The Master’s College offers this program so that the men on campus have a good wife to pick from. I have no problem with women (and men) learning home/life skills. I can think of cheaper ways to do it than a college tuition.

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  36. Yes indeed. I got my Master’s in Home Ec at home and never cost a penny. I learned from my mother all of those skills. I could have just placed a picture and resume on campus. Sending those women to the college is only so they will be married off. This was the desire of my mother also. Get through high school, get married and have babies. A college degree was unnecessary. I taught both my girls AND my boys these basic skills.

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  37. The world tells us we must think of Bruce Jenner as a woman because of clothes, makeup, and hair.

    “Therefore, when I look at the frills, the colors, the designs, the Pinterest Boards, the sketches, and the actual parties, I can marvel at the way in which my wife loves the person she is honoring. This reminds me of how our Father loves to honor our glorious Savior.”

    I suspect he has a problem understanding that metaphors are extended figures of speech.

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  38. Brenda, well my comment was not posted, but no surprise there. Any positions challenging Lori’s might cause the women who read that blog to actually use their minds and think. How children watching their mother be verbally abused with profanity, while she keeps her mouth shut and allows her children to be in such an environment will not cause them to choose Jesus over the world. Anyone with common sense thinking would know that this makes no sense. But in Lori’s and Ken’s world, women being silent when men are present is a high calling.

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  39. Darlene,
    My comment wasn’t posted either, but I didn’t think it would. All that children watching their mother’s being treated like this promotes is more generations of abusers and women who take it. Between Lori and Ken, I don’t think there is a drop of common sense to be had.

    Like

  40. Personally, after having read the article, I ran, ran, ran to our Bibles for the word “created” leapt off of the page like a grasshopper. As children, many of us loved God’s creation truth presented at the very beginning of His Word:

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 To fully fathom and understand the power, the might, the amazing creativity of our Father Who art in Heaven remains but a mystery to our very limited minds. And to create such beauty and call it good in six days, fully resting upon the seventh; who among the peoples of all generations throughout the history of mankind can fully comprehend the magnitude of our God? I cannot, in this fallen earthly vessel (my physical and spiritual being) living on this fallen earth, truly and fully understand it all.

    The first creator, God, was the Father of all Creators, and His pinterest board is the earth and everything in it for us to stand in awe and wonderment of it all. And according to my limited spiritual understanding, I cannot find where God “baptized” His creation into the spiritual realm.

    Does this mean we can now baptize our animals for the sake of them entering into the spiritual realm?

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