My friend Kimberly posted this about Mark Drisoll and his teachings at Mars Hill Church here in Seattle. I'm concerned about some things going on there and Kim wrote about this subject - I just feel significant unrest about the teachings there. I'll paste what she wrote here and her blog is here.
"So, you have to forgive me for talking about Mark Driscoll again– I know he is just one of many voices on the gender issue. But, he is in my hometown and I am just getting more and more concerned by what his church (Mars Hill) is dictating on gender. Actually, concern is too kind. I am appalled.
You really ought to read this blog, which is the confession of a mother at his church who condemns herself for not being content with being at home. (The blog is part of the official church website, which in the past year has added women writers.) She tells the story of how much she has longed to finish her Masters program (she has 10 credits left), but she finally has repented of desiring anything but motherhood. Here's an except so you can get the feel for how she describes the months after having a child:
"I was miserable. I felt isolated. I missed my job. I missed my old work friends. I missed commuting. I missed my morning Starbucks drive through. My husband was taken care of. My daughter was thriving. But I was going crazy. I felt like my brain was rotting with every load of laundry I did. Every morning I woke up dreading the day and how I would fill the hours, regardless of how many activities I had planned. I was filled with resentment, bitterness, and discontentment.
Isaiah 59:2 - “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
In September, a month after our daughter was born, God blessed us yet again. Samson was offered a job and came on staff at Mars Hill. An amazing opportunity and one we had been praying for and yet I was immediately seized with fear. Great, I thought. I could keep up the happy housewife faÃ§ade with my husband and friends, but under the watchful eye of an entire church? I would surely buckle under the pressure. Everyone would know how much I loathed being home. How would people react when they knew the truth? They would be shocked at my worldliness. They would shake their heads at my husband’s inability to shepherd his wife.
I grew increasingly angry with God. This isn’t how it was supposed to be! Where was my peace? Where was the joy and relief that I was supposed to feel? Hadn’t God called me home? Hadn’t he impressed this on my heart? I was surrounded by a wonderful supportive community. My husband was the most appreciative doting father, my daughter was the happiest sweetest baby, my friends were always there to guide me and walk with me. This is what I wanted, right? This was the calling that God had made me for. I was designed to be a mother to my child, a helper suitable to my husband.
I believed it in my head but I didn’t feel it in my heart. I was ashamed and shocked at myself. I was so disgusted with the ugly and horrendous condition of my heart that I couldn’t tell anyone, not even my husband. It was a secret sin that I harbored within myself. And the longer I kept my secret, the more the sin grew. I began to resent my husband and daughter for needing me. I grew bitter towards women who could answer God’s calling with a joyful heart when I could not. I knew what I was feeling was wrong, but I couldn’t confess it because by now I felt my sin was too great. I had been feeding it for too long and it had grown out of control."
Also, it is a 2 part posting, and you can read the second part here. Here is an excerpt of how the writer feels when she decides to "repent" of pursuing her Masters degree:
"I confessed and repented to my husband and daughter for the selfishness and singularity of my sin. I embraced my role as wife and mother the best I could and slowly began to feel a joy and peace in my life that can only come from living for God’s will and not my own. I was not completely full, because in this life we never are, but I was walking with the Lord. I was headed in the right direction.
Slowly and painfully I am coming to grips with the fact that I will never finish my Master’s degree. By now my student loan payments have started to kick in, a monthly reminder of that part of me I feel is so incomplete. My graduate student standing has long since expired, but I can’t bear to take myself off the department mailing list. I keep my textbooks tucked away in a dusty box, just in case the Lord changes His mind. I still have that darker part of my soul that hangs on to the temptation for a life apart from God to pursue my own glory."
My disclaimer: I think being a homemaker is honorable, but I think women should have choice in this. And when your theology and social networks tell you it is straight up sinful to desire anything different, than you don't really have much choice. There is just so much harm to analyze here on a psychological and sociological level. I want to weep when I read this story, and the stories of the woman who write in to say they also have "sinned" by desiring more than marriage and motherhood. When will people see how much this theology harms women (and men and their families, too)?
I think the comments of fellow readers might be even more insightful too help us see the psychological harm women are undergoing at that church. Consider these comments of women praising the article:
"(Almost) every Sunday for the last 7 years since I officially ended my ‘career’, I ferret the Seattle Times Job Classified section to find all the jobs in the legal field I ‘could’ have. For some reason (that I quit analyzing or agonizing or guilting myself over many editions ago), this is comforting, to think there are jobs out there that I could pursue. Then Mark shakes his head and winks at me as he hands me the stinky kitchen rag that really should have went in the laundry yesterday, I wipe Jack’s oatmeal off the floor and last nights dirt from Henry’s nose before I sound my last holler alarm to the teenagers to GET UP NOW. (As a sidenote, occasionally, I still get cold feet when I think of my marriage, but that’s another story.) God is faithful and good to conform us into the image of His Son (that’s what this whole gig is about)."
"Thanks for sharing Elizabeth. My daughter was three before Christ set me “free” from my idolatry and gave me joy in being home with the kids.I would encourage you to keep on wrestling with this and pick all the weeds of wrong/worldly thinking that are associated with mothering. I thought I had pulled this one by the root until I heard my little girl say to her father last week…”When I grow up I want to be a mommy just like my mommy” How sweet, right? While this is now my thought, my first, sinful thought was “Oh no, she should go to college and do something really great…not just be a mom.” OUCH! Immediately I cringed, “where did that thought come from?”