Revive Our Hearts Radio

Sacred Motherhood

Leslie Basham: Mary Kassian has written books critiquing feminism, yet she still finds herself feeling like a feminist in practical life situations.

Mary Kassian: When I sometimes evaluate my thoughts and the way that I approach situations, and when I ask myself the hard questions, “Why am I thinking this way?” I come to the conclusion that I’m thinking this way because this is how culture has taught me how to think.

Leslie: Today she’ll show you how to develop a biblical approach to these practical situations.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 14, 2014.

Yesterday, we heard part one of a conversation about the influence of feminism in the world and in the church. Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian were discussing part of their workbook called True Woman 101: Divine Design. They were joined by their friends Kim Wagner, Carolyn McCulley and Dannah Gresh.

As part of that conversation, they discussed the background and philosophy of feminism through the twentieth century. Many feminist leaders hoped a promiscuous lifestyle would give women a new sense of freedom. Dannah will pick the conversation back up.

Dannah Gresh: Well, Gloria Steinem said a liberated woman is one who has sex before she’s married and a job after. And that’s just a recipe for brokenness, isn’t it? We would say that today’s teenagers and young twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings would hear that statement, and they do hear that at the True Woman events. We share some of the history with the teens. We say, “How many of you would believe this: A liberated woman is one who has sex before she’s married and a job after?” And they say, “Oh, no, no, no.”

When you really get into their hearts and ask them how they’re living their lives and what they’re believing, they do believe that statement, and they’re living it out with their actions.

Mary: They are living it out. Another famous statement of the feminist movement was, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Gloria Steinem actually was quoted as saying that, but I think someone else said it initially. I don’t think that women today would say, “Yes, they believe that,” or that they even adhere to feminism, and yet it’s the way that young women are living their lives. It's that “I’m going to be independent; I have to look out for myself, I don’t need a man.”

There’s a sense in which that’s true. But there’s a sense in which that independence . . . It’s not, “Oh, I’m dependent on God.” It’s, “I’m independent. I’m dependent on myself.” And that’s where the twisting of it comes in.

Carolyn McCulley: We don’t want young women to misunderstand either that issue about having a job, because that goes back into the first wave of feminism. We can talk about that later on, but what’s always been in my heart is the understanding that God has called women to be productive, and the home was always a place of productivity. It was a contribution in a small economy at the times. It just shifted radically in the twentieth century and became a place of consumption. So, in that argument was the idea you needed to leave the home to go and work outside.

So we don’t want people to misunderstand and think any kind of employment is bad. But in that sense, you abandoned the call, the primary, eternal call that God has given to the home for which you’re not really going to get rewarded in this life, but you will in eternity, for the allure of a commercial marketplace as being better than the sphere, the private sphere that God has said for women to invest in.

And so that shorthand we would all understand it, but I wouldn’t necessarily want younger women to be, like . . . um?

Kim Wagner: Well, and we would agree with the fact that we would encourage young women not to be dependent on a man, but their dependence is to be on their relationship with Christ, and that’s where they find their sufficiency and fulfillment, not in a relationship with a man.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It’s interesting how often Satan, from Genesis 3 on, takes something that God has set up and established and just puts a twist to it.

Mary: Yes, just enough to get us some truth.

Nancy: And on to a different trajectory. There is some truth in it, but that mixture of truth and error—and it takes you in a whole different direction.

Mary: Well, like these consciousness-raising groups that we were talking about earlier. That was a huge tool of the feminist movement where women began to gather together in small groups, hosted in homes . . .

Nancy: Which is where a lot of women were at the time

Mary: Yes. Homes, community centers, YWCAjust wherever women gathered, perhaps in the workplace with their colleagues, but wherever women were to talk about women’s issues. They very intentionally started speaking bitterness, blaming men for women’s predicament, and saying, “We need to take back our right to dethrone them and to put ourselves on the throne.”

And so, what happened with these consciousness-raising groups was, as women became angry, they became politicized. They became really energized to go out and make political changes in their world and to write their letters and to make their demands

Nancy: Mobilize

Mary: Yes, and to mobilize, and each one of those groups would form their own groups. It really was a grassroots movement of women who are such powerful influencers, influencing their girlfriends, influencing their girlfriends. So you have this radicalization of women and this reprogramming—and they talk about the feminist consciousness-raising click. It's where that click comes when a woman sees the light to realize that all of her problems and all the problems in the world and all the problems of women can be blamed on men.

Dannah: If I could just say . . . I’m passionate about this because I feel like my big, baby boy is taking the brunt of this.

Nancy: Your baby boy who is how old?

Dannah: My baby boy, who is a young adult man, but our boys, our sons, our grandchildren are feeling the repercussions of this. When we were writing Lies Young Women Believe, we were getting to the root of how teenagers and twenty-something women were really believing the lie that a job was just so much more important and fulfilling than being a wife and a mom. If that happened, it was okay, but she really needed to be a college graduate with a great job, and then she would have value.

And so I was asking my son and his best friend, “Do you feel that? As college students at the time, do you feel that?”

And they’re like, “Oh, my, yes! The way that the Christian college girls talk about the second-class status of being a wife and a mother, if we talked like that, we would be taken out to the streets. 

Nancy: About being a husband and a father

Dannah: If I said, “Oh, I’m going to have a great job, but if I’m a husband and a dad, all right, whatever.” He used the word, “They would say I was a jerk. They would say, ‘That is so selfish and so self-centered, and how can a man speak like that?'” But that’s how the girls are talking, the Christian girls. They’ve been so inundated by this message.

Kim: Well, and it’s affecting our young men, and they’re growing—this is generalizing—but growing more passive

Dannah: Yes, more passive/aggressive.

Kim: They are not wanting to take up the mantle of responsibilities, and so you have this adolescent-adult age. 

Dannah: adult-escent

Kim: Yes, that extends far into adulthood. I saw an article last week about “Man: The New Woman” because of all of the new feminine articles for men—not just a “man purse,” but all kinds of articles of clothing that used to be for women only. So it’s affected our young men.

Mary: And it’s affected our young men just in terms of saying that masculinity is inferior when it’s in a male.

Kim: Right.

Mary: But those masculine traits when they’re in a female are applauded. Where it’s frowned upon for my young men to demonstrate that they have initiative and drive and that they’re wanting to be manly and take strong leadership. 

Or even just as simple as in sports. You really get in there with the guys and boom around, and that’s, “Oh, you shouldn’t let them do that. They might get hurt.” And yet, at the same time, when women are doing that, that’s applauded. And so there’s this double message that really is, “Well, the girls should develop all these masculine traits,” but if they show up in a guy, that’s not good news.

Dannah: I’ve just taken two years to trace how the feminist movement has impacted our sons. I believe that we really need to start with our children when they’re very small to re-educate them, to infiltrate them with the biblical worldview.

But the adult-escent term is used to describe that twenty- or thirty-something man who is so busy playing Call of Duty that they have no actual call of duty in his life, no real call of duty. He’s busy in front of the PlayStation. He is overweight because he eats chips and soda all day. He is probably living at home or in a bachelor pad with a bunch of guys, a bachelor pad that hasn’t been cleaned in so long.

This wasn’t seen thirty years ago, forty years ago. Young men at that age had jobs. They had wives or were seeking wives. They were excited to be men that had children. They wanted to raise a family.

And my heart, what I came to is that the feminist movement in telling men that they were bad, they’ve kind of risen up to that calling.

Nancy: Or fallen down to it.

Dannah: Or fallen down to it. What God has called our men to is goodness. He’s called them to goodness, and that is that they would think towards and for others. They would be useful towards others.

When you trace the Scripture and look at the word “good,” whether it’s talking about God or it’s talking about our call to be good, it’s talking about man and woman both thinking towards and for others. And it’s that what the feminist movement has taken away from us?

Mary: We’re just thinking about ourselves. "I’m independent. I don’t need you, thank you very much. I can take care of myself. I don’t welcome your manhood in my life." Wouldn’t you say, Carolyn, that that’s a real, it’s a sort of a core thing that has happened through this ideology.

I have a real burden, especially for my younger brothers in Christ, just to know that they can pick up the mantle of masculinity and run with it and not fear rejection. That’s such a major thing. If I make a choice, if I don’t do well here, I’m doing to be rejected on whatever front, so it’s better not to do so.

And so, in much in the same way we often tell young women that it’s worth it to wait, to be pursued, to wait on God and not to manipulate things yourselves. In the same way, I encourage them: You trust God by risking rejection.

The part that we play as sisters and friends in Christ to our brothers is to build them up in their encouragement, to remind them of the faithfulness of God. And every time you do that, it’s like a little bit of just water in the desert. I can make just the most seemingly, to me, trivial remarks of encouragement. I will hear back from friends and guys in the church just saying, “Thank you. That really encouraged me. That reminded me that God is worthy of my trust.” 

We don’t have to fear all of this, as severe and sobering as it is, because we know that God has given us the power of influence in our speech to be able to build these men up in the variety of relationships around us so that they are different.

I see that, I do see that. For all the dire predictions, I look into my church, and I see young men who are serious about being godly. They’re serious about their relationships. To me, it would always be so funny to hear them, like in their late teens, early twenties, talking about, “When I get married, I’m going to do this . . .” I always thought it was the girls. But they were taking that seriously, and really wanting to do it.

Mary: What’s interesting to me is that this whole change was based on the question: “What’s going to make women happy?” And that was, we said, about in the 1960s, early 60s, saying: “Women are going to be happy when we’re independent, when we’re financially independent, when we don’t have to associate ourselves with a male. In fact, we'll be happy when we very intentionally don’t associate ourselves with a male, when we get out in the work force, when we’ve got money, when we can do what we want sexually, when there’s no stigma to women sleeping around.”

I want to get into third-wave feminism in just a moment

Nancy: Here’s my question: Did it make them happy?

Mary: Well, that’s exactly what I was going to say. What’s real interesting is that Time did a survey: “The State of the American Woman” in, I think, it was October 2009. They took a look at history and statistics and concluded that as woman’s power and her impact and everything that she wanted—she started having more money, more prominence in the work place, more power—as everything increased for her . . .

Nancy: As they accomplished all of their objectives . . .

Mary: Yes, they accomplished all of their objectives, her level of happiness decreased, exponentially. And so she is unhappier now. Women, as a whole, are unhappier now than when the feminist movement set about to solve the problem of women’s unhappiness.

Carolyn: But you know, we see that in 1 Timothy. I was thinking the whole time I was reading what you all have written, I was thinking of the fact that Paul’s encouraging Timothy to evaluate women in terms of their godliness, and especially the widows who needed help from the church. He talked about those who were godly, who would put all their hopes and trust in the Lord.

But then he goes on to say in 1 Timothy 5:6, “but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.” And that is just the theme for our times.

Mary: Yes. When we grab hold of the whole thing that we can control our own lives, and we can be happier when we do it our ways than God’s way, if we self-indulge in that way, then, yes, we just become more and more miserable.

Nancy: I want to just point out here that this whole thing of feminism—we don’t want to sound like we’re on a rant. Like Carolyn reminds us, feminists are not the enemy.

Mary: And, in fact, I see so many of those ways of thinking in my own heart, in my own life.

Nancy: That’s what I want to ask and point out. Mary, this is where your book was really so enlightening to me. It showed how that philosophy, that ideology had permeated and infiltrated religious circles, the church, but it’s not just liberal churches out there. As Carolyn has pointed out, the seeds of feminists’ thinking is in all our hearts.

So I let me just ask for some discussion here: How have you seen those seeds in your own life, in your own walk?

When I was in my early thirties I was asked to serve on a board of trustees for a large seminary. There were sixty-three men serving at the time, and I was the only woman.

Mary: The only one?

Kim: The only one, and when people would hear that I was going to be serving on a board with so many men, they would say to my husband, “Oh, aren’t you concerned about Kim, working on a board with that many men making decisions?”

He said, “Oh, I’m not worried about her. I’m worried about those sixty-three men.”

We might laugh about that now, but I’m very ashamed of that now. He knew I could hold my own or maybe even demean or intimidate them. And that’s not something to be proud of. So I struggled with using gifts and abilities that God had given me as a young woman in a way that really was not beneficial to the kingdom when I demeaned men, or I used to intimidate others.

Nancy: I think that’s a challenge for all of us as women with gifts and strong opinions and ideas and personalities. As we’ve talked with each other, we’ve all wrestled with some of those aspects. I know I can.

I work with a lot of men in our ministry, and I can walk into a room, into a meeting and adversely affect the climate or the tone of what’s going on there without saying a word. And when I start to say words, I can really be controlling, negative, critical—just pull down the atmosphere. And what I’m really doing is asserting myself above rather than what Paul says in Philippians, “esteem others better than yourself.” I’m esteeming myself, my interests,  what matters to me above them. And I just watch then what happens.

I’ve seen men get deflated, get discouraged, disheartened. Not just by me, but by the way that sometimes the way we women can be. And I’m miserable. It doesn’t make us happy to be “girls rule, guys drool.” That’s not a way to joy.

Kim: It can happen so easily and often unintentionally if we’re not thoughtful about how we treat men—just with a raised eyebrow, with a tone of voice—whether it’s to family members or friends or pastors, coworkers.

Nancy: We can do it in one-on-one relationships to where Proverbs talks about it, “Living with a woman who is a nag.”

Dannah: Is that the Nancy Leigh DeMoss version?

Nancy: Right. Scripture says he’d rather live on the corner of the rooftop. It can just drive a man crazy.

Dannah: Right. And I’ve read that verse with a lot of conviction on some days.

Mary: I think the feminist movement affects us all, and I don’t even think I understand or realize how much I’ve been affected by it. And sometimes it comes and hits me in the face and I just go, “Whoa! I didn’t realize how affected I’ve been by that.”

And just, for an example, my husband and I were doing marriage counseling with a young couple. Her desire was to really be a wife and a mom, and so she didn’t have a lot of career aspirations, and she didn’t have a career plan, and she didn’t have a big post-secondary education plan.

I remember having this thing in my spirit going, “Well, she should be getting her education. It would be wise of her to have a little bit of a life plan for herself.” I remember just catching myself and thinking, “Well, why do I think that? And why do I think that way? And what is it that I have assimilated from my culture that causes me to think that way?

Or even in terms of women having children or delaying marriage, it’s like, “Oh, well, you shouldn’t get married. You’re a teenager.” But all these things, I think we need to take a look at, and be very intentional about taking a look at. I’m not saying there’s one way to look at it, but to evaluate why is it that we think the way that we think. Is it a biblically informed world view? Or is it just a world informed world view?

Nancy: Have we just imbibed the culture?

Mary: Right. Have we just imbibed the culture? And I, sad to say, when I sometimes evaluate my thoughts and the way that I approach situations, and when I ask myself the hard questions: “Why am I thinking this way?” I come to the conclusion that I’m thinking this way because this is how culture has taught me how to think.

Nancy: Well, and here is where we come back to. We did a little history lesson here and talked about how feminism developed, it was a crash course, but a key word is they were intentional. They had an agenda. They knew where they wanted to head. They were not going to be deterred by people who didn’t agree with them because at the beginning, most people didn’t agree with them. They set out to have a revolution to influence the culture. So they were intentional. By every means and every possible way, they were exerting their influence.

If we want to see Christian women begin to think as Christian women, to think biblically, to think Christianly, to represent the heart and spirit of Christ in our world, to reflect His beauty, we’ve got to be intentional.

As we’ve been talking today, a verse from Proverbs chapter 5 has come to mind. It’s verse 6, and it’s talking about a foolish woman. In the context, she’s an influential woman, but she has a negative influence on the men around her and on her culture. It says of this woman that “she does not ponder the path of life and therefore her ways wander, and she does not know it.” She’s oblivious to the fact that she is not following in the right ways.

As we’ve talked about how intentional the feminists were in developing their ideology and promoting it in our culture, I’m reminded that we need to be intentional as women about pondering, thinking about, considering, meditating on the path of life, the ways of righteousness, God’s way, the gospel way. As we ponder the path of life, we can be assured that our ways will not wander, but they will go in the ways of God, and we will lead others in His ways.

We need to be smart when it comes to the messages we listen to. Culture promotes a way of thinking about womanhood that is just decidedly feminist. Its solution to the battle of the sexes is to undermine and dismantle God’s divine design. And how does it do that? By convincing women that they have the right to self-define.

We hope you’ve seen this week that this strategy of Satan is as old as time. It didn’t work for Eve. It didn’t work for solving the problems identified by the feminist movement, and it won’t work for you. True fulfillment and true joy come when we lay down the right to self-define.

Keep in mind that was the goal of the early feminist movement—to find fulfillment and joy. In seeking after that, they didn’t find it, but we can find that joy and fulfillment as we lay down our rights to be our own gods and masters and instead say, “Lord, You are my God. You are my master. I am choosing to walk in surrender, in joyful glad-hearted obedience to Your ways.”

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss encouraging women to submit their lives to the Lord and find fulfillment in Him. She’s been talking with Mary Kassian. The two of them have written a workbook called True Woman 101: Divine Design.

Three friends joined them today to talk about chapter 6 in that workbook. We heard Carolyn McCulley, Dannah Gresh, and Kim Wagner.

True Woman 101 will take you through the Scripture to help you develop biblical thinking on womanhood. You’ll learn how to live out God’s design for your life as you go through the study.

We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. When you call with your donation, ask for True Woman 101. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, I hope you’ll be back with us next week. Barbara Rainey will tell us about a resource that helps your children or grandchildren focus on Jesus and learn more about Him through the Lenten season. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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