On Christian Female Bloggers I: Who Should They Be?

Author’s Note: I hope my readers find this first entry worth the wait. It’s been tough to decide how to section up this piece. On the plus side: Just me talking about this has stirred up a lot of conversation on the topic. As I followed the links to female Christian bloggers that were left to me, I found several of them have been writing scurrilously about female teachers. That doesn’t even include Dalrock, Deep Strength, and others from the blogs I read for my own pleasure and edification.

But as for you [Titus], teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

In this passage we have the most robust statement in the Scriptures of what women teachers look like, what they should teach, and who they should teach. Bloggers on Christian marriage, I think one must agree, are a kind of teacher so in whatever way we judge them, St. Paul’s instructions to Titus must figure largely–if not prominently!–in any discussion of how to judge a female Christian blogger.

In the post I mean to correct, I brought up a distinction between an indicative (a description of what and how a this is) and an imperative (commands on what it is to do). St. Paul was fond of pairing up a set of linked indicatives with an set of imperatives. We see them throughout his letters to the churches. What sort of woman should qualify for a teacher of women?

All of them.

Well, at least the older ones. Paul says, “Older women are likewise to…” and then goes into a list of indicatives of older Christian women. Are there any Christian woman who are to be irreverent in behavior, slanderers, or slaves to much wine? No. In the same way as all Christian women are to be reverent, all Christian women are to be teachers of the younger women. He gives an imperative: “They are to teach”, Paul wrote, once they are older.

What does older mean? I think it could be fairly interpreted a couple ways. The first is a mother of a mother. It is unavoidably natural that a mother of a mother would have teachings for the younger. A grandmother has successfully raised her own children, and if she is a Christian grandmother then she should still be married, or a widow, or–at worst–a repentant and chaste woman who confesses her foolishness to the younger women that they might learn from her sins.

The second demarcation I can countenance for an older woman is menopause. It has been my experience that once a woman sails beyond the Red Tide that she ceases to become so irrational and carried away, and often becomes (emotionally and mentally) something nearer to an old man than a young woman. In a word: Self-controlled.

Part of that self-control will be exhibited in her long hair (if she can help it; covered if she can’t). It will also show in her lack of public prophecy (“The Lord spoke to my heart…”) which is rampant and shameless among female Christian writers. Unless she is prepared to be sought out, questioned mightily, and ready to confess that she heard an audible voice as the prophets of old did, I want to hear nothing of the Lord “speaking to her”. It’s blasphemy at the least and likely an evil spirit.

She, the older woman teacher, will also confess and profess what is good; the list of which is greater than this post, but I will cover in the near future. Mind you: She doesn’t just teach what she is good at, or what she would like to be good, but what is good.

Of the female Christian bloggers which were recommended to me as good teachers only one met this simple criteria: Lori Alexander; who has been on my blogroll. The rest are young by any standard except a teenager’s. Again, I want to point out that older women teaching the younger is an imperative; they all ought to be doing it. So what we’re seeing isn’t just a bunch of young foolish whipper-snappers, but a dearth of old, self-controlled, biddies.

This wasn’t the conclusion I thought I’d reach when I started thinking seriously about female teachers, but I can’t see any other explanation.

Someone suggested “Thatmom.com” (the authoress of which is a grandmother) but after reading some of her posts I have concluded that she was suggested to me so that I would put the torch to her…literarily. Perhaps later I will, but I already have the next post mostly done so she will have to wait.

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21 thoughts on “On Christian Female Bloggers I: Who Should They Be?

  1. @Bruce

    I think Free Dictionary’s definitions are pretty good.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Blasphemy

    “Taking the Lord’s name in vain” would be sufficient, too. In the case I describe it is done literally for her vanity; to make herself feel holy…as if such a feeling existed. I’m dubious of a such a feeling’s existence.

    Not to get too far down a word-hole.

  2. It seems to be in their nature to do this. The female mind tends to confuse subjective feelings with reality.

    It’s also done, of course, to avoid submitting to authoritative teaching. If she “talks to God” then there’s no higher authority.

  3. I have to say I am bit shocked at your conclusion especially after that latest Lori post. If its about simply being an older woman, in 20 years or so will these younger ones then be qualified just by virtue of age even if they have nasty attitudes? Or what is to stop a young woman from setting up a blog and declaring she is older? The problem with blogs is its all appearances.

    Regarding menopausal and women being calmer, I don’t thing that necessarily correlates. Look at someone like IB, she is older and menopausal, but no calmness there.

    “It will also show in her lack of public prophecy (“The Lord spoke to my heart…”) which is rampant and shameless among female Christian writers.”

    Lori has said before that Ken thinks she is prophet. I don’t have time to find the quote now but can look for it. Also, I see a lot of women saying they are convicted (Lori too) by God to teach, to do whatever they do online, how is being convicted not the Lord speaking to them in some way?

    I think what you really need to do on your side bar is rather than direct women to other women blogs..it should be a generic profile of a man and say “go to your husband”.

  4. @Stevesam

    I honestly thought I’d be starting this series saying “Only a few women should teach”.

    All the points you raised should be weighed when deciding whether a woman is teaching what is good, but do you disagree that a plain reading of Titus says that older women are to teach?

    If its about simply being an older woman, in 20 years or so will these younger ones then be qualified just by virtue of age even if they have nasty attitudes?

    Yes, but with age also comes the duty to know what is good. It is the same with a parent. Simply being a parent qualifies that person to train up a child, and there is an onus to do it properly. Christians in our society–just like everyone else–are consciously and unconsciously obsessed with “credentialism” and expertise. It’s a handy stick to beat people we don’t like (“Where’s your degree! I went to school for this!”), and a shield to deflect criticism from our failures (“I’m just a regular guy.” “I don’t know nothing about that.” “I need the help of a professional.” “We need a program.”)

    As far as specific complaints about Lori Alexander: People make mistakes. We call them on it, and we watch and see if they correct. We need to look for patterns; for continuance in errors. My posts aren’t perfect, either. Voddie Baucham sometimes says things with which I don’t agree. What we want to see a majority of good, and repentance and correction of what is not good.

  5. I don’t disagree on the older women part of the verse, its just older women does not necessarily mean wise or has a good attitude and this is where discernment comes into play. Just because they have the duty to know what is good, doesn’t mean they actually will. Women have a duty to submit to their husband at any age, dosn’t mean they actually will.
    I don’t disagree on credentialism and am not saying these older women need credentials or anything like that. to some degree though, their age is their credential–tenured in once they are 50 and past menopause. This gives them authority to speak. If anything, I am more in support of older women teaching in the community — real life relationships where so much more can be verifiable.

    “As far as specific complaints about Lori Alexander: People make mistakes. We call them on it, and we watch and see if they correct. We need to look for patterns; for continuance in errors. My posts aren’t perfect, either. Voddie Baucham sometimes says things with which I don’t agree. What we want to see a majority of good, and repentance and correction of what is not good.”

    I agree but don’t think you have watched her closely enough. She doesn’t respond well to being called out. The tone she speaks to women who don’t agree or are trying to learn but struggling is off-putting. Comments are frequently deleted. The other day a post had 12 comments then it went to 8. I’ve watched for patterns and have just come to different conclusions.

  6. Generally speaking, the ‘older women’ passage would imply grandmothers simply because they are counseling younger women/wives who already have a husband and children.

    The word Paul uses for ‘older women’ is Greek Presbutis which is the feminine analog of Presbutes. These are the same Greek roots derived for Elders of the Church which is Presbuteros.

    @ Stevesam221

    You’re getting caught up in arguing points of zero relevance.

    Let’s say age 60. Of course we know people who are more mature than some over the age of 60. We also probably know people over the age 60 who are more immature than most. Exceptions are exceptions. They don’t prove a point wrong.

    That’s why Paul specifically lists out qualities that the older women must have in order to teach, and they must teach younger women/wives specifically.

    Paul knows when women get together they talk. Women talking with zero purpose often leads to irreverent behavior, gossip, slander, and wine. Hence, he is instructing them on what godly things to do when they get together.

    ~ Older women qualities: 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,

    ~ What they teach: 4 so that they may [b]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

  7. It’s never been anything but abundantly clear to me in all that I’ve been taught that women’s role as minister comprises that of WIFE and MOTHER. Anything and everything else is solely the discretion of the man under whose authority she has either been placed – and/or subsequently submits to.

    @DS,

    It’s interesting that you chose the age 60. Can I assume you gleaned that from scripture? Keep in mind, I know he’s talking about widows, but the role of the woman prior to her becoming widow. This is a very high bar that has been set here.

    1 Timothy 5

    v9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,

    v10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

  8. I have just sat down with and read this aloud to Mychael.

    I like where you are going with it and we will be prayerfully considering what is written.

    You may have noticed her posts at MCR have slowed down and there is not much “submission” stuff in them, but rather just homemaking/mommy stuff.

    That is by design.

    I have had very similar reactions to Lori Alexander by the way,

  9. @DS, it’s all good.

    I didn’t see 60 (sixty) in the OP, which is why I asked.

    60 is a very good number.

    Its 10 years older than I, and from my experience and observation, many of the women of faith I know of that age, seem to be quite stable (for a lack of a better word, given there are very few Christian women who impress me at all as being concerned about – or walking in – any type of holiness.)

  10. @DS and Pedat

    DS is exhibiting some form of clairvoyance because I didn’t put 60 in the OP, but it was absolutely my intention. After posting, I believe I edited “I think it could be fairly interpreted a couple ways. “ from the original “I think it could be fairly interpreted a few ways.” (Perhaps it is in a subscriber’s inbox.) The other fair interpretation was “60”, based on the age of a widow who could be entered into the rolls for care. Somehow I forgot or edited it out, and I had to go back and change few to couple.

    I believe Lori Alexander is quite close to 60.

  11. @Cane,

    Word.

    It resonates with me because my (now) 95 year old mother (widowed) used to talk about how the women (in her Church) would come to her complaining about their lives (..ie..husbands and children) but wouldn’t take her advice on how to keep the peace in their homes.

    I think that’s another thing to explore later…what happened to the Titus 2 women (wives and widows) and why their influence has exponentially diminished in the Body.

    As an aside, as I’ve spent the last 3 years digesting the red pill, and now that I’m the primary caretaker for my aging mom, I realize that all of those years I bucked against her trying to make me a mamma’s boy – I ignored so many of the red pill truths she used to tell me about women. I used to think she was hateful and mean, but as I’ve re-examined so much of what I’ve learned the hard way, I’ll be damned if she wasn’t right all along about “silly, hard-headed wimmens who don’t care nuttin’ about no Jesus..”

    In 3 cases I can for sure tell you that if I had listened to her simple words “something ain’t right about that one, Peppy…you can afford to leave that one alone”, I would have avoid MAJOR trouble (legal, financial, emotional).

    Ideally I should have been schooled by my Dad. Even though I was raised (adopted) in a two-parent home, he was there, but wasn’t “there”.

    But I digress.

    This is a good topic Cane.

    Where have they all gone? If they are like my mom, they have simply washed their hands of these broads and their foolishness…which is not an excuse, but merely reality.

  12. Where have they all gone? If they are like my mom, they have simply washed their hands of these broads and their foolishness…which is not an excuse, but merely reality.

    The few Titus 2 women who remain today in the Western, English-speaking world have a most unenviable task before them.

    Generally speaking, in order to be an effective teacher (and this applies to anybody, of any sex or age), the main prerequisite is to have students who are willing to learn. Your mother’s example clearly showed that these are/have long been in as short a supply as the older women who would teach them. I don’t doubt for a second that your mother put a very sincere effort into trying to make these younger women understand what they needed to do to restore some peace and contentment in their home lives. Alas, to paraphrase an old maxim, “bitches gonna bitch.” After a point one simply realizes that all one can do is put it at God’s feet, that one has done everything one can reasonably do to reach the person in question, but they’re just not really interested in the truth or the light, their platitudes to the contrary notwithstanding. As my own mother puts it “save your breath to cool your soup. It’s wasted otherwise.”

    Leading the horse to water and all …

  13. Interesting to read about this sort of work at a blog that has a No Female Commentor policy (which I agree with, by the way). Organisation through the internet has great potentiality, and there are so many “voices” on the internet today that there is, indeed, an opportunity for leadership.

    A.J.P.

  14. For @ Stevesam221:

    This is Ken. If your primary argument against Lori is that “Lori has said before that Ken thinks she is prophet,” you may be confused. I have one time said that Lori perhaps has the gift of prophecy, and then gone on to explain that this is not on a “foretelling” way, but a “forth telling” way. Many misunderstand the difference between the two.

    God has uniquely gifted Lori for her ministry and he is the one who has blessed it greatly even as she regularly receives attacks from people who mischaracterize what she has said in order to try to find something wrong with what she is teaching. I appreciate Cane’s willingness to mention Lori as one who does indeed meet the criteria of an older godly woman who teaches the younger women; a ministry that needs many more older women to meet the strong demand for mentoring the hearts of a hungry generation of younger Christian women.

    Lori is no Prophet or Prophetess, nor is she perfect, but living with her these past 35 years I have seen God work mightily in her heart and mind to radically change her into the wife of my dreams. I often get accused of having to control her, or dominate her, and make her write what she writes, and nothing could be further from the truth. Lori is generally right on target Biblically and the only posts she asks me to help her with are the theological ones so as to be sure that the theology is covered appropriately by one with authority to do so. From the man who lives with her, I can attest first hand that Lori is indeed an older godly woman.

    I hope this helps clear up the misconception. The root of most objections to Lori’s blog is that she is too Biblical for our modern world and church. If anyone can find anything she or I teach that is not correct Biblical we want to be challenged on it as we want everything we believe and teach to come straight from the Word of God. This is not about us, but about the Lord and advancing His Kingdom here on earth in the hearts and minds of those who choose to follow Him anywhere He wants to take them.

  15. The age of the older woman referred to by Paul was most likely 40 years and older as life expectancy was far younger in the Classical Roman times. One might extrapolate that to 45-50 years old now in that we no longer marry at 16-20, so this gives some extra time for maturity. Really the “godly” part is far more important than the older, but both are necessary to find the maturity needed to teach a younger woman who has yet to throw off the cloudiness of feelings for a strong attachment to doing “all things as a Christian.”.

  16. @Ken

    Thanks for commenting.

    The age of the older woman referred to by Paul was most likely 40 years and older […] One might extrapolate that to 45-50 years old now in that we no longer marry at 16-20, so this gives some extra time for maturity.

    In that society, 40-50 would be grandma age; which I could support. If age alone is to be the gauge, then the age of entry into the rolls of the widows is a clear sign of “elder”. Exceptions could be made, but they are made by others and not self-declared.

    Sort of an aside: I very much dislike arguments from “life expectancy” because that term is misleading about the facts and the experience. People in ancient times didn’t believe that people died old at 40 just because someone did some math and figured the average age mathematically was (say) 45 because of disease, violence, etc. When King Tut died, the Egyptians did not say to each other: “There went a middle-aged king.” The ancients knew those who died at 40 had died young; before their “time”. Scientists and historians go on and on about weird “life expectancy” so it has become embedded as a way to think about the ancients. It simply wasn’t true.

    There’s also the witness of the Psalmist: “The years of our life are seventy,
    or even by reason of strength eighty”

    That is still true so it stands to reason that between that writing and now, it was also true.

    Really the “godly” part is far more important than the older

    True, and that’s part III. However; I think it should be stressed that one shouldn’t declare oneself godly and mature and then let ‘er rip. Too many times I’ve seen and heard Paul’s encouragement to Timothy (“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”) is some personal message to all young people. No. Timothy mentored under Paul, traveled with him, was established as bishop by him, withstood angry crowds with him, Paul knew Timothy’s family and importantly Paul was an Apostle who had himself been approved by Peter and the other Apostles.

    What Timothy did not do: He did not read a shelf-full of whimsical Pink-Christian nonsense, have a good cry at a “spiritual retreat”, and then declare himself an example and teacher.

    I think there is precedent set with Timothy, but the common usage of 1 Timothy 4 for youthful encouragement is blasphemous.

  17. Agreed on all counts Cane,

    How about we allow those who know the life of an individual to say if they are godly or not, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.It is all the Lord’s work so all we can expect is that those who do love Him have jumped into ministry right were they live and work, and allow God to bless it if He so chooses.

    The problem today is not that there are no godly younger women, but there are few godly older women who even understand the God’s demand on their lives to mentor younger women. Or they feel they have noting to offer. We live in a psychology world where everyone is told not to offer advice, especially to younger women, if it is not asked for. That thinking is so far from the Biblical admonitions to exhort, admonish and encourage one another.

    I will read what more of what you have to say on the subject as time permits. I glanced with a smile at your thought of a wife bowing her knees to a husband as a sign of submission. When I mentor young Christian men who have difficult wives I tell them to stop thinking in terms of submission from their wives until they can first get them to a point of equality, and where they are treated by them with common human decency. The bridge to wifely submission must pass over equality and decency, two things too many wives are unwilling to give their husbands in this sad world of Christian marriages.

    Thanks Cane

  18. @Ken

    How about we allow those who know the life of an individual to say if they are godly or not, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.It is all the Lord’s work so all we can expect is that those who do love Him have jumped into ministry right were they live and work, and allow God to bless it if He so chooses.

    I have a different answer, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

    The problem today is not that there are no godly younger women, but there are few godly older women who even understand the God’s demand on their lives to mentor younger women. Or they feel they have noting to offer. We live in a psychology world where everyone is told not to offer advice, especially to younger women, if it is not asked for. That thinking is so far from the Biblical admonitions to exhort, admonish and encourage one another.

    Yessir. That is the conclusion I reached (and posted in Part I).

    Your point about a false psychology world is exactly right, but I don’t believe it to be true that older women aren’t offering advice. I see and hear advice all the time within my family and within my church. It’s just that most of it runs the gamut from frivolous to rebellious; with a lot of emphasis on following feelings.

    When I mentor young Christian men who have difficult wives I tell them to stop thinking in terms of submission from their wives until they can first get them to a point of equality, and where they are treated by them with common human decency. The bridge to wifely submission must pass over equality and decency, two things too many wives are unwilling to give their husbands in this sad world of Christian marriages.

    It is sad. I don’t know about the bridge of equality, but if God is blessing those men through your advice then what can I say? Mostly, it makes me think of Malcolm’s comment that it is hard for him to imagine himself telling his wife to kneel. No kidding! Of course, it’s not specifically Biblical for husbands to do that. Older women have that specific ministry, but they refuse it, and they have really hurt the whole Church.

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