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I have something to say. It is not a sin for a woman to work or volunteer out side of her home. I have been reading Christian blogs for over a year now. In that time I have seen a lot of mention of Titus 2 women and modesty and I have decided to speak out about it. That's right. Soap box time.
Let me start with Titus 2 Women. In Titus we find Paul writing to Titus who is a minister it seems in Crete. In chapter 2 he suggests to Titus that he teach older women (these are women who are older and who's children are grown) "To be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women (that's the rest of us) to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the Word of God." (NIV Bible) This is not a command that women must stay home and not work at a job outside of the home and not volunteer. Lydia, if you'll remember, was a seller of purple. No where does it say that she did this out of her home. Maybe she had a shop somewhere. Oh the thought! Though it may not have been the norm in Bible times for women to work outside of their home, it was also not uncommon. If it had been uncommon or considered wrong even by Paul, I would think that he would have mentioned it or said how wrong it was for Lydia to leave her home to work. I realize that the King James Version of the Bible says "to be keepers at home" instead of "to be busy at home". The fact of the matter is that if this verse meant that women are to stay at home and not go out to do anything then those women who followed Jesus from town to town when he was teaching were wrong to do so because they were not staying at home. Working outside the home is not a sin unless the Lord has laid it on your heart to be a stay at home wife or mother or unless your husband has told you he does not want you to have an outside job. It's one of those decision, like birth control, to be made inside the triangle of marriage (see the image at the top of the post) We are commanded several times in scripture that we are to respect and obey our husbands because he is the head of the home. This is not easy to swallow for a lot of us, however that command also does not mean we must obey them in everything. It is meant for a true Christian husband and wife. Unfortunately there are many mixed marriages out there where the husband is not truly born again. In these cases for a wife to obey her husband when he wants her to do something morally wrong would be sin. (lying, cheating, sexual immorality etc.) We are to obey in the Lord. God is first. Husband is second. Our priorities in life should be God first, Husband second, Children third and then vocation weather it be working or volunteering.
Another thing about these Titus 2 wives. The older women, those with grown children, are the ones to be doing the teaching. Those of us who still have our husbands and younger children at home are classified as the younger women. This does not mean we cannot encourage each other in the Lord, but it does mean not to set your self up as a life teacher to others. The older women are to teach because they have lived their lives. They have raised their children, and they have a lot of life experience, perspective, and years of serving the Lord. I would put forth Connie from Texas as an older woman who's teaching I take to heart. She is not perfect. She does not have all the answers, but she has a lot of perspective and a real love for the Lord and a lot of Godly wisdom. An admonition from a woman like her I would not take lightly because she knows of what she speaks. When I see young women telling others how to run their marriages and families, I am annoyed. It is one thing to blog about your life and what works for you and your personal convictions. It is yet another to tell people that your convictions must be theirs or they are in sin. I imagine that we all interpret the Bible a little differently. There is no one human on this planet that has it all right. NOT ONE. The way our family chooses to live is not by one denominations view points but by the Bible. We seek to do what the Bible says, not what man says or what any particular church says. I would challenge everyone to go to the Word. What does it say? Ask the Lord to reveal to your heart the things He would have you do. Remember that parts of the Bible are literal, parts are conceptual, and parts had to do with the culture of the time. To literally be a "keeper at home" you could never leave even to go to church or the grocery store. This is not reasonable and it is not in keeping with the spirit of the Word. I believe the NIV puts it better that we are to be busy at home. Meaning not lazy or couch potatoes but keeping busy which helps to keep us from sin.
Now about modesty. I'm all for it. I don't wear skirts/dresses all the time and I don't wear pants all the time. I like to look feminine and pretty. I like to look like a woman. I personally believe the verse in the old testament that refers to men not wearing women's clothing and women not wearing men's clothing means just that. Don't be a cross-dresser. If you're a man look like one. If you're a woman look like one. And for pitty's sake girls, and guys, act like one. I see a lot of blogging related to woman's dress but I have yet to see anything regarding a man's. Men jogging in those spandex biking shorts and topless is not what I would consider modest, but no one wants to say anything about it. So I will. It would seem from the blogs that modesty is only for women. Is that so? I don't think so.
Lets stop with all the legalism. Jesus was against legalism and I am too but now I see it resurfacing. Let's let our lives be led with compassion and love like Christ's was and not have this judgemental attitude.
On a personal note. Since we have married I have only worked on a very part-time basis. We can afford for me to do so, my husband likes being the provider, and I like being a wife and now a mother. We prefer to take care of our children ourselves and not have them raised by day care providers. That is our family. That is what we have decided is right for us. I cannot judge others who don't follow our example. I believe that is between the husband, the wife and the Lord.
Now I realize not everyone will agree with what I've said. That's OK. I'm happy to hear from everyone. I only ask that you keep it clean and kind.