Monday, November 1, 2010

I feel like some controversy

Maybe I'll get it with this post. Maybe I won't.

The idea 'A wife will either half or double her husband's ministry' is commonly tossed around.

But you never hear the inverse, which is just as true: A husband will either double or half his wife's ministry.

A husband who is lazy, overly exacting, tyrannical, angry, undisciplined, demanding, high maintenance, ungodly, burdensome... will reduce his wife's capacity to love and serve her children, friends and church. Of course he will.



  1. I didn't know you'd been talking to Jude...

  2. Of course. The exact mathemathical equation might be a little hard to prove (for the hyper-literalist), but otherwise it seems a sound principle. I don't understand what's so provocative... Why the need for provocation anyway?

  3. The need for provocation? I'm bored.

    I was just wondering why we never hear this side of it.

  4. Because bloke ministers are normally the ones saying it?

    I think particularly a non-encouraging and non-enabling husband can do a lot to erode the loving service his wife may give.

    Though in caveat, I wonder if the statement is less true because many women manage to do lots of particularly helpful ministry despite their husbands while husbands seem not to have the same resilience. That's a perception more than an empirical observation.

  5. This is just too obvious to be controversial. If you want controversy just tee Mark up to argue with me about something.

  6. I'm just wondering what circles you mix in - this is the first I've heard of that idea. Which isn't to say it or its inverse isn't true - just that it's not an idea I hear get tossed around.

  7. I have not heard it either. Maybe it is a Paid minitry circle concept. Not that it only applies/or not in paid ministry but that the idea is discussed.

  8. I'm with Nathan, I read the end to find the controversial bit and was disappointed. You are completely correct.

  9. It needs to be said. And often. And loudly.

    Particularly to boys studying at Bible Colleges and who are amongst some of the most selfish people I have ever met and whose wives are amongst some of the most stressed people I have ever encountered.

    It's easy to agree with a comment in a blog post. It's not nearly as easy to live up to.

    That should spice things up a bit.

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  11. Upon reflection, I think this post is provocative, but because of the motive and not the content. Why try and stir up controversy out of boredom? How healthy is that?

  12. Wow Dave. Why do you read blogs at all? Don't you sometimes just feel like having a discussion about something?

    This issue's been playing out in my head for the last few days. Izaac started it over on his blog. I posted my thoughts this morning because I'm packing up my house and thought some kind of debate would help me. An interesting chat with friends while I'm putting things into boxes...

    I find my motives in this reasonable.

  13. Simone,
    Stepping apart from the cream filled controversy raging one post to the right, here are a few non-controversial thoughts about this post.
    I don't think I'd heard the exact phrase you used, but I recognise the principle.
    Your 'contentious' points above are not really analogous, though.
    In the first instance the couple can be equally committed Christians, godly in their lives, but the wife's interpersonal skills, personal ambitions, or even her counsel can impact on her husband's ministry. It need not be malicious. There are instances where the most godly guy you know is married to the town gossip, or someone who is not a Christian and you hope he never senses a call to ministry, but they are a scant minority.
    The female instance you refer to is not so much an equivalent as a contrast where a godly woman has to deal with an ungodly husband.
    For married folk, the state of our marriage should make a difference in our consideration of what we should be doing/serving/ministering. Back in the 80s when I was in the 'call to ministry' cycle there was a 'my wife is not relevant when my call to ministry is being considered' notion running around. It was an over-reaction against a common notion that a pastor's wife was the second, unpaid, full-time working in the parish, a notion which has somewhat retreated.
    I think that it was unwisely extended to the idea that the life circumstance of a marriage was not relevant to the individual's suitability. The extent to which wives of those who have entered ministry have suffered depression, loneliness and alienation was exacerbated by this brick wall mentality.
    I actually know many more women who feel limited in the kingdom work they can do because their husbands do not share their commitment. My observations are that they married a man who was a church goer, but has long since stopped, or they married someone who never shared their faith, or who made some vague committment of interest that served to encourage them to marry.
    It's a sadness Christian ladies walk with.
    So I see at least two issues here that are well worth exploring, and not particularly on gender exclusive terms.
    Is there something in these thoughts to work with?

  14. Hi Simone,

    For what it's worth, my thought is that you seem to be talking about two different ideas of "ministry". One is more the public, formal, kind, the other is largely unseen, and not necessarily formally structured.

    The idea that a wife can double or halve her husband's ministry is more likely to be linked to the more formal view of "ministry". And the reason that we don't think the reverse applies may be that we forget that God sees all our "ministries" (or lack thereof), and that we cannot say which are really the more important ones in God's plan of things.

  15. I'd like to know why we settled on the arbitrary "halving" why not quartering, or thirding... or reducing it by a factor of 150%...

  16. You're so right - the focus is always on the men - on what will impact on their lives and their ministry. All men should turn to look at their wives, mothers and sisters in Christ and ask themselves, "What can I do to encourage and help these women in their lives and ministries? What things can I do to make their burdens lighter? How can I love and serve them, following in the footsteps of Christ who is the giver of love and the servant of all."

    Great post, Simone.

  17. Narelle, you should be a man.

    Your comment made me tear up!