img_0474.JPGI was just on The Resurgence blog watching a clip from the new teaching series that Mark Driscoll is doing. In the video clip Mark and his wife Grace talk about stay at home dads. You can watch it here, but before you do I know some of you reading this do not like Mark or what he has to say. I am not bashing him here or even trying to give you a reason to. If you just want a reason to bash Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church go somewhere else, this post is just for discussion and because I found it interesting. I found some points that I agreed with and others that I did not, but I think that we can learn from everything. Throw out the wrong, learn from the right.

OK, now that you have watched it I will give you my thoughts, and hopefully you can share yours. There were a few things I thought were great.

1. Grace talked about how children need their moms. I agree with this and with authority. I was our daughters primary care giver from Jan. through March this year while Amy did her photo school. While it was one of the best times of my life, I saw over and over how and why children need their mom. They need their dad for fun and love and protection, but they need the love and attention that only a mom can give.

2. I agree with Mark that men need to provide, I disagree though that it means your not a man if you don’t. I agree also that it is best if the mom is able financially that she stay with the kids instead of having a day care raise them. I hate it when families don’t have enough so they resort to having both the mom and dad work. I am sure that most parents must hate this as well. I am both blessed and thankful that God has provided so that we don’t have to have our kids in day care every day.

In this though there are a few points that I disagree with . Grace and Mark both mentioned 1 Timothy. When I read it it says that “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Now I am no bible scholar, and I am certainly no Mark Driscoll, but when I read that, in multiple translations I see nothing that says Man must provide. If I am wrong please point this out, unless you are reading this Mark, then you already have.

I also don’t agree that women are built to stay at home with the kids and that women must be primarily busy at home. I think that a woman has her rolls and a man has his, but together they need to figure out how to work best around each other’s schedules and responsibilities. I love that I get to be at home with my kids a lot. I love that I get to work from home, although sometimes I hate it too.

In saying all this, and in trying to process it out loud I see that children need both of their parents. I see that most of the time it works for the man to work and the women to primarily raise the kids, which most of the time is harder work than the man could ever do. I also see that Mark and Grace seem to know their rolls very clearly and it works for them. My home life is not perfect and Amy and I still struggle with it as we both work with YWAM, but we are getting better at it and i think that the thing that is healthiest is to communicate and know what God is saying and has already said.

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8 comments so far on “Stay at home dad

  1. Perhaps, since I have not kids, I am not qualified to respond here. However, since Driscoll responded from a Biblical stand-point, I guess I can start there.

    Like most issue in which I disagree with Mark (and there are a sure few), the ultimate difference is not so much the issue being questioned but rather the underlying presuppositions that we each bring to this question: How do we read/understand the Bible? Trying to debate the issues without addressing this is futile.

    The 1 Timothy Scripture is, in my opinion, a stretch. In fuller context it is about the care for the marginalized. Essentially, if there is a widow in the church who needs the support of the community, they must help her. However, if she has other family, it is their responsibility to care for her first, not leaving it to the church. Further, the words “he” in the condemning passage are inaccurate. The Greek is gender neutral there.

    That being said, an argument could be made out of the fact that, to the people Paul is addressing, men did provide and women did run the home, for the most part. However, and this goes back to the issue of how we read the Bible, is that Scripture informing culturing or simply a reflection of the culture of the day? I say the latter.

    In the end, Mark & his wife’s stance on this makes me very angry, then sad. I guess I shouldn’t let it get to me. I met Mark many years ago and have respect for many things he says and does. So, to close with an affirming note, I will say that I at least appreciate that they call for a greater awareness and intentionality about parenting, not just blindly accepting our cultures standards without consideration. Sadly, I think they take it to far and ultimately hurt families.


  2. Trevor says:

    This is such a great topic! For some reason I have been confronting this one quite often lately. I really like Mark Driscoll, and I have enjoyed reading his books and listening to his sermons. I appreciate his passion for God’s word and his willingness to change his life to meet up with it, regardless of whether or not it is culturally appropriate.

    The thing I have a hard time with quite often with him, has little to do with this issue…it has more to do with his confrontational approach. It seems, when he disagrees with someone he has little to no grace (or respect) towards them, even when they are issues that the church has struggled with, literally for ages. He basically says that if you disagree with him you are being completely unbiblical.

    On this particular issue, I would agree that the biblical basis is pretty weak (I agree with Jamie on this). Clearly, the Bible commands parents (and people in general) to provide for their families (including their children and the needy in the community)…providing love, providing care, providing teaching, providing nurturing, providing discipline and providing financially. I would agree with Mark that it is often the case that men are the culprits in terms of neglecting their duties. However, I would assert that the duties are a little less specific than he claims…as long as the providing roles are fulfilled and clearly communicated between the spouses a family can be God-honouring.

  3. joanna says:

    Go bible guys above, Jamie and Trevor.

    First of all Phil, some women do have rolls, but usualy they don’t like to talk about them because that’s a love handle kind of an issue. Their roles in their homes, though, they usually like to talk about a lot 🙂

    I think that one of the things that this makes me think about it is where we gain our sense of affirmations and authority from. I think that it’s very important for a Dad in the home to be an authority that is respected. I’ve caught myself as a loud-mouthed woman many times realizing that my echoes or interjections are not helping Wade’s authority but undermining it with our kids. I think one issue is that we live in a culture that assigns more influence and power to people who earn more money, and it is all too easy to have that translate into your home life when we believe that whoever brings in more money has more authority or power.

    Obviously, if we are applying biblical truth in our lives, our authority and security in our marriages and as parents comes from who we are in God and how we’re loving and serving each other, parents and kids alike. We have friends who are amazing role models of this – a stay at home Dad and a Mum who has been the primary earner for most of their lives with their kids. However, because they are a couple really grounded in God who have worked – and are always working- on their own identities I haven’t seen an imbalance of roles and no sense of the dad being lesser than. His authority is intact and respected because of the revealed truth of God to him as a man of integrity.

    I’m really honoured to be able to stay home with my daughters and have understood more than ever lately God’s direction to me that it’s definitely my job to raise S & E (along with Wade of course) and not someone else’s. I like having lots of people in our village that help us, like you, Uncle Phil. Thanks for the topic.

  4. phil says:

    Thanks friends for your thoughts. I agree with you all on the things that you have said. I do respect Mark and the stance he takes on things. I respect that he felt a certain call to start this church (single men) and that he sticks to it. I like what you said Jamie “that you have respect for many things he says and does. So, to close with an affirming note, I will say that I at least appreciate that they call for a greater awareness and intentionality about parenting, not just blindly accepting our cultures standards without consideration.”

    I also agree that he does not have much grace, or at least that is what is put forth. Maybe the people he is talking to need that forward, strong word. What frustrates me in this, and I said it before is that the text he uses in 1 Tim. does not directly refer to a man, but people who do not take care of their families. I like having this conversation and I like you 3 a lot. It is cool that I will see you all in the next 2 weeks.

  5. mike says:

    Can I say that I was sitting in that sermon and well it was hard for me to understand, You came to mind during the talk on Sunday and the actual sacrifice that you made while watching the girls while Amy was living her dream.

    Keep writing bro. Miss you see you soon.


  6. Clayre says:

    I don’t even know how to articulate my thoughts on this, but I wanted to say thanks for posting. You certainly sparked a good conversation at the Allen household!

  7. Brandon says:

    I know I am late posting a response here, but just read your post for the first time and watched the video. Before reading the other responses I took a quick look at the Greek text of 1 Timothy 5. It is a masculine singular verb, but because of the way the Greek works it could imply a female or male person. Of course, there is still an ongoing debate about how exactly to translate this into English (as can be seen by the various English versions). Beyond this, I think Jamie has it right on: the context is crucial. Clearly this is a mandate for people to care for their relatives and using it as the Biblical authority saying that fathers should not stay at home with their kids is simply irresponsible.

    On a slightly different note, I beleive that we are often blind to how much our individualized Western culture plays into this issue. The Bible was written to people who lived with their extended families. Kids were not raised by the mom alone, but by Aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and more! They all lived in the same home. The idea of an individual mother staying at home every day while the father went off to work somewhere else and no other family members in the home to help raise the children would be completely foreign to the families of Paul’s day.

    I will also say one final thing. It grieves me when I continue to hear Christian brothers and sisters malign women who choose to work and have their kids go to daycare. My wife has a calling to be a teacher. Everyday she cares for hundreds of kids, many of whom live with parents who are impoverished, abusive, and largely absent. My wife’s calling to serve them is no less important than my calling to be a pastor. Our kids go to daycare, just as my wife did when her mom was a teacher. I stay home and watch our kids on Friday. My boys are blessed to have our daycare family in their life – yes, I consider them family! Our kids lives are enriched by the love and input of others in their life beyond Mom and Dad. This is not about money for us, it is about what God has called us to do. It would be financially easier for us to have one person stay at home and watch the boys. It would be emotionally easier to have control and deceive ourselves into thinking that if we watch our kids 24 hours a day that nothing bad will ever happen and that they will grow up to be perfect little Christians.

    Mark is right about something on this issue. There is no Biblical basis for arguing that a father should stay home with kids while a woman goes to work. However, he has not convinced me that the Bible teaches that it is not ok. I will admit that what Mark says makes me angry, but it also makes me sad. It makes me sad because I believe that it is this kind of unfaithful exegesis that convinces many that the Bible is irrelevant to the world we live in today. Ironically, Mark is one of the great success stories of generally doing the opposite.

  8. phil says:

    thanks brandon.

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