After having some fun with my last post on kitchen wives, I did want to make a more serious point about the blurb that has generated all this fuss:
Carolyn is her husband's favorite theologian. She is not a kitchen wife. She does not keep house, cook, clean or sew, but she reads an awful lot and often talks to women (and sometimes men) from all over the world about women's struggles within the evangelical church. Lately, she has been reading a lot on the plight of women in the Middle East. She helped establish Synergy Conferences for women seminarians and women in vocational ministries, which is sponsored by her ministry organization, Whitby Forum, in alliance with Campus Crusade for Christ International and RTS/Orlando.Many have been quick to accuse Carolyn James of demeaning homemakers; however, her intent may have been something entirely different. Imagine the following:
Bubba is his wife's favorite theologian. He is not a yard work husband. He does not fix cars, watch sports, or mow the lawn, but he reads an awful lot and often talks to men (and sometimes women) from all over the world about men's struggles within the evangelical church. Lately, he has been reading a lot on the plight of men in the Middle East. He helped establish...If we go to hear Bubba speak, we know we're not going to get sports analogies, cutesy anecdotes about lawnmower mishaps, or tales of power tools --- we're going to get a theologian's perspective on men's issues in the church and in the Middle East. Maybe sports fans will get their knickers in a twist and imagine that he is "dissing" them, but I doubt it.
When people think of "women speakers", all too often they expect women to talk primarily about the domestic sphere. A certain church talk I had to endure in my youth, all about a three-layered cake, continues to exist in our family lore as the worst example of what some believe a women speaker should be all about. Carolyn James, probably, simply wants to be upfront. If you want her to talk about household tips, about cooking ideas, about three layer cakes, about finding God in the laundry room, she doesn't want you to be disappointed, but she is simply not the woman for that speaking engagement. If you want to her a theologian's perspective on women in the church, maybe she will fit the bill.
Let's not be so thin-skinned. Everything is not about us. Everything is not an attack on mom and apple pie.