Who’s Your “Stay-at-Home” Daddy? (Guest Post by Jay Knudsen)

Jory here. One of my greatest pet peeves is when Christian folks add to scripture what is simply not there, creating human-made doctrines, and crushing people’s spirits with legalism. Somewhere along the line, evangelical Christians got it into their heads that it is “biblical” for moms to stay home and dads to go to work. The Bible never commands this and I do mean NEVER.

The Bible’s setting is within an ancient patriarchal context, so we do see many “stay-at-home-moms” and “head-to-work-dads,” but there are no commandments that imply we are to continue on with this tradition in modern day society.

Now, I will say this as a woman. No woman wants a lazy man who does not contribute to the family in a significant way. There are many men out there who don’t work at all (at home or outside the home) and have no problem letting their lady do all the heavy lifting. This is not cool and not biblical whatsoever. Jesus clearly rebuked “the lazy man” in Matthew 25:26-30 and Proverbs is full of warnings to the “sluggish.”

Further, it is important to note that having a dad stay home with the kids is a family decision that a couple must make together. If dad demands that he stays home with the kids and mom go to work, dad has lost touch with his biblical calling to sacrificially love his family. There are plenty of women out there who would not feel comfortable with her man staying home while she worked and that is her prerogative. But there are some families that this model works for and I believe my guest today is honoring God by being a “too legit to quit” stay-at-home-dad!

~~~
jay

Howdy Y’all, I’m Jay Knudsen, a 30 something stay at home dad to 3 boys living outside of Little Rock Arkansas. I’ve been married for almost 10 years to an amazing woman who is the smartest, kindest, strongest person I know. I love you sweetheart!

Jory, thank you for the work you’ve done for gender equality in the church and for the forum to share my unique experience as a Christian stay at home dad. The voices of support out here are so few that your encouragement and support are so appreciated. You are helping those of us with clay feet continue their journey against the tide of opposition.

As I think about my journey as a stay at home dad, the feeling that keeps coming to mind is fear. Fear of being accepted, fear of being criticized, fear of losing respect from others. We tend to fear most those things that have already happened to us. The truth is, not everyone has accepted me, not everyone has approved and there are some that will never respect what I do.

When my wife and I came to our arrangement we prayed, planned, thought it out and consulted the Scriptures. At the time I considered myself to have a Complementarian understanding of the Scriptures even though in practice we had an Egalitarian marriage. We held onto the belief that I was ultimately responsible and had the final say should we not be able to agree on something. I still feel ultimately responsible for my family but I think my wife has similar feelings and so do many other women. We must all answer to God according to how we have used our gifts for service.

I never felt comfortable thinking I was somehow better equipped to make decisions over and above my wife. Let’s face it, I married up and she is a fantastic leader. It seemed so odd to me to be surrounded by couples where the man was the alpha and the woman would essentially sit in silence. Then on the other side of the spectrum were some couples where the woman would be fervent in the Scriptures, outspoken and the man would sit in silence. Both scenarios seemed wrong to me and I believe both men and women should be passionately pursuing Christ and using their gifts to further his kingdom.

When we moved I felt it was time to bring closure to this issue and after much study, prayer and deliberation I now consider myself to have an Egalitarian understanding of scripture. This move wasn’t easy for me as for years I viewed Egalitarianism as a doctrine of feminism and the devil. This belief couldn’t be further from the truth.

I know there are other guys going through what I have so let me encourage you. Do what makes sense, pray about it, seek counsel, and study the word. God has opened so many doors and has continued to bless our family despite some people’s belief that we are living in abject sin.

There is no prescription in scripture for a 1950’s style arrangement of your family and if anyone tells you there is, they’re not only wrong but they’re being dishonest with the text of scripture and tying burdens to people that are unbiblical.

Communicate your fears and concerns with your wife or other trusted people. First Timothy 3 commands us, as a qualification for an Elder to manage your household well. What better way to do that than to be with them all the time?

Surround yourself with encouraging people, and distance yourself from people who discourage you. It seems like common sense but religion can entangle you with people who claim they love you but their desire is merely to control and change you. Be honest about this and set your boundaries.

Being a stay at home dad can be a lonely road, but knowing that by caring for them I am providing them my very best makes it all worth it.

jay1

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