The topic of the role of women especially within the family has been brought to my attention by an article in our local newspaper about a woman whose daughter graduated from high school with me. The woman has recently gone through a divorce, and is raising awareness of the Quiverfull movement and her escape from this way of thinking. (To read the article go to http://www.norfolkdailynews.com/ and search Quiverfull) I am not really writing this to respond to her in particular (because I don’t think she even knows my blog exists), but because so many things from the article and also reading the woman’s blog have bothered me greatly. In coming out of the movement, she has gone to the other extreme of turning away from anything relating to God. My thoughts will deal more with the Quiverfull movement itself, rather than her actions and reactions.
For a full history and description of the Quiverfull movement you’ll have to do some of your own research, but the movement gets its name from Psalm 127 which talks about the man being blessed whose quiver is full of arrows (children). In an effort to turn away from the feminist uprising of the 1920s and following, this movement strongly opposes the use of birth control and particularly focuses on the role of women as wives who submit to the authority of their husbands and mothers who view their children as blessings from God and who raise them up to change the world.
So, here are some of my thoughts. First of all, one of my big problems with the Quiverfull movement is the extreme nature of women’s submission to their husbands. In some examples of literature of the Quiverfull movement that I found, the woman is said to be the help mate to her husband, to fill his every need, and build him up to be all he can be. Last time I checked, this isn’t all there is to it. Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (New International Version). But it doesn’t stop there. Verse 25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. I don’t think submission and respect are supposed to be one-sided. Yes, women are to let their husbands be the leaders in the home, but the husband isn’t supposed to rule with an iron fist. Instead, he is supposed to love his wife, following the example of Jesus, who gave His life for the church. I think a better picture of the marriage relationship-rather than one being dominant over the other- is that both husband and wife are mutually submitting to and loving the other. They are both respecting, encouraging and serving the other.
Another aspect of the Quiverfull movement is the idea that women should stay at home and raise perfect, godly children. This idea, too, has been taken a bit to the extreme. Every parent should train their children to follow the Lord, and some women I think are definitely called to stay at home to do this. Here are two examples of women from my life who really are my heroes but have taken different paths in this regard. My mother chose to stay at home and teach her kids at home. My parents chose this direction because they felt this was what God was calling them to do. My mom has shown me an example of a loving wife and mother. My grandma, on the other hand, worked outside the home for many years as a teacher. Was she dishonoring God by doing this? No, definitely not. My grandma is my other hero, and she has been another example to me of a godly woman. She loved her husband and served her family, and she trained my mom and her siblings to be followers of God. I don’t really think one way is better than the other, and each family should seek God’s direction on what is best for their individual needs.
I personally believe the Quiverfull movement goes against Scripture, or at least misinterprets certain passages, but I also totally disagree with the reaction of the lady from my hometown (read the article on the newspaper website if you haven’t yet). There is still lots to think about, and I hope that dialogue continues to happen in my hometown and elsewhere.
Good post, Sarah! Quiverfull seems to be another example of people taking one or two things in the Bible and putting them above everything else in the Bible. If a man truly “loves his wife as Christ loves the church” he's not going to want her to risk her health to keep having kids after it's apparent it's a problem for her. She's a woman, not a brood mare! -Lydia 😉
I liked this post as well. I agree with you that Quiverfull needs to be distinguished from Christianity and the homeschooling movement. I think it's hard for my mom to because for us it was all mixed together. So she can't see a line between the good and the evil. It seems like my entire family reacted differently to our situation, for my mom it's quite a struggle to think things through. I think that's why she started blogging, and it happened to catch the media's eye.
I also would like to clarify if I may, concerning your latest post on the issue, that I don't have a problem with homeschooling. I don't get to decide how much of what I say is actually put on television. For myself personally, school was an amazing turning point for me. As you probably remember, I was rarely allowed to socialize with other people growing up. But that was not the fault of homeschooling, merely the movement which used homeschooling to isolate the children.
All the best to you!