Is society falling apart around us? It’s easy to make the case that it is. The social decay downstream from the moral decay is evident. Perhaps it makes you want to hunker down and hide in your home. That might not be a bad tactic, because women are the backbone of society, and home is where society starts.
Home is exactly where we need to turn, but not in order to hunker or hide. Home is where the troop reinforcements are found and from whence they are deployed. Home is a refuge from the world, but not only or merely a refuge. Home is base. Without a base, the army can’t stand.
If society is falling apart, it is because homes fell apart first. Society is not a replacement for families. Societies do not run in parallel with families. Societies are made of families. Families are made in homes.
Community is not optional
From the beginning, humans were created to live in community. It was not good for man to be alone; alone, a man could not fulfill his mission. People are made in God’s image and one way we reflect God is by being individuals living in social harmony. Such unity and diversity together is only possible in a trinitarian world, because God is both one and three.
So society is not optional. It’s not an accident. It’s not random. Society is a part of the way God made the world. It is God’s intention that there be both civil and church societies, organized and governed under Him.
Yet there is a society more fundamental than that of the nation or the church, a society that must exist for either of the others to exist. The family is the building block institution, because it is within the family that people are made and raised. Without women, there’d be no family, so women are the backbone of society.
Civil society can’t replace the family
Plato believed that the perfectly ordered society would not need families to function. In The Republic, the city-state is so well governed and structured that there is no use for a family. The most beautiful and strongest mate – when the strongest have earned a reward – to create the best possible next generation, and those children are raised by the community as a whole, not only educated by but also raised by the state.
Though not drawing from Plato, Marx also believed families were unnecessary. In his understanding, families are merely tools of bourgeoise power. And, if by bourgeoise he meant the power of coherence, happiness, and morality, perhaps he was right. The family is a tool for the forming of coherent, of happy, and virtuous people. Of course not all families give these blessings, but by and large, when such blessings exist, they exist within and are passed on through the structure of the family.
Homemaking is a job, even if you don’t get a paycheck. Homemaking requires intelligence and dedication in the same way running a business does, except more so because people are the point, not revenue.
The family as a tool of blessing – of privilege, even – is no accident. It is the way God has structured the world. Those who tear apart families, who deny the necessity and value of families, who hate and envy privilege others have – are tearing society apart. The effects can be clearly seen by anyone. Society needs strong, intelligent women who build homes and families.
Families require parents
Social commentators and philosophers have had much to say in recent decades about the epidemic of fatherlessness. A father provides for and disciples his children, leading the household by example and precept. No earthly father does so perfectly, but every earthly father bears the responsibility to image God’s fatherliness in this way. His ability and success as a father is measured by the standard of God as father. Fathers bless their families and in so doing, bless and benefit society as a whole, both civil and ecclesiastical.
Saying it is good to be a man is saying nothing about women. It is, in fact, good for men to be men and good for women to be women. It is good to be what we were each created to be. We each will be more satisfied and fulfilled not when we seek our own identity and mission, but when we follow God’s creation mandate and gospel mission.
If society was a body – a body politic, one might say – women would be the backbone. Men might be the muscles – the main motion and momentum and strength, but women are the backbone, connecting the muscle, giving it shape and purpose. Women hold things together. Women embody the stabilizing purpose men need. Women grow people. Women make families and homes, without which, everything devolves.
The home is the hub for humanity
The home is more than a place to refuel with food and sleep. The home is the hub for humanity. Within the home, people have responsibilities to one another, relationships are knit, and communities formed.
Men and women aren’t in competition. The cultural question is not “who is better,” or “who contributes more,” or “who matters more.” The cultural question is are men and women each doing their respective parts to build strong, faithful, God-glorifying families – which has been humanity’s mission from day 1 (or day 6, actually).
The world needs more gospel in it, and every functioning Christian family is a mini gospel message, shining light into the dark world. Ephesians 5 teaches us that marriage proclaims the gospel, and it explains how it does so.
Are we living out the gospel? If we as wives and mothers are not obeying Ephesians 5, then we are not.
If we are fulfilling our part of the picture, portraying the glory and beauty of the Church, the body of Christ, then we are the very aroma of God’s work in the world. What would the world be without a faithful church? It would be as barren and marauding as a band of mission-less men without wives.
Living the gospel – the way Scripture says to
What is the church to the world? It is like a wife in the very heart of the home, providing warmth and care and multiplication. The church is the body of, the family of, Christ. Our family life – not our theological position – testifies what we believe about Christ and the church.
A functioning Christian family is so fundamental to God’s plan that one half of a married couple is devoted to cultivating it with all her creative and productive energy. The other half is then devoted to providing for it and protecting it. She is the picture of the gospel.
Women can be just as brilliant, strategic, and successful as men, no question, but we are to direct that energy to promoting and cultivating families – not because we are less, but because families are important enough to require half the population be dedicated to its guidance and growth.
Be the backbone of society today
Let us focus our whole selves on the gospel work of building families, homes, and communities. Women are created to be nurturers, life-givers. If we focus our efforts on building up healthy, happy people, the world will feel the impact – even if it never knows why it happened or where the change started.
Recognized or not, women are the backbone of society. Without us living obediently and joyfully in the very hearts of our home, it falls apart.