So I'm listening to a Paul Washer lecture. (If you're curious, this is it.) Perhaps it was a mistake, because it's finals week and I probably should be writing my paper on second wave feministic rhetorical theory. (Believe me, the irony is not lost on me!) Right now he's saying that girls who can't boil water aren't qualified to disciple people. So, I mean, you know. But while there's some crazy stuff in here, there's also some excellent biblical advice at times, too.
I'm partly listening with a critical and argumentative ear. I partly want to affirm my perception of how twisted some of this doctrine is. I'm partly listening for sensationalist reasons. (Which, admittedly, is not super edifying in itself.) But part of why I'm listening is curiosity, too. I want to hear the other side. I want to see how I stack up. I don't want to be a kid anymore, I want to made this rending transition into adulthood, and if he has some valid things to say about that, I want to listen.
So would Paul Washer approve of me? Probably not . . . I don't share some of his doctrine, I'm not a whiz seamstress, I'm a student at a public university, I'm en route to a sixty hours per week career, I wear jeans and have a rebellious spirit. But on the other hand, I can cook and clean. I guess I can kind of run a household. I'm pretty good at bargain shopping. Can I mold my life around my husband? I suppose I have to. I love Jesus. That has to count for something.
Am I prepared to manage a family? The big thing he keeps harping on is this idea that singleness is meant for preparation to train up children and raise a family. This is so foreign to me! I'm not one of these girls who always pined for a family and a billion kids. It's a monstrous responsibility, too much to plan and hope for so casually. To assume that a family is what God has in store for me. "When I have kids of my own--" is a stupid phrase. But Paul Washer says that only a handful of people in the whole world are called to singleness, so I guess he's working off the assumption that the odds of a family are in my favor.
When I think about my future, I don't model it around a specific picture of 2.7 kids and a white picket fence. (Though, maybe I should?) But my sister is not like me, she just wants to have a family. She is incredibly skilled with kids, and an all-around resourceful, loving person, and she just wants to be done with school and move on with her life. She looks at her future differently than I look at mine, with a family as a given. She has a calling I have yet to tap into. And when questioned about the concrete, about a potential fellow and possible steps into this calling, she replied, "Yeah, he's great, but I'm looking for someone more grounded in Christ." And I thought (on his behalf), "Ouch."
But this is Paul Washer kind of comes through for her, for me. That if you want to be in a relationship, if you want to get married, if you want to live your life alongside someone else, you must know Scripture. You have to be grounded in understanding of who God is and what it means to follow Him. You have to be sold out for Him. He has to be the center, the most important thing, and one has no business seeking another person if they are not first seeking Him. And this is something my mom has always told us, to love Jesus more than anyone else. To marry someone who loves Jesus more than you. And I don't agree with more than half of the things he's said so far, but that? I can get behind that.
Of course, now in the lecture Paul Washer is saying that guys who don't know how to use jumper cables shouldn't consider starting a relationship. Because apparently car battery maintenance is an essential component of manhood. But, you know. To the pure, all things are pure. Take the good, leave the bad.