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Worse Than a Non-Believer: Dad-Moms Are An Abomination to God

By Ron Mattocks |

Are you reading this right?

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not done with the whole Dad-Mom topic. In reading the various posts on Tide’s depiction of a stay-at-home dad being “awesome,” I came across the religious take on the topic played out in a point, counter-point debate between Owen Strachan, a professor of theology and church history at Boyce College, and Laura Ortberg Turner, an admissions counselor at Fuller Theological Seminary.

The discussion was a lively one, as you can imagine. To Strachan, the dad-mom, represented yet another of society’s attempts to pervert Bible’s stringent rules dictating who should and shouldn’t be laundering the frilly dresses and folding them with complete accuracy. In response, Turner contested this citing cultural context and scriptural misinterpretation before then mentioning the actions of Jesus that lead her to believe the Son of God wouldn’t be adverse to domestic duties.

When you get past the whole dad-mom folding laundry, and the scriptural references, the real point of contention, lays in Strachan’s statement t about “men abdicating their creational responsibilities,” to which he adds, “is no laughing matter.”

“God created the plans for the family, not man.  We may want to be “awesome” as the culture defines it, but such awesomeness leads us away from the wisdom of our Lord.”


As with race and politics, I know it’s bad manners to discuss matters of religion, but in this case I’ll make an exception. In fact, it would practically be a sin for me not to after 10 years at a church-run school,  acceptance to Bob Jones University, enrollment at Liberty University, followed by graduation from a Catholic college only to then eventually become—wait for it—a stay-at-home dad.

Bitter much? Not really. Actually, I thank God for blessing me with an insurance plan that covered the cost of all my therapy (I’m kidding). Over time what I have learned, though—and this is important to note as I go forward—is that there is a vast difference between organized religion and personal faith. Faith I have, it’s just not in organized religion.

Case in point: Stay-at-home dads. Strachan’s take is nothing new. The controversy has existed for as long as stay-at-home dads started getting attention. There’s a Biblical flood’s-worth of blog posts, message boards, videos, etc., all of which prove that Internet has produced more fruits, flakes and nuts than, Post, Kellogg’s and General Mills combined.

Among these you will find the toy surprise of Mars Hills pastor, Mark Driscoll. When asked about the rise of stay-at-home dads in 2008, Driscoll along with his wife Grace are not shy in their thoughts, quickly referencing the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy chapter 5, verse 8, which states:


“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NISB)




Okay, so I’m not a pastor, but I’ve seen one on TV, and he stayed overnight at a Holiday Inn Express with the church secretary and I’m not that guy. Even so, given the time I could debunk Driscoll’s ideology using actual theology. For now, however, I’ll just mention that Driscoll has taken this passage out of context in the same way cable news networks use sound bites to shape a particular slant on a story.

What I will address, though, is Driscoll’s and Strachan’s concept of how a man provides for his family. There was a time when I actually subscribed to this one-dimensional concept of me as the provider. Then divine providence turned me into a stay-at-home dad, and I realized the family has many more needs than just food, clothing, and shelter.

In essence, then, the Driscoll/Strachan male-provider model reduces the man’s responsibility to something quantifiable and temporary (money), yet leaves out the emotional aspect of a family’s needs which are permanent and lasting. As a SAHD, I actually have been more in tune to the real needs of my family than I would had I fulfilled the role as dictated by Driscoll’s interpretation.

That said, Strachan’s comment about how God creates the plan for the family and not man becomes suddenly ironic here.

There’s also another reason I picked Driscoll from the lineup and it directly relates to the gender-based division of domestic labor. Over the past several years, the church, Evangelicals in particular, have been engaged in a holy-roller man movement. In a nutshell, a core bunch of guys including Driscoll, feel that  today’s God-fearing men are more fear and less men, and this is basically the fault of our feminist-dominated, dad-mom, laundry-folding society.  According to their holy ‘roid rage Gospel, Jesus wasn’t the effeminate looking, homo we’re used to seeing, but rather a WWF-like character dishing out Biblical beat-downs whom Christian men should be emulating.  I pity the foo that be foldin’ frilly dresses!

Oh Lord, so much to say, so little time.

As we come full circle back to the dad-mom, it’s amusing then to me that masculinity is the shared point of contention. For the Strachans and Driscolls, the dad-mom embodies the extent to which masculinity has eroded to—a stay-at-home dad folding laundry—while here I am criticizing the dad-mom for not embracing his masculinity because he’s a stay-at-home dad folding laundry.

Personally, I really don’t care what Driscoll, Strachan, and their camp thinks of me as a SAHD. I’m pretty sure I’m not an abomination. What does annoy me is the idea that such a warped ideology has families convinced this is what “god” wants, causing who knows how much emotional damage in the process. This of course, only goes to show that religion, like alcohol, is both the source of and solution to all of the world’s problems.

I’ll close this by reiterating my position from my last post, that masculinity isn’t something you flaunt, and you especially don’t flaunt it citing religious dogma. Masculinity is a state of mind lived out in our actions, actions that include showing love and compassion to others. And, correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that a cornerstone belief of nearly all religions?

* * *

Ron Mattocks is a father of five (3 sons, 2 stepdaughters) and author of the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. He blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and lives in Houston with his wife, Ashley, who eternally mocks his fervor for Coldplay.

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About Ron Mattocks


Ron Mattocks

Ron Mattocks is a freelance writer, author of Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka, and a father of five. In 2007, Mattocks started Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, which landed him in Babble's Top 50 Dad Bloggers list in 2011. Mattocks was a regular contributor to Babble, and has been featured in The Huffington Post, Open Salon and a number of other publications.

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15 thoughts on “Worse Than a Non-Believer: Dad-Moms Are An Abomination to God

  1. LinseyK says:

    Ugh. I’d apologize on behalf of that horrible video, except I’m not sure I can. My husband and I struggled with the whole issue of the stay-at-home dad thing, too. Then I realized that my own Dad worked for a living and paid the bills. He also treated my mom and sisters horribly and left a wake of pain and destruction in his path. I would have traded ANYTHING to have had a Dad who loved his kids as much as you, Ron (and as my husband does now for our own kids). You could have folded my laundry or worked at the local Burger King; as long as you told me you loved me and helped me feel like the valuable creation that God took the time to craft and breathe life into — I wouldn’t have known the difference.

    I recommend “A Father’s Reward” by Phil Downer. It gives a better explanation of the command father’s are given to leave a REAL legacy for their kids. I seriously hope the crew at Mars Hill learns this principle.

    P.S. In Paul’s Day, you wouldn’t have been folding laundry, anyway. Neither would your wife. You would have your slaves, servants, or concubines handling the frilly dresses. I suppose Mr. Driscoll has forgotten this?

  2. Eric Bolton says:

    Ugh. People who say they are Christians yet pervert the Word they say they are protecting are idiots. These guys rank up there with the same people that picket soldier’s funerals saying “God Loves Dead Soldiers” and outside where ever gay people are hanging out and hold up signs that say “God Hates Fags”.

    What these people fail to realize is Jesus didn’t go hang out with the “just and righteous” people. He had dinners and shared well water with sinners. Jesus and His Father love the person, just not the sin.

    While Jesus didn’t negate the Ten Commandments, he pretty much compiled them into the Golden Rule. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” – Luke 10:27

    Telling people they are sinning and going to hell, are forgetting the log which is in their own eye.

    Now what about the Dad who is disabled? Whether it be sickness or injury? And they are incapable of working?

    I’m curious to see the amount of kids in therapy in the coming years from homes with SAHD compared to homes with WATFTD (working all the friggin time dads).

    I’m the latter of the two, but when I am home, I am with my kids. I don’t tell them to give me time to decompress. They don’t see me enough as it is, and when they do they are excited to see me and I mirror their excitement too. I work because of the choices we made. We have a house. We have a car. We have five kids. But I also do not have one stick of furniture I’ve bought. I don’t have a TV that’s the latest and greatest. My dang van is falling apart. But that doesn’t matter to my kids because we don’t make it important.

    What is important to them is that they know and even when they become teenagers who think our mission is to destroy them, they will know they have two parents who are there for them physically and emotionally.

    If my wife landed a cush job that could replace and exceed the money I barely bring in? Heck, I’d jump all over that to stay at home with the kids.

    God is not going to judge me because I did not bring enough money home. God is going to judge me on how I handled my family. Whether I am at an office I hate or on the couch watching cartoons with my kids.

    The bible isn’t a Luby’s. You don’t pick and choose what you want to follow.

    But these guys are still idiots. I’ll ask for forgiveness later.

    God Bless you Ron.

  3. Grace says:

    I SO AGREE WITH YOU! Now i grew up in a family where my dad worked and my mom was a stay at home mom. but that just worked out for us as a family. But i believe there is more a man can do then just work to provide for his family. The verse they mentioned in Timothy “A man is worse then a unbeliever if he does not provide the needs of the family.” “NEEDS” can mean many many different things. To have a job and provide “MONEY” isn’t everything. A man can be a stay at home Dad and provide the needs of the family. such as spiritual needs and other needs like taking care of the house and help with the kids more. People mistreat scripture all the time to be-little people or try to dominate others, or even try to force people into believing what they do. Some Dads out there are physically disabled in a way that they can’t have a job, so the mom works while the dad stays home and helps with the house, children and other needs. So are they basically saying that any husband or father who does not have a job or is making less $$ then is wife/the mother is sinning and is “worse then an unbeliever” because of their disabilities??

  4. Lynn says:

    We are a strong Christian household, and my husband and I both know our bibles well… The current movement against SAHDs has no founding. Yes, most family structures represented in the bible are patriarchal, but there is no 11th commandment saying Dads must work and Moms must clean. Even in the patriarchal society that is much of the old and even new testament women worked with their hands and sold their wares outside the home, and men often ran their business or farms from their home, effectively being the parent that was most there for their children in small crisis situations. Parenting was a BOTH involved thing in those times, not chauvinistic as you see it portrayed by those that read the bible without real study into it. Seriously, check out the virtuous wife passage at the end of proverbs, has a good mention of a man’s place in it too. Really, instead of reading the bible, people need to READ their bibles! See what it really says, not just grab a part you like and run with it. 3 cheers to ANY parent that can be at home supporting the wellbeing of their children!!!

  5. whitney says:

    Well said – from both a faith and religion based believer. There is more to providing for tout family than bringing home a paycheck – feeding their emotional and spiritual needs are far more important. You go, dad!!!!

  6. Clark Kent's Lunchbox says:

    @Linsey, thanks. No apologies needed–I know that’s not the true representation of how things are supposed to work. I’ve always been amazed at how intertwined our cultural ideology and religious teaching are to the point that sometimes people mistake them for being one in the same. They interpret the Bible through a lens of how we live instead of looking at how we live through the lens of the Bible.

    @Eric totally nailed it. People start using the Luby’s style theology and ends up becoming like filling out your taxes–this is a sin, but only if under this condition, if not then see book, chapter, verse for further thou shalt and thou shalt nots. I truly believe the Bible, and people can call me a wacko for it, but the only reason they are is because of guys like this that preach an message built on insecurity. The opposite of love is fear and to love takes guts. Incidentally, the verse used sits in the middle of a whole passage about the church caring for widows–and although, it’s an indirect message for men (which most translations don’t use) to take care of their households, it’s actually more of a message to pastors to take care of their people, especially in their own church. And the last part about being worse than a non-believer? Ironically, most study Bibles link that to other scriptures as a reference to false prophets. Good figure.

    @Whitney Thanks. Yes, I get annoyed that people like this ignore the holistic intent of faith in meeting people’s needs on every level.

  7. Clark Kent's Lunchbox says:

    @Grace well said. The family structure isn’t so important as is the function and in particular meeting the real and full needs of everyone. And there’s not one absolute family set-up that will address this. You start doing that and then all these grey areas pop up like disabled dads. What constitutes disabled? You can’t account for all the various unique situations. It annoys me that pointing this stuff out, while common sense to us, seems to confound those with authority in churches. Thanks.

    @Lynn. Excellent,excellent points. Absolutely READ their Bibles. Too many people are content to sit in pews and accept what’s being said at face value. And worse, they assign an air of infallibility to the religious leaders which makes it excusable not to take the effort on their own. I think God wants us to question our faith because if we are really searching (and reading the Bible as part of that), then our faith will increase and be stronger because we experienced it on our own without someone telling us. What’s ironic about the verse used from Timothy is that in the context of that whole chapter, it deals with the church’s responsibility to widows and the pastor providing for the needs of others, and especially of those in their church. They are worse than a non-believer because they are not showing love through action while parading themselves as the Church, which makes them false prophets in the eyes of God.

  8. Gib says:

    So, if you agree with a bible quote, then it’s the word of God, but if you disagree then it’s “out of context” ?

    Better than agreeing with all of it I suppose! Or you’d start aquiring slaves and stoning people who work on Sunday or wear clothes made of different types of cloth!

    Careful of passing Christianity on to your kids though – afterall, Jesus did say you have to hate your mother and father (Luke 14:26).

  9. Ron Mattocks says:

    @Gib, Riiiight. Yeah, you pretty much took all of those passages out of context.

  10. The Real Matt Daddy says:

    Hey Ron, thanks for sharing this video. I battle this in my church as well. I happen to live in a very traditional/conservative area, and my choice to be a stay at home dad baffles people sometimes. In fact, when I put in notice to leave my job, but boss just said, “Huh.” That’s it. When I saw him several months later and attempted to have a conversation, he just stumbled over his words like he couldn’t even relate to me.

    My job was killing my family. I know that I made my decision to stay home for the right reasons, and it strengthened my marriage, revitalized some passions that I have that God can use, and most importantly, gave me time to focus on who I am as a man of God and what that means for my family. If I was still trying to “provide” in the traditional sense, I would never have time for that – and my wife probably would have taken the kid and gone away for help because I was never home. I’m not a dead beat when it comes to money. I do have two part time/occasional type jobs and I am starting to write for money, but this time with my daughter has made me realize that money is not what life is about. My wife loves her job, and spending all day at home with our daughter would drive her crazy. We made the right choices for our family. I don’t think that taking a scripture, that is talking about caring for the elderly and the widow, out of context is helping the discussion. Hopefully, most people can tell the difference. Good post, I might piggy back you if you don’t mind too much.

  11. Faiqa says:

    We were on the way home from Canada a week ago listening to a supposedly progressive Muslim scholar lecture. This man, who holds a doctorate from Yale, said, “Sisters (referring to Muslim women), your husband goes and works and brings you food, drink, clothing… what more do you need? Why do you want to take his job, too?”
    My poor husband (and children) had to hear me scream at for at least two hours. This isn’t faith, it’s fear and stupidity. If a man thinks that his only value as a man is grounded in a paycheck, well he’s not much of a man in my book.

  12. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    Wow. I sure don’t agree with what they said in that video. I’ve never even heard anyone make any such claim that being a SAHD is a bad thing. How crazy is that? I think SAHDs are awesome and an inspiration.

    Go Dads!

  13. Gene says:

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi

    As a SAHD and a Christian this quote stands out to me regarding how people twist the sacred book. There are so many passages about the importance of family and love that it boggles the mind. If one were to truly believe that a man can not stay at home with their own child and raise them as well as a woman than the reverse would be just as true that women do not belong in the work place. Both of which are completely ridiculous.

  14. Caleb @ TEM says:


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