Get Balanced, and save $34.98

H/T to vascularity for linking to this Family Life product offering called “The Life Ready Woman-Starter Pack”. The product description is:

From stay-at-home moms to globe-trotting executives, from singles to seniors, every modern woman has wondered, “How do I juggle it all?” Now, The Life Ready Woman helps you discover God’s road map for finding balance, peace, and delight in this crazy contemporary life.

Features include:

  • experience more of life—with less regret

  • minimize stress

  • find clear direction about God’s priorities for you

  • bring a biblical balance to life

  • discover clarity in relationships, including with God and men

  • develop a personal plan for fulfilling God’s callings

That’s a lot to unpack. Or not.

What is the central message of nearly all women’s ministries?

  1. Boost your self esteem
  2. Feel better about yourself
  3. Go girl
  4. God’s got your back

It is Steven Covey with Christian words. And it’s making a mess.

The author, Shaunti Feldhahn, offers fealty to an overworked concept that seems to have particular appeal to women:

In the middle of juggling work deadlines, soccer runs, church activities, business opportunities, field trips, and time with her husband, she has seen personally how vital it is to have a biblical blueprint for life balance.

Balance is one of those words that makes people feel good just to imagine it. Balance your life, balance your hormones, balance your diet, it’s all about balance balance balance. The problem is, no one knows or cares what it even means. Tell five people to balance their work and home lives and no matter how they are presently allocating their time, they will pause to consider, are they in balance? But wouldn’t balance literally mean 50/50? Clearly that is not what is meant when people use the term in the context of this self help program. What is meant here is, do something that changes the order of your life and the act of changing it will make you feel better. And maybe it does.

But there are side effects. More narcissism, more pride, more victim-hood, more sanctimony, more hamster food, and the worst, more Personal Jesus. There is nothing in that list that suggests accountability to anyone but self. In fact, the list is comprised of instructions on how to be MORE about self…and feel good about it. The premise is, no matter what choices you have made about work, marriage, family, etc., here is a way to get God to come aboard with YOUR program. Is it any wonder things like this sell? Is it any wonder why massive women’s conferences sell out as these leaders travel around the country offering these feel good messages? More to the point here, is it any wonder that women file the majority of divorces? After all, maybe jettisoning the jerk brings her back into balance.

Lets contrast that with a typical offering for men. “Stepping Up” is the newest program for men. As if the name of the program isn’t enough, the video series headings are as follows:

  • Session One: A Call to Courage/ What Robs a Man of Courage

  • Session Two: The Five Steps (Part One: Boyhood/Adolescence)

  • Session Three: The Five Steps (Part Two: Manhood/Mentor/Patriarch)

  • Session Four: The Power to Step Up

  • Session Five: Am I Stepping Up? Part One: Stand Firm

  • Session Six: Am I Stepping Up? Part Two: Men Take Initiative

  • Session Seven: Am I Stepping Up? Part Three: Men Engage with Wisdom and Grace

  • Session Eight: Am I Stepping Up? Part Four: Men Plan ahead and Provide

  • Session Nine: Having a Vision for Your Marriage and Family

  • Session Ten: Having a Vision for Your World

It would be redundant for me to go into detail since I have been parsing Family Life and Rainey for months here. Clearly the men’s ministry is about accountability and responsibility. You can imagine it has sexual purity (porn), servant leadership, provision, spiritual discipline and leadership of the family, and not a small amount of wife and mother gushing. Enough said.

As I wrote awhile back to Dr. Russell Moore, women are steeped in this from the earliest age, while parallel, boys are being taught the opposite. I readily admit that if the over arching mega themes were reversed, it would likely be men embracing the pride and narcissism that so informs the Christian woman in today’s church. People do that.

The chronology that is present in the men’s ministry series is that of training boys up and teaching men to run their lives in a responsible and accountable way. But the author of the women’s study sees it the other way around when she says:

discover God’s road map for finding balance, peace, and delight in this crazy contemporary life

This means exactly what the Christian manosphere describes when we talk about the carousel, the delaying of marriage, the have-it-all idea, the ball-busting exec of the SAHM and all points between, all OK, because after all that you can find peace and delight in the crazy life your choices have led to.

Once I read a feminist article that stated , “now that 60% or more of college admissions are female, we are getting closer to equality”. I think these ministries have a similar sense of balance.


6 thoughts on “Get Balanced, and save $34.98

  1. You know, I fail to see where “balance” is prescribed for life in the Bible.

    It’s really scary how much these programs don’t even reference the Bible as an overarching emphasis.

    >> discover God’s road map for finding balance, peace, and delight in this crazy contemporary life

    Should be:

    >> discover God’s road map for finding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in this crazy contemporary life [by meditating on Scripture, praying, and living out the gospel].

    Proverbs 3:5-6

    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

  2. I disagree. I’d suggest that the path chosen for life would preclude “crazy contemporary” to the extent that one is able to earn their keep etc etc. She is referring to adapting God to the outcome of, for example, unchecked ambition.

  3. Ah, I see. I didn’t really look through the material, so I’ll take your word for that.

    Either way, poor choice of wording by them.

  4. Empath:
    I noticed in that list of activities to balance, ‘spending time with your husband’ was listed last behind soccer runs, church activities, business opportunities, and field trips. It’s as though the husband is some kind of accessory who doesn’t factor into working/providing or raising the children.

    Although, on second thought, given the average woman’s choices in men, that may not be without a reason. But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Feldhahn actually means a normal guy and not one with whom she has to ‘balance’ with visits to jails and hospitals (after all, if he IS a deadbeat, dysfunctional thug he wouldn’t be at the bottom of the priority list anyway LOL).

    In that case, it shows that his whole concept of ‘balance’ negates any male participation: when any worthwhile marriage would strike some kind of balance between the two spouses. Try to imagine how a balance could exist without at least two objects. Of course, it’s impossible. Again, it comes back to gender polarity— which Feldhahn seems completely oblivious to.

    If Feldhahn wanted to say something actually constructive, he would have spoken about ‘prioritization’. But telling modern women that the real problem is that their priorities are all wrong; and instead of men ‘manning up’ women need to get some connection with reality again would probably end in stake-burning for any pastor with the balls to say it!

  5. Empath:
    I realize that the term has no meaning the way it’s usually employed. Unfortunately, our culture has become so dumbed-down that even the language doesn’t actually make sense when logic is applied to it.

    I wonder if certain words like ‘balance’ are actually the products of various focus-groups and advertising shylocks who hit upon a ‘sound bite’ that emotes with people but doesn’t really mean anything. IOW, ‘balance’ is something you’re supposed to have, or strive for, but it simply means doing whatever makes you feel like you’re achieving it; even though it means whatever you want it to mean.

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