Epidural vs. Natural Child Birth. College vs. No College. Breast-feeding vs. Bottle Feeding. Courtship vs. Dating. Child Immunizations vs. Homeopathic Medicine. Home Schooling vs. Private or Public Schooling. Birth Control vs. No Birth Control. Organic Food vs. Processed Food.
Have an opinion, anyone?
If you’re a woman and you’re alive, at least one of these words probably triggered a visceral response. You instinctively reached into your mental files for the appropriate legal brief, fully prepared to argue for the prosecution or the defense.
Mention a topic such as this and—cue the super-hero music please—we morph into “Super-Lawyer-Woman,” ready to save the world from the risks of formula or the perils of public school or the dangers of processed food. All in a days work.
And we tend to travel in packs. Wherever we are or wherever we go in life, we find these kindred spirits—women who feel as strongly about our cause as we do—and we become fast friends. Pity the poor woman whose opinion differs from ours, or worse yet, hasn’t formed an opinion. She doesn’t stand a chance against “Super-Lawyer-Women.”
But as comical as this image may be, it really isn’t funny.
Because it’s all too true. We as women are inclined to adopt a pet issue and express our opinion far too forcefully, sending other women running for cover. I’m sure I’m guilty, even more than I realize.
As D.A. Carson observes:
“So many Christians today identify themselves with some ‘single issue’ (a concept drawn from politics) other than the cross, other than the gospel. It is not that they deny the gospel. If pressed, they will emphatically endorse it. But their point of self-identification, the focus of their minds and hearts, what occupies their interest and energy is something else” (The Cross and Christian Ministry, p. 63).
The fact is that all of the aforementioned topics fall into a category Scripture labels “disputable matters” (Romans 14:1, NIV): an issue that is not central to our faith or a prerequisite for fellowship in the gospel. And this entire chapter of Romans insists that we are not to “pass judgment” on these kind of matters, or, as the ESV puts it, “quarrel over opinions.” Rather, we are to “welcome” or “accept” one another (v. 1), and pursue “what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (v. 19). Why? Because the person who disagrees with us is, “one for whom Christ died” (v. 15).
Here at girltalk we are going to start a little series on a “disputable matter.” We are going to discuss the benefits of scheduling for infants and toddlers. We’re calling it, “RoutineTalk.”
And we want to set the tone for this conversation right up front. What we have to say, it’s just a suggestion. It’s merely a collection of thoughts, drawn from our personal experience and that of others. It’s a recommendation, intended to serve moms with young children. And we fully expect that some will have a different opinion. That’s OK! Because the gospel is what we’re passionate about, what draws us together, and not a particular mothering practice.
For in the kingdom of God there shouldn’t be the Whole Foods clique and the McDonalds crowd or the La Leche playgroup and the Enfamil playgroup, or the homeschooling moms versus the public-school moms.
There should just be the church. United by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Putting your baby on a schedule. It’s just a suggestion.