Is Sexual Autonomy Worth the Cost to Human Lives?, (The Federalist, May 2019)
We Hide the Truth About Abortion Because it Condemns Us All, (The Federalist, April 2019)
Why the Notre Dame Fire Pierces our Hearts, (Off the Cuff/Theology of Home April 2019)
The Symbolism of Light in Advent (Favorite Catholic Things/Theology of Home, December 2018)
Here’s the Danger of Weaponizing Legitimate Suffering for Revenge (The Federalist, October 2018)
How Theology of Home Makes Men Heroic (Helena Daily, October 2018) SEE BELOW
Bad Music and Liturgical Tinkering Make Clericalism Worse (National Catholic Register, September 2018)
Decide Today Whom You Will Serve (National Catholic Register, August 2018)
Virtue Signaling Is Now A Cheap, Prolific Substitute For Actual Virtue (The Federalist, July 2018)
Since Its Debut 20 Years Ago, ‘Sex And The City’s’ Profoundly Unrealistic View Of The World Has Hurt Women (The Federalist, June 2018)
Takeaway Message from the Met Gala: The Sexual Revolution is Tired (National Catholic Register, May 2018)
Bishop Barron and the Sermon at the Royal Wedding (National Catholic Register, May 2018)
Nurturing Deep Friendships Even when You Disagree (Theology of Home - Off the Cuff, May 2018)
Wonder and the Sea at Isla Mujeres, Mexico (Favorite Catholic Things, April 2018)
Love is Beautiful (Favorite Catholic Things, March 2018)
When Your Toddler is a Tyrant (Helena Daily - Off the Cuff, June 2018)
Decorating with the Glorious Easter Lily (Favorite Catholic Things, March 2018)
The Iconic Turtleneck (Helena Daily - Our Favorite Catholic Things, March 2018)
——— INTERVIEWS and MEDIA FEATURES ———
Albert Mohler’s The Briefing - May 2019
Tom Shillue Show - Fox News Radio June 21, 2018 (Link to follow)
Thriving in the Trenches - July 15, 2018
Morning Air - Relevant Radio October 4, 2018
The Whaley Show - Podcast October 16, 2018
——-Theology of Home Makes Men Heroic——-
by Noelle Mering
While we were in the throes of babies and toddlers, my husband would often walk through the door after work with groceries, take the baby, pour me wine and make a family dinner with his free arm. I remember on some days being too exhausted to reciprocate with much except an ardent feeling and expression of gratitude to him, for him. That image of him still stands in my mind as the image of heroic manliness.
Another good father and husband we know once said that when he arrives home he says to himself, “It’s showtime.” It’s his way of reminding himself that the crux of his day belongs to the moment he comes home from work and crosses the threshold into home. Rather than collapse on a sofa with beer and TV and be done for the day, he intended instead to bring his greatest efforts and positive engagement to his home life.
These anecdotes and others like them reverberate in my mind in contemplating what Theology of Home means for men. What they exemplify is a proper ordering of work and home that translates into specific small acts of love which echo throughout the family.
To say that home ought to have primacy over work for men and women is not to say work is unimportant, or that we shouldn’t develop professional skills, or seek to advance careers. A job doesn’t need to be seen strictly as a means to an end; it can be a good in itself insofar as it is ennobling and sanctifying and care should be taken to ensure it be done well. But it is a subordinate good to the good of home. Home isn’t a mere launchpad for a man’s success out there — rather his success out there is for the sake of home.
If a man sees his work life as some sort of parallel good, divorced from the good of home, the two disparate goods will tend to become rivalrous, for the family wants from the father what is their due: to have a significance in his eyes and to see that his actions in the home are of greater import than those of his career.
It’s not difficult to see how these two goods become inverted. 21st century Americans look to career for so much: an identity, the expression of some core passion, a measure of success and worth, a measure of where we stand in relation to others. It’s a compelling part of life and the cultural stoking of its importance has coincided with the modern attenuation of home life. These ambient messages grease the slide for us all to descend into an exaggerated view of work at the expense of home. Compounding that is the unavoidable fact that jobs often include deadlines and pressure which can understandably claim a more immediate urgency than that of home life. All of this, creates a tendency to subvert home for work, even without an explicit intention to do so.
But there are good reasons to be wary of such a tendency. When men fail to privilege home above work as expressed in how they live each day, it has a domino effect on the family, and therefore society, in several ways.
Firstly, the husband can grow to see his family as a burden getting in the way of his higher purpose which is his career. He begins to see his principal identity as derived from work, and his primary relationships that of employer and employee. Home then starts to adopt similar characteristics, his family may be subconsciously reduced to the equivalent of employees in his charge.
Secondly, the mother’s mission is trivialized. She begins to sense her own work at home is not their common life’s work but merely her burden to endure in service of a higher mission that is his alone and for which she has not acquiesced. If work is a separate and vying good to home it’s more natural that she begins to want that separate good for herself even at the expense of home life, which now has diminished in value for her as well.
Thirdly, their unity of purpose dissolves. The often tedious work of home is elevating and ennobling when acknowledged by both husband and wife as a taking part in an extolled good, valuable in itself and for the sake of their ultimate end of beatitude. Without this unity of purpose these duties seem merely menial and heavy — and merely menial and heavy work will quickly feel suffocating and oppressive for whomever shoulders it. Resentment calcifies like a tumor as husband and wife become competitors rather than allies.
Finally, there are repercussions for society that might be obvious but are worth spelling out. Sons will learn about manhood and daughters about their worth in the eyes of men in large part based upon what axis a father orients his life. Both will begin to understand God’s love through their father. Far less than their father’s job promotion, children will remember how their dad prioritized their mom and them in the small details that make up the composition of their childhood. It’s not the work of one evening or a trip to Disneyland, but it’s the quiet persevering work of a lifetime. This work, cheerfully and generously done, will reverberate into society and future generations. The neglect of it will as well.
The stories we tell as a culture about the dynamics between husband and wife matter. When men and women are united in giving preeminence to home the story can be one of families working in concert, with generosity and gratitude exchanged back and forth with a currency that multiplies with each exchange. It’s the story of ordinary people living their quiet shared purpose, a purpose that saturates their hearts, and inclines their wills toward God and one another. This love story is transformative and extraordinary precisely because of the seemingly everyday subjects and acts which constitute its operations.
For too long we’ve repeated the cultural lore about the domineering and distant man, and the oppressed and under actualized woman, both wanting to break from the tedium of middle class values. The modern response to this has been that we’ve valued home too much and at too great an expense. What this critique fails to see is that home feels like a prison not because we’ve given it too much importance but because we’ve given it far too little.