It reminded me of when I studied the history of missions in grad school. One of the great "heroes" of the modern missionary movement, William Carey, was of course prominent in such studies. In typical churchy fashion, he was lauded as a saint for choosing to follow a call to ministry - even against the desires of his family. While I know he did good (from a certain perspective) things like help stop the practice of Sati in India, I'm disturbed by the historical perspective that praises him for ruining his family. Assuming a call from God, he forced his wife, pregnant with their fourth child, to move to India against her wishes. She was miserable there, the child died there from illness and Dorothy suffered a nervous breakdown which some say eventually killed her. Instead of faulting William for not fulfilling the call to love and serve his wife, she is usually portrayed as a hindrance to his ministry. Even the wikipedia entry shows this bias -
Dorothy Carey died in 1807. She had long since ceased to be a useful member of the mission, and in fact was actually a hindrance to its work. John Marshman wrote how Carey worked away on his studies and translations, "...while an insane wife, frequently wrought up to a state of most distressing excitement, was in the next room....". Carey re-married a year later to Charlotte Rhumohr, a Danish member of his church who, unlike Dorothy, was his intellectual equal. They were married for 13 years until her death.
It fails to mention that Carey had become very close to Charlotte while his wife was alive - preferring to spend time with her rather than with his downer of a wife who didn't want to be there to begin with. And he is praised as a great missionary - the founder of modern missions. Interesting.
So is society more okay with men pursuing their dreams and passions at the expense of their family than they are with women doing the same? How often do you see entire families up-rooting themselves for the sake of the woman? is it worse or better within the church?