Monday, August 13, 2007

A well-reasoned response

Rather than continue the polemical arguing that I can't help myself doing on the comments from the last post about the homemaking degree (I am in a really feisty mood, unusually, today), I wanted to post this very well-reasoned response from my ethics TA, who also happened to attend Southern Baptist Seminary. She was usually the only woman in her theology classes (she was getting a theology degree - and is single), and she is now doing a PhD. I really love what she says in a lot of ways, and I am never against showcasing another viewpoint from a person I know and whose integrity and scholarship I trust (which usually is a person I know or who is willing to put their name on their comments, eh-hem).

But first, one guy made a great point, which is "I wonder how they'll sell a degree that will cost tons of money, yet by its very design offer no possibility whatsoever of allowing the graduate to recoup any of that monetary investment." A very true and practical point. It's just adding additional strain to a couple in ministry, who already will probably struggle to pay off the husband's seminary education.

So here is a woman whose thinking I really respect (learn more about me from who I listen to than from what comes out of my silly ol' mouth, OK?):

There's nothing inherently wrong w/ sewing, nutrition, and valuing children. I'd probably benefit from some of those things:) Women should be able to follow that as their life callings, just as much as they should be able to follow a calling to preach.

I'd probably like the women in those classes and think they love the LORD and want to be excellent in all they do.

I emphasize that there is nothing wrong with women's personal choices if they want to take those classes:) On the other hand, there is something wrong with institutionalized sin that holds women back from other choices and legitimate callings...

It is sin if we pressure women to take such courses or to only follow certain roles and for treating them like they don't love Jesus if they aren't convinced that the institution's stance on women is the truly Biblical one. I wish that wasn't the case.

I would encourage Fuller girls to love their SISTERS taking the classes, befriend them instead of making them your enemies, pray with them, and be open and willing to dialogue with them. They make great friends.

At the same time, I ask that you condemn prejudice and group-think sin that holds women back with love, truth, humility, & actions, not writing off those men who hurt us as beyond God's reach and asking the LORD to show you what to do to help women.

Hurt for women. Work and pray for changes. Look for good in your opponents and build bridges. Create dialogue... and then write the seminary trustees and ponder what place sewing has in the mission of the church and spreading the Gospel?

[seriously ... a great question]

Condemn what having such a course implies, ask about the quality of instruction (the one women-only class I had was not up to a graduate or collegiate level) and let them know that there are great home ec classes at state schools. They could save school $.

I love Southern Baptists for many things: for leading me to the LORD, nurturing my calling to missions, teaching me some great Bible classes, praying w/ me and for me, and giving me fellowship and lots of opportunities to serve God.

Every step away from them HURTS and perhaps that's OK. We should hurt over confronting people's sin and in the case of women's issues, there are a lot of sincerely devoted believers who are sincerely wrong. I hate their sin, but also don't want to be a poster child for Southern Baptist bashing.

Love them. Confront them. Keep loving them.

3 comments:

Steve said...

This degree proposal might hold a bit more water if it didn't originate in a seminary which has seen its enrollment (and reputation?) plummet.
Dr. Patterson's attaining the presidency at Ft. Worth sounds so much like Bob Dole's and John Kerry's being awarded their parties' presidential nominations - much more as a reward for political loyalty than actually being earned for the right reasons.

(Heard about you on SBC Outpost!)

The Feminarian said...

Hmmm...I can't really speak to that - I'm not that up on college president politics. The biggest scandal out here lately was when a Pentecostal was named President of Biola U - a school that used to have everybody sign a statement of faith that decried speaking in tongues as demonic. Times are a'changin...

But I am now curious - what is this SBC outpost??

The Feminarian said...

Nevermind I found it - how completely freaky to be mentioned on that venue! Check it out, everyone: http://www.sbcoutpost.com/

My SBC-ordained daddy and daddy-in-law will be so proud. (good thing they linked the "well reasoned" post rather than the tirade from my own thoughts, or I'd be in some serious comment doo doo by now!)