Saturday, August 11, 2007

Feminary has competition

Well...sort of. My husband alerted me to the new program at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, which is apparently trying to start its own Feminary - only with a slightly different angle than what we do here. It's the first seminary-approved concentration in ... wait for it ...


specifically, Christian homemaking.

Now if this isn't aimed straight at the wives who sit around bored and pregnant while hubby's at seminary, then I don't know what it's for. Apparently Southern Baptist Sem in Louisville has had a certificate program for a while, but Southwestern has taken it to a whole new level with an actual degree concentration. What a leap forward for the women! Now you can have your BA and learn to bake cake, too!

I don't see why they are stopping at classes on childrearing, cooking, and sewing. They need to go whole hog and teach classes on running VBS, managing Christmas pageants, maintaining the fine line between pretty and overly flashy fashion, and even perhaps a special lab on places to hide that necessary nip of booze. (for my mom it was at the Catholic neighbors' house)

Anyway, if you prefer this sort of "women's studies," more power to you. It's not really my cup of tea, but I realize that the Church can be 40 years behind the culture on things like the sexual revolution (frank talk from Lauren Winner is finally, using the media well (Christians in Hollywood have moved past the Gospel films idea in the last 10 years or so), and now, feminism. Oh wait, no, apparently we are regressing on that last one. Ah well. That's why the Church is so fun - we're just such a diverse bunch of folks!

Here is the story:

And here is the concentration requirements:

Go get 'em, ladies! Or even better, men! Yeah, that would throw them off. It shouldn't be any more lonely for a man in these classes than for a woman in the seminary classes!

Update: I just looked up what was at Southern Baptist Seminary, in Louisville...and I think it's even more over-the-edge:

Eh-hem...Seminary Wives Institute?!

I mean, I'm not against seminary wives - some of my best Fuller friends are the wives. But they have ambitions beyond being wives - most of them are wicked smart and have their own careers and/or educations in nursing or therapy or teaching or rocket science (ok, I don't actually know anybody in that last one, but it's quite possible, seeing how close we are to Cal Tech). They do not necessarily see their primary call to be to their home, as is described in the yahoo article above. Not that we're against the home. But there are ministries for women beyond working with women.

I guess that's what gets me about all of this - the overt (not even implied) instruction that women can only teach women and children. That men can't learn from us. I realize that's following some scriptural teachings in their literal sense. But let's not forget that the first evangelist for Jesus was a Samaratian (sp?) woman at a well who told her town about him, and the first preacher of Jesus' resurrection was a woman too. Hm. What were those women thinking?? If only Mary had been in the kitchen with Martha, instead of learning at Jesus' feet, she'd have chosen the better part. Right???

I love how the seminary wives' classes are taught by faculty wives. Let's keep it all in the "wives" category. I mean God forbid we be called women in our own right, or students, or identified as anything beyond our relationship to a man. Hmmm...I wonder if aspiring pastors' wives can sign up - like, single gals looking for the M(Div)RS? Ha ha ha. I amuse myself. Seems like a great way to meet a husband.

Ah, I think my favorite class from the brochure is "Greek for the Rest of Us." Come on, let's go all the way and call it "Greek for Dumb Women." Did I ever mention how I was about the best in my Greek class? I did? Well I am again.

Clearly I need the "Embracing Femininity" class. I never wear makeup and I even stopped shaving my legs. What a freak I am. I'm not sure how I even qualify as a woman anymore, what with my academic ambitions and straight A's and hairy legs. Oh, yeah, and "Playing Hymns" and "Ministry of Hospitality" sound awesome. Damn, I wish I could take these classes. I really mean it - I wouldn't mind learning some of this stuff.

The brochure is priceless:

OK, I'll stop now. I gotta try out the GRE practice test. But this is just too much fun. I wonder if it's too late to enroll J in these sorts of classes. He really needs to learn "Fitness for Life."


Caelius said...

"Did I ever mention how I was about the best in my Greek class? I did? Well I am again."

That's not because you're a woman, that's because you're an Episcopalian ;)

At my alma mater, there was a weird Mrs. type major called Human Development. You can guess the religious beliefs among those who majored in it, though I am happy to say that the acceptable alternatives were things like classics/medieval studies/philosophy and physics/mathematics.

Stasi said...

And how hypocritical of you to judge me for being judgmental. My mom was in this boat too. And I know she always could have - and wanted to - do more with her life. And I know she's really proud that I've accomplished so much more than she could, because I haven't been put into a "Seminary Wives" box. So yeah, call me judgmental if you like (or really, "judge" me judgmental) - I call me blessed.

Anonymous said...

That's absurd!

"do more with her life"

I'm thankful that my Mom (and my father for that matter) decided to do "Less with their lives" and more within our household. My mother gave up, SARIFICED, her "life" for me and my brother. Furthermore my father declined promotions in the Business world so he could keep his most important meetings of the week... tossing baseball every evening with me and my brother.

They did'nt take their cues from the culture like most contemporary seminarians, they took their cues from God's Word.


Stasi said...

Oh - right - that part where God's word says anyone who does not deny father and mother and follow me has no part with me...?

Or the part where the OT patriarchs are passing off wives as sisters and/or getting their maids pregnant?

I know it's not in the Mary and Martha story, when Mary - who sat at Jesus' feet, NOT working in the kitchen, not helping her family - chose the "better part."

Contemporary seminarians are seeking to follow God's calling to leave everything behind - and that includes antiquated ideas about the family from 1950's America that have NO support in the Bible. Or perhaps you'd like to tell me the chapter and verse where the Scriptures say that a woman's place is in the home? That the family should be our god rather than our Father in heaven?

Unless you are willing to deny your mother & father for the cause of Christ, you are not a Christian. Jesus himself says it. Don't see how that exactly fits with your interpretation of God's word about family. A father's most important meetings should not be with his children, they should be with his God.

You may see only the speck in my eye, but you're deifying an institution that is not Christian - that of the nuclear family in which Mother lives to serve her children and Husband. This is a creation of American culture (or maybe Victorian?), but certainly not Biblical. In the earliest days of the Church, people had to leave their families - they were disowned when they became Christian. The Church was the only family that they had. There was definitely a struggle against "honoring father and mother" (the Didache, an early Christian worship text, even omits this from the decalogue) when father & mother were denying you existed and/or turning you in to the authorities. The Church becomes our family when we are baptized into the body of Christ, and absolutely no blood connection is closer than the connection created by being clothed in Christ.

So be grateful for your upbringing, but please don't say it is from God's word unless you can support that statement. And definitely don't harass those women who choose theological education over the kitchen - which is, exactly, Mary's "better part."

And I doubt your mother "sacrificed" her life for you - she CHOSE to make her life taking care of you. And that was her valid choice and she probably didn't consider it a sacrifice at all, but a fulfillment of who she is. The same holds for many women today, including my own sister. But it does NOT hold for all of us, NOR are we not listening to God's call when we admit that!! God's call on my life is very different from your mother's - and it's still a very biblical call, a very holy call.

Delia Christina said...

...and notice no word back from Anonymous!

i got the same reaction when i wrote on my blog that my mom was happier when she was working, rather than being at home all the time with us. wow, talk about a crap storm of judgment.

anyway, back to the topic - i'm stunned at the class offerings. just stunned. it reminds me of college wives in the 50s, getting their degrees in art history and flower arranging while their husbands got degrees in economics or history. total throwback.

i'm linking to this.

Shawna Atteberry said...

Hmmmm....I wonder if this means I need to put my hubby through some kind of housekeeping course, since I'm the pastor and seminary graduate in the family?

Shawna Atteberry said...

I thought you'd might like to see what bringing this to my attention sparked on a book proposal I'm working on. Here's the introduction.

Stasi said...

Thanks - and a great page. Everybody go look at Shawna's page!

Here is my favorite bit (a great response to the anonymous comments on here): There is a disturbing trend in evangelicalism that takes the 1950s Leave It to Beaver family and elevates it to the biblical model of family. The “biblical” model of being a woman means staying at home, raising children, and taking care of the household. But does the Bible really say that?

Indeed it does not, and Shawna tells us why. Way to go, lady!

Pai said...

The Proverbs 31:10-31 discription of a virtuous wife is one who is active in community services, runs her own business, uses her earnings at her own discretion, is strong and capable, and whose wisdom is praised by her husband, family, and neighbors.

How someone could read that and claim women are supposed to be restricted, silenced, and powerless in their own families and lives, boggles my mind. People are confusing the worldly, oppressive patriarchal culture they were brought up in for the actual Biblical point of view.