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February 15, 2006

Of Frying Pans and Theological Fires

Karen weighs in on the theological-eduation-for-women controversy and the inane 'catechism' regarding women and theology.

And like mother, like daughter--Mollie wonders about homemaking training while caring for another woman's husband and children.


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What a horrible catechism! I was impressed, however, by the quality of the responses on Karen's blog--serious and rigorous.

My Bible Study is just finishing up When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James, which urges the theological education of women (of all believers, really, but her intended audience is women). A deep understanding of God's character through study (either in seminary or in less formal settings) can hardly be remiss for any believer, and does not preordaine, if I can use that word, the person who undertakes that education to go into public ministry.

It's distressing to think that in the PCA (my denomination) there are those who willingly mistake this for an "all-or-nothing" proposition, as if there were no use for real Biblical literacy except for occupants of the pulpit.

Posted by: CEP at February 16, 2006 10:28 PM

I'm probably more conservative on these issues than most of the women who responded to Karen's post, but I think that a catechism that is written with a style approach of teaching people (women in particular in this case) to shut up and not think a certain way lest they get bad ideas is Just Wrong and, as someone else said, gross. You could pretty much put forth the ideas he holds to in a much more wholesome way by instructing people on what is RIGHT, not this "don't you dare think or say that, you crypto-feminist, you" approach that it takes.

I liked Mollie's post quite a bit, with the (small) caveat -- that most probably wouldn't disagree with -- that if a young woman just Really Wants to spend her "single adult career" in a home caring for another family, there's nothing more wrong with that than with her wanting to be a nurse or computer programmer. But as an manifestation of an unhealthy attitude, I agree it's a problem.

Posted by: pentamom at February 17, 2006 01:08 PM

BTW, the thing that resonated with me most about Mollie's post was the bit about it seeming like some of these "motherhood apprentice" types are unwilling to accept their current station in life, and are just finding a way to sort of "kill time" until God does the thing He REALLY intends for them. "Okay, God, I know you don't intend to use me for anything in particular since you haven't made me a wife yet, so here I am waiting and practicing! Let me knw when you're ready!" I know they believe they're being of use where they are, but they are acting as though they haven't "arrived" yet. I don't think it's ever right for a Christian to mentally be in a position of thinking she hasn't "arrived" yet in terms of God's will because she isn't where she expects to be at some point in the future. Where she is now, is where she IS, in God's providence.

I want to yell, "God has made you a single adult woman! It's great to aspire to marriage and motherhood! But it hasn't happened yet! Deal with where you are NOW!"

To some extent, I guess that reaction's unfair. But I don't think it wholly lacks a kernel of truth.

Posted by: pentamom at February 17, 2006 01:50 PM

My concern is one that I haven't seen addressed in any of these posts: What if God *does not* have marriage in His plan for any particular young woman?

I can name a number of unmarried women, now in their 50s or 60s, who would have made wonderful wives and mothers - but it did not happen. Are they to sit around waiting - and waiting - and waiting for what may never happen?

Yes, being wife and mother is a wonderful life; but it's not the only life there is. Each woman must serve well in the role God has called her to.

Posted by: FLGrandma at February 18, 2006 05:22 PM

The author of the said 'catechism' would do well to spend more time studying scripture instead of writing nonsense like that. Then perhaps he would realise that his offensive writing is not actually "Scripture's doctrine of sex" but his own.

Posted by: Sheena at February 19, 2006 02:51 AM

Just this morning I thought of this wonderful quote by C. H Spurgeon on the women finding proof of the resurrected Christ and being told to share the news and I thought it ought to make its way around the net once again, the Tucson Divine not withstanding:

"They were the first to see their risen Lord, and we will try to learn something from them tonight. It should be an encouragement to those members of the church of Christ who are neither pastors nor teachers that, if they live very near to God, they may yet teach pastors and teachers. Get clear views of our Lord, as did these holy women, who had no office in the church and yet taught the officers, for they were sent to bear to the apostles the tidings that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. Not first to them who were the heads of the church, as it were, but first of all to lowly women did the Lord appear, and the apostles themselves had to go to school, to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to learn that great truth, "The Lord is risen indeed."

Posted by: Karen at February 21, 2006 08:47 AM

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