A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Does God Want Women To Stay Home?


That's the title of an op-ed in yesterday's USA Today.

And of course the piece is about Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's homemaking degree. Check it out.

'It isn't logical'

Seen in a biblical light, Southwestern's homemaking program is consistent with the Southern Baptist Convention's social and theological conservatism. But seen in that same light, the program is fraught with contradiction. For one thing, if women's role as nurturer and housekeeper is written into the divinely ordained scheme of things, why should something so very natural need to be taught to them? Shouldn't these skills be innate? And mightn't they best be taught in the context of the home, not the classroom?

Claire St. Amant, a senior at Baylor — the world's largest Baptist university, in Waco, Texas — nicely put her finger on the problem in The BaylorLariat, the student newspaper: "It isn't logical for someone with a master's of divinity to teach you how to make a bundt cake. ... I'd say the same thing if Emeril started teaching classes on systematic theology."

More vexing still, Jesus himself had some rather harsh words for the New Testament's most prominent — and unhappiest — housewife. In Luke's Gospel, Martha is busy serving and cleaning up after dinner, while her sister Mary has joined the disciples to hear the teaching. When Martha complains, Jesus rebukes her: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." Mary, in other words, has chosen the same path as Sheri Klouda did. Homemaking isn't everything it's cracked up to be. And it certainly isn't the only appropriate path for women.

This isn't to diminish the homemaker's importance — Martha gets to play a prominent role in the Gospel of John's story of the raising of Lazarus. And it must be noted that Southwestern's program is specifically geared toward "women whose heart and calling is the home." But surely the seminarians would be truer to women's biblical roots were they to recognize, as their savior did, that there is more than one career path open to women.

Labels: , ,

3 Comments:

Anonymous Chuck said...

Big Daddy,

Women staying home will eventually be mandated by law in order to stave off the obviously imminent coming disaster of global warming, uh, climate change.

After all, imagine how much carbon emissions would be cut back with less than half the work-commute traffic.

Thus, all good environmental evangelicals should support enthusiastically Southwestern's ahead-of-the-times, Green-sensitive, curriculur innovation.

:)

6:00 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

This is really just a rather poorly written hit-piece. First, her title doesn't really do justice to the article. At no time does she try to actually answer the question honestly.

Second, she is flat out wrong when she says, "in 2000 [the SBC] issued a declaration that only men could be ministers in the denomination." And she never explains the distinction the denomination made (and those that did read the online version really get very little explanation from the hyperlink).

Third, she assumes that Southern Baptists (or at least those at Southwestern) don't believe women should have careers. This is simply not the case. The degree program that she is attacking is certainly not required. Additionally, she doesn't point out that women are allowed to graduate from SWBTS (and every other SBC seminary) with any degree they desire.

Fourth, she quotes Claire St. Amant, a senior at Baylor as saying, "It isn't logical for someone with a master's of divinity to teach you how to make a bundt cake. ... I'd say the same thing if Emeril started teaching classes on systematic theology." Yet, she never addresses the obvious point that systematic theology professors are NOT going to be teaching cooking classes. She acts as if Southern Baptists are so stupid that they are unable to get qualified people to teach home-ec classes and thus have seminary professors teaching such classes. How ridiculous! What was this woman trying to say with such a point?? (of course we should be worried about any writer who uses quotes from college students to make points they clearly don't understand themselves).

Fifth, she goes off the deep end toward the close of her article and begins comparing Sherri Klouda and Mary, Lazarus' sister. And she closes by saying, " But surely the seminarians would be truer to women's biblical roots were they to recognize, as their savior did, that there is more than one career path open to women", suggesting that the story of Mary and Martha had to do with the career paths of women. Clearly she has never really read that text, or maybe she just enjoys the practice of poorly-crafted prooftexting. That text has no more to do with the career choices of women than the Temptation of Christ has to do with whether Jesus could fly or not.

In the end, Ms. Strange writes an article that lives up to her name - a hit piece that is full of misleading statements and poorly constructed points.

5:19 PM

 
Blogger Roadtripray said...

I don't get all the criticism this new study program is generating. It's another degree offered from an institution. If someone wants to take it, then it's good. If no one wants to enroll in this program, it will die.

It's funny how the conservatives get bashed for being "judgmental" but yet the liberals latch onto something innocuous as a new course of study for criticism. I think it points out that no extreme is exempt from the "plank-in-the-eye syndrome."

8:47 AM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

 
eXTReMe Tracker