Monday, August 20, 2007

Baby Fever

I want a baby.


I want attention.

Let me back up...

This seems to be the year of all my friends having babies or getting pregnant, or even thinking about second kids. It's so much fun to be with them in the process and help them welcome new life into the world. I think kids are awesome but am personally years away from being ready for my own. I know I want to adopt, and I would like to experience pregnancy and childbirth.

But what I'm getting at is this: There are two events in a woman's life that garner the most attention--engagement and childbirth. Sure, people get excited when you graduate college but you don't have squealing women gathering around to look at your diploma like they would an engagement ring.

These two events should well gather celebration, and large amounts of it. But let's be honest, it makes the rest of us feel like we have nothing going on in our lives. When I'm in a group of pregnant and/or engaged women, my dissertation research just doesn't seem that exciting.

I think we should celebrate everything about our lives. I have a friend who throws a party once per year to celebrate being single and on her own. Beautiful. And why not commemorate the days that we barely make it through, rejoice in the ordinary, exult in the unnecessary? We should help all our sisters delight in the place in life in which they are, sans engagement ring or minus baby, or whatever.

So next time you see me, please congratulate me for all the extraordinary yet societally insignificant things in my life. That would be nice.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Benediction

Such a clever marriage of extremes,
God becoming one with us.
Remember your Beloved,
Remember who bought you,
Who made you,
Who loves you.
Come awake and be inspired,
Cling to the hope that is
Christ alive in you.
Crawl under His shadow
And Rest
And Weep
And Be.
The Liberating King is your Lover,
Worth, and
So be free.
God's covenant is your redemption.
Let your broken heart
Drive you to hope,
And to join His liberating work.
The King is enthralled by your beauty,
Honor Him,
For He is your Lord.

Monday, August 13, 2007

How to Make a Home 101

I read this article a few days ago about Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:
One of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, the school is introducing a new, women-only academic program in homemaking _ a 23-hour concentration that counts toward a bachelor of arts degree in humanities. The program is aimed at helping establish what Southwestern's president calls biblical family and gender roles.

I just perused the seminary's course listings focusing on women and they include, among others, "Engaging Women in Ministry," "Wife of the Equipping Minister," and "Intro to Women's Studies." The Women's Programs description states that it desires to equip women for woman-to-woman teaching and to enhance their gifts "within the boundaries of biblical priorities."

I know some good people at Southwestern, and truth be told I know relatively nothing about the seminary apart from its conservative reputation. So I'm just going to comment on the surface data I've presented here.

Part of me thinks... you want to take a homemaking course? Sure, go ahead. Maybe if I'd had some meal preparation classes I wouldn't be so bumbling in the kitchen. Learning to sew sounds fun. And I liked child psych in college so I could use a couple more hours on it. Women have long asserted their own agency in the domestic sphere so empowering them to do it better wouldn't be all bad.

And part of me is just annoyed. Things like this are precisely why I refused to learn to cook. This is why, historically, women were encouraged to go to college (see Mona Lisa Smile), to learn to be good wives and mothers. It almost seems insulting.

Women who attend this seminary know what they are getting into; it's not like Southwestern hides its philosophy on gender roles. I'm a feminist, right? I believe in choice, right? So if a woman wants to go to SBTS to "find genuine freedom and real empowerment", I should be ok with that, right?

The core of my complaint really comes from one place: Telling women who to be. If a woman chooses to take a homemaking course because she believes it is good and wants to be there and be the kind of person they seek to turn out, then great. And i really mean that. But what about the woman who is discovering, while at a conservative seminary, that she has gifts of public ministry (and not just to women)? And she's being told to learn... clothing construction?

(And as a side note: Why not offer this course to men, or make it coed?)

I fully believe that Christ, not our gender, defines us. Gender is a gigantic part of identity but it doesn't make us who we are. Identity is a process and our individual giftings and callings make it that much more complex. We should let God define who we are, that's what I'm saying...