February 2006

This is post number eleven in the series.

I’m Shanna, a twenty-something college girl in love with her God, his Word, and his remarkable sovereignty. Along my sanctification journey, this Savior’s shown me his ways are not my ways, and he’s impassioned me towards learning.

Here’s my story:

God graciously gave me a Christian heritage, providing parents who reared me with Biblical principles in our home and sent me to a Christian school, K-12. At age nine, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, after watching the rapture-based film A Thief in the Night; by that age, I could have told you about salvation with my eyes closed, but not until the specific night in December did I recognize the truths to be for me.

Since then, the most important thing about me has been my relationship with God, and I have joyfully desired and grown in him for almost fifteen years.

I attended Clearwater Christian College in Florida during my freshman year and then transferred to Northland Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin, from where I now hold a B.S. in secondary education. After graduating, I moved back home to weigh options and plan for the future. Now, I am attending DePaul University, pursuing an M.A. in writing. Plans for the future are many and changing, but most likely they will involve more school. 🙂

What I love about College Girl and what’s made me a faithful reader for the past six months is that it celebrates something often overlooked by the Christian circles in which I travel: women’s education.

I grew up wishing for nothing more than a husband and family, and these things are not wrong. But God has graciously denied that desire for now, showing me how different his plans can be for each of his children.

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NAS)

What I want–I mean what I really, really want–most for my life is for it to please the Lord; through my pastor, parents, friends, and acquaintances, God has confirmed my path—right now, in school—to be doing exactly that. Through my experiences in secular school, I’ve met other Believers, had opportunities to share Truth, and my perspective has broadened to accept how big our God and his plans are.

To those who revere family making, let me say that I do, too! I read an article by John MacArthur (which I unfortunately cannot seem to find again) where he said that if a woman becomes a lawyer and then becomes a stay-at-home mom, well then her family gets a wife/mother who thinks and plans like a lawyer. Amen, I now say.

I love, love, love school. I hope to be learning indefinitely.


Well, once again, I feel as though this College Girl is battling those who believe a college education is wasted on stay-at-home wives and mothers and this time it is coming from the far left. Alert College Girl reader, Jenni, sent this link our direction and I would encourage you to read it as it does bring up some of things we have talked about on this blog.

ABC’s Good Morning America has hosted a series of Mommy Wars segments where, according to Dr. Al Moehler, attorney Linda Hirshman “has told America’s moms that their work is fundamentally unimportant, uninteresting, and fundamentally unworthy of any “complicated” and “educated” person….Women who stay at home with their children, turning their back on promising careers, “are letting down the team,” she asserts. They are rejecting the very feminist ideal that the radical ideologues have adopted and they are undermining the cause of all women, in Hirshman’s condescending view.”

Did anyone see these programs? What say ye?

Theologian in training, Michele, had some great words of wisdom regarding the importance of life experience to honing our education. Here are a few words from her ongoing Theologian in Training Manifesto:

Yesterday we studied applications in my hermeneutics class. When you study the word you have to experience it in life to grow enough to handle what you have learned. Seminary students learn so much in such a short period of time that there’s no way we can experience enough to handle that much knowledge. Professor Poythress said that it would take about twenty years to do so. He said that we were these big, misshapened-head creatures, that we were monsters and we should remember that and not allow our knowledge to puff us up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

I thought about it later that day and decided that it would make a great starting point to my Theologian in Training Manifesto: We know that knowledge should not puff up but lead to the love of God and to the love of our neighbor as ourselves. We should never attempt to win an argument at the expense of our fellow Christian or cause them to stumble on account of us but we are to hold firm to the truth and share it in love and concern for the unity of the body, all the while remembering that “all people” will know that we are Christ’s disciples by our love (John 13:35).

(Michele, by the way, is a seminary student at Westminster East.)

Here is an example of first-hand experience with those who believe women ought not to attend college. Rachelle comments in this essay about what she terms “conservative feminism*” and how it relates to the education of women.

For a long while I would not have called myself a feminist and what has really made me rethink the whole issue has been my introduction (more recently) to what I call the anti-feminist. The person who tells me on the phone that he won’t send his sons to the college I work for because we educate women and that my being in the workplace is contrary to Scripture and an affront to my husband; the homeschooling speaker who only allows women to work for him if they are working under the supervision of their husband, father, or brother, who also receives their wages; the woman who tells me that she doesn’t know anything about the family finances because that would be usurping her husband’s authority; the woman who tells me that our country would be much better off if women didn’t have the right to vote; the girl I met with at her high school who speaks four languages (several of them self-taught) and whose eyes light up when we she asks me what they teach at my college but whose high school counselor tells me privately later will never be allowed to go to college because her parents are afraid that if she were educated “no man would have her.” It is these people who have shown me what I am, a feminist. But I am uncomfortable with the term. Probably because of the name that socialist, radical and liberal feminists have made for the movement. But wait! There’s a new label. (Actually several. Cultural and eco-feminism have been added too.) Conservative feminism. And that is the label I feel the most comfortable with, even if there are those in this arena that I am not entirely too sure about.

*Conservative feminism ” criticizes the feminism which “adopts a male model of careerism and public achievement as female goals, thereby denying women’s need for intimacy, family, and children.” They fear that “equality means death to the family.” They often reject the popular feminist epigram, “the personal is political.”

“It is a wonderful advantage to a man, in every pursuit or avocation, to
secure an adviser in a sensible woman. In woman there is at once a
subtile delicacy of tact & plain soundness of judgment which are rarely
combined to an equal degree in man. A woman, if she be really your
friend, will have a sensitive regard for your character, honor, repute.
She will seldom cousel you to do a shabby thing; for a woman friend
always desires to be proud of you.”

The Earl of Lytton (1831-91)

I have had this framed on my office wall for some time, and then the
nail came loose, and it has fallen. Should I return it to my wall? Is it
something a college gal can promote? *think think* Are our proficiencies
best demonstrated as compliments to the masculine? Must we be only
passive advisors?

Christine de Pisan, placed in the Medieval courtly life with a widowed
mother and several young charges, was forced to find a way to support
her family. She wrote. She created manners manuals for her fellow
courtly women telling them, much like Lytton, that their best character
trait was diplomacy and that they can woo the men in their lives to
their better selves. She was an Esther in her time. I’d like to think
that she was a College Gal.

Does it matter that a man is expressing his gratitude for the Esthers
qua Esthers in his life versus a woman advising other women to be
Esther-like? When are we to be like Deborah? Could the Earl be as
thankful for a Deborah?

Kim, whose blog Mother-Lode is not only full of wisdom but is one of the most visually lovely blogs I have seen, gave College Girl kudos in December and I didn’t discover it until this morning. Her own thoughts on college for women is a must read and the comments from others are thoughtful. Here is a taste:

“….the current Christian reaction leaves us feeling that after high school a godly father should essentially warehouse his daughter until he finds a husband for her. It seems there are two fundamental misconceptions underlying this flawed idea of Christian womanhood. 1) A girl’s preparation for life should have more to do with her office as a wife & mother than it does with who she is as a creation of God. 2) Being a “Keeper at Home” involves nothing more than cooking, cleaning and childbearing.”

You can read the rest here.

As we have mentioned several times on this blog and as I have long suspected, one of the real reasons that men do not want to see women educated is that they think we will not be content in our roles as wives and mothers if we are…at least content in what they believe it means to be a wife and mother. The ideas that some women will be widows at a young age or that women may remain single for a longer period of time in this culture (or even remain single their entire lives) are of little concern. One size certainly must fit all, we have observed.

Along these lines, there has been quite the discussion going on over at the BaylyBlog, owned by two brothers who are PCA pastors, regarding women who have attended seminary and their place in the church once their educations are complete. There has actually been little profitable discussion regarding actual application of said degrees. Rather, it has centered around the criticism of the woman who wrote this article for a Presbyterian Church of America publication and comments she made at a conference on gender and the church held recently at Covenant College. A first hand recap of the conference can be found here and here and is quite interesting. It should also be mentioned that no one at the conference or in these discussions is advocating the ordination of women. This is a discussion of women using their education within the church after they have been to seminary that has somehow taken on a life of its own and participants are accusing, by default, those who found something good in her article of not loving God’s word. PCAer’s beware.

There is also a PCA pastor in Arizona who has taken it upon himself to write a catechism for women which I will share here, as it does relate to the women and college issue. I would agree that, as women, we must seek to live to God’s glory. However, what this actually means, I believe, is still a matter worthy of discussion.

Q: “What does it mean for a woman to be theologically trained?”

A: A theologically trained woman is a one, who, in the fear of God, does not disdain her sex for something more sophiticated such as writing books or speaking at conferences or translating Hebrew.

Q: “What would we call such a disdaining woman?”

A: Such a woman is, ironically, a Martha not a Mary.

Q: “How can [a woman] use [theological] instruction for the betterment of the church?

A: The church is bettered and strengthened when her women do not, as we would expect women of the world to do, for the sake of worldly acclaim or domestic ease, cast off their sex and play the man.

Q: “What are gender-specific roles and how and why are they defined?”

A: Christians shouldn’t speak of “gender-specific roles” since the calling of womanhood and manhood is not a role in a stage-play; nor is maleness or femaleness some “gender construct” but a chromosomal, creational, existential reality.

Q: “What then should Christians speak about?”

A: Christians should think and speak in terms of how God has called each sex to live to His glory.

Q: “How should each sex live to His glory?”

A: The calling of the sexes is articulated in the Word of God; it is defined by the Holy Spirit; and the reason for these callings can be found in the mind of God Himself.

Q: “Is there nothing more than what Scripture says?”
A: If, in seeking novel applications of God’s Word, you avoid applying God’s word, you are either a fool or being paid. If you do this and call it wisdom, you are an enemy.

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