got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Just Who Are These Women? (Shanna)

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.

Friday, February 24, 2006

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you” (Karen)

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?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

avoiding the "big head" of education (Karen)

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.)

more comments on the anti-college for women mindset (Karen)

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."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Earl of Lytton (Camille)

"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?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

more good thoughts on women and college (Karen)

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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

a theological education for women and the application thereof (Karen)

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 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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

how much housewifery training does a woman need? (mollie)

One of the arguments against Christian women attending college centers around the notion that wives and mothers don't *need* higher education, that what they *need* is to immerse themselves in homelife. These young women place themselves in an environment with a housewife and small children and lots of housework to do. This household is either the woman's own home and under the direct influence of her mother and father, or it's another home with the proper conditions, under the influence of a suitable family which has been approved, of course, by the woman's father.

My question is, just how much of this kind of preparation does a woman need? Honestly, now. It probably took three loads of dishes in my miniscule kitchen sink before I knew just how to stack glasses and plates in the drainer, just what to wash first, just what to do to discover the most efficient way of doing dishes. It takes say, three minutes to look at the pile of laundry and know that there are six loads of clothes and one of diapers (which takes longer) and that I certainly can catch up today and possibly vacuum the laundry room floor, to boot! It takes thirteen seconds to find a recipe on the internet to make for dinner tonight, another twenty three seconds to email my husband and ask him to pick up some loose leaf lettuce and a tomato on his way home from work. It seems to me that general housework and home management could be learned fairly quickly, if one were nominally interested and not over-zealous with an acre of organic garden and a loom to weave textiles that will clothe the entire family and the worse-off family down the street.

Let's be generous and say that it could be a practical and beneficial situation for a woman to spend one year in such a circumstance. Assuming that she's been sitting on cushions eating strawberries and cream all her life, her education or apprenticeship or whatever they want to call it will start with the basics. During that year she will learn how to clean the house from top to bottom, to cook three meals a day without ever resorting to pop tarts or take-out. She'll learn how to manage multiple children at once, juggling diaper changes and dart guns and american girl doll buttons at the same time without screaming and running for the street. She'll learn how to work within a budget, feeding and clothing a family on one income. She'll even have time for the extras that will truly make her a woman of housewifery accomplishment: sewing, knitting, basic gardening, recycling, the grinding of wheat and baking of bread, and more!

After this one year in which she has learned how to be a housewife, what next? More years of the same? Why? Extra practice? In order to impress a man in search of such a woman who can do it all, and do it while he's watching with her father and a cigar from the next room, a commercial of sorts for the tools of the trade with which she is so readily equipped?

Could the reasoning be rooted in discontentment? These women want to be married and want to have children but have not yet been blessed with a spouse and a household of their own. So instead of embracing the season of life in which they currently live, the season of being a single adult, they've decided, or their fathers have decided for them, to live in another season of life. Rather than doing things that are commonly done while single, such as working for and earning a college education, or pursuing a career, since they do not have their own pile of dishes to scrub and floors to sweep, they live vicarously through another woman's brillo and besom.

Am I missing something here? The most obvious things that one would need to learn in order to fulfil this particular kind of role should not take very long at all. Is it a relationship issue? Observing healthy marriages at work, observing parent/child relationships? How much will the lengthy observation of another woman's marriage and another woman's children assist the apprentice in her own relationships, should she ever have them? Observation only gives so much, and no matter how involved someone is in the lives of another, it's no blueprint for the future. The apprentice will marry another man and have other children, all of whom come with their own unique personalities and quirks. Is it then necessary to live in and observe this way? If so, for how long?

I'm not opposed to homemaking apprenticeship, not at all. In general, it sounds like a good idea. It seems to me, though, that a woman who is 18 and has lived in a bread-baking, child-loving, one-income household her entire life would already know the bulk of what she's supposedly so desperate to learn in her apprenticeship. And if she is deficit in an area, then learning what is needed shouldn't take years and years to remedy. Is college out of the question for these women, then? Why is it an either/or issue?

Or is the "I need to do things that will prepare me for life as a wife and mother" statement a red herring? Is the real issue the need of these parents to control another person or to control women? Does it boil down to the parents wanting to control every decision of the child, even the grown child? If so, at what point does a grown woman have any control over the specifics of her life? Ever? Does the issue center around the patriarchal idea that a daughter is controlled by her father until she is passed on to an approved husband who will also control her? Does submission mean that the woman never makes choices without first having approval from a man, that she cannot educate herself and learn and believe things that may be contrary to the beliefs of her father or her husband? Is not submission something a person decides to do because they want to do it? In the same way that obedience from children cannot be forced (compliance can be forced, and often should be, but obedience is willing, it's something the child does out of love for the parent), submission cannot be forced, can it?


Monday, February 06, 2006

freidan in agreement with neopatriarchs? (Karen)

"Housewives are mindless and thing-hungry... ; They are trapped in trivial domestic routine and meaningless busywork within a community that does not challenge their intelligence. Housework is peculiarly suited to the capabilities of feeble-minded girls; it can hardly use the abilities of a woman of average or normal human intelligence."

Betty Freidan, author of The Feminist Mystique and who died on Saturday at the age of 85.

In blogging about her this morning, it occured to me that her view of homemaking is not too far off from the views of those who do not believe that women ought to attend college. Those people would argue that women needn't be educated to work and minister in their homes and it appears that Freidan would agree. Any thoughts?

educating women a Christian innovation (mollie)

Augustine noted that "Christian women were better educated than the pagan male philosophers." Martin Luther wanted education to be available to all because"because people needed both to understand the Word of Scripture and the nature of the world in which the Word would take root." John Calvin advocated the education of all, including secondary education.

Read more about it here!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Things I Didn't Learn in College (Allison)

Though we are a blog full of "college girls," I believe we all acknowledge there are skills and abilities we have acquired that we could not have learned just by sitting in on a classroom lecture. We were taught to bake or sew or a myriad of other things that make a house a home by patient mothers, grandmothers, relatives, and friends. However--for whatever reason--you may, like me, have "gaps" in your domestic education.

This article, called "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Clueless" struck a chord with me, and I thought it might with some of you as well.

Though I would consider myself "crafty," and my mother and grandmothers taught me how to cook (including making perfect skillet cornbread), how to sew a button and hem a skirt, how to decorate a table, and how to sketch and paint, there are certain things that I regret not knowing how to do. I was always either too busy or too stubborn to learn. I wish I had taken the time to learn from my grandmothers while they were still alive; activities like crocheting, knitting, and recreating my New Orleans-born grandmother's shrimp creole recipe are difficult without their expertise. Of course, I could still learn those things through various means--scouring libraries and the internet, begging friends to teach me, and (as a last resort, since it's not free) taking classes. My list of three domestic things I intend to learn at some point in the future through whatever means possible by finagling purposeful time in which to learn (whew!) includes: learning how to properly use a sewing machine (so I can make curtains and pillows and dresses and even, possibly, slipcovers), learning how to make my own bread from scratch (sadly, I have a breadmaker I've never used, and if I won't even take the time to do that, well...we'll see), and, finally, though it is straight from the article--I would love to be able to make my own scented candles. I love candles.

I know many of us college gals have skills-- you make your own bread, you sew slings. I'd like to know what your incredible abilities are! Why not post three things you have learned and perhaps three things you would like to learn that you would consider "domestic skills"? C'mon, let's see what kind of talents you have apart from all that book-learnin'. ;)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

four things (Allison)

as tagged by TulipGirl and adapted from a version I blogged previously. They still aren't very interesting, but take them for what they're worth.

Four Jobs You've Had
  • Golf Course Cashier/Golf Cart-Washer

  • Girls' Summer Camp Counselor/Ropes Course Director

  • Office Receptionist for a Baptist Non-Profit Organization

  • Public High School English Teacher

  • Four Places You've Lived
  • Geneva, Alabama (hometown)

  • Birmingham, Alabama (college)

  • For 6 weeks: St. John's College, Oxford, England

  • Atlanta, Georgia

  • Four Vacations You've Taken
  • Montreal, Canada

  • Paris, France/London, England (2-week "Tale of Two Cities" tour--16th b-day in Paris!)

  • Los Roques Archipelago, Venezuela (honeymoon)

  • Grand Canyon, Arizona

  • Four Vehicles You've Owned Driven
  • 1988 Maroon Pontiac Grand Prix with "high-tech" dashboard

  • My mother's 1990-something Ford Explorer that I drove from B'ham, AL, to Austin, TX, and back just to go to a concert in Dec. 1999.

  • 1996 Silver Honda Accord. From 70,000 to 144,000 miles, and I'd still drive her except she was totaled last year. Stupid Atlanta drivers...

  • 2001 Green Honda Civic. She just rolled over 100,000! Woot.
  • Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    4 things of me (Karen)

    as tagged by Tulip Girl

    Four Jobs You've Had

    paper shredder at abandoned warehouse (my roommates and I were certain we worked for the mob)
    Outside orders girl for David C. Cook publishing
    Hardware store clerk specializing in making keys and mixing paint
    Switchboard operator at a men’s dormitory (most fun job of all!)

    Four Places You've Lived

    Bad Toelz, Germany
    Augusta, Georgia
    Elgin, Illinois
    Canton, Illinois

    Four Vacations You've Taken

    Smokey Mountains
    , Tennessee (I was not in navy and white)
    luxurious and romantic stay at Drake Hotel in Chicago
    Washington, D.C.
    Salzburg, Austria

    Four Vehicles You've Owned Driven

    bright orange Chevy Vega
    black Chevy Vega (hey, these were great cars; if you needed to repair the muffler, a Contadina tomato paste can worked great)
    big blue 10-passenger Titanic-esque station wagon
    Fore FreeStar minivan with a DVD player that use to work

    four things meme (mollie)

    as tagged by tulip girl.

    i thought this would be interesting in light of our discussions here. of course, mine are completely uninspiring and dull, but someone here must have some interesting stats . . .?

    Four Jobs You've Had
    ice cream scooper and stacker
    jr. camp counselor
    dog sitter extraordinaire
    musician, variety

    Four Places You've Lived
    illinois, elm street
    south carolina, various basements
    illinois, avenue d

    Four Vacations You've Taken

    multitudinous trips to knoxville, tennessee while clad in navy and white
    reformation history tour, rome to london

    Four Vehicles You've Owned Driven

    ford aerostar minivan, red
    nissan sentra, blue
    chevy celebrity, blue, aka "the creeper"
    volkswagon passat, black, aka "the transporter"