got me a college girl

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

Saturday, April 22, 2006

purpose of secular education for Christians (Karen)

As a follow-up to a comment on the previous thread, I thought this might be good to discuss.

In referring to the article by Pieter Friedrich, Pastor Mike Spreng said:

"The article is a little obnoxious but it is not all together “arrogant.” I think what he is trying to say is that his mind was not forming like he wanted it to. That is what college is supposed to be about! College should form the mind and give the student a grid, a hermeneutic, a general philosophy, to study whole life. It sounds like he wasn’t getting that. His mind was becoming a convoluted mess of “information.” That’s not learning; not proper learning, anyhow. Again, proper learning gives a person a worldview, an outlook, a pair of spectacles. Liberal study cannot and will not do this. And as far as the argument of “learning about what others are believing,” well…that is a very immature way to learn also. Haven’t you ever heard of the way the FBI trains when learning the crime of counterfeiting? They study the real bill so much that when a counterfeit runs past them, they spot it immediately. If they were to study the counterfeit bills instead, they would have an endless schooling that would teach them a lot of nothing. And that is what much of academia is doing: teaching a lot of nothing. It’s Marketing 101! Those publishers and teachers get paid ya know."

So I had these thoughts:


Perhaps herein lies the problem....what is the purpose of a college education?

I would offer that going to college and attending college classes don't necessarily have the same purpose.

The experience of college teaches you all sorts of things we have addressed on this blog, ie, leadership skills, interpersonal relationship skills, independence, self-motivation, critical thinking skills, etc.

The classes, however, ought to be part of a whole learning process, preparing you to be accomplished enough to have a job, whether it be in a work environment or raising a family or in ministry. Class time will expose you to the ideas and worldviews of any number of people and it will also allow you the opportunity to evaluate the things you have learned up until that point. And it will give you a body of information you can and hopefully will use.

Pieter says that he was only attending college to get a degree. He didn't claim to go into it with the goal of having his mind shaped. In fact, it sounds like he really didn't go into it with the goal of learning anything at all, only to get a piece of paper for future employment.

I had another thought as I read through your comments and, looking at your profile, I think you might be Peiter's pastor. What do you think about Christian education vs secular education for Christians and how does that determine how you approach your classroom time? Are the minds of Christians supposed to be shaped by those with a secular worldview?

What do you all think?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

anti-college arrogance at its finest (Karen)

I recently came across this article by a homeschooled young man, Peter Friedrich, and I think it is a perfect example of the arrogance that is coming out of some circles regarding formal higher education. I would also note that his mother is Carmen Friedrich, whose blog has received many accolades, notably because of her anti-college-for-women writings.

After I had read it, I kept thinking about the fact that I learn something new every single day, something I didn’t know before. I read, I study, I interact with others and am always gaining a new perspective on subjects and ideas. I love it when this happens. How this guy can arrogantly state that he learned “nothing” from a slew of classes he took is incredible to me. If I had a child who behaved in that manner, I would certainly feel like I had failed to instruct him or instill in him the basic principle that God imparts wisdom to many people, not just yours truly! That and basic respect and manners.....

Oh bother…..

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Happy Housewife? (Monica)

I happened across this story in today's local paper. Sad that the female author is once again pitting women against women. Beyond that though, it sounds like the same kind of schizophrenia that shows up in Where the Girls Are, the desire to be at home nesting, enjoying all the things traditionally "feminine," and yet not finding that the only place that God-given talents could/should be developed and used, needing a bigger horizon than the four walls of the house. The author, Flanagan, describes her book as "trying to say...It's a kind of life, a way of life that's wrought with divergent conflicting impulses."

Has anyone read her book? It's brand new, and I'm hoping to get it from the library in the next couple days.

Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting that there's anything Christian about Flanagan's book. I've not read it yet, and I don't know anything about her other than the reviews I've seen. I would expect her to mention education for women, and I'm curious to see what she has to say there.

A Woman for President? (Shanna)

Recently, I ran into a fellow believer. We got to talking about politics and elections, and, in the course of the conversation, she told me she could never endorse a woman being president--or senator, representative, or mayor, in most cases. "I just don't think women should have that kind of leadership," she told me. She also said that she wouldn't know what to do without her husband--"How would I make decisions?" she explained. "Women and their hormones ... can you imagine?"

I asked her where we should draw the line--if a woman can't be in governmental leadership, can she be a company manager? a college professor? She told me that she'd really have to pray about that (or maybe ask her husband).

I think it's a very real question Christians have asked themselves: Could a woman be an effective president? According to a September article at ABC News, Americans may be ready; but are Christians also willing to ignore stereotypes and really search for the best candidate?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Alcott's Old-Fashioned Girls (Allison)

Over spring break I re-read a book I haven't picked up since high school-- a lesser-known work by Louisa May Alcott (of Little Women fame) titled An Old-Fashioned Girl. Alcott chronicles the teen years of Polly, a young country girl "come to the city," and delves into autobiographical territory as she recounts the life of this independent young working woman (a music teacher) in mid-nineteenth century Boston. I would recommend this book to anyone with young daughters-- it is quite a fun read that encourages strong family ties and has an Austen-esque ending.

As pertains to this blog, I found a suprising and heartening passage from the viewpoint of Miss Mills, Polly's boarder, an older unmarried woman who is a shining example of one who provides for orphans, widows, and the poor in a way that many would do well to imitate. Her words of encouragement to young Polly reminded me of the ladies on this blog. I believe all of us "college girls" might find her words compelling.

Sadly, like many young women today, Polly's friends have failed to see value in anything other than themselves. Alcott holds Polly in a higher sphere, though, since, like herself, she chose to make her own way in the world rather than fill her time with frivolous parties and social occasions as the other unmarried girls do. In this conversation, Polly complains about being ridiculed by the society girls for her simple ways. Here, it is Polly's high moral character-- her empathy and concern for others-- that is being snubbed. Polly gripes:

I want to be strong-minded in the real sense of the word, but I don't like to be called so by people who don't understand my meaning, and I shall be if I try to make the girls think about anything sensible or philanthropic. They call me old-fashioned now, and I'd rather be thought that, though it isn't pleasant, than to be set down as a rampant woman's rights reformer. (174)
Miss Mills responds with sound advice, which I believe this blog has exemplified:

This love and thought and care for those weaker, poorer, or worse than ourselves, which we call Christian charity, is a very old fashion, my dear. It began eighteen hundred years ago, and only those who honestly follow the beautiful example set us then, learn how to get some happiness out of life. I'm not a 'rampant woman's rights reformer,' but I think that women can do a great deal for each other, if they will only stop fearing what 'people will think,' and take a hearty interest in whatever is going to fit their sisters and themselves to deserve and enjoy the rights God gave them. There are so many ways that this can be done, that I wonder they don't see and improve them. I don't ask you to go and make speeches, only a few have the gift for that, but I do want every girl and woman to feel this duty, and make any little sacrifice of time or feeling that may be asked of them, because there is so much to do, and no one can do it as well as ourselves, if we only think so. (175, emphasis mine)

Monday, April 10, 2006

women and education by Susan Wise Bauer (Karen)

Susan Wise Bauer has some interesting thoughts on women, education, patriarchy, and culture this morning on her blog. It is a short article but in a couple paragraphs she makes some interesting points.

Is anyone here familiar with the Stackhouse book she references?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

future college girls? (Karen)

Now here are some future college girls for you!

It seems to me that there are at least two scary aspects to this video clip, which some people think are funny and some are horrified by!

The first is that these girls are in an elite school, a school that has been pronounced by the powers that be as outstanding. 19 out of 20 had no clue what suffrage is! What does this tell us?

Secondly, why were they so willing to sign something without knowing what it meant?

Any thoughts on what this has to do with educating women?

Also, I would like to remind people, again, that this is not a far-fetched view. As I mentioned in a earlier post, places like Vision Forum are supporting the notion that universal suffrage should be abolished.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

objectionable or not? (Shanna)

One of the most common arguments I've heard against formal education--for men or women--is that it exposes Christian students to objectionable elements.

The following quotation, which I just read in Christian Education: Its Mandate and Mission, gives an excellent response to those concerns:

"Our spiritual affinities are with these who hold the exclusivist position [the position described above], and our sympathies must be also. They are the ones with the sensitive consciences, the zeal for what is pleasing to God, the vigilance toward the moral erosion of society. But they should consider the implications of their position. To reject a work of literature or subject of study because of the presence of any amount of these elements within it is, first to apply a standard that precludes the possibility of a liberal arts education. We forego the major works of Shakespeare, Spenser, Pope, Swift, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning, Hawthorne, Melville, Clemens, Frost, and almost every other standard writer. We do not teach the Declaration of Independence, for its arguments are based on the secularist idea of natural rights. Even Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is suspect, for the key to the outer gate (the iron gate) of Doubting Castle, Bunyan tells us, turned "damnable hard." (Bunyan, of course, meant "able to damn," but he must also have been punning.)

Now if eschewing evil requires foregoing a liberal arts education even in a Christian educational environment, then so be it. No human educational values should be allowed to compete with spiritual. However, we recall that "Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Paul, we know, had the learning of the Greeks, for quotations and echoes of pagan writers appear here and there in his epistles. He knew Greek poetry well enough to quote from emory the minor poets Aratus and Epimenides of Crete on Mars Hill. Furthermore, of Daniel and his three friends we are told that "God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and widom" (Dan. 1:17). Evidently, in these cases, the divine preparation for leadership included familiarization with the writings not only of the inspired authors of the Scriptures but also of the poets, scientists, and philosphers of pagan intellectual and literary traditions. The exclusivist view, if consistently held, condemns the manner in which God conducted the preparation of these great men of Scripture or implies that God did not approve of it."

Just Who Are These Women? (Monica)

I'm Monica, a recent college grad and newly married enough to still be, well...newly married. :-) I married my best friend last August, and we're currently in NC while he wraps up his law degree at Duke University. He has one more year of school before we swap working and schooling; as God allows, he'll grab himself a "real job" and I'll be back in school working on a master's of social work. My undergraduate degree was in Rhetoric and Public Address after I realized (under Camille's excellent guidance) that my world could and should be far bigger than a practice studio and a piano, and I wouldn't trade my college years for anything.

I can hardly begin to list the things that God taught me in college. Through my roommates, He taught me patience and tolerance and even some modicum of neatness. :-) Through my friends, He gave me fellowship and a husband and challenges to examine, defend, and live out what I believed. Through my teachers (most notably, thgough Camille), He exposed me to the processes of critical thinking and a radically different theology and much wisdom in the interpersonal arena. Those years and those lessons made me who I am now, and they contribute to who I am continuing to become.

I'm thrilled to be a part of this board, to add another color to the picture, and I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you much better than I do now.

ETA: My hubby and I do not as yet have any children, but we are the very proud parents of a small bird named DeWitt. He's just too cute, and you can find lots of pictures of him on my blog.