Swinging from the Vine / 805 posts / 2,744 comments / feed / comments feed

sometimes if I don’t laugh I’ll cry


Just when I have a surge of hope that Christians in American are “getting it” in the area of gender justice I read something like thisand all I can do is laugh…because if I don’t I’ll cry with despair. (HT CBE)

It’s no wonder Jimmy Carter had to publicly separate himself from the SBC.

Here’s a taste from Shawna

One of the largest Southern Baptist seminaries, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), in Louisville, Kentucky has just begun a new core of programs for women, which include:

Seminary Wives Institute is an innovative program designed to prepare the wives of seminary students for their role in their husbands’ ministries.

Women’s Ministry Institute offers women the opportunity to improve their skills and ministry through a variety of classes geared toward women’s ministries in the local church.

Classes include housekeeping, budgeting, being your husband’s best friend, keeping an organized house, and sewing. There are Bible classes, but the descriptions sound like the women taking these classes have never been to Sunday School. There are also “leadership” classes, but the brochure and class descriptions make it clear that this is leadership for womens and children’s ministry.

Sewing?! sewing?!

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  1. Tameshia — August 29, 2007 #

    Ugh… It’s like home economics for grown women!?

    Loud, shrieking - dare I say - hysterical laughter is the safest reaction.

  2. David — August 29, 2007 #

    Hey babe,
    You should ace knitting! I wonder if that’s a 200 level course after you pass sewing.

    I think I’ll protest by showing up in a dress proclaiming that I wan’t to learn how to be my hubby’s best friend!

  3. sonja — August 29, 2007 #

    Actually I think that tears of rage are perfectly appropriate in this case.

  4. Rick — August 29, 2007 #

    Don’t knock it. I’ve got a Masters of Divinity in Crocheting.

  5. Mak — August 29, 2007 #

    ROFLOL - you all are a hoot.

    David - you could pull it off my lovely. ;)

  6. Shawna R. B. Atteberry — August 29, 2007 #

    Thank you for the mention. And this is the reason I’m writing my book. I’m so tired of this lie being perpetuated.

    I also appreciate all the humor. Dave, I was wondering if I put my hubby in a dress, if they’d accept him too. After all, I am the pastor in the family. I possibly can’t do that plus cook and sew, and whatever else it is those classes are supposed to teach.

  7. Bonny — August 29, 2007 #

    I literally choked on wine reading that. Nice way to end my day.


  8. Mak — August 29, 2007 #

    Shawna - exactly! I can’t possibly sew my vintage hearts apron while cooking a roast AND lead a missional community, my husband SURELY should be able to learn how to be a homemaker and help me out ;)

    Bonny - I KNOW! But you and I both know plenty of women who would think this is the next best thing since sliced bread.

  9. Lyn — August 30, 2007 #

    Are you serious? I have spent years making sure that I don’t fit that “pastors wife role” - not for me I’m afraid.

    I could understand if it was 1850, but this is 2007 and the world has moved on a lot. The church isn’t going to destruct because the women aren’t so good at being homemakers anymore - there are far more important and pressing issues that the church should and needs to deal with!

  10. Pernell — August 30, 2007 #


  11. Mak — August 30, 2007 #

    yes pernell, that’s what I said too — except I actually said the words hehe

    Lyn - “pastor’s wife”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to be anyway

  12. Jamie Arpin-Ricci — August 30, 2007 #

    I’d have laughed out loud if it wasn’t so tragic. This kind of thing first makes me mad, then grieves me, then I get mad again. AARRGGHH!!!

    Kim & I co-direct our ministry, but as we establish our family, it will be me who needs to brush up the housekeeping skills. While the ministry might lose something if I withdrew, it would collapse without Kim.

    Anyway, happy thoughts…


  13. Mak — August 30, 2007 #

    good for you jamie.

    I guess, on the whole, I wouldn’t really care if they had this program available IF they also allowed women to participate in their other programs. I personally think it’s goofy but it wouldn’t bug me so much.

    I know quite a few women whose husbands are pastors and they have at times communicated how “ill equipped” they felt for that role (which is sort of odd to me because I don’t see my position as “wife of a Group employee” as a role but whatever) And they wanted to be successful as a support for him and for the ministry - they had no desire to do anything different. So that’s cool. If a program like that is helpful to those women, then all the power to them. Again, I still think it’s goofy but I won’t deny them the education to be able to sew if they want it.

    But the language used in their materials and overall injustice of women being refused access to the other programs and the implied “gender roles” combined with the knowledge I have of the way the SBC treats women makes me gag.

  14. Dianne — August 30, 2007 #

    I know this all sounds laughably absurd to you guys but can I just say “been there, done that!” And there is an level a bit lower than the SBC, believe it or not. It’s IFB, if you’re familiar with that scandalous segment of Christianity you know of whence I speak. The college I attended actually started a “Marriage & Motherhood” degree. It was the laughingstock of the school. Nevertheless pastor fathers sent their daughters there in droves to “prepare” them for this “calling.” (Who was calling who?) The only saving grace was this “college” didn’t have the nerve to charge as much as the SBC, which was a good thing because girls weren’t allowed to work off campus - go figure.

    The implications go much further than just how the woman’s ministry is limited . . . it factors into the very core of their being - who they are. Something I have struggled with for years to overcome. Thank God, nothing is beyond his redeeming power, not even foolishness like this.

  15. Mak — August 30, 2007 #

    oh Dianne, bless your heart. I’m so glad for you that you have escaped that death trap.

    I agree with your last paragraph there and mention it in my most recent post.

  16. Lyn — August 30, 2007 #

    Mmm, what is a pastors wife? A free *worker*, a personal messaging service for the pastor, someone who’s name no one ever seems to remember, someone who tags along … and I could go on!

    Seriously I don’t know, I mean no one ever sees the fireman’s wife or the accountants wife - they don’t go to work with them!

    It’s a label which someone sticks on and once it’s there you can’t shift it. Then you spend most of your time realizing that you really don’t live up to everyones expectations of you, and if they knew the thoughts going through your mind - well.

    As you can tell I love the *job*

    I know some pw’s would chastise me for that, as they belive God has called them to be the pw. I just happened to fall in love with a man who was a pastor. Now we are on a journey no one else in church seems to understand, and the you know what will really hit the fan one day!

    The truth is, like Diane wrote above, I don’t really know who I am or who *they* expect me to be. BUT I know one thing, there is no way I would ever go to a course like that!

  17. Paul — August 30, 2007 #

    david, you can borrow one of my dresses, altho it’s not a knitted number, i failed that class. bad wife buddy that I am ;)

  18. Pingback - Women! : Beyond the 4 walls — September 12, 2007 #

    [...] I was over at Makeesha’s blog earlier and read her latest post which is about a response that has been written to a post Mak wrote a few weeks ago about a new course being offered to seminary students wives in order to prepare them for ministry. I’ve been pondering over the response to Mak’s post all afternoon, mainly thinking about calling and the role of women. One thing which disturbed me in the bloggers response to Mak’s post was that she said that pastors wives are called to be pastors wives. I have to really dispute this. I’ve never felt God “call” me to be a pastors wife. It’s not like he said to me one day “Lyn you’re going to be a pastors wife, so go off and find yourself a pastor to marry!” I believe that God brought Jonathan and I together and we have a joint calling to worship and serve God, as everyone does. I really struggle with this role and calling thing right now though. Sometimes we get so het up about what God wants us to do, that we forget to simply be with him, which is far more important. [...]

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