Sunday, February 19, 2006

College for women

I have read several posts over the last few days on the dangers or impracticality of college for women. Here was a rebuttal to that argument pointed out by Bowden McElroy (who provides links every few days of interesting posts in the blogosphere) . I point out her articulate post to give some context to my thoughts, but the "should I send my daughter to college" question has appeared on several blogs that I have read in the past several days.

First, it is important to understand where these families are coming from. Many of these Christ followers believe in having large families. The "go forth and multiply" command is a command given throughout the Old Testament, and they take that command to mean that we should not use birth control or that we should at least multiply--greatly. (Part of their reasoning against college is perhaps economic. How can they afford college for all those kids?) Also, they believe very strongly that a wife's role is in the home. They take the curse put upon Adam and Eve as prescriptive rather than descriptive and their theology flows from there.

I don't agree with them and having enjoyed my own college experience, would initially like to give ten reasons why they must send there girls to college (especially if they send their boys).* But I don't believe I can simply refute their arguments by telling them they should send their daughters to college. First, that makes me guilty of the sin of legalism. Telling someone they should do something when scripture is not clear on the point is wrong. Christ's message, the Good News, was at least partly about taking off a legalistic code that burdened the least able to cope with such burdens. If these families feel led by God to have scores of kids (simply say thanks, they are funding our social security :)) don't tell them to come up with the money for private Christian College. Second, most of these kids are homeschooled. And schooled well. They are bright, intelligent, articulate. I for one, appreciate my college years, but I've met too many women and men who have done wonderfully without it.

Honestly, the best scripture on the matter is John 21:22. "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me." Scripture and creation both speak this truth to us: God puts a unique calling on each of our lives.

When I read the Bible (or when I drive down the highway for that matter.) I am overwhelmed by God's handiwork and awed by the divine way he weaves his plan all with broken threads in a beautiful though scarred world. I'm humbled by God's grace: that He has chosen insignificant, sinful, broken vessels, renewed them and given them purpose and significance. Our best refutation of encroaching legalism is the constant celebration of Christ's gift of freedom. And that freedom can include the gift of ten children. It can include a woman with a PhD. It can include a photographer who is a high school dropout. It included a seemingly poor child in a backwater town who turned out to be brilliant and humble and divine. (How strange!)

We serve a big God. Or rather a big God has taken us in and made us his children. And he has made room at the table for all. Jesus was asked these types of questions involving the law. I believe (and give me wiggle room here, I'm still working on this :) ) he used this opportunity to say to his followers that the Kingdom was drawing near, or rather that the kingdom is here. I think that needs to be our answer as well.


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