“So why are you in seminary?” A male colleague asked me.
He pronounced you similar to eeuw, as if an insect had crawled through a broken screen window into the house.
I debated how to respond to the annoying question that came up regularly at the evangelical seminary where I pursued a Master of Divinity. It made no sense—Isn’t the Bible crystal clear that Jesus is the Living Word? Before ascending to heaven, didn’t he instruct men and women to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth? Hadn’t the apostle Paul exhorted all Christians to live in Christ more than any other instruction? Doesn’t God’s written word—sola scriptura—point to everything we need to know for faith and practice?
For the life of me, it made zero sense why anyone would question an evangelical woman wanting tools for studying the Bible and knowing God deeply. Should women aspire to be in Christ less than men?
The question seemed absurd. I imagined what would happen if I joked with the guy, “Actually, I’m here because of the money, the sex, and the power. What about you?”
Knowing that he probably wouldn’t think that was as funny and ironic as I did, I offered my nerdy real reason: “I’m in seminary because I love God, and I want to teach and write about God’s word with integrity.”
I saved my joke for female colleagues who laughed hysterically (at the thought of gaining money, sex and power). Each of us had signed up for a steep climb when answering the call to ministry leadership. We knew we’d face difficulties finding jobs. For those of us who were single, we knew the rarity of meeting a husband who would celebrate a wife in ministry. We understood that evangelical churches tend to limit women to unpaid work revolving around hospitality and women’s and children’s programs. Institutional powers weren’t likely to offer an upward spiral to ministry paradise.
I joked so I wouldn’t lose face. … Continue Reading