Today launches a new series on the Westminster blog that addresses many interesting questions asked of our female students by those unfamiliar with the Westminster tradition of enrolling women in the Biblical Studies, Historical Theology, and Theological Studies programs: "Are you training to be a nun?" "Did you go to seminary to find a husband?" "Do you ever have to wait in line at the women's restroom? Never?! Lucky!"
Before coming to seminary, I knew I would be in a unique position getting a graduate level, Reformed theological education as a female. In fact, I was asked every question listed above. Yet the question people asked me the most was what I would “do” with my knowledge after graduation. Often when people would inquire, they were aware of my stance regarding women’s ordination and the fact that I was not becoming a pastor. Some even saw my time at seminary as a frivolous waste since I was pouring three years of my life into a master’s degree that would not enable me to climb the next rung of the career ladder. Yet the more I studied at Westminster, the more I realized that there are many intangible ways in which being theologically trained affects every part of my life as the knowledge of God and his Scriptures provides a comprehensive framework in which to view everything from being stuck in traffic to watching a beloved grandfather die.
My conversations with fellow female students, graduates, and other women connected with the seminary confirmed for me that although not every woman can or should attend seminary, it is every Christian's call, whether male or female, to know what she believes and why she believes it. When women take the call to study God's Word seriously, He uses them in powerful ways.
I have interviewed ten women who are serving God all over the world, from Japan to Germany and from California to Pennsylvania. Their stories will appear on this blog on Wednesdays over the next several weeks. Some of them have seminary degrees, some of them don't, but every one of their stories showcases women in their various roles in the home, church, mission field and academy. They are proving through their lives that to glorify God and enjoy Him to the fullest, we must seek to know the God we serve.
Joanna Hodges graduated from WSC in 2013 with a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies. She now resides in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Ross Hodges (M.Div. '13) who is the Director of Campus Discipleship at Christ Church Presbyterian. Joanna is the assistant director at a local Christian crisis pregnancy center where she is pleased to use her degree every day as she shares the gospel with the clients she counsels.
POSTS IN THE SERIES
What Will You Do When You're Done with Seminary? : This innocent question has rendered many a female student at a complementarian seminary catatonic.
Demonology 101 : I scanned the recesses of my brain. What had seminary taught me about demonic activity?
Immutability : As I considered the flux and uncertainty of life, the sharp contrast of the character of the Lord came to mind.
A Pastor's Wife : I did not go to seminary to marry a pastor. In fact, I was pretty scared of the possibility.
Incarnation and the Cross : As a student at a Roman Catholic institution, I have opportunities to reflect upon a theological system very different from my own.
Discipleship in South Asia : “Before the WDP [Women’s Discipleship Program], we were like dry branches. Now, we are full of leaves.”
Counseling: I was able to show this young woman how her story, albeit difficult at the moment, could fit into the story of God and His redemption.
The Joy of Being Insignificant : Now I am discovering to be content and joyful when I remain unseen.
The Importance of Being Wrong : I have reason to be thankful for multiple experiences of being blindingly, flamboyantly, and gloriously mistaken.
Book Review of Extravagant Grace : If the Holy Spirit is at work in my life, shouldn’t I be sinning less? Isn’t that what sanctification means?
Parenting and the Providence of God : Seminary...showed me that I worship a powerful, perfect and Holy God who ordains all for my good and His glory.