Several days ago, I had a conversation with a George Fox University senior, one of our college superstars. She received an impressive scholarship to attend George Fox four years ago, and when I met her the summer before her first year, I knew she’d be successful. The student is smart, articulate, thoughtful, an on-campus leader. She will certainly make something of her life post-graduation, and I can easily imagine her some day assuming an important role in government, a field that interests her. It might seem hyperbolic to say she might be president of the United States, but yeah—she’s that kind of person.
So I was (somewhat) surprised to hear that, seven weeks short of graduation, this student feels like she’s failed. She’ll be graduating from George Fox with a B.A. degree, but no Mrs. Degree, no ring by spring—not even a steady boyfriend to give her flowers at commencement. In some circles, she’s already doomed to be one of those stereotypical spinsters, living with 40 cats and pining for a mate.
She’s heard the pervasive messages from Christian culture telling her a woman’s worth is found solely in her ability to land, marry, and care for a spouse and children. Although she recognizes the problematic messages Christian culture sends women about what and who they should be, she also wonders if, maybe, Christian culture is right: that because she values independence at this point in her life, she is going against God’s wishes; that because she wants to be a leader in some capacity, she is going against biblical mandate; and that because she hasn’t found The One, God hasn’t blessed her.
It is for people like this amazing woman that Kendra and I continue to write. We meet folks every day who have been damaged by Christian culture’s insistence that men and women have particular, distinct, and—at least for women—limited roles. We also believe strongly that God wants us to freely explore the gifts God has given us; and that too often, Christian culture has demanded that women not have that freedom, all in the name of biblical (mis-)interpretation.
We are re-launching and enhancing our website because, after blogging for 18 months, we are even more convinced that Christian culture needs to be called out for its misrepresentation of God. Sometimes, our message may seem like a broken record, but that’s only because Christian culture itself is broken—and is breaking women and men, too, rather than allowing each of us to celebrate God’s goodness in our lives.
Hopefully, the great work our web consultant has done will allow our message to come through even more clearly, without the distraction of our poor tech abilities. Let us know what we can do to make the site more accessible. Thanks to those of you who send us blogging material on the sly, and who have supported us with kind words about our work. We appreciate your encouragement!
Fundamentally (and perhaps too idealistically), we want our own work to allow young women and men to be all God wants them to be. For some, that may mean landing a ring by spring. For others, that will mean leaving college without a spouse. And for some, that will mean becoming a leader of a church, a community, even of the free world. Because I am convinced if anyone can do that, the student who believed herself a failure surely can. I have faith in her, and imagine that God does, too.