A few years back, I spent a week assisting third graders as they traveled through “The Great Adventure,” the theme of my local church’s Vacation Bible School. After beginning each morning singing the books of the Bible to the tune of “La Bamba,” we settled down for Bible story time.
First it was the story of Peter, leaving his old life behind to follow Jesus. But when we asked the class to share names of the other disciples, the names of those whom Jesus called, one of the girls excitedly (and loudly) proclaimed, “Lydia, the maker of fine purple cloth!” I watched, amused, as she returned each day, singing VBS songs and proclaiming “Lydia, the maker of fine purple cloth!” as the answer to many of our questions. She was intent on reminding us that Lydia was a part of The Great Adventure.
As I have reflected on the recent announcement of homemaking courses available to women at the college at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I have wondered about the idea of adventures. Egalitarians, who question the biblical basis of limiting these courses to women, have often been portrayed as “anti-family.” Yet I believe that both homemaking and careers outside of the home can be adventures, requiring bravery and strong faith.
The difficulty is that these adventures, which often develop from cultural expectations and our own desires, should never trump our ability to hear and follow our call to The Great Adventure—to follow Jesus wherever he leads. To insist that a woman will find The Great Adventure only through pursuing homemaking is, as Mimi Haddad discusses in her article that follows, placing cultural expectations about her gender before God’s call.
And following God’s call, whatever it happens to be, will require all of our bravery and faith. God’s plans are so often riskier and more rewarding than what we dream up ourselves or what others might expect of us.
So as I think back to my VBS friend, I am encouraged in the work for biblical equality. I am encouraged because I feel privileged to be part of a movement that is a bit like that little girl—joyfully and persistently reminding the world to celebrate women (and men) who embraced their small adventures but understood that the point is The Great Adventure.