Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good Common Sense on the Homemaking Concentration

I had compiled and uploaded the first installment of the Praisegod Podcast, a discussion of the homemaking concentration at SWBTS, when I read the latest opinion article by Gary Ledbetter on the subject. His is so good and so in line with what I said that I'm scrubbing my podcast and linking you to his article instead. A Silly, Dangerous Idea? by Gary Ledbetter


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those that still thinks it is kind of silly to offer the degree, although the lady that opposed it on the Today show last week about drove me to the other side!

If SWBTS wants to give it a try, and get enough enrollment in the program to make it a success, I say go for it.

The only thing that would make me adamantly opposed is if women were forced into the program and not allowed to enroll in other degree programs. At this point that is not happening

Jim Champion

Bart Barber said...


Your comment addresses the salient point that so many have either failed to observe or have obscured: like the other degree plans, this is OPTIONAL. To oppose people having the option of following this course of study is to find something so objectionable in these subjects as to think it harmful for people to be exposed to them. Thanks for expressing your thoughts on this topic.

CB Scott said...


I am for the degree because I know it is needed. I am sure I know that from my history with seminary students as well as, frankly, better than Gary Ledbetter.

Also, why does he bring in any discussion about queers and lesbians? Those old tactics are getting old. I am pretty sure we have dealt with the queer and lesbian problem in our seminaries. Thank you Gary.

I am going to assume that the unmarried person Gary is in reference to is Ben Cole. I am also pretty sure I know the liberal of whom he is speaking also. Gary is right if he is speaking of the person I think he is. The guy is a rank liberal.

Now before I make my point let me say I do not agree with Ben Cole on this issue. We have spoken much about it. On this Ben is wrong. Yet, can an unmarried man not speak to such issues? The Holy Spirit had Paul to speak to them.

It seems to me that Gary Ledbetter is constantly using “strawmen” to make his argument.

Gary, what do queers and lesbians have to do with this?

Now to my point. If I have to judge, who is the more honest person between Gary Ledbetter, Ben Cole, and the Liberal, it will be Ben Cole hands down every time.

Ben is wrong about this degree. That's the bottom line. Gary Ledbetter needs to get a new “strawman.” This one is just becoming too queer for thinking people.


CB Scott said...


One more thing if I may. I am sure you could have presented a far better argument for the program than did Gary Ledbetter. In my not so humble opinion; I know I did.


Tim Rogers said...

Brother Jim,

As to your feeling of this degree being silly, I believe you have every right in the world to feel that way. I disagree with your feeling, but I will stand and defend your right to feel that way and express it.

You also express and excellent thought in the program receiving the enrollment quotas (sorry Brother Bart I know how you are about quotas :>)) but as you say, there is a financial issue when looking at classes.

One thing that you say causes me some concern. You say; "At this point that is not happening" referencing a forced enrollment. Do you really think something like making mandatory the wives of students taking this degree? Or were you just making an exaggerated statement?


gary ledbetter said...


I'll give you the benefit of the doubt in assuming that you didn't make up your mind without reading the column. Reading it, you'll notice that the point of the citation of the two courses related to homosexulity is that these offerings at our state supported schools seem much more silly than those offered at SWBTS.

No straw man, no accusations, just a comparison between real absurdity and perceived absurdity.

BTW, are you sure you know more about this than I, or are you just rising to the defense of a friend as opposed to a man you've never met?

Grosey's Messages said...

Excellent article Gary. I could see your reason for quoting secual university courses. It reminds me of my university couse where I was required to study the sexual practises of Islamic women to become an elementary school teacher! talk about PC! I think it is great that there are courses available for pastor's wives that will make their lives easier.My wife loves sewing. She had to pay big dollars to attend a Janome sewing class!She worked cleaning houses to get the dollars to do her course. Why should Baptist pastors wives be deprived of helpful courses because some goose thinks its not PC enough!

CB Scott said...


I did read it. It is for that reason I commented. It is not me that has the problem in that area. It is you.

You could have defended the degree without the mention of sodomites. In no way are sodomites related to this argument. Using such is what is absurd here.

As far as defending a friend, well, I am not defending him here. In his opposition to this degree he is wrong. It has nothing to do with him not being married.

I will step out here, Gary, and say, yes, I do know more about this than you do. I know more about this than Ben does. Ben is wrong here.

You had the opportunity to promote this degree without such an absurd comparison. Now, let me ask you a question. Did you write the article to defend the degree or to take the opportunity to oppose Ben?

I think this degree is of such importance that it is beyond such petty foolishness on your part.

What has the ignorance of ungodly subject matter at a state school have to do with us? Bottom line; your powder just was not dry when you fired this one and you well know it.

Now, go back and write something that will promote this degree properly. You have never been able to handle Ben so don't muddy the water by trying to do so with something as important as this degree program that will help an untold number of seminary students if they take the opportunity that has been given them by SWBTS.


CB Scott said...


I believe parts of this degree program should be core for both men and women.


gary ledbetter said...


I believe you're still reading it wrongly if you think it's about sodomites.

I won't convince you and you won't convince me. I think my argument is pretty clear.

No, my motive is this is also plain. I've never felt the need to attempt to "handle Ben." And I won't argue the claim that I'm too dumb for the job.

The multiplied and unaswered media ridicule of the degree prompted my response. While I reget that you find the work contemptible, I can live with it.

CB Scott said...


Let me clear the air for the sake of reason. It may be that I failed in presenting myself well.

I know the article is not about sodomites. It is also not about Ben. It is not about a liberal that we both will probably agree burned his bridges long ago. Therefore, his imput should be null and void as far as anyone in the SBC is concerned.

I really believe this program is needed. I do not care what the motivation was to start it. Some have had much to say about motivation. I do not care who may oppose it. I have heard much from many.

I do not care what is offered in a secular institution. They all went to hell in a handbag long ago.

The comparison you made is "apples to oranges." The problem with the sodomite comparison is that it will cause some to say (to build their own "strawmen") you are saying anyone who opposes the degree would also favor classes that accepted the sodomite life-style as OK. I know that is not the case, but people do not care. They use what they use to push their point.

I think you could have promoted the degree without using such an inflammatory comparison. I know this program is needed.

Every seminary we have should follow SWBTS on this one. They probably will not due to so many in leadership having their heads in the sand as to what is really going on with students. You really did "hit" on some of it.

I feel you also took a shot at Ben that was useless in relation to the great need to promote the class.

It is true. Ben is my friend and I have defended him many times and always will, but this is not about him. I do not need to defend him in this. I greatly disagree with him here. Our friendship can stand that. It always has.


CB Scott said...


BTW, I don't care what geese think either :-)


Anonymous said...


My concern is that women at SWBTS will be assigned to a "womens" program. As I said, at this point it is not happening.

With the continued narrowing of parameters of what it means to be a SBCer, and with SWBTS seeming leading the way, it is concevieable to me that women could be assigned to certain acceptable "womens" programs at the seminary.

YOu do have to remember that it is not only SBC women who enroll at our seminaries

Of course this is not related to Barts post at all, so Bart feel free to remove this if you like


Anonymous said...

As to enforced enrollment in the homemaking degree, I actually do see this as a possiblity.

IN the old days, chapel attendance was not required, and the chapel hour was an hour or less. When Ken Hemphill came along, and then Paige Patterson chapel stopped being chapel and turned into the presidents "church". The length of the chapel hour also increase to well over an hour. Attendance began to be a problem, so attendance was made mandatory with each student having only a defined number of cuts.

Attendance is now great, until the end of the semester when the students have saved thier cuts - we are talking ghost town in there.

Now that the seminary is talking strong steps to building the new chapel they may do away with the cuts!

So if the home ec course does not get the enrollment it needs, I would not be suprised to see women in the college strongly pushed into some of those courses.


CB Scott said...


I really do hope the planned chapel building does not become a reality. I am glad students have to go to chapel. They need to go.

I have known seminary students that did not even go to church. Believe me, Jim, many of them need to go to chapel. They also need this class.

volfan007 said...

we were also required to go to chapel at mid america seminary in memphis. of course, i wanted to go, and i couldnt understand anybody that didnt want to go. i agree with cb. those students need to be in chapel.


Anonymous said...

Bart's thread is not about chapel, my point is that there is precedent for requiring a certain behavior, in this case attending chapel. Its not a big stretch to go from requiring chapel attendance to requiring women to attend the homemakers classes to assure that the enrollment is high enough to justify the courses success.

By the way, chapel attendance was good back in the Dilday days - but there was, I thik, a difference in philosophy as to what chapel was trying to accomplish.

CB Scott said...

I always told my children they were going to church. There was no vote. They still go.

I am glad student at SWBTS have to go to chapel. I do hope much of the new degree program becomes core for ALL students. The need is just that great.


Elizabeth said...

It would be helpful if those commenting on this degree would stop using the fact that an unmarried person offered a opinion. I don't agree with what the unmarried pastor said, but not because he is unmarried. Single people are just as capable of understanding and communicating Scriptural truth on marriage as a married person. Using the marital status as a descriptor is a poor weapon in defending this degree.

Matt said...

It is hard for me to understand why people have a problem with this program. If you like it and are interested, sign up for it. If you don't like it, don't sign up.

Personally, I think that it might be more productive to debate the utility of seminary programs that are not biblically rooted.

Kyle A. Roberts said...

someone should contact the PR dept. at Southwestern. They may just have found an ideal spokeswoman for the degree concentration:


Kyle A. Roberts said...

http:try again:


gary ledbetter said...

Hmm. Kyle, I'm not sure where you're coming down on this. Do you have a problem with Asian countries and the Iraq people owning maps? Surely you want U.S. Americans to have them?

Kyle A. Roberts said...


Yes, indeed! I believe every United States American should own a map--or at least have the opportunity to own one. If nothing else, they should have access to one from time to time, perhaps a friend's, or a family member's. And not just a map of America, but one that includes South Africa and "the" Iraq in there somewhere too. In fact, I think the homemaking concentration should also include a 4 hr. course on the geography of U.S. America as well as a few of those other parts of the world.

Would you agree?

Kyle A. Roberts said...


I all seriousness, I appreciate your thoughtful, reasoned defense of the concentration.

It seems, though, to this now outsider's perspective, that the usefulness and "need" of these courses is somewhat beside the point. The reason the concentration has caught the attention of the mainstream media, it appears, centers on two issues: (1) The exclusivity of the program to females. Might not marriages and families be stronger if men could effectively share in household duties? Why draw such a strict separation of roles and responsibilities? Complementarian theology can still allow for shared responsibilities, even in the home. (2) Academic credibility issues. While the secular courses you mentioned (e.g. witchcraft studies) might seem peculiar and useless to conservative Christians, they are presumably (and this is an admittedly big assumption),"academic" courses (analytical, critical-thinking, text-based, and all that). The homemaking concentration seems to be composed of skills-based, on-the-job-training courses, which many of the pundits have argued can be learned on the fly (but maybe they’re wrong). Some Christian colleges and seminaries see a course of wisdom in rejecting the hoops, constraints and expectations which come with keeping up with the Jones' academically, but until then, they can't have it both ways. Perhaps a certificate in homemaking would have accomplished everything SWBTS wants it to do, but without the target-on-its-back which comes with charging college tuition and handing out credits.

But then, what do I know, I’m single. Well, until October 6, that is :)

Bart Barber said...

To all,

This has been a great conversational thread, requiring very little input from me. I will say that I understood Gary's reason for mentioning the ridiculous classes at state universities—the secular people on TV who find homemaking ridiculous seem to have no problem with these genuinely ridiculous courses. That's the contrast being drawn, and it is a valid one.

As to Kyle's statement about academic credibility, I'll pull a little out of the podcast that I didn't bother to publicize: There's not a lot of intellectual meat in learning to be a recreation minister, either. There's not a lot of theological meat in studying advanced trombone. But we have the courses that we offer in our seminaries because seminaries exist to offer training that is helpful to the churches. Seminaries are not universities! They have an entirely different raison d'être to go along with their entirely different funding source. If it is helpful to the churches, it is profitable for the seminaries.

And pastors' wives capable of demonstrating biblical hospitality in the home are VERY helpful to the churches.

gary ledbetter said...

Kyle, I see your point. I agree that the skills aspect of this course is different than most academic studies. Preaching lab, counseling, field work, conducting, labs related to various musical instruments (as Bart says), and practicum courses fall a bit into this same category.

I agree that pastors, on the BA or graduate level, would benefit from analogous training. How to dress, basic etiquette, and other practical skills seem silly until you need them. Such training, though involuntarily gained, would have saved me some embarassment.

I still think the skill set for a pastor's wife is more focused on home life than on ministry outside the home, though. Thus, about 1/6 of the homemaking BA focuses on those skills.

Congratulations on the upcoming nuptials. There's nothing like it.


joerstewart said...

You've set the blogging world ablaze. My place, Bart's transit, Wade's shot across the bow, and who knows where else. I echo Bart's statements and appreciate your work.

Paul said...

Too bad the piece is full of non-sequiturs. Oh for the days when our points were made with reason and not just rhetoric.

volfan007 said...


you're just jealous! :)

btw, what are sequitors? were they an indian tribe in okie land? :)


Paul said...


I'm jealous of an illogical argument? Bahahahahahah! I think you must be projecting your own feelings onto me.

Thanks for the good laugh.

R. Grannemann said...

I appreciate the fact that Gary Ledbetter has participated in these comments. Without a willingness to have a dialogue there can be no healing in the SBC.

I didn't favor an undergraduate school at Southwestern. I believe the seminary should have aimed for an expanded graduate program, perhaps a more academic track beyond that of training of ministers and missionaries, something that would make a first attempt to compete with the scholarship of Union, Harvard or Princeton. We have many undergraduate religious schools that can offer home economics, but nothing truly on the higher end of theological scholarship.

Bennett Willis said...

When I went to Union University in 1959-62, we had a home economics degree. It was to teach home ec teachers and was an honorable degree. The issue that I have with the concentration at Southwestern has to do with the way that Dr Patterson (male) has presented it the times that I have seen him do it. It always seems to me to be something for the little women so that they can do their righteous service better and stay out of the way of the men. If he said that it is a skill that is needed both for social success and for possibly teaching then I would not write these picky comments about it.

Then you have the blog comment somewhere from an ex-seminary wife about Dr. Patterson (female) suggesting to the wives club that they really needed to help the seminary out by participating in the home making classes it just adds to the general impression that it is done for "less than honorable" motives.

While we are on the subject of desirable courses, there needs to be a budget/financial management course for all students. At some point in almost every person's life they will be responsible for their own money and possibly for a church's money. If this is not done well, it will trash either their family or the church (and thus their career). [I did not check the catalog--surely there is such a required course.] My father-in-law served on a number of pastor search committees and one thing they always got was a credit check on any person who seemed interesting--before any contact was made. And the results culled out quite a few candidates.

Bennett Willis

volfan007 said...


you went to union u. in 1959? man, you're old!

hey, did you ever run across my dad. he went to union u. at the same time....he might have been a year or two ahead of you. he was married and living off campus, so you might not have known him. his name is john richard worley.

oh yeah, bennett, my wife baked me some cookies. is that ok with you and paul?

david :)

Paul said...


My wife bakes me cookies often. I don't mind her doing it for me or your wife doing it for you. What in the world does that have to do with the article having numerous logical fallacies, most which seem central to the argument?

Bennett Willis said...

I think that it is neat that some wives bake cookies. I have always baked the cookies at my house You should not draw any conclusions from that other than it is a production issue. My best guess is that between 150,000 and 200,000 of the recipe below have come out of our oven.
1 pound dark brown sugar
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cup cooking oil
2 eggs
1 tsp soda
2 tsp salt
2 or 3 tsp vanilla
1 cup regular sugar
2 cups flour
7 1/2 cups quick oats
Mix the ingredients in the order given. This is a very heavy dough and the last oats will have to be mixed by hand unless you have a Kitchen Aid or similar mixer. Bake at 350 until done. They should "resist" when touched. This will take 13-16 minutes depending on whether you mash them down or not. This makes 60-90 cookies.

This is an thoroughly tested recipe and has been adjusted (evop)slightly over the years. They are truly the best oatmeal cookies I've ever eaten.

And yes, I've had lots of experience--and when I look at some of the comments I see, I really appreciate it. :) No matter what they say, experience is good for something--occasionally.