What Will You Permit Me to Do?

From Suzanne Burden, an almost grad from seminary:

I will graduate on May 11, mere days from now. God willing, I will soon possess a diploma that says M.A. in Theological Studies. I took the scenic, part-time, pay-as-you-go route through seminary, so this has been a four-year project.

Which is why so many are recently asking: “What will you do after seminary?” In return, I often respond with an ironic, sad little smile. But I am not the only female seminarian who answers this question with a bit of nervous laughter and a hedge. I know I’m not, because I listen to my seminary sisters when they are asked this question. I listen to their answers, and later, I go home and I cry.

So I have decided that perhaps, in the style of Jesus, it might be best to turn the question into another question for my questioners. (Did you get all that?) I have decided that in certain situations it’s OK to ask: “What will you allow me to do with my degree?”

Because this is the question that will largely determine what I do with my degree.

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  • metanoia

    Plant a church and do anything you sense the Lord leads you to do. That’s my serious advise. You will gain a following of those who respect you and recognize the calling of God on your life.

  • As a Lead Team Pastor (and a woman) at a large church, I would say you have to do what God has called you to. Keep looking until you find a church that honors that.

  • brennap

    Culture, society, and roles have changed over the years and across denominational lines. Follow God’s leadership and guidance and He will lead you to the place He has for you. Only He knows.

  • Suzanne Burden

    From Suzanne Burden: Thanks so much, Scot. For those commenting, this is a partial post. The whole post can be found on Kurt Willems’ blog at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2013/05/06/what-will-you-do-after-seminary-a-female-grad-on-becoming-a-pastor/ and sets the above intro. in context. BTW, I’m a graduate as of yesterday, thanks be to God! Feeling grateful tonight for Scot McKnight and Kurt Willems, who unashamedly speak out and stand up for their sisters.

  • scotmcknight

    Congrats Suzanne.

  • Suzanne Burden

    Thank you!

  • Suzanne Burden

    BTW, I’m taking speaking engagements to preach on the contents of the upcoming book I am coauthoring titled Reclaiming Eve. Here’s the audio from last year’s Mother’s Day sermon on this topic, “Why Women Matter to God”: http://sermon.net/gpnaz/sermonid/119915722 Find me on twitter at suzanneburden. Peace to you.

  • Judy Diehl

    Been there, done that — not for years, but for decades. Having served in a church, I am now in the world of academics, and find that it really is all about God’s calling and not about men’s approval or permission. Congratulations and bless you, Suzanne, as you serve God and not man(mmon) (sorry, bad joke).