February 17, 2020
To the Editor:
I began teaching at the Logsdon School of Theology in the fall of 1993. I was the first woman to teach full time in biblical studies at Logsdon. This was, at the time, a rather controversial decision by the dean, H. K. Neely, because few Baptist schools allowed female professors to teach Bible. But Logsdon has always been a place that welcomes the voiceless, and I was given a voice.
Over the years, I have taught many young women and men Old Testament and Hebrew. One of my favorite courses to teach is Old Testament Survey because it’s my opportunity to convince freshmen and sophomores that the Old Testament is exciting, dramatic, and relevant. Although I don’t convince everyone, many students leave the course with new enthusiasm for studying the Bible for themselves. Some even decide to major in Logsdon because of this experience.
One of my most important roles at Logsdon has been as a mentor to young women who feel called to ministry. I did not have a female professor to provide such mentorship through all my years of undergraduate and graduate education – and how desperately I needed one.
This, for me, is the most devastating repercussion of HSU’s decision to fire me. Young women will no longer see someone like themselves teaching and ministering at the Logsdon School of Theology. They will not have a woman to confide in when they are discouraged from becoming ministers because they are female. They will miss an opportunity to learn from a trained biblical scholar who focuses on presenting overlooked stories of women in the Old Testament. So many young women feel God’s call on their lives. Eliminating the only female teaching in the School of Theology sends a message: “You are not valued as women.”
I am deeply grieved over the loss of Logsdon Seminary and my colleagues with whom I’ve worked for over fifteen years. I am grieved that the Logsdon School of Theology will be folded under Liberal Arts – the Logsdons established the School of Theology expressly as a separate entity apart from Liberal Arts. I am grieved at the loss of the Biblical Languages minor, one of the most popular minors in Logsdon. I am grieved over the loss of my dear school – the place that nurtured me, gave me the foundational tools I needed to earn an M.Div. and Ph.D., and offered a very green and frightened young woman a teaching position in Old Testament. Most of all, I am grieved for the students who will be left with only a shell of the school Logsdon once was.