Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: A Book Review

About The Book:

What is “biblical womanhood” . . . really? 
Strong-willed and independent, Rachel Held Evans couldn’t sew a button on a blouse before she embarked on a radical life experiment—a year of biblical womanhood. Intrigued by the traditionalist resurgence that led many of her friends to abandon their careers to assume traditional gender roles in the home, Evans decides to try it for herself, vowing to take all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible for a year.  
Pursuing a different virtue each month, Evans learns the hard way that her quest for biblical womanhood requires more than a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). It means growing out her hair, making her own clothes, covering her head, obeying her husband, rising before dawn, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church, and even camping out in the front yard during her period. 
See what happens when a thoroughly modern woman starts referring to her husband as “master” and “praises him at the city gate” with a homemade sign. Learn the insights she receives from an ongoing correspondence with an Orthodox Jewish woman, and find out what she discovers from her exchanges with a polygamist wife.  Join her as she wrestles with difficult passages of scripture that portray misogyny and violence against women. 
With just the right mixture of humor and insight, compassion and incredulity, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is an exercise in scriptural exploration and spiritual contemplation. What does God truly expect of women, and is there really a prescription for biblical womanhood? Come along with Evans as she looks for answers in the rich heritage of biblical heroines, models of grace, and all-around women of valor.
About The Author:
Rachel Held Evans is the author of Evolving in Monkey Town: How A  Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions. Evans is an award-winning writer and a popular blogger.

My Review:

I first heard of Rachel Held Evans about a year ago after reading her blog for the first time. She is a well known, and at times controversial, blogger and author.

During the month of November, I had the opportunity to review her most recent writing, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I had known the book was a bit on the controversial side. However, I wanted to read it for myself first, then look at what others thought about it. I chose to not read others reviews, and went onto read the book. 

To be honest, I had a really difficult time reading this book. The book itself is well-written and organized nicely, going through each part of the Proverbs 31 passage with humor and detail. To read about her living in a tent, embracing becoming more domestic and I applaud Rachel Held Evans for the journey she took over the course of a year to live out loud the Proverbs 31 woman.

However, I struggled with some of her interpretations including when she said that the Epistles were not written for us, only to us. Yes, the letters of Paul were written many years ago, but I do believe that God teaches us through these letters (and the rest of the Word of God) ways that we are to live out our faith today. Another point I disagreed with is when she stated, "despite what others may claim, the Bible's not the best place to look for traditional family values as we understand them today..." (p. 48) It is the only place to learn how to parent, discipline and raise children.  While I agree with her that many Christians fall into the habit of "picking and choosing" scripture to camp on, I disagree with a few of her interpretations (p. 294 for example). The Bible is our manual to living Biblical in all areas of our life. 

 Because we are all different people (men or women) we are all going to interpret differently, but ultimately the Bible is our guide to living as He would want us to. Loving God and loving others as He first loved us is first and foremost the most important things God teaches us throughout scripture! Some of the Bible is very cultural and we need to read scripture in the right context, including culturally.  I felt that in reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood, that I was left wondering exactly what the author believed. She seemed to acknowledge Christ and his resurrection but also mentioned saying that the words in the Bible were not inerrant, giving no value to the redemption story, and felt the need to try out other religions to suffice her questions (including mysticism). This could be potentially confusing to many readers, as it was to me. 

While I enjoyed reading this book to see how the author lived out the scriptures that related to womanhood, I cannot endorse the book completely.

BUY IT: You can purchase The Year of Biblical Womanhood at your favorite bookseller, from Thomas Nelson

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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