I do not have ovaries of my own.
Despite that, I love several people who do.
I’ve been blog friends with Rachel Held Evans for several years. I often agree with her and sometimes I don’t. But when I got my advanced copy of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I read it…in one weekend.
You should read it too. In fact, I’ll give you a chance to at the end of this post.
I had my doubts. I wondered if Rachel’s grand experiment to take the Bible “literally” for a year was just a gimmick.
On the one hand, Rachel’s year (which rather heavily involved her husband, ironically) provides a very amusing story. I LOLed quite a bit. The story is definitely an entertaining experiment (in the way that “Super Size Me” was an entertaining experiment, even if it wasn’t very scientific.)
But what set the book apart and surprised me was how Rachel did mix her attempt at genuine biblical application throughout her story. The story acts as a vehicle for a commentary on what the Bible really has to say about women. The story also provides a unique twist at the end that is very impacting and teachable. I got the sense that Rachel had done her homework. Her year was not just spent trying to bake and sew, but in doing a lot of heavy research.
You are likely to read a lot of reviews, many positive, some negative. Rachel’s Bible interpretations are not always perfect, because no one’s are. But many scathing reviews, such as Trillia Newbell’s at Desiring God come off as frustrated and impotent, and are useful only to illustrate the increasingly insufficient evangelical response to a perspective like Rachel’s.
Read the book like you should any other: with a grain of salt. Test it. Enjoy it. Discuss it with friends or your spouse.
I got the chance to ask Rachel a few questions. Read what she had to say, and then win your own copy of A Year of Biblical Womanhood.
Rachel, I read your book in a single weekend. I never do that! I almost never finish a book, much less plow through it that quickly. Well done.
Thank you! You said something kind about it on twitter the other and I totally retweeted it like a big doofus because I want guys to know that they can read and enjoy this book too. Yes, it has “womanhood” in the title, but it’s not just for women; it’s for anyone who is interested in biblical interpretation and application.
Your year began with ten commandments and ended with ten resolutions. But your Year of Biblical Womanhood ended a year ago. How have things gone in the year since your year of Biblical Womanhood? Have your resolutions been as lasting as you hoped? Are you planning to have a baby yet?
Yep. I finished last September, the week of Rosh Hashanah. I’ve kept most of my resolutions…though, as resolutions go, not as well as I’d like. I’ve done pretty well at improving my cooking skills, practicing contemplative prayer, buying fair trade, and using my platform to encourage women in church leadership. I’d like to do more to improve my habits as a consumer so that what I buy and what I get rid of is better for the planet and the people who live in it. No babies yet! Still warming up to that idea…probably on account of Chip, the computer baby.
Your conclusion is that there is much less a formula for biblical womanhood (or manhood) than we assume. What do you think about the people who do live under the constraints of dozens of rules for living? Are they “biblical” women, though their formula is not really as biblical as they believe?
When Jesus the most important law was “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” All the rest of Scripture, he said, hangs on those two commands. I believe that, as a woman, my highest calling is to follow Christ and to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. That is the closest description we have to “biblical womanhood”…or, more accurately, “biblical personhood.”
So any woman who responds to this call can be said to be living biblically. We can add a bunch of rules and regulations but without love, they mean nothing. And we have to remember that any claim to a “biblical” lifestyle, be it “biblical manhood,” “biblical womanhood,” “biblical marriage,” or “biblical families,” is inherently selective. (After all, technically speaking, it is “biblical” for a woman to be sold by her father to pay of debt, “biblical for her to be one of many wives.) So those who claim that their long lists of rules and acceptable roles constitute “biblical womanhood” are treating both womanhood and Scripture like a list of bullet points or a blueprint.
But the Bible doesn’t give us bullet points and blueprints. It gives us stories. And I think that’s because loving God and loving your neighbor looks different depending on the culture and context in which you find yourself, as well as the unique callings God has placed on your life.
What do you think Christian men can do to help their wives be the women they were created to be?
Um, best question ever! My husband, Dan, is really good at this,so I asked him.
He said: “First, do no harm. Know when to get out of the way and let her do her thing. Second, help her find her gifts. Encourage her especially in the areas where she might have skills you don’t have. You can’t be intimidated by that; different gifts make you a better team.”
I concur. Same goes for wives who want to encourage their husbands.
All you have to do to win a free copy of Rachel’s book is comment or tweet this post! I’ll be picking several winners throughout the next couple of days.