Friday, December 13, 2013

A Biblical Woman

A warm welcome to Casey's readers! Some of you might remember me from August, the first time I co-hosted the Friday Fresh Faces blog hop with Casey. Don't forget to link up again today! I wrote a special post that day just for y'all, about how I'm totes not a lifestyle blogger.

Remember the #1 reason? About being too personal and too controversial? I've already proven myself to be both this month. First I got red wine drunk and wrote about my best friend. Then I cried after overhearing rape jokes in a game of Cards Against Humanity, so I blogged about my feelings on it.

But today I'm sharing something that's both new and the same.

For the last several months, I've been slowly reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. When reading nonfiction books for pleasure, I tend to read them slowly, partly so I don't get bored, and partly so I can spend more time focusing on the book, absorbing its lessons.

I bought her ebook in October when it was one of the 100 books for $3.99 or less. I'm obviously addicted to bargain ebooks. I usually read it on my iPad, but sometimes I read it on my iPhone. I don't have my kindle apps synced, but I like how that's affected my reading of her book. Most chapters I've read twice. And by the time I finish this blog post, I will probably have read her December chapter three times.

Why am I reviewing just a chapter of a book, instead of the whole book? And why am I reviewing December, aside from the obvious?

I haven't finished reading RHE's book so I couldn't review it in full even if I wanted. But more than that, each chapter is so different, and so thought-provoking, and so inspiring, that writing a review for the entire book would either be the longest book review of my entire life, or devoid of my emotional reaction to the book.

In her December chapter, RHE does something so beautiful that it moved me to tears.

She talks about all the biblical women who were hurt by the patriarchal norms in their society. 

She cites all the passages in the Old Testament that illustrate how terribly the laws treated women during biblical times.

She briefly tells the stories of several named biblical women, but the story that resonated the most is of the nameless daughter of Jephthah, the mighty warrior of Gilead in Judges. 

The nameless daughter who dies as a burnt offering to God.

In the book of Judges, the women of Israel remembered the daughter of Jephthah, in an annual tradition now long lost.

To honor the women who were victims of rape and murder, RHE and her friend had their own ceremony, which included reading the relevant passages of the Bible, lighting candles, reciting poetry, and creating art in their memory.

These forgotten stories are why I can't be a Christian without being a feminist

These women's fates are why I choose to interpret the Bible in a way that honors men, women, and children, in a way that puts love above all else. When I "cherry-pick" my Bible, I interpret the oppressive passages within their historical and patriarchal context, a choice Christ Himself often made when countering the Pharisees. 

I think biblical womanhood is important. I think Christian women should turn to the Bible for inspiration on how we live our lives.

But if we aren't living our lives in a way that honors the women who came before us... that tries to make our world a better place for women today... that focuses on love and justice... then what are we doing with the lives God gave us?

This month, as we remember the Virgin Mary, let us also remember the other women in the Bible, the named and the unnamed. As we remember the humility of the Virgin Mary, let us also remember the courage of Esther, and the loyalty of Ruth, and the strength of Deborah.

Let us remember that we have more than 
one way to be a biblical woman.

I'm linking up with Heather for Book Club Friday...

But I'm ALSO co-hosting the Fresh Face Fridays blog hop with Casey! I hope you'll add your link below.

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Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

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  1. I'm intrigued. I've heard about this book in passing before, but I didn't know much about it. It sounds like it's written from an interesting perspective, I'll have to look into it. :)

    1. Please do! It's such a great book. It's the perfect balance of humor, memoirs/nonfiction, and biblical exegesis. I'm learning so much by reading it.

  2. This books sounds interesting, m gonna check it you. I just found you from this blog hop and became a new follower. Its nice meeting you. I am gonna go ahead and check out your other posts. Tc

    1. I love new followers! The book is awesome and should be available at your local library if you're like me and have a small budget for your reading habits. :)

  3. More sexism and misoginy from the infamous Return of Kings site

    If you haven't signed the petition to remove that site from the internet yet, then please do so now:

    Good news- we got over 12,000 signatures now.

  4. OMG I READ THIS LAST WEEKEND ON HOLIDAY AND LOVED IT. loved it. I cried in the last few pages when she and her husband do Rosh Hashannah and Taschlich.

  5. p.s. do you mind if I link to this post when I talk about the book on my blog?

    1. Please do! It took me forever to write this post, partly because I wanted to do the chapter justice in reviewing it, but mostly because I struggled not to write a long essay on it.

      I'm hoping to finish the book before the New Year, and I won't be surprised if I end up crying again. Everything I've read so far has been incredibly inspiring and reassuring to me as a Christian feminist.


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