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. With a 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. eBook.
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Customer Reviews for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Review 1 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Date:February 11, 2013
A well written book. Interesting, humorous, and thought provoking. I would recommend for all women.
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Review 2 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
I was intrigued by this author after seeing her on The View promoting this book. I must admit my first reaction was not positive because it almost seemed if she was trying to make Christian woman look foolish, but I realized that she was playing to the wide secular audience, and I had many people tell me that her book was excellent and very substantial. I must admit I was quite disappointed because even though her author voice is very pleasant, at times even humorous, there is a vein of hostility in the book, as if the author is living in fear that non-Christian women in her age bracket may look down on her for being a Christian. I can understand this - I mean, we were all that way in our 20s, and perhaps she will outgrow this in time. But her approach to the Bible is like someone picking up a road map, scanning it, and saying, well this is wrong here, and this is wrong there, so we really can't rely on this map - but even so, I LOVE this map!" She seems to be trying to have her cake and eat it too. She says she loves the Bible and we ought to live by it, but at the same time tells us that most of us don't live by it anyway, and there are so many interpretations, that all we can be sure of is that love is the important thing, which apparently wasn't clear to the apostle Paul, because he wrote the great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13) but in the same letter gave the Corinthians numerous moral mandates that they needed to abide by to live the Christian life, so I don't accept this author's belief that love alone matters, and that rules are not important. At times in the book she gives the impression of someone who had never read the Bible before but got introduced to it by an atheist who pointed out all the discrepancies but never got around to explaining to her why Christians even love the Bible and try to use it as a guide to life.
I wish I could be more positive about a book that has a lot of fans, but I've discovered that even in my own church there are women to say they love the book and admire the author, when in fact many of them admit they never read the book but were sympathetic to the author because one bookstore chain chose not to stock the book. In other words, the book seems to be famous more for being "banned" than for being something that has touched a lot of women's lives. I'm more troubled that some women actually will read the book and share the author's own flippant approach to the Bible.
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Review 3 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
As other reviews have noted, the author has a reasonably good writing style, so it is easy to read. Unfortunately, her approach to the Bible is troublesome. I won't cover ground that other reviews have already discussed, but I will mention that she has a rather immature view of the rules in the Bible. She claims that rules (or "commandments," to use the biblical term) make us "guilt-ridden, exhausted, and confused." I read that over a couple of times and thought: Really? When you were a child, and your mom told you not to run with scissors, or not to put your hand on a hot stove, was Mom doing that to make you "guilt-ridden, exhausted, and confused"? I know Christianity is more than rules - but I can't accept the author's view that paying attention to the rules has no part in the Christian life. As a married woman, I think she should be glad for the rule "You shall not commit adultery," and doesn't see that rule as existing solely to make her husband "guilt-ridden, exhausted, and confused." God gave us rules because - surprise! - he is our loving Father and wants to keep us from harm. "You shall not steal" is there to prevent us from snatching a good bracelet without paying for it - it's also there to prevent someone else from stealing from us. So are rules a bad thing? I don't think so.
"I’m not comfortable with a religion of rules, that doesn’t fit my image of God.” I can admire her honesty, but as someone claiming to be Christian, "my image of God" needs to be grounded in the Bible, not in my own wants and desires. Let's face it, not everything in the Bible makes us "comfortable," but our walk with God is supposed to be a challenge that is worth the effort. God is loving, as Jesus made clear - God is also Judge of what we do. If we say we love God, we have to obey God - just as a child has to obey its earthly parents.
That's just my take on the book. Overall, I think she has an immature approach to the Bible, and maybe she's not even aware that she's trying to create a God to her own specifications instead of meeting the real God in the Bible. The real God is challenging and at times "uncomfortable," but at least he's real, and a god concocted in our own imagination isn't.
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Review 4 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
I recommend this book to any woman. The content is light-hearted and filled with wit, while teaching context and depth to the biblical scriptures related to womanhood. Rachel puts all our fears to rest as she comically works through the ideals and traditions that tend to plague women.
I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style - honest and real. She admitted her failures and mistakes and made my heart feel at ease. I cried when she failed and I cheered when she succeeded. Her year long project covers topics such as homemaking, motherhood, marriage relationships, purity issues and social justice to name a few.
This book is a great read, easy and fun to wade through the adventures and mishaps Rachel finds herself in. The book also includes comments from a journal kept by her husband during the year and lots of links to more information and details on line. A fantastic book for anyone ... woman or not!
This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to review it positively.
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Review 5 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Some interesting insights, but . . .
Date:November 5, 2012
Although Evans raises some interesting issues about womanhood, I just can't accept her view of the Bible as so "negotiable." As a Christian I believe we ought to try to be guided by the Bible, not to impose our own preconceptions about the Bible, which in effect means that it says what we want it to. I respect the people who have enjoyed the book and rate it highly, but I really can't recommend it as a serious contribution about living as a Christian woman.
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Review 6 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Not a Serious Approach to the Bible
Date:November 4, 2012
I wanted to like this book, and the author does write fairly well, but her approach to the Scripture isn't quite right. She claims that the Bible cannot be used as a list of do's and don'ts, and that if Christians agreed on interpretations, there would be no questions or challenges, but that is nonsense, and she seems to be assuming that just because we may not agree on every detail of the Bible (something most Christians accept), there is no core of Big Important Beliefs in the Bible, and that is not the case. She quotes Jesus' words "seek, and ye shall find" as if Jesus would approve of her "method" of finding in the text what she is looking for.
While her year of obeying all the Bible's commands literally may amuse some readers, it strikes me as making a joke of the Bible - she abides by the kosher laws in the Old Testament, but surely she knows that NO Christians do that any more, and it's as if she's mocking the aim of living by the Bible.
I'm tempted to give the book 2 star because it is not boring, but her approach to the Bible is not sound, and I fear she may lead a lot of readers to follow her example to "find what you're looking for in the Bible."
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Review 7 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Rachel Held Evens is a Christian blogger and author. Rachel lives in Dayton Tennessee where she spends her time typing in slippers and PJs. Evans been featured on NPR, in Slate, The BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian (UK), The Times London, The Huffington Post, and Oprah.com. Her most recent book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” was released this last October 2012.
I can’t quite remember how I discovered her writing, I say “discovered” because I think Evans’ work (even her twitter feed) is a rare gem. Most recently I listened to her preach at Mars Hill on the book of Ruth and it was mind blowing (and I don’t throw around the phrase ‘mind blowing’ much- and neither should you)
In her new book, Evans takes much the same approach as A. J. Jacobs did with The Year of living Biblically. She went through the bible and found many of the verses and phrases that described the “perfect” wife or woman. For instance, she called her husband “Master,” and she stood at the city gates with a sign that read, “Dan is awesome!” (Dan is her husband). But even though people who saw her do these acts, might have thought she was crazy – I doubt for one second that Evans felt that THIS is what biblical women do.
It was one of her main points of the book in that – Christians read the bible with a lens (or a filter) and much of our faith is based on what we deem is “biblical.” But as Evans points out, ”It is biblical for a woman to be sold by her father, biblical for her to be forced to marry her rapist, biblical for her to remain silent in church, biblical for her to cover her head, and biblical for her to be one of multiple wives.”
But just because it’s IN the bible, how do we then approach it? How do we interpret it? And most importantly, how do we live it out? Because to be quite honest, many Christians don’t know what to do with a text that is confusing, or that seems to ‘buck normality.’ What do you do with a passage like Deuteronomy 22:28-29? A woman should marry her rapist? What do we do with that?
But as Evans points out in her book, “The Bible isn’t an answer book. It isn’t a self-help manual. It isn’t a flat, perspicuous list of rules and regulations that we can interpret objectively and apply unilaterally to our lives.”
In other words, the Bible isn’t a grab bag to reach in and pull verses out and see if they stick. And to be fair to the author, I am pretty sure she would say that applies to standing at the city gates with a sign that praises your husband. For any critic who says that Evans’ book is a disregard of scripture or biblical context I say, “Bah.” (that’s another phrase I don’t throw around)
In fact, I would argue that the entire point of Evans’ book is that we as the reader most often miss-read scripture because we live in a 20th century world and we in turn place our own bias and filter on the text. Evans’ has done her homework, this book is well researched and well written.
I read the book with my own filter, I am a man. I am also a man who spends his life preaching and deciphering the biblical texts for others. So I can read it and nod and agree and flip pages with a blank expression – but I think this book would create a different feeling for a woman. I hope that her book is read by more Christian women and I hope it gives them a rekindled sense of purpose and passion.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson press for providing me with a review copy.
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Review 8 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
I'm a huge fan of Rachel Held Evans and this book does not disappoint. Well-written and humorous, she takes tough passages in the Bible, related to women, and explores what modern life might look like if we lived those passages literally. I know there's been a lot of hoopla about how she misconstrues the Bible, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. She has done solid research and simply lays out a different way to view Biblical passages.
This book would be a fantastic small group study for so many different reasons. You could decide to talk about the things she experienced, you could reflect on the Bible passages she includes, or - perhaps my favorite part of the book - you could look simply at the stories of overlooked women in the Bible included before each chapter.
Whether or not you agree with what she has to say, this book DOES make you want to dive into your Bible and really look at what it says about being a woman. There aren't enough books out there that do that. That alone makes this book worth buying and reading.
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Review 9 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
*Review From A Well-Watered Garden Blog* Rachel Held Evans expressed both her questioning of Biblical womanhood and her mission through this quote, "This is why the notion of biblical womanhood so intrigued me. Could an ancient collection of sacred texts, spanning multiple genres and assembled over thousands of years in cultures very different from our own, really offer a single cohesive formula for how to be a woman? And do all the women of Scripture fit into this same mold? Must I?" page xx in the introduction. She then vowed to spend 1 year living out the Scriptures in the Old Testament and the New Testament pertaining to women. Rachel read and studied Scripture. She interviewed and studied women of different cultures, denominations, religions, races, in how they lived out their lives through Biblical womanhood. She made the decision to not "pick and choose." She began the year of living under Biblical womanhood October 2010.
My View of Positive Points:
There is a transformation that happens during the course of the book. If all that was read was the introduction and beginning chapters the reader would fail to find that Rachel grew both in character and in her spiritual growth. She had an attitude of teachableness that opened up the door for the Lord to reveal things in her own thought life, or character, that needed to be fine-tuned. Rachel is honest in her disappointments, faults, misconceptions, misunderstandings, wrong thinking, judgments, fears, anxieties. This book offers an honest and fresh story, not bringing us a person we cannot relate to that seems far up on a pedestal. Through her story (at least at some point) we can relate. She addressed in her introduction what her goal and mission was, and how she went about achieving them. Her focus was to be light-hearted and this came across in the book through various projects, for example the issue of calling her husband "master." On the other hand she could also be serious and contemplative about what she learned in her heart, "I don't know for sure, but I think maybe God was trying to tell me that gentleness begins with strength, quietness, with security. A great tree is both moved and unmoved, for it changes with the seasons, but its roots keep it anchored in the ground. Mastering a gentle and quiet spirit did not mean changing my personality, just regaining control of it, growing strong enough to hold back and secure enough to soften." page 16. She learned to be a better cook, to sew, she met people of other religions and denominations that dressed and or believed differently, she slept in a tent alone, she learned about the horrors of sex-trafficking, and traveled to Bolivia for World Vision. Her life branched out of "her comfort zone," and to think she thought she was already an independent type gal. Important questions were asked, for example: how are we interpreting Scripture? Are we using it for our own interests? Are we using Scripture to demean or judge others? Are we interpreting Scripture out of love for God's Word itself and for Him?
My View of Negative Points:
The evangelical women she interviewed or spoke about through their writings were on the extreme side of rigidity on adhering to the male dominant view. Personally I feel this is a small minority. I know of no one in my world that holds these views. I wish Rachel had interviewed Beth Moore, or Priscilla Shirer, or Kay Arthur, or Anne Graham Lotz. These are women of substance, integrity, and credibility, in the Christian community. I tried not to, but I cringed when she would use the word Bible belt, or fundamentalism, or evangelicalism. When I think about the word evangelicalism I envision a different meaning than what its become to many. The word is from the root word evangelize, in Greek it's euangelizo, meaning "to bring a message, announce good news." Mounce's Expository Dictionary. I disliked what I felt was a hurling of words in order to mock. Although I also feel she used these words as a call to arms so to speak, a way to radically change and or motivate others to question these cultural and traditional held beliefs. On page 260, "Like the rest of the bible, the Epistles were written for us, but they were not written to us." I agree the authors of the Epistles had no idea that future Christians for centuries would read their letters, but God certainly did. So I disagree with Rachel, the letters were written for us and to us. The Holy Spirit that led these people to write the Epistles and gave them the inspiration as to what to write, knew they would be read by us! Especially in the introduction, I felt her writing expressed itself more on an emotional level rather than by the Spirit who lives in her. For example: "Evangelicalism is like my religious mother tongue. I revert to it whenever I'm angry or excited or surrounded by other people who understand what I'm saying. And its the language in which I most often hear God's voice on the rare occasion that it rises above the noise." Page xviii.
Am I glad I read this book? Yes, and I recommend it. It is packed with thought-provoking-type-questions. It is a great book for a book discussion group. It caused me to interview friends and relatives asking them how they felt about Biblical womanhood, and women's roles in the Church. It caused me to search Scripture, not in defense of Rachel, or myself, or other's who have written reviews of the book, but what possibly did I need to learn from this topic from God through His Word. This book should be considered a tool. It is not a quasi-theological-seminary-type textbook, nor was it meant to be. And this maybe exactly why so many have grasped a hold of it with warm reception. It is an approachable book from an approachable gal. She speaks the language of a generation of men and women who do not want to do as the earlier generations have done, just because its always been done that way. They want dialogue, response, and a new vision that holds realness.
Finally in summing up, there have been misquotes and fabrications written from both sides on this book. It's been said Lifeway was not carrying the book because the word vagina was in the book. I don't believe this is accurate information. Lifeway does have the book for order. I've not seen it in their store, but it is available to order. I do not believe Biblical womanhood or women's roles in Church is a core belief or a morality issue. It is a cultural and traditional viewpoint. At this time women hold roles on church staffs across the board in Baptist Churches in Texas. As of yet there are no women pastors. There are women deacons in some Baptist Churches. Women are allowed to teach men, for example teaching in couples classes. Although Baptist's let the individual churches set their own guidelines on this, and it is the pastor who usually sets the tone.
Thank you to Rachel Held Evans, Thomas Nelson Publishers for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 10 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Though this somewhat outlandish project, Rachel wrestles genuinely with tough questions about what it means to be a woman and with how we apply biblical teaching to our everyday lives. Far from being belligerent or aiming to divide, this book takes seriously the values and experiences of women who attempt to practical "biblical womanhood" quite differently than Rachel ultimately decides to after the project. For example, she gets to know an Orthodox Jewish woman, Amish and Mennonite women, women coming from the Quiverfull movement, etc. Always respectful towards others, Rachel tackles a complicated issue with creativity, humor, and a commitment to openness to what God and other women might be able to teach her.
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Review 11 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
This is a book of honest questions – about what it means to be a woman who follows Christ, how we choose to interpret Scripture, how we limit and bless one another.
This book is not a step-by-step devotional on becoming a better, more “biblical” woman (which we don’t need another one of anyway). This book is the journey of one woman pressing in to what the “biblical” woman looks like and discovering instead “that there is no such thing.” (pg 294)
This book is full of surprises. Do you, after all, expect a “liberated woman” to find her voice in silence (chapter 11), strong roots in gentleness (chapter 1), and a tear-inspiring blessing in Proverbs 31 (chapter 4)?
I was already a fan of Rachel Held Evans (and received an advanced copy of the book to review), introduced to her writing through her blog. Her honesty, wit, and occasional snark make for lively, delightful reading. I don’t always agree with her. I am always challenged by her to think, to consider, to grow.
My favorite experience with this book is the journey you take with the author. Searching for things like valor, modesty, submission, justice, and grace changes a person. You’re rejoicing in the myriad of different ways women can express their faith, that there is no one mold to which we must conform.
I finish this book simultaneously wanting to practice lectio divina and centering prayer, while beginning to live more justly, while working out my calling to creativity and communication, all while calling up multiple friends to bless them with the words eshet chayil (“woman of valor”) for expressing faith and courage in whatever context they’re living. The author is not the same at the end of the book, and neither should the reader be.
In this book there is freedom to be who God is calling us to be.
There is grace for those of us doing it imperfectly.
There is laughter and delight for the journey ahead.
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Review 13 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
I expected to learn from *A Year of Biblical Womanhood*. Rachel Held Evans knows her Bible, and the premise of trying to literally obey all of its instructions to women provides plenty of scope for investigation and education. In addition to studying and explaining the history, culture, and language behind many of the Bible's most well-known (and most misunderstood) passages regarding women, Evans interviews or corresponds with women representing quite a diversity of views on biblical womanhood: a sister-wife, an Amish grandmother, an Orthodox Jewish woman, and a woman raised in a Quiverfull family, to name a few. Presented in a very accessible, personable style, interviews and exegesis join forces to convey so much new information that I will most likely end up reading this book again—some parts more than once.
What I didn't expect to do was laugh as much as I did. Of course, I anticipated chuckling occasionally at some of Evans' more extreme antics, such as living in a tent for the first part of her period or calling her husband "Master" so she could be like The Proverbs 31 woman (who turns out to not be a real person). But Evans also sneaks a generous amount of snark past her "contentious woman" filter—nearly always directed at herself or society as a whole, and never at the lovely people she meets along her journey, disagree with them though she may. When she griped about a man getting all the glory for a successful Christmas (Santa, of course) or informed the reader, on rising for her first morning at a silent monastery, that "The Prophet Jeremiah is the last person you want to hear from at six o’clock in the morning", I burst out laughing in a room full of people.
And whether she's making you laugh or making your head spin with new knowledge, Rachel Held Evans still makes you feel so very comfortable. She invites her readers into her life for a year, and experiencing the highs, lows, pitfalls, triumphs, joy, and peace of her journey is ultimately the most rewarding experience of the entire book.
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Review 14 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Challenging and Hilarious...for both men and women
Date:October 23, 2012
Upon finishing Rachel Held Evans’ new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I wanted to applaud. I sat in awe, at how a book surrounding such controversy, simply pushed me toward Jesus.
It made me feel so connected to women around the world, in a way that transcends time and space. I felt like I finally understood what connects the Jewish women of the Old Testament, the early Christian women of the New Testament, and the millions of Christian sisters around the world who all live out their faith in different ways.
The Amish women Rachel met were not like the women in Bolivia. Rachel’s Jewish friend Ahava was not like the girl she interviewed who’s family believed in the Quiverfull approach to childbearing. Mary Magdalene was different from Deborah who was not the same as Tamar.
And it’s ok that we’re all different. They can all represent Eshet chayil: Women of Valor!
I found that this book was less about womanhood, and more about personhood—how we relate to Jesus, ourselves, and others while we are on Earth. Her exploration in prayer and silence as observed by different traditions intrigued me enough to want to examine my own prayer practices.
She approached the Bible in such a gentle and thoughtful way, even more careful and loving than I expected. Sometimes people who self-identify in either the “egalitarian” or “complementarian” camps are viewed as harsh and unsympathetic. I was happy that I did not find that attitude in this book. Her words and stories clearly show that she dearly loves Jesus, holds the highest respect for the word of God, and cares deeply for humanity—especially women who have a difficult plight in most areas of the world.
In between her tender words about the Bible, Rachel shares hilarious anecdotes that occurred during her year of trying to live as a biblical woman. She adopted a computerized “baby think it over,” camped outside during “the way of women,” and attempted to cook her way through one of Martha Stewart’s cookbooks.
While reading the book, I felt the need to define roles to be less and less important, and my desire to become like Christ to be more and more significant. “It’s not our roles that define us,” Rachel writes, “but our character.” I want my character to reflect that of Christ alone, rather than an unrealistic ideal that the church thrusts women.
Full disclosure: I received a free advanced copy of the book to review.
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Review 15 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
I'm posting a dual-review: my wife says she'd give this 3 stars, I'd give it one, so we're averaging it out to 2 stars.
My wife and I agreed that this author is taking potshots at the complementarian view of marriage. Obviously egalitarian types are more likely to give the book 5 stars since it reinforces their own beliefs. I have some serious issues with the author's use of Scripture, which she also seems to be mocking. I think that her age may be a problem - she is fairly young and doesn't appreciate that over the course of 2000 years, Christians have reached general agreement about which parts of the Old Testament were intended for Christians to follow. the whole matter of her wearing the headcovering frankly seems a bit silly, ditto for the food laws in Leviticus, which no Christians (except Seventh-Day Adventists, I think) obey, and which both Jesus and Paul said do not apply to Christians. On the one hand, the author claims the Bible is not "an answer book," and that interpretations vary, but on the other hand she sure doesn't hesitate to assure the reader that many evangelicals' interpretations of the Bible are not "correct." In effect, she says no writer's interpretation of the text is definitive, but she definitely seems confident of her own. So, theologically and biblically, this is pretty shallow reading.
My wife says that while she enjoyed the book, she does not recommend it and does not consider it a serious contribution to the debate over Christian womanhood.
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Review 16 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
I received an advance Reader's Copy of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" for review, much to my delight. I've been looking forward to the release of this book since I learned of Rachel Held Evans' bold project. I was very interested in the idea of living for a year according to as literal a reading as possible of the Bible's texts pertaining to women.
I was not disappointed. Having been introduced to Rachel's writing on her blog, I already found myself drawn in by her generously inclusive style and her ready wit. I assumed, rightly so, that the book would be more of the same. While I don't agree with every one of Rachel's conclusions, I appreciate that she doesn't leave closed doors. She invites conversation, including disagreement.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Rachel's adventures. Among my favorites were her not-quite-right apple pie, her front lawn camp-out, and her experience with a mutinous electronic baby. I equally appreciated her more thought-provoking accounts of her interactions with a wide range of people with whom she met in the course of the project. Readers will meet all sorts of quirky and interesting women, from Rachel's Orthodox Jewish correspondent in Israel to the woman who broke down the barriers to preaching in Texas to the women working to build better lives in Bolivia.
When it comes to Rachel's thorough examination of Scripture, I found myself most appreciative of three things: First, each chapter contains an account of a woman whose story can be found in the Bible. I had often seen these women as "perfect," the women who did exactly what God wants all good and faithful women to do--the same things that we are supposed to do today. Instead, Rachel demonstrates how many of these women defied what modern Christians expect; this was a refreshing take on passages I've read many times. Second, I deeply appreciate Rachel's examination of Proverbs 31, the Wife of Noble Character. I had always seen the Proverbs 31 wife as an enemy, because she was an ideal I could never match. Rachel expertly demonstrates why we don't need to fear the reverent poetry in the text and why each one of us, in our own way, is Eshet chayil--a woman of valor. Third, I enjoyed Rachel's fresh insights into what the words of the Bible came to mean for her during each phase of her project. This provided a welcome change from the hard-line "commandment" view of a woman's role within the community of faith.
Although there has been much talk about Rachel being irreverent, "ignoring" Scripture or tradition, or making a mockery of the Bible, not one of those things is true. It is obvious that Rachel's love for the Bible grew as she worked her way through the year. It is vital that anyone who wants to understand her perspective must read the book, even if the end result is confirming disagreement with Rachel. I believe this book is one of the most important books of our time.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, even those who take a less progressive view of their Christian faith and those who (like me) are considerably more liberal than Rachel herself. Be warned, though, it may change your perspective and soften your heart.
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Review 17 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
When I just started to read A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I discovered that it had been described as putting the Bible "on trial "in the court of Rachel Held Evans, where she would be the "prosecution, judge, and jury" who would have the "final word on womanhood." I read and read and read, but I never got to that part. I guess my copy must have excluded it (the publisher send me an actual copy and not an "Advanced Review Copy", so maybe that had something to do with it).
Instead, what I found throughout the book was an exploration of what it means to be a "Biblical woman" by experiencing the various rules for women and looking at them from a variety of perspectives. Through her journey, Rachel Held Evans brought in advice and knowledge from Amish women, an Orthodox Jewish woman, 1950s women and Catholicism (that is just a sampling). She showed that there are many different Christian (and Jewish!) understandings of the Bible. She was able to show how although we may all look at things a bit differently, there are many of us that still take seriously the question of what God wants from us. It is the kind of book that makes one wonder "how can, and should, I apply the Bible to my life?"
Example: (October, "Gentleness") When she keeps a "jar of contention" in order to learn to be more gentle and quiet, she learns more about how gossip, or lashon hara, was detrimental to Miriam (in Exodus), she realizes that she had gossiped about another writer. And although she was cultivating better behavior, she knew that it wasn't behavior alone that she needed to change, but the spirit behind it, and so she learned how to pray "contemplative prayer" in order to let God work on her insides.
Example: (March, "Modesty") Many Christian women are taught to be modest, but there are a lot of different ideas out there as to what modesty actually consists of. During this month, Evans wears a head covering, full-length dresses/skirts, no short sleeves or v-necks, and no jewelry. She consults with both Amish women and an Orthodox Jewish woman, who are known for prioritizing modesty. In the end, she learns that modesty really has little to do with clothing, jewelry, or makeup, but rather the spirit behind it, and that "modesty fits each woman a little differently" (140).
I loved that she took the time to research and understand Jewish practices. In my experience, many Christians are seemingly unaware that we did not have the Bible first, and that there is a long history of interpretation before it came to be "ours". While it is true that Christians are not commanded to keep Jewish law, understanding it and where it comes from gives enormous background and brings insight to the text.
Throughout the book, I found myself laughing, crying, feeling serious, feeling contemplative, and I ended the book with a smile on my face. I could see the journey she had been on and could see how she had learned and grown in her faith. A Year of Biblical Womanhood is an easy and fast read, but a thought-provoking one. Christians who want to grow in discipleship of Jesus would benefit from reading this book. As many of us know from participating in "small groups", discipleship is hard and not always a one-size-fits-all prescription, but we are always encouraged to seek God and ask how we should apply various things in the Bible to our lives. While this is one woman's story, and is not meant to be something everyone must do, it can open up conversations about how to live our lives and better follow Jesus.
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Review 18 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
This book gets it. Rachel gets it. Finally a concrete example of the tragedy of misappropriating ancient scriptures to a modern context. Rachel does this through the highlighting of female roles and identity played in scripture and how ludicrous applying these to our day and age is, but it could be done about any number of issues in scripture as the underlying point Rachel seems to make (not the main point as that is obviously about the facade of a "biblical woman") is showing the implications of misunderstanding scripture's role in the life of the believer and shaping his/her identity. She is able to walk the thin line between recognizing the challenges of a 2000+ year old text and finding relevance and meaning for a 21st Century audience -- and not having to discard the Bible in the end! I think that's the beauty underlying this book: Rachel tears down an erroneous conventional hermeneutic and advocates for a simple and profound reading of scripture that reflects her own love and appreciation for God's Word.
I suggest all Christian women (and men for that matter!) read this book - not only for the great humour throughout but also because there's a complex that so many women have in the church as a result of, usually, listening to men in authority expound on how the Bible says women need to act. They feel guilt and shame for pursuing careers... for teaching scripture... etc. This book will help clear up some of these misconceptions and will do so with grace extended to those not of the same mindset so that walls don't have to go up and meaningful dialogue can pursue as a result.
Seriously, buy this book. It will bless you.
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Review 19 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
This is the first book by Rachel Held Evans that I've read and I was pleasantly surprised by the careful handling of scripture, the willingness to ask hard questions and the courage to leave questions unanswered when scripture didn't directly speak to it.
Given what some people elsewhere are saying about the book (and, ironically, quoting the book out of context to make it look like the author doesn't care about good hermeneutics), you might be surprised to hear that this book handles scripture carefully, but it does. In fact, I would say that this book has by far the best study and explanation of the Proverbs 31 woman I've read anywhere. It was eye-opening and beautiful.
In addition, the book sets a great example of a loving marriage. Rachel's husband, Dan, left me thinking about ways I could be a better husband.
Having said that, this book is not so much an exploration of what scripture says as much as it is an exploration of how we (the Christian community) have interpreted it. She holds up a mirror and asks us whether this looks right, if we've really thought this through. And, to her credit, she doesn't push her own point of view often in the book, sharing instead her thoughts, her questions and her conclusions, but not forcing those on the reader or pronouncing them the only way to faithfully serve God as a woman. an Biblical.
No doubt some people will kick against this book because it doesn't match their own preconceptions about womanhood, or what they've been taught, or something along those lines. But it does do this: it takes the Bible, womanhood and what we should do about those things seriously. Don't write it off because of what someone tells you. Read it for yourself.
I got to the end of the book and thought, "What Christian woman wouldn't read this and feel a deep sense of relief and the peace of God?" I immediately bought a copy for my wife, and I have several friends who will be getting copies, too. And, when they get a little older, I'd happily have my daughters read this as well (my oldest is eleven, so maybe just a touch too young).
All that to say: this book surprised me. It made me laugh. I got choked up once. It dealt with issues of womanhood and the Bible with care and with a real heart toward helping women be Christ-centered in their lives. It's the best book about womanhood from a Christian perspective that I have read.
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Review 20 for A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on the Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - eBook
Year of Biblical Womanhood is a beautiful, hilarious, real, challenging, and honest book! Rachel Held Evan’s takes us on her journey to figure out what God's plans are for women according to the Bible--LITERALLY. She writes in a conversational way that makes it both a FUN and important read for women--Christian and non-Christian a like.
If you are a woman who has struggled with both who the world tells us we need to be, and who the church has told us to be, you will find Rachel’s approach to her own questions and struggles encouraging. You will also feel connected to women all over the world and the women in the Bible.
As a former youth minister, I would have loved to use this book when mentoring High School and college-age girls! God’s love for women shines through this book, as she shares the stories of women in the Bible that some of us don’t even realize are in there!
For those of us who have grown up in Church or attend a church now, so much of what we read and hear about God is from a man’s perspective. The way many of our churches are set up, we can easily begin believing that making sense of God’s Story is a man’s job, rather than seeing that is a gift, and the role of each of God’s children! When we do this, we all miss out on experiencing God’s fullness in our communities. Hearing about Him in this book from Rachel’s perspective, was so refreshing, freeing, and inspiring. Women (and men) need to read/see other women grapple with theology and the Bible (it is so important to the growth of the Body of Christ!)--and Rachel does just that in this book!
Finally, this book is also an incredible read for pastors of churches--whether they agree with Rachel theologically or not. Rachel’s book reveals the hearts of so many women today who are faced with the pressure to be and do it all, and yet who want to follow God’s plan above everything else. This will help anyone who is preaching to or pastoring women, understand their stories and hearts a little bit better.