A Year of Biblical Womanhood

Wife, blogger, and Christ-follower Rachel Held Evans committed one full year of her life to following all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible—from submitting to her husband (Colossians 3:18) and calling him "master" (1 Peter 3:5-6) to growing out her hair (1 Corinthians 11:15), covering her head for prayer (1 Corinthians 11:5), and caring for the poor (Proverbs 31:25). She did this not to be silly or disrespectful, nor to glorify the Bible's patriarchal elements, but to explore all "biblical" aspects of womanhood and start a real conversation about how we approach and apply the Bible to such things.

Her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood (How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master) is the result of her efforts. And it is wonderful.

With sincerity, authenticity, insight, and humor, the book charts Evans's efforts over twelve months to experience all the Bible says (or seems to say) about womanhood:
October: Gentleness
November: Domesticity
December: Obedience
January: Valor
February: Beauty
March: Modesty
April: Purity
May: Fertility
June: Submission
July: Charity
August: Silence
September: Grace
Some parts were so good, I had to read them aloud to my wife. At times, I highlighted whole paragraphs (which I just don't do) and made notes in my Bible. I nodded. I cheered. I laughed out loud. I got angry. I got misty. And I vowed to make my wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law read it...even if it meant putting my foot down as the head of the house and priest of the family (that last part is a joke, just to be clear).

So much in the book is worth remembering--and re-reading. But some of the parts that I highlighted and hope to come back to often are:
What we read into the Genesis narrative often says as much about us as it says about the text....A passage that might challenge readers to aspire to the love and mutuality of Paradise has instead been used for centuries to justify the perpetuation of the curse (xxii).

The Bible is a hundred times older than you are. Prepare to be humbled by it (p. 48).

We make the most beautiful things ugly when we try to systematize mystery (115).

When you realize that faith is not static, that it is a living and evolving thing, you look less for so-called "spiritual leaders" to tell you where to go, and more for spiritual companions with whom to travel the long journey (204).

It is a tragic and agonizing irony that instructions once delivered for the purpose of avoiding needless offense are now invoked in ways that needlessly offend (262).

When we turn the Bible into an adjective and stick it in front of another loaded word (like manhood, womanhood, politics, economics, marriage, and even equality), we tend to ignore or downplay the parts of the Bible that don't fit our tastes (293).
Those are just some of the portions I highlighted. There are many more, and some (as I said above) of considerable length.

(A quick note: the page numbers above refer to the advanced reader's copy; they may not correspond to the page numbers upon publication)

In brief, I want everyone to read this book. Seriously, everyone. Men and women. Young and old. Pastors, elders, deacons. Parents and grandparents.

It's important. It's entertaining. It's refreshing. And it's worth every penny and every minute of the time it takes to read it.


(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”)

1 comment:

  1. Funny, I just finished The Year of Living Biblically. This one sounds interesting too. And probably comes closer to honoring the Bible.