Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Sarah's Bedside Table

I know, I know, I'm back, yet again.  I really don't have time for this blog but I love stopping in and often, I have something that I'm dying to say to SOMEONE and you are the best someone I know.  I'll try to be more regular around here but, frankly, we both know the chances of that.  If there's anyone still stopping around here once-in-a-while, thank you for your patience with me.

So, one of the reasons I haven't been around here much is that I have been reading.  Reading, reading and reading.  I have a pile of books at the side of my bed and I'm going through them as quickly as I can.  I'd like to address two of them right now.

The first, by Rachel Held Evans, is "A Year of Biblical Womanhood."  She's what I have heard described as "an evangelical, feminist blogger".  That in itself piqued my curiosity.  When I saw her book mentioned on another blog, I had to have it.  I'm so glad that I preordered it because I've had a hard time putting it down.

I've really questioned, for quite a while now, what it means to be a Christian woman.  That may sound silly but I've felt very lost.  The conservative right puts forward that I should not have a job outside the home, I should devote my life almost entirely to my husband and then my children (in that order), that I should be submissive and meek and that I should really not have an intelligent thought of my own.  The other side of the issue, as far as I can tell, seems to want to totally ignore all Biblical texts on womanhood and to state that I can just ignore Biblical teaching on womanhood.  Neither fits for me.

Along comes this book.  I would LOVE to do a discussion group with some Christian woman on this book sometime.  While I don't want to say too much right now as I'm tired and I don't want to do the book an injustice, I have to say that I LOVE some of the brilliant conclusions that she draws.  The section on the meaning of Proverbs 31 and the role it plays with Orthodox Jewish women felt right to me for the first time.  It's not merely a list of rules we should be following but, in truth, an homage to the creativity and capability of wives and mothers and women more generally.  We should be praising each other as "women of valour" and looking to see the valour in other women.  I LOVE that idea.  Thank you, 
Rachel, for your thoughtful, obviously scripture-loving exploration.  It drives me crazy when people reduce the Bible to a set of rules.  It's so nice to finally see a book that explores how we can approach scripture as so much more.


The other interesting book I am reading these days is "Almost Amish" by Nancy Sleeth.  She's is part of a couple who decided that they were going to leave their wealthy, materialistic life for a life more in keeping with their values - caring for our planet and showing love for God's creation while living with what they need, instead of what they want.  Frankly, at times, the book makes me feel shallow and greedy, which I am, but I have also found sections that really speak to me.  The chapter I read last night was focused on spending time in the natural world to build appreciation of God's glory and how reconnecting with the natural world (as the Amish do, living off the land and caring for animals), helps our mental state and our spiritual state.  It made me resolve to get outside more and to get the kids outside more.  Pk ad I spent the early part of the morning gluing our pinecone wreath we are making for Christmas.  It was lovely.

So, bloggy friends I follow, keep the lists of books coming!  Most of the books I enjoy most these days come from my blog reading (along with some of the best recipes, too!)  I would never have heard of these two books without you sharing.  Thank you!

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