I started reading Carolyn Custis James' Lost Women of the Bible this week. Her previous book, When Life and Beliefs Collide, is one of my top 10 theology books in part because it focuses on the necessity of theology for women and is written to women, for women, by a woman. So when I came across this in the bookstore, I snatched it up.
So far, I'm only through the first three women she discusses--Eve, Mrs. Noah, and Sarah--but it is a fascinating and thoughtful discussion of how God views women. Since I go through an identity crisis about every six months or so, I need to be reminded about my significance in God's eyes, whatever I'm doing and wherever I am. Her insights into familiar stories is fresh. Here are some highlights so far.
from Eve: "Every woman's life changes with seasons and circumstances. But for all of us, two callings never change--we are God's image bearers and we are ezers [helpers, used often to describe God helping Israel or on the battlefield, no wimpy "helpmeet" here]...Eve's threefold legacy--that we are God's image bearers, ezer-warriors, and members of the Blessed Alliance--provides a clear lens through which we will examine the women in Scripture and gain a fresh vision for ourselves."
from Mrs. Noah: "In an odd way, Mrs. Noah is ideal for our discussion of lost women precisely because we know so little about her. She helps us see that there are no exceptions to Eve's legacy for women...[it] is universal, encompassing every woman's life, no matter how obscure, insignificant or forgotten we think we are. God's purposes aren't just for those who stand in the spotlight. They apply equally to those of us who remain hidden in the shadows."
and from Sarah, in regards to the sign of circumcision being thought of as "so male": "Circumcision wasn't male-centered, but descendant-centered and community-centered. The sign of the covenant impressed upon the man his enormous spiritual responsibility to walk before God and be faithful and to influence others, especially those under his roof, to do the same. The burden was too great for any man to shoulder alone. Sarah, the ezer, would join him in battling for the souls of the next generation."
The remaining chapters cover Hagar, Tamar, Hannah, Esther, Mary of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene, and the women of Philippi. More to come...