Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lost Women of the Bible

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...


Leslie said...

Robert brought this home from the seminary book store the month it hit the shelves. It still remains in the book stack on my nightstand with books in process, favorites, and references. I appreciate books that deal with the cultural, theological, and spiritual reality of being a woman in a lost world. I've read too many "Christian women's books" that want to teach me how to get my husband to take walks with me. No lie, that was the focus of an entire chapter on togetherness. Talk to me about women that deal with real issues like me and there's a book that will find a permanent place on my nightstand.

patti said...

OOOOOOOOoooooooo can I have it when you are done? I have yet to read her first one (which you gave me like..oh three years ago to read!!!) It sounds wonderful. I echo LL above in terms of dealing with REAL issues! Amen and Amen!

Loved that you said you have an identity crisis every 6 months. Its so true isnt it. It takes about 6 months for us to lose our perspective, get lost on the way, and start believing the lies that are given to us.
Good thing is ....Jesus is waiting with open arms to continually christen us as his own. LOVE HIM!!!
and you too!