Author: Rachel Held Evans
One-sentence summary: A year-long experiment in following biblical passages literally leads to humor and insight on what it means to be a woman of valor.
B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 7
Our favorite thing about it: We loved the reclaiming of Proverbs 31 summed up in the phrase “eshet chayil.”
Our least favorite thing about it: That so much of the “biblical womanhood” experiment was probably cut from the final draft of the book…we expected more details of the experience and felt that it was glossed over in areas.
Main Topics of Discussion: Womanhood, Biblical, Justice, Equality, Marriage, the Bible, patriarchy
Our favorite quote: “The woman described in Proverbs 31 is not some ideal that exists out there; she is present in each one of us when we do even the smallest things with valor.” (p.90)
And another because I couldn’t choose between the two:
“We grow so attached to our rules that they love outlive their purpose, and the next thing we know, we’re adding leaves to our tables and cutting the ends off our roast. We cling to the letter because the spirit is so much harder to master.” (p.140)
Notes: We all really liked this book and the discussion it generated at our meeting. We thought it was an interesting, easy, and humorous read. We loved that the author showed us photos of her experience to give us a visual glimpse of her “biblical womanhood” experiment. However, we had different expectations about the experiment than what was actually presented in the book.
All of us are familiar with Rachel and some of us have read her other book (Evolving in Monkey Town), so we knew where she was coming from with the premise. But we just expected to get a little more details about her experiences with “biblical womanhood” as well as for her to be immersed in them a little more. Some lasted the whole year (like her not cutting her hair), but some were only done for a few days (like the mail-order baby) or minutes. Surely some of the details of the experiment were cut from the final draft by editors (and probably rightly so), and we’re sure that a robotic baby would be cost-prohibitive to keep for much longer than 3 days. So, we understand the limitations of the experiment, but we couldn’t help but think something was missing there.
And one thing that was surprising to the couple of us that follow Rachel’s blog was that we didn’t really get a lot of new information that we had not already heard from her on her blog. We love the information and the insightful way it is presented, but for a couple of us, there wasn’t as much new information as we expected.
That being said, we all really enjoyed Rachel’s commentary on women’s roles in church, marriage, society, and other relationships. We appreciated her unpacking and detailed research of the Proverbs 31 passage as well as the Timothy “silence” passages used to define women’s roles. We were touched by the acknowledgment of the “texts of terror” as well as Rachel’s difficulty with certain Biblical texts…which mirror our own feelings. The two things we took away above all else was the reclaiming of the Proverbs 31 text for women of valor and Rachel’s assertion at the end of her book that women are the solution.
Memorable Meeting Moments: We all wore our new Hunger Games t-shirts courtesy of Dara and Lindsay’s Christmas gifts. And Rachel opened her birthday books and cards.
What We Ate: Pulled Chicken Tacos, Mexican Rice, and Sopapilla Cheesecake