Grow: Year of Biblical Womanhood Reflections (Viritual Book Club- Week 1 of 3)
We’re so glad that you decided to embark on this journey with us. We believe that reading good books can be incredibly helpful in our deepening our understanding of ourselves, others, and God. To start off the new year, we are reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.
About the author:
Rachel is a writer and blogger who loves Jesus and one who doesn’t accept easy answers. Over on her blog, she raises issues and questions that are important to think about, but that people are often afraid to say out loud. She also uses her platform to share others’ stories…(check out this recent one!).
What we’ll be talking about this week:
October: Gentleness- Girl Gone Mild
November: Domesticity- Martha, Martha
December: Obedience- My Husband, My Master
January: Valor- Will the Real Proverbs 31 Woman Please Stand Up?
Your beauty should not
come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the
wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. ~1 Peter 3.3-4
Mastering a gentle and quiet spirit didn’t mean changing my personality, just regaining control of it, growing strong enough to hold back and secure enough to soften.
2. Does your personality lend itself to quietness and gentleness? If not, how have you wrestled with this passage in the past?
Teach women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, and to be busy at home.” ~Titus 2:4-5
This month Rachel explores one idea that many in the contemporary biblical womanhood movement have concerning women’s roles in the home– the woman’s place is the home, and this is the sphere where women can best glorify God (raising children, doing housework, decorating, organizing, cooking, etc.). Because Rachel is not one that is super great at, or interested in, cooking or housekeeping, this was a big challenge for her (you’ll have to read the book to find out if how she did!).
Despite Rachel’s challenges, she did come to the place where she began to “get” what Brother Lawrence wrote about in his tiny little book, Practicing the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence was a monk who learned to worship God in everything- particularly in cooking and cleaning.
Rachel also wonders, however, if the reason many believe the home is the most suitable place for women to serve God is because our culture marginalizes those who stay at home. Perhaps they feel a need to “restore the sacredness of keeping the home.” Rachel goes on to caution readers,
But in our efforts to celebrate and affirm God’s presence in the home, we should we wary of elevating the vocation of homemaking above all others by insinuating that for women, God’s presence is somehow restricted to that sphere. (p. 30)
1. Do you work in the home or work outside the home? What factors played into making this decisions?
2. “Caring for the poor, resting on the Sabbath, showing hospitality and keeping the home- these are important things that can lead us to God, but God is not contained in them” (p. 36). Agree or disagree? Why?
3. What is your church culture surrounding this subject? How are women who work in the home celebrated and valued? How are women who work outside the home celebrated and valued? Are there church culture expectations for women? How can you encourage a woman in your church who doesn’t fit that mold?
An easy example that won’t cause too much feather-ruffling- some will say the Bible forbids tattoos (and be very adamant about voicing their concerns about people who do have them), but the same people are fine with wearing shirts made out a multiple fibers (an equally big no-no in the Old Testament). Why select one to be “biblical” and not the other?
It’s gets trickier with other issues, and I think this is where Christians end up disagreeing– what do we take literally and what do we interpret as being part of the culture?
1. “I have come to regard with some suspicion those who claim that the Bible never troubles them. I can only assume this means they haven’t actually read it.” (p. 51) Has any passages of Scripture ever “bothered” you? If so, what do you do with those thoughts/feelings/questions- quickly look for answers? ask a friend? pray/ponder? ignore it?
2. Rachel does a great job of telling the story of the Jephthah. What did you take away from her retelling of the story? What impacted you?
2. During her experiment in January, Rachel had to face a reality that she didn’t like- that she couldn’t measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman. Despite her research on the poem in Proverbs and her head knowledge that it wasn’t meant to be something to take literally, it still made her feel bad about herself and how God created her to be. Do you ever feel like that in any area? What truths can we hold onto when we are feeling discouraged?
3. Tell a story about a woman of valor in your life. Then write her a letter or note!
Please feel free to answer one of the questions in the comments below (or on facebook). Be sure to write which question you are discussing (i.e. January, question 1). We’ll continue discussing on here until we’re all discussed out!
Also don’t forget to start reading for next week (Chapters February – April). Thanks for joining in with us!