A Year of Biblical Womanhood: a book review

After reading and loving AJ Jacob’s hilarious book, The Year of Living Biblically, where a guy decides to try and take a literal approach to the Bible and follow it for an entire year, I came across the female companion book in A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I downloaded it on Kindle, preparing to have a few evening laughs in bed while Potamus was sleeping. What I found, was myself crying (or tearing up) more often than I laughed!

Where AJ Jacobs set out to show the absurdity of taking everything in the Bible completely literally (even carrying pebbles in his pocket to stone people), Rachel’s attempt was to discover or re-discover different aspects of her evangelical faith, while also solidifying beliefs that she already had, that perhaps, differ from traditional ideas of what “biblical womanhood,” means. I love books like this because I, by nature, love a good social experiment. I’ve gone a whole year without buying clothes, wearing shoes, shaving, and stints at vegetarianism or not buying books. I’ve learned things in every social experiment that I’ve done, so I loved this premise and eagerly set out to read her experience.

Rather than laughing my way through the book, I found myself actually learning, which is refreshing. It feels like books and things like this that sneak up on me, are stealthy ways that God is teaching me, since I’m not actively searching anything out, and feel almost opposed to really trying to dive into any Christian-spiritual reading program. Rachel does many experiements throughout the year: learning to sew, growing her hair out, covering her head in church, staying outside in a tent when on her period and calling her husband Master. It was

One of the things that I learned, was about the Proverbs 31 woman, which was of great interest to me having studied it in college. All of us giggling juniors read through the proverb each week, and then focused ourselves on one aspect of the woman, because, after all, it was a guidepost, check-list for us to follow! And then, I read this book and learned that Proverbs 31 was a poem, that was sung TO women, by the men in their life. The Proverbs 31 women, in Hebrew eshet chayil, is translated as “woman of valor,” and is the ancient version of “you go girl!” She corresponded with a rabbi’s wife in Israel who said, “my husband sings the Proverbs 31 poem to me. It’s special because I know that no matter what I do or don’t do, he praises me for blessing the family with energy and creativity. All women can do that in their won way. I bet you do as well.”

That kind of information would have been EXCELLENT  to know in college, instead of trying to bend over backward to try and do everything listed in that proverb. Instead, being myself and allowing my husband to say “you go girl!” Thankfully, Boof is all about supporting my life choices and thinks its excellent that I work and raise Potamus and have time for friends. But I could have saved myself a few years of feeling guilty and terrible for “sucking” at living up to the spiritual ideal…just like I could never live up to the Cosmo cover-model.

All in all, I would recommend this book to any of my girlfriends.

Biblical Adoptee Part Dos.

Jesus. We’ve all heard of him. And he is definitely used by the church and Christians as a promotion of infant adoption. Though, yet again, I fail to really understand how his story is like modern adoption. Let’s back up and look at his story:

Young, un-married mama Mary learns she’s pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Her fiance marries her anyway. Jesus is born and is raised by Mama Mary and Hubby Joseph. Sure, Jesus isn’t Joseph’s bio-kid, but he does a bang-up job raising him and Jesus went on to do some pretty cool things.

So…I guess I am confused….how is this an adoption story? I mean, Jesus was raised by his mom and not by genetic strangers. Joseph was a father figure, but yet Jesus still grew up knowing his other dad (the Big guy in the Sky), and spent many hours talking to him (praying).

If this was a modern story, it’d be that of a single mom raising her baby and being supported by a pretty cool dude, who loved the kid as his own, but still let the kid have a relationship with his bio-dad (which is kinda mind-bending to think about God having a bio-kid, but thats a dif entry).

So maybe Jesus could be considered a step-parent adoptee, but not necessarily a great example for adoption agencies for why we should adopt babies. In fact, it actually seems like another reason we should help families stay together, because God loved and provided great things for a young, in-wed, single mom.

Moses, the ultimate adoptee…right?

When Christians talk to me about adoption, they often cite Moses as the ultimate example of how awesome adoption is. I am always…shocked…by this line of reasoning, because I have read the Moses story a lot, and have yet to figure out how it fits with our modern day version of adoption.

So let’s recap the story, shall we?

Evil Egyptian Pharoah decides to kill all Israelite baby boys. Moses is born, but instead of being killed, his loving mama puts him a basket and floats him on the river. An ancient “safe haven hospital” drop-box, if you will. But loving mama doesn’t just leave him there to die, no, she has his older sister Miriam hide in the bushes and make sure he is okay. Because, after all, they dropped him off at what appears to be a strategic location and not the Egyptian-dumpster.

Evil pharoah’s lovely princess daughter went to the river to bathe and finds a helpless baby floating there, and takes compassion on it. Note this princess wasn’t looking for a baby, she just happened upon it (another point against modern adoption as a service to provide babies for people who want them, versus finding homes for children who need them.

Older sister Miriam sees princess with baby, approaches, and says she knows of a good wet nurse (Moses’ own loving mama) and asks the princess if she wants the services. Princess accepts because Gerber formula doesn’t exist.

Loving mama raises Moses in the home of Pharoah. Let’s say she was his wet nurse for the average weaning of 4-6 years. Maybe Moses wasn’t allowed to call her mama, but I am guessing he knew, even if he had to keep it secret. He knew he was in Israelite, which is shown later in the story.

At some point loving mama probably had to be separated from Moses as he was weaned and she couldn’t out herself to the Pharoah as his mother. Moses grows up, sees Pharoah treat “his people” poorly as slaves and ends up killing one of his adoptive clan people an Egyptian) and then hightails it out of town. He then hears from God Almighty and goes back, to rescue the Israelites…his biological family.

Plagues ensue, he helps curse his adoptive family and death comes to firstborns on the land in retribution for what the Egyptians did to the Israelites. He is reunited with his biological family and leads them to safety. Kinda the ultimate adoption-reunion story, and could be made into a Lifetime Movie.

And kind of a modern-day-adoption nightmare. I mean, how well would it go over in today’s media for an adopted kid to kill their adoptive family and then go back and live with their biological relatives as a hero?

So, perhaps, Moses should stop being held up as the gold standard for modern adoption.