Wednesday, February 20, 2013

April/May of a Year of Biblical Womanhood (Guest Post)

The following is part five of a critical review of Rachel Held Evans's book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”, Thomas Nelson, 2012 (see this link for a little more background and an index to all sections of the review). Ms. Evans's book starts with October and ends with September, thus this review follows Ms. Evans's order.


There is not a lot to say about this month and its topic of Purity. The author misses the point of the Old Testament ceremonial regulations found in the following passages: Leviticus 15:19, Exodus 13:6-10, and Exodus 12:17. She consults with an Orthodox Jewish woman who gives her the Jewish scoop on these things, but the point of these laws is missed because their typical nature is not seen. The antidote to this chapter is to read and study 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, as well as to thoroughly study the book of Hebrews. An excellent commentary to study on this subject is Andrew Bonar's commentary on Leviticus (or click here for the free Google book version).


Fertility is the focus of this chapter and Evans’ take on topics like parenting, motherhood, large families, and babyhood comes into focus pretty clearly. First, Rachel reads a stack of parenting books, from William Sears and his view of attachment parenting to Ezzo's oddly detached view of parenting in On Becoming Baby Wise. Strangely, Rachel does not come down on either side. For a woman who purports to value discernment of biblical things I was surprised that she did not do more research on the nature of the Ezzo’s teachings. "Baby Wise" has been associated with ill health in babies (by mainstream pediatrics) and divided at least one church. I would have liked to have seen some real interaction with the Ezzo movement.

Next, she describes the “Quiverfull lifestyle” and contrasts her poverty-stricken friend from a large family with the Duggar family, now with 19 children and doing very well financially and apparently in every other way. But the quote from Jim Bob Duggar, “People think we are overpopulating the world. We are just following our convictions” seems fair enough. It doesn’t sound like a plot to make every family embrace their ultimate fertility to me. Do some people like to impose their “lifestyle” on others? I can think of lots of people who do, but I know of nobody who has tried to impose the large family lifestyle on others. I think that the Quiverfull movement is wrong on several counts, but no one is forcing me to join it.

This is the month Rachel and Dan receive via UPS their vinyl “baby,” a creepy marketing toy/ploy intended to get people to pay money experience what it’s like to have a baby around the house before they take the leap and become pregnant. It makes for a lot of creepy jokes about “Chip” (aka “Chucky”) before he’s mailed back to the rental company.


(This is a guest post.)


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