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A Year of Biblical Womanhood

I just finished my second reading of A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans, and it is one of the best autobiographies I’ve read in this or any year. Funny thing is, when I picked it up in Chapters, I glanced at the cover and put it right back on the shelf. What turned me off? The subtitle – How a Liberated Woman found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”.

Uh-huh.

Well really, I thought, how liberated could she be?

But something, happily, kept bringing me back to this book. On the second time around, I read the back cover – “Strong-willed and independent, Rachel Held Evans couldn’t sew a button on a blouse before she embarked on a radical life experiment – a year of biblical womanhood. Intrigued by the traditionalist resurgence that led many of her friends to abandon their careers to assume traditional gender roles in the home, Evans decides to try it for herself, vowing to take all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible for a year.”

Uh-huh.

That still didn’t tell me if this was a book that would bless my feminist soul or have me drop kicking it into the nearest snow bank. Back on the shelf it went.

One more time, as I was leaving the store, I picked it up, thumbed through it, and came across the section on Junia the Apostle. “Oh ho!” says I. “I know this story.” Junia is mentioned in Romans 16:7 as “outstanding among the apostles.” Wow, right? But with time the Church became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of a woman apostle and the name was changed to the masculine Junias. (It was finally changed back to the original Junia in the New Revised Standard Version.) Evans wrote so engagingly about the incident that I read the entire section standing there in the aisle wishing the people who kept bumping into me would shop somewhere else so I could read in peace! I flipped a few more pages and there was a piece on Debra, Tamar, Leah, Vashti, and what’s this? Mary Magdalene! I’m deep into writing a book of poetry on Mary Magdalene and so took this as a sign from God that indeed I should buy this book!

So I did. And loved it. And read it again. And loved it some more. And bought copies to give as gifts. Do yourself a favour and buy A Year of Biblical Womanhood. You’ll find it funny, provocative, and inspiring all at the same time.

I consider myself blessed to have found it, and wise to have bought it.

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