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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Read, October 21, 2012
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This review is from: A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband 'Master' (Paperback)
Rachel's yearlong quest to explore and perhaps attain to a standard of biblical womanhood is not only admirable, but downright brave! I cannot imagine subjecting myself to some of the potential ridicule and scrutiny that she did by taking on this project. However, her efforts were well worth it. Rachel in no way mocks or belittles the Bible, or women who fill a historically "traditional" role. Instead, she displays a sincere transparency as she undertakes tasks like learning to cook, sew, super-clean, and practice having a gentle and quiet spirit. In doing so, she admits her own prejudices and learns from each experience.

Not surprisingly, Rachel does not merely engage in undertaking a simple to-do list and then record the outcome. Instead, she pairs scholarship with experience and teaches the reader along the way. She befriends Ahava, a Jewish woman who shares with Rachel the historical and cultural significance of certain Biblical practices, and in doing so passes along to the reader a broader context for the "Proverbs 31 woman." Throughout the book, Rachel highlights not only prominent women with positive Biblical stories, but she also refuses to shy away from, what she refers to as the "dark stories," and grapples with some of the more difficult passages about women in the Old Testament. In doing so, she honors them and their place in history.

As a Christian woman, wife, mom, out-of-the-home worker, church planter, and teacher, I see Rachel's work as a jewel--not because it simply reaffirms ideals that I have, but because it displays the beauty, richness, and diverse complexity that being a woman of faith is. It honors the woman who stays home and the one who works away; the woman who has children, and the one who does not. It shows respects to the Christian woman who has an impeccable home, as well as to the one who is passionate at her vocation with a few dust bunnies hiding in the corners. With each new adventure, Rachel manages to hoist on her shoulders, women from various backgrounds, and commend them as Eshet Chayil - women of valor. I was saddened at reaching the final pages and felt a great swelling of pride and admiration when Rachel completed her year at Rosh Hashanah.

To sum it up, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is an inspiration. It encourages the reader to go back and take a second look at Biblical passages that may have felt oppressive and condemnatory, and instead read them with an appropriate contextual understanding. It made me want to undertake my own year, maybe not so extreme as Rachel's--I don't see standing on I-71 with a sign lauding my husband just yet--and see what lessons I can learn about the Bible, my faith, and myself.
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