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Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary Paperback – August 16, 2013
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"This is a fine book, written with gusto and infectious enthusiasm by a lady who glories in the counter cultural role of being a housewife and yet moves beyond that to delight in the character of God himself, the salvation he has wrought, and the lives he calls his people to live. Frankly, if I had a feminine side, I suspect this book would have put me in touch with it. Thankfully, I don't—but the Housewife Theologian almost makes me wish I did."
—Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Pa.
"Aimee Byrd has created a resource that will benefit women tremendously. This book is the result of Aimee's passion to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Dive into this theology primer for housewives in the context of community. The intentional journaling questions at the end of each chapter will certainly facilitate some fantastic discussions in your small groups."
—Gloria Furman, Author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home
"When we think of a 'housewife' words like doormat, archaic, and cleaning may come to mind; but what about theologian? In Housewife Theologian, Aimee Byrd turns the word on its head, bringing it back to life and reminding us of the unique opportunity to leverage learning as we serve our families. She makes being a housewife beautiful, and it is. She covers a broad range of topics such as submission, beauty, and sex using God's word as the foundation for each subject. Housewife Theologian is theological yet relatable as we get to know her better through her personal stories. Aimee's words make me eager to open my Bible and learn more about God, who is in the mundane of my everyday as a housewife theologian!"
—Trillia Newbell, Author; Writer; and Editor of Karis, the Women s Channel at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
"With wisdom, warmth, and wit Aimee challenges women to think biblically about all of life. She connects sound doctrine to daily life in a way that inspires us to intentionally live out the gospel."
—Susan Hunt, Author and Women's Ministry Consultant, Christian Education and Publications, Presbyterian Church in America
About the Author
Aimee Byrd is just an ordinary mom of three living in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Aside from that amazing gig, Aimee has made a fool of herself in martial arts training, survived college, dabbled in ceramics, owned a coffee shop, braved leading the youth group with her husband, become a Bible study teacher and blogger, and done a little speaking on the side. Since her children's schedules have majorly cut into her social life, she has resorted to writing.
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Top customer reviews
1. Very practical focus: Most of our lives are filled with mundane, ordinary activities. It can be very difficult to think thought how the Bible speaks to issues such as issues. Aimee does a good job of staying focused on the issues that many women struggle with day-to-day: hospitality, body image, housekeeping, marriage, parenting, and fighting sin.
2. Conversational writing style: The writing style is very informal. At times it feels like you are sitting across the table with Aimee in a casual conversation.
3. Arguments based on scripture: In most cases her arguments are based on scripture, which is very important to me. There are some cases where I did not quite agree with her applications of Scripture, but at least she used the Bible pretty heavily in her arguments.
4. Don't have to be a housewife to enjoy: Although Aimee is a housewife, she makes it clear that this is not the only way. She does not judge people for working outside the home.
1. Some women may find her a little arrogant: Even as a man reading the book, I was a little put off by Aimee's high self-confidence. She is apparently a very well rounded individual, and talks some about her exceptional appearance, successes, and talents. In her defense, I think that her goal is to be transparent about her own struggles. She does a fairly good job of balancing these statements out, but some might get frustrated with it.
2. Some arguments are a little hard to follow: Most of the sections are very well thought out and pretty easy to follow. However, there were other sections that followed a fairly scattered approach that was a little hard to follow.
Overall, I think that this book is worth a read for any Christian woman. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. I love the emphasis on applying scripture to the ordinary things in our life.
This book was written by Aimee Byrd and published by P&R Publishing, copyrighted 2013. Most of the Scripture quotations are from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.
In this book, Aimee elaborates how important it is for everyone, including housewives, to be a theologian. On page 12 she says “Our primary calling in every area of life is as theologians.” On page 13 she states “Faith is a gracious gift from God, and this faith has content. It is not just faith in faith. When you fall in love with your husband, are you satisfied at that moment to learn nothing else about him? Of course not, the opposite is true; you want to know more and more of him. And your love grows in this way. Now think of our all-knowing, all powerful God. Can we ever exhaust our learning of him? What a privilege and an honor to be able to know our God!...Knowing is a very intimate thing.”
Aimee explains that we must know who God is in order to represent Him to our culture-thence housewife theologian. She explains to us that the book is designed to be used with a journal to actively engage women and even teens (good preparation for their future) in a workshop format in their home church and there are extensive questions for discussion at the end of each of the 12 chapters. I do believe that the book can also be valuable if read by oneself without the group and then praying and reflecting on the discussion questions and perhaps journaling. I am not one for journaling, but many people find it very helpful and valuable. You may also be able to do this informally with a friend or within the family circle.
Mrs. Byrd spends quite a bit of time explaining to us the definition of a “theologian” and why it is important for everyone to be one and she specifically addresses housewives and how this affects all those with whom they come in contact and what are some of the difficulties of being a housewife theologian. In Aimee’s own words, “The first three quarters of the book are devotional, addressing such questions as: How does my knowledge of God relate to my role as a woman; my thoughts on beauty, identity, hospitality, and sin; and my influence on others? How is a Christian’s thinking different from an unbeliever’s? In the concluding three chapters I address the broader picture of Christ and culture. What is the relationship of the church to the broader culture? The aforementioned devotional aspects weave themselves over and under the realm of the church and the remaining social institutions. As pilgrims waiting for the age to come, are we just filling time, or is there some eternal value to our jobs and relationships in this temporary life?”
In this review, I will list some of my observations as I read through the book. Mrs. Byrd begins with looking at Eve and how Eve did not get her theology straight right from the beginning as we observe from Eve’s reply to the serpent. Eve actually added to God’s prohibition in claiming that God had forbidden them to touch the tree. Aimee challenges us whether we would know what to believe from the many messages that are flung at us every day that are contrary to Scripture. She deals well Biblically with the issues of submission and women as help mates to our husbands.
Aimee mentions Strong’s Concordance, assuming we know how to use it. There is not much in the book about how to use available study materials such as concordances and commentaries and other study tools such as www.e-sword.net but you can find directions for using these resources within the resources themselves.
In dealing with the area of evangelism, Aimee states “conversion is not merely a ticket out of hell. It is the beginning of a whole new life, not just an end to the old one.” She is not afraid to deal with the area of sin and deals with it quite extensively and how it affects our lives and the lives of others and the Gospel message.
I do disagree with her statement on page 61 where she states “Does this mean that I should stand on the street corner, forcing my religion down people’s throats? Of course not, but it does mean that I am to be looking for good opportunities to share God’s truth with others in a loving way.” I think that this discourages authentic sincere street preaching. Anything can be abused, including street preaching, but the whole activity should not be put down, and I feel it should be actually encouraged as it is a Biblical model.
To give you an idea of some of the types of authors that Mrs. Byrd has read and who she quotes throughout the book I will list some of them. They are John H. Gerstner, Sheldon Vanauken, Bruce Waltke, John Calvin, Nancy Pearcey, James Montgomery Boice, John Piper, Emil Brunner, C.S. Lewis, Francis A. Schaeffer, Harry Blamires, Saint Augustine, Elisabeth Elliot, Tim Challies, John MacArthur, D.A. Carson, Phillip Schaff, C. H. Spurgeon, Voddie Baucham, Thomas Brooks, Tim Keller, Jeremiah Burroughs and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
There is an honest portrayal of some of the events in Mrs. Byrd’s own life throughout the book and how she sees that the Lord worked in them to continue to transform her more into the image of His dear Son.
Aimee deals with the issues of femininity versus feminism and also how our sexuality ties in with the Gospel of Christ. She also deals with the issue of truth and how we, as housewife theologians need to love truth because that goes hand in hand with loving God Who is Truth itself and speaks of how God’s Truth is being sacrificed in many churches today for the sake of “unity.”
There is good discussion on why it is important for churches to have a denominational creed and Mrs. Byrd also takes up the subject of where we draw the line with professing Christians who differ from our confessions of faith.
Aimee also discusses the aspects of hospitality and also how we need to recognize that being a housewife is meaningful and how a significant part of our high calling as mothers is to teach our children theology and how we can even influence other’s children if we do not have children of our own. She gives the example of Spurgeon’s cook.
There is good discussion also about idols in our lives and even how good things, such as our marriages or our children can become idols in our lives. Aimee also takes up subjects such as what forgiveness looks like Biblically and Christ’s sufficiency, the importance of the church and the importance of Sunday observance.
Mrs. Byrd writes from a reformed perspective and emphasizes God’s grace in every area. She uses illustrations and word pictures quite effectively throughout the book, although I did have objection to one particular word picture where she relates the church to a “speakeasy”. Aimee does say that she is “thinking of a speakeasy in a romantic way, as a whole world that is open to you by invitation and the correct password: “Jesus is Lord”, but I still would have preferred that she not use that illustration. This illustration is found in the chapter entitled “What About Sunday?” and I found the few comments on pages 198-200 under the title “Restored Image” worthy of more study. Here Aimee discusses why we now observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week rather than the seventh day of the week. It revolves around the idea that the Old Testament picture was that of work first and then resting whereas the New Testament pictures resting in Christ first and then working as a result of that rest. It was too short of a treatment for understanding this subject, but worthy of more investigation.
I didn’t necessarily agree with all of Mrs. Byrd’s views, but I don’t think it is necessary to do so in order to get a lot out of this book. There is a lot here to get the mind really thinking and turning to the Scripture in prayer and wrestling with these issues.
The last chapter of the book is entitled “Expensive Grace” and I felt this was one of the best chapters as it challenges the false beliefs of “cheap grace”. There are some wonderful words of Biblical encouragement to single women also in this chapter.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book as I believe it challenges women to examine all areas of their lives and to get to know God more intimately and to examine whether they are living their lives daily according to His pattern or to the pattern of what our culture expects of us.
It is a book that challenges the individual, and the group, to learn about God and how important and relevant his word is today.
It's a must for the knowledge seekers, "the theologians" of the 21st century.