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I just finished, and I feel refreshed, as if I just had the most rejuvenating fellowship. Not with finger foods and gossip and complaints veiled as concerns, but early church gathering of The Way style. I wasn't even part of the book, yet I feel celebrated, as a woman daily fighting chronic illness, as a woman of valor.
I felt especially drawn closer by the chapter of the veneration of motherhood as the goal and role of the Christian Proverbs 31 woman. My illnesses have taken that ability away from me--unable to conceive, too sick to adopt. Rachel's study, words, and bright, feisty spirit showed me that I am no less for that, but that childless women played pivotal roles in God's plan and Jesus' ministry!
Should Team Dan and Rachel welcome a newcomer to break bread, I shall come bearing my own gifts: knitting needles and stories of growing up in a tiny Southern Episcopal church.

This is how you should feel after reading a book, as if you are a better person for it!
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on August 23, 2017
Although the author's conclusions I mostly disagree with, I did still find this worth reading. It helped me to understand the perspective of women from an Evangelical POV. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of womanhood i.e. beauty, submission, modesty ect. The author draws from many different interpretations and practices from the Christian spectrum (howbeit not without bias of course) from Vision Forum ministries to No Greater Joy from Amish to Catholic, which all naturally claim to unequivocally have the practice of 'Biblical Womanhood' correct. The plethora of distinctions in the practice and interpretation of biblical womanhood among Christians is a testimony in itself as to the lack of a clear understanding of how the woman of Genesis 1:26-27 bears the image of God. Bearing an image is far more than finding feminine characteristics of gentleness and helpfulness in God. Since the book doesn't address the mysterious nature of the feminine image it tends to just spin the topics of greatest controversy regarding what woman should or shouldn't do in practice. The author's reflections on blog commentary and personal cracks at biblical literalism gave opportunity for a good laugh, if you're not too staunch to consider how such hard line positions may be viewed by others.
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on January 9, 2014
After reading many of the negative reviews and hearing what so many have to say, I am shocked. To say that this is a mockery of Christianity or that it is anti-Christian misses the entire point. So many read books (and the Bible) with so many preconceived notions that it often hard to hear what the text actually says. If you can put away any hard feelings for Rachel Held Evans and read what is written here, you can see that she was on a rather intense journey that resulted in the redemption of many things including ideas that had been misinterpreted and misused and the author's own faith! Yes, many of the 'virtues' that she pursues begin with her antiquated and improper thoughts concerning them and an outright mockery, but if you continue reading you will see what God showed her in this time. He revealed a great many truths that would do us all good to see. Further more, if you read the ideas, or 'resolutions' that she will continue on with, the things that she will take away from this journey, you can see that many of the things she may have previously mocked are the very things God has used in her life.

I may not recommend this book to all my Christian friends because it is controversial and thought-provoking. Not everyone is there yet. But to totally annihilate any good that may come from this is completely wrong.
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on June 22, 2014
This thoroughly enjoyable book has been out for a year-and-half now and has had lots of coverage, so it doesn't need a synopsis; anyone who is going to look at reviews at this point knows what its about. Like many who have read this book, I am a big fan of Rachel Held Evans' blog, which I follow faithfully. I do so not only for her own writing, but also for the links she regularly posts, and for her guest writers. Her blog is a great virtual _ salon _, in the best tradition, and as far as I am concerned, it just keeps getting better.

I had decided not to write a review, but after looking over many of those already posted, from the earliest to the most recent, I changed my mind. Along with some fair criticisms--and no book is perfect--there were a number that I found either unfair, dishonest, or just plain wrong. I agree, this year-long project was not the most serious experiment in Christian living ever conducted, and yes, parts of it seemed just plain silly. And yes, I can see that some passages might seem very unfair to those Christians who still adhere to the "Proverbs 31," "Quiverfull," and Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood ideals as sketched out by Evans, and for whom John Piper and Mark Driscoll are the teachers to listen to. But none of those things makes Rachel Held Evans wrong or unorthodox, as far as I can tell.

There are a lot of heart-warming stories here, and a lot that make you smile, and yes, even laugh out loud. But along with those, we read sobering passages too, whether about the experiences of women here in the United States, like Jackie Roese, or _______ in Bolivia, or women in Africa. But woven throughout the book are the tales of many more women, some of whom we have heard of so often we almost feel like we know them, and others we don't ever remember hearing about: the women of the Old and New Testaments. We should know about all these women, and those who have read _ A Year of Biblical Womanhood _ know all of them better. I think her treatment of Junia is particularly important, but I also appreciated the story of Hulda. I'm one of those Christians who came to serious Bible-reading and study later in life (yes, I grew up Catholic), so if it wasn't for reading lots of Walter Brueggemann, I wouldn't spend much time with the Old Testament at all, outside of course of the Psalms. Reading this book made me realize that I need to re-read much more of the Old Testament, especially the historical books, and get to know these women better.

While she is telling us about her experiences and the experiences of women from across time and around the world, Evans is doing something else that I think is vitally important. Its been said before, and will be said again,and it needs to be said over and over again for each generation, but especially now, and especially with this topic. It is not enough to "just read" (my quotes) the Bible. We have to study it, and we have to pray over it, and we have to pray for discernment through all of it. Near the end of book she tells us that she has a new appreciation for the Bible, for what it is, and for what it isn't. No, it isn't an instruction manual. It is frustratingly unclear on lots of things that we would love clear guidance on. So we keep struggling with it, and keep praying.

Many of the usual suspects are here, not just from the Bible, but lots of others as well. I was not surprised to see references to St. Benedict, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, and Brother Lawrence. But we also encounter Julian the Apostate, Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!), and John Greenleaf Whittier!

I really do wish more men and women would read this book, across the Christian spectrum, from fundamentalists to progressives.
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on April 29, 2017
I was sorry this book had to end! I learned so much, even changed my mind about things and will be exploring one issue further on my own. This is an easy read and an entertaining book. Oh my goodness, at times I laughed so hard I cried and my husband had to come over to see what was going on! I especially loved the insight from the new friend and Israel, and the comments about Proverbs 31. Eshet Chayil, the virtuous woman, you go girl. Now I have little notes written to myself all over the house. Eshet Chayil, by golly, I got up in time to get to work on time. Thank you so much for the encouragement.
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on February 10, 2018
The year of Living Biblically did a similar journey, but from a Jewish male perspective. Rachel did a beautiful job of explaining the history of the patriarchal interpretation of the Bible and why the "acceptable" way of doing things is probably not biblically accurate. She also showed what the benefit of a spiritually focused life is, and that you dont have to be a polyester skirt wearing Tammy Faye clone to be faithful. I especially liked the reclaiming of the female prophets in the Bible and the story of the female apostle who the king James bible changed to a man because apostles couldn't be females. She is a woman of valor and i look forward to reading more of her work.
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on November 2, 2013
This book fits my personality--swinging from serious to hilarious until you're not sure there's a difference because that's a little bit what life is like and that's what is portrayed in Rachel's honest stories of her explorations. 2 years ago my then boyfriend and I got into a yelling match about gender roles. After I shared my hopes for a marriage being a partnership rather than a dictatorship and that my bold and adventurous personality seemed to naturally lend me to leadership roles he looked me in the eye, red in the face, and said it just wasn't Biblical; not right; not Christian. Needless to say we broke up and I went reeling into 2 years of frustration and hurt, knowing that if he was right, Christianity wasn't for me. No matter how hard I ran, Jesus kept calling me back and bit by bit spoke truth into the lie that I'm not meant to be a Christian. I read this book for book club and can honestly say it is one of the most healing, freeing and encouraging texts I've read in the last year. I was hesitant about it because of Tim Keller's wife's review, but came to see that what she didn't like about the book was actually a part of what Rachel was trying to point out about defining biblical anything--that everyone believes something different about where in the bible we should turn for answers and how they should be applied. I know Rachel isn't God and isn't right about everything, but knowing there's room--and a lot of it--at the table for these conversations within Christianity and that God didn't make a mistake when he made me the way I am makes me believe again that there's room for me within Christianity, too. I am thankful for women like Rachel who are willing to fight the status quo and believe something better is possible for Christian women. I hope I can be half as wise and humble and strong in my own journey. Eshet chayil, sister.
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on November 17, 2016
This was a very refreshing book to read after feeling so boxed in as a Christian woman in the church. I enjoyed reading and experiencing the challenges Rachel went through each month as she worked through all the tasks that made up a biblical woman. I especially enjoyed how she explains how the Jewish husbands memorize and sing Proverbs 31 over their wives to encourage them and how we can call each other women of valor. I will definitely be using that phrase from now on to encourage women I do life with.
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on June 15, 2015
I read this book after reading and enjoying AJ Jacobs' book "The Year of Living Biblically". This seemed on the same vein, so in I plunged. Although it isn't quite as humorous, it was still a fun and interesting read. The primary difference is that it is from the "female" perspective, the secondary but perhaps even greater difference is that Evans writes from a Christian perspective, so that is another side to the coin, as well.

I read both of these for fun, not expecting any devotional insight. However, it does shed some light onto some of the more obscure traditions mentioned in the Bible. As a female, the thought of being "unclean" and untouchable for 2 weeks every month, well -- the mind still boggles...

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on October 25, 2013
Rachel Held Evans takes a year to practice the virtues of biblical womanhood. Her experiences are touching, life-changing, and hilariously funny. No matter what virtue or practice she embarks on, she always provides the biblical reference for doing so. From amish to monastic, from Jewish to Muslim, Rachel adapts many beliefs and practices to her life in Tennessee. Along the way, she discovers the consequences (both good and bad) of adhering to Old Testament mandates for the godly woman: subjugating herself to her husband, who becomes "Master;" practicing the virtue of silence in a monastery in Georgia; cooking a traditional Seder and ridding her entire home of of all grain-based food products; helping a young mother in Peru. What she learns from all of this is both humorous and touching, and we learn that many passages in the bible (Psalm 31 is the best example) have been historically adhered to in ways that a modern woman could not or would not accept in her life.
This was an inspiring book. While the activities Rachel tries to incoorporate into her modern woman/blogger lifestyle may seem far-fetched, they are all biblically-based, and she learns much. Even her husband steps in from time to time in his own diary entries, commenting on Rachel's experiment and offering a "helpmeet's" perspective.
Anyone who has read the bible's passages on women's roles and rolled their eyes at how out-dated they seem, will enjoy the fresh voice and eye this book provides.
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