Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: J.Lee Grady's Fearless Daughters of the Bible

Lee Grady is sort of controversial. Mainly because of his progressive views on women that are a breath of fresh air after cultural reasoning for women's roles have somehow been branded on women without reasoning, and have made many women feel inadequate in who they are. While Grady does provide refreshing views he also doesn't take time to recognize what makes being a woman unique either that much, and much of the book feels like a Pentecostal sell.

Grady explores the lives of 22 women from the Bible who were brave, and an inspiration for breaking the mold of what the general expectations of them were at the time to live out the plan God had for them. Beginning with Sarah, and including others such as Mary, the mother of Jesus, Deborah, Esther, and many others he provides a strong case that when God calls on them not any man can tell them the rules that restrict them because of their sex. Grady doesn't only use Biblical examples though, but also women from all times in history who fought over the hurtles of being a woman to fearlessly live for God.

Overall, the point of Grady's book is great. If God has a plan for you to be something then no one, not even the cultural boundaries of man will stop you from doing that task even if it breaks norms. A lot of people like to take Paul's words of women not having authority over man as saying she can't preach, but yet many other verses that discuss a woman keeping her head covered during services seem to be ignored. Many people, even women, will have a problem with this part of this book. Women who have grown up being taught this will have a hard time letting go if it if they ever choose to further research these verses to find out the true intentions of them. Why is it we don't think it's important to not eat pork anymore, or send women to a tent during their menstrual cycle, but somehow still hold certain values like that? What makes one rule cultural and the others not? While I like this message about Grady there were a couple of things that just didn't have me too hyped over the book as a I hoped.

The first being the almost forced Pentecostal views. He almost acts like if people are waving their hands around, or jumping around during worshiping then their form of worshiping God is wrong. There is nothing wrong with doing those things, but there is also nothing wrong with you if that doesn't happen to you. He also throws off on Calvinism, and sort of lumps all types of Calvinist into one. We're not all the same, nor all derive from the same branch of it. Also, while I agree with his views on women being leaders he almost seems to force it a bit. I think while there are women called to lead there are much fewer women who are. He seems to discount that while women and men are equal in God's eyes we aren't made the same. There is no amount of denying our biological makeup that will put men and women into being able to act alike. The hormonal  and physical makeup of a man and a woman is very different and does determine a lot of our personalities.

Also, I think Grady discounts that Paul didn't necessarily think men and women were interchangeable in roles. There is that whole verse about marriage roles that don't give them the same roles within that union. Grady never touches on this subject matter except in passing once. Another thing that was a bit of a peeve was the use of The Message, which is basically a paraphrased reading of the Bible. He refers to the original text, which is great, but the fact he wove in The Message made it difficult for me to determine what information I could trust as foundation, and what I couldn't.

Any book that is trying to move along women as being just as intelligent, and capable of leading is a huge plus as it is something that Christianity still struggles with for some reason despite the low evidence that women's roles are more boundary ridden then man. It doesn't take much Bible reading to know that Miriam, Deborah, Priscilla, and many more would not have fit into our box of how we have stereotyped women into being only capable of leading women and children in Sunday school, and banishing them from sharing what God may be working through them to in a pulpit. Who is it us to determine what God has brought into one life as being their destined position in life?  The fact this is very heavily watered in a certain denomination, and doesn't really discuss further passages that mention the roles of the women take it from being at the top level.

Rating 4 of 5.

This book was provided by Chosen Books company in exchange for a review. 


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