Friday, May 21, 2010

Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them by Liz Curtis Higgs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fantastic book that talks about women in the Bible who are portrayed as "bad girls" - think Eve (the first bad girl, who just had to take a bite of that darn fruit!), Potiphar's wife, Jezebel, etc.

The author starts each chapter with a fictional story which is meant to illustrate, in a more modern and relatable fashion, each woman's sin. If you're familiar with the Bible, you'll probably catch on to who she's talking about before the end of each story. Then she goes on to break down the Scripture references about the woman so we can better understand what the Bible really says about her.

All in all, this book was completely eye-opening. In the beginning, the author says that whenever she read the Bible, she always thought that the "good girls" - Sarah, Mary mother of Jesus, the elusive Psalm 31 woman - seemed so unrelatable. But when it came to the bad girls, she recognized herself in them. I find that the same is true for me. All of these women sinned, yes, but that doesn't mean they're all bad women. Unfortunately, the Bible only gives us a glimpse of their lives, and the rest we can only imagine.

Each chapter ends with a list of life lessons that we can learn from each individual woman, along with several questions - which would make this book great for a group study.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John Eldredge

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I'm not totally sure how I feel about this book. I read it as part of a church small-group, and when I checked out the reviews (before ever reading the book), I was nervous. Many reviews said that this book is guilty of using Scripture out of context, and basically comes off as new-age fluff with a bit of God-talk thrown in.

Having read the book, I definitely agree with the problems talked about in the reviews. The authors switch back and forth without telling the reader, so most of the time you have to guess who is speaking at any particular point in the book. I'm pretty sure the book uses more movie references than Scripture references. And I'm very uncomfortable with the authors talking about woman (Eve) being the "crown of creation" and God's "piece de resistance." I agree with my aunt's description of this kind of book - it portrays God as what we may want Him to be, instead of what He truly is. Most of the authors' assumptions about God come from emotion, not from Scripture.

OK, having said all that, this book wasn't completely worthless. It really reconnected me with the joyful, grace-ful side of Christianity. So often I get sucked into the view of my faith being a duty - a set of rights and wrongs, and I forget that Jesus loves me just as I am. This book encouraged me to stop striving so much and keep my eyes open for the messages that God is giving me in my everyday life. I am reminded to turn to God for comfort and peace during the tough times in my life, rather than getting upset with myself for not "measuring up."

So, as I said before, I don't really know what to think of this book. It's not for everyone, and what the authors say has to be taken "with a grain of salt." I've got to think that there's a book out there with a similar message, but that's presented better.

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