The Power of Books in the Awareness of Womanhood.

I came across this book as a young  teen in the house of a family I babysat for during a summer vacation.  When the children slept I scoured the bookshelves and read the sleeping hours away. Impassioned and dramatic, idealistic and simplistic I was set on igniting the world with whatever would burn.  The gospels accounts which recorded the activist side of Christ in overturning the tables in the temple and calling those so close to the truth, yet so far away, a “brood of vipers” was appealing to my ready- to- wrestle soul.  No surprise then that the ideas in this book stirred something in me.  In small and jerky ways I began to ponder what it was to be a girl and grow into a woman. 

This book criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through child rearing and homemaking. According to Friedan’s obituary in the The New York Times, The Feminine Mystique “ignited the contemporary women’s movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world” and “is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.” In the book Friedan hypothesizes that women are victims of a false belief system that requires them to find identity and meaning in their lives through their husbands and children. Such a system causes women to completely lose their identity in that of their family. Friedan specifically locates this system among post-World War II middle-class suburban communities.

I went on to read some other feminist works, sensing an uneasiness and disagreement that I could not articulate at the time.  I sensed the same uneasiness within the most conservative strains of the church, though it seemed they were on to something much more hopeful, if it only could be realized.  I hope to write more in-depth in the future on these issues as I go deeper into thought, research and observation.  The world-over is waking up to the global oppression towards women and their children.  Books, websites, organizations, and ideas are everywhere.  And the beloved body of Christ– particularly the women, both those who are mothers, those who are not, and those who will be–need to come out and rise up in newness and with great articulation, waving the flag of hope and freedom because of the Cross.

Perhaps my book Running into Water compels them to emerge and find that truly the only fulfillment is in Christ and in the good ways he choses and uses to transform us.  And now, having a daughter, I must be able to walk her through all of this.  I want to attune her ears and eyes to be wise and discerning, engaging her when she is as inflamed as I once was (once, says my husband?!), to find God’s great passion for we who are in his likeness.

I’ll keep humming along in my thoughts as you express yours. In the meantime I am re-visiting a book that I find much more engaging than the above mentioned one:

NURTURING THE NATIONS

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