Friday, August 18, 2006

Captivating, chapter 9

Captain’s Log, Stardate 08.18.2006

Blog book giveaway:
My Monday book giveaway is GEORGIA ON HER MIND by Rachel Hauck.
My Thursday book giveaway is MURDER, MAYHEM, AND A FINE MAN by Claudia Mair Burney.
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for GEORGIA ON HER MIND and post the title for another book I'm giving away.

Arousing Adam:

"True femininity calls forth true masculinity."

I didn't like this because it seemed to imply that women need men. I'm sure many women want a husband, but not all women will get a good one.

And there are lots of single women still struggling with their singleness. Many of them are strong, spiritual women who are truly feminine, but for some reason they haven't met the right guy yet.

This statement implies that if you're "truly feminine" you'll bring out "true masculinity" in a man. I think it's kind of insensitive to imply that those single women are lacking somehow.

Adam's Wound: I'm not sure I agree when they say "every man is wounded." I'm sure many men are wounded, but again this is too sweeping a generalization.

They go on to tell two very tragic cases of verbal abuse to two boys, but they make it seem that those isolated incidents caused the insecurities in their adult lives. While I'm sure those incidents contributed to it, I'm not sure I buy that those single incidents caused all the damage. There were probably other things to shape who those boys grew up to become.

Standing in Love's Way:

"Too many men take their Question to Eve. They look to her for the validation of their souls."

I really liked when they said this, because it's true for both men and women.
Women look to men for their self-esteem. It's interesting to see the male perspective, that guys do the same thing.

Your self-esteem is based on what you think the most important person in your life thinks about you.

If that most important person is a guy, and if you think he thinks you're ugly, that's what your self-esteem will be based on.

But if that most important person is Christ--well, He thinks you're fabulous. There's no price He wouldn't pay for you--there's no price He didn't pay for you.

I need my self-esteem to be based on that truth and not other people's opinions.

"Yes--a woman can offer a man so much . . . But she cannot be the validation of his soul. As men, we have got to take our Question to God, to our Father in heaven. Only he knows who we truly are . . . A man goes to Eve to offer his strength. He does not go to her to get it."

Singleness: My problem with this chapter is that I have a heart for single women. I struggled with singleness for a long time.

And this chapter says things like "Eve was literally fashioned from the rib taken out of Adam's side. There is an incompleteness that haunts us, makes us yearn for one another."

So what kind of a message is that saying to single women? I know many godly single women who are finding their completeness in Christ. Who don't feel the need to marry.

I'm sure there are many women who mistakenly try to find their wholeness in a man, and I'm glad the chapter addresses that this isn't the answer: "Only God can tell you who you are."

As a single woman, I really struggled with this. This doesn't come easily. A part of me wanted a man while another part of me fought to not want a man, to desire God with that fervent desire instead. And that doesn't happen overnight, honey.

The section emphasizes that a man cannot fill us--true, true, true! It doesn't answer the question for single women who don't have a husband, who already struggle with not needing a man. But I guess the section is speaking to women who don't realize that they're searching for validation in the wrong place.

The Holy, Scandalous Women of the Bible: I understand that they're pointing out women who took risks to obey God. But I didn't understand the point of the passage about Ruth seducing Boaz.

"She makes herself vulnerable and alluring to Boaz. She arouses him to play the man. She awakens his desire to be the Hero. That's the point."

And . . . ? What--women should be alluring to the men in our lives? What if a woman doesn't have a man in her life? What then?

Arousing Women: "However it is expressed in the uniqueness of your own femininity, arousing Adam comes down to this: Need him. And believe in him."

How does that make a woman "alluring"?

Single Women: At first I was excited to see this section, then I realized it was speaking to women who were dating but not married.

They do offer some good advice: "Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit."

This kind of goes against their claims that beauty is vulnerability, but it's solid advice. Sometimes it's difficult to know if a man is "willing to commit," though. But the authors point out for the woman to look to his friends, his lifestyle, his attitude and actions. Those all say a lot about the man himself, who he really is inside.

In sum: I'm trying to be open-minded about how this chapter would really speak to women who are married or in a relationship. I didn't care for this chapter because they never adequately (in my opinion) answered what they meant by being "alluring," and they made the role of a man in a woman's life seem like it was a more major thing than I think it should be.

Yes, we married women should be supportive and loving to our husbands. Being too independent and controlling can be a bad thing, just as being too dependent or passive is also a wrong extreme.

But what the heck does it mean to be "alluring"? I do need my husband, and I do believe in him. He doesn't like it when I become too needy, and I don't push him in his work ambition like an ambitious wife.

And what does this chapter have to say for single women? So much emphasis on how to relate to your man, and their only answer for singles is to "pray, if we are single, that this sort of man or woman will come to us from God's hand."

What? No. This is not what I teach my teen girls. They can tell God their desires for a man, but their focus should be on being content and passionate about God alone. That godly passion will make them into a woman who can be that godly "other half" of a guy, who desires God more than she desires her man.

I think I'm ranting. Forgive me. I guess this chapter pushed a few buttons.

11 comments :

  1. After following your progress on this book, I can tell I won't be buying it. It pushes my buttons, too.

    I don't have a problem with the sense of a certain wholeness in a relationship. I can tell you that the love I have in my marriage does give me a sense of wholeness. I don't think that's unbiblical or accidental: I think Genesis shows that the norm is to pair up and grow in love. Singleness is not for the majority--for some. It can be cultivated for godly purposes (as Paul teaches), but it is very normal to want a mate and to put that desire before God. I would never discourage this. In fact, if it was godly for Hannah to plead with God for a child, any woman can equally plead with God for a godly mate. If it was not good for Adam to be alone, I'm guessing it's not good for most of us to be alone.

    Singleness may be required of us by God for a purpose, or we may be gifted with it (ie, some are satisfied with a single estate), but I know my life is ever so much better for being a good man's wife.

    I don't take kindly to the whole verbal victimhood thing. We're a culture of victims--everyone's a victim. That gets old.

    Mir

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  2. I will not quit, I will not quit, I will not quit....But I'm glad we're almost done. This chapter made me a little crazy too. Thanks for posting, and being honest. I wonder, does Stasi ever read this stuff about her book, is she clueless about how we're all seeing it? If she did, I think she'd hesitate to write another one. Please tell me she didn't write another one?

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  3. I haven't read the book but I've been following your comments. Overall I don' think I'll be reading this one.

    However, some of the quotes you gave hit me in a little different way. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but here's how it "hit" me.

    "True femininity calls forth true masculinity."

    This, to me, seemed to be less about women needing men and more about men being forced to "come correct" when faced with a woman who is confident, self-assured, presents herself well, etc., not trying to be anything or anyone other than who God called her to be. Makes a man stand up straight, if he thought he might be able to approach her from a "slouch".

    "However it is expressed in the uniqueness of your own femininity, arousing Adam comes down to this: Need him. And believe in him."

    After 15 years of marriage and many years observing others, I have to agree with this. However, I don't think it's specific to men. I think a person is alluring, i.e. desirable, captivating, etc., when that person offers their partner a belief in him or her AND a sense that together they work better than they work alone. If the partner doesn't have this sense, why be with the person? When this is strong, I find that there's greater trust and it's easier to work through issues.

    Just my take on it. I bet your hubby finds you quite "alluring".

    Patricia W

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  4. I didn't read all of this. After all, the whole thing is probably too late for me.

    But it seems to me that the writers have a few pet words or phrases that they like to use or throw around. I really shouldn't criticize because I know only what you are reproducing here. But most of these people, Christians as well as other psychologists, etc. have pet theories and pet phrases. I can remember reading a book called "Happiness Is a Choice". It ended up depressing me more than I already was. I felt so guilty because I couldn't just "choose" to be happy. It totally backfired on me. And this book was written by Christian psychologists.

    In essence, I stopped reading this kind of book. Perhaps I should have read them in a group and it was different then. But still everybody saw something different which was good sometimes, but since we were at different stages in our lives, also sometimes made us feel like fools when others seemed so far ahead of us.

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  5. As to being single and asking for a man: I've still kept that open. For a long time I prayed that God would prepare me for a man He wanted me for and prepare that man for me. I haven't prayed that in a long time now but I'm still open to it if God intends to still give me one.

    So in that way, yes, I think we can pray for a man. But like any other prayer, God will answer it in His own time and in His own way. And sometimes He does say "no". And we also need to be ready to accept that answer.

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  6. I've heard this was a facinating read.

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  7. Oooh, Camy, your post pushed so many of my buttons that I cannot even comment on one bit of it... or I will be ranting all night long. Suffice to say -- THANKS for your thoughtful perspective on this book! Arrrggghhh... better you than me.

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  8. I need coffee and time to comment onteh study you posted, but in the mean time, I tagged you for a meme!

    MUAHahahaha!

    (I just really like your answeres!)

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  9. Camy, I like your readers! You apparently live in the company of the thinking.

    The men in our church were going through "Wild at Heart" and our elders asked them to stop because there was so much in it that was unbiblical. Our women were studying the Bible and our men were studying Eldredge.

    So much of what is written about men and women is such bunk. Look up Carl Jung and you'll notice some VERY familiar metaphors reappearing in the Eldredge stuff.

    We talk a lot about what it means to be masculine and feminine in a class I teach at DTS. Conclusion: masculinity is the fruit of the Spirit on a man; femininity is the fruit of the Spirit on a woman. Beyond that you're trying to define a mystery. So...we should pursue the fruit of the Spirit, not "being alluring" or "being feminine" or "evoking masculinity."

    I'm glad you're exploring this topic.

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  10. When you come right down to it there is little sensible or helpful stuff written for the single. Some Christian writers follow a note in Paul's writing which, to them, says that singles aren't married because they are to be there to do the Lord's work. If you are a single person and are not doing enough of God's work, according to whoever, they say that you are being disobedient or not fulfilling your role.

    I really don't think that we can see a single's role in this black-white coloring any more than we can paint the married person black or white. God still made us individuals and as singles or married couples we can do similar jobs for God.

    Again, I come back to the question of "What is normal?" in any situation. Is there even such thing as normal given that God has made each of us different? Why cram us all into little boxes labeled "normal" or "not normal".

    I think I've had a very hard time with psychology/psychiatry from an early age. My one aunt's sister had taken a year of psychology in preparation for teaching. Whenever she met someone, she immediately started analysing that person. And that literally frightened me. Should anyone with a bare smattering of psychology dare to analyse others and discuss their "findings" with other people? I felt she was doing a dangerous, hurtful thing. In fact, she admitted later that she had "analysed" the man who would be her husband incorrectly. He didn't at all fit the mould that she tried to get him into. However, I'm not sure she stopped analysing everybody else on that basis.

    I also think that our society as a whole must truly believe in Freud's psychoanalysis. I, too, have only a smattering of psychology and I would say that as modern people we seem to take the notion of everything being tied to sexuality as Freud taught, very much to heart. Everything has to be sexy. Sex is the bringer of all good things. Ads and commercials must use sex even for the least sexual topic in order to be valid, etc., etc. Ever younger girls for the old geezers so they won't catch AIDS. How God must grieve!

    Camy, I guess this whole topic can set anyone and everyone to ranting and raving. Please forgive me too. And this isn't even my blog.

    But I'm really glad about what you tell your girls. That is my opinion too. After all, not everyone gets married and why let a bad stigma be associated with singleness. I know people have asked me why I never got married. All I can tell them is that I've so far not found the right person. I doubt I still will but as I wrote yesterday, I haven't closed my mind to it if I know that it's still God's will for me at some point.

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  11. You know someone recommended this book to me but it's sounding like I'll pick up something else, maybe I Kissed Dating Good-bye. It's hard being a twenty something single when society places so much emphasis on being complete in someone else. Still trying to get my contentment in God. :/

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