An encyclopedic knowledge of traybakes? A scarlet wardrobe? A gentle and quiet spirit? A love of rom-coms? Or something else?
Starting last October, one woman began a fascinating experiment to consider just this.
Rachel Held Evans, a Christian feminist from Tennessee, decided to follow the Bible’s instructions for women. Well, nothing strange about that – right? But we’re not just talking about general principles. We’re talking literal adherence. So, here’s an example: taking Proverbs 21 to heart (‘better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman’), when she found herself nagging, she didn’t just apologise. Instead she got a ladder and sat on the roof.
Here’s what else ;
- she stopped cutting her hair (1 Cor 11:15)
- called her husband ‘master’ and held up a sign at the entrance to Dayton city, reading ‘Dan is awesome’. See Prov 31: 23 – (Dan’s her hubby)
- submitted to her husband’s choice of movies, and
- carried a cushion to sit on when she had her period (to make sure she didn’t make anything unclean).
I don’t agree with all that Evans writes, but I have some sympathy for her cause too. It’s one thing to be told to live like a woman of faith, but quite another to know how one goes about it. Evans says she’d hated Proverbs 31 for years “because in the evangelical culture, it’s lifted up as sort of like the model for all women everywhere, and it talks about a woman who sews from morning till night and provides food for her family and clothing.” However, when Evans looked closer at the passage, she concluded that it was less of an expectation placed on women and more a way of praising what they have already achieved.
Evans began the project to question whether there is a single blueprint or model of how to be a woman. She concludes that, ‘there’s no single model in the Bible – as soon as you think you have found it a woman comes along and breaks it. ‘
What do you think?