Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: The Resignation of Eve

The title and subtitle of this book sound intriguing: The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam's Rib Is No Longer Willing To Be the Church's Backbone?  Even the description on the back of the book is compelling: Jim Henderson spoke with women around the country about their role in church and came to believe that and epidemic of sad resignation is developing as women feel overworked and undervalued in the church.  Because of this, many women are discouraged and some are even leaving organized church altogether.  Some are even walking away from the faith.  The Resignation of Eve is a field report on what women have to say, both positively and negatively, about their experiences in the church.  Their stories should give church leadership a view into the hearts of women, and they should react accordingly in order to prevent a mass resignation.

That is my paraphrase of what the back of the book says.  That is NOT what this book is actually about.  This book is about how the church is run by male leadership, and how sad and unfair that is to women.

Yes, this book is filled with stories of women and their accounts of their experiences in church.  However, the vast majority of them are just snipe-fests on how women are appalled that they cannot be senior pastors or elders in their church.  There are a couple of stories (as in just two, I believe) of women who don't have a problem with male leadership and even find it comforting.  The author's position on that is that these women have been indoctrinated and essentially brainwashed into feeling this way, and clearly that proves his point that some women are resigned to their positions in church.

There are quite a few things that I find offensive about this book as a woman.  First, more than once the author and the women in this book allude to the fact that women's and children's ministries within the church are clearly the lesser of all the ministries.  They say that if women want to lead then they are pushed aside into women's and children's ministries, rather than serving in the more important role of senior pastor.  Second is the idea that any woman who supports male leadership has simply and sadly been indoctrinated.  That tells me that, as a woman who supports male leadership, I must not have an original or intelligent thought in my head. 

This book, this author, and the women in this book have missed the whole point of leadership.  If they are truly going to use Scripture to find out about their roles in church, why do they keep missing Mark 10:44?  As if the only acceptable leadership position is the role of senior pastor.  And if there is anyone in the church who is serving in a role other than the senior pastor, then they are clearly not in a leadership position.

This book was not written from a biblical perspective; it was written from a secular worldview.  But let's go with that for a minute; even then, this author misses what even John Maxwell, the great leadership guru has to say about leadership.  And that is you can lead where ever you are.  You do not have to be labeled "top dog" to be considered a leader.  And if you're waiting for that label, then you probably aren't cut out for leadership anyway.

This book reminds me a lot of American Idol.  You know, early in the season during the audition rounds when so many well-meaning, earnest kids come on and sing their little hearts out.  And they sound terrible.  And so the judges try to gently tell them that they should pursue other things.  And then the kids get spitting mad and use all sorts of words and gestures to show how much they disagree with the judges assessment.  Their parents have told them that they are amazing singers, so what would these professionals know?  Well, this book is just like those parents to all bossy women who feel they aren't being listened to.  It will fuel their fire and make them feel like they are right, even though the Bible clearly says otherwise.

I am throwing this book in the trash.  As a book lover, I hate to throw books out, but I can't think of a single person I would want to read this book.  I don't want it on some random book shelf in a thrift store either.  No one should read this book.  And this author should not be writing for Christian audiences either.  He is clearly not on the same page.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book as a part of their blogger book review program.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Victoria, I'm sorry you found the book offensive as a woman.

    I didn't get the impression from the book that "women's and children's ministries within the church clearly the lesser of all the ministries." I would ask you what parts gave you that impression but it's probably already in your trash.

    Also I expect you came to your position on womens' roles quite thoughtfully; I would never assume this about you: "as a woman who supports male leadership, I must not have an original or intelligent thought in my head."

    You called the book a snipe-fest and alluded to bossy women (that made me smile - it's been a while since I've heard that phrase).

    To be honest this review came across as somewhat of a snipe-fest to me and if it was all I knew about you I might wonder if you could be construed as a bit 'bossy' at times? However I would hate to write you off based on a few words on a page when I've never even met you. I know we disagree on some issues but perhaps we have some other things in common, even beyond wife and mom (mediocre musician?). Maybe we'd even get along. And I could take your copy of the book (if you still have it) off your hands for you - I'm already too far gone for it for it to do me any harm.