Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Christian women think about

Last week I was shunning books and going on a "sola scriptura" stint. Then I found myself at the bookstore with a friend, and hadn't done my research, and ended up walking out with a few Christian books on women's topics. Uh-oh.

As with the last book of this sort that I read, I think that the one I'm reading is going to be edifying, yet have some weak arguments that are going to bother me.

So I'm going to lift the veil to share a few thoughts. And then I will write a more complete review later. The book is called "Lady in Waiting"* and the subtitle is "Becoming God's Best While Waiting for Mr.Right"**...which sounds really corny, but is a worthy topic for a book.

full post/-

Problem #1-The opening. The roommate has just gotten married, and the poor single woman is crushed.

"As the happy couple drives to the perfect honeymoon, you sit alone in a empty apartment, drowning your envy and self-pity with a half gallon of Heavenly Hash ice cream." (13)

Actually, no. First of all, the stereotype is wrong. Not all women drown their sorrows in ice cream. I am more likely to lose my appetite and throw up.

Second of all, I don't normally feel jealous when a close friend or family member gets married. I think the reason is that when you are involved in the ceremony or even just witnessing it, you can sense reality. You know a little about the journey and can rejoice with them for making it to this day. But you also realize it isn't a fairytale. And there is an air of mystery that reminds you that God's in charge.

It is when I'm watching a romantic comedy or looking at a long-distance friend's sickeningly sweet beautiful wedding album online that I may start to feel resentful, simply because the view of reality is missing. So I have to limit that kind of input sometimes.

Problem #2- The authors' assumptions about the audience.

"Rather than staying home worrying about another 'dateless' Saturday night, realize how much valuable time has been entrusted to you at this point in your life." (26)

This statement disappointed me because I felt that it made an assumption about the reader....namely, that she is a woman who adheres to a worldly concept of dating. I normally appreciate it more when the author assumes the higher standard...not because I think I am better, but because I feel more motivated when more is expected. Even though the authors make a good point here, I almost didn't want to keep reading because I felt that that particular situation didn't apply to me. What am I going to do if the entire book discusses dating principles for a model that I don't necessarily agree with? I guess I will find out.

Saturday night has never been associated with dating for me. The typical Saturday is usually a marathon of chores, errands, and trying to squeeze in a visit with precious friends. Then sometimes there's preparing Sunday school props until about midnight, and trying to get my clothes ironed, etc. so I don't have to wake up my roommate, who has Saturday church. If anything, Sunday is the day when you're taking the day off and wouldn't mind doing something special. But I really doubt that the average woman expects someone to suddenly invite her on a date, or that "this Saturday (Friday, Sunday) will be different."

Of course it's another story when you like someone in particular and sit around waiting for a call, text, anything that shows he is thinking about you. You have to keep focused and keep living life, which is probably what the authors meant.

Making assumptions about your audience is a risk. Sometimes you nail it, and sometimes you don't. I think this book is going to be correct about a few things, but it also brings up a lot of arguments, in my mind at least.

*Kendall, Jackie, and Debby Jones. "Lady in Waiting." Shippensburg: Destiny Image Publishers, 1995

**An alternate is "Developing Your Love Relationships." I'm a bit confused as to which is correct as it's labeled differently in different places.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! It seems that the authors read too much Cosmopolitan. :p because the way they described the situations of (being desperate) single women sounds more like in those women's mags. :p
    When I was single, I didn't get jealous when my friends and/or relatives were getting married. And during friday/saturday night, I didn't just sit at home waiting for someone special to call me, but I went out with bunch of my church friends. :D
    Perhaps that book is useful for some others who have similar situations as the book described. :)
    Btw, I've got an award for you, Liz. :) Oh..and I've joined a cause as well. Pls check them out on my blog if you're interested. :)
    Have a great week!

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  2. Your observations about seeing the "reality" in weddings you are involved in or attend are SO true. And also about the unrealistic pangs the romantic comedies might inspire - I think I'd cry at the end of Jane Austen novels, too, or other literary works where people found a worthy mate.

    I also cringe at those assumptions. They are probaby only too true for some women, but still a little nauseating (like those sickeningly sweet photos) to those who "have a life", so to speak. I was single until I was 30 and don't think I ever once wished I were "dating". I went on maybe two outings that someone might have described as a "date" and both were so horribly uncomfortable that I would NEVER have looked forward to a "date".... Whether it was a parish event, or acting in a play (my career for much of those years) or even some of the more outwardly "pathetic" things I did in college - I, for one, was enjoying myself mightily. I always remember bemusedly, how at a certain point in my life, I'd spend Friday and Saturdays at the university library looking through the art books...no one was around so I could sit on the floor and have a wonderful time. Then I discovered that they had magazines back to the 1800's bound and available for perusal - and what fun I had looking at womens magazines from the early part of the 19th century! In fact I enjoyed those evenings so much that even now, years later, I look back longingly at them. But the funny part was, that one time a girlfriend asked what I'd been doing, and when I told her, her brow furrowed with pity and she asked if maybe she could "fix me up". Horror of horrors! No way! I could NOT convince her I'd been having fun.

    As usual, I love your book reviews and look forward to finding out if there are more valuable insights in this one.

    I'm all for courtship myself....or meeting eligible gentlemen through mutual relations and getting to know him in the natural course of time, rather than "artificially" in a "date".

    I met my husband when I'd decided that perhaps I had a religious vocation and was visiting a convent in a city a few hours away. Craig's mother was also exploring a late vocation and when I first met Craig it turned out he lived in the same parish where the school I would be teaching in was located. The rest was history.

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  3. Annie, I guess you met Craig just in time! :) I've had the same experience with people commenting on my social life. People asking what I do in my free time and after I go through a list of activities (reading, church activities, etc), repeating the question and asking what I do for fun. As if the things I listed didn't count! Funny.

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  4. Resonatingly pleased and encouraged reading your thoughts and review :)

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