…the High School Sunday teacher
… the widow who was a prayer warrior
… my paternal grandmother who I believe caused God stop what He was doing and listen to her when she prayed!
…a college English professor who challenged me to good thinking and even better believing and service
…my wife whose passionate love of kids and teens has translated into some amazing ministry before and while we have been married for over three decades
… and most important, my mother, whose blessed alliance with my late father, set an example of faithful service to God and the church
So when I found out that my friend and ministry colleague Suzanne Burden and two sisters of faith had written a book called Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God (Beacon Hill Press), I had to read and review it. I had heard Suzanne layout the key theme of ezer (helper) from a message she gave several years ago at the church I serve and I was ready to hear the “finished yet on-going” work for what Suzanne, Carla, and Jamie lay out is ever an-going journey of spiritual formation – finding and living the personal calling within God’s mission called the Great Commission. A Co-Mission that involves, as they effectively point out, men and…women!
I am not disappointed at what I have read.
Reclaiming Eve is a book that requires us to step back across the line before the fall of human kind. It is a book which focuses on Genesis 2 and not Genesis 3. Critical in understanding what they lay out in the rest of the book is Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Burden, Sunberg, and Wright effectively argue that God’s original intent for Adam and Eve was a blessed alliance to fulfill God’s mission and purposes on earth. And they also effectively suggest that while the reality of Genesis 3 with humanity’s fall is part of our daily landscape, God still has a purpose for women who seek to honor God with their daily life because He has gifted them as well.
Reclaiming Eve is divided into seven chapters which begin with the important groundwork of Biblical and theological study and then move into the personal and practical aspects of what it means for women to take their God ordained place in the Kingdom of God. But at each step they affirm the historical Christian faith and the importance of the community of faith – the church as essential for women in seeking to find and serve God. Their own personal stories and journey shine through the book (and they identify the author(s) of each chapter both in the chapter text as well as in the table of contents) and I was reminded of some very important truths as well.
This is a book written by three women who are in the trenches of life and ministry and do not sugar coat the reality of daily life and the challenges women face in finding their place of ministry and service. But they are hopeful and grace filled voices who know that God has created and gifted them as full members of His Kingdom!
I am going to be recommending this book for study in the congregation that I serve and especially for the teenage and young adult women who are part of our congregation as well. It is helpful, hopeful, and Biblical. But I also think that men, including clergy, should read this book as well.
I rate this book an ‘outstanding’ read.
Note: I received a galley copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.