Monday, June 28, 2010

The Way of the Wise: A Review of Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild

If we were asked to think of a “wild woman” a person or type of person would typically quickly come to mind. We can all think of her right? She is usually the girl we don’t hang out with, because of her bad reputation. She is the girl flirting with the boys in school, or the girl buying the bikini at the mall, or the girl at the clubs and bars every weekend night. But she certainly isn’t in our homes or churches. She couldn’t be, could she?

What if when we thought about who described the wild woman we looked in the mirror for a change. That is exactly what Mary Kassian does in her book, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. She holds up the mirror of God’s Word and shows us that all of us are the wild woman at heart, and we need a new heart to make us into the wise woman that God calls us to be.

She begins the book by combating pride immediately. There are two types of readers of this book, those who already know they are wild and want help, and those who think they are wise and need to understand that they aren’t. Kassian shows us that all of us are “Girls-Gone-Wild” and we need to be changed.

One of the things that I have always appreciated about Kassian’s teaching and writing is that it is saturated with Scripture. She knows her Bible and it shows. The entire book is a contrast between the “Wild Woman” of Proverbs 7 and the “Wise Woman” that Proverbs so often speaks of.

The book is definitely worth reading for multiple reasons, but there are three things that stood out to me as I read this book.

To be a wise woman means getting a new heart. Kassian says that, “A woman who attends to her heart will attend to her ways.” For Kassian, the entire book is built on this premise—the heart reveals our treasure and our desires. She shows that if a woman’s heart is captured by Jesus, then she will walk according to his ways. If her heart is captured by the world and its pull, then she will walk in the ways of the world. According to Kassian (and I think rightly), the heart must be transformed first before any of the following points about wise living can be fulfilled.

To be a wise woman means understanding what God says about womanhood. This isn’t the entire point of the book, but it’s where Kassian is going ultimately. Kassian is decidedly complementarian in this book and in everything else she writes. Feminism’s lure has been at us since the Garden, and to be a wise woman means to understand how God created you to be. She takes us through the entire biblical history of gender starting with creation. Understanding gender, she asserts, helps us know how to live. The wise woman understands that God created her with boundaries, and these are good and wise limitations.

She says: “The fact that woman was created within boundaries of a household also implies that women are to have a unique responsibility in the home. This is consistent with the idea that a woman metaphorically keeps her feet (and heart) centered in the home, rather than outside it. For the woman, nurturing her relationships and keeping her household in order takes priority over other types of work.” (133).

To be a wise woman means to be countercultural. From boundaries, to entitlement, to dating, to sex, to honesty, to our tongue, to our view of possessions, to dependability living wisely according to God’s standards means we look a lot different than the world. We go against the grain. Every chapter is filled with the cultural norm countered with the biblical mandate. In the chapter on sexual conduct she shows us how God designed sex for our good within the confines of marriage. She says, “The problem is not that we value sex too much—but that we don’t value it enough” (136). We settle for lust and seduction rather than the true beauty of marital sexual fidelity. And so often we settle for a big list of “don’ts” instead of understanding the “why not” behind it. As Kassian says, marital sex displays God’s glory. Anything outside of these parameters brings dishonor on the Gospel.

It’s hard to fully convey the value I think this book has for women of every age. We are so easily pulled by the world, and often we don’t even realize our tendency towards wildness. Kassian is a breath of fresh air in a polluted and filthy environment that we find ourselves in.

She ends with a powerful admonition: “will you join the quiet counterrevolution of women who are committed to living according to God’s design?” It’s a hard task, but not an impossible one. God is big enough to change our hearts and lead us in the movement. Imagine what could happen if women across our churches read this book and asked God to chisel away the Wild Woman in them and begin making them into the Wise Woman. Let’s begin praying that God would be pleased to make it happen.

2 comments:

debt said...

What a great post, Court!! Can't wait to talk more about all of this and fellowship with you this weekend!!! Love you so!!

cdt said...

Thanks, Mom! Love you too!