I wrote a guest post for one of my favorite bloggers, Becca Rose, while she takes time to rest and recuperate. Her blog, Bookworm Beauty, is absolutely incredible and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. She covers a lot of the same themes that I talk about here, but from the perspective of a pastor’s kid.
One cheerful middle-aged gentleman approached us, and we engaged in the typical Sunday-after-meeting small talk. At some point, he started talking about what his small group was working through: Every Man’s Battle. He was excited about the honesty and vulnerability his group had built, the level of trust and confidence they shared in each other. And I was happy for him about that. But, as he continued talking about all the “wonderful truths” they were discovering, I sat there cringing inside. I’m familiar with the Every Man / Every Woman series, and while I appreciate some of the messages, I find the whole series complicated and problematic. The books reinforce nearly every gender stereotype imaginable, and the sections of the books dedicated to women are filled with patriarchy, male privilege, and slut-shaming.
He eventually moved on to talking about how his small group had recently split up by sex to read Wild at Heart and Captivating, and I had to stifle a groan and make sure my smile stayed plastered on my face. Those two books did violent damage to evangelical teachings about the imago dei. The authors elevated Medieval and Victorian gender narratives to the level of “biblical truth” with no actual biblical grounding.
But, I sat there, and I didn’t say anything, because I couldn’t.