Monday, May 05, 2008

Captivating, Chapter 2

I am currently reading and reviewing the book Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. Each Monday morning I am posting my thoughts on a chapter. This week is chapter two...

What Eve Alone Can Tell

Our society (especially in Christian circles) often gets caught up in questions regarding a woman's "role". The Eldredge's present that perhaps it would be more helpful to ask, "What is a woman- what is her design?" and "Why did God place woman in our midst?"

Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

This chapter uses that verse to draw some parallels on the Character of God and the creation of woman. They use the main themes talked about in Chapter 1 as a guide...

1.God is relational to the core/God has a heart for romance:

"The vast desire and capacity a woman has for intimate relationships tells us of God's vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships. In fact, this may be the most important thing we ever learn about God- that he yearns for relationship with us. 'Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God.' (John 17:3). The whole story of the Bible is a love story between God and his people. He yearns for us. He cares. He has a tender heart."

2. God longs to share adventures with us:
"Call it the Human Mission- to be all and do all God sent us here to do. And notice- the mission to be fruitful and conquer and hold sway is given both to Adam and to Eve... All that human beings were intended to do here on earth- all the creativity and exploration, all the battle and rescue and nurture- we were intended to do together."
In verse 18, chapter 2 of Genesis God calls Eve a "help meet". The Hebrew for that phrase is ezer kenegdo, which has proved difficult to translate, says Hebrew scholar Robert Alter. His translation for the phrase is "sustainer beside him", causing the verse to look like this:
"It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him a [sustainer beside him]."
The word ezer is used "only 20 other places in the Old Testament. Every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to "come through for you desperately" (pg 31). Most contexts used are life and death situations when God is your only hope, or help. (See Deut. 33:26-29, Psalms 121:1-2, and Psalms 20:1-2 for examples).

The word kenegdo means alongside, or a counterpart.

3. God has a beauty that is captivating and powerfully redemptive:
Why does beauty matter? Because it is powerful. Beauty draws us to God.
  • Beauty Speaks
  • Beauty Invites
  • Beauty Nourishes
  • Beauty Comforts
  • Beauty Inspires
  • Beauty is Transcendent

My Thoughts on this Chapter:
Sometimes I find it hard to think of myself as beautiful (you would agree if you saw me first thing in the morning!) This chapter really challenged me to see myself in a new way. To see my value as a woman; something beyond looks (or lack of), and something beyond my good works (or not so good works). I feel like this chapter left me with a lot to ponder. While I believe the truth of what it says, it's hard to make my heart agree.

Once again the Guided Journal proved thought provoking and very helpful while processing what I had just read. I close with a few of those questions...
  • Have you ever thought of your struggles and longings as pointing to something great you are designed to do?
  • How do you define yourself? If you were to introduce yourself, what would you say?
  • Have you ever been comforted by beauty?
  • When has an experience of beauty pierced you with longing?
  • What if this really is true about you- you are a captivating woman? Let your heart go there for a moment; what does it bring?

Previous Posts on Captivating
Chapter 1- The Heart of a Woman