This post is a further look at Aimee Byrd’s recent book, Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Her book divides into three parts, and we will be looking at part 1 in this blog post. In the first chapter, Aimee takes the Bible publishing industry to task. She expresses her frustration with masculine and feminine themed bibles. She also reveals her worry toward the poor theology coming out of women themed Bible Studies. Her focus is aimed at the publishing industry’s market to women and how these resources affect their reading of the Bible (pg. 36). She acknowledges that there is nothing wrong with “some people liking pretty covers,” but then she looks into the devotional content of these Bibles. It is here that Aimee sees unnecessary distinctions between man’s work and woman’s work. Her concern is that the differentiation used in these articles are cultural, rather than biblical. For example, if I were to ask you which Bible, men or women, should a topic like eating disorders appear in, what would your answer be? The answer ought to be both because men and women struggle with eating disorders. Yet only the women’s study bible has an article related to this struggle. Examples like the one above reveal her concern. She is seeking to uncover who or what is informing our view of manhood and womanhood? Aimee points out that there are indeed distinctions between men and women. Yet she is quick to point out that our differences should not reduce us. Since we both read the same Bible, we should focus more on what we have in common.
Her point is that both men and women benefit equally from the word of God, which negates the need for separate types of Bibles. What she seems to be getting at is, men should not only hear from godly men but godly women as well. Similarly, women should be discipled by godly men and women. In other words, she asserts that both men and women should be involved in God’s mission of making disciples of all nations. Both men and women can understand God’s Word and are therefore competent to speak it toward each other. Thus, we ought to disciple women who are capable of teaching. Aimee is a member in good standing at an OPC church. She affirms male-only ordination to the office of elder, so she is exploring the biblical role of laypeople.
In each chapter of her book, she has a section labeled peel and reveal. If you recall from my first post, this is a recurring theme. In her first peel and reveal, she introduces a new term, “gynocentric interruptions,” which was new to me. She is employing the work of Richard Bauckham, an Anglican scholar. She points to numerous examples in Scripture to draw out the nature and purpose of these interruptions. We will look at a few of these along the way. I am sure you can’t wait to find out what a “gynocentric interruption” looks like, so let me give a brief example. This would be akin to telling a story and my wife filling in some pertinent details that I left out. The book of Ruth will serve as the template for these interruptions.
I know that, later down the road, Aimee will argue for things I don’t agree with or at least draw conclusions that may not be particularly helpful. Thus, far I have learned a new word, and I am struck by how particular parachurch organizations (CBMW) have influenced the church. I look forward to sharing more thoughts next week.