The title grabbed me. Women of the Bible Speak Out. But the subtitle… I wasn’t so sure about “stories of betrayal, abuse, healing, and hope.” What would they do with those? Okay, so I had a pretty good idea of what the format would look like. Not only that, I was right.
The format was pretty much as expected; however, there how the format was used impressed me.
Still, I had one lingering concern. So often, modern writers view history through modern ideals and the lens of culture rather than Biblical understanding. Would the author take those sorts of liberties? I wasn’t sure.
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What Happens When Worldviews Collide?
I dove into Women of the Bible Speak Out with mixed feelings and the expectation of doing a lot of skimming.
I didn’t. Instead, this book kept my interest from beginning to end. That’s impressive. Written in a conversational style, the book chronicles the experiences both of modern women and Biblical counterparts who endured similar situations—abuse, neglect, abandonment, pressure… all the ugliness.
First, I’d like to thank the author for being so careful to write her Biblical illustrations with deliberate care. Every one of the women used as an example “wrote” a message about her experience, and Marlo Schalesky makes a point, every time, of reminding us that this is what the woman could have said rather than did. It’s one woman’s (the author’s) interpretation of the Biblical subtext.
Additionally, Schalesky is careful to dive deep into Scripture instead of just making assumptions or regurgitating what we’ve heard often but might not actually be Biblically supported. Well done.
So, does that mean I loved the book so much that I’ll be buying cases for everyone I know?
No. I can’t say I loved the book for several reasons, but I do give it a strong “star rating.” But there are issues that may or not actually be issues. I don’t know. And that’s kind of the point.
First, much of the book offers peeks into personal hardships of real women living today. I expected that, but seriously, I’d hoped this would be a good book to pass to my daughter. It isn’t. While Schalesky isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects, that’s kind of the point. I know details that almost made me put it down.
Here’s the thing. I know ugliness is out there. I’ve experienced it. Despite, or perhaps because of, that, I don’t handle some of that sort of information well. This book dances really close to the line if not over it a time or two.
Second, I need a deep dive into the Bible to really weigh some of what the author says. A few things prompted a check in my spirit, and I didn’t have time to go dig them out. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of assumption of feeling and perspective on the part of these women that we can’t really say is accurate. It’s impossible to turn off our own cultural perspective when examining another.
There were times I felt like past and present expectations created collision courses… the question is if things actually collided or not.
I don’t know.
Third, it’s minor, but it’s there—an agenda. Again, I can’t say this is wrong! But it’s there, and I think it’s important to be aware of. The author has a decided opinion and bias, and you can see that through her vignettes with the Biblical women and her conclusions on different Biblical passages.
I have to repeat myself. I don’t say she’s wrong. That said, without further study, I can’t say I agree either. I’m glad I requested and received a free review copy. It’ll send me deeper into the Bible to examine her conclusions in the light of Scripture. Isn’t that what a good book does? Sends us to THE Good Book?
Still, she’s written an interesting book that looks at modern problems through the lives of Biblical women and shows that sin hasn’t changed much through history. We all need Jesus. One thing Schalesky says is, “I want more than justice; I want healing. I want more than healing; I want wholeness. I want more than wholeness; I want holiness.”
And that shows on every page.
Recommended for hurting women with a desire to dig deep into the Word to see if what this author has shared can be found there. I suspect most will. And that’s pretty awesome in my book.
Women of the Bible Speak Out is on tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Author: Marlo Schalesky
Genre: RELIGION/Christian Living/Women’s Interests
Release Date: June 2, 2020
With the recent headlines about gender-based abuse, power, harassment, and assault, it seems as if everyone is searching for answers. Marlo Schalesky provides a biblical response to the tough questions raised by these issues. She explores the stories of twenty women in Scripture, including Eve, Sarah, and Bathsheba—women who were betrayed, abused, endangered, blamed, and shamed. As she leads us in studying the biblical text, she draws our eye to God’s responses to these women and their situations:
- Eve: The Way It Was Supposed to Be
- Sarai: Betrayed
- Hagar: – Used
- Lot’s Daughters & A Levite’s Concubine: Abused
- Two Tamars: Rejected
- Hannah: Devalued
- Abigail: Endangered
- Bathsheba: Sexualized
- Esther: Dominated
- Mary & Martha: Oppressed
- The Samaritan Woman: Shamed
- A Sinful Woman: Scorned
- A Woman Caught in Adultery: Blamed
- Women at the Tomb: Disbelieved
She points out a way to healing, wholeness, and freedom. In the midst of today’s #MeToo conversations, this book will give new voice to the remarkable women of Scripture—and new hope to many, many women today.
About the Author
Marlo Schalesky is the founder and president of Wonder Wood Ranch, a California charitable organization that brings hope through horses to hurting kids. She’s had over one thousand articles published in various Christian magazines, is a regular columnist for Power for Living, and is an award-winning author of twelve books.
Schalesky has a master’s in theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband and six children in a log home on California’s central coast.
More from Marlo
1) Why did you write Women of the Bible Speak Out?
When I was first asked to consider writing a book about women in the Bible who experienced abuse, oppression, gender-based bias and discrimination, sexualization, and more, I didn’t know how their stories would intersect with mine and the experiences of women today. I thought I would find only horror, but beyond that I found a surprising hope; a God who is always seeking to redeem, to heal, and to make right where mankind has broken and betrayed.
This book is for others like me, for women who have been hurt, whose wounds sometimes seem too deep to heal. I wrote it for those who know that while justice is necessary, it is not enough. We need to see God. We need Him to see us. We need an experience with the God of Scripture whose fierce love is the only thing that can heal those hurts that lie deep within.
2) What do you hope your readers will take away from reading your book?
I hope they experience a renewed hope. And a deeper understanding of the God who loves them. I want readers to know that God sees them, and He sees what they’ve suffered, and He does not look away. He does not make excuses.
After reading Women of the Bible Speak Out, I hope readers will see that instead of winking at the repression of women, the Bible exposes it. And the Bible reveals a God who not only shares in our suffering but seeks to redeem it.
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Book of Ruth Ann, June 13
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Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 15
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Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 16
Godly Book Reviews, June 17
Writing from the Heart Land, June 17
Inklings and notions, June 18
Holly Jo Morris, June 18
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Lighthouse Academy Blog, June 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Just the Write Escape, June 20
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21
Hallie Reads, June 21
Splashes of Joy, June 22
Artistic Nobody, June 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
To celebrate her tour, Marlo is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Women of the Bible Speak Out plus a $10 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.