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Culture Books

Womanly beauty and grace

Books

Womanly beauty and grace

Four recent books on womanhood

Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher: Starting in Genesis, Fitzpatrick and Schu­macher guide readers through the Biblical story in order to illustrate the essential role women play in God’s redemption plan. Women have worth because they, like men, are God’s image bearers. Many Christian women struggle to see their worth after being ignored, abused, dismissed, and disparaged, even within the Church. God uniquely called women to be “priestly helpers,” and Scripture is filled with unlikely and humble heroines. The authors are complementarians and do not condone women serving as ordained pastors. But they admonish church leaders to provide a greater context for women’s insights, concerns, warnings, and corrections. 

Stop Calling Me Beautiful by Phylicia Masonheimer: Masonheimer shares from personal experience how one can be steeped in Christian culture but miss what it means to follow Jesus. She has seen too many books, female influencers, retreats, and conferences targeting Christian women with messages emphasizing self-betterment and “feel-good” messages about God’s love without acknowledging “sin marred our original beauty.” Masonheimer challenges women to consume less “pink fluff” teaching and think less about themselves, even their own brokenness, and spend more time getting to know their Savior and maturing in Biblical thinking and living. With honesty and candor, she addresses legalism, sexual sin, anxiety, grief, isolation, and fear of man. “Our self-discovery is not God’s goal,” she writes. “We are meant to know God and make Him known.” 

Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier: Shrier set out to find the reasons behind the sudden surge of adolescent girls who claim to have gender dysphoria and self-identify as transgender. The book shows how social media, peers, online influencers, educators, therapists, and medical professionals are persuading teenage girls into transgenderism. Transgender ideology requires that adolescents questioning their gender must be “affirmed” and fast-tracked into irreversible and experimental treatments, hormones, and surgeries. Shrier, an Orthodox Jew, tells the story from many angles and offers practical advice, but Christians would do well to follow up with Nancy Pearcey’s Love Thy Body for a counterperspective on the high value God places on our bodies and ­gender.

(A)Typical Woman by Abigail Dodds: When God created woman, He called her “very good.” In 17 short chapters, Dodds challenges women to reclaim and enjoy their unique makeup, while emphasizing that only in Christ can they find peace and freedom within their bodies and their paradoxical strengths and weaknesses. “Sometimes the glory God gets from our lack far exceeds what he gets from our fullness,” Dodds writes. She provides Biblical insights on singleness, infertility, marriage, motherhood, work, and discipling women. Womanhood is under attack, and Dodds believes an emphasis on self-discovery—she calls it “navel gazing”—turns the gospel into a story about us, not God.