Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Gospel of Ruth

Book: The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James

Description: Traditionally, the book of Ruth is viewed as a beautiful love story between the submissive Ruth and Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer. But when author Carolyn Custis James began digging deeper, she found startling revelations. Three lives converge in a powerful alliance that transforms their lives and changes the world. Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz discover God makes much of broken lives, that he calls men and women to serve him together, and that he's counting on his daughters to build his kingdom. (Back of the book)

My Thoughts: The Gospel of Ruth was an excellent, excellent book, written passionately, thoughtfully, and knowledgeably. As a woman, I deeply appreciated her candid, well-researched look at women and their place in God's kingdom, as examined in the book of Ruth, as well as her own honesty with the reader.

James provides excellent historical and cultural context to help readers understand what was truly going on in the book of Ruth, such as the true desperation of widowhood in Biblical times (and in many patriarchal societies today) and how little power women had in such societies. Her explanations deeply richened and changed my understanding of the book of Ruth and of the lives of all women in the Bible.

The Gospel of Ruth argues against the idea that the book of Ruth is just a romance; instead, James views it as a story of suffering and passionate seeking after God. I especially appreciated that she didn't shy away from the suffering of most of the characters in Ruth or try to minimize it in any way--Ruth having a new husband at the end if the story doesn't lessen the loss and pain of the death of her first husband, or eliminate the memory and pain of her earlier hard times in Bethlehem. James also didn't shy away from the suffering in her own life, opening up about several difficult times in her own life.

Finally, The Gospel of Ruth was a passionate cry for women to be a part of God's kingdom and God's redemption of our broken, fallen world. He loves us and calls us to be a part of His purposes just as much as any man.

A beautiful, well-written book about women and men, and their place in the Kingdom of God. I literally enjoyed The Gospel of Ruth so much that I read it in three days, and I can't wait to read more of James' books. I so highly recommend it!

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