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The Measure of Success: Uncovering the…
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The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women,…

by Carolyn McCulley

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This book was a very fair and balanced look at just what it means to be a successful Christian woman. The book begins with a look at the historical role of women in the household, which I thought was a critical foundation because it reminds the reader that for most of history, the household was a center of production where women worked hard to produce goods for the family. It wasn't just a "showplace for possessions" like the home has become for many of us now. So being a homemaker really was a sort of career, because women were producing the physical goods that today a woman must go outside the home to earn the money to purchase. The idea of a "stay at home" mom who focuses on raising the children while the husband produces their livelihood is a relatively recent idea.

Based on this history, a woman pursuing a career becomes a much less troublesome proposition because it's not Biblically-mandated that women stay home and raise the kids. To me, this is a huge relief because I love the field I work in and wouldn't want to leave it when I have a kid. Instead, the book reminds women that as long as their lives are Christ-focused, the exact nature of their lives isn't important. They can work and have a career, or they can homeschool their kids - neither path is the "correct" choice, but whatever works best for the health and well-being of the family and the woman's community. Christian women aren't failures if they don't marry, or don't have kids right away. It's OK.

I also appreciated that the book reminds women that roles shift throughout our lives, and what might be correct for one period of your life won't always be true. A good Christian woman at twenty, forty, and sixty will have different goals and purposes in her life, and at each stage she can be a productive member in her community. You don't have to be a mom to care for others, and you don't have to be a career woman to have skills and knowledge that can benefit others. An older woman doesn't have to settle for being "just a grandma", but can use her experience and wisdom to help shepherd those who are younger. The final section of the book divides life into different "seasons", and It's very comforting to read through each section and recognize some of the challenges I've faced in the past or am facing today, and to read suggestions for how to cope with them.

The one thing I found a little distracting was the way that the two authors would constantly have to clarify which one was writing by adding her name in parentheses every time an "I" appeared in a sentence. Usually context was enough of a clue that this could be figured out, or maybe the writers could have just written in the third person instead. But though this choice made for a few odd moments, the message of the book is a good one and I'm glad that I read it. ( )
  makaiju | Jul 29, 2014 |
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