Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: Lioness Arising, by Lisa Bevere

Bevere hopes to motivate women to do more to "change the world". At one point she says we need to take on actions that are so bold, so grand, that they impress Jesus. Lots of things wrong with that idea.

Bevere aims to show "what it means to: be a stunning representation of strength; fiercely protect the young; lend your voice to the silenced; live in the light and hunt in the dark; and raise a collective roar that changes everything" (dust jacket inside front flap). I think all Christians of both genders could learn each of these lessons, not just women.

Bevere uses the lioness as a metaphor for the focus of this book. While educational at times, and inspirational at times, Bevere mostly just pushes the metaphor too far or completely misinterprets it.

In the first chapter she summarizes her lioness points: "She rises to gather strength. She rises to greet and groom others. She rises to hunt. She rises alongside other lionesses. She rises to move the young to safety. She rises to confront enemies that threaten the pride. She rises to walk with her king."

One example she mentions is a male lion that was tracked with a collar for a few years. The time came to take the collar off because "the collar hindered the fullness of his mane, and it had to come off so that his mane would appear as large as possible. (Lions use the width of each other's manes to visually gauge and determine whether to challenge the other for dominance of an area.)". Funny, Bevere didn't ask us to learn any lessons from this story... oh, wait, we already judge each other based on outside appearance.

In another example, a male and his two females (hmm..Bevere doesn't ask us to learn any lessons about relationships or marriage from the lion pride of one alpha male and a bunch of lionesses!) are being introduced to a new area of the safari park. To lure them into the new area, the park rangers put a freshly killed animal within sight. "Even though these young lions were hungry, they were also cautions. The male lion would not budge from his place of safety" hiding in the bush. The two females eventually go to the carcass "but rather than dive into their feast, they did a curious things. The lionesses grabbed hold of the buck by the neck and a leg, and the two of them dragged the carcass back into the enclosure so the lion could eat his share alongside them." The lesson, Bevere explains, is that we need to "be the type of women who will take the time and make the effort to bring back the goodness we find". Ok, great lesson, but I guarantee that was not the motivation of the lionesses.

Later she continues, "Why did they bring the carcass back for the lion to eat? ... A more convenient option would have been for them to eat their fill, then leave the remains for the lion whenever he decided to come out on his own. Or they could have eaten their fill and then brought him the leftovers. ... If the animal kingdom is based on survival, why were these lionesses so generous? After all, sharing with a hungry lion meant less food for them." The answer? "They instinctively understood that their future and the survival of their children was intimately tied to how they related to the lion. They chose to behave in a manner that would be remembered by the lion in his future season of strength." Um, yeah. As a woman, what marriage lesson am I to learn from this?

Bevere then explains that the lion protects, and the lioness provides. The lion surrounds himself only with strong, capable lionesses. The group of lionesses does all the hunting... why do they need the lion? They are perfectly strong and capable of protecting themselves with the same claws and teeth they use to bring down the kill. But instead we are supposed to learn that each lion gender is comfortable in its own role.

Lots more like this.

Bevere has good messages too: we are so busy with day-to-day routine that most of us don't do the important things like read the Bible, pray, and *serve* in a meaningful way. We mostly fail to confront important issues by deciding that they are someone else's problem (like sex slavery..that's not a problem in *my* town, right? or the murder of the unborn...that's not any of *my* business, right?).

While I *love* reading "The Message", it is not a study Bible. I wish Bevere had displayed her proof Scriptures in two versions, in columns beside each other, instead of printing The Message and telling you to go look up the verses in another version for yourself.

FTC Disclaimer: "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

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