October 20, 2008

Captivating: Chap 2

I'm really having a hard time writing this review. I spent 4 years learning how to write what essentially amounted to book reports with all the fixings, and now I've got writer's block. Anyway, let's see if I can get this out.

I suppose the easiest way to start would be to say that in many ways I found this chapter refreshingly true. In a world that often stresses both the practical and the impossible (think size 2 jeans perusing the latest in 5 min recipes) it's good to hear that beauty is at the core of God's nature and therefore essential to the Christian life. And I agree when they say that beauty is at the core of every woman's essence. As I went through this chapter I could see how with regards to my relationship with Allen so many of my moods (playful and otherwise) are prompted by the question "How beautiful do you really think I am? Can my beauty really hold your attention? Are you really as drawn to me as you say." In that way I found their insights very helpful. It's always nice when someone comes along and make explicit what you've only vaguely grasped.

However, that brings me to my main problem with this chapter (and I suspect their writing style in general). I wish the Eldredges would bring more Biblical commentary to their arguments. I know that a lot of people find anecdotes encouraging and illuminating, but I for one feel that most of the quotes and anecdotes simply take up room that could have been better used in further exploration of Scripture. I think one reason this is such a problem for me though is that there are cases where I really don't agree with their anecdotal evidence. For instance, the cite Arwen riding to safety with Frodo as an instance of women wanting to participate in their man's adventure and even as evidence that women are necessary to their man's adventure. What nobody mentioned what that in the book Glorfindel, not Arwen, was the one riding to safety with Frodo. I suspect the change from book to movie was made more to appease the but-kicking feminist demographic than to acknowledge the sort of desire the Eldredges describe. I could go on about what Arwen did do and what I think that means especially when considered in light of Eowyn's character, but there's really no reason to make such a major digression. Needless to day I wish the Eldredges would spend less time with stories of dubious utility.

Overall, I liked this chapter. Despite its weak spots it's a good starting place for people curious about how beauty (feminine and otherwise) fits in a Christian's life.

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