this is a work in process :: thoughts expressed are current personal opinions and are not necessarily final statements :: i reserve the right to disagree with myself and/or change my mind at any time :: it is a reflection on spiritual growth / formation :: and a little bit of just about everything else thrown in
book review: black and white bible, black and blue wife
black and white bible, black and blue wife: My Story of Finding Hope after
Domestic Abuse Author: Ruth A. Tucker Date: 2016 Publisher: Zondervan
Ruth Tucker, whom I first learned about, with her excellent book “From
Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions”
(Zondervan, 1983). In this most recent book, she tells the story of being
abused by her husband who was also a pastor
This is an important book for describing the theological implications of
pushing a theological viewpoint to it’s extreme. Tucker says clearly that “the
doctrine of male headship has sometimes been used as a cover
to perpetrate violence against women” (p.23 my emphasis). She also says “I
acknowledge that the headship model is a valid way to interpret the
Bible (p.23 her emphasis). Sadly, many complementarians see the
headship model as the only way to interpret the Bible
Dr. Tucker’s abusive husband saw the possibility of women elders as them
seeking “power – women trying to take control” (p.73 her emphasis).
The only appropriate response, in his eyes, was “submission to his views”
Dr. Tucker says that “one of the reasons a fresh hermeneutic us so
critical is the inherent white make bias of past interpreters” (p.75). How we
are raised, not just in terms of our individual families, but also in terms of
our culture (and sub-cultures) shapes how we think. (This is true no matter
where you see yourself fitting in the cultural-theological landscape). Those
who deny that are shaped by culture a lot more than they imagine.
read about Dr. Tucker’s references to Calvinist-Arminian debates, rooting
theology in Calvin and Kuyper and Barth, debates about whether Calvin had
feminist leanings, and the such, I wonder if theology, especially that of those
in the reformed and the neo-reformed camp, is more important than how theology
gets lived out as lives that are full of God’s life.
Dr. Tucker’s harrowing story of abuse at the hands of her husband—a
well-educated, charming preacher no less—is written with the hope that her
story would help other women caught in a cycle of domestic violence. She offer
a biblical approach to counter the ignoring of abuse by pastors and counselors.
Weaving together her story, stories of other women, with reflection on biblical,
theological, historical, and contemporary issues surrounding domestic violence,
she makes a compelling case for mutuality in marriage and helps women and men
become more aware of potential dangers in a doctrine of male headship.
After I finished reading her story, I read a few reviews of her book.
Some of those were very disappointing. Excuses all over the place why her
understanding of equalitarianism is simply wrong, and you cannot blame the
abuse she suffered on the theological system her husband lived in. Some argue
that Dr. Tucker’s biography as theology fits within the increasingly popular
trend to arrive at meaning via shared personal experience, what is called a
storied approach to understanding our world. They argue that this ignores
biblical truth. Of those that took this approach, few acknowledged the depth of
the abuse Dr. Tucker and her son Carlton suffered (in fact most ignored
Carlton’s beatings. Is that because he is male and so his abuse messes up the
theological rationale for mistreating and abusing women? I know that sounds
harsh, but it is a question that needs to be raised).
Whatever you think about Dr. Tucker’s egalitarian
theology of marriage and her story, her experience and the questions she raises
should push us to strive for greater understanding of Scripture, while
remembering that people at the heart of the issues about which we debate
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers
book review program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own.