Thursday, March 24, 2016

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife by Ruth A. Tucker

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse by Ruth A. Tucker is part autobiography, part treatise on male headship and complementarianism in marriage. Tucker was in an abusive marriage for almost twenty years. She weaves together stories from this time with stories of other women, as well as her views on hermeneutics and interpretation of various scripture passages dealing with male headship and the role of women.

I'm not sure why, but I was expecting this to be more biography and less theological treatise. Sometimes I felt Tucker was angrily preaching rather than sharing her view, though I understand the subjects she discussed are very personal and passions of hers. I doubt that we'd land on the same side theologically regarding at least some of the passages of scripture she mentions. What can't be argued with though is her personal experience, and how her ex-husband's view of scripture influenced his abuse.

One of the main takeaways from this book that cannot be ignored is that the church has to do a better job of addressing abuse and helping those in the middle of it. Placing blame on the one being abused is never the right answer. Neither is pretending abuse isn't happening in families we sit in the pew with every week. Through stories in her life of how people in the church inappropriately responded to Tucker's situation, the reader can learn what not to do, and hopefully from there figure out how to respond.

Overall, I'm glad I read Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife. I don't know that I can say I enjoyed it, because the subject matter is difficult to say the least. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject of domestic violence, especially in the context of the American church.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, March 21, 2016

Arab and Jew by David K. Shipler

Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in A Promised Land by David K. Shipler is an in-depth look at the relationships between the Israeli state and Palestine as well as among the various people groups that live there. David Shipler is an award winning journalist who lived in Israel for several years. This book is based largely on interviews and conversations he had with numerous people while living there and on return trips.

Originally written in 1986, this revised and updated edition contains the original text with more current statistics and anecdotes when a significant change has occurred. Otherwise, as Shipler states in the Foreword to the Revised Edition, "the descriptions from the mid-1980s contain many elements of today, and so remain useful as a look at what has been and, probably, what will be. This edition roves back and forth between then and now, for in the Middle East, the past is never past; old wounds never seem to heal."  As one reads the book, it is clear what is original material from the first edition, and what has been updated for this edition.
 
Arab and Jew is a fascinating read. Using historical fact and personal stories, Shipler puts the reader as much in the middle of the conflict as an outsider can be. He thoroughly explains attitudes and prejudices on both sides. I didn't discern a bias toward either side throughout the book. The good and the bad of both are laid bare for the reader to judge. It was mostly easy to follow, though sometimes I got tripped up with all the foreign names. The maps provided at the beginning of the book are helpful for keeping the unfamiliar geography straight. There are several pages of notes and a long index in the back that are helpful for further investigation.
 
I would recommend Arab and Jew by David Shipler to anyone interested in learning more about the intricacies of one of the most important cultural relationships in the world. I'm sure as in depth as this was, it was just a primer. It is a complex, complicated, intertwined relationship. There are no easy answers, nor should there be when people are involved.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255