Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Friendship of Women: The Hidden Tradition of the Bible Paperback by Joan Chittister (BlueBridge)

A wonderful little book about women in the Bible. Names each one and shows their strength and devotion as well as their unique traits. Dispels the silly idea that God wants women to be weak and submissive, passive and colorless inferiors. That's been man's opinion throughout history but it didn't come from God. Men and women are different but equal before God. The tendency in certain churches for men to keep women underfoot as secod-class citizens to be controlled and told to show up and shut up is based on a misunderstanding of the scriptures. Joan Chittister is a remarkable woman, writer and thinker. It's no surprise that the Vatican would like to shut her up! So would a few others.

The introduction of the book starts with a number of spiritual and philosophical points to friendship and the friendship between women. It ends with this quote by Emily Dickinson. "My friends are my estate." Friends are the only wealth we really have in the end. Friends are the treasure one accrues in life. It is of a high spiritual order to celebrate the Sacrament of Friendship.

She goes on to write about Lydia (growth), Prisca (self), Deborah (wisdom), Phoebe (support), Esther (leadership), Martha of Bethany (truth), Veronica (presence), Elizabeth (acceptance), Ruth (availability), Anne (nurturance), Miriam (joy), and Mary Magdalene (trust and love). She looks at their stories in the Bible and pulls out gems.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.

"The friend who stands by is the friend who get us through life - at times without doing anything but being there. Yet the knowledge that a friend like Ruth is there - waiting, willing, available at any hour, under any circumstance - what can make friendship more important than family in an age of the 'Great Diaspora of Relatives'." (page 61-62)

"The Esther quality of friendship can change a war-torn world, can bring peace, can engage the whole world into one common human enterprise, can link the world rather than entangle it in the endless search for power and superiority." (page 36)

There are other quotes but I should let you do some of that treasure hunting yourself. This is a keeper that I will return to and read the many beautiful quotes in a slim little book. It celebrates friendship and love and it celebrates Christ.

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