Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

51oii22ynfl__sx331_bo1204203200_Someone borrowed me the book “Her mother’s hope” by Francine Rivers. I could not make it past page 28, and even that was about 10 pages after I started searching for a reason why this book may not be as bad as it seems.

The reason: Tacit approval of abuse, choosing sides for the abuser and not the person abused, is characterized as Godly behaviour. By the name and back blurb, the mother is regarded as the good person in Marta’s life. Marta is physically abused by her father, unjustly punished, taken out of school, her father taking the money from her employers…

Her mother, the “good Christian” of the book so far, does not care about “when you did it not for the least of these, you did it not for [Jesus]”. She does not care that Jesus came to set free the oppressed, that working for justice is the work of God. She does not secretly go to speak to the nicest among Marta’s employers, asking them to give Marta full-time work and lodging and to give Marta her own pay instead of giving it to the father (escaping an abusive situation by living elsewhere). By page 28 there was at least 2 years of Marta’s life covered in the book, and she never even say: “Sweetheart, I love you. And your father is wrong, he should not do that. I don’t know how to help, but know that this is not what you deserve.”

The religiosity of the mother consists of messages like telling the daughter to forgive, to count her blessings, to not lose hope, but no practical advice. She never directly or through someone else, gives any messages to the very sinful father.

If preaching to the weak to forgive on-going abuse, without doing anything to lift their burden, is shown as Christian love, the Christianity of the book is not at all compatible with “the righteous are bold as lions.”

What was the example of Jesus? He did preach forgiveness and turning the other cheek (the latter may mean something different from what most believers think), but he also berated the Pharisees for among others taking the houses of widows (Mat. 23:14), and told soldiers not to do violence (Luk 3:14).  Only once does Jesus act like a doormat, and that is for the supernatural purpose of the cross.

It makes me wonder if Rivers have been taught a pink and blue “Christianity” in which “the righteous are bold as lions” is for men, and “the fruit of the spirit is gentleness” is for women. A religion where helping the weak is a lower priority than obeying even abusive authorities if you are a woman.

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Now, those who read my words, do you agree? Is telling the victim to forgive and keep hoping enough to qualify you as someone who did your Christian duty? Have you perhaps read the book further, and does the mother at all change her mind on her Christian duty? Or is the mother perhaps shown to not be a good Christian, in how she handled this? What, do you think, is the duty of a mother in this situation?

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PS, added the next morning: I tried to read it a bit further. The next time the mother speaks, Marta’s sister is ill. Marta gives her mom money to take Elise to the doctor. The mother protests: “What will your father say?” Someone who protests the idea of taking their ill child to the doctor is not a loving mother. To make it worse, at this stage of the book there is no evidence that the father abused anyone except Marta. The mother has no evidenced reason for her fear.

Comments on: "A sort-of review of (the first few chapters of)”Her Mother’s Hope”, Francine Rivers" (2)

  1. I have not read the book you refer to but I just struggled my way through another book by the same author (Redeeming Love) and found myself wanting to throw it in the nearest trash bin several times for similar reasons. I have decided not to read any more books by this author as they reinforce too many complementarian viewpoints I do not endorse.


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