I was reading The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules recently and discovered that this is the book that Carolyn Custis James had been waiting a long time to write. It’s her life book, the one that formulates for the world the theology that drives her.
My response is that this is the book I’ve been waiting a lifetime to read.
I grew up knowing that men and women are both image bearers of God and that both were commissioned to be fruitful and fill the earth, subdue it and rule over it. This was a joint commission coming from the very words of God and yet culture (both inside and outside the church) tries very hard to rewrite it into something quite different.
You have been called to know God personally. I have been called to know God personally. It’s that simple and that earth shattering. The gospel operates on this personal a level. Each one of us meets God firsthand and each one of us responds to God firsthand. Jesus made that possible and he made that possible very deliberately—no one is to remove that freedom from us. I am to know God, I am to walk with God and I am to obey God since man and woman work side by side and the only hierarchy is to God himself.
This leaves man and woman working as a team of equals where consensus must be found so that our actions may move forward together. The easy way is for one person to say “I’m in charge, so you must do what I want.” The challenge is to learn to find agreement by finding what God’s choice is and pursuing it with energy, enthusiasm and little regard for one’s own reputation.
In The Gospel of Ruth, we find three people (Ruth, Naomi and Boaz) who love Yahweh so much that they desire to do whatever they can to care for God’s concerns (and He is very concerned about His daughters even when they are childless widows left with what seems to be nothing but each other). In the process of obeying God’s intentions for the care of others, these three break conventions and push the community’s understanding of what the law is requiring in order to bring help and justice to ones who need it most.
The Gospel of Ruth:Loving God Enough to Break the Rules, by Carolyn Custis James (Zondervan, 2008)