“But you don’t have a degree in theology,” he said. “How can you expect people to take you seriously?”
Those were the stinging words hurled (my perception) my way after the publication of Eve’s Sisters, a compilation of essays about women in the Bible, each with a psychological application. Topics such as self-esteem, relationships, fear, jealousy, resentment, and depression are all included, and because of my dual studies of women in the Bible and of psychology, I felt equipped to draw parallels between their lives and ours. Indeed the women of the Old and New Testaments were like us in many ways.
I’ve been struggling with the issue of not being a theologian for several months, and Monday night much of my anxiety was laid to rest. After most of the writing group had gone home, one member stayed behind to chat briefly about another issue, and before she left, she told me how much she loved Eve’s Sisters. I was both surprised and pleased, surprised because I didn’t know she was reading the book and pleased because I knew that she could see what I did and that she was actually getting something from reading about Esther, Hannah, Naomi, and a couple of dozen other females. She said that any woman of any race, religion, or creed could relate to the book’s content and characters. WooHoo!!
“I told my husband that I didn’t know how you did it” she said.
“You mean how I wrote the book?”
“No, I mean how you managed to make such great points without offending anyone.”
I stood there looking like a dork, not sure of her meaning.
Reading my face, she said, “No one, not a Methodist, a Catholic, a Muslim, or even a Buddhist would be offended by what you wrote. It’s all there in the Bible, and you haven’t added anything controversial or subtracted anything meaningful from its substance.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much,” I proffered.
“Seriously, I love it,” she replied as she walked to her car, leaving me standing at the door with a big smile on my face. Without knowing it, she had lifted a dark cloud that had been hanging over my head for months. I feel that sometimes other writers also deal with self-doubt, and if only others would occasionally give them an encouraging word or two, it would make a world of difference to their psyches. As I write this, I realize that I should do more of the same. It’s not that hard to say, “Nice work!”
I know psychology, I know women, and I’ve studied women of the Bible. I don’t have a theology degree, but I don’t think I need one to understand how and why a woman thinks and behaves the way she does. The science of human behavior and mental processes sheds quite a bit of light on that, especially when coupled with some serious thought and study. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the hard copy or eBook version on Amazon.