Her conclusions were always biblical and God-honoring even if I sometimes questioned how she got that out of this particular passage. Recently reading her memoir My Knotted-up Life, I learned she had no formal Bible training, only a deep desire to study and learn from piles of books and commentaries. She was learning as she went along, responding to the call on her to study and teach, and blessing so many women like our little group in South Africa along the way.
In recent years I have cringed as Beth was attacked for being a strong and God-gifted woman. It wasn’t her fault that men as well as women wanted to hear her speak. She was always careful to put herself “under the headship” of her husband or another man, being convinced that that was Scriptural. Then came her comments on the Access Hollywood tapes, when everything exploded online.
Beth was sexually abused in her childhood, which is part of why she reacted so strongly and personally to a presidential candidate bragging about criminal sexual assault and abuse of women. I share her disgust with those who claim the name of Christ but justified and excused such behavior even if it was “just locker room talk”—which I strongly doubt. Beth explains that the lack of Scriptural response to character in political leadership made her realize that the attitude of these same men to her as a woman was less about Scripture and more about power, leading to her departure from the denomination she had identified with since childhood.
Mental illness in her family has contributed to her story. She does a beautiful job of showing us the impact of that mental illness without in any way demeaning the people suffering from it. Even when she talks about the ways in which she was so viciously attacked by those who should have been her spiritual allies, she never mentions names. I confess, I was hoping to hear her tear apart one of those attackers whom I particularly despise, but she never does.
Beth Moore is a wonderful storyteller, and I highly recommend the audio version of her memoir where you can hear her story in her own voice, moving from the strong Arkansan drawl of her childhood to the Texas accent of her adulthood. She is only a few years younger than I am, so there were lots of references to things I remember from my own childhood. Sometimes those were unexplained side references that made me feel like an insider for understanding, although I suspect that most people in the following generations won’t have trouble figuring them out. No easy answers here, but despite the serious issues Beth struggles with, the overall tone is positive and uplifting, trusting in God who knew all along what he was planning to do. This book speaks to so much that the Lord’s people must deal with in our time.
The cover is perfect: a photo of her ordinary-seeming dysfunctional family of origin, slightly askew.
I am grateful to know that the Moores have found a new spiritual home in a Bible-preaching Anglican church with much healing for both of them. (When I looked up when she was born to compare her age to my own, Wikipedia already has her as an Anglican Bible teacher, rather than Southern Baptist.) I look forward to hearing what God does in and through both of them.
There’s a great interview with Beth on the Russell Moore Show (no relation) here on YouTube and a moving excerpt about their first time visiting the Anglican church from Christianity Today.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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