August 7, 2011
Here is my first review of those ministry wife books stacked on my desk. This one was handed to my by a friend who didn't finish it but couldn't put her finger on why she didn't want to. I read to the end quite easily but could understand why she didn't. I think that some of our reaction is a cultural one coming from our Australian discomfort with affirmation. I would appreciate comments from others who have read it.
She Can't Even Play the Piano: Insights for Ministry Wives is a compilation of advice from over twenty 'older' women in ministry. It is compiled by Joyce Williams who, having entered ministry later in life, draws on the experience of women like Ruth Graham, Kay Warren (wife of Rick Warren) and Vonette Bright (who cofounded Campus Crusade for Christ with husband Bill). It's like sitting down for a chat over a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top.
It includes chapters on priorities, raising children, straying children, transitions, marriage, confidences, temptation, hurting, prayer and joy. There were all very appropriate. I appreciated that it has a broader view of ‘ministry’ than being a pastor in a church (although there was not much from a cross-cultural perspective) and was particularly challenged by what was said about prayer and temptation.
However, I found it lacking in depth. Joyce writes that one of the strengths is that “some of the contributors to this book have conflicting ideas on how to deal with certain issues”. Indeed this is a strength when it just refers to different personalities and life situations. But sometimes I found unresolved conflicting ideas and the constant affirmation shallow and frustrating and I would’ve appreciated more serious wrestling with God's word. But a book that had conflicting ideas that actually matter wouldn’t be so affirming!!
If you never get a chance to talk with older women in ministry, you will find this book encouraging. But I think the real chats over tea and toast are much more profitable.
Labels: book review