Wednesday, March 11, 2009
So Long Status Quo: My Review
When I picked this book up, I wasn't really considering it part of my Lenten reading, but it turns out it was a great additon to my Lent. So Long Status Quo What I Learned from Women Who Changed the World covers nine women who have lived during different eras. The author, Susy Flory, starts each chapter with a story from her (Flory's) life, then tells about the woman who is the subject of the chapter and finishes the chapter with concrete suggestions about how to take this woman's example and translate it into action in your life. The women she covers are Harriet Tubman, Saint Perpetua, Blessed Mother Theresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, St. Mary Magdalene, Rosie the Riveter, Elizabeth Fry, Queen Elizabeth I and Jane Austen.
As an example, in the chapter on St. Mary Magdalene, she starts with a story about overhearing the woman next to her at the pool while she was on vacation. She thought the woman was talking to her, but it turns out, she was talking on her cell phone. She talks about Facebook and Twitter and our "plugged in" society. Next, Fory talks about what we know of Mary's life, and how she is often confused with other Marys or women. As a response, Flory chose to spend a day in silence, quoting St. Teresa of Avila who said "Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon Him". She tells us how the day went and then, at the end of the chapter, gives suggestion on "How you can help change the world by practicing solitude". She suggests spending a day not talking, signing up for a silent retreat or planning your own mini-retreat including a visit to a nearby park, lake or river, with Bible and journal in tow.
There as a lot I liked about this book. There were also things I disliked. The chapter about St. Perpetua talked about sharing faith with pagans and one of the "pagans" (no she didn't use that word except in the chapter title) was a woman who "had a Catholic background but knew more about the church than about the Bible". Of course she doesn't mention that without the Church, there is no Bible. Also, the subtitle to the chapter on Queen Elizabeth I was "How I Learned to Respect Other Christians, Like Queen Elizabeth I" Elizabeth sort of tolerated Catholics, if they weren't too obvious in practicing their faith, until she perceived them to be a political threat, at which time she persecuted them. Flory talks about Elizabeth wanting a church that would appeal to both Protestants and Catholics. She also mentions the Spanish Inquistion and contrasts it with Elizabeth's treatment of Catholics. I'm not denying that Elizabeth was a great ruler and I'm not denying that her treatment of Catholics may have been better than the treatment some Protestants got elsewhere, but I question upholding her as an example of religous tolerance. Also, Flory's suggestions for that chapter include visiting other PROTESTANT churches and enjoying the different approaches to worship. I'd like to invite Flory to her local Catholic church to experience the Real Presence of Christ.
This is a First Wildcard Book. Check back April 24 to read the first chapter.