by Samantha Field cross posted from her blog Defeating The Dragons
Hello, again! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. Mine was a good, long break that I definitely needed– didn’t really realize how much I needed it, although by the end of last week I was antsy to get back to work. Unfortunately, I bruised/broke my tailbone this weekend, which has made sitting down … uncomfortable. Right now I’m anticipating being able to keep to my schedule (except for this week– period week), but we’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to push myself, as how fast my tailbone heals depends almost entirely on how careful I am with it.
Anyway, many of you, my lovely readers, have asked me to take a change of pace in my review-series project, and look at a book that I might actually be able to recommend, so I picked up Rob and Kristen Bell’s The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage, as I’ve heard positive things about it. It’s a fairly short book, so I don’t think it’ll take me three months to get through like the other books have.
First off, responses to this book are pretty mixed. The reviews on Amazon are anything from “Plain and simple Rob Bell has become a wacko and a heretic” to calling the book “brilliant.” The middle-of-the-road opinion is that it’s straightforward, uncomplicated, and helpful, although not amazing. I was encouraged by people who said things like “this books isn’t as sexist as other Christian books on the subject”– so, we’ll see how it goes.
My first impressions of it from reading the jacket copy was that it’s a little unconventional. The only other book I’ve read by Rob Bell is Love Wins, which came across as a prose-poem to me, so I was expecting something different from mainstream evangelical culture, and the jacket copy for this made me thing of books like The Secret. The mystic feel to the language isn’t off-putting to me, but I can imagine a lot of evangelicals rejecting this book outright because it seems to embrace “Eastern Mysticism” (#eyeroll).
It’s structured very conversationally with lots of cute stick-figure illustrations that are gender neutral, y’all. The only thing to differentiate the two figures is their hair, but both hairstyles aren’t gender signifiers. They do use “husband” and “wife” language instead of “partner,” which was a little bit frustrating, but honestly that might have been an editorial decision as they make it clear in the opening pages that they support marriage equality.
What I did really enjoy overall was the feeling I got that Kristen was actually a co-writer. Grace Driscoll had her name on the cover of Real Marriage, but she barely participated in the book. Kristen’s voice is featured as an equal half, which was a relief.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting into this with all of you, and I hope that perhaps some of you could read along with me since it won’t be the typical torture-and-agony fest.
I am happy to be back.
Read Samantha’s detailed review of Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book “Real Marriage”