Book Review: Born to Change the World
I am not sure where I first heard of Brad Wilcox. I confess that reading about him in his book profiles left me uninterested in his work because of this one item: “He speaks at Time Out for Women (TOFW) events.” I have attended all of one TOFW, and didn’t feel impressed by the presenters- in fact, I was pretty disappointed. Wilcox was NOT at the event I attended, but the TOFW tagline dissuaded me from giving him a chance.
Yep. I judged a book by it’s cover, metaphorically speaking. It was’t until I read a post from Melissa Dalton-Bradford praising Wilcox’s written words that I decided to I could give him a chance– so I jumped at this book when I saw it for review. And for that, I am grateful.
But let’s get the critique out of the way first: This book is subtitled, “You Part in Gathering Israel.” The gathering of Israel is in re-assembling the lineage of the houses of Israel (Jacob). These houses are constructed of through the patriarchal lineage created by the sons of Jacob, by seed and adoption. It is a masculine history that quite frankly, can leave women and girls feeling like the chattel of their fathers, husbands and sons.
Thankfully, Wilcox does his best to remove typical gendered language, no matter how antiquated. Indeed, when possible, he includes stories, and antidotes of the women in his life which have helped him to make his path, and serve as examples to all of us. This is done subtly and respectfully, so that the inclusion of women is not passive, nor is it forced. Such as referring to his wife as his “companion” when they were called to serve in a mission presidency, positioning her as neither his senior, nor junior his companion: she is presented as his equal. There are enough well-worded inclusions of women that I felt like the author valued women as equal participants in God’s plan.
The book is not long, and can easily be read in an afternoon. I plan to read it chapter by chapter with my tween daughters as I believe the language and content is clear, easy to read, and presented in a way that makes the complications of lineage into something simple. It sheds a great light on some of the more symbolic and somewhat complicated parts of scripture, and does exactly what the title says: it teaches the reader what our part is in gathering Israel. It does not included gendered instruction, but focuses on the purpose of Christ.
I recommend this book as a gratifying and delightful look at the gathering of Israel and what it means for each of us and our relationship with Jesus Christ.