Unseduced and Unshaken Review

Book Review: 

Though marketed to young women, Unseduced and Unshaken provides insight to women of all ages - and even men. (After having her for class, my brother says he'll read anything Rosalie de Rosset writes). :) Through her regular interaction with young women at Moody Bible Institute, where she has taught for over four decades, Dr. de Rosset, along with four additional authors, discerns what Christian women need to hear in this present day.

I must confess my general hesitancy to promote any book written for Christian women. I find many to be trite - lacking in theological depth. Or they are filled with cultural (and unbiblical) stereotypes, or the advice is silly and romanticized. But this is a book I want my daughter to read one day. It is filled with biblical and theological truth - and heavily underlined in my personal copy.

The book begins with a discussion of dignity which de Rosset defines as, "a strong, chosen, deliberate way of life, the result of the totality of a person's choices and worldview" (p. 24). A dignity that does not allow one's voice to be silenced. For a woman of dignity knows that "not being able to bring your voice to a relationship means you are not really counted, valued and cannot possibly be truly cared for" (p. 44).

This allows for a unique discussion of submission in Unseduced and Unshaken. A discussion that does not reduce the idea of submission to a list of do's and don'ts. Or a who-makes-the-final-decision conundrum. Instead, Pam Macrae writes in chapter two that, "the matter of godly submission with dignity, which means living in preferential deference to the other, does not eliminate one's voice; it should characterize it" (p. 42). How refreshing to read a book encouraging young women to steer away from "learned helplessness," self-consciousness, insecurity and "doubting the value of their contribution" (p. 51).

"For to be truly human, you must develop intellectually as well as emotionally; you must reason as well as feel" (p. 77). Everything is theological and de Rosset encourages her readers to make deliberate choices - to think, to examine, to avoid passivity (p. 81). De Rosset shares my sentiment about the state of Christian material targeted at women. Oftentimes theology, yes, even the act of thinking, is thought better left to men or pastors. What a sad state of affairs when we're willing to shuffle off our personal responsibility to others. "Theology informs choices" therefore we simply cannot afford to leave it up to others (p. 92).

Developing a proper theology allows young women to avoid the trappings of our culture which encourage us to be distracted rather than dignified. De Rosset spends time in chapter five examining the way Christians allow culture, rather than theology, to define what's important. For instance, many young Christian women (and perhaps their parents) feel the only real requirement for a mate is that he's a Christian for they believe the "lie that anything is better than being alone" (p. 115).

Linda Haines writes an excellent chapter on sexual dignity where she encourages women to "dress modestly for the sake of your self-respect - for the sake of personal holiness - so that you are taken seriously as a thinking creature, and finally, so that you are not objectified and don't attract the wrong kind of man" (p. 166). I so appreciate the emphasis on sexual dignity and modesty on the grounds of a woman's dignity rather than some rather distorted feeling of responsibility for a man's thoughts that often leads women to feel shameful of their God-given bodies and sexuality.

Both Haines and Stacie Parlee-Johnson in the next chapter, dig into the topics of sexual dignity and modesty with far more depth and theological understanding than I've seen. Instead of leaning on a list of rules, these authors focus on "a foundational understanding of what it means to be in union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, of what salvation means, of what the gospel does to lives" - even in the often overlooked or ridiculously simplified areas of sexuality and modesty (p. 184).

I could continue to violently agree with the contents of this book, but I encourage you to read it for yourself. Especially if you are a young woman or raising daughters. Unseduced and Unshaken will give you a framework from which to think biblically about what it means to be a woman.