Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is an inspirational speaker, freelance writer, and human trafficking advocate. As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.A. Christian Leadership), she has over 15 years of experience in leadership and mentoring. She is currently authoring a book about mentoring women from the perspective of intentional discipleship. Natasha resides in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Connect with Natasha through her website or blog, on facebook or on twitter.
“Unfreezing Eve from the story of her sin.” This was the focus of the Reclaiming Eve book review I wrote a few months ago. Now that I’ve read the book three times, other nuggets are sparking my interest and passion. As I sit down tonight, I seem to connect with a very simple sentence tucked away in Chapter 7, Restored: The Serving Woman:
“Read to educate yourself.”
Next to that sentence in the margins, I have scribbled the word, “Yes!”
I am a leader, which in the Christian context means that I am a serving woman. For the past few years, I have been serving the women at my church as the Founder and co-director of the Women’s Mentoring Ministry. We focus on helping women understand their identity in Christ Jesus. Before they can understand their identity, they must first know God.
The majority of our struggles and insecurities in life are a result of a poor theology concerning God or an inaccurate view of ourselves. If we are confused about the God we serve and are strangers to ourselves, it becomes difficult if not impossible to love others well.
Obtaining an accurate view of God begins with theological reflection. It is important that women learn how to think theologically and that often requires reading and a commitment to study. Completing deep studies and wide readings through large chunks of the Bible informs us about our God who longs to be known. The Bible reminds us of God’s love, his redemptive story, and his kingdom agenda. The Bible also reminds us of our purpose and convicts us of any wrong doing. In addition to the Bible, reading Christian classics are also a good source of learning. Finally, reading books that help us develop a Christian worldview, exposes us to injustices and God’s hand at work in the world, and Christian biographies are also helpful choices for our reading diet.
Besides knowing God and learning about ourselves, reading is an excellent discipline to help us prepare for our Christian calling. Part of my responsibility as a leader and mentor is to train and prepare others to lead and mentor well. One of my most challenging undertakings has been convincing mentees of their need to develop the discipline of study. The writer of Hebrews makes an interesting statement when chastising the hearers of his words:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Heb. 5:11-14 NIV).
Reading increases our learning. Reading also solidifies the understanding of our faith so we are not constantly having to learn the basic elementary truths. Like a baby who grows from drinking milk to eventually eating solid foods, reading matures us and ushers us on to holy and righteous living. Reading also helps us grow in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, it helps us to discern the difference between good and evil.
It is widely accepted that all great leaders read. If we are to equip women for leadership that includes training and encouraging their discipline of study so they grow in spiritual maturity and are able teachers of others.
We don’t need to stay in a place where we are confused about ourselves, about God, and about our struggles and insecurities. We have the opportunity to learn and grow so we might be better leaders and lovers of those God places in our lives. In that spirit, let’s go about Reclaiming Eve by encouraging every woman to eat more and more solid spiritual food. Let’s read!
Here are a few recommended reads to help women think theologically:
How to Think Theologically by Howard W. Stone & James O. Duke Think Like Jesus: Make the Right Decision Every Time by George Barna Discipleship of the Mind: Learning to Love God in the Ways We Think by James W. Sire