I know theoretically that God is beyond gender. He is neither male nor female. But I never really thought about what that meant until I read Bullock's book. As a woman, I often felt less than a man since God was always represented as a male. Certainly my being in the image of God was less than a man's being so. Bullock argues both men and women reflect the image of God. Men and women are different and it takes both to fully reflect the image of God.
This book is a very personal yet scholarly exploration of women made in God's image and how motherhood reflects God's character. Bullock honestly shares her experiences of motherhood. She reminds us of maternal images of God in the Bible and encourages us to open wide and receive the nourishing milk from God, milk only a mother can give.
The insight that affected me the most was her teaching on being part of God's Kingdom as a born again being, as a newly born baby totally dependent upon mother for life. It is the state of being in constant dependency on God. (83) Receiving the Kingdom as a little child is easier when one thinks of God as motherly rather than fatherly. While newborns have an immediate relationship with mother, it is not until later a child establishes a relationship with father. A deeply established dependent relationship on God is developed best from a motherly perspective.
Another insight that impressed me was Bullock's explanation of the oppression of women through the centuries. She looks at Genesis 3:15 and points out the enmity goes in both directions. God has placed women on the front lines of spiritual warfare. “Eve and her descendants are appointed to execute part of God's judgment on Satan and his dominion.” (98) “...[I]t seems that one of the roles God has given women is being the dread foe of Satan.” (101) No wonder Satan wanted women oppressed.
The last section of the book contains really good lessons from examples of women in the Bible and from motherhood. I really liked her teaching on strength. True strength doesn't need someone else to be weak. (179)
While I would love to see men comfortable in reading this book, there may be some some places of embarrassment for them as Bullock freely writes of topics like her period and breast feeding. Nonetheless, I recommend this book as it is a good teaching on God from a decidedly woman's viewpoint. Only a mother can realistically write about the pain and love and giving of nourishment a mother knows. They are aspects of God's being represented by thinking of mothers as the image of God. I had a stern father and, as a Christian, had difficulty relating to God as Father. This book has opened my eyes to a new and broader concept of God, God as both Father and Mother.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Juliann Bullock is a graduate of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, and is currently an MDiv student at Portland Seminary. She is a trained linguist, teacher, and scholar, preaching regularly. She and her husband, Jacob, are the parents of five amazing children and are pastors on Whidbey Island, WA.
Resource Publications, 202 pages.
Juliann Bullock and her husband are co-pastors at my church. While I received a complimentary copy of this book I nevertheless feel this is an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)