Turn on the television on any given day and you will most likely be bombarded with images of women exercising their “rights” to express themselves freely and without consequence. The problem is most women don't even realize it. It's simply their default nature. We live in a culture that exalts wildness and feminist ideology. So how is a Christian woman to live wisely in a world gone wild? Mary Kassian, author of the book Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, was kind enough to talk to me about what the Bible says about wisdom and wildness, manhood and womanhood, and how it all points to the Gospel.
What is the big idea of Girl's Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild?
Girls Gone Wise is based on the idea that in Proverbs there are two kinds of prototypical women presented: one of them being the wise Proverbs 31 woman, the other being the wild woman. We talk a lot about the Proverbs 31 woman, but we don't often talk about the wild woman of Proverbs 7, seeing if in our own lives there are points of contrast. The book takes the contrast of the life of the wild woman next to the life of the wise woman. When you do that you really see the difference. The book is saying that “this is wisdom in light of wildness.” I take 20 points of contrast out of the story of the wild woman of Proverbs chapter 7 and put them beside Scripture's model for wisdom.
Who is your general audience?
I targeted it towards college-age girls, but I am finding that it is appealing to women of all ages. I have a lot of mom's who are doing it as a Bible study with their high school girls. There is a lot of generational use and I am very encouraged by that because it is Titus 2 in action. However, in terms of the way it is written and its focus, it is written for women who are in that time of figuring out what it looks like to be a godly woman.
What do you see that is discouraging among the girls of this generation and what do you see that is encouraging?
The discouraging is that they really have bought into a mentality and philosophy that they have the right to dictate what womanhood is all about, and a philosophy that has exalted woman's right to rule, and really exalted wildness. That is their default setting. There is no sense in which their behavior will have negative consequences. The encouraging thing is that the opportunity is enormous at this point in time for influencing women. Feminisms ideas have been tried and the younger generation has seen that it has not worked. The next generation isn't really satisfied with their mom's view of womanhood and relationships. It is interesting to observe culture and see that we are once again engaged in what it means to be a woman. They are hungry for examples. So when they see a marriage working it is attractive to them. When they see a woman happy and content in what she is doing that is attractive. I think that manhood, womanhood, and gender identity is becoming more and more of an entry point for the Gospel because of this change.
What makes this book important?
Manhood and womanhood are important, because men and women living according to Scripture display the Gospel. That is why there has been such an attack against gender, marriage, manhood and womanhood. If the evil one can pull those things apart, then we lose a display of who God is. When we get it right, we put the Gospel on display.
How can pastors be involved in helping girls become wise?
I really think that pastors need to set their women free to minister to women. There is a need for women to be mentoring other women in what womanhood is all about. I know there is a large push for not having segregated ministry, but there is something very important and vital about genders mentoring within their gender group, asking the questions about what it means to be a man or a woman. That cannot take place in a mixed environment. Pastors need to understand that yes, there is great value in bringing everyone together, but there does need to be space, room, support and encouragement for mentoring relationships among women. It's not a program or just a one woman doing it. It's all women needing to engage in relationships with other women.
How can a pastor who is younger encourage older women to mentor the younger women in his congregation when the older women don't seem to be interested?
One of the things that needs to be taught to older women is not to check out. There is a temptation for older women to go through life raising children and have sense of entitlement. There needs to be gentle exhortation. There also needs to be a vision imparted for the need for older women. When older women rub shoulders with younger women and hear their questions they begin to see the needs. What I am seeing with Girls Gone Wise is that when it is studied inter-generationally the older ones begin to catch the vision. The spark for the sharpening takes place in perceiving the need for mentoring and then the older women seeing they bring something to the table. What they bring is knowledge of how to live life as a woman in a biblical way. It is helpful when you have one or two older women who get that and who can start to exhort their friends to not check out. Older women need the younger women just as much as the younger need them.
You talk a lot about this generation of women being raised without “mothers” and the importance of us being spiritual mothers to them. How can women (and men too) spiritually parent a generation of young people who have no framework for manhood, womanhood, or godly marriage?
The young people who are un-parented actually sense their own need when they see it [what they don't have]. There is anguish in the next generation because of the lack of parenting, modeling, and engagement from mothers and fathers. The way I mentor the young women in my life is not by sitting down to do a Bible study, but having them hang out with me. It really is not as complicated as we want to make it. It is just people who have figured more out opening their lives up to people who are figuring it out at a different stage, or maybe haven't figured as much out. We are all on that journey, but those who are on different stages of the journey doing life together. It is that inter-generational contact that makes a big difference.