Last night the women at my church finished the 10 week Beth Moore study "Living Beyond Yourself." The women were very encouraged by the content of this study and I'm pleased by the way it was able to connect us to each other. This isn't the kind of study that teaches women how to study the Bible or the topics contained in the study on their own, but overall I believe it accomplished its goal.
The last video session addressed how women can lack self control as it relates to the body. Whether obsessing over every bite or giving in to every indulgence, women are at risk in this media-driven culture to go one way or the other. This lack of respect of the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, becomes the essence of idolatry. That's a solid message.
In offering a corrective, Beth talked about how we need to have a biblical perspective on the body, but I believe she erred in moving the listener too quickly into application. She said "you can't just think with the top of your head" you've got to apply the truths we know about God, ourselves, etc, and make them a real part of our lives. I certainly don't disagree with her in that regard. But does Beth overestimate her audience? I would suggest that in women's ministry and in the church more broadly, we equip few to think theologically--or simply logically--on any matter on their own. I believe to suggest otherwise is to miss the root cause of many of the problems in the evangelical community. Neglecting to teach women how to think will create a culture of quick fix therapy. But by cultivating the life of the mind in women's ministry, where I firmly believe it has become so necessary, women and their families will be equipped to live beyond their circumstances to the glory of God.