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Posted May 3, 2015

Book: Created to Relate: God's Design for Peace and Joy
Author: Kelly M. Wahlquist
Servant. Cincinnati, OH. 2015. Pp.140

An excerpt from the jacket:

Created to Relate explains the natural gift women have for building and maintaining life-giving relationships. Understanding the role of relationship within the Trinity can help you understand the importance of connection with others --- the key to living the Gospel fully and joyfully. Wahlquist shows how you can use your ability to build relationships as a way to lead others to Christ. She provides practical tips to help you stay focused in the midst of distractions and responsibilities that can lead to superficial connections. Each chapter contains a Scripture reading, reflection, discussion questions, and a practical application exercise.

An excerpt from the book:

A woman's intuition is a powerful thing. It must be our extra measure of binah that prompts us to share God's love in the world. It's this boundless, irrepressible, radical love that beckons us to feel deeply, care deeply, and connect deeply with others.

Shall We Dance?

The complementarity of men and women and that extra measure of binah can be seen beautifully in . . .Hollywood. I know, right now you're thinking I'm nuts, but hear me out.

A great example of womanhood, as illustrated in the relational beauty of Eve, can be found in Top Hat, or Swing Time, or Shall We Dance, or Carefree, or The Barkleys of Broadway. Though these movies were made well before my time, I think they offer a modern-day (albeit seventy-five-year-old) picture of the gift of womanhood. The extraordinary success of these movies was not the result of a great script, or even great cinematography. The extraordinary success of these movies was the result of the masterful teamwork of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I'll even take it a step further and say that in each movie, Ginger Rogers is a perfect example of how a woman's relational genius can complement a man.

Ginger Rogers, the female in this magnificent pair, didn't have to act like Fred to be considered his perfect equivalent. By using her unique and marvelous gifts, she illuminated her femininity and complemented Fred Astaire perfectly.

In fact, Ginger shows how powerful being a woman living your gifts, living your vocation, can be. She didn't look like Fred, and she didn't have to dress like him. Ginger was confident in who she was. With grace and elegance, Ginger donned herself beautifully, highlighting her God-given shape, personality, and ability to dance.

And she didn't have to lead because that wouldn't have worked --- at least not very well. If you have ever studied ballroom dancing, you know that following is much harder than leading. I learned while talking to ballroom dancers that the reason a woman follows the lead of a man isn't because the man is dominant; it is because women, by their very nature, are geared toward relationship.

A simple Google search on why men take the lead in dancing revealed more about the beauty of the nature of woman in relation to man than I ever imagined. But see for yourself, and read it through your "newly acquired" Genesis 1 and 2 goggles:

"In fact, the leader's part is not that of a ruthless dictator, nor is the follower's part that of an abject slave. In reality in partner dancing, a woman can contribute a great deal to the dance, and a good leader will let his follower shine. People do not like to be coerced, but they do appreciate competent leadership. A good leader will keep the partnership in synch, but this requires good following. The partnership is just that: a partnership of two people who are equal but different. The woman plays an active role in keeping the partnership together. A man who is coercing his partner into each move, while dancing with a woman who is simply allowing him to do so, will look like a man shaking a rag doll. Watch a good dance couple dancing together and this I not what you will see. Instead you will see two people each bringing their skill to the dance, each working to maintain the partnership, and each having fun."

The relational woman appreciates a good leader, someone who understands what a true partnership looks like. Fred Astaire knew that he and his dance partner were an equal team. He always kept Ginger before him, meeting her gaze. Ginger Rogers knew the importance of being Fred's helper (ezer). She was always in tune with his steps and could foresee the glides and twirls that were coming. Using her intuitive senses, she followed him gracefully. And the two became one in a masterful display of dance that generations continue to celebrate.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire shared a beautiful partnership. Hollywood didn't need to tell us that --- we knew it "from the beginning." The book of Genesis told us: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." God created men and women to complement one another, to reflect each other's pure beauty. And what is pure beauty, pure love? It's the dance of Father, Son, and Spirit --- Trinity reflected in our lives. It's God in three persons at work in us.

The example of Fred and Ginger is a beautiful illustration of the creation story. Men and women were created differently but equally. Bestowed with radical relational abilities, women are built with an extra measure of binah. We follow the lead of our intuition and our steps are aligned with the heartaches and joys of others. We recognize pure love and beauty when we see it. With well-tuned hearts, we celebrate the dance of the Father, Son and Spirit.

Table of Contents:

Part One: Built for Relationship
1. Longing for relationship
2. Who's your "they"?
3. God is so big
4. Woman --- created to relate

Part Two: The Bridge from Heart to Heart
5. Relating heart to heart
6. A personal approach to sharing your faith
7. The visitation --- a perfect example

Part Three: Finding Your Balance
8. Letting the peace of Christ rule your heart in a world that wants to rule you
9. Balancing the relationship between your Martha and Mary
10. Peace and joy in God's design