By Elizabeth Prata
1. HOW (CHRISTIAN-ISH) PEOPLE GET FAMOUS
It’s no longer just movies or television that launches the latest It Girl celebrity. It’s social media. A person who starts a blog, web page, Instagram, Twitter or myriad other social media platforms, if they hit the right note, the right moment, and persevere with quantity (and hopefully quality content) they can gather thousands if not millions of “followers”. From there, Publishers take note. Someone who already has a built-in audience is more attractive to them as a potential client than someone who is not.
Rachel Hollis is a Los Angeles event planner turned entrepreneur turned podcaster turned TV guest commentator, social media darling, and author. Almost ten years ago she started her blog, The Chic Site. Her honest voice and her winsome (and savvy) ability to connect through writing and speaking about lifestyle, has launched Hollis to front place on bestseller lists, top entrepreneur lists, and most any other list you can list.
Though Hollis has written several novels in the Romance genre, her latest book has hit the bestseller lists like a tsunami. It’s a How-To/Advice book called Girl, Wash Your Face. Seventeen weeks ago, it vaulted to the top of the Advice/How-To NY Times bestseller list and has stayed there. Published 6 months ago as of this writing, the self-help advice book has over 4,000 reviews, 96% of them 4 or 5-star. It’s currently #4 on Apple’s iBooks list.
2. ABOUT CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING
Thomas Nelson Publishing published Girl, Wash Your Face. Thomas Nelson writes of the book,
With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.
So, according to Hollis, I’m supposed to be having a joy filled life of exuberance but the world has lied to me and I’m not living that life but Hollis is going to help me achieve it with her advice. Rachel Hollis is 35 years old.
Publisher’s Weekly says,
Hollis implores readers to stop worrying about external pressures to always do more and, instead, to find fulfillment by getting in touch with their own desires and feelings.
Wasn’t getting in touch with her desires what got Eve (and Adam and all of humanity) into trouble with God? (Genesis 3:6).
Longer ‘About the Book’ from Thomas Nelson:
As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.
With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up.
Do you see the problem? As the book blurb describes, as we women grew up, the world lied to us. We believed it. So now we cannot live productively or joyfully unless we give ourselves grace, use our own strength and tenacity to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and be who we were meant to be.
All without a solid mention of Jesus in the book.
What is Thomas Nelson’s Christian mission?
Thomas Nelson is committed to one central mission: inspiring the world by meeting the needs of people with content that promotes biblical principles and honors Jesus Christ.
3. MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK
I read the introduction, Table of Contents, chapter 1, 2, and 3, the end notes/acknowledgements, and the study guide.
Mrs Hollis is definitely a skilled writer. For those of you who are moms, especially millennial moms, this book may well appeal to you. Hollis structures her book by titling each chapter with one of the “lies” women “have been told”, spends the chapter discussing that “lie’s” impact on her upbringing and life, and concludes with ‘helpful tips’ on what helped her overcome the “lie”. I’m placing the word “lie” in scare quotes for a reason that will be discussed in the Conclusion. Here are the chapter titles.
Introduction: Hey Girl, Hey!
1. The Lie: Something Else Will Make Me Happy
2. The Lie: I’ll Start Tomorrow
3. The Lie: I’m Not Good Enough
4. The Lie: I’m Better Than You
5. The Lie: Loving Him Is Enough for Me
6. The Lie: No Is the Final Answer
7. The Lie: I’m Bad at Sex
8. The Lie: I Don’t Know How to Be a Mom
9. The Lie: I’m Not a Good Mom
10. The Lie: I Should Be Further Along by Now
11. The Lie: Other People’s Kids Are So Much Cleaner/
Better Organized/More Polite
12. The Lie: I Need to Make Myself Smaller
13. The Lie: I’m Going to Marry Matt Damon
14. The Lie: I’m a Terrible Writer
15. The Lie: I Will Never Get Past This
16. The Lie: I Can’t Tell the Truth
17. The Lie: I Am Defined by My Weight
18. The Lie: I Need a Drink
19. The Lie: There’s Only One Right Way to Be
20. The Lie: I Need a Hero
I hesitated to include these chapter headings that represent ‘the lies’ we as women have been told, (or that we believe on our own impetus) because they speak to the common experience of many women. It’s not that to which I object. It’s the fact that she fails to identify the “lies” as a secular worldview with all that entails, and her solutions are self-sufficient and not Jesus-oriented.
The section on her brother’s suicide brought tears to my eyes. Rachel is transparent, holding nothing back about her own foibles and mishaps. She is real. She’s engaging, and that is always the trouble with popular female speakers and authors. Sometimes, being empathetic and nurturing, we women focus on how winsomely the story is told and how it made us feel rather than comparing it to the Bible to see if it is so.
Regarding the spiritual aspects of the material I’d read, I did not see much mention of Jesus as our only aid. Nor His grace as the strength we need. His word wasn’t appealed to as the source of wisdom and truth. Of the practical life’s how-to aspects, I read a lot of self-effort, self-care, and self-truth. For example:
The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway. (Girl, Wash Your Face, p. xi, preface)
I wish she had written that the takeaway for the book was that Jesus is our Lord and Master and that I am ultimately and solely responsible for my sin and my response to it. Or that I am responsible for obeying Jesus and it is obedience to Him that brings joy. But, she didn’t say either of those things nor anything close to it in the parts I read.
As a little girl (a preacher’s daughter, no less) the fruits of the spirit were drilled in early. For those of you who aren’t familiar, one of the apostles (Jesus’ BFF’s) listed out these nine attributes that Christians should have. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22. But the thing is, these are attributes we should all have regardless of where you grew up or what you believe in. And so I wanted to make fruit of the spirit bracelets and I thought that we could all wear them as a reminder of the attribute we most need to work on in our own lives. Source: The Chic Site
I’ve personally never heard a Christian writer refer to the Apostles, on whom the foundation of the Church is laid (Ephesians 2:20) as “Jesus’ BFFs”.
That aside, it is error to say that love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are attributes we should all have regardless of what one believes in. We all do not have those attributes. People who are unsaved mimic those attributes. It is only a mimic because the genuine article comes from Jesus. If one is unsaved the goodness one displays does not please God because it is born of the flesh, not borne of the imputed righteousness God sees when He looks at us and our works. (John 15:5). The two are night and day.
Judging each other actually makes us feel safer in our own choices. Faith is one of the most abused instances of this. We decide that our religion is right; therefore, every other religion must be wrong. Within the same religion, or heck, even within the same church, people judge each other for not being the right kind of Christian, Catholic, Mormon, or Jedi. I don’t know the central tenet of your faith, but the central tenet of mine is “love thy neighbor”. Not “love thy neighbor if they look and act land think like you.” Not love thy neighbor so long as they wear the right clothes and say the right things. Just love them. (Girl Wash Your Face, p. 40)
This paragraph teaches blasphemy and idolatry. One cannot call one’s self a Christian and accept the false religions as part of the pantheon. Worse is to dismiss the differences. The central tenet of Christianity is faith in Jesus and repentance of sins. It is-
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Sadly we women are told repeatedly that judge not and love thy neighbor IS the faith. This is simply more claptrap from Hollis.
In sum, the book is about lies women have been told by society, media, family, or the devil and author Hollis dispels those lies by assuring women they are strong and courageous and beautiful and warrior and made for more, and all that.
Takeaways from this essay:
1. Just because someone calls themselves Christian and is really, really famous right now, doesn’t mean they have an orthodox Christian message to share. As a matter of fact, the warning in Luke 6:26 indicates just the opposite.
2. While there are many good Christian Publishing Companies (Westminster Books, Banner of Truth, etc), Christian Book Publishers for the most part…aren’t. Just because a company calls itself “Acme Christian Publishing Company,” doesn’t mean they are selling you edifying books. Discernment is important. Usually, the more popular a book or author is, or the more the secular world knows about him or her, it means the opposite. See #1.
3. The “lies” Hollis claims to be busting is simply the secular world view. That’s normal, the whole world is in the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19). The world lies to us. Always. That Hollis is giving you engaging self-help tips on how to deconstruct those lies and push on toward higher/better/more clear living, absent the Bible’s instruction, is just more lies. She is sending you from one end of a secular world view, to another. You will come full circle.
Picture it this way. Being inside her world is like being in a balloon. She is sending you all around inside it, from one end to another. But it’s always the same view because you’re always inside that balloon. ONLY the Bible is the sword that pierces soul from spirit. (Hebrews 4:12). It punctures that false world view and exposes your eyes and mind to the truth, which is outside the balloon (flesh).
Look at Hollis’ Twitter bio. What’s missing? And what’s there?
Nothing about being a mother. Nothing about Jesus. The ‘Ms.” speaks volumes.
When you wash your face and look in the mirror, do you see a sinning but forgiven, meek, humble woman with a Christ-like countenance of Jesus reflecting back? Or do you see a strong, empowered, warrior princess grrrl, living a life of self-sufficient ‘passion and hustle?’ If you see the latter, you’re being lied to.
Girl, Wash Your Face: Not recommended.