First Responders

“The maelstrom is the seaman’s nightmare, but the “malestrom” poses an even greater threat to men than the hidden dangers of the open seas. . . .  It isn’t overstating things to say there isn’t a man or boy alive who isn’t a target. The malestrom’s global currents can be violent and overt, but also come in subtle, even benign forms that catch men unawares. The malestrom is the particular ways in which the fall impacts the male of the human species—causing a man to lose himself, his identity and purpose as a man, and above all to lose sight of God’s original vision for his sons. The repercussions of such devastating personal losses are not merely disastrous for the men themselves, but catastrophic globally.”      

Here are comments from three readers—first responders who read the book before its release and gave permission to share their thoughts.

Lesa Engelthaler

From Lesa Engelthaler:

“Wow, just wow. Carolyn, I finally had a chance to read the introduction to your Malestrom. So many new thoughts. So many thoughts I have never said out loud. So many men I know that came to mind as I read.

This sentence made me cry with can-it-possibly-be-true nodding of my head: “Jesus didn’t come just to tweak things, but to overthrow the kingdom of this world.”

You so GO GIRL!!!!!

Lori and Tom Lambelet

From Lori Lambelet:

I finished reading yesterday. My husband plans to finish in the next couple of days. Last night at dinner, I purposely did not want to discuss the book until he had completed the read. However, we were discussing a Bible study that he was to start this very morning. One of the ramifications from our ousting at our church, is that Tom has become a chaplain at an auto shop. He is building relationships with the men there and this was a step to encourage relationship with God.

As we were discussing his approach. I was struck with the consequences of your book.

You have given a name to the real ill of our existence. You have allowed for the truth of an image bearer gone awry. The gospel of sin, always felt incomplete to me, it felt like we were huge mistakes and nothing worth redeeming, yet by the mercy of God we were. Your message allows for the reality of our image bearing selves that God as our parent so desperately wants to rescue.

We are indeed lost children, sinners yes, but offspring of God. I felt in my discussion with Tom the true fact that we have been lied to. Since the beginning with Adam and Eve, who chose to believe the lie, we too have been given a bag of goods that are not in any way gold. The lie of patriarchy has been passed on, enforced and fought over in ways that leave carcasses of humanity scattered world wide. The truth of Malestrom is sobering and devastating. It also is really the point of our focus. It resonates deeply to the battle at hand and the circumstances of our existence.

Personally, this was a hard read. Carolyn, since I was born the message of patriarchy had been drilled into my little girl’s head. As a 2nd generation Italian, the “truth” of my value was solely placed on my appearance and ability to attract a man. I fought this my whole childhood. I then proceeded to marry (a very good, godly man), but who also held tightly to the lie of patriarchy. I fought with him, most of our married life. I also was fighting the church. I have often found myself isolated and alone in this battle and that is why your first book was such a relief to my spirit.

I was not alone.

My husband, as you know realizes the lie that he had been given and now embraces the truth of the Blessed Alliance. This change resulted in our dismissal from a church we had pastored for 22 years. I am still smarting from this. I too have started to write. I need to express the reality as a woman and pastor’s wife that have not been given an avenue to validate my story. (As a child of divorce, we were never allowed to grieve, since it didn’t happen to us. As a pastor’s wife, despite feeling the call of God and giving my life to ministry, I found again the lack of other’s allowing my grief, since I was just the wife.) The truth is, I am “Twice Divorced”.

My parents divorced when I was 12. The reason? My mother wanted to be more than the caretaker of 5 daughters. She wanted to go to school, she wanted to go to work, she wanted to challenge her mind and self. My father, denied this due to his view of women. She left. The true reason: patriarchy. I didn’t understand this at the time. Three of my sisters went with her to Florida, but I refused. I could not stand the thought of my father entering an empty home. I talked my sister into staying with me. I was raised by my father. All that to say, while reading your book it brought forth so many feelings. So many thoughts of pain and anguish of how we have gotten it so wrong. How God desires a better way and despite the many incidences that demonstrated a plan for something better, we have clung to the lie of patriarchy. Malestrom is so very real, it is so very ugly and it is really the battle at hand. I find myself at times quite discouraged, I really am battle weary.

My husband and I were talking last night and the wounds from the dogmatic rod of the Malestrom are painfully true. Counselors have told me it will take five years for me to recover from our latest battle. I am in year three. I am not a victim. I have been the warrior that you, so plainly articulated in your first book.

You have fought on so many levels and I am amazed that you got this book out!!!! You give me strength to keep fighting. Every time I step into a church, it is a victory for me. I am teaching this Tuesday, which is the first time I have placed myself in this position for a very long time. So very thankful for your faithfulness and your fight to speak the truth.

From Tom Lambelet:

Thank you for sharing your book with us. I have been burdened by the way so many in the church see the Bible’s culture as the Bible’s message. In my opinion it is a huge stumbling block to embracing God’s plan for men and women. Your book really helps to expose that issue.

It also has helped stir up in me a greater passion for educating Christians about how the gospel story doesn’t soften patriarchy but replaces it. This needs to be known and I can’t just sit back and do nothing. Your book has motivated me and provided me with a helpful resource in this important work. In particular I appreciated your many insights in the character studies you presented. The cultural nuances you brought out were very eye opening to me and made the stories so much more powerful.

Thank you for your leadership in this vital work!

Malestrom officially ships tomorrow (June 2)—just in time for Father’s Day!

About carolyncustisjames
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1 Response to First Responders

  1. Judy Lewis says:

    I have a feeling this book is going to cause its own maelstrom–in my own heart, and in conversations. I can't wait to read it (and I'm a little nervous, tbh!). Thanks for your courage, my friend. Let the storm begin.


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