Friday, August 18, 2017
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Book Reviews

Below you'll find all the book reviews published on the Christian Feminism Today website. These are listed in the order in which the reviews were published, with the most recent reviews first.  For a list of book reviews in alphabetical order by title, click here.

The Divine Dance Book Cover

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

Overall, Rohr’s take on the Trinity is extremely helpful and his writing is clear and easy to follow. This book would be an easy read for Christians who have limited exposure to theological academic writing. In many ways the book reads much more like a devotional text than a scholarly work, which I found quite refreshing!

Image, Incarnation, and Christian Expansivism: A Meta-Philosophy of Salvation

But irrespective of any given reader’s particular theological concerns, McLeod-Harrison’s theory of Christian Expansivism may, nevertheless, stimulate fruitful philosophical reflection on questions of ontology and epistemology.

Born Both: An Intersex Life

Hida Viloria has recognized that “intersex people are in the front lines of homophobia and transphobia because if our differences are detected at birth, we’re often mutilated in an effort that we’ll grow up to be gender normative and heterosexual—efforts that are misguided, because lots of us who were mutilated still grow up to be L, G, B, or T” (p. 302).

South of Forgiveness: A True Story of Rape and Responsibility

... the naked honesty in this lengthy memoir highlighted both the tremendous persistence involved in reaching genuine forgiveness and the knowledge that there really is no other way for true healing to take place.

Mother Goose, Mother Jones, Mommie Dearest: Biblical Mothers and Their Children

... the contributors of this volume delve into topics such as the problematic aspects of the relationship between Jesus and his mother, the Bible being read as a Mother Goose tale, whether working mothers are “wrecking” their children, and the response of people of faith to the reality of incest and the sexual abuse of children within their congregations.

Shattering Masks: Affirming My Identity, Transitioning My Faith

... as we read Shattering Masks, we can rejoice with its author that the intersexual transwoman Laura Bethany Taylor is indeed “God’s own child,” resembling and revealing her divine Mother/Father precisely as she was created to do.

Saving Women from the Church: How Jesus Mends a Divide

Many more situations are addressed through two stories illustrating a hurtful issue women face in church. Each of these scenarios is followed by an elaborate semi-fictitious version of a gospel story depicting how Jesus treated the suffering woman.
Transgender, Intersex, and Biblical Interpretation book cover

Transgender, Intersex, and Biblical Interpretation

Like the dark chaos, transgender bodies stir up boundary anxiety in many people. Consciously or unconsciously, people who fear uncertainty are alerted by transpeople to the awareness that “the binary cannot hold; the monstrous is already always within the ordered.
Courage to Think Differently book cover

Courage to Think Differently

To pressure us toward honesty, Johnson provides seven sections of powerful essays on aspects of our culture: irrelevant religion and idolatry, exclusion and thin democracy; biblical certitudes and ignorance; individualism and cheap grace; ecological crisis and greed; silence and job security; and empire and civil religion.

Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and Church

"Women in male-dominated societies are left with fewer reasonable choice in the face of structured male power. [And many] men fail to recognize that women are born into a system of scarcity [because of] male supremacy that leads them to see other women as antagonists…”

Angels on Earth: Mothering, Religion, and Spirituality

A woman’s actual personhood is a paradoxical irony: young women are valued for their potential to be useful sexually and reproductively, but once they have succeeded in fulfilling those potentials, they are regarded as vaguely defiled.

What Falls From the Sky: How I Disconnected from the Internet and Reconnected with...

She evolves from someone desperate for the external validation of blog hits, YouTube views, and Facebook “likes” to someone who goes alone to a church that spiritually pulls her in from the street, to the back pew, to the baptismal font, to service in an impoverished village in Nicaragua.
Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife Book Cover

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

Tucker’s hermeneutics are thoughtful and thought provoking. She questions why a husband would beat and terrorize his wife, and answers, regarding her ex-husband, “his perspective on male supremacy and on female submission was front and center.”
When God Was A Little Girl book cover

When God Was a Little Girl

I was curious as to how such a unique story was received by the public, and I found that When God Was a Little Girl has garnered overwhelming praise and support from readers. The book was published with the assistance of a Kickstarter campaign that received nearly double the amount of pledges requested to publish the book. Reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are glowing, and the book received two prestigious book awards in 2014.
To Drink from the Silver Cup book cover

To Drink from the Silver Cup: From Faith Through Exile and Beyond

The memoir as a whole makes clear that Redsand has been deeply influenced by Judaism and humanism as she has journeyed toward “home.” I love her description of life’s purpose: however we find our own particular work in the world, the idea is to “remember the deep root of [our] being…and give [our] life to the one who already owns [our] breath and [our] moments” (p. 312).
Womanist Biblical Interpretation

An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation

Although Junior’s book offers a basic introduction to womanist biblical interpretation, it is extensive in the amount of material it covers. One aspect of the author’s intent is to show how feminist biblical interpretation relates to African American women’s interpretation.

A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends: From Fear to Faith in Unsettled Times

I was nervous at first reading, as I am among those anxious Christians not worried about how our country is going to go forward. And I admit I was worried that I would have trouble with the conservative-sounding opening (conservative-sounding to me, at least – proving his point about polarization). However, he mostly comes out rather progressive in his view of various issues in light of the Scriptures...

Bridge to the Sacred: A Collection of Interfaith Prayers

Lisa has this to say about prayer: “Prayer provides a venue that gives voice to our concerns and sufferings . . . can reassure us, clear our minds, and reconnect us to a higher power. What a surprise it can be to sometimes find the words of prayer spoken in another faith might perfectly address our own longing or anguish.”

Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology

I think this book is of value for anyone, particularly women, struggling without or within their religious tradition and anyone interested in feminist theology. Younger people, especially, might benefit from the perspective of time it provides. From Christ’s and Plaskow’s examples, challenges clearly exist on any path, but they also present a hopeful model of continuing engagement, intellectual rigor, and self-empowerment.

Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership & Awakening Community

As a theology professor, Gunning Francis approaches this subject through the framework of faith in action. That spoke strongly to me. I also saw, however, that what she wrote could be helpful to those who approach the work from a more secular stance.

I Love to Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Wisdom, and Hope

How would you like to own — or give to someone you love — a book that carries you along on its own joyful stream of stories? Yes? Then I have just the perfect book for you: the Reverend Dr. Nancy Wilson's I Love To Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Wisdom, and Hope.

The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems, Essays and Lyrics

Her essays in this volume are thought provoking, the golden prize being her commencement address this past June at her alma mater. She offered three lessons for life: “be kind, be true, and pay attention.” In her essay “Miracle, Light and Considerable Magic” (p. 70), she refers to “the mysterious nature of the Sacred,” the Light that appears in daily moments. She finds the holy in the ordinary, like dishwater, frying eggs, a busy street, or familiar room; wherever she may find herself. In her essay, “Another Kind of Flying,” she locates her perspectives and priorities in the realm of gravity and morality, affirming that “our lives are created of suspended moments of glorious flight” (p. 79).

Personal Transformation and a New Creation

By shifting our concept of the universe as static to “an unfinished universe in the act of becoming,” we gain hope. We see a way forward “to an ultimate evolutionary convergeance of consciousness and love.".

Encountering God in Tyrannical Texts: Reflections on Paul, Women, and the Authority of Scripture

Gench describes each text in its own chapter, then places it in its literary, cultural, and political contexts. For example, the first five texts are all prescriptive, a man or men telling women what not to do, which indicates that women must have already been doing it.

The Electronic Church in the Digital Age: Cultural Impacts of Evangelical Mass Media

"[This] two-volume set is organized according to the pragmatics of these audiences. The first book is inward-facing, examining the ways the conservative Christian culture is molded by evangelical television, radio, and online messages. The second book is outward-facing, offering studies of how these messages lead conservative Christians to make sense of and relate to the dominant “secular” American culture.

Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology

"Pamela Lightsey... correctly asserts that despite oppressive Sunday morning sermons, Black and queer Christians can nevertheless be confident that our wellbeing is “not dependent on human hands but the providential care of God our Creator” (p. 60). It follows then that any church (including Lightsey’s own United Methodist Church) that believes all persons have sacred worth “behaves disingenuously when it prohibits those very persons from living” fully human lives, including enacting their sexuality. Lightsey rightly labels those prohibitions as “evidence of a lack of faith and an example of the will to control” (p.85)."

Hagar Poems

Centering Hagar Poems on Hajar’s tale, a problematic moment in sacred narrative, the profusion of viewpoints contributes to Kahf’s nuanced approach. Looking at Hajar from her own point of view, as Sarah and Abraham see her, in anger, in forgiveness, as heroine, foremother, and exile, Kahf shows how the different sides of the story have much to say to one another.
Lady Midrash Book Cover

Lady Midrash: Poems Reclaiming the Voices of Biblical Women

I am so thankful for the honor given to these biblical women by these poems. This collection, spoken through the voices of women in both testaments, puts flesh and energy into what have too often become stale stories from our early Sunday School days—if we heard them there at all.

A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism

Bushnell (1855–1946) was a stalwart advocate of women, a missionary, a doctor, a researcher, a writer, and a theologian, and an engaging speaker and an unrelenting advocate against human trafficking around the world. Du Mez skillfully reveals the influences of time and place that molded Bushnell into the socio-religious force she became.

Femmevangelical: The Modern Girl’s Guide to the Good News

Crumpton writes from a strong, progressive Christian perspective. She has coined a new word to describe the archetype she promotes, “femmevangelical,” a mash-up of “feminist” and “evangelical.” She brings an honest voice, one borne out of the experience of attending a conservative church that presented the Divine only in a male voice and with a male perspective.

Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can...

"The most oppressive of human binaries is the one that differentiates between those who are in and those who are out. Just as Jesus “took on whatever stigma was applied to the people he was engaging: women, children, Samaritans, lepers” (p. 180), so must progressive Christians and progressive queers continue to disrupt the inside/outside binary."

I (Still) Believe: Leading Bible Scholars Share Their Stories of Faith and Scholarship

Because some of these scholars began as fundamentalists, their growth beyond the inerrancy view of Scripture comes up repeatedly in these essays. '[W]ords like "inerrancy" are inadequate descriptions of what is going on in the Bible,' writes Scot McKnight.

Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice

Jenny Daggers, Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Liverpool Hope University, U.K., and Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion, U.S., extend the conversation they started with their first volume, 'Reimagining with Christian Doctrines'The result is a highly engaging and informative attempt to sustain theological reflection in a systematic sequence while also honoring very different contexts, including those of the readers."

Spiritual Sobriety: The Promise of Healthy Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad

"Can a person have a 'persistent, compulsive dependence' on religion? Elizabeth Esther makes a compelling case for religious addiction in her new book, Spiritual Sobriety. Drawing from personal experience, as well as the stories of others, Esther writes extensively about the characteristics of religious addiction and its impact on faith communities, specifically Christianity."

Hebrews (Wisdom Commentary Series; Volume 54)

In successfully engaging a more difficult text, this commentary demonstrates a powerful and persuasive methodology that will undoubtedly excite readers about the delightful insights that future volumes are certain to provide.

Confronting Religious Denial of Gay Marriage: Christian Humanism and the Moral Imagination

"Wallace begins with a very important question: why is the Religious Right so upset by gay marriage rather than by child poverty, or handgun violence, or military spending? She then proceeds to build evidence for her thesis: while “Christianity slowly separated from its Jewish origins, sexual renunciation took the place of kosher dietary restrictions and purity rituals as a boundary maker for Christian community.”

Dear Princess Grace, Dear Betty: The Memoir of a Romantic Feminist

Alida invites us to join her on her journey from romantic fantasy to romantic feminism. She offers no clues as to what part religion, scripture, or spirituality have played in the conclusions she reaches, and her telling of her story bounces around between chronological and topical presentations, which occasionally left me wondering exactly how or when various events unfolded.

Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family, and Church

As she unveils her “crazy in the blood” narrative, we become aware that the experience of her family is intricately interwoven with her experience of the Church. There are moments of deep grace, but also moments of rejection. The Church, the hands and feet of Jesus, seems to want nothing to do with stories like hers and her father’s and brother’s.

Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love

"Kim deftly weaves together Asian American theology, feminist theologies, postcolonial theory, biblical interpretation, and pneumatology to speak prophetically of the transformative and connecting power of the Spirit-Chi, energizing faith communities toward justice and care."

Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith

This book serves as a useful introduction to an important spiritual figure. It also works to deepen her readers’ perspectives on her life, and to whet the appetite for seeing how the octogenarian feminist religious leader and her cohort continue to shape the monastic tradition in postmodern relief.

Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution

"So what is this revolution that’s happening before our eyes? It’s a movement away from top-down, pre-packaged religion toward a spirituality centered in an awareness of God’s presence as encountered in daily life—often in places and people where traditionally we have failed to recognize that holy presence."

The Changing Face of Evangelicalism: Rescuing Jesus

Ever since 2007, an award-winning journalist and radio producer named Deborah Jian Lee has been researching contemporary evangelicalism. She has been impressed by a change occurring among evangelicals—a movement that “ditches the Religious Right,” supports working toward social justice rather than political theorizing, and calls itself “progressive evangelicalism.”

True Colors: Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You

Susan's theology is overwhelmingly inclusive and accepting. She trusts deeply in the love of God for all people, and it shows in every word. This loving, large, expansive God is contrasted with the "in a box" God as seen in many churches and leaders and theology.

Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships

God bless Tim Otto for writing this book in the hope that each Christian will “go through the difficulty of relating to people who are not like us” (p. 118). But his failure to envision freedom, individualism, rights, and equality in the light of the Golden Rule tragically weakens the power of this book.

Birth, Breath, & Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula

Glenn also articulates well the universality of birth. She sees it as participating in life’s creative energy, whether the endeavor is physical, intellectual, spiritual, or emotional. All bring us to the depths. She then suggests that the techniques that help birthing women are applicable in other labors, too; specifically, the practices of rhythm, ritual, and rest.

American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who Defied the Puritans

As an evangelical feminist, I found fascinating the details of the religious controversies in which [Hutchinson] participated. Are believers “elect” from the beginning of time? Can we know whether we are one of the elect—or whether someone else is? Does sanctification (the outward appearance of grace) prove we are saved, or are outward appearances simply “works,” not evidence of a heart that is right with God?

A Different Route to the Divine Feminine – “God Is Not Alone”

"Widmalm’s 450 pages are also worth struggling through (grammatical errors and all) because they give so many flashes of insight into so many related topics. Among them: the dating of various Gospels, canonical and otherwise; the textual sources for Shekinah as God’s female presence on earth; the Essene lifestyle; biblical ecology; Jesus as a Pharisee; the Sibylline Oracles; the concept of the divine Word in Judaism..."
Reflective Faith Book Cover

Reflective Faith: A Theological Toolbox for Women

Shaw practices what she advocates in both book and workbook. I especially enjoyed illustrations of these tools based on scriptures featuring women, and scriptures and theologies used against women. I loved the variety of feminist theologians brought in, including the voices of women from other races, cultures and social situations.

Letters from the Farm: A Simple Path for a Deeper Spiritual Life

Stevens is particularly adept at making profound connections between the natural world, scriptural images, and real-life experience. In an essay called “Grow Tree Roots,” [the] accompanying verse refers to the tiny mustard seed that grows into the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree...

There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments,...

As a young woman hovering in the liminality between graduation and ordination, it was as though I had persons present with me in this wild and strange call that is ministry. With each word, I felt more embraced by an amazing community of women as they shared their responses to God’s call. Eventually, I grew to understand them as colleagues.

If Eve Only Knew: Freeing Yourself from Biblical Womanhood and Becoming All God Means...

Some Christian communities continued to follow the way of Jesus and Paul, a way of mutual relationships and gender equality. Here and throughout the book, a careful reading of the Bible provides an antidote to evangelical gender constraints.

Women’s Bodies as Battlefield: Christian Theology and the Global War on Women

Delving into topics such as the religious, philosophical, and Christian roots of both war and the War on Women allows Thistlethwaite to educate the reader on the complexity of the historical indoctrination surrounding the topics of war and women, without entirely overwhelming those readers who may not yet be aware of the history surrounding these issues.

Making Space for Intersexuals — Megan DeFranza’s “Sex Differences in Christian Theology”

DeFranza builds her case for intersexual inclusion with a thorough description of various forms of intersexuality from a medical and sociological viewpoint. She provides an extensive and very helpful discussion of eunuchs in the Bible, especially Jesus’ remarks in Matthew 19:12.

Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows: Capable Women of Purpose and Persistence...

In addition to Spencer’s literary prowess and clever wordplays (why didn’t I think of an “ambushed Moses”?), his feminist intuitions are so spot-on we might call him an honorary female! His command of scholarly feminist literature is also remarkable—way beyond mine.

Abounding in Kindness: Writings for the People of God

Elizabeth Johnson’s marvelous last chapter, “Peace over an Angry Sea,” is a sermon preached in 2002 for her colleagues at Fordham University who had recently lost family members... Christian faith focuses us not simply on the letting go but on a divine catcher. Lovely, I say, and a nice coda to this theological volume.

The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks

A fascinating glimpse of this far Eastern Christianity... divided into three sections: the historical story of the recovery of the Jesus Sutras, excerpts from the Sutras themselves, and, finally, reflections on the Jesus Sutras for today.

Faith & Feminism: Ecumenical Essays

The common connection is that each of the authors originally presented the content of these essays at the Phyllis Trible Lecture Series at Wake Forest University School of Divinity between 2003 and 2013. Another commonality is that they all identify themselves as feminists.

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence

Armstrong defines war as “a psychosis caused by the inability to see relationships, “ and describes the First Crusade as particularly psychotic. In Jerusalem the “half-crazed” First Crusaders slaughtered some thirty-thousand people in three days” (p. 214).

Immersion in the World of “Our Mother Saint Paul”

Central to all of Paul’s writings is his not only holding to the practical daily tasks of keeping a congregation faithful to Christ, but also seeing at the same time the cosmic and apocalyptic features that accompany the lives of such a community. Gentiles as well as Jews make up this new gathering of the believers in Jesus Christ, who lived with his people but was risen as a cosmic figure.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

Searching for Sunday describes Rachel’s struggles as a millennial (coming of age about 2000) to find a satisfactory community in the church. She organizes this churchly memoir around the seven sacraments: Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage.

Fruitful Embraces: Sexuality, Love, and Justice

The authors recognize that for Catholics, who live within “an institution… wedded to historical precedent” (p. 185), it can be terrifying to be challenged to make moves never made before. Yet many Catholic Christians, “their imaginations shaped by biblical convictions, see immigrants, homosexuals, and transgender persons in a new light” (p. 186).

Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter

One has the impression in reading Bible Women that the words of women are overwhelmingly (but not always) positive in their courage, spirit of enterprise, and profound spiritual insight. Bible Women brings into focus how often the words of women change the course of events.

Slouching Toward Gaytheism: Christianity and Queer Survival in America

Ultimately, my opposition to Harris stems from our differing definitions of religion and spirituality. Central to Harris’ argument is this: “When politicians (or anyone, for that matter) cede ethical ground to religious belief, justice for queer citizens is gravely endangered” (p. 154).

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice

“Yet, humbling though parts of the story may be, this is a history that needs to be heard. It isn’t wholly a story of stumbles. It’s also a story of honorable words and courageous actions, often undertaken in the face of great hostility. For that, we can all be thankful. It’s also a non-static story of growth, evolution, and change. Again and again, you’ll find evidence of that Wind that blows where it wills.”

Back to the Well: Women’s Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels

Dr. Gench’s studies are accessible for lay readers, with in-depth analysis for pastors and teachers. She provides context and explanations of pertinent aspects of the Greek, and illuminates specific cultural and ritual elements that impact how one would view the text.

Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity

[Anderson] suggests a new sexual ethic could include the motto of doing no harm and seeking the good of others. It is an attitude that honors the other person or persons in our lives, and is honest with them about the pleasure and shared responsibility of sexual experience.

Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God

We confront the “self-hiding God” or at least hints of that fullness but never a final face-to-face experience during this life. Winner states, “The self-hiding God seems to be the God who wills Her own disclosure”(p. 236).

Ain’t I a Womanist Too?: Third World Womanist Religious Thought

This is a movement that embraces life holistically, that seeks justice and freedom for all regardless of gender identity, socioeconomic class, theology, spirituality, and political ideology. It is a movement of women who have decided that the most important thing in life is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe

We start by thinking we are going to find the perfect church; then we become disillusioned when we learn it doesn’t exist; and, finally, we begin again by learning more slowly the art of finding out how our gifts—and questions—contribute to a bigger picture of who the church is called to be.

Joan Chittister—Light and Wisdom

To live as a prophet is what we are called to be, and to do so, this is our handbook. This collection of Sister Joan’s writings is an absolute must to keep on hand as a reminder of what it means to be a follower of Christ and a faithful and honest part of the church in our criticisms and our supports.

Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament

...whether a reader is a seasoned student of the Bible or discovering it for the first time, "Whispering the Word" is exceptionally encouraging when it comes to making sense of difficult narratives featuring women in Hebrew Scriptures. Too much of Bible readership, interpretation, and understanding has been saturated by fallen patriarchal cultures. As a result, the speeches, perspectives, and worldviews of women (as well as narrators who tell their stories) are not something that most Bible readers are trained to perceive.

Helpmates, Harlots, and Heroes: Women’s Stories in the Hebrew Bible

People have been re-examining the stories of the Bible through the lens of feminism for years now, but Bellis is foremost – or she should be – among those scholars. Her writing is clear. Her logic is irrefutable, and she is extremely knowledgeable about the limits of a woman’s sphere in the time of the Hebrew scripture.

Biblical Feminists, Meet Anthrosophia!

For Gabriel, Sophia is a threefold Goddess who rules the past, present, and future. As the sevenfold Goddess, she rules time and the planets in the solar system as well as the seven organs in the human body. And as the twelvefold Goddess, She is the collective consciousness of humanity...

The Awakening

Well, as a feminist/humanist Christian I can only hope that Kate Chopin’s artistic inspiration carried her farther out and farther in than she herself realized. I also hope that many other feminists will read or re-read this amazing novel and will share their understanding of its significance with one another.

She Lives! — A New Book by Jann Aldredge-Clanton

"She Lives!" (the exclamation point is part of the title), helps us move beyond the limited gender binary to see God as both male and female, yet strictly speaking, neither male nor female, and at the same time inclusive of all gender identities.”

Mourner, Mother, Midwife: Reimagining God’s Delivering Presence in the Old Testament

With this insightful book, Claassens has articulated a female trinity for our times, ... [presenting] a God who weeps at suffering, cares for the hurting and needy, and works with us to bring about positive change.

The Feminist Reformation, Episcopal Style

So there we have it: three excellent books celebrating 40 years of an Episcopal feminist reformation. Any one of them, or all together, they will serve to inform and stimulate the minds of Christian feminists everywhere.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

I acknowledge Aslan as a gifted and passionate writer. He may be a scholar of religions, but he is definitely not a biblical scholar. His thesis creating Jesus as a zealous insurrectionist has overpowered the available evidence and colored his selection and (mis)interpretation of many biblical texts. I see too many flaws and errors to recommend this book.

Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most

[Borg's] concise and ordered way of doing theology gives me words and concepts to better explain moves I’ve made in my own faith and theology. I was also pleased to read about his mystical experiences, which adds another dimension to his obvious critical abilities."

The Stories Clergywomen Tell: How Women are Challenging Sexism in the Church

"Because of the challenges facing women clergy, it is encouraging to see two important resources. Written not only for women embracing their pastoral calls but also for churches and church leaders, both authors make the case that Christian communities must do more to address oppression of clergywomen."

The Trans Evangelist: The Life and Times of a Transgender Pentecostal Preacher

I strongly recommend Paula’s book to anyone who can bear to read an unvarnished account of how life has felt to a transsexual Christian living openly for many years before Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people began to agitate for justice.

Embodying the Sacred: A Spiritual Preparation for Birth

In the end, "Embodying the Sacred" allowed me to dream of a time when we go a step further yet and see gathered believers together embracing Conway’s wise insights into pregnancy and laboring, letting God speak through flesh and blood women and their partners who are experiencing it rather than talking about it abstractly and poetically every once in a while.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

According to Vines, the reason non-affirming Christians reject homosexuality is that male and female bodies are anatomically complementary (the “plumbing” fits together). But such an issue is never raised anywhere in the Bible. Instead, the Bible makes clear that every human being is made in God’s image...

Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women

Certainly this book could be meaningful to any Christian wanting a good overview of the women in the Bible, but I also feel the book could be interesting reading for feminists wanting to understand the way layers of patriarchal interference over the years have worked to influence Christian behavior and attitudes toward women. With that said, I don't think this book is "too feminist" to have a wide audience.

Blind Spots and New Vision: Virginia Mollenkott’s The Divine Feminine

If you are grappling with lifelong patriarchal teachings about God and Christianity, pick up this gentle book! It is packed with information that will help. It will enrich your life. It has truly enriched mine. Through these pages, I see that my precious God and Savior not only is reflected in my father, but is also a God who “looks” like my mother —and me!

Mom, I’m Gay: Loving Your LGBTQ Child without Sacrificing Your Faith

With books like Cottrell's, hopefully... hundreds of parents will be reassured that their children's sex or gender orientation is not about them, is certainly not their fault, and provides opportunity to show what unconditional love is all about.

Eternity’s Sunrise: William Blake’s Vision of Christ

Skillfully Dr. Welling describes the mutual enlightenment that stems from studying Blake's drawings in conjunction with his words. And Welling explains why certain misunderstandings of Blake have arisen, such as the charge of misogyny, showing that a deeper grasp of Blake's symbols reveals his belief in the equality of women with men.

Girl at the End of the World

This is clearly a story that needs to be told, to be shared and recognized, so things may begin to change. Esther makes it clear why so many people living under these conditions don’t leave: it’s all she knew. Her entire history was founded in this one way of life, a way that thrives on secrecy.

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

The combination of engaging fictional narrative with the outlines of the historical record provide an enjoyable means of learning more about the Grimké sisters, the early abolitionist movement, and the early women’s rights movements during this period.

Rabboni, My Love: A memoir of Jesus’ Wife, Mary Magdalene

What Kerr has done is exactly what the original authors of the New Testament Gospels have done: Assembled a variety of sources and traditions, rearranged and rewritten them in a pattern that makes sense to them, and filled in the blanks in such a way as to address burning contemporary questions.

When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting...

Overall, this is a challenging story that is told with vulnerability and a bit of humor in beautiful, lyrical language. For those who grew up in this subculture and experienced similar challenges in adulthood, this is likely to provide a great deal of comfort in knowing that you are not alone. For those who did not grow up in this subculture, it is a good introduction to the mindset and emotional drives of those who did experience it, which may provide a new level of understanding for those who struggle with the after effects.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

She wrote this book for people like me, the unchurched, those who are too damaged, scarred, scared or pissed to return to a pew — people who are not traditionally religious, who, as she says, maybe listen to “This American Life,” who have more education than money, who for all our preciousness still want some kind of transcendent moment in our lives.

The Risk of Returning: A Novel

One rarely encounters a suspense novel in which the protagonist reminisces about insights from C. S. Lewis and the Bible and gets intimately involved with the mysterious woman who is helping him relearn his Spanish, but it's all here.

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women

Iif you spend time looking at what Sarah is doing with all of her personal expression, not just in her book, you'll find that she is managing to not only portray the kindness, compassion, and love of her Jesus in the world, but also create a virtual community of people united around that concept.

Electrical Christianity: A Revolutionary Guide to Jesus’ Teachings and Spiritual Enlightenment

Gardner may even be right that 'in a moral, or ‘integral’ society,' the State would still exist, but its function would be 'limited to providing national security and protecting and preserving individual rights' (p. 148). However, society is not there yet, and in the meantime, people living in poverty still need opportunity, food, housing, clothing, health care, and human respect, while rich capitalists still need to be regulated in order to help level the playing field.

Creating a Scene in Corinth: A Simulation

"Creating a Scene in Corinth sets up experiences of role-playing as an interactive method for understanding the context and the issues of Paul’s letter to this early group of Jesus followers. It involves us in biblical criticism at the same time as we personally wrestle with God’s word to us in our day. "

Maggie Anton’s Historical Fiction Novels: “Joheved” and “Apprentice”

... in a class taught by Rachel Adler, Anton fell so in love with the Talmud that she has since written four novels about rabbis who broke with tradition by teaching their daughters the Talmud (i.e., the Oral law, including the Mishnah, that topically arranges all the laws from the Torah, and the Gemara, which records discussions about the meaning of the Mishnah).

mending broken: a personal journey through the stages of trauma + recovery

She writes delicious paragraphs about how yoga changed her relationship with her own body—paragraphs that would make even the most cynical reader want to sign up for a class. Pasquale also derives healing from her work as a trauma therapist.

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

While his final conclusions wind up on the "revisionist' side of the debate, he reached that point via the construction of a carefully considered moral logic that frames a sexual ethic from all of Scripture. He claims that by grounding his approach to same-sex relationships in this way, he provides a rationale that was previously missing.

Two Books by Eric A. Seibert on Violence in Scripture

For Christians who see the Bible as authoritative, two main steps should be involved in properly interpreting and applying these ancient texts. First, understand what a text meant in its original literary and cultural context. Only then can we wrestle with what it means today.

Wounded by God’s People

I wonder if the“more severe” unshared wounds Lotz mentions in the epilogue were originally the inspiration for the writing, but were later left out to avoid causing more pain to those involved. Or perhaps it was just my own personal wounds hoping she was going to give them voice.

Enticed by Eden: How Western Culture Uses, Confuses, (and Sometimes Abuses) Adam and Eve

Providing the evidence of how this narrative functions not only among groups of Christian readers but also among groups with no Christian underpinnings, the authors offer a convincing illustration of the dynamic nature of texts.

Princeton, Demons, and Fundamentalists

'Hence, the controlling metaphor of The Accursed would seem to be that as long as people believe God is angry, totalitarian, and brutally unforgiving, their whole world takes on a vampirish, bloodthirsty, fearsome coloration."

Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism

Reviewer Mark William Olson writes, "Nevertheless, in reading [David Swartz's] narrative, you may find yourself thinking that women and feminist concerns are getting short shrift. On one level, of course, that’s simply a truthful reflection of what happened at the 1973 'Thanksgiving Workshop' that created the 'Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern.' It reflects what happened at various follow-up meetings as well. Men ran things. The concerns of women were regularly pushed aside because they simply didn’t match the agenda of the dominant males. As David’s book honestly acknowledges, nervous, self-serving men sometimes rushed to bury feminist concerns, fearing that other leaders in 'the evangelical world' would write off the larger effort if they thought it was giving support to women’s ordination—or some other apparent 'outrage.'"

What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up and Sit...

"Atteberry’s goal is pretty clear: she wants to help those who have been influenced by an ideology based on traditional gender roles to realize not only the problems embedded in its assumptions but also to have some inkling of a way to read the Bible differently.

Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

Interviews with forty women from a variety of religious traditions—Taosim, Judaism, Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, Indigenous, Hindu, Religious Science, and Christianity, including several women who are part of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, more commonly known as “herchurch.”

Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God...

"...this book is a voyeuristic look into the messy and gut-wrenching process of a person’s coming to terms with an LGBT identity after a lifetime of being indoctrinated into a theology that says gay people suffer from a shameful defect and will be punished by an angry God throughout an eternity of torment.

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in...

The concept of Christian identity was new to me, so I was especially intrigued by the lengthy first section, as McLaren discussed several ways in which Christians relate to people of other faiths in our country and world. Interestingly, other religions can have the same range of identity conflicts."

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her...

"A Year of Biblical Womanhood" is not just for women. Dan Evans is characterized in the book as a partner who trusts, supports, and respects his wife. Dan’s example is a reminder that one does not enact “biblical womanhood” in a vacuum; it is always a performance in relationship and community.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith

Until her late thirties, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield and I had a great deal in common... We both advised many students and groups, especially (but not exclusively) LGBT people on campus. The big difference? I was openly Christian, while Rosaria prided herself on her postmodern and materialist worldview.

A Strange Stirring: “The Feminine Mystique” and American Women at the Dawn of the...

Women who stayed home and raised their families and yet did not feel the corresponding presumed bliss were grateful to Friedan for enabling them to see beyond their self-imposed guilt and their anxieties that 'something was wrong' with them.

When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

After detailing the cultural milieu of 1960 America, Collins provides a compelling story of the women’s movement, sometimes unwinding the narrative decade by decade, and sometimes year by year.

A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics

"William Stacy Johnson is the perfect author for such a volume: an attorney, a professional theologian, an ordained Presbyterian minister, a professor at Princeton Seminary, and a student of over 270 specialized books and articles and 95 relevant legal cases."

Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith

Faith, says Clifford Williams, is an emotion , but emotions are often misunderstood as detached from reason. Williams’s mission in this clear and well-argued book is to explain how faith is motivated and existentially justified by need, emotion and reason.

Three Books on Giving Up Church: A Review Essay

As we drove away from our church one bright, sunny Sunday, my husband turned to me and asked if I had found the worship service boring. “Well, yes” I answered, “but I guess that is pretty normal for me.” The truth is there are few Sundays when I feel like going and even fewer when I’m glad I went. I’d much rather be doing something else: taking a walk outside if the weather is warm, curling up under a soft blanket reading a good book if it is cold, or enjoying a leisurely brunch.

Transforming Vision: Explorations in Feminist The*logy

Wisdom does not make distinctions between public and private or spiritual and sacred. For wisdom, all of life is full of the divine and to be lived to the full.

Changing Church: Stories of Liberating Ministers

Jann Aldredge-Clanton, a Baptist minister, is crystal clear about the relationship between God-language and social systems: “The strongest support imaginable for the dominance of men is the worship of an exclusively masculine Supreme Being.”

Sacred Work: Planned Parenthood and Its Clergy Alliances

The Rev. Tom Davis is not just an astute historian of a previously unrecorded coalition; he is thoroughly feminist and has been a family planning activist for many years. He points out an important historical “disconnect”: that “the high rate of criminal abortion seemed to produce no concerted sustained public opposition” from Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist institutions...

Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve

What would Christianity look like if every Christian interpreted the Bible through the lens provided by the actions and teachings of Jesus? The answer is: very different from how it looks today! And our guide in making some very rich discoveries along this line is the Reverend Paul R. Smith, who for almost fifty years has been leading Kansas City’s Broadway Church from a traditional Southern Baptist congregation toward a model of integral Christianity.

A Sword between the Sexes?

Like Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, author of the newly released Sword Between the Sexes?, I’ve remained a fan of Lewis’s works in spite of his blind spots; still, before I read her book, I had never really looked in any comprehensive way at Lewis’s view of gender.

Confessions of a Christian Humanist

For Christianity to be Christian it cannot by-pass St. Paul’s confession of Christ crucified as “the wisdom of God,” for it would have nothing distinctive to contribute to the humanist project. But for it to be humanist it cannot ignore the truth wherever it is to be found, for all truth ultimately reflects the beauty and goodness of God.

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

Leaving Church is a memoir of finding, losing, and keeping—although with none of the preachiness that sometimes accompanies such narratives and with an ever-present consciousness of doubt and uncertainty. Taylor’s honesty on these points pervades the narrative and makes it one not to miss.

The Story of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Woman’s Life

This is a book of distilled wisdom. For me, the moment called "Aging" was especially poignant. It is certainly part of my life review at this period in my life. Reading and responding to the words here was invigorating. Also challenging.

A People’s History of Christianity

Providing a nuanced work, including persons (often women) usually overlooked and dismissed, Bass brings to light the ways in which these previously disregarded people were important shapers of Christian history and tradition.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Lamott is not pious at all. And yet, she has a deep, abiding faith and strong sense of God's presence in all the parts of her life. She leans on God. She talks to God all the time and asks God for what she needs.

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Much that Sue Monk Kidd writes about her journey from complicity as a "good daughter" of patriarchal Christianity to her rebirth as a daughter of the Feminine Divine resonates with me. I have traveled much of the same path as she.

Sabbath Sense: A Spiritual Antidote for the Overworked

Just as Sabbath Sense provides a "spiritual antidote for the overworked," this prescription, if taken to heart, could bring healing not only to our own lives, but to a society which is also desperately in need of renewal.

The Wisdom of Daughters: Two Decades of Christian Feminism

edited by Reta Halteman Finger and Kari Sandhaas. Innisfree Press: Philadelphia, 2004. 269 pp, $17.95 softcover. Reviewed by Anne Linstatter In September, 1974, a daughter was born in Chicago. She lived only 20 years but her grace and truth...

Jesus Through Jewish Eyes: Rabbis and Scholars Engage an Ancient Brother in a...

Jesus was clearly intensely alive in his time, intoxicated by God and by what he saw as the highest message of Torah, the mythic, historical, mystical and spiritual yet ultimately practical teachings of his (and our) ancestors. Despite the painful anti-Jewishness of some of the Gospel stories, many Jews find Jesus of Nazareth a highly attractive figure.

Christ For All Peoples: Celebrating a World of Christian Art

Ron O'Grady has done the world a beautiful service in this collection of art and commentary. The arrangement of the book by the periods in Jesus' life make it a valuable resource for preaching and teaching--and as a book for use in meditation.

A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously...

As for Islam and violence, Eck quotes Jamal Badawi's insistence at Boston University in 1994: "Jihad cannot be equated with senseless terrorism. . . . I would challenge anyone to find an instance of the term holy war in the Qur'an. Jihad means exertion, effort, excellence. The Qur'an is described as the tool of jihad, 'Make jihad with the Qur'an,' but not with the sword."

A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists

This is the kind of book I would want to read if I were a skeptic or atheist. The book would not persuade me that Christianity is true, since that is not its aim, but it might prompt me to look more closely at Christianity.

The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire

Into this theological ferment, Schüssler Fiorenza inserts her feminist vision of radical democracy. Rather than “patriarchy” or “hierarchy,” what she opposes is “kyriarchy/kyriocentrism.” These terms derive from the Greek kyrios (lord) and describe how empire works—through “domination by the emperor, lord, master, father, husband, elite propertied male.”

Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth’s Chinese childhood springs vividly to life in Cornwell’s retelling, as does the family’s harrowing hardships during the political and military turmoil of Nationalist uprising and Japanese invasion.

Engaging the Bible: Critical Readings from Contemporary Women

The purpose shared by the authors and editors of this volume is to “illustrate how we can better equip ourselves, our churches, and our communities to raise multicultural consciousness and to broaden and enrich the interpretive strategies by which we bring our own struggles and experiences into dialogue with biblical traditions.”

Walking with Wisdom’s Daughters: Twelve Celebrations and Stories of Women of Passion and Faith

It is not often that one comes across a worship-related book so richly layered that it becomes a prized resource far beyond the parameters of corporate prayer. This volume, a treasure trove of both scholarship and artistry, is one of those.

Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts

Practitioners of the Way of Jesus today—meal servers, food preparers, scholars, pastors, Bible students, lay leaders, social activists, and evangelists—will all find much to ponder, and repeatedly to return to, in Of Widows and Meals.

Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found...

I’d heard that Franky had been expelled from boarding school and never finished high school. He’d gotten one of the young and lovely L’Abri students pregnant and they were newly married. Yet it seemed clear that despite his history, and all the gifted, spiritually mature L’Abri members (including his sisters), Franky was L’Abri’s heir apparent.

A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity

Christians today need an awareness of the intimate involvement of women in the early Christian movement, especially as it began in house churches. Too many assume women’s roles in church leadership only began during the feminist movement of the last 30 or 40 years. But we were there from the beginning!

The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and...

[The book] recurrently focuses on Lewis's changed life after conversion (which Lewis wrote about at length) and on Freud's continued hopelessness and misery. He persistently lets his protagonists present a low-key case for the psychological benefits of believing in God. Read this if you want your faith stimulated or renewed.

Growing Old in Christ

I did read this book in its entirety. It was a bit heavy in places, like life. It was filled with the issues I face daily as a physician for older people and as one who is herself aging. If you are reading this, you may well be an aging Christian yourself. You need this book to help you think about how its insights apply to you.
Gather into One

Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally

Ultimately, Hawn concludes, the point of engaging in multicultural musical expressions "is not to 'feel good' but to feel again — feel a sense of the holy and an experience of community" which will move us, with all our sisters and brothers around the globe, to shout in renewed, "polyrhythmic" enthusiasm: Alleluia! and Amen!

25 Years in the Garden

All the way back in 1981 Stokes recognized that "Women in ministry have two perpetual problems with work. The first is finding work. The second is not letting the work kill us." She goes on to say, "I used to think that when work did not hurt, it was play. Wrong. Work is still work even when it does not hurt."
Strength for the Journey

Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community

Bass is telling us two stories. As she describes it, it's "the story of intertwined journeys -- how one woman observed and experienced the shifts and struggles of mainline religion as she lived her own journey in eight Episcopal congregations over two decades. And it is the story of each congregation at a particular moment in its history" (p.18).
Holy Boldness

Holy Boldness: Women Preachers’ Autobiographies and the Sanctified Self

Using the insights of modern critical work on autobiography as a genre, Stanley explores how the experiences of salvation and sanctification empowered her subjects. Since sanctification required public testimony to it, women were both compelled and theologically sanctioned to speak out.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

I was personally impacted by Nickel and Dimed, because Ehrenreich, in part, was telling my story! For the past four years, I have been a sales associate in a large department store; and in many respects, Ehrenreich's experience parallels mine.

A Woman of Salt

Three threads of this story [there are many] seem especially powerful to me: (1) the conflict with the mother that starts when Ruth enters puberty; (2) the attempt through much of Ruth's life to pretend that her body doesn't matter; (3) the struggle to discover the life of the spirit through the mind alone.

The Secret Life of Bees

Now the content of her previous books has become the air breathed by Sue's fully-drawn characters. My favorite is May, a woman so vulnerable that she builds her own private wailing wall where she can tuck in scraps of paper from her wounded life and suffering world.
Bethlehem Road

Bethlehem Road

It is every inch as good as Isobel Miller's lesbian classic Patience and Sarah. And as a fan of Alice Walker, Dorothy Sayers, Iris Murdoch, and Laurie R. King, I am always happy to find another woman who writes good fiction with strongly theological overtones.
Anita Diamant Novels The Red Tent and Good Harbor

The Red Tent and Good Harbor by Anita Diamant

In addition to the theme of women's friendships, both novels deal with the theme of choosing a religion... Clearly, the God that women worship and the communities in which women worship their God are unique and bind women, ancient and modern, together in Diamant's world.
10 Lies the Church Tells Women

10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep...

Grady's heart may be in the right place with regard to women's roles and rights, but his research and thinking are incredibly shallow and sloppy [see sidebar]. He refers frequently to church history, but with little cultural understanding.
Where Am I Wearing?

Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour of the Countries, Factories, and People that...

Timmerman’s research began with the simple act of checking the labels on his clothes, curious about places of origin for his shirt, jeans, boxers, and flip flops. He then decided to travel to those places—Honduras, Cambodia, Bangladesh and China—to go undercover as a garment buyer in order to meet the people who made his clothes.
Leading Ladies

Leading Ladies: Transformative Biblical Images for Women’s Leadership

As I read and re-read the anecdotes Porter uses to describe each leadership style, I recognize the Midwives who mentored me, Choreographers who led rituals and celebration in many moments of crisis and joy in my life, Weavers (the woman who initiated my church group!) and the Intercessors for whom I pray because I just don't have their kind of courage.

Woman Spirit Awakening in Nature: Growing into the Fullness of Who You Are

The child-like wonder and delight in nature is recaptured, and the healing power of the Divine in nature comes through clearly in their words. Chickerneo refers to these times as finding those “metaphors-in-waiting,” and reflecting on them for self-discovery and understanding.
God the What?

God the What? What Our Metaphors for God Reveal About Our Beliefs in God

Bringing the examination of God's power and will into the discussion, Bohler discusses how in many life crises and natural disasters, what we perceive about God's power, ability and willingness to control events, and how we perceive God's care for us in that crisis, affects what we pray, how we pray, and whether we feel God answers or even cares.

Roman House Churches for Today: A Practical Guide for Small Groups

After opening chapters on house churches, Roman religion, and Roman social relations (these economical treatments are among the finest I have encountered), Finger devotes the bulk of her work to a reading of Romans that combines theological, sociological, and rhetorical analysis.
In the Land of the Living

In the Land of the Living: Prayers Personal and Public

I have just retired from college teaching, but I wish I had had this book earlier to read prayers to my Bible classes. Each professor, teacher, worship leader, and preacher who cares about justice and contemporizing our scriptures could enrich their own tasks by using this book of prayers.

Wisdom Ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation

I wish I had created a reading group to discuss the book, so that we could work together through the reflection exercises and writing prompts at the end of each chapter. Fiorenza calls this creating the circle--making a space to dance together in the "ekklesia of wo/men," her term for the radical democratic assembly of the daughters of God.

The Call to the Soul: Six Stages of Spiritual Development

Soulwork is an engaging concept at the present time, attracting numerous authors and popularizing the field of spiritual direction across denominations. This book is an invaluable contribution to the discussion.
Junia: The First Woman Apostle

Junia: The First Woman Apostle

If Paul himself did not expect women to be silent when it came to church matters, the question is open: is “Junian” a male companion of Andronicus, or the latter’s wife and an apostle in her own right -- who together carry on missionary work similar to that of Prisca and Aquila (Rom. 16:3-5)?
Christianity for the Rest of Us

Christianity for the Rest of Us

Although we’re of different generations, Diana and I had similar experiences of attending “Rotary Club”-type mainline churches that left us spiritually unsatisfied in our early years, leading us to turn to evangelicalism on our own as teenagers. There we found a more lively form of Christianity and an exciting emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ.

Faith Cure: Divine Healing in the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements

It's amazing to see how our own times' distrust of conventional allopathic medicine and the interest in alternative medicines mirrors a powerful movement of the previous century that looked for healing methods apart from drugs or doctors.
Broken We Kneel book cover

Broken We Kneel: Reflections on Faith & Citizenship

In these hard days, in these dangerous times, we need witnesses and prophets like Diana Butler Bass. Bruised and broken, we can abandon our vision. Bruised and broken, we can flee our faith. Or bruised and broken, we can kneel, dreaming of love, striving for peace, pleading for grace.
When Men Were the Only Models We Had

When Men Were the Only Models We Had: My Teachers Barzun, Fadiman, Trilling

"I do not mean, of course, that I expressed feminist views in the dreary masculinist years after World War II. But I never denied the pain to myself . . . Fiction by and about women," she wrote, "centered on an immature woman whose fate was not yet decided, in disturbing contrast to the questing, destiny-making hero of male fiction" (Grigoriadis, quoting Kress).
My Life So Far

My Life So Far

Finally, I love the way Fonda describes her conversion to Christianity and her hesitation once she comes up against “certain literal, patriarchal aspects of Christian orthodoxy.” She is reticent enough to avoid glibness, but outspoken enough to make clear her commitment to Christian feminism.

New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future

A number of familiar themes resound: strongly self-critical commentaries; recovering stories from the past and spinning new ones; the importance of knowing the tradition in order better to reclaim or redefine it; the problematics of determining what practices and beliefs are “authentically Jewish”; a robust attitude that can celebrate gains while recognizing there is much left to do.

Interacting with “Grace”

As the title indicates, grace manifests itself everywhere, ... covering topics like what conversion is, how calls to ministry occur, the crisis of terminal illnesses, the struggle to hear your own voice and stay true to it, the temptations to despair brought on by institutional dynamics of the church.
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

Her memoir’s final image beautifully captures the healing power of those surrounding her. On a one-day bus excursion with her parents and other elderly Mennonites, Janzen stops at a lavender farm; the group is swept up in spontaneous hymn singing (as Mennonites sometimes are).

Evangelical Feminism: A History

The academic study of EEWC helps to make certain that the story of biblical feminism will be included in the larger narrative of multivocal feminism in the United States. Each book and each dissertation, however, offers only one version of how to tell the story of biblical feminism.
Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova

Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman Catholic Priest

Perhaps now that a woman has publicly claimed her priesthood, we will recognize ourselves within her story. Perhaps we will find each other and then, one day, like the walls of Jericho, and the Wall in Berlin, the wall between the men and women of the Roman Catholic Church will just come tumbling down.

Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community

...with Marin; because of his genuine desire to help, his candid admissions of his own feelings, and his willingness to listen and learn (including unlearning homophobic attitudes), you have to take the bad with the good.
Unfinished Lives

Unfinished Lives:Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims

Sprinkle laments the continuing rise in the number and the brutality of violent crimes against LGBTQ people; young people in America’s schools and neighborhoods are especially being targeted at an alarming rate, as much for their non-traditional presentation of gender as for their sexual orientation.

The Sacredness of Questioning Everything and Evolving in Monkey Town

God help us to become genuinely evangelical, somehow finding ways to share the good basics of life with the least among our human relatives. A good beginning might be to read and share these books with people of every religion and no religion, whether living in Omelas or walking the road out of there.

Two Tributes to the Strength of Women’s Friendships

Author Geraldine Brooks is a person of faith who, through Anna, raises all of the theological and existential questions that mysterious disease and death raise. --- While Caldwell is not a religious person, she ponders the suddenness of Caroline's death and then the miraculous escape and recovery of Clementine after being attacked by two pit bulls.

Is It Okay To Call God “Mother”?: Considering the Feminine Face of God

I was convinced before I read this book that it was okay to refer to God in feminine ways. Yet reading the book was refreshing and rejuvenating. It encouraged me to use "she" and "her" more often when referring to God, both when talking one-on-one and when talking to my classes. Sometimes conviction also needs courage, and this book gives it.

Two New Books by Women in Church Leadership Positions

As I write this review, television and radio pundits, not to mention bloggers, tweeters, and others quick to voice opinions through the Internet have been scurrying to their respective posts this week to offer analysis and opinions about the horrendous violence in Tucson, Arizona. Even in the midst of this tragedy, the political gulf separating the country is as wide as ever.

The Galilean Secret

As theology or ethics, The Galilean Secret scores an A for its emphasis on internal reconciliation leading to external reconciliation. But as fiction, the plotting sometimes strains the reader’s credulity with some rather unlikely coincidences.

Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians

If we prepare adequately and are confident in our experience of God and God’s love for each of us, then we never need defend ourselves. Instead we can be representatives of God’s enduring love for all people by having “gentle and reverent” conversations with those who would condemn us.

Love Wins

As soon as I finished Love Wins I went out and bought a hard copy to give to my neighbor down the street. It's the kind of book you want to share. I'll give Love Wins to my friends who are dissatisfied with the Common Christian message, but who are not dissatisfied with Jesus.

The Singer and the Song: An Autobiography of the Spirit

But even as I finished the book, I sensed I was only touching the edges of it — the tassels on her magic carpet. MT's largeness of heart and ability to see and relate to Mystery goes beyond anything I can really apprehend. Yes, I understand something of the world of the Spirit, but I am too rational, too linear, too controlled to dive in with M.T.'s abandon.

Feminism in Peril: Contending with the F-Word

Instead of drawing them into the public sphere, I need to be leading by example right where I am: showing others what it means to be a Christian feminist through how I live my life, how I teach my classes, how I relate to others.

Taking Back God: American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality

This is a compelling, swift-reading collection of the voices of the women who are leading movements of change in their mosques, synagogues, and churches. Taking Back God provides a meaningful view of religious feminism from the macro level.

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

This is a must-read book for all of us who have been touched by cancer—and for all of you who hope not to be touched by it. Each of us carries tiny cancer tumors in our bodies. Many things we do unwittingly encourage cancer growth.

An Altar in the World

Taylor has an extraordinary gift of sharing with readers ways of encountering the Divine in the most ordinary events of our daily life—a walk in the park, recycling our clutter, getting lost by turning off the GPS and taking a different route home, having a short chat with the cashier at the grocery, really observing a dog, a cat, a butterfly.

New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views

Women in the ministry and students at seminary surely should read New Feminist Christianity, but also women’s studies classes and religious studies classes, feminist book clubs, and spiritual practice groups. Just give a copy to all your friends. Tell them that this is who we are.

Poets on the Psalms

Poets on the Psalms engages heart and mind and opens many windows into the ancient treasure house that is the Psalms. May these essays be given the attention that they so richly deserve.

The Help

The Help richly deserves its many weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Stockett, a white woman from Jackson, overcame her fear and tackled this tricky topic by creating the voices of three women whose lives are forever entangled and unforgettable.

Being Feminist, Being Christian: Essays from Academia

... if we are to have engaging dialogue about Christian feminism with its skeptics, we may need to speak a different language, as it were, narrating our own lives’ experiences with faith, with the church, and with Christian institutions rather than speaking only in the realm of academic disciplines.

Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America

Years after her death, Helga has become a role model for tough, independent-thinking, risk-taking women everywhere. We would all do well to learn from her, and from Linda Lawrence Hunt who gave her story back to us.

Eve’s Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body

Moreover, Barger labels androgyny as an "obscuring [of] the true nature of oneself" (140) which is an "assault on the female body" (25); drag as the "mocking of gender" (141); and same-sex relationships as contributing to the "frayed edges" of community (73).

Refuge From Abuse

One of the biggest impediments to applying biblical passages to sub-topics on abuse is that there really are not many passages that focus on women in general, much less women suffering at the hands of husbands or boyfriends in one-to-one relationships. In fact, many of the biblical reflection passages used in this book have male subjects.

After the Locusts: Letters from a Landscape of Faith

"What is life worth living for in troubled times? When the locusts come and eat away at everything we hold dear, when the fires tear through our hearts, what makes it worth going on? What I liked best about After the Locusts was the author's honesty.

Soul Sisters: Women in Scripture Speak to Women Today

Recurrent themes include the silencing and disempowerment of women and our pain at being defined and controlled by our cultures at the expense of our own voices and identities. Gateley's writing rings out, calling for women to define ourselves, to challenge the systems that imprison us in gender roles

Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism

Aronowitz and Bernstein encounter a number of young women who have already denied a feminist identity, either because the word seems connotatively loaded, or because they find the word too exclusive—a term unable to fully capture the complexity of human nature.

Matthew and Empire: Initial Explorations

This book can be extremely helpful to Christian feminists who care both about properly interpreting the Bible and who oppose all kinds of private and public oppression. There are many parallels between the ancient Roman Empire and the "American Empire" of the 21st century.

Another Blind Spot Exposed

Yet much of the history of the church -- since it became Roman under Constantine -- reflects domination of other peoples and suppression of their religious traditions and beliefs, often at the point of a sword. And today "Christian" America is fueled in part by such triumphalist theology of the Christian religious right.

Gender, Ethnicity, and Religion: Views from the Other Side

Rosemary Radford Ruether's anthology is promoting exciting new research that challenges dominant theological identities, especially S. Sue Horner's work on who we of EEWC were during each stage of the organization's development, and how that history shapes who we are today.

The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus

In my words, each tradition must hold its deepest theological convictions firmly and humbly with enormous respect for the other’s perspective. The God of Israel and of the church is One and the same; we need not fear dialogue under the wings of a loving, merciful God, portrayed both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Evangelical Identity and Gendered Family Life

What I probably liked best were her efforts to provide a sympathetic portrait of women whose religious views differ from my own. Gallagher adopts a very even-handed and respectful view towards both gender "progressives" and conservatives.

Early Christian Families in Context: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Early Christian Families in Context is a mine of valuable background for our understanding of the New Testament and early church. Most or all of it should be accessible to interested lay people who truly want to understand the cultural gap between our world and that of our sacred texts -- and to use this knowledge to wisely interpret and apply those texts.

Silent Lives

This is a book that can be used by religious. educational, and civic groups. Acknowledging her appreciation for the work of Virginia Ramey Mollenkott and Letha Dawson Scanzoni in Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? Boesser integrates religious issues into this work but does not focus on them.

If Grace is True & If God is Love

The discussion of the will of God, human free will, questions of salvation, atonement, and redemption are presented in light of the experiences of the writers and their personal spiritual journeys.
Home To Harmony book cover

“Porch Talk” & “Home to Harmony”

The books are deceptively lighthearted, though, for there is a seriousness behind the humor. Gulley is dealing with virtues and lessons to be learned and ways of being good. Bob Siles, Jr., doesn’t like living in Harmony. Well, someone remarks, “If we can’t find joy where we are, we probably won’t find it anywhere.”

Semisweetness and Light

I think Semisweetness and Light will delight and move every reader. Its small size makes it easy to carry around, and you will find yourself having a conversation with Cartledgehayes sooner or later.
Growing Into God

Growing into God — Book by Edwina Gately, CD by Kathryn Christian

[Gately's] life has been plagued with roadblocks erected by the Catholic hierarchy, self-doubt, and sometimes despair and periods of spiritual dryness. Yet, through it all, she has managed to maintain her dignity and become a truly gifted writer, poet, and speaker.

The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah’s Witnesses

One of the primary tenets of the Jehovah's Witness faith is to always tell the truth as Jehovah did. From early childhood that is exactly what Dr. Castro did and continues to do. Unfortunately, while living with her stepfather, Joy's truthfulness frequently resulted in beatings.

What God Has Joined Together: A Christian Case for Gay Marriage

And while Myers and Scanzoni examine other options to marriage, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships, they conclude that only marriage gives the rights and responsibilities essential to a stable society

Jesus Girls

The book began as an exploration of the “un-testimony… an unruly story, a story that refuses to conform to a simple before-and-after pattern,” writes Hannah Faith Notess, the book’s editor.

Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl

Campbell’s style romps happily from formal where needed to down-home whenever possible: “Dead people look like wax candles that have lost their wicks.” A “fundamentalist is an evangelical who is pissed off about something.” The attraction of fundamentalism is that it offers “a definite yes or no when you’re not comfortable with the maybes."

Onmigender: A Trans-religious Approach

his book compassionately explores the dilemma faced daily by “both”, “neither” and “other” categories of humans and proposes that Christ and the Jewish and Christian scriptures demand compassionate acceptance of all people, regardless of their genital or sex chromosome configuration.

Women Called to Witness: Evangelical Feminism in the Nineteenth Century

Women Called to Witness suggests that the American women who led the battles over temperance, female ordination, abolition, and woman suffrage in the 1800s were motivated by their evangelical Christian faith. In the Second Great Awakening revivals, which touched the lives of each of these female crusaders,