Bullet ReviewThe title is HUGELY misleading This isn t an in depth scriptural analysis of Jesus and how he was a feminist There are a few clobber verses trotted out and explained but that is only a couple of chaptersBy far most of the book is frothy overly emotional mumbo jumbo hoopla about how women pursue social causes duh how awesome that is double duh and the author s personal history This is great and all but this isn t about how Jesus was a feminist in fact I have NO CLUE what being a feminist even MEANS to BesseyAlso I found it odd how many times Bessey eferenced Rachel Held Evans fellow Christian feminist and author who ALSO happens to provide the foreword in this book Back scratchingAlso it s CHILDREN NOT TINIES It s NOT EFFING CUTE it s STUPIDVery disappointing as it was not what I expected at all I m not a fluffy touchy feely emotional girl I want FACTS and FIGURES I m sure others needing a morale boost or a pick me up will live it but not this girlFull ReviewWhat do you want when you ead Jesus Feminist Do you want a scholarly discourse about feminism biblical theory and gender oles Or would you like to ead emotional pick me up stories about how awesome women are doing awesome thingsPersonally I prefer the former I know that many people think women are overly emotional beings addicted to soap operas Chicken Soup for the Soul being emotional around their periods and Lifetime movies but I am proof positive that women aren t all the same basically things that this book touches on but doesn t eally delve deep into When I ead a nonfiction book titled Jesus Feminist with Through a thoughtful eview of biblical teaching and church practices as a descriptor I thought I was getting thisInstead I got thisI fear I must say something eally uick or people might get offended or get the wrong impression There is NOTHING WRONG with a personal memoir about how awesome Jesus is how awesome women are and the wonderful things that many women do And there are LOADS of women out there that wantneed to ead books like this whether to get them motivated or to affirm what they already believeI am not that woman When I saw Jesus Feminist I wanted to ead about how the modern evangelical interpretation was too stringent and to examine how it was meant to ead for the intended audience And admittedly Bessey does do this for a couple of the common clobber verses the ones about wives being silent in church and wives submitting to husbandsBut Bessey spends a LOT of time talking about her own path to feminism and then branches into the many ways women are doing lots of wonderful things in the world This is great don t get me wrong but it wasn t what I wantedexpected from this book It wasn t how I interpreted the titleThere were ot I had high hopes for this book I wanted to like it Even though I knew up front that there would probably be areas of disagreement I enjoy eading differing viewpoints because they challenge me to think But Jesus Feminist was a disappointment on several levels First The writing style was off putting It felt like a bunch of blog posts suished together or maybe just one long blog post Since the author is a blogger this isn t surprising But styles that work well for blogs don t always usually transfer well to a book Books euire in depth analysis and a flow of thought that you can follow throughout the book Jesus Feminist felt disjointed with a chapter on theology then a chapter on personal experience then a story about social justiceit just didn t follow a logical thought progression from beginning to endSecond The tone was patronizing Instead of grappling with the differing opinions about the topics she addressed she would say things like The Table is where coalitions and councils metaphorically sit in swivel chairs to discuss who is in and who is out who is ightand who is wrongI don t worry about the Table much anySomeday I eally believe this we will throw our arms around the people of the Table as they break up the burnished oak We ll be there to help them heave it out the window smashing every glass ceilingand then we ll dance around those old arguments together laughing So instead of actually engaging the points made by people who oppose her she basically says don t worry about them someday they ll come around and then we ll all laugh at what they used to believe In one sense she s ight One day God will make all things clear and we won t fight over petty differences because we ll be in his presence But until then it s important that we grapple with the ideas in Scripture particularly the ones that don t seem to fit our worldview or system How can Bessey hope to win people to her perspective if she basically tells them their concerns are idiculous and aren t worth her time Even if I did subscribe to her feminist viewpoint the writing still seems to speak down to the eader We women aren t just blobs of emotion We also have brains and we want to engage them But Bessey s writing was full of emotionalism it s a style you find on many blogs but it doesn t work well in a book The entire last chapter is what Bessey calls a commissioning I commission you says Bessey to do whatever you believe you should do with no guilt and with lots of peace Now I send you out Go change the World But What Grounds But what grounds the author have for this commissioning She has no authority over her eader and
christ has alreadyhas already us We don t need anyone else s blessing to be wives and mothers and teachers and whatever else God has called us to be This chapter I believe is meant to eliminate guilt women might be facing for doing things they have previously been told women are not allowed to do like preaching Bessey is giving them her stamp of approval But again who is Bessey to make such a commission especially when she has failed to engage the disputed texts in any kind of scholarly way Third Her theology was tenuous I ve learned to stop caring about the big dustups between complementarians and egalitarians says Bessey Instead she wants her eaders to understand that Jesus loves all of us even women But it s unfair to paint compelementarians as a bunch of arrogant men sitting at a table who won t let women have a say and who think the female sex should be elegated to the kitchen or the craft table That s simply not true But it s the picture Bessey paints She spends a lot of time talking about all the wonderful things women have done the charity work the missions the escuing And I found myself agreeing with her a lot except where she talked about women being pastors See the complementarian viewpoint isn t one which says women are second class citizens who aren t gifted by God to do extraordinary things It simply says they have different oles based on explicit passages of Scripture Bessey attempts to explain these passages of Scripture away using ecycled arguments from Rachel Held Evans book A Year of Biblical Womanhood In fact she uotes Evans extensively throughout the book which got a trifle annoying too I found the arguments unconvincing euiring a view of Scripture which says portions of the Bible that don t fit our cultural schematic can be disregarded If you want a better discussion of this viewpoint ead Evans book can be disregarded If you want a better discussion of this viewpoint ead Evans book ead it and while I disagree with Evans I found her style much thought provoking Indeed Bessey herself says I hold almost all of it loosely in my hand now all of it but this the nature identity soul action and character of God is love lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove It being former opinions about what God is like or should be likeThis is disturbing to me God is many things besides love he is holy just faithful merciful gracious jealous ighteous name your attribute And he is all of these things completely None outshines any other But saying that God is love and love alone only allows us to throw out parts of the Bible that don t seem loving instead of trying to understand them This book turned out to be so much preaching to the choir people already leaning toward a feminist interpretation of Scripture might cry Amen sister Although from eading other eviews it seems that serious feminists didn t find this book compelling or helpful either But for someone who eally wants a thoughtful discussion about a disputed topic this book failed on every level It s of a memoir about Bessey s personal journey but without enough details to make it engaging This book purports to be An invitation to evisit the Bible s view of women Exploring God s adical notion that women are people too This statement sort of sums up one of the major problems I had with the book Bessey s assumption that being complementarian means you think women are less important or of less value than men This accusation is unfair just as it would be unfair to say that all egalitarians are power hungry women who just want to ule over men Neither caricature is true and we can t have honest discussions that allow us to discover what God s Word actually says until we e willing to uit drawing lines in the sand and lobbing grenades at everybody in the other camp This book was a HUGE disappointment for me If you ve ead anything at all about being a feminist as a Christian or women s issues in Christianity then you should definitely skip this book I have no doubt you already know than this book will offer you through a tiny bit of online esearch I didn t ealize that so much of the book would be about the author That in itself is not an awful thing but the purple prose this writer uses to discuss her elationship with Christianity is just terrible writing Only now eading the eviews written by other people who were less impres. Written with poetic hythm a prophetic voice and a deeply biblical foundation this loving yet fearless book urges today’s church to move beyond man made estrictions and fully welco.
Sarah Bessey × 9 free downloadD love between women if it leads us to understand that OUR WAY of being a woman wife and mother is not the ONLY way to do it I will take it The book is written informally and seems to have deeply personal moments in it Though it wasn t for me I knew it wasn t when I picked it up I do think hope that it has the possibility to open up a lot of minds about what it is to be a feminist This eview is based on an advance eview copy supplied through NetGalley by the publisher This is heavy on the Jesus light on the feminist This is not eally the book I thought it would be and I don t think the back blurb does it justice It does not delve nearly as deep as I thought it would into biblical easons for feminism and is very VERY heavy on evangelical Christian phrases It is absolutely written for a devout evangelical Christian crowd If those adjectives don t describe you this book won t hit homeBessey s writing style is overwrought to be frank Certain parts are beautifully crafted to be sure but this book is page after page of verbose ornately phrased prose Like fudge Bessey s writing is best enjoyed one tiny bite at a timeThat being said if you e in the target demographic for this book it might be just what you e looking for a brief explanation of how one woman s faith and feminism mesh If you e a not very devout Christian feminist or a secular feminist curious about Christian Feminism you won t find what you e looking for here I wish Bessey had explained a little about how she econciles her Christianity and Feminism It felt like she was just about to and then the book changed tack and she started talking about orphanages in Haiti It felt like she wrote two short tangentially elated pieces and joined them together to make a bookI also wish Bessey had delved into feminism and feminist theory itself It A solid first book and an important one for its conversation starting potential Right out of the gate let me say that I think what Sarah is doing here is eally important By putting the word Jesus in lights ight next to feminist she s forcing a certain conversation that some folks would ather not have ight now or ever Feminism has been ecast in the past few decades as anathema to Christianity in many ways Simply suggesting that one can hold to both concepts and implying that being a Jesus Feminist is possible in a way that will not in fact esult in a sort of universe destroying cataclysm is a adical statement in itself it would seemStarting with the introduction and all the way through to her hopeful commission in the final chapter Sarah s primary mode of interaction with the eader is one of disarming She sets the tone early on saying We have often treated our communities like a minefield acted like theology is a war and we are the wounded and we are the wounding She s acknowledging up front the firepower we often bring to discussions like these and suggests that instead of trying to kill each other maybe we could just try to hear each other instead As you ead on you start to understand that this is no empty gesture Sarah is consistently disarming in her grace her candor and her willingness to let us into the most intimate most painful experiences of her life Some people bring knives to gunfights All Sarah brought was her story and the esult is that we cannot help but lower our weapons and listen to her tell it So as you settle in past the introduction and into the meat of the book itself the feeling is far coffee or tea on a Saturday afternoon than it is a sermon on Sunday or a lecture on Monday There are two primary arcs that Sarah weaves artfully through the book and I ll try to do them justice here The first is the efusal to meet the old arguments for patriarchy on their own terms She kindly yet thoroughly dismantles much of the traditional case for the marginalization of women and girls in and by the church and presents a positive Jesus centric ideal for the adical inclusion of women in the ongoing edemptive work of God in the world She saysInstead in Christ and because of Christ we are invited to participate in the Kingdom of God through edemptive movement for both men and women toward euality and freedom We can choose to move with God further into justice and wholeness or we can choose to prop up the world s dead systems baptizing injustice and power in sacred languageShe s essentially efusing to allow patriarchy exclusive claim to the language of the divine and it works uite well The line about baptizing injustice and power in sacred language is still inging in my ears In speaking of Jesus healing the woman with the crippled hand in the synagogue she highlights the phrase Jesus used daughter of Abraham This has always struck me as a eally pivotal even if often overlooked piece of the story With a single word Jesus upsets generations of eligions dogma and sociocultural programming Some might ask to what end But that s the thing we know the end and we start to see where Sarah is taking us
The trajectory of Christ s life was always singular in its focus of econciling creation back into shalomtrajectory of Christ s life was always singular in its focus of econciling creation back into shalom its creator Every word that he spoke was a waypoint one that journey and this one was no different In deconstructing the igid gender hierarchies of His day He was giving us a model and I d argue a directive to do the same thing in oursIn dealing with the household codes she says they are not universal standards without context or purpose And I might add no matter how much we would like them to be In contextualizing she says It s helpful for me in discerning the meaning of these Passages To Turn To The Rest Of The Writer S to turn to the est of the writer s In a letter to the church in Galatia Paul wrote There is no longer Jew or gentile slave or free male or female For you are all one in Christ Jesus Again she gracefully efuses to allow patriarchal voices to violate the text in order to continue to oppress women and girls She brings the point suarely home with this When women are estricted from the service of God in any capacity the church is mistakenly allowing an imperfect male dominated ancient culture to drive our understanding and practice of Christ s edeeming work Indeed Here we catch a glimpse again of where she s taking us in that she s showing the utter irrelevance irrelevance of this mode of thinking She s leading us by the hand toward something bigger gently and lovingly telling us to just leave all of that behind for good and step into something greaterWhere Sarah eally starts to sing is when she starts talking about the Kingdom of God This second arc is the eal telos underlying much of her work and it shows Now it s not that the est of the book isn t wonderful but she eally hits her stride here especially in the latter half of the book and you can tell it s where she s most at home She s part preacher part prophet and part political evolutionary as she says of the work women and men are doing all over to advance the Kingdom of God Can t you see It s all an act of protest a snatching back from the darkness a proclamation of freedom a evolution of love And isn t it a miracleShe paints a picture with her words of the Kingdom of God that s so beautiful so adically inclusive and so affirming of its constituents that it s hard to not want to be a part of it She leaves no uestion about whether or not patriarchy is something that could be a part of this new Kingdom She doesn t beg eaders to take her word for any of this but ather she invites them to walk in the fullness of what she already knows to be the truth It is a testament to both her grace and her authenticity I think that she can so plainly lay out a critiue of the social system that awards me privilege at her expense and instead of feeling ebuffed I feel encouraged that there s something better out there for me to step into as well Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand Jesus said I think what that means is finally starting to sink in She writesIf we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand we would know that the kingdom of God in the sense of holiness goodness beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born both within ourselves and within the world we would know that Kingdom of God is what all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don t know its name or ealize that it s what we e starving to death forBy the end of the book when her song about the Kingdom of God eaches its crescendo in an exhortation and an invitation to stand up and take part in this new Kingdom you can t help but want to get on board And through it all she eminds us that there is another way that clenched fists aren t necessarily the only way we can eact to the sort of systemic injustice she s combatting here Instead she shows us an alternative paradigm of open arms Clenched fists are worthless but for striking out but open arms grieve with those who grieve and comfort those who need comforting You can slide one of those open arms around the waist of a brother or sister who s falling down and hold them up or you can lock arms in solidarity with your sisters and brothers across the world or ight there in your hometown Clenched fists connote condemnation but open arms on the other hand that s the stuff of edemptionYou and me she says near the end we are Kingdom people an outpost of edemption engaged in God s mission of econciliationMay it be so It s hard to ead this book which uotes When Harry Met Sally and uses the Message version for almost all Scripture as a viable argument for women in leadership She says a lot of flowery poetic pretty things about community but if you e looking for fundamental truths found. And in the church But patriarchy she came to learn was not God’s dream for humanity Bessey engages critically with Scripture in this gentle and provocative love letter to the Churc. .
Sed with this book am I learning she s a blogger Her voice MIGHT work in a blog but that s because she has the kind of writing style you can only take in short dosesWhat I thought this book would do is tell me a little about what it means to be a feminist and a Christian the implications of those things together understanding your faith in the face of a sexism that often dominates your eligion the issues you grapple with and ways to understand them and the explanationsconversations you have with other people who just don t get it It didn t do any of that Just based on the title I thought it would be esearched and thought provoking That it would examine the way the Bible views and treats women But any time it even came close to doing that it was through the words of some other person That s fine but if you have nothing to add to the critical conversation on christian feminism then perhaps you shouldn t write a book about it Because it seems pertinent I m a feminist YayI would like to tell you that I am a feminist because of Jesus It s probably true in some ways but I prefer to say that I became a feminist because of my mother and my aunts and my grandmothers and the way they were Jesus to me I could also say I am a feminist for my son s future Because the church where I grew up taught the girls how to put on makeup while the boys were mentored by our pastors Because my students still insult each other with the phrase like a girl Because of income ineuality and maternity leave or lack thereof I see the world through my experiences as a woman and a Christian and a librarian and all of those things have made me a feminist There were lots of small things that shaped my ealization that Christianity and feminism aren t eally at odds but the thing that finally made me unafraid to claim the title was an essay on Tomato Nation called Yes You Are I am a feminist You might be too And that s a good thingSo of course as a lady who is a Christian and a feminist a book titled Jesus Feminist intrigued me I ead Sarah Bessey s blog from time to time and on her about page she defines herself as one of those happy clappy Jesus followers If you know me at all you know that I have never been happy clappy about much of anything and that her breathless prophetic style is a little bit emotionally intense for straightforward old me not to mention the part where she talks about loving her Vineyard past in all its speaking in tongues glory and I get a little panicky But I knew all of that going in to the book and I wanted to give it a try anywayJesus Feminist is a little bit about Sarah Bessey s spiritual journey and a little bit about girl power and a little bit about women in the Bible It s a lot about love God s love the love of a mother for her children and the love of women for each other And it s a call for women to pursue justice for other women throughout the world If you are a woman who uestions her place in the church if you need a eminder that you are beloved as a child of God then Jesus Feminist is a book that will speak to youAs a casual eader of Bessey s work I was surprised that so much of the book was already familiar to me I had ead several of the chapters in blog form so if you are a hard core fan I am not sure how much new material you will find in Jesus Feminist This is important to note because I doubt very seriously that anyone who is strongly opposed to the idea of feminism would pick up a book called Jesus Feminist and yet a lot of the material seemed to be both from her blog and preaching to the choirI had two main problems with Jesus Feminist First I would suggest that the book might have worked better as a memoir with her journey to being a Jesus feminist woven throughout It felt disjointed and could have used a stronger framework on which to hold the storyMy second problem with it was that Jesus Feminist didn t match its title This is not aiming to be a scholarly work and barely talks about feminism at all except in a women are eual doncha know kind of way Bessey s ualifications appear to be that she eally loves Jesus and she grew up in churches where men and women are eual Her husband went to seminary and she ead his books and edited his papers but she points to no serious study of women s issues or women s history Instead the book is positioned as an impassioned plea to let women use their gifts In the second half of the book it does explore Biblical issues egarding women but my guess is that she would have already lost anyone she was hoping to convince by focusing entirely on her feelings and God s love for everybody at the beginning While I think there are some interesting points in here about women in the church I think the book deserved a different title one that better epresented the story inside Jesus Feminist seems To Be A Title That Intends To Shock And Intends To Shock be a that intends to shock and that t pair with the warm tone of Bessey s writing A better title might have been Abba s Daughter as Bessey eturns again and again to the idea of an Abba Father who loves and gifts all of his childrenDespite Bessey s style being a little bit much for me I do think that there is an audience for Jesus Feminist It s not a book for a person who is interested in deeply studying the subject of women in the church but it would be a good introduction to the topic especially for women who feel marginalized by the church I wish I could give it to 16 year old me who would have liked to know that she wasn t so alone There is a place for us I would say and this might help you find it There is a lot to like about this book which made some of my disappointments all the frustrating The good Sarah Bessey is delivering an important and affirming message This is a great starting point and eadable overview of the importance of women in the church one which challenges the often destructive limiting oles women are usually givenThe disappointing I ve greatly enjoyed following Sarah Bessey s blog over the past year and maybe that s where most of my disappointment stems from So much of this felt like something I had ead before in particulars not just in tone It was a lot of ecycled material and the strongest parts were those I d already ead on the blog The tone too also became distracting to me it s a bloggish tone works well online but in the book gets a bit tiring addressing the eader directly eferring to children as tinies and the generally personal journallish tone of the book are things that work well in blog form but don t translate as well or as sincerely to print Often it felt like I was eading an extended blog entry or ather a series of them smooshed together There was so much going on in the book that it felt disjointed theology memoir blog Another small frustration consisted of a couple of uses of Narnia imagery without explanation As someone who has ead the books and ead plenty of other Christian books I get it And it s possible that I only noticed this as a esult of an event that occurred earlier on the day I began eading this book But for some eason these unexplained eferences specifically one to Jesus as Aslan jumped out at me Someone unfamiliar with the Narnia books not to speak of unfamiliar with Christian culture would have no idea what this meant and it would have been so easy to add a uick explanation or to explain the eference Full eview here book has taught in what order my own philosophies lie I am a feminist over an atheist I like to think of myself as a humanist first so this eally shouldn t surprise me I think that this is a fantastic book for Christian women It s written oddly by an evangelical Christian who I believe is also a literalist I didn t find the book to be that outrageous or outside the box but evidently it is Bessey asserts that she is a feminist and defines a feminist exactly as I would someone who believes that men and women should share the same legal political social and economic ights Gloria Steinem A feminist is anyone who ecognizes the euality and full humanity of women and men She asserts that it s as simple as that And it is She then takes the framework of her faith and her Bible and put it together with anecdotical evidence on how Jesus made her a feminist I ll take it She asks Christian women to leave behind arguing apologetics and feeling angry and upset that there s no place at The Table for them and instead instructs them to love teach care and yes preach She is pro life I grow tired of seeing feminist on feminist arguments so I m not going to engage in it here abortion is a separate issue from feminism for me at least I m not entirely sure of her historical Biblical assertions but this does not surprise me as it is not my Bible She interprets Paul s words in 1 Cor 1434 35 Women be silent as a letter to specific women at a specific church in a specific time in history She then goes to solidify her argument with examples of other women in scripture doing great things She attacks the notion of Biblical Womanhood and Biblical Manhood for that matter She welcomes working mothers single mothers and single women into the church and seems to possess an understanding that the idealized version of a Biblical woman that many not all Christian evangelicals may possess is not only inaccurate but unattainable She calls out the church for doing exactly what secular society is doing to women that is setting standards that are unattainable and then beating up women when they fall short Writing this maybe I do see how this book could be considered adical Like I said if this book will help lead Christian women towards empowerment in their own way if it will lead to greater understanding an. Me women’s diverse voices and experiences A freedom song for the church Sarah Bessey didn’t ask for Jesus to come in and mess up all her ideas about a woman’s place in the world.