This book was actually published before A God I’d Like To Meet, so I read them in the wrong order. These books make different points about the problem with the traditional role of women in the church and the notions of God’s intention for us as a sex. While the last one makes a good point of showing that any God who shuts people out, condemns them without reason, and only chooses to save a precious few is not someone I’d like to meet.
In this book, the point is that patriarchal beliefs of the past influenced the way we have interpreted God’s words and the Bible negatively for women. Opening up a bigger context and reading beyond the single verses used to justify authoritarian arguments is recommended here. This supports ideas that I have seen elsewhere, such as when he points out that the word for “helper” that refers to women’s creation is the same word used to refer to the help that God gives, which was also mentioned in Jesus Feminist. It should not be read as subordinate. We have a tendency to put our own spin on what God must mean when we create systems of faith and some of our more patriarchal ideas and traditions can be seen as having done this.
Of course, this generation is not exempt and we will someday see where we may have been wrong, too. Nevertheless, it is important to go back and look with fresh eyes occasionally at the actual Bible and not just trust what someone says about what it means. It is important to do a little research and understand the groups involved and the timeframe and not judge ancient cultures with modern thoughts.
This is a great book, and recommended for anyone interested in women’s role in the church. The author is also a contributor to The Junia Project and has his own blog here. Both continue to advocate to further women’s involvement in church leadership and educate people on the egalitarian view of Christianity. There is a growing perspective in secular spaces that Christianity doesn’t “believe in” or care about it’s women which is harmful and just wrong. Many women leave churches who teach this perspective without finding churches and denominations that would welcome them, their leadership, their call or just their participation. While I recognize that religion and faith isn’t for everyone, I find it especially disappointing that people might be kept away from it due to misrepresentation alone.
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