Every day I look at my two-year-old daughter and imagine what kind of person she will become. What career will she pursue? What sort of friends will she have? What books will she like? My prayer is that whatever such specifics are that she will live a life in service and discipleship to Jesus Christ.
Perhaps for this reason I have found myself drawn to reading more books and blogs by Christian women. I remember noticing the book Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner years ago and assuming, based on the title, that it was written for women. It seemed that Christian publishers gave us two sorts of books – books by men for men and women and books by women for women. When a friend urged me to read Winner’s book, noting that it was not a book targeted at only females, I did and I loved it. Now I recommend it to people as one of my favorites, though with an unfortunate title.
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey is another book that male readers may walk past, assuming it is for women. I hope this does not happen, for it is a spectacular book that any Christian, male or female, would benefit from reading. There are certainly parts of the book where Bessey appears to be directing her words to women. Yet as a whole the book is fantastic for men or women.
Bessey does not want to write just another book on whether women can serve in pastoral ministry, reciting the same old passages from either side of the debate. She does bring up some such passages and does offer her opinion on them, but her book is so much more than that. This is what is best about it – it is not an argument for women to be in ministry, it is a vision-casting of a church where both men and women serve alongside each other using their gifts to create the kingdom of God on earth.
So many times throughout the book I found myself whispering amen. There is a hurting world out there, a world broken by injustice and oppression, sin and death. Jesus came into this world bringing the long promised healing of such things. The church, as Jesus’ representative, continues this mission.
How much more could the church do if we did not relegate half of humanity to the sidelines? A church that limits women in how they can use their gifts is like a football team playing with just an offense or a band doing a concert with half its members. Why try such things? Let us as the community of God’s people unleash our sisters in Christ on the world, using their gifts to serve.
My hope is that this book is read by many. Ladies, read this book and be empowered. That said, I feel a desire to give a special urging to men – read this book. It is easy for us pastors to read theology and ministry books mostly by men. One of the first steps for men, who have so long been in power in the church, to empower women is to listen. So take time to listen to Sarah Bessey. Not only is the book inspiring, she is a fantastic writer and thus it is a joy to read.
I can’t help but think of my daughter as I read books like this. This is the sort of book I would want to give her as a Christian teenager in about 14 years. Or maybe in 14 years books like this won’t be necessary, because the hopes and dreams contained within it will have been achieved.
I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley for purposes of review.