Come here and sit with me. There’s plenty of room and I’ll even share a throw pillow with you. I want us to be good and comfortable as we delve into our first book Jesus Feminist. When the Red Couch team started contemplating what this book club would look like, we knew almost immediately what book we would read first.
The bright yellow book by our very own Sarah Bessey.
In Jesus Feminist, Sarah offers a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices. Hers is a prophetic voice of what is and what could be for those who want to live out their giftedness and calling. It is precisely because of her faith that Sarah describes herself as a feminist. She invites us along on the journey. In fact, she invites us to sit outside under the stars and commune around a bonfire.
That’s not so different from the Red Couch, is it not?
As I said in my own review, “Jesus Feminist bridges the gap between all of us, men and women, married and single, young and old, conservative and liberal, and so on. No matter what you believe about feminism, Bessey offers a fresh look at the Bible’s view of women and invites us to have a better discussion.”
That’s not to say there isn’t room for disagreement or constructive criticism. While I personally feel Jesus Feminist is a game changer and hope you’ll feel the same way, my head is not stuck in the sand, nor do I avoid discussions with those who believe differently. In fact, the Red Couch is about creating room for these very conversations.
“Feminist” is a charged word. Chances are we define it differently. Chances are we can point to both positive and negative examples. Chances are we don’t always recognize what feminism has brought to the table. It is easy to forget how very little room there was for women in the first place and that much work still needs to be done.
None of us approaches this topic empty-handed. Men and women alike, we have heard the stories, received the messages, observed treatment (or experienced it ourselves), studied, prayed, discerned. We may come to very different conclusions and this does not mean that one side is RIGHT and another is WRONG. (Even if we feel that way deep down inside.) What I try to develop in myself is an openness to listening and an openness to changing my mind. Above all, I try to season my conversations with grace. I want people to walk away from me feeling heard, even if we ultimately agree to disagree.
So let’s have that better discussion. As you read this month, consider what you believe about feminism and faith. Think about what you were taught and what you’ve experienced. Contemplate the role of women in the church, the workplace, the home.
Maybe you already consider yourself to be a Jesus Feminist. Maybe you don’t. That’s OK. We’re in this together.
Come back Wednesday January 29 for a discussion post led by Sarah Caldwell. On Twitter, the official Red Couch Book Club hashtag is #redcouchbc, for those interested in discussing and sharing quotes in the meantime. Don’t forget our February book is God Has a Dream.
How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership– ed. Alan Johnson
The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible– Scot McKnight
Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women– Carolyn Custis James
Making Paper Cranes: Toward an Asian-American Feminist Theology– Mihee Kim-Kort
Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology– Monica Coleman
A Year of Biblical Womanhood– Rachel Held Evans
She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse– Elizabeth Johnson
Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family– Gilbert Bilezekian
Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy– eds. Ronald W. Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, and Gordon D. Fee
Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center– bel hooks
What’s on your mind as we begin to read Jesus Feminist?
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