The Beguines were a Christian ministry originating among the women of the laity outside of those who took monastic vows and entered convents. The “Beguines” gained their identity from a Belgic root-word—beg—meaning to mumble or to speak without clarity. This term was used disparagingly by highly privileged men who were jealous of women who were able to live independently economically and hold positions of privilege. The Beguines represented a broad spectrum of women of differing backgrounds who gave their lives and means to help the destitute, the ill, the downtrodden, and the homeless. Laura Swan’s history of the Beguines is the first good complete treatment of the Beguines that this reviewer has ever seen.
Gayle Haggard's Why I Stayed is a spellbinding book. My reflections, as I read it, revolved around three separate but related themes—marriage, mutuality, and "healing through meeting." We all see the stories others tell about their lives through the prism of our own.
The Gospel According to Eve is a valuable resource for any egalitarian to have in their library. I also recommend it as assigned reading as part of a larger treatment or course on the history of interpretation.
In his book Gender Rolitis: Redeem Unhealthy Gender Roles, Kirk E. Farnsworth uses scripture to examine the dangers of gender-based hierarchy and explores the merits of gifts-based partnership. Included are resources for identifiying spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, traits, and life experiences which might be used to identify and pursue one's calling.
Paula Gooder presents an imaginative telling of the life and ministry of Phoebe. She states that her purpose in writing this story is not simply to provide an entertaining novel, but also to inform readers of the reality behind the NT text.
Manhood is under siege and not because there are women in the board room and men in the laundry room. The crisis that threatens men has ancient roots according to James, and the only real solution is to recapture the even more ancient imago dei we find revealed in those first two chapters of Genesis.
In Breaking the Marriage Idol, Kutter Calloway describes how the modern church has become distracted by pagan norms for sexual expression and marriage, and why this contributes to our idealization of marriage and the marginalization of unmarried persons. Arguing that the church has bought in to the Hollywood notion that marriage is the antidote to sexual promiscuity, Callaway calls the church to provide new stories to refute this superficial formula. He offers vision for how the church can become a place where love for the other is the pinnacle, and both unmarried and married persons lead and follow side by side, representing the best expression of God's intent for his people.