In a faith centered on love and inclusion, are single people and their God-given gifts truly being welcomed in our churches? According to theologian Christina Hitchcock, definitely not. Instead, she argues, American evangelical churches suffer from a fear of single people.
Intellectually we know God is beyond gender; however, using only masculine pronouns sends image-shaping messages to our hearts and minds that are incorrect. By neglecting the feminine imagery for God, we have distorted our understanding of God.
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.
Pure examines the harmful effects of evangelical Christianity's purity culture with particular emphasis on the long-lasting and outward-rippling effects of shame. Of particular interest to CBE's audience, the book details the ways in which purity culture cooperates with patriarchy and harms women.
As a whole, Feminist Thought is a thoroughly-researched and concise treatment of a notoriously controversial and complex subject. Readers have professors Tong and Botts to thank for their tireless work on this extremely helpful volume. I highly recommend Feminist Thought if for no other reason than to put the brakes on judgment regarding what “feminist” might mean in today’s highly fragmented and tribalistic culture.
In her book, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else, Melanie Springer Mock critiques the Christian culture which labels people and puts them into boxes. She then affirms God’s heart for every individual by emphasizing how much he loves them, regardless of what the world might think. She shares many experiences from her own life, both painful and positive, that helped challenge her thinking.
While this book does not explore new territory regarding the issue of women in ministry, it does serve a useful purpose: This is an ideal book to give your pastor, especially if he is straddling the fence on this issue. One pastor speaking to other pastors can have a powerful impact.
The secret of building families to last is found in Kari's emphasis on parents modelling the Christian life before their children. If the mother and father—who are responsible before God for what happens in the home—are not walking with God, and not walking in harmony with each other before God, how can they become models to their children?