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.
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.
She Preached the Word explores data around who supports women’s ordination in the United States, why, and the effects of women in ministry on those in the pew. The book serves as a tool to understand congregants' views on women's ordination and offers some discussion on how those views are formed, including the influence of politics on theological convictions. It is a starting point for advocates who want to find the most effective strategies to change opinions around women ministers.
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.
In Threads of Wisdom, Caroline Mendez responds to a vacuum that exists for Christian women in business. There is little opportunity for them to engage with other Christian businesswomen about how to use their God-given abilities in the workplace while at the same time giving expression to their faith.
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.
Anatomy of a Schism is unlike any other book about a church split. Most narratives of a split revolve around a theological or moral interpretation that becomes so difficult to walk together in that the only logical conclusion is to walk apart. What’s often lost in these narratives is the individual stories of people who experienced and dialoged about the schism as it was happening. In many instances, we can watch a news segment about a church split which may give an overview of what happened and inform the viewer that the once unified congregation will now be meeting in part at the park district and in part at the library. Rarely, do you hear the news anchor inform their audience about how the schism affected nine year-old Susan or ten year-old Jack.
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.