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Published Date: March 11, 2019

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Book Review: Hermanas

Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence is a beautiful mosaic of Bible stories interwoven with the narratives of immigrant women who for centuries have welcomed us to their tables. The book begins with an invitation, “Welcome to the table, sisters,” and leads us along the ancient way of storytelling, the same way our grandmothers and mothers would share their journeys with us. Hermanas is a traveling feast, each author lending her unique style and distinctive flavor to biblical narratives. At this table, hermeneutics intertwine with our everyday lives; pain and lament are met with hope and faith; the truth of colonization and indigenous displacement illuminate cultural and racial tensions.

In Hermanas, the colorful threads of the individual narratives of women of the Bible are intricately woven into the whole. We are reminded that to make the gospel tapestry complete, each one’s threads must be displayed. When stories go unheard or misunderstood, we isolate and dismiss one another. The importance of each of God’s sons and daughters being seen and heard is a truth we all feel deeply in our soul. We must acknowledge this reality for others, but also for ourselves. Hermanas roots this truth in stories like Esther’s, which teaches us to completely embrace who we are and where we came from so that our voices will become a clarion call for those who follow. Our individual stories are vital to our shared experience. In particular, Hermanas highlights Bible stories of being an immigrant in spaces where theirs was not the majority culture and of the leaders who arose to engage those challenges.

Additionally, Hermanas unravels the intricate ways hierarchy and patriarchy continue to produce complex dysfunctions, a product of generations of erroneous patterns and an insatiable sinful appetite for authoritarian control. In particular, the book pushes back on the sexualization of Latina women, yet the authors manage to do this without leaving readers in a place of palpable pain. Additionally, the authors mourn the brokenness enacted on those who are bicultural and the resounding call of God in the midst of la lucha (the struggle). Hermanas guides us through the maze of hardships women survived in hostile places that were never designed to be inhabited.

In Hermanas, the authors share their lives and the lives of characters in the Bible who were beautifully marked by a divine encounter with God. Their stories inspire readers to strongly push back against a patriarchal focus and unapologetically teach the benefits of a healthy missional collaboration between males and females. The book explores the ramifications of colorism within our own communities and the emotional anguish of being among the few who are making it in the academic world. Readers may find their hearts pierced by the conviction that we rob others of their identities when we use stereotypes to label those struggling to know where they fit. This is a book for anyone seeking to break from those monochromatic thinking patterns.

Hermanas will reignite the passionate fires of a culture rich in heritage but marred by painful lament for how much further along we should be. The book is filled with imagery that is captivating, the multifaceted colors of being a Latina. These authors are giving voice to Latinas whose identity and influence have been vastly ignored and often dismissed. The book is filled with colorful imagery, grace, and biblical truth and is very much worth the read.