In The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth, Beth Allison Barr shares her personal story of rejecting complementarian views on male headship and female submission. Growing up, Barr had internalized the complementarian notions of “biblical” womanhood from the teaching of evangelical influencers such as Bill Gothard, James Dobson, Pat Roberston, the LaHayes, and others. A variety of disturbing and hurtful interactions faced by Barr and her husband prompted a deep examination of the topic.
Rediscovering the Marys: Maria, Mariamne, Miriam, edited by Mary Ann Beavis and Ally Kateusz, consists of seventeen essays by different authors, divided into three sections: Revisiting Which Mary: Does Which Mary Matter?, Rediscovering the Marys in Mission and Leadership, and Recovering Receptions of the Marys in Literature, Art and Archaeology. The authors explore how the biblical Miriam, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene were portrayed in the early Christian era, also touching on Jewish and Muslim interpretations.
A Church Called Tov, co-written by Scot McKnight and his daughter Laura Barringer, addresses the importance of creating and sustaining a good (Hebrew tov) church culture. The book is written in two parts: the first four chapters (1) discuss the nature and significance of church culture and (2) diagnose characteristics of a toxic church culture. The remainder of the book describes and elaborates on seven aspects of a tov/good church culture.
Making my way into this book, I increasingly felt I could not write a review without knowing at least a bit about its author. Debbie Blue is co-founding minister of House of Mercy, a Christian congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“We must revisit what the Scriptures say about some Bible women we have sexualized, vilified and/or marginalized. Because, above all, we must tell the truth about what the text says” (16). So writes editor Sandra Glahn in the preface to this volume. Glahn teaches media arts and worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. She holds a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is author or co-author of more than twenty books, including several volumes in The Coffee Cup Bible Study Series.
Marriage in the Middle: Embracing Midlife Surprises, Challenges, and Joys, by Dorothy Littell Greco, offers couples personal wisdom and perspective on marriage in middle age. Greco weaves together compelling first-person narratives with the stories of many aging couples from diverse ethnic backgrounds to provide insight, vulnerability, and hope. Although not explicitly focused on egalitarians, this book addresses role expectations and fairness issues that can sabotage equal unions and hinder them from flourishing.
In Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause: An Unexpected Spiritual Journey, Cheryl Bridges Johns shines a new light on the dramatic transformation that takes place during perimenopause and menopause. She invites us to see menopause as more than a time of biological change by examining the psychological and spiritual aspects. One of the most compelling aspects of Johns’s book is how she brings to light the way misogyny and a diminished view of women’s bodies has prevented women from embracing the normal biological experience of menopause as a holistic, transformative experience.
Isabel Wilkerson, a former journalist for the New York Times, won the Pulitzer Prize for her previous work, The Warmth of Other Sons: The Epic Story of America’s great Migration.
Ben Witherington III is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, near Lexington, Kentucky, where he has taught since 1995. He is the author of over sixty academic and popular books, including the Christianity Today award-winning The Jesus Quest (1995) and The Paul Quest (1998) as well as commentaries on the entire NT.
I wish I had read this book the very first day I assumed leadership at CBE International. Trained as a historical theologian, there was very little in seminary or graduate studies that prepared me for the spiritual, emotional, and psychological challenges of this work. What is worse, every weakness I had innately possessed or acquired through my upbringing and beyond added to the sinkholes I faced. Nearly at a breaking point, a board member suggested this book. It was exactly what I needed.