- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Howard Books (Nov. 5 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1476717257
- ISBN-13: 978-1476717258
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women Paperback – Nov 5 2013
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"Bessey’s warm and intimate writing sets this book apart from others focused on similar topics. Her approach and style offer a unique addition to literature on women’s role in Christian churches." (Publisher's Weekly)
"Never strident, Bessy's approach is instead solid and clear....An excellent choice." (Booklist)
"World, meet Sarah Bessey. Settle in and get to know her because this woman has arrived. Reading Jesus Feminist is like drinking a warm cup of tea while taking a cold shower—Bessey manages to comfort the reader and wake her up at the same time. I cried and nodded and said 'preach, sister!' again and again. Bessey is a treasure and a prophet and I've notified all of my friends (both men and women) that Jesus Feminist is a must read." (Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the New York Times bestseller Carry On, Warrior and founder of Momastery.com)
"Lucid, compelling, and beautifully written. This book will encourage women everywhere to take their high place in Christ." (Frank Viola, author of God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here)
"For some time now, feminism and Christianity have been bedfellows, but primarily in the halls of academia. What Sarah Bessey does is claim the voice of feminism for her own Christian faith—an evangelical faith, no less! The result is a powerful and empowering narrative that both men and women will find compelling and readable." (Tony Jones, theologian and author of The New Christians)
“I love writers who are insightful enough to be cynical but choose not to be. I love books that help me see things I'd never noticed before—in life, in myself, in others, in the Bible, in Jesus. I love writing that makes reading enjoyable and easy, because I know how hard it is to write that way. For these reasons and more, I love Jesus Feminist. It's not ‘just a woman's book.’ In fact, it's the kind of book that will help both women and men see how unhelpful that distinction is.” (Brian D. McLaren, author, speaker, activist)
"It's hard to navigate an extremely delicate and important issue with gentleness and intention. In Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey has clearly proven herself a master at the task. Bessey powerfully, yet gracefully, compels both genders to rethink the role and value of women in the Christian faith, and emboldens women to know and live out that intrinsic value within the Body of Christ. Jesus Feminist is a critically important work; a must-read for everyone in the Church." (Nish Weiseth, author of Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World)
"Sarah says she doesn't feel a call to preach, but she speaks with the fire and artistry of a great preacher. Her sermon is one of hope: though the Church has often ignored the voices of women or lumped them into one limiting category, a revolution is coming. Sarah's voice is prophetic and she will free other women to speak and act with power, love, and courage. And may it be a summons for men in the Church to speak less and listen a lot more." (Adam S. McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church)
"With grace, humility, and confidence (even in the unknown), Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist masterfully humanizes one of the most controversial topics of the day. Bessey realizes that life, love, and faith cannot happen without community and the understanding that 'controversy' is less about sides and more about being whole together." (Andrew Marin, author of Love Is an Orientation)
"If you never imagined yourself as a card-carrying Jesus Feminist, this book will give you second thoughts. Sarah Bessey makes her case—not as a fire-breathing debater—but as a woman utterly captivated by Jesus who will stop at nothing to follow him. Her winsome writing made me laugh, cry, and stand taller as a woman. Unless I’m mistaken, it should swell the ranks of Jesus Feminists too. Sign me up!" (Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women)
About the Author
Sarah Bessey is the author of Jesus Feminist, Out of Sorts, and Rumors of the Real. She is a sought-after speaker, an award-winning blogger, and a passionate advocate for global women’s issues. Sarah serves on the board of Help One Now and Heartline. She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, Brian, and their four tinies. You can find her online at SarahBessey.com.See all Product description
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I tend to be able to handle “Christian Books,” in small doses. A chapter here, a chapter there. But I picked up this book today and only put it down to eat (well, maybe not entirely-there is a spot of guacamole on one of the pages) and (fortunately for those on the roads today) to drive.
Contrary to what you might think, this is not a controversy-sprouting, argumentative text. Bessey is less Pitbull and more Border Collie. The underlying theme is unmistakeable, the same as that of the Bible: love. It also mirrors the Word in the story of redemption, hope, forgiveness, truth, mercy and justice. This book, while not actually mentioning it, trumpets the verse in Micah 6, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
As the daughter of a woman pastor, I figured I knew the Bible’s stance on woman. But I experienced one surprise after another as Bessey pointed out so many things in Scripture I had never properly understood. What a message of hope for women and for the Church!
Bessey’s writing is engaging, personal and humorous. You can feel her heart beating throughout her prose. I can tell you from personal experience that the writer behind these words is the same woman in front of them-full of love, joy and laughter. I am privileged to call her friend.
I strongly recommend this book to all who claim to know and love Jesus, and to all who want to know more about Him.
“First, Sarah Bessey loves to go after the straw man [i.e. a position that someone doesn’t actually hold]. Even the subtitle betrays this tendency: Exploring God's Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too. Did Sarah seriously believe her complimentarian [sic] (Biblically minded non-egalitarian) friends would think it a radical notion that women are people too? Who has ever suggested they are not?”
Who indeed Steve? Here are some quotes from the architects of complementarian theology, and from those who continue to perpetuate it today:
“[For women] the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.”–Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215) Pedagogues II, 33, 2
“In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die... Woman, you are the gate to hell.” –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)
“Woman is a temple built over a sewer.” –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)
“Woman was merely man's helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.” – Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
“Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one.” –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
“Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one's guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. ... Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.” –Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century
“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.”–Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century
“The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.” – Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
“No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.” – Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
“Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.” – Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
“Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude.” –John Calvin, Reformer (1509-1564)
“Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband. . . . For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior.” – John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition ofthe Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
“The second duty of the wife is constant obedience and subjection.” – John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition ofthe Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” -- Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist leader (1930–)
“Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture. –Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill nondenominational mega-church franchise. (1970–)
(above quotes retrieved from [...])
“It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater…. This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power.” (St. Augustine, Questions on the Heptateuch, Book I, § 153, as cited at [...])
“Let the woman be satisfied with her state of subjection, and not take it amiss that she is made inferior to the more distinguished sex.” (John Calvin, as cited in Oliphant, J. (2011). AQA Religious Ethics for AS and A2. New York, NY: Routledge)
“It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God’s ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as—for the most part, generally this is true—as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man’s position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men.” (Bruce Ware, as cited in Taylor, S. (2013). Dethroning Male Headship, p. 109. Auburndale, FL: One Way Press)
Mark Driscoll explains that women are restricted from positions of teaching and authority at his church: “Paul forbids women to teach and exercise authority as elders-pastors…. So at Mars Hill Church, only elders preach, enforce formal church discipline, and set doctrinal standards for the church.” (as cited from [...])
“To be a woman is to support, to nurture, and to strengthen men in order that they would flourish and fulfill their God-given role as leaders.” (Owen Strachan of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as cited from [...])
The New Bible Commentary, 21st Century Edition, interprets Ephesians 5 as stating that husbands are to be regarded as the “masters” of their wives, and that wives are commanded by God to “obey” them (Wenham & Carson, 1994).
To summarize, women have been depicted as less than fully human, more evil than men, inferior, less intelligent and born for a life of subjection to male authority. Their place, according to these authors, is in the home to bear and raise children for husbands that they must “obey” as their “masters.”
Does Sarah Bessey really “love to go after the straw man” as Steve suggests? I don’t think so.
Sadly, those with a prejudice—in this case against women--are often the last to see it. That is why they may think that others are arguing against a “straw man.” The straw man isn’t made of straw in this case at all. Some complementarians simply appear unable to recognize the deeply ingrained sexism of their worldview. Just because they can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there:
[sek-siz-uh m] noun
1. attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.
2. discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex, as in restricted job opportunities; especially, such discrimination directed against women.
“Jesus Feminist” is a refreshing contrast to the sexism that is so prevalent in church history and that lingers on in a patriarchal (i.e. complementarian) worldview today. Sarah Bessey’s work is poetic and inspirational. She communicates a passionate view of the impartial love of Jesus with grace and eloquence.
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