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A little overview of books I have recently read or am reading:

A real page-turning true story on the horrible cholera epidemic that ravaged London in the mid-19th century.  An eye opener on life in London at that time – a crammed full city lacking proper sanitation methods. I guess the former nurse in me appreciates this medical detective story. Dr. Snow and a clergy’s insight changed the world for the better as they worked hard to track and discover the cause of the outbreak.

I’ve never read anything quite like this book in defense of any issue. Payne carefully goes through verses in the Pauline epistles on the role of women in ministry. It is exhaustively researched, with much detailed explanation of the Greek and on Bible manuscripts. He likes lists, as in “14 reasons for…”, “10 reasons for…” etc! He did an exceptional job proving his points and left NO stone unturned. The book truly represents a life’s work of research – for which we should be grateful. I’d probably only recommend Payne to someone both academic and with a high level of interest in the subject though.

Another book on the same issue…Craig Keener’s book, while academic, is more accessible to your average person so I’d more broadly recommend it to others.  If someone was only willing to read one book on this issue, I think this is the one I’d recommend. Paul is often portrayed as a misogynist, but he was actually very progressive and pro-women for his time! Statements from Paul’s epistles are often torn way out of context by liberals and conservatives alike. By liberals to condemn the Bible as backwards and prejudiced, and by conservatives to enforce a modern day patriarchy. A better understanding of the cultural milieu sheds tremendous light.

I really appreciated Craig Keener, and discovered he has a web site where he posts various articles on biblical issues. It is entitled: Bible Background.

I’m only on chapter 4 of this book and I am reading through it with a friend. Dr. Stephen Unwin is a physicist, and uses math to “prove” (with a high probability) that God exists. Lots of math equations in this book, but he is also a witty writer and keeps things interesting. He’s not proving Christianity (or any other religion) but it is rather from a general theistic perspective.

Finally, I just began this book. It is a collection of essays by over 20 respected evangelical scholars on the role of women in the church and home. The subtitle of the book is “complementarity without hierarchy.”  The terminology in this debate can be so divisive. Egalitarians can be unfairly accused of considering men and women to be exactly alike. And this is simply not true. Of course men and women complement each other, yet that does not mean they must be strictly forced into particular roles.

If you’d like to share what you are reading, feel free! One reason I’m reading so many books on the gender equality issue is that I am preparing to write 2 papers on this issue for a seminary class.  I’m also reading through most of the Pauline Epistles as well.