I read Jesus Feminist in 2 sittings, and it was a refreshing breath of air! Bessey is encouraging, and the book is almost like a pep-talk for women in the church. The book opens with a chapter on how Jesus interacted with women in the Gospels, with the point that is was ultimately Jesus that made a feminist out of Bessey. Another chapter tackles the tough to interpret verses on women in the NT (Pauline epistles). The book has an emphasis on the over-arching theme/trajectory of Scripture, and the redemptive move of God in this world. Are you a part of it? Bessey also tells her personal story in another chapter, and I appreciated her vulnerability and honesty.
While I enjoyed the book and I’m glad I read it, it lacked something for me. It was almost like the book was moving towards a conclusion that it never quite reached? Perhaps it could be described as a group of encouraging essays, but without enough substance to pull things together? I was not expecting the book to be academic. It always annoys me when someone criticizes a book because they expect it to be something it was not intended to be. Maybe the book was just a bit too sentimental for my style? Regardless, Bessey is an enthusiastic follower of Jesus and her passion was indeed refreshing!
I’ll share a couple quotes or excerpts that I particularly appreciated. Bessey shares that throughout the years of her marriage, there have been variable seasons. She’s been a full-time working mom, a part-time working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and at one point she supported her husband while he was the primary homemaker and finished up a degree. The point:
At no time in all of those seasons of our marriage have
we felt more “biblical” than in any other season. (page 88)
Amen Sarah! Certain segments of evangelicalism narrowly define “biblical” womanhood, leaving little leeway for the circumstances of life. And also don’t consider that their narrow vision of “biblical womanhood” will typically only work in wealthy, first-world countries…alienating the majority of women in the rest of the world!
While Bessey clearly presents an egalitarian vision for women to be free to serve God with their gifts, she’s also gentle with those with different views. Meaning, she wants everyone to feel welcome at the table.
In the Kingdom of God, there is no such thing as an outsider….I’m through wasting my time with debates about women-should-do-this and women-should-not-do-that boundaries. I’m out. What an adventure in missing the point. These are the small, small arguments about a small, small god. Our big and good God is at work in this world, and we have been invited to participate fully – however God has gifted and equipped and called each of us. One needn’t identify as a feminist to participate in the redemptive movement of God for women in the world. (pages 166 and 171)
Ultimately, it is about serving Jesus and loving people – so let’s get to it!
I’m glad I read this book, and will jot down some notes that I want to remember from it, but I’d like to pass the book on to someone else. Please leave a comment to be considered for winning it – perhaps share why you’d appreciate the book. Due to ever increasing US postal rates, I must limit this to the USA. (Sorry!) Not many people typically enter my book giveaways, so I’ll not set a deadline but just wait and see the interest.