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Reviewing: Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women
By Carolyn Custis James
Women comprise at least half the world and usually more than half the church. But so often Christian teaching for women either fails to move beyond a discussion of roles or assumes a particular economic situation or stage of life. This shuts a lot of women out from contributing to God's kingdom as they were designed to do. Furthermore, the plight of women in the Majority World demands a Christian response, a holistic embrace of all that God calls women and men to be in his world. The strongest voices speaking into women's lives in the twenty-first century are Islam and Feminism--systems that reside at opposite ends of the spectrum. Does the church's message for women stake out the middle ground or lead the way to something much better? Is that message strong enough to withstand the worst realities women suffer in this broken world? Carolyn Custis James unpacks three transformative themes the Bible presents that invest the lives of every woman and girl with cosmic significance that nothing can destroy. These new images of what can be in Christ come with a blazing call for them to join their brothers in advancing God's gracious kingdom on earth. Carolyn offers readers a positive, kingdom approach to the changes, challenges, and opportunities facing women throughout the world today.
Most of you know that the issues of women in the church is of particular interest and passion for me. It's something I've written about at Emerging Mummy often. So I was a bit nervous when I received the book for review.
But by the time I was finished the first chapter, I was nearly standing on my couch, waving my little charismatic white hankie and shrieking "Preach, sister!"
For instance (from page 40-41):
"Instead of addressing the wide range of questions and situations women are facing today, we focus mainly on marriage and motherhood, and that within a two-parent, single-income family. We overlook all the other seasons of a woman's life - which impacts every girl and adult woman, and excludes entirely women whose lives follow a different path."
It was equal parts inspiration and challenge. Myself, I felt convicted at how narrowly I had been looking at the issues for women in the church (my view being decidedly western and particularly north American). This book helped to open my eyes and my heart.
My interest and focus in social justice has primarily followed a feminine projection - my work with Mercy Ministries as well as other advocacy, giving and time for other ministries has focused almost entirely on women and children. And yet, I felt like this book was eye-opening, challenging, sobering and inspiring.
I'd like to hear what Idelette or Rachel have to say about this book.
Fortunately, better reviews were also done by two of my other favourites: Megan and Nish. So you can also check there if you aren't quite sure.
Highly recommend. Especially if you have been discouraged by the tone of the debate regarding women in church/leadership/the home/the world lately. It will broaden your views in the best ways possible without degenerating into nit-picky text-proofing.
I have one copy to give away, courtesy of Zondervan.
To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post.
That's it (I'm not too into making things complicated these days.) I'll draw a winner using Random.org.
Contest closes: 1 June 2011
Shipping: USA or Canadian addresses only please.
** Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review purposes as well as one for giveaway. I am paying for shipping to the winner and no monetary compensation was exchanged.