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When Life and Beliefs Collide Paperback – November 4, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310250145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310250142
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"You know, there have never been any great women theologians." So said a professor to James, a writer and speaker with a master's degree in biblical studies. She begs to differ, and backs up her stance with strong arguments. Spurred on by the professor's inane comment, James started on a journey to understand exactly how Christian theology fits into women's lives. Very nicely, thank you. James asserts that when life's problems come calling, women will rely on their knowledge of God to carry them through. If their understanding of God's unchangeable character is sound, these hurting women have solid resources to draw on and emerge from difficulties as stronger and more resilient Christians. On the flip side, she cautions, those whose theology is weak will quaver when the storms hit. The author cites Mary of Bethany as the quintessential biblical female theologian, who discarded current social stigmas and sat at Jesus' feet right along with the men. Mary looked to Jesus to solve life's problems and sought to learn from him at every opportunity. As she did, her theology was strengthened, making her one of the few who understood and ministered to Jesus before his crucifixion. Says James, all women need theology for themselves, each other, their families and the church at large because theologically strong women make it their business to shore up and encourage those within their sphere of influence. This thoughtful text, admonishing every woman to embrace theology, should be classed as required reading in basic Christian doctrine.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

In Praise of When Life and Beliefs Collide

Sooner or later, life’s difficulties bring every Christian woman to God’s doorstep with questions too personal to ignore. "Why does God let me go through such painful circumstances?" "Why does he seem indifferent to my prayers?" We’re tired of spiritual pie in the sky. We want authentic, God-as-he-really-is faith—the kind that holds us together when our world is falling apart and equips us to offer strength and hope to others.

When Life and Beliefs Collide raises a long-overdue call for us to think seriously about what we believe about God. With passion, brilliance, and eloquence, Carolyn Custis James weaves stories of contemporary women with episodes from the life of Mary of Bethany to illustrate the practical benefits of knowing God deeply. Examining the misperceptions and abuses that discourage women from pursuing a deeper understanding of God, this insightful book demonstrates how practical and down to earth knowing God can be.

"This outstanding book offers the best demonstration that everyone needs theology, the best expository account of Mary and Martha, and the best trajectory for women’s ministry in modern North America that I have yet read." —James I. Packer

"Thoughtful, scholarly, and motivating . . . should inspire and encourage women for years to come." —Joni Eareckson Tada

"You will not think the same way, nor hopefully be the same, after reading this thought-provoking book." —Vonette Zachary Bright

". . . affirms women in their calling, chosen-ness, and gifting, and makes us know we are cherished and planned for." —Jill Briscoe


More About the Author

Carolyn Custis James (M.A. in Biblical Studies) is an evangelical thinker who loves God enough to break the rules--rules of cultural convention which attempt to domesticate the gospel message of the Bible.

Carolyn is president of WhitbyForum, a ministry dedicated to addressing the deeper needs which confront both women and men as they endeavor to extend God's kingdom together in a messy and complicated world. She is the founder of the Synergy Women's Network--an exciting new ministry for women in ministry leadership. www.synergytoday.org

Her books have been described as "provocative", "honest", and "deeply moving". A new one is coming out soon!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The book is well written and easy to read.
C. Colby
"Dissappointed with Jesus" is one of the best chapters of a book that I have ever read.
SammaLynn
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who hungers for more of God!
Lauri Gulotta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Carolyn James starts her book with a personal experience at a large evangelical seminary. As one of the first five women to enroll in the seminary after it opened its door to women, she experienced both support and condemnation for being there. But one remark from one professor caused her to go on a search to prove him wrong. That remark was that there "have never been any great women theologians". In a field where admittance of women to theological institutions has been very rare it seems logical that there have not been any great women theologians, not because they could not have been but because the system prevented them from existing.
From this point she begins the real meat of the book, and what a fine meal it is. By first pointing out that theology is really about knowing God and not about graduation from a seminary, she then shows that there have been women in the Bible who came to know God and lived their theology every day. Through a detailed examination of Mary and Martha with an emphasis on Mary, she demonstrates how Mary grew into a strong relationship with Christ.
Carolyn James examines why women often shy away from theology. She examines how Mary's experiences parallel our own in many circumstances. Starting with chapter five she looks at Mary's disappointment with Jesus as Lazarus lay dying. How did this circumstance affect her relationship with Christ as the teacher and as the healer? Why does God often seem to not be there when we need him most? How do we handle our unbelief when presented with things contrary to our beliefs?
While she builds a very good case for Mary as the first great theologian who seemed to understand the mission of Jesus even when his disciples were confused, that is not the totality of the book.
Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Treadway Jr. on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Sometimes JI Packer is too generous in his many endorsements. But in the case of this outstanding, brilliantly well written and insightful book, his glowing endorsement is on the money. It is a book that will change the lives of Christian women everywhere: but only if enough read it! Buy as many copies as possible to give to every woman in your church, their husbands and the pastor and maybe this outstanding tome will get the success that it so richly deserves.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By cc3hg on November 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Yes, the reviews are all true! This book is THE book by a Christian woman in decades. It should be read by EVERY Christian woman in the USA today. Folks, Custis James is really THAT good!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. & Mrs. Kelly Kapic on December 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
James has created a vibrant work that incorporates excellent theology with compelling narrative. Employing both the Bible and modern stories, this work grasps the essential tensions of the Christian life. Her explorations of the Biblical Mary and the role of modern women in today's church are particularly insightful. I have already asked some of my university students to read and review this book and the results have been wonderful. Not only is James an excellent theologian, she is the kind of theologian the church truly needs: one that can write in an accessible and enjoyable way that all can understand.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Debbie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an absolutely wonderful book. I think that all women (and men!) should be required to read it. I had already come to many of the same ideas and conclusions as the author before reading the book, but she manages to say things in such a clear, coherent way that I truly enjoyed and benefited from reading the book. I bought copies for many of my female relatives. They all thought it was very thought-provoking (in a very good way), thanked me for sending it to them, and are now passing their copies on to their women friends. Don't miss out on this great book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Jacobson on November 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the book I always meant to write! "When Life and Beliefs Collide" is sound scripturally--a refreshing contrast to many books addressed to Christian women. James' treatment of theology transcends cultural and gender constraints. The book points the reader to God and promotes knowing him as the only way to get through life. Problems are not "tidied up." The author is willing to say that some things don't make sense--but God is still loving, holy, just and kind.
Thank you Carolyn Custis James!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J Stanforth White IV on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
It is a sad reflection on the state of the Christian book market that a truly fabulous book like this is at no.30,000 whereas a lot of touchy-feely tosh is selling like hot cakes. This is the kind of Christian book that Christians in the USA ought to be reading - so why not give it a boost in the ratings by buying 10 copies each and giving one to your pastor and to all your friends. Maybe they will then do the same and this will get the top 100 slot that it deserves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wilbur Jones Jr on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Carolyn Custis James is the best female theologian writing today. She says in this book "why are there no great female theologians?" She is wrong - SHE is a great female theologian and every Christian woman ought to read this book, make sure her husband and pastor read it and then buy extra copies for all their friends to read as well. You will be seriously blessed if you read this fabulous life-changing book.
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