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Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women Paperback – November 5, 2013


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Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women + A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" + Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476717257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476717258
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bessey speaks directly and compassionately to her fellow Evangelical Christians, arguing the case for viewing Jesus as unbounded by gender considerations in valuing the worthiness of humans. Bringing an informed but nonacademic historical perspective to her reading of the Bible and using relevant examples from her personal life, both as a church member and a part of contemporary Western culture, she observes that biblical events and traditional Evangelical interpretations of them are not always what they seem. Never strident, Bessy’s approach is instead solid and clear. Although apostolic admonitions read without the contexts she proposes might bolster sexism, given a larger frame of reference, they fall to her arguments. An excellent choice for a church discussion group as well as an important viewpoint to include in public library religion collections. --Francisca Goldsmith

Review

"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)

“Sarah Bessey is so gifted a writer, so smart and welcoming and humble, the Church might not even notice how often it gets kicked between its ‘doctrinally sound traditions,’ where it hurts. But what makes Jesus Feminist so fantastic, so challenging is Bessey’s ability to be both the friend who tells us the truth about womanhood inside our churches and the sage who shows us how Jesus embraced equality and how we can do it better. With Jesus Feminist, Bessey is a modern-day Moses, seeking to not only free a Church held captive by dogma but also to redeem generations of women who have been stifled and silenced far too long.” (Matthew Paul Turner, author of Churched)

"Jesus Feminist is a book that needed to be written! With honest vulnerability and a strong biblical foundation, Sarah Bessey shares her very personal journey and insight regarding the roles and qualifications for women in ministry." (Helen Burns, author of Miracle in a Mother’s Hug and What Dads Need to Know About Daughters and Moms Need to Know About Sons)

"I want to write like Sarah Bessey. What she does with words is extraordinary, and the topic she's chosen is so deeply important. Jesus Feminist is a beautiful, challenging, rich, gutsy book, an absolute must-read." (Shauna Niequist, author of Bread & Wine)

“I’ve read countless books addressing the place of women in the kingdom, and I have never, ever read anything so lovely, so generous, profound and humble as Jesus Feminist. If you’re expecting anger or defensiveness or aggression, move on. If you are looking for intelligence and warmth and spirit, read this immediately." (Jen Hatmaker, author of 7 and Interrupted)

Jesus Feminist is a revelation, a genre-defying tour-de-force that soars above the caustic rhetoric that has defined these conversations in the Church. Sarah Bessey throws combinations like a literary Muhammad Ali: sharp-edged prophetic critique, elegant poetry, theological provocation, humble memoir, endless charm. There is so much heart, wonder, and most of all authentic soul in this book; you won’t know what hit you.” (Jonathan Martin, author of Prototype)

“Sarah Bessey makes me want to get to know Jesus all over again, but this time specifically through my womanly flesh, engaging God with the glorious gift of being a woman rather than in spite of it.” (Enuma Okoro, author of Silence and Reluctant Pilgrim)

Jesus Feminist summons the Church to join in a conversation about women in God’s Kingdom. Sarah Bessey disarms us and then hands us a cup of tea. She creates a safe space for deep discussion, gentle reflection and holy imagination. She calls, converses and commissions us into the wild ways of Jesus. This is a holy invitation for all my sisters to come to the table at last. A must read!” (Kelley Nikondeha, co-founder of Amahoro Africa)

More About the Author

Sarah Bessey is the author of "Jesus Feminist" (Howard Books 2013). She is also an award-winning blogger at sarahbessey.com, an editor at A Deeper Story, and a contributor at SheLoves Magazine. She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada with her husband and their three tinies.

Customer Reviews

I found this to be a very thoughtfully written, inspiring book.
ClarityBarb
Sarah Bessey urges us, men and women alike, to get on with the Kingdom work of joining Christ in speaking and acting out love and redemption and freedom.
Kim Gaines Eckert, Psy.D., RPT-S
Thank you, Sarah Bessey, for such a beautiful book that is so timely for our church's today.
Lauren Clemons

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 150 people found the following review helpful By George P. Wood TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
You know our mothers told us never to judge a book by its cover? I ignored that advice when I saw Jesus Feminist on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. Yellow is not my favorite color. I didn’t like the juxtaposition of the Cross and the Venus symbol. And despite being theologically egalitarian, I don’t like the word feminist. So, I left Sarah Bessey on the shelf and exited the store sans book.

Then my wife told me I needed to read Jesus Feminist. Her sister had read and loved it. A good friend had read and loved it. And the kind of books I liked to read were nerdy, she said, and no one other than me cared about them. So why not read and review something normal people actually liked?

As per usual, I listened to my wife, returned to Barnes & Noble, purchased a copy, and started reading. Although Sarah Bessey writes well and although I pretty much agree with her, I found reading the book’s initial pages to be a long, hard slog. She tells stories where I would assert propositions. She asks questions where I would offer answers. She assumes conclusions where I would make long arguments. Her authorial voice is so different than mine. I would approach the topic of “the Bible’s view of women” in such a different way.

Midway through chapter 2 (or was it 3?), I realized what the problem was. It wasn’t her, it was me. Here am I, a man, having a hard time listening to a woman make a case in her own voice on an issue where we agree. Let me repeat that for my male readers: I wasn’t listening to what a woman was saying because she was a woman.

Now, I realize that I am probably not Sarah Bessey’s intended reader.
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91 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Bob Edwards on February 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
Review of "Jesus Feminist," and response to one star review by "Steve."

Steve's Criticism:
"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?"

My Response:
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.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Luke Harms on November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Right out of the gate, let me say that I think what Sarah is doing here is really important. By putting the word "Jesus" in lights right next to "feminist," she's forcing a certain conversation that some folks would rather not have right now (or ever). Feminism has been recast in the past few decades as anathema to Christianity in many ways. Simply suggesting that one can hold to both concepts and implying that being a "Jesus Feminist" is possible in a way that will not, in fact, result in a sort of universe-destroying cataclysm, is a radical statement in itself, it would seem.

Starting with the introduction and all the way through to her hopeful commission in the final chapter, Sarah's primary mode of interaction with the reader is one of disarming. She sets the tone early on saying,

"We have often treated our communities like a minefield, acted like theology is a war, and we are the wounded and we are the wounding."

She's acknowledging up front the firepower we often bring to discussions like these, and suggests that, instead of trying to kill each other, maybe we could just try to hear each other instead. As you read on, you start to understand that this is no empty gesture. Sarah is consistently disarming in her grace, her candor, and her willingness to let us into the most intimate, most painful experiences of her life. Some people bring knives to gunfights. All Sarah brought was her story, and the result is that we cannot help but lower our weapons and listen to her tell it. So as you settle in past the introduction and into the meat of the book itself, the feeling is far more coffee (or tea!) on a Saturday afternoon than it is a sermon on Sunday or a lecture on Monday.
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