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Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical (Experiences in Evangelicalism) Paperback – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Experiences in Evangelicalism
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606085417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606085417
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This isn't your Christian youth group leader's testimony. These un-testimonies of growing up evangelical, edited by Notess, creative writing editor of Mars Hill Graduate School's The Other Journal, are not necessarily linear, may not have had a tidy resolution, and may not lead to an earth-shattering change in our beliefs. This compilation of 22 stories covering a range of topics (education, worship, etc.) is the first in a new Experiences in Evangelicalism series. Written by experienced women writers from diverse evangelical Christian backgrounds, the tales are honest, approachable and revealing. Each author has put aside her inhibitions about exposing the flaws of her home church—from power struggles to the indoctrination of shame—and takes evangelicalism to task for its carefully filtered yet ambiguous conventions. Yet all of the authors tell of a more realistic, meandering faith, enduring even while rife with doubt. Readers will be inspired to re-examine their own beliefs and perhaps even create their own un-testimonies. (Sept.)
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Review

"Written by experienced women writers from diverse evangelical Christian backgrounds, the tales are honest, approachable and revealing. Each author has put aside her inhibitions about exposing the flaws of her home church--from power struggles to the indoctrination of shame--and takes evangelicalism to task for its 'carefully filtered' yet ambiguous conventions. Yet all of the authors tell of a more realistic, meandering faith, enduring even while rife with doubt. Readers will be inspired to re-examine their own beliefs and perhaps even create their own un-testimonies." -- Publishers Weekly --Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Hannah Faith Notess is the managing editor of Seattle Pacific University's Response magazine. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University and was the 2008-2009 Milton Center Fellow at Seattle Pacific University. Her writing has appeared in The Christian Century, Crab Orchard Review, and Slate, among other journals. She lives in Seattle and is learning how to make espresso.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bridget Jack Jeffries on December 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
The title made me think that the authors intended to spend most of their pages complaining about the treatment of women in evangelical Christianity, a "Festivus: Airing of Grievances" for evangelical and post-evangelical women. Here, I thought, I would find tales of heartache over bad teachings on submission, being silent in church, and hyper-modesty. Here attention would be given to how overwhelmingly androcentric evangelical thought, worship and life can be and how that can make women feel marginalized and undervalued.

The good news is, I was wrong. Delightfully, happily wrong.

In the book's introduction, editor Hannah Faith Notess lays out the concept of the "un-testimony." Evangelical Christians are widely expected to develop a testimony narrative for which the basic formula is, "I was a sinner doing all kinds of awful things, I found Jesus, now life is better." According to Notess, "The basic narrative of evangelical experience has survived virtually unchanged in this form for several centuries, longer if you count the famous conversion stories of Saints Paul and Augustine. When I was growing up, the best testimonies came from ex-angry young men, ex-drug addicts, ex-fornicators, et cetera. The more spectacularly wicked you had been, the better Jesus looked for having saved you." (xi)

However, not everyone who comes into the fold of evangelicalism has such an experience, and often those who lack one feel out-of-place and forlorn. It is in that regard that *Jesus Girls* is a volume of un-testimonies: stories of life as an evangelical Christian that do not follow the traditional formula.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kristen Stewart VINE VOICE on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read Jesus Girls with my pastor and a few friends, and gathered with them to talk about what it means to grow up evangelical and a woman. For me, this book brought about a great deal of nostalgic memories from bouncing around the different streams of evangelicalism as a child. The stories rang true to my experiences and the ones of my peers. One of the things that struck me was how many of the authors found refuge in more liturgical churches as adults. Also, how messed up messages of sexuality are promoted to women in evangelicalism.

There were a few truly weak essays that could have been cut or reworked. Difficulty reading them decreased my overall enjoyment of the book, but it's still a worthy read for those who want to process through their childhoods in the evangelical church or understand women who grew up evangelical.

It gave me a lot of food for thought as a parent about raising my daughters in the church, and what message we send them about their place in it as women. I'll be pondering that for a long time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hayley on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I grew up in the evangelical church, and was homeschooled at that -- I wasn't taught Jesus rode dinosaurs, but I was taught creationism in general, and listened to DC Talk and read Brio magazine...all these things that, now being in grad school, feel so foreign and far away from me now, since I'm no longer church-going. However, no longer going to church doesn't mean one has not been "churched". This book gets to the heart of so many little aspects of growing up that feel like things that only I experienced. Logically I know this isn't the case, but when you leave the church, that shared offbeat history becomes an oddity -- I can laugh and be "the girl who was homeschooled" in my groups of friends, but the flipside to the coin is that there's no one I can laugh with about Brio and DC Talk.

This book felt like having a heart-to-heart chat with people who share my strange history with being churched. DC Talk, Brio magazine, the way church splits affect the young people in the church -- these very specific aspects of evangelical girlhood are things I don't share with anybody day-to-day. But here, there is a communal sharing that really, really resonates with me. I found myself underlining bit after bit after bit because it felt like these women were writing down the exact same experiences I had, slightly altered here and there, but all so very familiar. It seems incredibly nice to read a book that references the Christy Miller series without having to explain what it was/is.

I had wondered if this book would be a largely bitter telling of stories about how the church hurt us (young women). But it really isn't. That is not to say that the church did not hurt us. But the essays are removed and thoughtful.

Recommended for: anyone who grew up in the church, went to youth group on Wednesday nights (wasn't it so very often Wednesdays?), and lived to tell the tale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rachael on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I saw a review for this book on [...] and bought it as a gift for my mom. When she finished reading it, she loaned it to me and I have enjoyed these essays so much. As a woman who grew up evangelical in the 80's and 90's, the experiences of the authors and their honest reflections spoke to my heart (essay topics explore their faith, their questions and doubts, and the unique oddities of evangelical subculture (Brio Magazine! Awana! True Love Waits! Youth Group Stunts!).

The essays are unvarnished and authentic glimpses into the faith journeys of these women through their youth and adulthood. I would love to read this book in a book club at church, talking about it with the other girls (now women) that I grew up with in church and youth group.

This book represents a voice that needs to be heard - people telling it like it was, without sugar coating, with hilarious and blunt honesty.
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