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The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine Paperback – August 20, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author's journey to capture her feminine soul and to live authentically from that soul makes a fascinating, well-researched and well-written story. Kidd's successful pilgrimage from her Southern Baptist roots and away from the patriarchal and fundamentalist Christian religious systems surrounding her is an account of anger turned to courage, creativity and love. A mid-career realization that she had lived without "real inner authority" and with "a fear of dissension, confrontation, backlash, a fear of not pleasing, not living up to sanctioned models of femininity" produced in Kidd the new mindset that made her journey possible. Additionally, her extensive knowledge of many subjects, including theology, mythology and the arts, made possible the copious references and cross-references that will prove invaluable for readers who wish to follow her in this same search. While Kidd cautions that each woman's path will be unique, there is no question but that many women will find in her book a mirror of their own present conditions and a hopeful call to self-discovery.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

What happens when the wife of a Southern Baptist minister, a loyal adherent to his religious tradition, suddenly discovers an alternative religious tradition that speaks more strongly to her spiritual longings? Kidd (When the Heart Waits, HarperSanFrancisco, 1991) recounts her own journey of anger, fear, and joy from her traditional Baptist upbringing to her new discovery of the power of nontraditional feminine religious experiences. Along her journey, Kidd encounters some of the most powerful feminist religious voices of her times, from Phyllis Trible to Carol Christ, and records these voices as guideposts on her journey. A graceful account of awakening and transformation. Recommend for most libraries.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006064589X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060645892
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Sue Monk Kidd's first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold nearly six million copies, and was chosen as the 2004 BookSense Paperback Book of the Year and Good Morning America's "Read This!" Book Club pick. It was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2008. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, won the 2005 Quill Book Award for Best General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie. Her novels have been published in more than thirty countries. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of many awards, including a Poets & Writers Award. She lives near Charleston, South Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a retired male mainline protestant pastor, who has long been uncomfortable with the obvious (to anyone who really looks) male orientation of just about everything in the church, this book has brought tears to my eyes on many pages. Through it I have pictured my own daughters' disenchantment with, seemingly, the only alternative for a living faith available to them without divorcing themselves from the shelter and nurture of those they have loved and been loved by. Sue has articulated for me what I wished I could have found the words to say to them over the course of our lifetimes. She speaks from the pain of her experience without lashing out; always in dialog, as opposed to reaction. She discovers and shares viable alternative experiences of heart-centered faith, and seems to wait for you to respond with discoveries of your own, which she acknowledges may be different from her own. My one disappointment in this book is that it seems to have been marketed so excusively for women. Sometimes I think the only hope for men to rediscover the joy of really intimate relationships with women, is for the women to draw us into the kinds of discoveries which they are making for themselves. And it seems to me that this will happen so much more quickly if we can be sensitive to the pilgrimage they are on. And Sue says it so openly, non-abrasively, and so well. J. Kent Borgaard, [...]
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Format: Hardcover
Sue Monk Kidd has created a masterpiece... a highly personal and yet relevant journey of one woman who suddenly realized the historically patriarchal nature of the Christian church. As a woman and a mainline protestant minister myself, there is no doubt that she has named the pain of generations of women who suddenly woke up and realized they were not fully included.
Her journey is beautiful, deep, and heartfelt. Another Christian reviewer wrote, "not my Journey". Well, Kidd's experience is not mine either... I have chosen to work within the church rather than leave the value I find there. Yet her journey is both understandable, and fully her own. When I was in seminary in the early to mid 90s, this book was definately required reading for all the female pastors-to-be. I have recommended it to women in my church who are struggling with their desire for a more feminine spirituality, who question the status quo and their own assumptions about the nature of the divine.
I love this book not so much as a guidebook to a post-
Christian place, or even a feminist manifesto, but as a how-to for spiritual searching. Highly recommended for both male and female seekers!
3 Comments 315 of 326 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Sue Monk Kidd spent approximately her first forty years in the Baptist church, where women are exhorted to submit to their husbands and where she heard the phrase "second in creation, first to sin" countless times. She was disgruntled with the church's stance on women, but never felt moved to rock the boat much, until one day she walked into her daughter's work and found two customers sexually harassing the girl. Something snapped inside her, and she began to question her religion's assumptions about gender and to seek a more feminist spirituality. Her journey took her to ancient mythology, the Gnostic gospels, and to dark places in her own life as her quest caused trouble in her marriage and her religious life. She tells us how she got through her troubles, and her story seems very human and touching. She would feel uneasy, drop the whole subject for months, but her longing always resurfaced. And in the end, she seems to have found peace, and some interesting insights. This book will be interesting to Christian women trying to figure out how to reconcile religion with self-respect. It was also interesting to me, as a pagan of several years and an agnostic before that--it helped me see value in Christianity that I had not seen before.
My only gripe about it is that sometimes Kidd generalizes too much. The book is at its best when she tells her own story, but sometimes she slips into saying things like "A woman feels X when Y happens". Everybody's journey is slightly different.
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Format: Hardcover
This life changing book allowed me to say Goddess without fear. Kidd cogently articulates the concept of the feminine divine and the damage that a strictly phallic god has inflicted on women and girls. If you read only one book on the feminine divine, read this one. I continually reread and refer to this book. It deserves 10 stars. The two reviews that rate this book less than 5 stars are unfair. Kidd is white. This book is essentially an autobiography of her spiritual journey. To criticize her for not writing from the viewpoint of a black woman is absurd. And the "Christian" woman's review makes me wonder whether she read the book. The divine clearly remains a phallic deity to her. Kidd did not abandon her husband. To return full circle to accept only a phallic concept of the divine requires that one disavow their feminine soul. Christian patriarchy has been built on the degradation and abuse of women. After reading this book, I cannot accept the Christianity with which I was raised. Kudos to Kidd for a book that spoke from her soul. She threw away her career as a Christian writer by publishing this book. I am grateful for her courage in doing so.
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