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A Woman Called: Piecing Together the Ministry Puzzle Paperback – May 15, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

SARA G. BARTON holds a B.A. in English from Harding University and a Masters of Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She has taught high school English and Speech, worked as a missionary in Jinja, Uganda, and served as a campus minister at Rochester College. Today, she works with Rochester's early college program for academically gifted teenagers from urban environments. In addition, Sara has presented at ZOE Conferences, Abilene Christian University, Pepperdine University, the Christian Scholars Conference, and at women's retreats and conferences all over the United States.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Leafwood Publishers (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891121099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891121091
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title promises, "A Woman Called: Piecing Together the Ministry Puzzle" explores the prickly issue of women called to the ministry, particularly as it pertains to the long-standing men-only tradition in the Churches of Christ.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I got was a book that refrains from the in-your-face rhetoric of the more militant and argumentative voices on this issue. It also stays refreshingly away from the mushy, saccharine, feeling-based jargon of the sentimentalists. Instead, Sara tackles the issue head-on in a way that invites the reader into her life and into the good news of Christ.

"A Woman Called" is an example of what I've come to refer to as the "Barton Invitational." I've heard both Sara and her husband John speak many times, and their talks are invariably peppered with some version of "I invite you to . . .." I smile every time I hear it because that's simply who they are as open and hospitable people. That theme runs throughout the book as well. Sara sees everything from the Bible to the Westminster Abbey in London as inviting participants into some facet of being. To her, even a seemingly dry genealogy is inviting.

I came across only one small difficulty. In my sideline work as a freelance editor, I sometimes come across authors whose metaphors can get in the way of the point they're trying to make. There is a little of that here. The puzzle image is a great metaphor, but a slight overemphasis on the analogy in one chapter slightly obscures the points Sara is making. But I see this as merely a minor criticism of what is overall a brilliant work.

At its root, this is simply Sara's story.
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I just finished reading A Woman Called by Sara Barton. I have been involved with campus ministry for more than 50 years, as a student, supporter, faculty advisor, and president of an independent group supporting campus ministry at a major university in the same religious tradition as Sara's.

I have also been a biomedical engineering faculty member for more than 40 years. My graduating class had three females out of more than 100 engineering students. Now the average engineering graduating class is about 18 percent female, somewhat more in biomedical engineering. I have encouraged young women in our profession to aspire to leadership as professionals. One of our 1993 graduates, a young African American woman, was recently cited by the President as a "Champion of Change" for her work in getting young women into our profession. But gender differences persist professionally, and are even more pronounced in church "circles" (even the term "circle", implying egalitarian, reciprocal relationships, is a misnomer).

When a woman with intellectual or leadership capacity walks into an assembly in our fellowship, she has been expected to check her brain at the door. This makes no sense intellectually, and Sara's scholarship has shown that it makes no sense hermeneutically either. I am grateful for her writing the book, and for her kind, forbearing spirit, and have already put it in the hands of intellectually gifted women to encourage them that a new day may finally have arrived.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enter the life of a woman who lovingly embraces both her church heritage and the calling on her life that seem exclusive of one another. The narrative guides the reader along with both embraces and challenges us to understand our place too.

This is an engaging journey pairing Sara Barton's warm narrative with a studied and insightful look at scripture and "yes" scripture that has often created fear and controversy as it speaks about women and their participation in God's work.

Sara invites us to step into the stories of the bible that have accompanied her journey and with her genuine view helps the readers grapple with the intention of the scripture in a holistic and practical way. If you are not persuaded after digesting the entirety of this read that God's view of power and authority are the opposite of where we as humans have landed I will be disappointed. My horizon has most certainly been enlarged by Sara's many personal stories, her take on God's pointed involvement with humanity and what I view as her conclusions of truth and wisdom. My hope is that everyone will read this book.

Thank you Sara Barton for standing up for marginalized women objectified by both our churches and our world and for loving those of us who often do not see that we are the perpetrators.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a memoir about Sara Barton. A lady who felt called to preach in a church that doesn't allow the women to do any public speaking. It chronicles her frustrations, her thoughts and her insights into the "minefield" of female ministers and public ministry.

Sara Barton is a good writer. Her style of writing and presentation make for an enjoyable read. She peppered the book with stories and antidotes that softened the message that she was presenting.
I enjoyed reading the book, but finished with a feeling of incompleteness. I know it's a memoir, but I didn't feel like any issues were resolved. The author is from the Church of Christ and uses quite a bit of her memoir to discuss the issues and experiences that she has with her church. I don't have a problem with this, but it might make it harder to relate to some of the things that she talks about if one is unfamiliar with this denomination. All in all, I felt it was a well written book, but just not something I could relate to.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.
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