I have followed Sarah Bessey’s blog for a while now, usually lurking in the corner and occasionally making a comment or two. I love her honesty and her passion and her joy and I was so excited about the opportunity to read Jesus Feminist.
Let me start out by saying- this book is not what I expected.
I feel like I’ve known Sarah for a while now and even knowing that she’s the happy clappy Jesus loving type, I saw the title Jesus Feminist and thought this book might be an angry and controversial rant. I mean, really, you don’t title your book Jesus Feminist because you think people will smile at it and chat about it with their grandmother over tea.
And don’t get me wrong, she takes a stand in the book, but the stand is for all women, everywhere, no matter what they believe about theology and women in the church and Jesus. She’s not all about the controversies, but she does discuss them in a gracious and accepting way. She tells her own story as a woman in the church in different types of church settings, tells the story of women across the world and makes a compelling argument that women should be encouraged to use their gifts in the church (even if, God forbid, that gift is preaching).
The book is funny and heartwarming and heart wrenching. I highlighted nearly half of it on my kindle thinking of quotes I wanted to remember and share, but for today I just want to share one (long) quote that made me tear up a little and I think sums up what Sarah means by “Jesus Feminist”.
“Our big and good God is at work in the world, and we have been invited to participate fully- however God has gifted and equipped and called each of us. One needn’t identify as a feminist to participate in the redemptive movement of God for women in the world. The gospel is more than enough. Of course it is! But as long as I know how important maternal health is to Haiti’s future, and as long as I know that women are being abused and raped, as long as I know girls are being denied life itself through selective abortion, abandonment, and abuse, as long as brave little girls in Afghanistan are attacked with acid for the crime of going to school, and until being a Christian is synonymous with doing something about these things, you can also call me a feminist.”
Even if (and perhaps especially if) the thought of reading a book called “Jesus Feminist” makes you feel a little queasy, you should check this book out. If nothing else, it will start an interesting conversation.