*This post contains Amazon affiliate links to books I discuss, noted in bold with an asterisk. Read more about my affiliate links here*
In the process of slowly and steadily reweaving faith, I have been ushered into greater understanding, passion, and empowerment through some incredible books written by wise, faithful, and daring men and women.
Since launching my own blog, I have been asked a few times to provide book recommendations. As I started to peruse my shelves, I realized that these are not so much “recommendations” as “required reading”. I cannot imagine my own journey without the time I’ve spent with these authors speaking truth to me and allowing me to borrow their hope, wisdom, and love when I had a hard time finding them inside of myself.
So it is with great joy that I launch a new series, Required Reading, with a book from one of my favorite authors, Sarah Bessey! (PS: There's a free quote download at the end of this page!)
About the Book:
The full title of this book is Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women—Exploring God’s Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too*.
Sarah calls herself a feminist because of her faith in Jesus, not in spite of it, which is exactly how I would describe my own journey with feminism. (Read more about that here)
However, the book is in no way an argument for becoming a feminist or a defense of her faithful feminism. In this way, I actually feel that the book title may be misleading.
Instead, I would say that if her aim is to encourage and empower women in particular to further the Kingdom of God, mission accomplished. Her approach to what some would deem “divisive topics” is disarming and written with understanding, out of love. She does not argue, but rather she presents the truth she has encountered through her own life and the lives of others that women’s voices have always been present in the church and should continue to be celebrated rather than silenced.
Love it already? Grab your copy here*.
Chapter 5: Dancing Warriors
This chapter is a brilliant exploration of marriage, including a rich and robust study of the Biblical texts that discuss marriage (with the best teaching on submission I’ve ever read), a much-needed breakdown of what it looks like to maintain an equal partnership as husband and wife, and the occasional funny story. In one chapter, she manages to create the most truthful, accurate, encouraging picture of marriage that entire books on the subject have been unable to accomplish. I mean, this book isn’t even about marriage! And yet it is the only book I will actually recommend to engaged friends looking for wisdom on the subject, even if it is just a single chapter.
Bonus favorite: Chapter 12: The Commissioning
I read this chapter on a plane with my face quietly pouring tears. I offered zero explanation to my seat mate.
Before I pressed share on my very first blog post, I read this chapter again. I needed the wisdom and blessing that Sarah offers to her reader to set out and bravely “live in your world as an ambassador of the Kingdom”. The entire chapter is a benediction—the greatest benediction I’ve ever been given, including this gem: “I set you apart in your right-now life for the daily work of liberation and love.” Amen!
Both times I’ve read this chapter, I have felt the power of the words wash over me exactly as they were intended to do. Reading Sarah’s commissioning is now an essential part of big decisions and big moves in my life.
Top 5 Quotes:
“I saw how Jesus didn’t treat women any differently than men, and I liked that. We weren’t too precious for words, dainty like fine china. We received no free pass or delicate worries about our ability to understand or contribute or work. Women were not too sweet or weak for the conviction of the Holy Spirit…” (17-18)
“Biblical womanhood isn’t so different from biblical personhood.” (98)
“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, 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.” (171-172)
“Biblical equality is not the endgame; it is one of the means to God’s big ending: all things redeemed, all things restored.” (178)
“Speak, breathe, prophesy, get behind a pulpit and preach, mark exam papers, run a company or nonprofit, clean your kitchen, put paint on a canvas, organize, rabble-rouse, find transcendence in the laundry pile while you pray in obscurity, deliver babies for Haitian mothers in the midwifery clinic—work the Love out and in and around you however God has made you and placed you to do it. Just do it. Don’t let the lies fence you in or hold you back.” (194)
Follow the Author:
Sarah runs an award-winning blog and is the author of two books, Jesus Feminist* and Out of Sorts*. She lives in Canada with her husband Brian and their four children. You can follow her on instagram @sarahbessey
Are you ready to read Jesus Feminist? Click here to grab your copy!*
Share your excitement by grabbing this free printable quote from the book! It fits perfectly in a 4 x 6 frame and would look great on your desk!