The Beguines represented a broad spectrum of women of differing backgrounds who gave their lives and means to help the destitute, the ill, the downtrodden, and the homeless. Laura Swan’s history of the Beguines is the first good complete treatment of the Beguines that this reviewer has ever seen.
This 120-page book is one of the most powerful books on empowering women for ministry I have ever read. I might even say it is the best I have ever read. Nicole Massie Martin, an ordained minister, speaks from the trenches. The content is honest, down to earth, truthful, convicting, and painful.
The four-volume Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity (DDL) provides a well-rounded overview of life not only across time periods but also across the several cultures of the biblical world.
Theologian and author Alice Mathews recently said in a Christianity Today interview with Hannah Anderson, “Satan knows that if he can keep women out of service, in the church and in the world, he will have won an enormous victory.” Mathews’s most recent book, Gender Roles and the People of God, takes back some of the territory gained by the enemy.
Tara Beth Leach’s book, Emboldened, takes me to the same place, where there is room for women’s burdens and for an imagination of what could be possible if we really did this thing we are called to do. With unapologetically maternal warmth and authority, Tara Beth sits with readers like a big sister. She makes space for the frustrations and pain without condescension or bitterness. She acknowledges the baggage and cultural challenges without leading us into victimhood. Above all, she presses forward with courage, joy, and imagination.
In his book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power, former President Jimmy Carter gives readers a look into his fight for women’s equality in his early life, presidency, and involvement in the Elders Organization. This book serves as an urgent message to both developed and developing nations regarding the inequality, oppression, and mistreatment women face which often goes unnoticed and unaddressed.
The challenges of being in ministry are difficult to navigate, but for women, the challenges are unique and often more difficult. Unfortunately, women who aspire to be in ministry have to face that they will be treated differently simply based on their gender. One area that is lacking for women is practical pastoral resources written in gender-neutral language. Most popular theology resources available today are written by men and it is difficult to find egalitarian resources written by women ministers for women ministers. One book in particular I recall reading in my undergrad pastoral program exclusively used male pronouns when referring to the title of “pastor” and discussed hot topics such as “The pastor and his wife,” “The pastor and his wardrobe,” and “The pastor as God’s man.” As I read these books I was assigned to take seriously and learn from, I would continually think to myself, (just as you hear in a cheesy infomercial), “There’s got to be a better way!” I am so thankful to have discovered the book SHE: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Women in Ministry by Karoline M. Lewis. This book fills a huge need in the world of practical pastoral resources.
A basketball team would never dream of winning their game with half its players benched. An army platoon would never fight its enemy if half the soldiers decided to stay back. Likewise, the church cannot and should not imagine God's kingdom will advance when half its members are “standing on the shore,” sidelined, benched, and dismissed from leadership (185).