Archives For Feminism

 

A Reality Experienced

 

A Review of

In the Middle of Things: Essays
Meghan Florian 

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Mark Jenkins

 

I sometimes wonder if one of the greatest accomplishments in life is to arrive at the age of 60 a less grumpy person than one was at the age of 30. If so, I have failed. Because grumpy is probably the best word to describe myself when I first laid hands on Meghan Florian’s collection of essays, The Middle of Things.

I hasten to add that my ill-temper had nothing to do with the content of this book. It was more the promise made by the publisher on its back cover: “In the tradition of classic essayists from Virginia Woolf to Annie Dillard…” It is, of course, the standard overpromise intended to sell books.

Not unsurprisingly, The Middle of Things doesn’t (quite) live up to that promise. Nonetheless, the further I read in Florian’s essays, the greater I came to enjoy her company. This young author may not – yet – be a new Dillard or Woolf, but her voice is clear, strong, and often compelling.

Continue Reading…

 

Actualizing Feminist Ideas

A review of
New Feminist Christianity:
Many Voices, Many Views.

Mary Hunt and Diann Neu, eds.

Reviewed by Austen Sandifer-Williams.


New Feminist Christianity - Neu/HuntNew Feminist Christianity:
Many Voices, Many Views.

Mary Hunt and Diann Neu, eds.
Hardback: Skylight Paths, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Two of the most contentious words I use to describe myself are “feminist” and “Christian.” Each word has the capacity to alter entirely the tenor of a conversation. Put them together and heads might implode. Some stereotypes hold that both indicate closed-minded people, prone to trivial rants, and potentially hostile to entire swaths of people (men and non-Christians, respectively). Additionally, partly based on these stereotypes, feminists and Christians often consider the other to be anathema to their worldview. Of course these stereotypes are generally false; but that hardly matters in the context of daily encounters in most community groups, including many churches, where “feminist” as a descriptor has therefore become somewhat endangered. Enter New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views, an intensive anthology of feminist insights related to North American Christianity. Edited by Mary Hunt and Diann Neu, this 295-page volume accounts for stereotypes and many other modern-day challenges, and describes the new face of feminism-meets-Christianity in this new century.

The editors describe feminist Christianity as a “hybrid notion,” stating: “Christianity has been a source of the oppression of women, as well as a resource for unleashing women’s full humanity (xv).” Alluding to the ways that Christian teachings have been and are still being used to subjugate women, their overall message is one of re-examining societal and historical patterns to find the core tenets of Christianity, which relate to dismantling oppression altogether. The book attempts to draw out some of the ways feminism and Christianity have been joined to realize new paths of hope, redemption, and justice. Hunt and Neu write:

Continue Reading…

 

“Dance, Rise, Chew, and Swallow

A review of
Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ

By Marcia W. Mount Shoop


Reviewed by Angela Adams.

Let the Bones Dance:
Embodiment and the Body of Christ

Marcia Mount Shoop.
Paperback: WJK Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Let the Bones Dance - Marcia Mount Shoop.Let the Bones Dance is based on Marcia Mount Shoop’s premise that the body is ignored in and exiled from Reformed spiritual experience because “the body is a liability, a conspirator in our fallenness” (2). As an overweight woman over 30 struggling with infertility, the idea of the body as liability is nothing new to me. More often than not –in social situations, in the business world, at baby showers – I try my damnedest to prove my worth based on the value of my intellect, my acerbic wit, and my spirit; that is, I try to convince myself and the world to ignore all of this extra flesh. Frankly, I’ve taken some comfort in the fact that church has been the one place where I can check my body at the door. And now Shoop’s gone and screwed up my coping mechanism.

See, Shoop sees it as a problem, a dis-ease, that within church walls we usually relate to our bodies in terms of pain and disease that need healing or weaknesses and lusts we need deliverance from, forgetting that Christ came to us complete with vertebrae, hunger pains, and feet that were probably desperately in need of a good pedicure with all the walking and dirt and dust. Shoop believes this dis-ease does none of us any favors because it cements our own negative opinions of our bodies and prohibits us from healing.

Continue Reading…

 

In our continuing effort to fund the publication and free distribution of The Englewood Review, we are going to be collaborating more intentionally with Christian Book Distributors. Primarily, we will be offering you the opportunity to buy bargain books from CBD that we think of are interest. Buying books this way is a win / win / win proposition. You get great books for a great price, CBD gets the sale and we get an excellent referral fee from CBD.

This week’s Bargains:

031793: Liberating Tradition: Women"s Identity and Vocation in Christian Perspective Liberating Tradition:
Women’s Identity and Vocation in Christian Perspective

By Kristina LaCelle-Peterson / Baker Academic

$2.99 – Save 88%!!!

Demonstrating the liberating nature of Scripture for women, LaCelle-Peterson discusses biblical foundations for identity, body image, personal relationships, marriage, church life, and more. She examines the cultural nature of gender roles and church expectations; and helps women better appreciate themselves, understand their value in God’s eyes, and recognize their potential for meaningful relationships and vocations. 240 pages, softcover from Baker.

22200X: The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God"s Family The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family

By Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner / Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

This is front-line work on an urgent topic, that practical kind of “how to” book on one level, and the “why to” theology work we have needed, on another. It is hard to think of any Christian who will have to read it who will not have acquired new perspectives on adoption and on God as Adopter, perspectives that we solely need and will surely welcome.

027062: Gender, Power, and Persuasion: The Genesis Narratives and Contemporary Portraits Gender, Power, and Persuasion:
The Genesis Narratives and Contemporary Portraits

By Mignon R. Jacobs / Baker Academic

$3.99 – Save 86%!!!


Probing the dynamics of God-human and male-female relationships, Jacobs peels away centuries-old misconceptions about biblical narratives that have been used to perpetuate gender roles, reinforce biases, and wield power. Her fresh perspective on linguistic nuances in Genesis and the complex interrelationships underlying key communications and actions raises pertinent questions—and suggests surprising conclusions. 272 pages, softcover from Baker.

36142: Adam, Eve, and the Genome: The Human Genome Project and Theology Adam, Eve, and the Genome:
The Human Genome Project and Theology

Augsburg Fortress

$2.99 – Save 86%!!!

The project to map the human genetic codes has been wisely hailed as a monumental achievement with vast medical promise. Yet the project is also fraught with ambiguities and, the authors of this important volume claim, great potential dangers to society. Adam, Eve, and the Genome combines a basic primer on genetic research with ethical reflection by an interdisciplinary group of scholars.
Part 1 of the book places genetic research in historical perspective, including the historical prickliness between science and religion. Part 2 probes the deepest religious question raised by genetic research: what it means to be human, especially in the coming “biological age”. Finally, part 3 takes up specific social issues about race, freedoms, fairness, and social context and consequences of advanced science.

3796X: Dissident Daughters: Feminist Liturgies in Global Contexts Dissident Daughters:
Feminist Liturgies in Global Contexts

Teresa Berger, ed.
Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

With its focus on narratives, its attention to contextual and material realities, and its collection of women-identified liturgies in global context, Dissident Daughters claims prominence within the growing literature on women’s ways of worship. This book not only introduces liturgical texts, but also focuses on the communities that create and celebrate these liturgies. Dissident Daughters gives voice to women activitsts who show how their communities came into being; how social, cultural, and political realities shaped them and their liturgies; and how they envision their lives in and as communities of faith. In drawing the different narratives together, Dissident Daughters displays the expanse fo the worldwide expression of women’s rites and the formation of each by distinctly different contexts of struggle and hope.

35682: In Justice: Women and Global Economics In Justice: Women and Global Economics

By Ann-Cathrin Jarl / Augsburg Fortress

$1.99 – Save 89%!!!

How can Christians work for economic justice today? Spurred especially by the situation of women in the global household, Jarl offers an overview of feminist economics and ethics. Included also are critiques of neoclassical economic theory, objectivity in economics, and current understandings of rights, equality, and power. 177 pages, softcover from Fortress.

 

An excerpt from

New Feminist Christianity:
Many Voices, Many Views
.
Mary E. Hunt, Diann L. Neu, Eds.
Hardback: Skylight Paths, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Watch for a review of this book, coming soon in the ERB!


 

A Brief Review of
Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom
Isabel Anders.
Paperback:  Wipf and Stock, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Angela Adams

Becoming Flame is a collection of dialogical wisdom, formatted as short, edifying conversations between Mother and Daughter on topics such as the monotony of daily tasks, insomnia and its requisite self-reflection, life and loss, the anxiety of decision making, and waiting for love—all familiar ground for every woman who will read this thin volume. To elevate Becoming Flame from banal “inspirational” books (I’m thinking Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul here), Anders draws deeply from writings of the Desert Mothers, the tradition of Divine Feminine, her experience as a woman and mother, and her own deep connection to Wisdom. The result is that Becoming Flame goes before us as a sacred text, marking the way as we “are what [we] should be. . . ” so we “. . . will set the whole world on fire” (6).

While some might wish Becoming Flame incorporated more formal feminist theology, what Anders has offered instead is an unacademic and uncontroversial compilation of uniquely feminine dialogical wisdom. According to Anders, “the language and process of becoming flame are drawn from a feminine wisdom that includes three basic components: a healthy receptivity to what is; an openness to fullness of being; and active employment of “practical love” (55). Anders has an obvious knack for blending all three with grace and finesse, kneading and making Wisdom as if it were bread (6).

I doubt that Becoming Flame will bring huge revelations about God or self to readers. But what I do fully expect is that readers will experience minor epiphanies about their own behavior and the patterns of life, find inspiration to persist in their present circumstances, and that through Anders’ carefully crafted words, Wisdom will bring peace. Take, for example, my favorite excerpt (which calmed my anxiety in the midst of house hunting!):

“Is there truly a Plan,” asked the Daughter, “that can guide me in every decision and assure me that I am choosing rightly?”

“You must bring your whole self to that question. Then, at the point where your deepest conviction intersects the line of present opportunity, you will be shown the Way. That is all we can ask for on this Earth,” said her Mother (38).

Becoming Flame includes a moving afterword, insightful notes, and group study questions for those interested in going deeper, but to be frank, by the end of Becoming Flame’s 59 pages, I found myself just longing for more conversation. Yet at the same time, I was glad that Anders did not write more if she would have been relying on her own wisdom—or even worse, artificially forcing more to come.

 

The BOOKS AND CULTURE Review of
Rick Bass’s THE WILD MARSH

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/columns/bookoftheweek/homeontheyaak.html

I’m a sucker for the 12-month seasonal essay types of books, but when The Wild Marsh crossed my desk, I hesitated to dive in. I’ve tried reading environmental activist and author Rick Bass’s nonfiction before, and found he tended toward strident rather than prosaic. That’s okay if I’m getting ready for a global warming rally but less inviting if I want a good porch-side read.

Bass quickly put my doubts to rest. By his own admission, The Wild Marsh aims to be “all celebration and all observation, without judgment or advocacy.” An admirable goal, which of course he falls short of—he can’t help preaching the green gospel or lapsing into sermonizing about the environment as he goes—but he does concentrate, as Wendell Berry once said, “on the matter at hand, which is living.”

The Wild Marsh was written over the course of a decade, encompassing both the turn of the millennium and 9/11. Bass compresses his observations, then frames them as a year of life lived off the grid with his family in northwest Montana. This is a book about divides in time and in place, as well as a philosophical reflection.


Read the full review:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/columns/bookoftheweek/homeontheyaak.html

The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana.
Rick Bass.

Hardback: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]


Powells Books Reviews
FEMINISM, INC by Emilie Zaslow

http://www.powells.com/review/2009_11_15

Run a Google image search on “girl power,” and what comes up is a series of visual contradictions: a pink woman’s symbol with a fist in the circle; a photo of a businesswoman’s legs, in stockings and stilettos in front of a chorus line of men’s trousers; girls sporting athletic gear; “girl power” emblazoned across bikini underwear; and an ad for a porn film. In these images the power afforded girls is mixed. A working woman is reduced to her girly fashion sense. A little girl’s source of influence is what’s written on her panties. And almost every image is linked to consumerism. “Girl power” is up for sale.

In Feminism, Inc., Zaslow details the contradictions within a media culture that’s been pervasive and potent ever since the Spice Girls popularized the phrase in 1997. On the one hand, she writes, “girl power is a commodification of opposition to traditional femininity.” Epitomized by such popular figures as Lisa on The Simpsons and rapper Missy Elliott, girl power encourages young women to be independent choice-makers and suggests they can control their own sexuality, style and sense of self. Yet Zaslow points out that such feminist discourse is undercut by corporate media, explaining that “[girl power] does not celebrate a feminist movement for social change at structural levels.”


Read the full review:
http://www.powells.com/review/2009_11_15

Feminism, Inc.: Coming of Age in Girl Power Media Culture.
Emilie Zaslow.

Hardback: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]


Soong-Chan Rah Raises Some Pointed Questions
About Foster and Wilhite’s
Deadly Viper Character Assassin
.

http://blog.sojo.net/2009/11/04/how-deadly-viper-character-assassin-undermines-its-message-with-co-opted-culture/

Let me begin by stating that I applaud the intent and subject matter of your book.  Integrity and character in leadership needs to be discussed and should be an important part of leadership development.  But the “theme” you have chosen and the application of that theme (particularly in your media clips) reveals a serious insensitivity to Asian culture and to the Asian-American community.

My contention has nothing to do with the content of the book itself (i.e. the material that discusses integrity and character).  It is with the way in which you choose to co-opt Asian culture in inappropriate ways.  Let me cite Edward Said in Orientalism where he states:

Orientalism can be discussed and analyzed as the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient — dealing with it by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism as a Western style of dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.

Mike and Jud, you are two white males who are inappropriately co-opting another culture and using it to further the marketing of your book.  You are not from our cultural framework, yet you feel that you have the authority to represent our culture before others.  In other words, you are using what are important and significant cultural symbols to make a sale or to make your point.  It is an affront to those who are a part of that culture.  You’ll notice that there are a number of individuals that take offense at the ways you misuse Chinese characters.  You also confuse aspects of Japanese and Chinese cultures.  These are two very distinct and ancient cultures that you did not take the time to understand before using those symbols as a fun way to market your products.


Read the full review:
http://blog.sojo.net/2009/11/04/how-deadly-viper-character-assassin-undermines-its-message-with-co-opted-culture/

 

BOOKS AND CULTURE reviews
Two new books on CS Lewis and Interdependence

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2009/julaug/digwholes.html

“The world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off again on the other side.” Thus Martin Luther in his Table Talk. His words would serve well as a description of the history of Inklings scholarship. The earliest such scholarly studies argued that the Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, et al.) were possessed of “a corporate mind” and that their works had a “similar orientation,” “essentially uniform,” “clearly defined.” So claimed John Wain, a junior member of the Inklings, and various others. But this consensus was toppled from the saddle by Humphrey Carpenter, who maintained, by way of contrast, that the Inklings showed “scant resemblance” to one another and “that on nearly every issue they stand far apart.” Carpenter’s view, which he bolstered with evidence from senior Inklings who themselves claimed not to have influenced one another at all, has sat lumpenly in place since he published his study in 1979.

Diana Pavlac Glyer has now toppled the Carpenter view. But rather than allowing the cycle of drunken saddlings and re-saddlings to repeat itself, she has thoughtfully poured buckets of clear cold water over the entire subject. Fully sobered up at last, Inklings scholarship is for the first time able to sit straight, inclining neither to the view that the group was reliably homogeneous, nor to the view that its members were utterly immiscible. Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. It’s a typical scholarly progression. But how long it has taken!

Read the full review:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2009/julaug/digwholes.html

The Company They Keep:
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community
.
Diana Pavlac Glyer

Paperback: Kent State UP, 2008
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Narnia and the Fields of Arbol:
The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis
.
Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara

Hardback: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2009
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]


FIRST THINGS reviews
CATHOLIC AND FEMINIST
by Mary Henold.
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/002-church-ladies-12

I have never met a nun—there was a time when this would have been a truly bizarre statement from an American Catholic. Nuns were everywhere: running the schools, staffing the hospitals, flocking like slightly ominous birds in their easily recognizable habits. Nonetheless, many Catholics these days know no nuns—a fact that came to mind while reading Mary J. Henold’s new book Catholic and Feminist. Although she doesn’t quite acknowledge it, Henold’s work is in part the story of how a way of life vanished and took the ubiquitous nuns with it.

Many aspects of American Catholic life in the early 1960s—Catholic and Feminist covers only the period from the Second Vatican Council to the early 1980s—were troubling. There were structural inequalities in the Church for which (at least by Henold’s accounting) no theological justification was even attempted: a Catholic contact directory, for example, that listed (male) hospital chaplains but not (mostly female) hospital supervisors. One doesn’t need to be a feminist to wonder what possible purpose this could have served. Catholic and Feminist also features several stories of churchmen being palpably, personally hostile to the emerging Catholic feminists in ways that were not only counterproductive but ungracious. A snarling monsignor is not exactly a witness to the gospel of humility.

Read the full review:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/002-church-ladies-12

Catholic and Feminist:
The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement

Mary J. Henold

Hardback: UNC Press, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


BookForum reviews Nic Brown’s
Novel FLOODMARKERS
http://bookforum.com/review/4090

Nic Brown’s Floodmarkers is set in 1989, but in its fractured portrait of small-town American life, it feels considerably older—a Winesburg, Ohio run through with Gen-X slang. Like Sherwood Anderson, Brown is essentially a still-life artist; he eschews plot for portraiture, the linear for the lateral. “His instinct was to present everything together, as in a dream,” Malcolm Cowley once wrote of Anderson. So, too, with Brown, whose first novel scatters brilliantly in a dozen directions at once, without advancing a single day.

Floodmarkers is set in Lystra, a fictional North Carolina burg caught in the path of a very real natural disaster. As the narrative begins, at four in the morning on September 21, Hurricane Hugo, a swirling Category 5 monster, has barreled up the coast from the tropics and seems poised to peter out somewhere over the town. “Inland North Carolina always got weather like this, unraveling hurricanes dropping huge amounts of rain as they blew in across the Piedmont,” Brown writes of the storm’s first tendrils.

Read the full review:
http://bookforum.com/review/4090

FLOODMARKERS: A Novel.
Nic Brown.

Paperback: Counterpoint, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

 

A Brief Review of
Just Hospitality: God’s Welcome in a World of Difference.
Letty Russell.

Paperback: WJK Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Kate A.K. Blakely.

( Note: Because she passed away before its completion, Russell’s last book is the work of a cooperative effort between her own extensive notes and research and the editorial work of her colleagues and students. )

Letty Russell advances the metaphor of hospitality as a useful tool for Christian interaction with a world of “riotous difference.” Far beyond the image of church ladies laying out coffee and donuts for an after-church reception, just hospitality is a radical welcoming of the “others,” a full recognition of the humanity of people who are particularly different than oneself or one’s homogenous “category.” Russell expends almost a third of her book explaining the paradigm of “post-colonial” thinking, which seeks to militate against such differentiation. The paradigm attempts to take seriously the global effects of exploitation arising out of a standardized valuation of a Western, Euro-centric perspective over and against that of non-Westerns. A non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual, less educated, and less wealthy person is seen as a deviation from the norm.  Just hospitality, in contrast, neither sees differences as negatives to be avoided nor standardizes one perspective as the norm by which all others are to be gauged. Instead, it works for what Russell terms emancipatory difference. Emancipatory difference thus sees communication as a group effort where all participate as equals. Welcoming and inclusion are mutual and broad, rather than one-sided, from perceived abundance to perceived lack. Just as God welcomes all people to God’s table, Christians must imitate this broad acceptance, both welcoming and being welcomed.

Russell’s summary work of such feminist post-colonial concepts as colonial imperialism, reframing, the hermeneutic of suspicion, and her readings on Ruth and Amos are very accessible. Her suggestion that all people see themselves in the broader category of “post-colonial subject,” rather than as simply colonized or colonizer, is helpful in that it provides an inclusive framework that allows both to participate in dialogue. Furthermore, it recognizes the complexity of the interconnected web of human interaction. Study questions at the end of each chapter provide further resources for ongoing discussion.

 

Ultimately, Russell’s book is not very innovative. Russell certainly aims for an audience beyond that of academia, but others besides academicians may find her explanations less extensive than they would prefer. While Russell admits that the reality of differences remains constraining, she suggests that Christians should ignore those differences. Such a simplistic suggestion is not nuanced enough to provide fodder for more concrete discussions on ethical practice and application, nor does it imply an overall conception that takes seriously enough the historical difficulty Christians have had from the beginning in interpreting and applying passages like Galatians 3:28. By framing this difficulty as a lack of transformation, she appears to conclude the discussion before it has really been begun and retain an exclusive tone, rather than an inclusive one. As a discursive resource, study groups interested in familiarizing themselves with some feminist post-colonial thought may find the book useful. As a powerful polemic for advancing liberative work, Just Hospitality is, unfortunately, somewhat lacking.

 

BOOKS AND CULTURE reviews
Carl Raschke’s   GloboChrist:
The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn
   

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/columns/bookoftheweek/090413.html

 We roam the global village as Alice roamed the chessboard in Through the Looking-Glass: pawns bewildered at every turn. The word “postmodernism” appears backwards, like the poem “Jabberwocky.” Even when we hold it up to a mirror, the concept remains slippery. Alice responds to the poem in the same way we respond to postmodernism: “Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don’t exactly know what they are! However, somebody killed something: that’s clear, at any rate.” Modernity, we surmise, was killed, and its murderers are still fugitives.

Carl Raschke is our Humpty Dumpty, perspicaciously interpreting the “postmodern moment” in GloboChrist, the third volume in Baker Academic’s series, The Church and Postmodern Culture. Whereas the first two books in the series, James K. A. Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and John D. Caputo’s What Would Jesus Deconstruct?, offered textual exegesis of postmodern thinkers to correct stubborn misunderstandings and to show resonance with the Christian tradition, Raschke’s book offers cultural exegesis to clarify the church’s missional task in a global age. An early explorer of the intersection between Continental philosophy and theology, author of The Next Reformation: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity, Raschke serves as chair of religious studies at the University of Denver.

While too many Christians are tiresomely proclaiming that they are pro- or anti-postmodernism, crudely defining the heterogeneous concept, Raschke steps out of the impasse by announcing what should be obvious: “a dramatic global metamorphosis.” Instead of wrangling over the “uncounted usages and syntactical peculiarities” of a word, he rightly claims: “Becoming postmodern means that we all, whether we like it or not, are now going global, which is what that obscure first-century sect leader from Palestine truly had in mind.”

This book is directed to American evangelicals with the purpose of awakening them to “a pivot in world history that seems as unprecedented as the transformation of Caesar’s realm during the first three centuries of the common era. That change came through the strange and distinctly un-Roman cult from Palestine centering on the crucifixion and resurrection of a mysterious nobody now known to history as Jesus of Nazareth.”

Read the full review:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/columns/bookoftheweek/090413.html

 

GloboChrist:
The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn.

Carl Raschke.
Paperback: Baker Academic, 2009.
Buy Now: [ Doulos Christou Books $15 ]  [ Amazon ]


FROM EVE TO DAWN: A HISTORY OF WOMEN
Reviewed in the NY Review of Books


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22631

There was once a woman who never smiled. Her name was Bao Si and she was a concubine to a king of the Zhou dynasty, which flourished in China after 1000 BCE. The king wanted so much to see her smile that he scoured the kingdom for entertainers and performing animals; not a flicker of amusement crossed her face. Then one day a bonfire was ignited, a signal of emergency. Troops poured into the capital in battle array, only to be stopped short and told that the fire had been lit by accident. At this Bao Si smiled; in fact, she began to laugh. Keen to repeat his success, the king had bonfires lit over and over again. His troops stopped paying attention to the signals; so when the invaders came, the king was driven out, and the dynasty was at an end.

It’s a story emblematic of so much else in Marilyn French’s vast four-volume history of women. A twitch of a woman’s lip causes the fall of a nation. On the one hand she is sickeningly, destructively powerful. One the other hand she is a chattel, a beast, a commodity, she and her sisters are “human incubators.” In the Assyrian empire, which flourished from 1300 BCE, she could be impaled for aborting the child she is carrying. For lesser offenses she could be beaten or disfigured behind closed doors, but if her master wanted to mutilate her permanently—cut off her ears or nose, or tear out her breasts—he had to do it in public; though whether for the sake of example or for the general enjoyment, French does not say. She could be punished at various times and places for going veiled, or not going veiled. She could be sold, pawned, or prostituted.

Read the full reivew:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22631

FROM EVE TO DAWN: A HISTORY OF WOMEN (4 Volumes)
Marilyn French.

Paperback: Feminist Press, 2009.


For Your Consideration.
A NY Times article on African missions
in the United States

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/magazine/12churches-t.html

PASTOR DANIEL AJAYI-ADENIRAN is coming for your soul. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, rich or poor, speak English or Spanish or Cantonese. He is on a mission to save you from eternal damnation. He realizes you may be skeptical, put off by his exotic name — he’s from Nigeria — or confused by his accent, the way he stretches his vowels and trills his R’s, giving his sermons a certain chain-saw rhythm. He suspects you may have some unfortunate preconceptions about Nigerians. But he is not deterred. He believes the Holy Spirit is working through him — aided by the awesome earthly power of demographics.

Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent, and Ajayi-Adeniran belongs to one of its most vigorously expansionary religious movements, a homegrown Pentecostal denomination that is crusading to become a global faith. In the course of just a few decades, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, founded in a Lagos shantytown, has won millions of adherents in Nigeria while building a vast missionary network that stretches into more than 100 nations. “The rate of growth,” Ajayi-Adeniran says, “is becoming exponential.” As the man coordinating the Redeemed Church’s expansion in North America, the pastor spends his days shuttling from his home base, a storefront church in the Bronx, to the denomination’s continental headquarters, a 550-acre compound in Texas, and to mission outposts scattered from Vermont to Belize. This places him at the vanguard of a revolution in worldwide Christianity, one that it is quite literally changing its face, as a faith that was once exported by white missionaries from Europe and America comes to draw its strength from the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere.

Read the full piece:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/magazine/12churches-t.html