There’s definitely a lot to be said about what it even means to be a Christian feminist—the ways I define it, the way others do, if the two can even really coexist in the same sentence— but that’s a post for another time. (However, if you want a sneak peek at what I think, check out a little project of mine called Womankinde.) Today I’m just here to give you a little reading list of books that will help you come to your own conclusions about the whole thing. These women (and one man!!) have been my spiritual mothers and fathers in the process of relearning and really redefining Christian femininity
Jesus Feminist, by Sarah Bessey — I was handed this book unsuspectingly by a dear friend from Northern Ireland who wrote in the accompanying card “Don’t be scared off by the title! I promise you’ll love it!” So I say the same thing to you— don’t be scared off by the word ‘feminist’. This isn’t an angry, bitter book. It’s full of beauty, wisdom, good theology and life. You don’t need to consider yourself a feminist to appreciate these pages, it’s a book for every human.
Emboldened, by Tara Beth Leach — For every woman who has been told she can’t lead, preach, sing, or serve because she’s woman— read this book! I’m almost finished with it and honestly the biggest thing I’m taking away so far is that while it’s okay to be heartbroken and hurt by sexism in the church, it isn’t where we’re meant to stay. Don’t let the lie of bitterness allow you to take your eye off the ultimate mission set before us!
A Year of Biblical Womanhood, by Rachel Held Evans — you can’t tackle the issue of gender roles without talking about hermeneutics, and really that’s what this book is about: how we interpret Scripture. If we’re going to be a generation equipped to process and talk intelligently about issues of faith in the face of cultural storms this is something we desperately need to learn how to do.
Slaves, Women & Homosexuals, by William J. Webb — and then if you want to get really heady, join me as delve into some of the most uncomfortable topics not only in Christianity, but culture today — race, gender roles and sexuality. I don’t know about you but I’m so tired of all the NOT TALKING. I’m ready to talk about the things we like pretend don’t exist in Christian circles. Who’s with me?
Out of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith, by Sarah Bessey — because I can never compose a spiritual reading list without this one. I love how pastoral Sarah’s writing is, I always feel like I’m sitting down with a wiser friend over coffee. The way she talks about faith in the grey areas of life speaks to me on such a deep level and I want everyone to experience that kind of liberation too!
I hope that if you’re just starting out on this journey of discovering WHAT you think about what the Bible and Jesus have to say about women, that these voices listed above would be a helpful, alternative guide. But mostly I hope you lean into the Holy Spirit of the God who made you. Like my sweet Pastor Allyson says “God wouldn’t have made women if he didn’t have a work he wanted to do specifically through them!”
I would encourage you to enter into this process trusting you don’t have all the answers and that God still has things to teach you. We’re all still learning, growing, and becoming who we were meant to be.