Thursday, April 7, 2011

Half the Church: A book Review

This book was not written for me.  But, it could have been, once upon a time.

Let me explain.  When I was growing up, the Lutheran Church did not ordain woman.  As I approached young adulthood, that changed, but at the same time, I had begun to worship with a less Lutheran and more evangelical set.  So, even while women were opening doors in my denomination, I was struggling with whether I thought women should be ordained.

The book Half the Church is not written to address the subject of ordination of women.  Carolyn Curtis James addresses the issues of women's empowerment while side-stepping the issue of whether women can in fact be called to public ministry. 

Make no mistake, she is passionate about empowering women, having been convicted about the de-valuing of women and girls in many parts of the developing world.  Jumping off from the best-selling book, Half the Sky, by  Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, she notes that the key to empowering communities is actually valuing women's contributions, and empowering women.  She also rightly recognizes that it is time for the church to understand that the call to do justice is part of the call to proclaim the gospel.

Ms. Curtis James persuasively argues that scripture is a resource for discovering models for strong women, leaders, crusaders for justice.    If you read this book, you will find some strong women here:  Eve, Ruth, Mary.  Her exegesis and stories are persuasive.  I also appreciated her appropriation of the "bride of Christ" metaphor as a strong church in partnership with Christ, to bring justice and healing to the world. 

However, as one who struggled with the issue of ordination as a young woman, I find myself disappointed in her refusal to take a stand on way or another.  She's passionate about women in leadership; just not willing to take a stand for women's voices in the pulpit.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Zondervan to review, with no expectation that I would give a positive review.  I have another one to give away to anyone who would like one.

7 comments:

Terri said...

If no one else has claimed that second copy I'll take it. Did they send it in a PDF version or hard copy?

Terri said...

...and I would be frustrated too with her unwillingness to speak about ordained women leaders

Diane said...

hard copy. email me your address, and I'll send it to you...

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I'm intrigued. I'm having to read and post on my phone, and my long comment didn't take. :( I commented over on Owl's blog.

Dorcas George said...

Wow! Well said, and a lot more briefly than I did!

Hoping that my next trip to Minneaplis might include lunch with you...

Diane said...

well, I'd like to read yours, Dorcas...

and yes, I would love to have lunch with you!

Dorcas said...

Well, a grandson will be arriving in early June, so we shall see!