When I read the title to this book, I have to admit, I was curious. So, upon the offer to read and review this book for Kregal Publications, I was intrigued. How, indeed, does Jesus empower women? I mean, yeah, He surrounded Himself with women and offered them equal compassion and mercy in a world that, otherwise, objectified or ignored them.
But, this is the 21st Century. Aren't women liberated enough? Well, Danielle Strickland would contend that, no, we aren't. In regard to the Church, we still have a long way to go, baby.
She confronts the mentality of girls being princesses, desiring to grow up, get married and have children. You have to check out this quote...
"The popular Christian concept of a 'good woman' is someone extremely feminine, sensitive, good-looking, and submissive to a handsome husband who keeps his promises. Lovely -- if you live in Disneyland." (pg. 20)
And that's in the first chapter.
Chapter after chapter discusses the issues of the objectification of women, inequality in the world and the Church, how women are uniquely made, how the Scriptures speak of us and that Jesus is our Liberator. One chapter is titled "Jesus the Feminist"...no getting huffy. It's a great chapter about how Jesus included women in His ministry on earth (it's a fact) and the beautiful reality that women, too, are made in the image of God.
I found that Strickland dealt with this potentially volatile discussion with intelligence (this woman knows her Bible...and even discusses word studies to explain the translation), grace (she never once bashes men...not once) and joy (she's all about celebrating the liberation that this truth can bring).
On a personal level, she forced me to ask questions of my past. Have I ever felt "less than" in the Church because of my gender? Regrettably, yes, I have. Many times. As a former "Children's Director" (I couldn't be a pastor because I am female), I have encountered much discrimination. From being called "honey" to being left out of important meetings and decisions to having my physical appearance "called out" (issues of size)...all of it made me feel that my ministry had less importance because of my gender. This isn't of God.
I look forward to reading this book again. It is so packed full of ideas and thing to contemplate that one reading didn't quite "do it" for me.
I highly recommend this book. It's great to Bible college students who are heading into the ministry (of all kinds). Wonderful for church staffs that are interested in including women in ministry (and, for that matter, church staffs that are NOT interested in including women in ministry). Important for women who are called to serving the Lord...it is encouraging that there is a place for us to serve other than the kitchen or nursery (not to say those are unimportant ministries).
Look for this book. It's a good one.