Let’s hear it for the girls: a review of The Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson

A few months ago, I took a spiritual gifts test as part of a Bible study I was leading. Traditionally, I’ve been a teacher and encourager, mostly. So, imagine my surprise when one of my results was pastoring/shepherding.

To some of you, that may not be reason for shock or embarrassment, but as someone who has spiritually grown up in a church and denomination that does not ordain women as pastors (and in some ways interprets that to exclude women from any kind of leadership position), I didn’t know what to do with that information. I tried to explain it away as being a gift I picked up from my husband who was in seminary at the time.

But when I read about the gift and talked about it with my husband, I realized I had no reason to fear or be embarrassed.

Our views — my husband’s and mine — of women in ministry have evolved over the last four years, and I’m much more open to the idea of women as pastors, leaders and teachers than I ever used to be.

And after reading The Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson, I’m inspired and impassioned to encourage women in using their gifts in the church, whatever those gifts may be.

Henderson presents a “what if?” scenario. What if all the women in your church suddenly didn’t show up one Sunday? What roles would be missing? What wouldn’t get done?

That, itself, is an interesting proposition. At our current church, the answer would be: a lot. I thought of that on Sunday at church as I looked around at the pianist, the teachers, the congregants and greeters. Our church is not devoid of men, but women certainly contribute their more-than-fair share.

Henderson proposes that women are the backbone of the church yet are, in some communities and denominations, not allowed to hold leadership positions or become pastors. Using statistics from a survey of women and the personal stories of women he interviewed, Henderson explores this controversial issue. And he does so with humor, grace and compassion.

I loved this book. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have even picked it up. Even three years ago, I might have thought him crazy to even consider such a topic. Now, though, I’ve met women — Jesus-loving, compassionate, intelligent, committed women — who are called to be pastors. Who ARE pastors. And my mind is no longer closed to the idea.

It’s a book that will challenge you. Maybe even make you mad. I guess what I appreciate most is that it opens discussion. And sheds light on a topic some people refuse to talk about.

Read at your own risk. And with an open mind.

Here’s chapter 1 to get you started.

5 thoughts on “Let’s hear it for the girls: a review of The Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson

  1. I am touched by your story and your review of Jim’s book. Yes, you get what Jim was trying to do…to invite people to a conversation about women and the church.

    To be transparent, I am a long time friend of Jim’s. AND, my husband and I have helped manage the Resignation of Eve website and social media sites for Jim.

    We each have our own journey’s of faith…custom designed for each of us by God. I will pass your review onto Jim and post a link to your review on the RoE Facebook page.

    For me, the other piece in this conversation that doesn’t get talked about – is that both men and women have been put into boxes by many churches – which does not allow them to move in their God given gifts and talents. The world desperately needs all of our gifts.

    Your story of transition is very compelling. Thanks for sharing it…and your kind review of RoE.

  2. Lisa, ,thank you for a refreshing review. I like to tell people that most Christians (men and women) do not want to be pastors – the only difference is that men can pray about it but women can’t even do that :-). In that sense the argument about women pastoring is “symbolic and representative” more than it is substantial. But, women need to see representative female leadership in “all” roles in the church including the small but important percentage of women who want to lead churches “from the front” after all sociologists tell us that it only takes a committed group of 2% of a population to effect serious change. That I suspect is what scares the men and some women who resist “allowing” women to rise to whatever level of influence they aspire to. I appreciated your transparent reflection on your own journey – made me think of what its supposed to look like when we follow Jesus

  3. Thank you for your kind words and your honesty about how you would have and now view Jim’s book. i’m the girl in chapter 10, and I can certainly relate to your perplexity about results of a spiritual gift inventory. I was confused that my “shape” didn’t really seem to fit any of the “holes” in the available ministry positions in our church. We were in a very modern, forward thinking church (in the minds of the male leadership.) Really, there was no mention of the gifts of pastor, teacher, evangelist, apostle… well teacher if you were interested in teaching certain age groups, and ‘pastoring’ if you (as a woman) were leading a small group along with hubby or a ladies group. These were and are wonderful people whom I still consider to be good friends. I just think they were and probably are a little bit short sighted about a few things. At the time, i couldn’t really even put my finger on the source of my own discontent as i was not really interested in self-promotion nor did I feel I had anything to “prove.” I just never did seem to ‘fit’ or ‘find’ the ministry niche inside of that congregation. So, I wandered the halls helping where I could, loving on people, praying with them, listening to their hurts that were bigger than the sermon….
    Anyway, I ramble. But thanks again for taking time to write a review.

  4. Pingback: Blog review: Resignation of Eve « agapesantos

  5. Pingback: When a Christian and an atheist talk about salvation, it’s no joke: Review of Saving Casper by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper | Living Echoes

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