When I say the word ‘feminist’: Review of Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

Let’s play a game. I’m going to write a word in the next paragraph, and I want you to think about how that word makes you feel. Ready?

Feminist.

So, how are you feeling?

There was a time in my life when I would have scoffed at the word or dismissed it as liberal garbage or thought of angry, pants-wearing women shaking their fists.

In the last few years, some talented writers have changed all of that.

Sarah Bessey is one of them. (You should know that I got a free digital copy of the book I’m about to review in exchange for this post.)

I’m not quite sure how I found her not-so-little corner of the blogosphere, but her tone, her words, her authenticity hooked me from the first reading. She’s now one of those bloggers I can’t wait to read, and I often find myself laughing, crying and nodding in agreement over what she’s written.

When I learned she was writing a book about Jesus feminism (yes, that’s a thing), I was excited to read her thoughts. And a little nervous about the content because, you know, feminism is one of those hot-button words. Dropping it into Christian conversation can sometimes be worse than another “f-bomb” I know.

jesus feministBut, hear me say this: Whatever you think about feminism, set it aside and read this book. Jesus Feminist is so beautifully written I got actual goosebumps while reading it. Because Bessey is passionate, yes, and she’s waded through the muck of patriarchy, but her book is anything but angry. I was almost expecting a manifesto: a how-to for inserting ourselves into the leadership conversation.

I was so wrong. And I’m glad for it.

Jesus Feminist is a loving call to passionately pursue the gifts we’ve been given as women and use them whenever and wherever we find ourselves, regardless of whether we’re given permission by established leaders.

It’s an invitation to join a gathering of sisters, worldwide, who are doing the work of love in the name of Jesus, and cast off the limitations we sometimes give ourselves as wives, mothers, and women.

Encouraging doesn’t begin to describe it, but when I finished, I felt it: encouraged, empowered, emboldened.

I’m no longer sorry I’m a woman who cares about things beyond home and family, and I feel less resentment for women who do care much for those things. We all have a place in the work of the kingdom, and we’re meant to work alongside our brothers in the battle, not be overshadowed by them.

Jesus Feminist celebrates women but not at the expense of men. That’s no easy feat.

This book doesn’t answer every question about women in ministry or feminism or what the Bible says about all that nor does it aim to. What it does is opens the conversation and welcomes the questions.

If you’ve ever thought “Jesus” and “feminist” didn’t belong in the same sentence, I’d encourage you to read this book. It releases in early November, so put it on your to-read list now.

In the meantime, check out Sarah Bessey’s blog for a taste of her writing style.

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7 thoughts on “When I say the word ‘feminist’: Review of Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

    • He was! And it’s so frustrating to me when people try to argue that He was sexist or demoralizing to women. When we consider the culture He lived in, it’s easier to see that His actions were radical, especially toward women, whom He treated as human. Go figure! 🙂

  1. How can anyone say that Jesus was a feminist. I grew up with the beginnings of feminism . It was all about being better than men and not bowing to any being (especially a male God).

    • You make an interesting point. But I think what’s happening here is a reclaiming of the word “feminist.” Jesus is often accused of being a suppressor of women when the opposite is actually true. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Pingback: Why I no longer fear the word ‘feminist’ | Living Echoes

  3. Pingback: Books: best of 2013, a look ahead to 2014 | Living Echoes

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