A few years ago when I told my faith story, I said that after a period of pressing pause on the church, I tiptoed back in after discovering through the internet that there was a whole different conversation happening than I ever knew. One of those voices that led me back to my Jesus roots was Sarah Bessey.
Her writing wasn't lyrical poetry (not my style) or angry cynic (not appealing), but just the right amount of authentic questioning and belief in a God - and also Christians - who was bigger and better than what the North American church had made it. Through the power of the internet (and my unabashed fan-girlness), Sarah and I became friends online and then in real life. Her blog is one of the few that I read every day and I waited impatiently to read her first book Jesus Feminist.
It did not disappoint. Sarah Bessey isn't arguing with you. The tone of her book is so far from inciteful, that no matter what your belief about women and God, it's not one you'll want to throw across the room. It's easy to read, like a chat with a friend. Sarah invites everyone to have a seat at the table and wonder aloud about the passages in the Bible that give us pause. For me, so far from a scholar in any sense let alone a Biblical one, I was very interested in reading about the context of Paul's letters to the church, something I'd never heard explained or even mentioned. I loved the section about strong women in the Bible and what Biblical womenhood even means.
"It's a mark of our privilege to be able to decide (or make adjustments to your household budget) to keep one parent at home full-time with the children. I believe that is a worthy pursuit, good work, holy work (I hope so - it's my own daily work!), but it's not biblical womanhood, is it? If the title can't be enjoyed by a woman in Haiti, or even by the women hailed in Scripture, the same way it can by a middle-class woman in Canada, then biblical womanhood must be more than this." - Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist
The word "feminist" has a strong connotation, often negative. I was lucky enough to grow up with a career mom and in a church where the voices of women were not diminished. In my formative years, everywhere I looked women were working, praying, acting out their gifts loudly and decisively. It wasn't until I was a late teenager that I attended a youth group already pounding the submissive wife pavement and later was in a relationship with someone staunchly anti-women preaching. I was puzzled by this twist in what I knew to be true about females, but for awhile gave in to this pervasive Christian opinion because I didn't know any other way. As as adult, as I've started to untangle things taught versus experience versus what the Bible actually says, I'm so grateful for voices like Sarah Bessey and books like Jesus Feminist.
So grateful, in fact, that I'm throwing her a Hollywood book release party. I promise I won't wear my beloved Birkenstocks. In fact, I'll probably get a blow out and wear fake eyelashes. 'Cause I'm that kind of feminist.
I'd love it if you would join us. I'm co-hosting this evening of celebration with my friend JJ, the Blah Blah Blahger. There will be a short reading by Sarah, but otherwise we plan on mingling and munching and toasting this release at my favorite Hollywood coffee shop, Coffee + Food on Melrose on November 21.
Please let us know if you plan to be there by RSVP'ing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring a friend, tell your friends. This book is a message of freedom that should be spread.
I throw little events with brands or just for fun a few times a year. Most of my events are in the Los Angeles area, but I am hoping to expand that. If you'd like to be included on this invite list, sign up here.