Monday, January 14, 2008

Saving Women

Not everyone gets to read a book written by someone they work with, but I had that opportunity in reading “Saving Women” by Laceye Warner. Laceye is the Academic Dean at Duke Divinity School, and is my supervisor and co-worker. Having said that, I guess I better be careful about what I say in this review!

In all seriousness, “Saving Women” was a solid piece of academic work. It sought to recover the voice of several women of the 19th and 20th centuries who made a major impact in the area of Christian evangelism. These women are often overlooked in recalling those who have gone before to make a significant contribution to the evangelistic work in America. This was true for me, as I only knew one of the women (Frances Willard) reviewed in the book. As someone who has a mother in the ministry, I am at least somewhat aware that women are often left out of these types of conversations, and I think works like this one are necessary to bring equality and a truthful balance.

One theme I noticed was that almost all of the women in the book had a connection to the holiness movement of the late 19th/early 20th century. It was out of this movement that the Church of the Nazarene was formed. It reminded me that I am proud to be a part of continuing movement that, while it certainly is far from perfect, has at least created some space for women to have a voice. Moving forward, it is my hope that books like “Saving Women” will not be necessary for highlighting the vital contributions of women to the work of building God’s Kingdom because the work of women will be equally recognized. Interestingly enough, it is books like “Saving Women” that help to pave the way.

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