WATER Recommends: September 2016

Tap into what we’re reading at the WATER office with the following resources.

All of the books we recommend are available for the borrowing from the Carol Murdock Scinto Library in the WATER office. Check out librarything.com for our complete collection. We are grateful to the many publishers who send us review copies to promote to the WATER community.

Brazal, Agnes M. and Maria Teresa Davila, Editors. LIVING WITH (OUT) BORDERS: CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL ETHICS ON THE MIGRATIONS OF PEOPLES. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (260 pages, $42).

These essays help to shape an ethical foundation for immigration policy. Of special interest is the section on “Gendered and Embodied Borders” in which Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Alexandre Andrade Martins, and Christine F. Gudorf focus on sex trafficking, feminicide, health risks, and other specific problems for women and dependent children who are moving between homes.

Budwey, Stephanie A. SING OF MARY: GIVING VOICE TO MARIAN THEOLOGY AND DEVOTION. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press 2014 (322 pages, $29.95).

Marian hymnody throughout the ages may seem an obscure matter. But in this volume the author uses it as a frame for understanding changing views of Mary over time. She concludes with what may well prove to be an overly optimistic view of Pope Francis. The need for renewed lyrics and catchy tunes to convey a progressive Mariology remains.

Christ, Carol P. and Judith Plaskow. GODDESS AND GOD IN THE WORLD: CONVERSATIONS IN EMBODIED THEOLOGY. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016 (345 pages, $29).

The fruit of two courageous, creative, and committed theologians’ intellectual and spiritual work is a boon to the entire field. Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow infuse new life into theology. With sweeping historical synthesis, sustained analysis, and brilliant sparks of insight this compelling book marks a new moment in feminist work in religion. Great to use with classes, study groups, and among friends who can follow their lead in sharing perspectives on the divine.

Listen to our September 2016 WATERtalk with Judith Plaskow and Carol Christ to learn more about this volume.


Bertrice Bruteau was, according to this collection, a unique combination of a contemplative and teacher. Friends and colleagues bring her to life in vivid portraits of their own interactions with her. Well worth reading is Ursula King’s biographical essay in which she describes Bruteau as influenced by Teilhard de Chardin yet original, even feminist. In that regard she is like Beverly Lanzetta and Ursula King herself.

Harder, Emily, Elizabeth Hardt, Melissa Freito, Dana Tufariello, editors. WE CAME OUT OF THE WATER: A COLLECTION OF REMINISCENCES BY WATER PEOPLE. Silver Spring, MD: WATERworks Press, 2016, (30 pages, priceless).

A brilliant collection of insights, recollections, and appreciations from former WATER staff members, now all WATER friends. Stories are varied, but the common theme is how each one found the WATER experience deeply enriching and a strong springboard to committed, feminist, spiritually inspired social change work. One of a kind book that speaks volumes about the writers who are WATER’s pride and joy. {Editor’s note—Thanks!}

Hogan, Linda and A.E. Orobator, FEMINIST CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL ETHICS. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014 (300 pages, $42).

These essays derive from meetings of the group Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church and span several continents. Notable are Sharon A. Bong on Asian women’s experiences of church, Maria Clara Lucchetti Bingemer on Latin American theology, Maria Teresa Forcades I Vila on Saint Gertrude of Helfta, and Stefanie Knauss’ analysis of women’s experience through films. Anne E. Patrick’s essay, “Getting Ready for Voice Lessons: Toward a Catholic Feminist Ethics of Spirituality” may be one of her last, and surely an intriguing proposal.


Succinct reporting, insightful analysis, and personal narrative weave together a tapestry of the changing face of American evangelical life. Lee showcases the progressive side of a tradition often associated with conservative politics, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Profiles of evangelicals from marginalized communities offer a window into the fight for a more just and equitable faith.

Long, Kimberly Bracken and David Maxwell. INCLUSIVE MARRIAGE SERVICES: A WEDDING SOURCEBOOK. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015 (140 pages, $22).

The editors write for a day when such a volume will not be necessary. But since it still is, this compilation makes a great gift to anyone contemplating marriage and/or to those who help in the preparation and conducting of such ceremonies. Sensitive to gender inclusion, this collection of celebrations, prayers, blessings, and the like is a welcome pastoral resource.

Ross, Susan A. ANTHROPOLOGY: SEEKING LIGHT AND BEAUTY. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012 (166 pages, $19.95).

Social scientific foundations are important for creating viable theologies. This focus on anthropology from a progressive feminist perspective is a welcome addition to conversations about building theologies for social change.

Schmidt, Kimberly D. with Jennifer A. Whiteman. MAGPIE’S BLANKET. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2016 (172 pages, $19.95).

In this historical fiction, Schmidt and Whiteman bring the Sand Creek and Washita Massacres to life from the often ignored point of view of a young Cheyenne woman and her descendants. Redemptive and sometimes anger inducing, this story opens eyes to experiences of strong women and Native peoples never told in our history books or classrooms where the perspectives of white men usually hold sway.

Wexler, Celia Viggo. CATHOLIC WOMEN CONFRONT THEIR CHURCH: STORIES OF HURT AND HOPE. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016 (207 pages, $34).

This well-reported story of smart, committed, progressive Catholics proves that women are church. In light of the corrupt, often-criminal institutional Roman Catholic Church, Frances Kissling, Diana Hayes, Theresa Delgado, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and others profiled model the best of the Catholic tradition—faith, primacy of conscience, social justice work, and dedication to equality. Ironically, these women who are variously mistreated and dismissed give Catholicism a good name.

Listen to our October 2016 WATERtalk with Celia Wexler to learn more about this volume.