WATER Recommends: March 2017

WATER Recommends: March 2017

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.


Ahmed, Sara. LIVING A FEMINIST LIFE. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017(312 pages, $26.95).

For anyone looking to understand contemporary feminist theory, this book is for you. Drawing mainly on the scholarship of feminists of color, Ahmed brings critical theory to life through practical examples and personal experience. This is an essential toolkit for building a feminist consciousness, practicing feminism, and surviving life as a “feminist killjoy.” bell hooks couldn’t put it down.

Ali, Kecia. HUMAN IN DEATH: MORALITY AND MORTALITY IN J.D. ROBB’S NOVELS. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017 (196 pages, $29.95).

World-class religion scholar Dr. Kecia Ali trains her critical skills on the futuristic novels of the In Death series by J.D. Robb, AKA Nora Roberts. She lays out ethical struggles that endure fifty years hence, providing a useful map through the material and life. As a scholar, Ali models how “Reading thoughtfully can serve as a precursor to and adjunct to living thoughtfully.” (p. 121)

Collins, Patricia Hill. ON INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2013 (254 pages, $26.95).

These essays and interviews by a distinguished sociologist and feminist theorist are just what the doctor ordered for current challenges. Read separately or as a whole, Dr. Collins’ work reflects the careful scrutiny and insightful analysis of a thoroughly engaged scholar, a deeply informed activist. As such, it is a signal text for conversation and study.

De Souza, Barbara Mosley. WHEN SLEEPING WOMEN AWAKE, MOUNTAINS WILL MOVE. St. Louis, MO: Lucas Park Books, 2017 (271 pages, $19.99).

Barbara tells her own story and that of so many women in Brasil whose lives touched hers and vice versa as she encouraged physical and spiritual health. She is a minister’s minister, one of the generation of women who found their way to church work because it provided a structure for supporting people in inhospitable times. This collective memoir is a chapter in church history.

Lee, HyoJu. REDEEMING SINGLENESS: POSTMODERN PASTORAL CARE AND COUNSELING FOR NEVER-MARRIED SINGLE WOMEN. Eugene, OR; Wipf & Stock, 2017 (157 pages, $21).

Some Korean women are pushed to the margins of Korean churches. Lee advocates for empowerment and full inclusion of single women through postmodern pastoral care, creating impact beyond the women’s lives into the greater faith community and the world. Her work has useful implications for the inclusion of other marginalized groups through similar research, practical theology, and pastoral care.

Markey, Eileen: A RADICAL FAITH: THE ASSASSINATION OF SISTER MAURA. New York, NY: Nation Books, 2016 (336 pages, $26.99).

Eileen Markey’s gripping narrative of the 1980 assassination of Maryknoll Sister Maura Clarke in El Salvador is a must read. It is not only a vivid portrayal of Maura Clarke’s compassion and dedication to her faith, but also a brilliant outline of the historical and political contexts that led to her untimely death. Maura’s story of courage, selflessness, and spiritual will in the face of violence is history, politics, and religion personified.

Orbeck-Nilssen, Constance, story. Akin Duzakin, illustrator. WHY AM I HERE? Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2016 (32 pages, $16).

Good luck with questions that these Norwegian author and illustrator raise so gently. Why some are immigrants, others survivors of war, some live in the forest, while others float on icebergs are complex matters. We simply don’t know finally, but children can learn to live as fully themselves with questions.

Rich, Adrienne. COLLECTED POEMS 1950-2012. Introduction by Claudia Rankine. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016 (1164 pages, $50).

Sixty years of poetry in a single volume is a gift worth savoring, dipping into, sharing, citing, savoring some more. Adrienne Rich is a chronicler, muse, spirit, experimenter, guide for contemporary feminism. She writes it all with verve. Also re-released separately is her first volume of poetry, A CHANGE OF WORLD (1951), which she wrote while in college. It is all still stunning.

Thistlethwaite, Susan Brooks. #OCCUPY THE BIBLE: WHAT JESUS REALLY SAID (AND DID) ABOUT MONEY AND POWER. Eugene, OR; Wipf & Stock, 2012 (132 pages, $16).

Worth reading to refresh on the basics and refute the ridiculous charges of the Ayn Rand types who miss the point. As times get tougher for the poor, resources like this provide ballast and balance.

Wacker, Eileen, story. Alan M. Low, illustrator. BLUE PENGUIN AND THE SENSATIONAL SURF. Honolulu, HI: ONCEKids, 2013 (40 pages, $10.99).

A fun way to share a bit of Japanese culture and a universal story of the importance of helping out others. Sweet pictures and an engaging flow to the tale that children and adults will enjoy.

WATER Recommends: January 2017

WATER Recommends: January 2017

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.


Beavis, Mary Ann and HyeRan Kim-Cragg. HEBREWS: WISDOM COMMENTARY (Vol. 54). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015 (238 pages, $39.95).

The Wisdom Commentary series will eventually provide diverse feminist biblical interpretation of every book in the Bible. Through multi-lens collaboration, Beavis and Kim-Cragg reveal the undercurrent of Sophia throughout Hebrews helping to move beyond traditional interpretations of sacrifice. Of particular interest are poems by First Nations author Marie Annharte Baker. A welcome addition to any student or preacher’s library.

Chowdhury, Elora Halim and Philipose, Liz, Editors. DISSIDENT FRIENDSHIPS: FEMINISM, IMPERIALISM, AND TRANSNATIONAL SOLIDARITY. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2016 (272 pages, $30.00).

Given the fraught global political situation, strong transnational friendships among women are crucial for understanding our differences and standing in solidarity against unjust policies. Scholars from a range of backgrounds and fields draw on post-colonial theory to address important questions: what does effective solidarity among women look like? How do we build subversive friendships that aid resistance? This is a timely collection.

Crowder, Stephanie Buckhanon. WHEN MOMMA SPEAKS: THE BIBLE AND MOTHERHOOD FROM A WOMANIST PERSPECTIVE. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016 (129 pages, $22.00).

Stephanie Crowder says, “Mothers, you rock!” Drawing on historical portrayals of African American mothers and womanist biblical interpretation, she develops “womanist maternal thought.” Biblical examples of motherhood, including Hagar and Bathsheba, provide jumping off points to reflect on contemporary contextual challenges to mothers, especially African Americans. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this book useful for any one looking to understand motherhood in new ways.

Edman, Elizabeth M. QUEER VIRTUE: WHAT LGBTQ PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT LIFE AND LOVE AND HOW IT CAN REVITALIZE CHRISTIANITY. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2016 (181 pages, $25.95).

Elizabeth Edman offers part autobiography, part theological analysis. She digs deeply into the “inherent queerness” of Christianity–it’s resistance to order, the blurring of boundaries, and the rupturing of binaries. Queer Virtue is an engaging narrative that brings queer theory into conversation with Christian history. An important read on religion and queer issues.

Forcades, Teresa. FAITH AND FREEDOM. Cambridge, England: Polity Press, 2017 (124 pages, $12.95).

The daily prayer schedule of her Benedictine community provides Theresa Forcades with a fitting framework for her insights. Medicine, politics, feminism, and spirituality are grounded in deep appreciation of human freedom and divine love. Courageous, relentless explorations of basic human experiences, especially forgiveness, destine this work to be a postmodern spiritual classic.

Long, Kimberly Bracken. FROM THIS DAY FORWARD: RETHINKING THE CHRISTIAN WEDDING. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016 (185 pages, $20.00).

Marriage is risky at best, but trying to minister to people who want to marry is trickier still. Kimberly Bracken Long offers a realistic, relatively egalitarian, and helpful guide for pastoral people who want to be useful at a liminal time in the lives of those making a legal, religious, and/or social leap.

Naegeli, Verna, Josée Ngalula, Ina Praetorius, Brigitte Rabarijaona, editors. NOUS AVONS UN DÉSIR/THERE IS SOMETHING WE LONG FOR. Kinshasa, DRC: MÉDIASPAUL, 2015 (223 pages, $20, tsenamalalaka.wordpress.com or contact coordination@malalaka.org).

Nineteen African and European women theologians share their deepest longings, their basic commitments in this multi-language volume. They model ways of engaging one another and letting differences emerge respectfully. They prove that there are no right answers in religion, but many provocative, helpful questions.

Rycenga, Jennifer and Linda Barufaldi, editors. MARY DALY READER. New York: NYU Press, 2017 (453 pages, $35.00).

Here it is—the best of Mary Daly for future generations to savor. Thanks to editors Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi, Robin Morgan’s Preface and Mary E. Hunt’s Biographical Sketch, Mary Daly comes alive. With her wry smile, brilliant analysis, poetic unto mystical writing, she wields a mighty labrys of thought. From her earliest inklings to her last Summation, this is work to read, ponder, reject, discuss, savor, question, or write your own.

Stokes, Jeanette. JUST KEEP GOING: ADVICE ON WRITING AND LIFE. Durham, NC: The Resource Center for Women & Ministry in the South, Inc., 2016 (110 pages, $20.00).

Many people write, but few people are writers. Jeanette Stokes is one of the few who does it well and has the generosity to share her method. Readers will find tips and practices that work and a host of lovely examples in this welcome resource. Also by Jeannette Stokes, 35 YEARS ON THE PATH. (Durham, NC: The Resource Center for Women & Ministry in the South, Inc., 2012 (154 pages, $20.00), which follows 25 Years in the Garden, are occasional essays that show how a writer writes. Jeanette Stokes just gets better and better as a writer, organizer, artist, and human being. This series chronicles a process that is akin to the making of fine wine and the results are simply delicious!

WATER Recommends November 2016

WATER Recommends: November 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.


Adams, Carol J., Editor. THE CAROL J. ADAMS READER: WRITINGS AND CONVERSATIONS 1995-2015. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016 (433 pages, $29.95).

Read this brilliant feminist vegan theorist whose incisive analysis and steadfast commitment to justice for all of creation compels action. Whether on meat-eating or abortion, care-giving or anti-speciesism, Carol invites the reader to share her worldview. To read her is to be open to life-changing practices, and to appreciate the power of words to transform the world.

THE CEB WOMEN’S BIBLE. Nashville, TN: Common English Bible, 2016 (1650 pages, $49.99).

Eighty editors and commentators from a dozen faith communities collaborated to produce this version of the Bible. Many are scriptures scholars, pastors, writers who dug into the texts to find hidden gems and to highlight interpretations that will be liberating. The short intros to chapters and the even shorter comments woven into the text offer basic insights and helpful data. Many preachers and study groups will find this a translation of choice.

Clark Moschella, Mary. CARING FOR JOY: NARRATIVE, THEOLOGY, AND PRACTICE. Leiden: Brill, 2016 (303 pages, $66.00).

In a welcome discussion, Clark Moschella suggests caregivers move away from concentration solely on suffering to a more holistic pastoral care that includes an emphasis on joy. She weaves together the theological and spiritual practices of joy through five narratives of diverse caregivers. Of interest are the narratives of Heidi Neumark and Pauli Murray.

Ganley, Rosemary. JAMAICA JOURNAL: THE STORY OF A GRASSROOTS CANADIAN AID ORGANIZATION. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada: Yellow Dragonfly Press, 2016 (296 pages, $21.95).

Rosemary Ganley is a gifted journalist, social justice worker extraordinaire, and treasured WATER colleague. The story of the NGO Jamaican Self-Help, its inspiration, productive work, and demise because of Canadian government funding cuts is also the story of Rosemary and her husband John Ganley (who passed away in 2013). They breathed life into JSH. With their family and friends they model solidarity work as a form of enjoyable, productive, and generous living. An inspiring and inspiriting read.

Hayes, Diana L. NO CRYSTAL STAIR: WOMANIST SPIRITUALITY. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (176 pages, $23.00).

In essays and prayers, Diana L. Hayes opens readers to the “creative spark” of womanist spirituality. She provides a fruitful overview of the history of womanism as it mirrors her own spiritual journey and intimacy with God. Her most profound spiritual moments—conversion to Catholicism, chronic illness, death of her mother—help anyone looking to deepen their understanding of womanism, intersectionality, and inclusion.

Kim, Grace Ji-Sun. MAKING PEACE WITH THE EARTH. Geneva, Switzerland: World Council of Churches Publications, 2016 (274 pages, $25.00).

A roadmap that blends faith and climate activism, these essays by faith leaders, and environmental activists show how religious communities globally tackle climate change through action, advocacy, and theology. Sections on eco-theology and interfaith initiatives are particularly compelling. Jea Sophia Oh’s chapter, “A Korean Postcolonial Eco-Feminist Theology of Life,” and Fletcher Harper’s chapter on faith communities and fossil-fuel divestment offer unique faith-based perspectives on Creation and climate advocacy.

Reid, Barbara E. WISDOM’S FEAST: AN INVITATION TO FEMINIST INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016 (154 pages, $16.00).

The sometimes-daunting process of interpreting scriptures is made transparent in this useful volume. While postcolonial approaches remain to be integrated, this primer is a go-to text for those who want to learn the basics a la Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and apply them to commonly used texts.

Reid, Barbara E., General Editor. WISDOM COMMENTARY. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

WATER welcomes this new series that will eventually provide diverse feminist biblical interpretation of every book in the bible. In addition to comments on translation and context, each volume includes reflections by various feminist scholars. An important collection for scholars, pastors, teachers and students. Here are a few of the early ones:


Davis, Stacy. HAGGAI AND MALACHI: WISDOM COMMENTARY (Vol. 39).
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015 (126 pages, $39.95).

Rather than shy away from the overt personification of a male God’s divine authority found in Haggai and Malachi, Davis meets the theme head on in her commentary. She provides the authors’ contexts as well as insight on masculinity and power today. Includes an insightful reflection from WATER former visiting scholar Rachel A.R. Bundang, PhD.


O’Brien, Julia M. MICAH: WISDOM COMMENTARY (Vol. 37). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015 (141 pages, $39.95).

O’Brien begins her commentary asking: “Does [justice] look the same for women as for men? Who gets to define justice?” She explores these questions and others with an eye towards creating justice in the future for all. Community reflections on various experiences and attempts at hope give this volume the well deserved gravitas.

Taylor, Marion Ann, Editor and Agnes Choi, Associate Editor. HANDBOOK OF WOMEN BIBLICAL INTERPRETERS: A HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic, 2012 (585 pages, $45.00).

Many women have taken on the task of biblical interpretation with such varied and rich results. Short bios of them show that many were activists, ministers, writers, etc. for whom the Hebrew and Christian scriptures were key to their analysis. This is a useful resource for scholars and students who seek an historical panorama of the many ways women handled these texts.

WATER Recommends September 2016

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.

Delio, Ilia, editor. PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION AND A NEW CREATION: THE SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION OF BEATRICE BRUTEAU. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (245 pages, $26).

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.

Lee, Deborah Jian. RESCUING JESUS: HOW PEOPLE OF COLOR, WOMEN, AND QUEER CHRISTIANS ARE RECLAIMING EVANGELICALISM. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2016 (283 pages, $19.95)

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.

WATER Recommends July 2016

Hello

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.


Askew, Emily and O. Wesley Allen Jr. BEYOND HETEROSEXISM IN THE PULPIT. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015 (149 pages, $21.00).

For those who are serious about using worship as a justice-seeking teaching and advocacy tool, this volume is a real help. Words matter. Choice of themes, scriptural passages, and ways of letting congregations know that ministers are not neutral add up to necessary techniques for being helpful not harmful, proactive not reactive, and above all, creating a safer, saner, more inclusive world.

Bowman, Donna. PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRIES AND WOMEN’S THEOLOGICAL IMAGINATIONS. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016 (353 pages, $110.00).

Spiritual practices that people actually engage in make great foundations for theology. This study of creating, using, and letting people know the importance of prayer shawls reflects pastoral theology done well. Surely there are other such practices that would benefit from this kind of elucidation.

Farley, Wendy. THE THIRST FOR GOD: CONTEMPLATING GOD’S LOVE WITH THREE WOMEN MYSTICS. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015 (169 pages, $18.28).

Mechtild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich and Marguerite Porte, medieval contemplatives who left deep impressions in the Western spiritual tradition, form the heart of this exploration. Dr. Farley excavates the lives and works of these three women in a church that hardly welcomed them, a world that showed a certain hostility, and yet a Spirit that seemingly called them forth.

Harrison, Kelby. SEXUAL DECEIT: THE ETHICS OF PASSING. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013 (219 ages, $39.99).

A useful study of the ever more complicated matters of passing, closeting, outing, and the like. As sex/gender issues evolve, these questions and the importance of how to approach them justly only increase. Specialized work that will evoke necessary discussion.

Hayes, Diana L. FORGED IN THE FURNACE: AFRICAN AMERICAN SPIRITUALITY. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012 (228 pages, $17.17).

African American spirituality has many roots. Professor Hayes explores Christian ones, focusing her insightful study on particular thinkers, practitioners, and communities. She illustrates the enormous progress against equally large odds, and the generous contribution of African Americans to a nation that still actively resists their contributions.

Junior, Nyasha. AN INTRODUCTION TO WOMANIST BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015 (152 pages, $21.60).

Womanist scholarship is diverse and disputed in its many strong articulations. Professor Junior lays out the contours of the differences as they relate to biblical scholarship. Created as an introductory text, the nuances here are for a broad audience to ponder and understand.

Read along with it: Smith, Mitzi J. I FOUND GOD IN ME: A WOMANIST BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS READER. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015 (312 pages, $31.52).

This is a compilation of primary sources of womanist biblical scholarship. Some of the essays form the basis of Dr. Junior’s analysis.

Kaplan, Roberta and Lisa Dickey. THEN COMES MARRIAGE: UNITED STATES V. WINDSOR AND THE DEFEAT OF DOMA. NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2015 (350 pages, $16.95).

It all started by recognizing the dignity of one couple. With Roberta Kaplan’s defeat of DOMA in the United States vs Windsor case, she, along with countless others, was able to help pave the way for marriage equality nationwide. Weaving her own personal tale of self acceptance in with the life of her client and the case itself, Then Comes Marriage offers a complete, authentic, compelling narrative of a truly remarkable moment in history.

Sabine, Maureen. VEILED DESIRES: INTIMATE PORTRAYALS OF NUNS IN POSTWAR ANGLO-AMERICAN FILM. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2013 (320 pages, $35.00).

Taking an intimate look at the portrayal of nuns in films such as The Sound of Music, Black Narcissus, and Dead Man Walking, Maureen Sabine discusses topics ranging from the power struggle between nuns and priests to hidden sexuality in convents. An accessible and engaging read.

Stokes, Jeanette. FOLLOWING A FEMALE LINE. Durham, NC: Words & Spirit, 2015 (157 pages, $20.00).

Jeanette Stokes, founder of the Resource Center for Women & Ministry in the South, writes of her mission to trace the matrilineal line of her family to years before the Revolutionary War. What she finds is a long line of proud and adventurous Scots-Irish women of a strong Presbyterian faith that connects her to a larger pool of relatives in the South. Jeanette’s writing is warm, evocative, imaginative, and makes the reader feel as if they are part of the family. Absolutely running over with nostalgia and love, a great read for any fan of creative non-fiction.

Whitney, Ruth. THE HEART OF JESUS’ TEACHING: THE KEY TO TRANSFORMING CHRISTIANITY AND OUR WORLD. Nevada City, CA: Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2016 (265 pages, $19.95).

Love seems like a simple recipe in a complicated world. But Ruth Whitney lays out a solid and inviting case for it. By her lights, Christians would leave aside the small stuff that divides and unite on the big central message of many religious traditions. Well worth reading and discussing.

WATER Recommends: June 2016

WATER Recommends: June 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.


Coleman, Monica A., Nancy R. Howell, and Helene Tallon Russell, editors. CREATING WOMEN’S THEOLOGY: A MOVEMENT ENGAGING PROCESS THOUGHT. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2011 (256 pages, $32.00).

This accessible and concise textbook offers a comprehensive start for those interested in the basics of feminist theology and process thought. Comprised of excerpts from the works of many scholars and theologians on a range of topics, each chapter is followed by a commentary by another contemporary author. Study questions addressing inclusivity and limitations, as well as personal reflections on the text, add to this book’s value as a teaching tool.

Gench, Frances Taylor. ENCOUNTERING GOD IN TYRANNICAL TEXTS: REFLECTIONS ON PAUL, WOMEN, AND THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015 (196 pages, $20.00).

As a minister frustrated by the Presbyterian tradition, Frances Taylor Gench penned a witty, in-depth yet still accessible guide to tackling Paul’s most problematic texts. Using her five recommendations for encountering the Bible as a living and mutable script, Gench comes at each “tyrannical” text from both academic and spiritual perspectives. She deconstructs traditional sexist interpretations of Paul and encourages readers to wrestle with Scripture as an act of faith. Plenty of discussion questions that round out each chapter make this apt for the classroom or Bible study.

Hogan, Kristen. THE FEMINIST BOOKSTORE MOVEMENT: LESBIAN ANTIRACISM AND FEMINISTS ACCOUNTABILITY. Durham, NC: Duke University Press: 2016 (272 pages, $24.95).

Emphasizing relationships over profit, the feminist bookstore movement’s biggest success was creating a network of ‘bookwomen’ that cared for each other. Although not always easy or comfortable, the community was dedicated to distributing materials written and published by women of every race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. With thought and care Kristen Hogan tells the movement’s history as a way to lay a foundation of accountability and antiracism for future generations of feminists.

Johnson, Elizabeth A., Editor. THE STRENGTH OF HER WITNESS: JESUS CHRIST IN THE GLOBAL VOICES OF WOMEN. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (354 pages, $35.00).

In this anthology of insightful essays published by influential women scholars from around the world, editor Elizabeth Johnson shares their work in Christology, an often-challenging topic in feminist theology. Authors, including WATER colleagues Mercy Amba Oduyoye, María Pilar Aquino, and Judith Plaskow among others, bring a broad range of perspectives to the Christ figure. These thoughtful, discerning, contextual, and critical articles provide scholars and others with intersectional, feminist readings of Jesus and Christianity.

Lightsey, Pamela R. OUR LIVES MATTER: A WOMANIST QUEER THEOLOGY. Eugene, Oregon: WIPF & Stock, 2015 (104 pages, $16.00).

“Full inclusion is the womanist way. Exclusion and individualism separate us from one another and Divine Love.” With these words Pamela Lightsey encapsulates her perspective as a queer womanist Methodist minister. This book picks up the conversation started by Kelly Brown Douglas, Shawn Copeland, and others and takes it to Ferguson and beyond. Important to read and heed.

Randall, Margaret. HAYDÉE SANTAMARÍA, CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY: SHE LED BY TRANSGRESSION. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015 (231 pages, $23.95).

Margaret Randall paints an intimate portrait of Haydée Santamaría, one of the few women to have influence in the Cuban Revolution and founder of the cultural institution Casa de las Americas. By exploring the many challenges in Haydée’s life, this work examines the impact of oft-hidden trauma, particularly on women doing justice work. An informative and engaging biography that brings the important life of Haydée to light.

Schade, Leah D. CREATION-CRISIS PREACHING: ECOLOGY, THEOLOGY, AND THE PULPIT. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2015 (205 pages, $22.00).

Preaching can be a way to make social change. Eco-feminist preaching has even more potential to rock the hearts and minds of listeners and encourage action. This collection of theoretical materials and sermons is a good Lutheran model that can be adapted more broadly.

Schlumpf, Heidi. ELIZABETH JOHNSON: QUESTING FOR GOD. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016 (145 pages, $14.95).

This biography introduces readers to a Catholic feminist theologian of the most careful, moderate, tradition-respecting sort. That Vatican officials critiqued her roundly proves that no matter how circumspect feminists are, the least suggestion that the kyriarchs don’t have all the answers is met with fierce resistance. The quest continues.

Schmidt, Jalane D. CACHITA’S STREETS: THE VIRGIN OF CHARITY, RACE, AND REVOLUTION IN CUBA. Durham, NC: Duke University Press: 2015. (376 pages, $26.95).

Cachita’s Streets provides a comprehensive look at the role of the Virgin of Charity throughout Cuban history. The author explores the influences of class, race, especially the complexities of African descent, and beauty ideals. Perceptions of the oppressed in Cuba in relation to the Virgin of Charity are among Jalane Schmidt’s insights. Debates on “La Cachita” still rage as Cuba undergoes continued transformation.

Tisdale, Sallie. WOMEN OF THE WAY: DISCOVERING 2,500 YEARS OF BUDDHIST WISDOM. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006 (299 pages, $13.62).

Women of the Way provides accessible, colorful narratives of women central to Buddhism and locates them within the lineage of legendary monks and masters. This early work by a Western practitioner who is now a famed writer, addresses the history and oppression of women within the religion, with special attention to Indian, Chinese, and Japanese women. Informative for a diverse audience.

Zagano, Phyllis, editor. WOMEN DEACONS? ESSAYS WITH ANSWERS. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016 (252 pages, $24.95).

Key documents in the newly re-ignited discussion on women deacons, these (mostly) translated essays provide scholarly substance. While consensus remains elusive, there is plenty of historical evidence to call Phoebe (Romans 16:1) a deacon and invite women to follow in her footsteps. Whether women becoming deacons is the best or even a feasible way forward remains to be discerned for which this book is a great help.

WATER recommends: May 2016

WATER Recommends: May 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.


Adams, Carol J. THE SEXUAL POLITICS OF MEAT: A FEMINIST-VEGETARIAN CRITICAL THEORY. 25th Anniversary Bloomsbury Revelations Edition. New York: Bloomsbury Revelations, 2015 (281 pages, $23.52).

The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (1990) came out recently in a 25th anniversary Bloomsbury Revelations edition (in a series that includes the work of Paulo Friere, Karl Barth, Martin Buber, and few women). The revolutionary thinking of Carol Adams is that animals and women have a lot in common. They are commodified and treated violently. Adding meat eating and speciesism to an intersectional analysis makes for more justice.

Listen to our March 2016 WATERtalk with Carol J. Adams to learn more about this volume.

Biviano, Erin Lothes. INSPIRED SUSTAINABILITY: PLANTING SEEDS FOR ACTION. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (286 pages, $25.00).

Erin Biviano has collected the thoughts and ideas of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and Jews on what stands between religious communities and full commitment to a ‘green’ lifestyle. Curiously lacking explicit ecofeminist resources, nevertheless, the accounts of personal triumphs and daily struggles can help groups and denominations beginning conversations on creation care.

Castro, Jennifer, editor. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE: HONORING THE DIVERSITY OF WOMEN’S VOICES IN THEOLOGY. Elkhart, IN: Women in Leadership Project, Mennonite Church USA, 2016 (207 pages, $10.00).

Despite the community-based, simple, pacifist way of life, Mennonites have not been immune to the patriarchal hierarchy that plagues every denomination’s history. All You Need Is Love is the thoughtful and intimate result of Mennonite women wanting to honor their narratives and those of their church sisters. Tales of motherhood, marginalization, and unconditional love provide a body of work able to cross denominational boundaries and provide insights for all.

Chittister, Joan. BETWEEN THE DARK AND THE DAYLIGHT: EMBRACING THE CONTRADICTIONS OF LIFE. New York: Image, 2015 (173 pages, $24.00).

Contradictions abound on a daily basis. Finding their spiritual meaning can be elusive. Spiritual writing is a dicey genre—too pious and it’s a turn off, too practical and it sounds like bad public relations copy. Joan Chittister threads her way, book after book, to provide wisdom without syrup, insights without judgments. A good read for those who expect such from Joan and for those who are meeting her for the first time.

Harding, Rachel Elizabeth and Rosemarie Freeney Harding. REMNANTS: A MEMOIR OF SPIRIT, ACTIVISM, AND MOTHERING. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015 (295 pages, $24.95).

A vibrant memoir peppered with short fiction, poetry, diary entries, and family history, Remnants celebrates the life, spirituality, and creativity of activist Rosemarie Freeney Harding. Finished by her daughter Rachel, this work explores the mother-daughter bond, community-building in the 1960’s South, and Rosemarie’s deep spiritual wisdom drawn from a blend of southern Black mysticism, Buddhism, Candomblé, and more. A “cosmology of compassion and connectedness” and a remarkable insight into a visionary woman.

Irons, Kendra Weddle and Melanie Springer Mock. IF EVE ONLY KNEW: FREEING YOURSELF FROM BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD AND BECOMING ALL GOD MEANS FOR YOU TO BE. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2015. (216 pages, $18.50).

Taking a necessary step for the Evangelical Christian community, Kendra Weddle Irons and Melanie Springer Mock discuss the oppressive, damaging messages sent to both women and men by the church’s biblical interpretations. This contemporary, relevant critique of traditional evangelical views commits to dismantling themes of silence, submission, and purity directed towards women of the church.

Jia, Jinhua, Xiaofei Kang, and Ping Yao, editors. GENDERING CHINESE RELIGION: SUBJECT, IDENTITY, AND BODY. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2014 (300 pages, $34.95).

The editors take a scholarly approach to topics ranging from Daoist priestesses to Buddhist filiality to female alchemy. An informative read which explores the history of women in Chinese spirituality and tradition. This new sub-specialty is worth watching for what it portends in the larger field of feminist studies in religion.

Kim, Grace Ji-Sun, editor. HERE I AM: FAITH STORIES OF KOREAN AMERICAN CLERGY WOMEN. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 2015 (163 pages, $16.99).

Organized, efficient, smart ministers who bond over their shared work and find ways to support each one’s unique approach. Lots to learn here about post-colonial practice for a broad audience who will find wisdom and strategies worth considering from these Korean American colleagues’ theologies, stories, and sermons. Unzu Lee’s chronology of the meetings (including one on a cruise ship—talk about smart!) is valuable history.

Maxson, Natalie. JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE. World Council of Churches, 2016 (148 pages, $15.00).

This is an informative history of women’s participation in the World Council of Churches including a useful timeline, relevant bibliography, and sketches of some of the principals. Oddly lacking is mention of when the first three women—Dame Nita Barrow, Marga Buehrig, and Lois Wilson–were elected to the WCC’s own Presidium since change begins at home.

THE [P] CLUB: CHURCH, LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX. Dir. Christine Delp. Wesley Hogan, 2015 (DVD, 52 minutes, $15). Order here: http://www.thepclubdocumentary.com/order/the-p-club

Space for open and honest dialogue about sexuality has rarely been found within faith communities. The [P] Club shares the collective story, as well as the personal narratives, of eleven women students from Duke Divinity School discussing their experiences with sex, relationships, and faith. A helpful model for religious groups looking to start healthy conversations about sexuality.

Quinn, Donna. CHICAGO CATHOLIC WOMEN: ITS ROLE IN FOUNDING THE CATHOLIC WOMEN’S MOVEMENT. Chicago, IL: Lake Claremont Press, 2016 (247 pages, $22.00).

Donna Quinn provides an invaluable history of a pivotal group at an important time in the history of U.S. Catholic women. Their grassroots work and national reach helped to shape Catholic feminism. Let this be an example to other groups to write their own history or risk being misunderstood, or worse, perhaps, forgotten.

WATER Recommends: April 2016

WATER Recommends: April 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.


Ahmed-Ghosh, Huma, editors. CONTESTING FEMINISMS: GENDER AND ISLAM IN ASIA. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2015 (283 pages, $85.00).

Ahmed-Ghosh gathers the voices of many Muslim feminist scholars in this beautifully crafted anthology of essays on feminism, agency, and empowerment in Muslim women’s lives, in Asia and in the Western diaspora. In their own voices, these authors redefine power and feminism for their own contexts. An educational, insightful, and powerful read.

Carbine, Rosemary P. and Kathleen J. Dolphin, editors. WOMEN, WISDOM, AND WITNESS: ENGAGING CONTEXTS IN CONVERSATION. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012 (292 pages, $31.19).

It is not easy for Catholic women theologians to get a hearing. Fortunately, the Madeleva Lecture and the New Voices Seminar at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana are one place for beginning conversations. Theological essays range from sex-trafficking and feminicide to navigating the health care system and talking about healthy sex on college campuses. Rachel Bundang, Rosemary P. Carbine, LaReine-Marie Mosely, Emily Reimer-Barry, among others, use their voices to broach topics that need critical attention especially in Catholic circles where many women’s wisdom, witness, and well-being are honored in the breach.

Cleves, Rachel Hope. CHARITY AND SYLVIA: A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN EARLY AMERICA. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014 (267 pages, $17.95).

These two women living in rural America circa 1850 had no Supreme Court or Freedom to Marry support. They did it the old fashioned way with just love and courage. A fine read.

Kujawa-Holbrook, Sheryl A., translation and annotation. HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS AND CHANTS OF A CHRISTIAN MYSTIC – ANNOTATED & EXPLAINED. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2016 (186 pages, $15.74).

An insightful introduction, wisely chosen texts, clear, concise annotation, and resources galore make this a new go-to volume for Hildegard scholars both novice and experienced. Kujawa-Holbrook, an excellent teacher, instructs readers on how to handle the texts of twelfth century Benedictine Hildegard of Bingen on the nun’s own terms not theirs. Hildegard’s affirmation, “All praise be to you, as is your due, O Wisdom!” applies here.

Marshank, Sarah. BEING SELFISH: MY JOURNEY FROM ESCORT TO MONK TO GRANDMOTHER. Ashland, OR: BookBaby, 2015 (350 pages, $19.99).

Following an unconventional path to Self-enlightenment, Marshank journeys through Orthodox Judaism, Native American practices, sexuality workshops, celibacy, and an endless number of baths. The raw, authentic, honesty that shines through this memoir offers a connection to readers young and old, spiritual and secular.

Mercedes, Anna. POWER FOR: FEMINISM AND CHRIST’S SELF GIVING. London: T&T Clark International, 2011 (168 pages, $32.95).

Christian conceptions of self-sacrifice, service, and care have been challenged by many feminists as detrimental and oppressive to women. In response, Mercedes, drawing on theological and scholarly texts, looks at self-giving as an empowering concept. Given how problematic these issues have been for women in practice, this theoretical discussion is just a beginning which requires a great deal of scrutiny.

Song, Angeline M.G. A POSTCOLONIAL WOMAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH MOSES AND MIRIAM. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (262 pages, $95).

The academic and the personal intertwine seamlessly in this in-depth look at Exodus 2. Song connects empathetically with Moses and Miriam through her own story as an adoptee of an ethnic minority, a single woman in colonial, patriarchal Singapore. Postcolonial studies and focalization methodology are useful tools. Meant for a specialized audience, this study would enhance an advanced biblical interpretation course.

Thistlethwaite, Susan Brooks. WOMEN’S BODIES AS BATTLEFIELD: CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL WAR ON WOMEN. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (224 pages, $30).

A hard book to read, this important volume puts the matter squarely: women’s and girls’ bodies are battlefields in an ongoing war. Christian theology, even in its pacifist articulations, can be part of the problem. Thislethwaite addresses these terrible matters with analysis and strategic suggestions. Let the work of just “peacebuilding” rise to the top of an agenda for safety and the common good.

Listen to our April 2016 WATERtalk with Susan Thislethwaite to learn more about this volume.

Tsomo, Karma Lekshe, editor. EMINENT BUDDHIST WOMEN. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014 (267 pages, $29.95).

Given the many centuries of male-dominated history, Tsomo’s collection of essays by Buddhist practitioners sharing the experiences and accomplishments of Buddhist women is wonderfully welcome. This invaluable selection of narratives adds immeasurably to a nuanced understanding of Buddhism in all of its complexity.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Grim, editors. LIVING COSMOLOGY: CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016 (338 pages, $23.21).

The hundredth birthday of “geologian” Thomas Berry brought scholars and activists to Yale to ponder the impact of “the universe story.” Essays by Ilia Delio, Heather Eaton, Mary E. Hunt, Catherine Keller, Chris Loughlin, Patricia Siemen, Mary Evelyn Tucker,  among others, demonstrate diverse and insightful responses to this popular narrative.

Valdés, Vanessa K. OSHUN’S DAUGHTERS: THE SEARCH FOR WOMANHOOD IN THE AMERICAS. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2014 (209 pages, $23.95).

An introductory sampling of poetry and novels by women from across the Americas, especially Brasil, Cuba, and the U.S., who incorporate Yoruba religion into their writings. Women find voices to construct identities of their whole, complex sexual selves derived apart from the patriarchal Western vision of the female as virgin, mother, or whore.

WATER Recommends February 2016

WATER Recommends: February 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.


Brooks, Joanna, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, Hannah Wheelwright, editors. MORMON FEMINISM ESSENTIAL WRITINGS. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (324 pages, $27.58).

This volume of “Essential Writings” is needed in every tradition. What a wonderful way to capture the history of Mormon women’s struggles! The Introduction and Key Events time line set out the trajectory of change. A great book for reference and inspiration. Listen to our February 2016 WATERtalk with Joanna Brooks to learn more about this volume.

Chittister, Joan. TWO DOGS AND A PARROT: WHAT OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS CAN TEACH US ABOUT LIFE. Katonah, NY: BlueBridge Books, 2015 (186 pages, $18.95).

Joan Chittister is always on the lookout for spiritual wisdom. She finds a good deal of it in her relationships with animals who charm the socks off of her. How refreshing to see the world through canine eyes, to imagine what a parrot might think, to interact with animals with tails and wings, and to know that how we treat them is an accurate measure of our civilization.

Cupit, Margaret Carlisle and Edward Henderson. WHY, GOD? SUFFERING THROUGH CANCER INTO FAITH. Eugene, OR: RESOURCE Publications, 2015 (146 pages, $20).

Cancer is a tough problem at any age. But when young people have to contend with it there is a special poignancy. This young woman’s story, added to by her grandfather’s reflections, is a painful read about just how complicated it is to deal with the ultimately unanswerable questions of life. Touching, compelling.

Jung, Patricia Beattie and Darryl W. Stephens, editors. PROFESSIONAL SEXUAL ETHICS: A HOLISTIC MINISTRY APPROACH. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013 (244 pages, $19.76).

Local pastors face a range of matters relating to sexuality: changing views of sexual orientation/gender identity, professional boundaries, pornography, pastoral care and counseling. Trusted voices include Kate M. Ott, Cristina L.H. Traina, Susan Ross, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Joretta Marshall, Boyung Lee, Youtha Hardman-Cromwell, Joyce Mercer, among others. This compilation provides a good jumping off point for faith leaders of many stripes concerned with sexual health at home and in the larger community.

Rambo, Shelly. SPIRIT AND TRAUMA: A THEOLOGY OF REMAINING. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010 (186 pages, $19.75).

What happens after the hurricane has passed, after the soldiers have come home from war? How do we aid those who, because of traumatic events, experience the nexus of life and death up close? Trauma theory and theology together demonstrate how reading scripture through the lens of trauma can shed new light on texts and provide new insights on difficult experiences. A helpful read for those who interact with trauma survivors, especially pastors and volunteers.

Richardson, Jan. CIRCLE OF GRACE: A BOOK OF BLESSINGS FOR THE SEASONS. Orlando, FL: Wanton Gospeller Press, 2015 (181 pages, $16).

Ever wonder what a blessing is? Methodist minister Jan Richardson writes, “a good blessing nonetheless shimmers with the mystery that lies at the heart of God.” (p. xv). Here is a collection to try for many occasions.

Roberts, Tom. JOAN CHITTISTER: HER JOURNEY FROM CERTAINTY TO FAITH. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 2015 (248 pages, $25).

Tom Roberts, longtime writer for the National Catholic Reporter, has gone deep into the life story of Joan Chittister to illuminate some of the whys and wherefores of her choices. This is an engaging read, a definitive biography, facilitated by Joan’s cooperation in the telling. But thankfully it is by no means the last word on/from a woman who is still in the throes of a busy, productive, and challenging life.

Sherr, Lynn. SALLY RIDE: AMERICA’S FIRST WOMEN IN SPACE. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014 (374 pages, $18.62).

This is a marvelously written, highly informative, and deeply touching story of an American hero who changed forever what an astronaut looks like. Sally Ride’s commitment to STEM education for girls based on the highest quality science shines brightly. Too bad society failed to accept the range of ways women love. Abolishing heterosexism is as fitting a way to honor her memory as naming a ship or lunar impact site for her.

Solberg, Randi O., editor. HEAR OUR VOICES: CHRISTIAN LESBIANS IN EUROPE TELLING THEIR STORIES. Netherlands: Esuberanza Publishing, 2014 (209 pages, $12.50)

Christian lesbians in Europe have many stories to tell. WATER friends Maria Moser, Lideke In’t Veld, Inga Mielitz, and others show the many ways women love well and do justice. Living Apart Together (LAT) is a common European lifestyle others might usefully consider. Lots of spiritual richness here. We applaud them!

Taylor, Sandra, and Hazel Barnes, editors. AND GOD SAW IT ALL WAS VERY GOOD: CATHOLIC LGBT PEOPLE IN EUROPE TELLING THEIR STORIES. Netherlands: Esuberanza Publishing, 2015 (201 pages, $16.50).

Stories from European LGBT people demonstrate the variety of experiences, none of them happy. Consistent in the collection is the Roman Catholic Church’s loss of the full potential of each and every one of these fine people. Happily, the world is bigger than the church and the queer find their ways with style. Here’s hoping the institutional church might one day catch up.

Children’s Education

Jones, Shannon. KEEKEE’S BIG ADVENTURES IN ATHENS, GREECE. Hagerstown, MD: Calithumpian Press, 2015 (40 pages, $16.99).

KeeKee, the world-traveling cat, delightfully discovers the sights and sounds of Athens, Greece, in this beautifully illustrated installment of her adventure series. A great teaching tool for kids learning about other parts of the world – and adults may learn some useful Greek phrases themselves!

WATER Recommends January 2016

WATER Recommends: January 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.


Anzaldúa, Gloria E. LIGHT IN THE DARK/LUZ EN LO OSCURO: REWRITING IDENTITY, SPIRITUALITY, REALITY. Edited by Analouise Keating. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015 (271 pages, $25.95).

A compilation of essays by the late Gloria Anzaldúa which highlights the centrality of nepantla (the in-between-ness) through stories, personal reflection, feminist theory, and focus on the fluidity of borders.  An important read for those wishing to dive deeper into a world between borders of gender, place of origin, ethnicity, sexuality, and language. (Note: in her focus on nepantla, Anzaldúa writes fluidly between Spanish and English.)

Dillen, Annemie, editor. WHEN ‘LOVE’ STRIKES: SOCIAL SCIENCES, ETHICS AND THEOLOGY ON FAMILY VIOLENCE. Leuven, The Netherlands and Dudley, MA: Peeters, 2009 (362 pages, $38).

Abuse in families is a topic that cannot be ignored, especially by Christian churches that sometimes mistakenly preach words that could encourage it. Dillen’s collection of sociologically and theologically based articles provides a thorough explanation of many types of domestic violence.  Included are how cycles of violence begin and end, and how Christian churches sometimes play conflicting roles in helping and hindering. An important read for those who seek to end family violence, particularly pastors who bear responsibility for pastoral care.

Duggan, Joseph F. THE FEAST: RE-FORMING IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY. San Francisco, CA: The Feast Press, 2015 (116 pages, $12).

Joe Duggan outlines a healthy, joyful approach to prayer and reflection grounded in the Ignatian tradition enhanced greatly with contemporary insights including feminism. Spiritual maturity involves embrace not obedience, celebration not penance. With this guide, many people will find their way to deeper self-understanding, richer community, and more abundant love of the divine.

Kao, Grace Y. and Ilsup Ahn. ASIAN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN ETHICS: VOICES, METHODS, ISSUES. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2015 (355 pages, $45).

The first anthology of Asian American Christian ethicists, this volume introduces readers to the emerging, complex conversations that these scholars are nurturing. The Introduction is especially provocative as Asian Americans interface with Native Americans in the framing of issues. Attention to variety, contexts, and power differences make these essays valuable for teaching and strategizing.  Listen to our January 2016 WATERtalk with Grace Kao to learn more about this volume.

King, Ursula. SPIRIT OF FIRE: THE LIFE AND VISION OF PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1996, 2015 (258 pages, $26).

The women in his life and the women whose lives he touched make Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a unique figure in Western religious history. Ursula King includes photos and stories, history and analysis in this biography of the French Jesuit who shaped a great deal of contemporary Catholic thinking about science and religion. Excellent bibliographic tools for more exploration.

Knight, Jennie S. FEMINIST MYSTICISM AND IMAGES OF GOD: A PRACTICAL THEOLOGY. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2011 (184 pages, $24.99).

Through the personal journeys of four Christian women, Knight explores the harmful effects of traditional, patriarchal images of God and the sense of liberation that comes from redefining and re-imagining the divine. A useful companion for those on their own journey of re-imagination.

Kwok Pui-Lan, Cecilia González-Andrieu, and Dwight N. Hopkins, editors. TEACHING GLOBAL THEOLOGIES: POWER & PRAXIS. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2015 (216 pages, $34.95).

Teaching theology in a global context is crucial for a more accurate, inclusive understanding of religion’s role in an increasingly complex world. This fresh look at theology lays the groundwork for creating diverse practices and pedagogies. Useful for educators wishing to better communicate the complex realities of contemporary Christianity.

Lanzetta, Beverly. NINE JEWELS OF NIGHT: ONE SOUL’S JOURNEY INTO GOD. San Diego, CA: Blue Sapphire Books, 2014 (280 pages, $15.95).

A remarkable personal story undergirds Beverly’s interspiritual insights. Listen to her December 2015 WATERtalk to appreciate the commitment this mystic lives to world transformation as well as union with the Unnamable. Book and audio make a nice starting point for conversation on contemplation and monasticism in everyday life.

Manigault-Bryant, LeRonda S. TALKING TO THE DEAD: RELIGION, MUSIC, AND LIVED MEMORY AMONG GULLAH/GEECHEE WOMEN. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014 (278 pages, $20.98).

By sharing the narratives of seven Gullah/Geechee women from the South Carolina lowcountry, Manigault-Bryant illustrates the often-overlooked important cultural preservation the women provide for their communities. “Talking to the dead” for these women means maintaining relationships with the deceased through song, prayer, dreams and storytelling. An in-depth ethnography for those looking to expand their knowledge of the Gullah/Geechee people.

Panotto, Nicolas, editor. POPE FRANCIS IN POSTCOLONIAL REALITY: COMPLEXITIES, AMBIGUITIES AND PARADOXES. San Francisco, CA: Borderless Press, 2015 (145 pages, $12).

A Latin American Pope does not guarantee a postcolonial church. This and other insights make this volume a useful complement to the many uncritical accounts of the early years of the Francis papacy.

Silverman, Emily Leah. EDITH STEIN AND REGINA JONAS: RELIGIOUS VISIONARIES IN THE TIME OF THE DEATH CAMPS. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Limited, 2013 (191 pages, $39.95).

Stein, a Jewish Carmelite nun, was among the first women to receive a doctorate in philosophy.  Jonas was the first woman rabbi in Jewish history.  Both defied conformity until their deaths in Nazi concentration camps.  Using their scholarly writings, Silverman examines the “deviant” religious desires of these two pioneering women as foresisters to queer theology because they did not conform to traditional male or female, nor Jewish or Christian roles.

Wigger, J. Bradley, author. Jabo, illustrator. THANK YOU GOD. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014 (22 pages, $12.90).

Through prayers and rich, vibrant illustrations, this short collection captures reasons to be grateful.  It celebrates family, friends, creation, and hospitality.  The art work alone is occasion for gratitude. Appropriate for young children and their older friends.

WATER Recommends: June 2015

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.


Chung, Meehyun. LIBERATION AND RECONCILIATION. Geneva, Switzerland: World Council of Churches Publications, 2014 (142 pages, $7).

Korean feminist theology comes alive in these pages. Liberation and reconciliation are hallmarks of the divided peninsula. Meehyun writes accessibly for a broad audience contributing biblical as well as spiritual insights.

Gibson, Dawn-Marie and Karim, Jamillah. WOMEN OF THE NATION: BETWEEN BLACK PROTEST AND SUNNI ISLAM. New York: New York University Press, 2014 (263 pages, $23.40).

This book is a thorough history of American Muslim women’s experiences in the Nation of Islam from the strict and organized pre-1975 structure to the more inclusive and liberating modern-day structures. Gibson and Karim thoughtfully and critically draw out a study of black women’s accounts of the Nation of Islam with descriptive analyses of the race, gender, and class politics that shaped these women’s efforts to find a theology consistent with their own life experiences.

Graham, Elaine L., ed. GRACE JANTZEN: REDEEMING THE PRESENT. Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2009 (269 pages, $44.96).

An anthology by colleagues and students on the work and inspirations of feminist philosopher Grace Jantzen, this collection is a wide-ranging resource detailing her influence on gender, Western culture, and religion. Her vision for a society focused on life and natality is explored by a wide range of voices. This is an important work for newcomers to Jantzen’s thought and followers of her broad scholarship alike.

Grushcow, Rabbi Lisa J., ed. THE SACRED ENCOUNTER: JEWISH PERSPECTIVES ON SEXUALITY. New York: CCAR Press, 2014 (765 pages, $23.50).

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow has compiled a tome to be placed beside the holy books as a primary source on Judaism and sexuality.  She joins the important voices of Denise Eger, Laura Geller, and Jane Rachel Litman in the Jewish tradition of questioning and interpreting a lush field of topics, from the complications of marriage when  Alzheimer’s intrudes to the history of LGBTQ members in the Reform movement.  If you find yourself wondering about life and love in the Jewish body, have no fear, “The Sacred Encounter” is here.

Kang, Namsoon. COSMOPOLITAN THEOLOGY: RECONSTITUTING PLANETARY HOSPITALITY, NEIGHBOR-LOVE, AND SOLIDARITY IN AN UNEVEN WORLD. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2013 (252 pages, $26.39).

A beautifully accessible proposal for cosmopolitan theology rooted in the embrace of global unity, radical compassion, and inclusion that goes beyond gender, race, religion, sexuality, and nationality. Dr. Kang outlines with depth and readability her strategies for a more connected and loving world. Academic precision and passionate activism are her hallmarks.

Kang, Namsoon. DIASPORIC FEMINIST THEOLOGY: ASIA AND THEOPOLITICAL IMAGINATION. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014 (378 pages, $39).

Dr. Kang shapes new, critical, and expansive feminist theological discourses through the lens of diaspora which transform and transcend current concepts of gender, identity, globalization, and postcolonialism. This important work has immense reverberations and will be refreshing to those seeking cutting edge ways of doing feminist theology.

McWeeny, Jennifer and Butnor, Ashby, eds. ASIAN AND FEMINIST PHILOSOPHIES IN DIALOGUE: LIBERATING TRADITIONS. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014 (318 pages, $31.50).

A wonderful introduction to feminist comparative philosophy and methodology, this diverse collection investigates ancient Asian philosophies through a feminist lens while guiding the reader along with detailed explanations and definitions. This modern exploration into traditional cultural constructions and concepts of the self will help novice and expert alike.

Messina-Dysert, Gina and Ruether, Rosemary Radford, eds. FEMINISM AND RELIGION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: TECHNOLOGY, DIALOGUE, AND EXPANDING BORDERS. New York: Routledge Press, 2015 (217 pages, $134.87).

A compelling exploration of technology’s effects on the field of feminism and religion through essays by a varied group of theologians. The collection makes a stunning case for how technology fosters expanded dialogue, spreads the feminist revolution, and shapes the future of the movement. Authors critique the downfalls of social networks as well as the problems of media elitism. Nonetheless, the remarkable pluses of technology for feminist religious studies shine forth.

Schatz, Kate and Stahl, Miriam Klein (illustrator). RAD AMERICAN WOMEN: A-Z. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2015 (64 pages, $14.95).

With these wondrous women and Klein Stahl’s visionary visuals to match, Schatz rouses the reader’s own rad-ness. Technically a book for kids, this alphabetical anthology will cheer feminists and aspiring feminists of all ages. Important, intersectional, and influential.

Shepard, Florence Rose Krall. SOMETIMES CREEK: A WYOMING MEMOIR. Durango, Colorado: Raven’s Eye Press, 2012 (354 pages, $18).

A captivating story written with verve, this memoir is a rich reflection on a complex life. Flo Shepard explores seasons, sensations, scholarship in a delectable display of nature writing in all of its spiritual beauty.

Sokolove, Deborah. SANCTIFYING ART: INVITING CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN ARTISTS, THEOLOGIANS, AND THE CHURCH. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2013 (190 pages, $22).

Sokolove examines the complexity of our relationship to art, guiding us through cultural shifts and personal musings. She widens the spaces between those three small letters a-r-t until we float in that strange jumble of quotidian and sublime – art every bit as colorful, dynamic, and holy as laundry drying on a line. Sokolove’s contemplations are rich starting points for those considering the plentiful intersections of art, worship, selfhood, and society.