WATER Recommends: January 2021
Adams, Carol J. THE PORNOGRAPHY OF MEAT. New and Updated Edition. NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020 (416 pages, $29.95).
The original edition caused a stir, and this one is sure to generate brave conversations about the reality of sexism and meat. The images are many and relentless. They make the case that the text spells out: “the pornography of meat exploits the asymmetrical relationship of gender to normalize animal oppression, simultaneously naturalizing the gender binary and a consumer vision in which farmed animals are imputed to desire their own death and consumption” (p. 17). Read and heed.
Ganley, Rosemary. POSITIVE COMMUNITY: COLUMNS FROM THE PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER 2015-2018. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018 (246 pages, $14.95)
Regular newspaper columnist Rosemary Ganley is a renaissance woman—writer, speaker, activist, spiritual sage, bicycle rider, intellectual. It is hard to read about her loss of a child and edifying to glimpse her mother. It is challenging to see the Camino de Santiago through her eyes and comforting to know Canada is a stalwart neighbor despite US recalcitrance. WATER awaits the next volume, 2019-2021, as Peterborough continues to get its regular reading treat.
Hartung, Colleen. CLAIMING NOTABILITY FOR WOMEN ACTIVISTS IN RELIGION. Chicago, IL: Atla Open Press, 2020 (246 pages, available for free as an Open Access Title here or $35 in paperback).
The interstructured forces of sexism, racism, and the like conspire to keep women from being added to the roles of religious figures accessible through Wikipedia and related platforms. Colleen Hartung and colleagues propose to put 1000 Women in Religion into the mix by generating biographies. This first volume includes the lives of Yvonne Delk, Beatriz Melano Couch, and others without whom the field would never have flourished.
Hopkins, Denise Domkowski. WISDOM COMMENTARY: PSALMS, BOOK 2-3. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2020 (458 PAGES, $39.95); deClaissé-Walford, Nancy L. WISDOM COMMENTARY: PSALMS, BOOKS 4-5. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2020 (400 pages, $39.95)
These are good models of biblical scholarship with various new ways of imagining the texts proposed in Books 2-3 and the wisdom of South African commentators in Books 4-5. Those who preach regularly or use the Psalms for their own prayer will want to consult these volumes. Insights and angles on the texts that challenge and confirm the power of the ancient form show why the Psalms retain their place in Jewish and Christian worship.
Neumark, Heidi B. SANCTUARY: BEING CHRISTIAN IN THE WAKE OF TRUMP. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2020 (240 pages, $24.99)
Excellent pastors only got busier with Covid, which is hard to imagine given all that Lutheran minister Heidi Neumark was already doing at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City. This insightful reflection on four decades of ministry reveals the skill of an organizer, the heart of a pastor, and the politics of a progressive, globally connected citizen. Fortunate are the seminary interns who learn at her side and the many, diverse people who call Trinity Lutheran home.
Session, Irie Lynne, Kamilah Hall Sharp, and Jann Aldredge-Clanton. THE GATHERING, A WOMANIST CHURCH: ORIGINS, STORIES, SERMONS, AND LITANIES. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2020 (159 pages, $23).
How exciting to see womanist ministers and theologians creating communities in which to live out their rich insights and commitments. This volume offers the practical aspects like preaching, the challenges of developing groups, and the fruits of this new, emerging approach to church. Hats off to them!
Surdovel, Grace, IHM, Editor. LOVE TENDERLY: SACRED STORIES OF LESBIAN AND QUEER RELIGIOUS. Mount Rainier, MD: New Ways Ministry, 2020 (202 pages, $19.95).
Lesbian and queer sisters in religious communities give voice to their experiences in rich tones. This collection includes nuns from a variety of communities (4 from the Sisters of Mercy, for example) who tell stories of pain and exclusion, but more so, of welcome, support, and real community both within their orders, among sisters from various groups, and with people who are not part of canonical religious life. This book shows progress and promise.
Walker-Barnes, Chanequa. I BRING THE VOICES OF MY PEOPLE: A WOMANIST VISION FOR RACIAL RECONCILIATION. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2019 (280 pages, $24.99).
This is an important read for people working to overcome racism and white supremacy. Dr. Walker-Barnes makes clear in chapters entitled “Racism is Not about Feelings or Friendship” and “Racism in not a Stand-Alone Issue” that racism is a matter of power which needs to be dismantled. This analysis is not intended to make white people feel the least bit comfortable. Rather, it is direct call to forget “cheap grace” reconciliation and warm, fuzzy feelings and get on with the business of making substantive structural changes. Amen.
Wheeler, Rachel. DESERT DAUGHTERS, DESERT SONS: RETHINKING THE CHRISTIAN DESERT TRADITION. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2020 (178 pages, $19.95)
Historical sources looked at through new eyes result in new insights. In this case, the category of desert fathers (mostly) and mothers gives way to siblings whose real-life engagement in the social order grounds their spirituality. Women emerge far more prominently than in the older readings. A sensible approach worth considering.