WATER Recommends: January 2022

Davison, Lisa Williams. MORE THAN A WOMB: CHILDLESS WOMEN IN THE HEBREW BIBLE AS AGENTS OF THE HOLY. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2021 (132 pages, $20)

Sad to think that such a book needs to be written in the 21st century. But contemporary culture is still shaped by many biblical images that ground arguments about women’s subordination and women’s primary role as walking wombs. This is a useful contribution for people who seek to change such ideas.

Denton-Borhaug, Kelly. AND THEN YOUR SOUL IS GONE: MORAL INJURY AND U.S. WAR CULTURE. Bristol, CT: Equinox Press, 2021 (301 pages, $32).

The intermingling of sexism, war, abuse, dishonor, and so many other complicated dynamics make and exacerbate moral injury. This is a must-read for all who are inclined to understand these dynamics especially in veterans, in order to banish them from societies now so replete with bellicose ways that there often appears no way out. The author shows some creative solutions and a deep reverence for the lives in the balance.

Florer-Bixler, Melissa. HOW TO HAVE AN ENEMY: RIGHTEOUS ANGER AND THE WORK OF PEACE. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, July 2021 (250 pages, $16.99).

In a climate focused on the consequences of polarization, Florer-Bixler flips the conversation with an intentional acknowledgement of who the enemies are: the oppressors, the ones standing in the way of peace. By including the acceptance of anger as a part of reconciliation, the author challenges the notion of a passive peace and embraces a very active and fiery justice.

Scannell, Alice Updike. BUILDING RESILIENCE: WHEN THERE’S NO GOING BACK TO THE WAY THINGS WERE. New York, NY: Morehouse Publishing, 2020 (176 pages, $15.99).

An apt read for a world suffering a global pandemic. When the varying degrees of normalcy are always shifting, resilience is a muscle often over-stretched. Scannell’s guide, while pulling mostly from her work in gerontology, applies to many audiences. She advises how to build a solid set of skills in order to grow and maintain resilience as it is tested over time.

Morrison, Melanie S.  LETTERS FROM OLD SCREAMER MOUNTAN. Durham, NC: RCWMS, 2021 (100 pages, $25).

Anti-racism work done through travel and memory, the author’s and her mother’s lack of it, make this a poignant and compelling read. The daughter visits her mother’s old summer camp to appreciate the directors’ commitment to anti-racism work that inspired her mother and encouraged her own longtime endeavors toward racial justice.

Segura, Olga M. BIRTH OF A MOVEMENT: BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2021 (139 pages, $20).

An interdisciplinary approach to the signal importance of Black Lives and the systemic white racism that infects the Roman Catholic Church. It is a wonder any Black people, especially Black women, are part such of an institution. Even some of the most progressive moments that critique the institution share the same racial, economic, sexual, and social structures and behaviors. This is a clarion call to change all of that with suggestions for how to do it.

Sutera, Judith, OSB. ST. BENEDICT’S RULE: AN INCLUSIVE TRANSLATION AND DAILY COMMENTARY. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2021 (312 pages, $24.95). Sutera, Judith, OSB. ST. BENEDICT’S RULE: AN INCLUSIVE TRANSLATION. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2021 (120 pages, $14.95).

Future generations of Benedictines and their friends will not be distracted by exclusive language thanks to Judith Sutera’s translation. Available in two convenient forms, with and without Daily Commentary, this is a very accessible, welcome resource.

Talvacchia, Kathleen T. EMBRACING DISRUPTIVE COHERENCE: COMING OUT AS EROTIC ETHICAL PRACTICE. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2019 (142 pages, $19).

Truth-telling never goes out of fashion, nor does it cease to be necessary given the realities of racial ethnic, class, ability, age, etc. as contextualizing aspects of LGBTIQ lives. A racially marked (white) postmodern question about whether coming out matters gets a resounding yes from a respected theologian who knows from personal experience how complex it is.

Tsomo, Karma Lekshe, Editor. BUDDHIST FEMINISMS AND FEMININITIES. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2019 (343 pages, $33.95).

The issues across religions are similar but not exactly the same. This focused look at Buddhism through the eyes of a wide range of competent writers makes an excellent text for feminist studies in religion. There is a certain genius in juxtaposing the topics ‘feminisms’ and ‘femininities’ that scholars in other religious traditions might explore. The differences are stark and instructive.