WATER Recommends: March 2018


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.


Bennett, Marilyn, Director. FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL: ARE WE THERE YET? Watch on Amazon Prime or Vimeo, 2016.

This documentary follows the rare friendship of Rev. Gil Caldwell, a black, heterosexual preacher and Marilyn Bennett, a white, lesbian activist. Through interviews with Civil Rights and Stonewall era activists as well as young LGBTIQ and black activists, a story of struggle and progress emerges at the intersection of these two movements. Both candid and hopeful, this honest, well-produced film highlights the struggle for acceptance within each movement and the slow push toward collective liberation. Great for use with community groups and classes to ignite activism.



Bowler, Kate. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON: AND OTHER LIES I’VE LOVED. New York, NY: Penguin Random House, 2018 (208 pages, $26).

An expert on the prosperity gospel, Kate Bowler discovers just how deep the American prosperity mindset runs when she is suddenly diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. In this witty and heart-rending memoir, Kate takes us on her journey. This is a great read and especially useful for those who are in a similar situation, their caregivers, and loved ones.





Kugle, Scott Siraj al-Haqq. LIVING OUT ISLAM: VOICES OF GAY, LESBIAN, AND TRANSGENDER MUSLIMS. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2014 (275 pages, $27).

This collection of interviews profiles the activism and struggles of LGBTIQ Muslims in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Their stories illustrate how they navigate faith, family, community, and society to advocate for change and live out their Islam. An important contribution to scholarship on Islam, gender, and sexuality based on careful qualitative analysis, this is an excellent example for students, scholars, and oral history enthusiasts of how critical scholarship can be a strategic tool.



Laffey, Alice L. and Leonard-Fleckman, Mahri. WISDOM COMMENTARY: RUTH. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2017 (294 pages, $39.95).

These two authors bring a model of intergenerational feminist scholarship to an intergenerational biblical pair, Ruth and Naomi. Postcolonial analysis and global feminist theological insights provide rich food for thought. Reading the text through these lenses means that neither the casual reader, the preacher, nor the scholar can rely on stereotypic, saccharine notions of women’s relationships using Ruth and Naomi as unwitting models.





Moore, Rebecca. WOMEN IN CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2015 (224 pages, $7.00)

Beginning with Eve (though omitting remaining matriarchs in the Hebrew Bible) Rebecca Moore eloquently recounts major epochs of Christian history through the stories of women who lived through and influenced them. Whether martyrs or reformers, nuns or bishops, teachers or scholars, those who refused to let patriarchal lines be drawn around their sexuality and rejected assigned gender roles made the difference. Their stories provide both inspiration and hope to those who push for gender equality in their churches.




Scheidt, Michelle A. and Maureen R. Connors, FINDING LIFE AFTER TRAUMA: A GUIDE FOR MISSIONERS AND VOLUNTEERS AND THOSE WHO CARE FOR THEM. Longmont, CO: From Mission to Mission, 2017 (70 pages, $27.95).

Working in another culture can be a deeply rewarding experience, but it can also be deeply wounding if terrible things happen. These authors recognize the complexity and offer a clear, straightforward way of facing re-entry issues including coping with sexual assault, natural disasters, loss of a close friend or family member while away, or any of a number of traumatizing experiences. Concrete strategies, helpful resources, and permission just to take time to grieve make this book an indispensable tool for the voluntary sector, ministry professionals, and those who live between and among various cultures.


Schlesinger, Kira. PRO-CHOICE AND CHRISTIAN: RECONCILING FAITH, POLITICS, AND JUSTICE. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017 (136 pages, $14).

This book serves as a simple introduction to the complexities of reproductive justice. Schlesinger gives a succinct explanation as to how abortion rights can fit into a Christian “pro life” position. Many will critique her from both sides–not sufficiently pro-woman, not sufficiently pro-fetus. Nonetheless, this book can be a useful conversation starter in congregational settings where honest, hard conversation is difficult to achieve on abortion.




Taylor, Ula Yvette. THE PROMISE OF PATRIARCHY: WOMEN AND THE NATION OF ISLAM. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2017 (288 pages, $29.95).

All too often women are written out of history. According to Ula Yvette Taylor, nowhere is this more present than in scholarship on the Nation of Islam. Taylor’s vast historical analysis takes the reader inside the lives of women of the NOI and how they wrestled with the promise of racial liberation within a patriarchal structure. The result is a well written, complex narrative that sits at the intersection of race, religion, culture, and gender.





The racialization of white and black as purity and pollution form the backdrop for policing and the U.S. penal system. In this accessible and informative study, resources of Christian ethics are brought to the vexing problem of white racism. This is an important volume for widespread discussion before more bodies are strewn in the streets, more injustice committed, more families torn asunder. Check out WATER’s teleconference at http://www.waterwomensalliance.org/watertalk-notes-rima-vesely-flad/ —-with Rima Vesley-Flad in her own words.



Wilson, Nancy. I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY: 100+ STORIES OF JUSTICE, INCLUSION, AND HOPE. PARKER, CO: BOOKS TO BELIEVE IN (www.MCCchurch.org), 2016 (218 pages, $19.95).

Nancy Wilson stands out among church leaders for her compassion as a person, her skill as a minister, her insight as a pastor, her integrity that shines like a candelabra. This book of stories is just the tip of a large iceberg that is her impact on the world. Learn how the Metropolitan Community Church grew one welcomed person at a time, how a pastor is also a person, and what it means to love without judgment. Should be required reading for every ministry professional. A great gift to give to your religious leader written by one the world’s best.