WATER Recommends: March 2023

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.

Douglas, Kelly Brown. RESURRECTION HOPE: A FUTURE WHERE BLACK LIVES MATTER. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2021 (224 pages, $26).

In the face of white Christian nationalism and other forms of racism, Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas’ realistic yet hopeful analysis opens eyes and hearts. From Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC to the Nave of the Washington National Cathedral, her voice rings “loud as the rolling sea” for all to pay attention.

Haen, Jan. HEAVENLY HOMOS, ETC. : QUEER ICONS FROM LGBTQ LIFE, RELIGION, AND HISTORY. Hannacroix, NY: Apocryphile Press, 2022 (103 PAGES, $24.50).

Who knew how many we are? The author writes: “In this graphic book, you will find sketches of persons who—rightly or wrongly—were presumed to be homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or asexual. I believe that heteros and homos etc. long to be respected and loved in equal measure.” Ok, Ruth and Naomi, Joan of Arc, Walatta Petros, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Mary Daly, Virginia Woolf, and good company.

Koosed, Jennifer L. and Robert Paul Seesengood. WISDOM COMMENTARY: JUDITH VOLUME 16. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022 (272 pages, $49.59).

Judith saved her city from Assyrian invaders and lopped off the head of the general who led the charge, or so the story goes. This sophisticated commentary illuminates the textual issues, clarifies the historical from the literary, and ends on the grace note of Martha Graham dancing “Judith.” Not your grandmother’s commentary, and suitable for readers who want their worlds widened.

Maloney, Linda M. with Ivoni Richter Reimer. WISDOM COMMENTARY: ACTS OF THE APOSTLES VOLUME 45. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022 (452 pages, $49.59).

As complicated a book as the Christian scriptures contain, Acts of the Apostles is unpacked in this volume with scholarly skill and practice wisdom. Linda Maloney dissects with precision and writes with verve. Her “preferred method of analysis is a form of reader-response criticism that I might call fact-based imaginative empathy.” (p. lxi). It is an effective approach as the various writers in this commentary bring their own insights and commitments to the text. It is bracing, refreshing, effective feminist work.


            Feminist practical theology is a worthy antidote to a shattered world order. Nicola Slee demonstrates that theology is useful insofar as it employs multiple disciplines, vivid imagination, and a willingness to incorporate new insights with old.

Stokes, Jeanette. MAKING THE ROAD AS WE GO. Durham, NC: RCWMS Press, 2022 (243 pages, $30).

Read this memoir to know who Jeanette is—born into white, Presbyterian, privilege in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she studied at Smith College and Duke Divinity School. Her life’s work to date has focused on the wonderful Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, a feminist non-profit that includes religion, the arts, social justice, and much more. Stay tuned as her creative, beauty-seeking, peacemaking life unfolds.

Williams, Shannen Dee. SUBVERSIVE HABITS: BLACK CATHOLIC NUNS IN THE LONG AFRICAN AMERICAN FREEDOM STRUGGLE. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2022 (424 pages, $29.95).

The painful and inexcusable story of white racism in the context of religious orders is just beginning to be written. This volume is a welcome contribution. It serves as a cautionary tale for the whole Roman Catholic Church. White racists now have no excuse for perpetrating the injustice for another generation.

Yugar, Theresa, Sarah Robinson, Lilian Dube, Teresia Mbari Hinga, editors. VALUING LIVES, HEALING EARTH: RELIGION, GENDER, AND LIFE ON EARTH. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers, 2021 (298 pages, 55 euro).

This signal volume, including voices from all over the world, is a fitting unfolding of the trajectory Rosemary Radford Ruether set decades ago in her pioneering effort to value each living creature, human and otherwise, and to heal Earth of the wounds inflicted by a ruthless human(un)kind. Essays focused on Knowledge, Ritual, Activism, and Food provide a partial roadmap for moving forward as a global community. What a legacy, what a challenge!

Strahm, Doris, Silvia Strahm Bernet. MÄCHTIG STOLZ: 40 JAHRE FEMINISTISCHE THEOLOGIE UND FRAUEN-KIRCHE-BEWEGUNG IN DER SCHWEIZ. Wettingen, Switzerland: efef publisher, 2022 (300 pages, CHF 38.00).

Discover 40 courageous years of feminist theology and women’s church movement in Switzerland. Be part of a journey through essential interfaith facilities, networks, personalities, and initiatives. This work offers a detailed introduction to how feminist theology unfolded in Switzerland and similarly in other parts of Europe. A great model for other national women’s groups to follow.

Zinsstag, Evelyne, Dolores Zoé Bertschinger, AUFBRUCH IST EINES, UND WEITERGEHEN IST ETWAS ANDERES: FRAUENRÄUME: VON DER SAFFA 58 ÜBER DAS TAGUNGSZENTRUM BOLDERN ZUM FRAUEN*ZENTRUM ZÜRICH. Wettingen, Switzerland: efef publisher, 2020 (212 pages, CHF 29.00).

The second Swiss exhibition of women’s work (SAFFA) enabled the establishment of the ecumenical women’s movement. However, the beginning is one step, but continuing is the next difficulty, and requires intergenerational exchange. This work was written by the next generation of Swiss feminist theologians to remember their successful predecessors and describe the challenges of continuing their legacy.