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.