Book & Commentary

Book Review: “Ties That Bind”

16 comments Written on November 15th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

Submitted by:
Lisa Sundell Olsen

Book Review: “Ties That Bind” by New York Times best selling author (and member of Covenant Church of Thomaston, CT) Marie Bostwick.

tiesthatbind161x233Not because she’s one of my bffs and not because I’m her Personal Assistant, but Marie Bostwick is one of my favorite authors. She has 9 novels and 3 novellas in print and more “in the works”. She is giving away a copy of Ties That Bind to a randomly drawn person that submits a comment to this blog post. Even if your comment is one word (like “hello”). So click on the little cloud at the upper right to comment and be eligible to win. (and to let us know you are out there!)  This is one of six in the Cobbled Court Quilt series. Each book is a “stand alone” but once you read one, you will want to get to know each character better…

Set in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, in fictional New Bern, Marie brings you into the fold of dear friends who often gather at The Cobbled Court Quilt Shop. It’s nearing Christmas when Reverend Tucker of the New Bern Community Church becomes very ill. They need to find a new pastor quickly. It’s hilarious to read about the list and resumes of the candidates, but the committee ends up choosing Philip A. Clarkson. Much to everyone’s surprise, when the new pastor arrives they meet Philippa Clarkson! Continue Reading »

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1 Comment » Written on September 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary, Resources

unladylike 3I picked up this book while attending the CBE International Conference in Pittsburgh a few months ago.

Unladylike, Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church written by Pam Hogeweide is a book that unapologetically advocates for a strong stance (as the subtitle states) against injustice in the church.  In this book she speaks of her own personal journey of trying to be the “good” woman follower of Christ that the church so readily urges and supports to the ultimate realization that the common teachings of a large body of the Christian church is unjust.  She shares about the many years and experiences of keeping silent, in the quest of “not stirring up trouble” despite the gnawing internal pain and incongruencies that was her increasing experience as she endeavored to follow the actual teachings and behaviors of Jesus.  The secular book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (reviewed in an earlier post on this blog) highlights the importance of coming to this place where women can lean in –  going toward the problems that exist, and even speaking out on them rather than simply accepting “what is.”  Pam clearly does this in her book, leaning in and speaking out about how women are often treated in the church. Continue Reading »

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How Did I Get Here?…with Reflections on The Bible Made Impossible

1 Comment » Written on June 27th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

Bible impossibleThere are times when I have wondered how in the world I ever got selected to be a member of the Covenant’s Commission on Biblical Gender Equality.  I have never been outspoken on my own views on the matter.  Perhaps it was because of my role as a board member for Camp Mission Meadows?  Perhaps it was because of my leadership role in a healthcare organization that primarily employs women?  Perhaps it was because I am the father of two very capable daughters, one with the goal of someday teaching in a Seminary and the other working in a responsible position with the denomination.  Perhaps it was because I am married to a woman that is highly perceptive and skilled in counseling individuals and couples and one who is known to be open and direct in her communications at a board level.

I do know this…as a result of serving on this commission; I have become much more sensitized and educated about what the issues are for women in ministry.  I am struck and often dumbfounded as to how different camps can view specific passages in scripture in fundamentally different ways.  I am even more dumbfounded when some maintain specific positions with virtually no biblical or scriptural basis for their own chosen viewpoint.  Recently though, I have opted to not be so surprised by all of this.  After all, if the Bible was so perfectly written, then why do we have so many different denominations and varieties of faith that are based upon specific interpretations of various passages in the Bible? Continue Reading »

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Book review: Man and Woman: One in Christ

Post a Comment » Written on June 22nd, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

Book cover

Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters by Philip B. Payne.

This in-depth book encompasses something of a lifetime’s work of earnestly reading and researching Scripture, seeking to investigate all of Paul’s teachings on women in ministry, and wrestling with the text in order to understand the meaning of Paul’s statements about women, and their relevance for the church today.

Meticulously taking each of the passages that are commonly used to argue against women in ministry and leadership in the church, the author leads the reader through Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 7, 11, 12 and 14, as well as Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Timothy 2-3 and Titus 1. Investigating both the wider use of individual words that Paul uses, and the original contexts to which the letters were written, Payne affirms that Paul consistently champions the equality of man and woman in Christ in his writings – and calls for the church to affirm Paul’s teaching and reject the view of ‘separate but equal’ leadership roles for men and women.

The book seeks to find a balance between being an accessible read, and faithfully representing 36 years of biblical scholarship on the issue – something which it achieves, as long as the reader is willing to persevere past the regular referral to Greek words! Payne, who has taught at Cambridge University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Gordon-Conwell, Bethel and Fuller Theological Seminaries, and comes from an Evangelical Free Church background, does a great job of focusing on the centrality of the text and its meaning throughout.

Highly recommended for those who really want to dig in and seek to understand Paul’s teachings on men and women.

Find this book through Indiebound or Amazon or in your local bookstore.

Book review by Alice Hague.


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Lean In – Book Review

2 comments Written on May 13th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

Lean InMy wife read this book recently and suggested that I might find it useful, not only in light of my role on the CBGE, but helpful to me personally as a man in leadership vocationally.  As is quite often the case, she was right.  Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is a book about leadership.  While primarily written for women, many of her premises clearly apply to men also, but more importantly give men (and women) some important insights about why women may “hold back” rather than “Lean In.”

Sandberg, from her own experience, puts forth that while women experience the realities of the many external barriers that have historically and continually kept women from advancing up the leadership ladder there is also the important factor of one’s own internal barriers. (Oh, by the way, she also suggests that advancement in today’s world is not up a ladder, but up a jungle gym, with many routes to higher rungs of leadership.) In this book, she explores some of the life experiences that may contribute to what she calls the “leadership ambition gap.” Continue Reading »

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Book review: your recommendations!

Post a Comment » Written on May 5th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary, Resources

We would love to have your input about the books that you have been reading relating to the topic of women in leadership and ministry in the church. Would you be willing to share a book review? Maybe you’ve read something that you would like to encourage others to read? Or maybe it’s been something that you just found frustrating – and would welcome further discussion? Please get in touch via the comments section (comments do not go public immediately so your contact details will not be published).

Or maybe you’d like to challenge yourself to engage with a book on this topic and share with us: there are some great ideas here at the bookstore of Campaign for Biblical Equality.

We welcome your contributions.

Posted by Alice Hague.

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Book Review – Half The Sky

Post a Comment » Written on April 7th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary


“Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” Matthew referred to this powerful prophecy from Jeremiah 31 as a comment on Herod’s slaughter of all the boys in the region of Bethlehem around the time of Jesus’ birth.

I’m convinced that Rachel’s weeping has become a bitter wail – for her female children and for her sisters.  I’ve recently learned that more girls have been killed in the past fifty years – precisely because they were girls – than all the men who died in the wars of the twentieth century. Every year at least two million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination.

These citations come from the introduction to “Half The Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which is a powerful indictment of and for our times. Simply put, this is one powerful book.  Yet it’s that rare read that causes you to experience emotionally polar extremes – despair at the inequities and brutalities experienced by women, yet feeling hopeful for their future. Continue Reading »

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Book review: More Than Enchanting

Post a Comment » Written on March 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

“More than Enchanting” by the British author Jo Saxton celebrates the roles that women have played in leadership since the very beginning – and calls on women to discover (or re-discover) their gifts for leadership and put them into action for God’s kingdom here on earth.

Aimed particularly at women, this book offers a great deal of wisdom and thought about the expectations and challenges of leadership – particularly within the church –  from a woman’s perspective. It manages to present a good mixture of both biblical and contemporary examples of women’s leadership, and includes contributions and reflections from a wide range of women. Challenging the reader to engage with the material, each chapter ends with some questions for reflection – as a group or individually – which invite the reader to consider their situation and the opportunities and questions they might have, as they seek to step out further in leadership in the church.

This is an encouraging and enjoyable book, which would particularly make a great gift for young women and students stepping out in leadership in the church.

Book review by Alice Hague.

More than Enchanting is available from bookstores such as Powell’s Books and Amazon.

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Looking Back to Move Forward 2

Post a Comment » Written on January 3rd, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary, Resources

This is the second in a series of three articles that were published in the Covenant Quarterly back in 1976. Amazingly, this article was written nearly 120 years ago!  It was originally published in German, and authored by Fredrik Franson who was born in Sweden in 1852.  It was later translated into Norwegian and then later still to English by Sigurd F. Westberg.  It is important that you read the introduction by Glenn Anderson in order to get the historical background on the author. Clearly a man before his time with regard to his interpretation of scripture and the importance that women follow their calling to be preachers, teachers and evangelists.

To view the article click on the title Prophesying Daughters by Fredrik Franson.

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Book review: Junia is not alone

Post a Comment » Written on December 13th, 2012     
Filed under: Book & Commentary, Testimonies and Stories
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Junia is not alone by Scot McKnight (2011). eBook. Patheos Press.

This short, simple and enjoyable ebook takes the example of Junia, the apostle mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:7, to speak out on behalf of many women whose voices have been silenced throughout church history. Relaying the history of how Junia was translated out of existence in the early part of the 20th century, McKnight tells Junia’s story in this easy-to-read book, seeking also to emphasize and celebrate the many gifted, passionate women whose stories are told elsewhere in the BIble.

This book is ‘dedicated to ending the church’s deafining silence on women in the Bible… to giving voice to women.’ McKnight issues a challenge to the church to teach the stories of the women in the Bible – not just Mary, but Deborah,  Phoebe, Priscilla, Miriam, Ruth, Esther and Huldah – so that the voices and actions of these sisters can encourage all believers about the role of women in the church.

Junia is not alone is available for Kindle for only $2.99 here and you can also download a copy to read on your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone by installing the reading app here.

Book review by Alice Hague.

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