The blogosphere is starting to buzz with people who’ve read and reviewed “The Resignation of Eve.” Here is some of the commentary we’ve found.
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My friend Jim Henderson has teamed up with a group of honest and outspoken women (several of them friends of mine as well) to ask an important question to churches – especially churches where women must “submit” to a different set of rules than men: what if Adam’s rib is no longer willing to be the church’s backbone?
In Her (sic) most recent book, Sara Miles has said: “Sharing our real stories, unvarnished and unfinished, not only provide helpful tips or sympathetic laughs: it’s the thing that allows us to become whole.” There are unvarnished, unfinished stories coming from certain sectors of Christendom in the U.S. — Jim Henderson’sThe Resignation of Eve – What if Adam’s Rib is No Longer Willing to be the Backbone of the Church? — is filled with them. More about Henderson’s book in a moment. When one listen’s closely to the stories – a common narrative continues to emerge, based upon social research and socio-cultural observations. Allow me to explain. Listen to the narrative that seems to coalesce from the following:
Jennifer Dornhauer – More Than Just Adam’s Rib
Rarely do I read a book and feel from page one that the author started with a hypothesis, then worked his statistics and stories to make that hypothesis true. Yet, such seems to be the case with Jim Henderson’s newest The Resignation of Eve: What if Adam’s Rib is No Longer Willing to be the Church’s Backbone?.
Henderson believes women are leaving the church in droves for one reason–inequality, because there is a glass ceiling in leadership which prohibits them from becoming pastors or elders in the church, because women feel they are undervalued and unappreciated.
Henderson (Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians) tells the stories here of many women who, despite their predominance in the life, membership, and mission of most churches and denominations, are routinely rebuked and squashed, if not worse. Henderson’s crucial insight is that the central feature of Christianity is—ought to be—”giving power away, particularly to those who lack it,” not craving or needing power or keeping it from women. VERDICT Insightful and moving, Henderson’s book is a mirror of what Christian spirituality ought to be; good for church groups and pastors as well as individual readers.
Holly Roberts – An Innovative Pursuit
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the roles given to women in the church, even before reading this book. I will go ahead and say that I find less, and less proof that women weren’t intended to be pastoral positions in the church. It seems like we are picking and choosing from the cultural expectations of Paul’s time to keep women in a very odd fragmented box that doesn’t many any sense. If all churches told me my head needed to be covered and that I couldn’t speak at all in church then I might be more prone to see where churches are getting their basis to keep women from leadership roles, but since it’s obvious that the majority of churches don’t have women keeping their head covered there is a disconnect in logically telling women why they can’t teach. Either you follow all of what Paul says, or you have to accept there is a problem with how you’re choosing and picking what to think.
Tracy – No Greater Joy
I have mixed feelings about this book, while I thought the author presented some challenging ideas within his book, I feel that the whole premise of the book (that women are leaving the church due to lack of influence or feelings of being overworked) doesn’t quite fit the reality (that I’ve seen at least). (I can’t recall if he mentioned that the numbers reflected an inter-denominational survey, etc…) but in my experience women have a great deal of influence within the church, as well as they tend to (at least in the circles I’ve seen) dominate the leadership roles for the most part. I however live in Canada, so perhaps it is different here?
The Resignation of Eve is wrapped up in a much broader debate over the role of men and women in the church. Henderson’s stated aim in writing is to serve as a voice of reason in the debate in order to prevent a “break up” in the evangelical world over the issue of biblical manhood and womanhood (6). However, he falls well short of his goal. In the end, he proposes that the way to prevent that break up is to ascribe to his view and become an egalitarian (271-272).
Amanda – The Pelsers: A Shelter for the Heart
Jim pairs surveys results and with stories to share the many sides of the struggle between seeing women as equals with men versus women as a complement to men. As a seminary grad and former church communications director, I’ve done some study and personally experienced the issue that Jim presents. Being a former church employee (not a pastor), I could personally understand both sides of the issue. I could relate to the stories – on both sides.
The point of the book is not to come to a conclusion. That usually bothers me in a book. I want a nice neat package, finished off with a bow. The lack of a conclusion didn’t bother me when reading The Resignation of Eve. It probably helped that Jim was clear that a final conclusion was not his purpose. The role of woman in the church is such a complex issue and such a heated topic. It’s time that we lay down the hostility and anger over this issue and start listening with open hearts and minds.
Regina’s Family Seasons
WOW! What a very interesting book! “The Resignation of Eve” will definitely make you think about yourself, your church, and your involvement in church a little differently. As a Christian woman, I have had many of the thoughts and feelings highlighted in this book. The general premise of the book is essentially, what if the women of the church stopped being the workhorses of the church. That’s right! No more singing in the choir. No more running the nursery. No more working in children’s church. No more anything until equality is evaluated!
Diane Kinney – Books I’ve Read and Blogged
As I began reading the book, I got angry. I disagreed with the premise to the book. However, as I continued to read, I was challenged. The author asked the reader to ponder how you got to your beliefs about the role of women in the church instead of trying to defend these beliefs. So I continued to read and was challenged.
:luv 2 read … anything
I have to admit, I didn’t always realize that there was a gender issue in church. I actually attend a church and am a member of a denomination that has had women pastors as long as I can remember, and even as far back as twenty years ago, one of the local ministers my dad had preach on occasion was a woman who found the Lord late in life, and felt led to ministry. She eventually moved, with her husband and children to Denver, Colorado for Bible College, and became an ordained minister. She serves as a senior pastor today. Our church also has had women in senior leadership positions throughout its history.
Indeed, my dad also licensed my sister to minister in California, and I am actually two Sunday night sermons into recognizing my own call to preach. I don’t even know if I realized that there was so much restriction on women until I heard a story about Beth Moore, who taught a mixed Sunday School class at her church.