Book Review: “The Accidental Feminist”

Right now, my primary calling is to nurture the lives of {3!} little boys, but even though I have no female children, I am also called to cultivate and nurture life in girls and other women. I love studying and learning how to best glorify God in my womanhood. As God is teaching and shaping me, He expects me, not to keep what I learn to myself, but to pass it on to others. He expects that of all of us.

This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to read and discuss The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design {authored by Courtney Reissig} with some of my favorite college/just-post-college girls. We’ve kept it simple. We read a couple chapters a week, underline portions to discuss and meet at Panera one night a week for a few hours to talk about what God is revealing and teaching us, how we’re submitting to or resisting His truth, questions we have, etc. I think it’s been a fruitful time and that we’ve all learned a lot. And when a good resource is found, it should be shared. So, I’m popping in to briefly comment on the book we read.

For a while now, I’ve been looking for a book that both highlights the Bible’s teaching about our God-given purpose as women AND is relevant to women in various roles and seasons of life. This is the book I’ve been looking for. There are a lot of resources out there on marriage and motherhood. This book, however, addresses not just the wife and mother, but all women: teenagers, students, young women, older women, married women, single women, women that work outside the home, women that work inside the home. Reissig does an excellent job of bringing out the Bible’s teaching on womanhood for all who are made female, regardless of their particular season and circumstances. She shows all readers how to bring God glory by practically living out their womanhood. This book is very relevant.

The Accidental Feminist is biblically driven. Reissig seeks to assert only what Scripture itself asserts. She has a high view of God’s Word and is committed to helping women see the rightness and goodness of His plan and His way for those created in His image as female. The Accidental Feminist is also well-researched. Reissig has clearly done her homework about the American feminist movement and the effects it has had on the culture and the views of women from the 1950’s until now. She highlights the much-needed positives that have come from the movement {women’s right to vote and own property, etc} but ultimately demonstrates how the root of feminism is in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Skeptical? Give it a read!

Finally, The Accidental Feminist is honest and gospel-centered. Reissig is quick to remind readers that all of us {herself included} naturally resist God’s will and God’s way apart from Christ. That’s the nature of our sin and our fallen-ness. We question God because we think we know better than Him. We question His rightness and His goodness in all things and wonder if he really does have our best interests at heart. Isn’t that what Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit? All of humanity has followed in their footsteps ever since. But, praise God, we aren’t left there in our stubborn rebellion. All throughout her book, Reissig continually drives readers back to the gospel and the hope of restoration that is found in Jesus alone, the One who perfectly submitted to His Father’s will and way even when it cost Him everything. Reissig reminds us that, on our own, every woman {and man} falls terribly short of God’s good design, but Jesus enables us to be restored to that good design when we trust and rest in Him alone.

My prayer is that God will use this resource to draw numerous women closer to Himself as we seek to image Him accurately in our womanhood. Read The Accidental Feminist and help nurture spiritual life by sharing it with other women in your life!


Books that shaped my thinking in 2014

download_20150102_2344542014 really didn’t afford me much blogging time because it was the year of READING. But that’s ok. In my book, reading is both an important discipline and a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend the few waking hours I have free from chasing the wild things. The hurry-scurry of life and exhaustion of caring for littles can so easily squelch out reading time, so I was glad that seminary reading requirements gave me the motivation–or the excuse, depending on the day–to sit down and absorb some of the books on this list. I even found the time for some good page-turning fiction, which is a real treat these days.

Book choices are really important because the things you and I read really affect the way we think. What we read shapes our worldview(s) and the way we interpret reality. This, of course, is why God’s inspired Word must always be at the top of any year’s reading list and must inform the rest of our reading. I realize I can only read so many things in my lifetime, and I want to pick books that are worth my time. . .books that will make me think and examine myself and human nature. . . books that are going to make a difference in how I live my life. So, in no particular order, here are the books that accomplished those purposes for me in 2014, as well as a few picks on my list for the new year:

1. Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples (Francis Chan): Here in the Bible belt, almost anyone will claim to be a Christian. Nominal, cultural Christianity is still a relatively acceptable norm. But what does it mean to really be a follower of Christ? What does that look like? How does that impact the purpose and trajectory of our lives? Multiply is such an amazing resource to use as we seek to understand and help others understand what it really means to know God through Christ. This book is great to use in one-on-one discipleship settings and in small groups. I am going through the book with a friend who wants to grow in her walk with Christ and also with the ladies in our women’s ministry at church. Chan is very readable, and you will learn a lot regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey.

2. George Mueller: Delighted in God (Roger Steer): This is a biography that truly increased my faith and belief in the power of prayer. George Mueller, a pastor and evangelist, set out to demonstrate the faithfulness of God and eventually built orphanages to house thousands of orphaned children while praying in every penny of the costs. He had no salary and never asked one person for a dime. It’s amazing to read about God’s provision and delight in answering the prayers of His people when those prayers are in accordance with His will and for His glory. This is such an amazing story.

3. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms (Gloria Furman): I can truly say that there are many days when I feel as though motherhood is causing me to lose my find. In the midst of craziness and real-life challenges, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose perspective. Gloria Furman’s book helped me get my thinking straight. It took me back to the gospel–to the purpose of motherhood and to the true Sustenance for motherhood. This is my number one book to recommend and give to new moms, and it’s a book I will return to many times through the years.

4. Is God Anti-Gay? (Sam Allberry): Homosexuality is the issue of our day. There are numerous conflicting views on this issue and even conflicting opinions concerning what the Bible says about this issue. So, what does God really think? What does the Bible really say with certainty about marriage, sexuality, and same-sex attraction? How can Christians be a beacon of gospel light, hope, and love to all people in this broken world, including those with same-sex attraction? This book is biblically sound, full of wisdom, and motivated by true Christian love. And it’s short to boot!

5. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Donald Whitney): This is a book that every Christian should read. Truly. Sustained discipline is not easy, but Whitney’s thesis verse is 1 Timothy 4:7 which teaches that growth in godliness is the result of  God working through our practice of the spiritual disciplines. Whitney provides all sorts of practical helps for reading and meditating on Scripture, praying, fasting, serving, etc. This is another book that will benefit you greatly regardless of where you are in your walk with God.

6. Women of the Word (Jen Wilkin): I think so many Christian women genuinely want to read the Bible consistently, but because they have never been taught how to study and interpret it, they often feel confused and unsure of where to start. Jen Wilkin teaches easy, systematic ways to study and understand God’s Word so that it truly comes alive and makes sense. She helps women understand the big story of the Bible so that we can see how our individual stories are a part of that great, grand story.

7. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity by the Power of Grace (Heath Lambert): This is a book about finding freedom from pornography addiction through Christ’s power and grace. I had to read this book for class, but I thought it was excellent and very relevant as pornography is a rampant and common problem even among Christians. If you or someone you know are struggling in this area, this is an excellent, grace-filled resource–full of practical helps and the hope of the gospel.

8. Be Rich: Gaining the Things that Money Can’t Buy (Warren Wiersbe): This is actually a commentary on the book of Ephesians, but it reads like a regular book. I used this as a resource this summer while teaching a small group women’s study through Ephesians. It was excellent. Wiersbe has a “Be” commentary series that includes commentaries for almost every book of the Bible. These are very easy to read and understand and are great for personal study or group study.

9. Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (Donald Whitney): Dr. Whitney was my prof this past semester, so obviously I read a lot of his stuff. This is a short little book that will really help you examine your heart and life to determine if you are spiritually healthy or just spiritually busy. There’s a big difference.

10. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins): Hmm…which book in the list doesn’t fit? Ha :)! I realize  I’m a couple years behind the rest of the world, but these three books were my page-turning fiction splurge when I finished my class. They fall into the category of “books that make you think about the world, politics, and human nature.” They are excellent—very entertaining and brain stimulating. They will also make you thankful that, as Christians, we have a remedy and a true promise of hope for the horrific brokenness in our world.

11. Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tedd Tripp): I think I actually read this is 2013, but this is my go-to parenting book. This will revolutionize the way you look at parenting and help you give your kids the hope of the gospel by getting into what’s really in their hearts.

Here’s what I have on the 2015 reading list so far:

1. Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand)

2. The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgement, the Hope of Holy War (Joshua Ryan Butler)

3. The Church Planting Wife (Christine Hoover)

4. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Tim Keller)

5. Love Does (Bob Goff)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these books as well as any recommendations you might have for me—particularly good fiction! Happy reading, y’all.

A few of my favorite things. . .

Well, current favorites, mind you.

September has been such a whirlwind. We’ve been burning up the roads every weekend, and in between, I feel like I’m spending quite a bit of time unpacking, washing, and repacking. Have you ever traveled with two kids two and under? Packing for two days is like packing for a month. All that to say, I feel like I haven’t had much time to slow down and smell the roses. Or the mums, if you will. BUT, here are a few things I’m loving even in the midst of the hurry scurry:

1. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert


I just finished this, and I have to say, it’s probably the best book I’ve read in a while. Rosaria Butterfield’s story of her conversion from a lesbian, feminist, english professor to a follower of Jesus (now adoptive parent and homeschool mom) is intriguing, eye-opening, and God-exalting. It demonstrates the grace and power of God to change the heart of the most unlikely person. It also painfully exposes our (scary) tendency in the church to “water-down” the conversion process by reducing it to a simple formula or common cliche’. Pray this prayer. Walk the aisle. Sign this card. Your eternal destiny is secure. Rosaria’s writing is real. Raw, even. You may not agree with everything she writes (I don’t), but Rosaria is the real deal. She will make you think, and if your own heart has been changed by Christ, her story will cause you to praise God for his grace and goodness in drawing rebellious people to Himself. Here is an excerpt from a review I found online:

How do I tell you about my conversion to Christianity without making it sound like an alien abduction or a train wreck? Truth be told, it felt like a little of both.” You won’t find any happy little stories about “making a decision for Christ” or “finding Jesus.” Those may be true stories for others, but Rosaria hated the name of Jesus and was so far from the Christian worldview that she was indeed an “unlikely convert.” Her narrative begins with an important piece of information: When I was 28 years old, I boldly declared myself lesbian. As a tenured professor in English at Syracuse University, on the cutting edge of Women’s Studies and Queer Studies Rosaria was no fan of Christianity. But “Christ claimed” her for Himself just the same.

2. Fall is in the air. . . or on the table, at least.

photo (7)

Highs may still be in the 80’s around here, but I’m loving all the pumpkins, mums, and fall decor everywhere! Besides Christmas, I think this is the most wonderful time of the year. I found these adorable little burlap pumpkins at, the one and only, Target for $9.99. Hard to beat.

3. avocado and grilled corn salad with cilantro vinaigrette avocado6While this is not a particularly “fall-ish” dish, it’s been one of our favorites lately. Corn, avocado, tomato, and feta are just a “magical little combination, ” as my dad would say. And I bake my corn in the oven if we don’t have time to fire up the grill.

4. I’m loving this post (What Should I Wear? By Nora Allison) over at Gospel Taboo. Nora does a great job explaining an often misinterpreted passage of Scripture, and she leads women to focus on more than just the externals by examining the heart.

5. Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series

bigthoughtsThere are four little books in this series: The Trinity, The Gospel, The Scripture, and The Mission. Currently, we have The Gospel and The Scripture, and they are amazing tools to use with children! We are big fans of children’s books around our house….everything from Goodnight Moon to Where the Wild Things Are. But, I’m always looking for helpful resources to use in my quest to teach my children biblical truth, and these were a great find by my husband.

Happy (almost) weekend!

Top 10 books I’ve read in seminary

I’ve been mentally working on this post for a while, but two recent happening encouraged me to actually write it.

First, over Christmas break, Jenny went off on a diatribe about how Americans are getting dumber by the day because we spend substantial amounts of time glued to computer screens and smart phones, mindlessly surfing social media instead of reading books. She has a valid point. Sometimes I’m guilty. Even when I’m free from the tyranny of syllabi, I’m going to work to develop a discipline of continuous reading…and I’m going to encourage the development of this discipline in my children’s lives as well.

Second, I’m in a weekly Bible study through Genesis made up of women from all different denominations and backgrounds. During our small group time, we all openly share our answers to the study questions we’ve been working on throughout the week. Recently, after our group time, one of the ladies in my group grabbed my attention. She said, “I notice that you’re always talking a lot about finding your significance in Christ versus circumstances and learning to find your hope, joy, and peace in who God is rather than in what he has to offer us (loving the Giver rather than the gifts).” She told me that the things I typically share during group are pretty new concepts to her and said she realizes  she isn’t putting these things into practice in her life. She asked if I could suggest any good books for her to read. . .

So, without further adieu, here are a list of books that God has really used to shape my thinking and grow my faith over the last few years. Keep in mind, these are not what I like to call “beach reads.” I mean, you can certainly read them at the beach :), but most of them are “thinking” books. These are books filled with and based upon biblical truth, books that will stretch you and teach you new things. There will be sentences or paragraphs in these books that you will have to re-read several times. There will be things in these books that you won’t like…things that your flesh will resist and rage against. It is my prayer, though, that God will use this list of resources to grow and bless you in your faith walk with Him.

1. The Attributes of God (Arthur W. Pink)

Attributes of God A problem in our culture is that many people say they want to know God, but they don’t really want to know and worship the true God of the Bible. They want to know and worship a God who they’ve created in their own minds and, ultimately, made in their own image. But that God doesn’t exist. This book will help you develop a biblical view of the one true God, based on His attributes and character, and you will grow to love Him more through it.

2. According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible (Graeme Goldsworthy)

imgresIf I had to choose, I would probably say this is the most helpful book I’ve read in seminary. According to Plan will help you understand God’s grand, overarching story as portrayed in Scripture. Many of us are extremely familiar with isolated passages and Bible stories, but we lack an understanding of how all these things connect. The Bible becomes alive to us as we begin to understand how each individual part of Scripture points to the overarching theme: God’s redemption of sinful humanity through Christ. Then, we can begin to see how the Bible applies to us…how our little stories fit into God’s big one!

3. God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith (Bruce Ware)

imgres-1This book is heavy. In fact I’ve only read the first 100 pages or so. However, it was really helpful to me in working through some the biblical and mysterious truths about God’s total sovereignty,  human responsibility, and how the two are compatible . I’ll post a brief synopsis written by Ligon Duncan:

In God’s Greater Glory, he (Bruce Ware) sets forth a positive biblical proposal for a robust doctrine of God’s sovereignty and providence in relation to human freedom and responsibility. Pastors, seminarians, and intelligent church members will all benefit from Ware’s clear and accessible articulation of a mindbending but pastorally important subject. Rather than attempting to tame and limit the doctrine of God, as so many have done in our time, Ware is determined to let the Scriptures set the table for our understanding of God.

4. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (David Platt)


I’m guessing a lot of you have read or at least heard of this book. If you haven’t yet, you should read it. It’s convicting to the core, but it will take you back to a biblical view of what it really means to be a disciple of Christ. American Christianity (particularly in the South) has become a watered-down, cultural tradition. But Christ calls us to so much more than just occupying our pew space once a week. He calls us to radical sacrifice and commitment, flowing from an all-consuming love for Him.

5. The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story From the New Testament World


This book is historical fiction. Longenecker writes a fictional series of letters between Antipas (a wealthy benefactor of Rome whose character is based on the life of a Christian martyr mentioned in Revelation 2:13) and Luke (a physician and author of the Gospel of Luke). These letters detail Antipas’s radical conversion and give a historically accurate picture of what life was like for the first century church. This book was SO fascinating to me and gave me such a clear understanding of the persecution that followers of Christ faced during that time period. PERSPECTIVE.

6. How People Change (Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp)

imgres-7There is so much in this book that it’s hard for me to give a general synopsis. So here is an excerpt from the book:

From the time we come to Christ until the time we go home to be with him, God calls us to change. We have been changed by his grace, are being changed by his grace, and will be changed by his grace. What is the goal of this change? It is more than a better marriage, well-adjusted children, professional success, or freedom from a few nagging sins. God’s goal is that we would actually become like him. He doesn’t just want you to escape the fires of hell—though we praise God that through Christ you can! His goal is to free us from our slavery to sin, our bondage to self, and our functional idolatry, so that we actually take on his character! . . . The Word and Spirit work together, enabling us to see Christ in all his power and mercy. This leads to heart change at the level of what we worship and cherish at any given moment. This kind of radical heart change reorients me vertically—person to God—and I repent of what I have cherished in place of Christ. This vertical change then leads to new behavior on the horizontal, person-to-person, plane. An approach to change that only focuses on external behavior is never enough. Biblical change is so much more!

7. Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture (Edited by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert)


This book makes a great case for the effectiveness of biblical counseling, and it will build  your faith in the complete sufficiency of God’s Word to adequately address any problem a person may face in this life. It’s also a really interesting read. Scott and Lambert compile true stories of real counseling cases in which the truths of God’s Word were used to bring hope and healing to those suffering from some of the most intense psychiatric diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, dissociative identity, obsessive compulsive disorders, postpartum depression, panic attacks, addiction, issues from childhood sexual abuse, homosexuality, and more.

8. Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Russell Moore)

imgres-9Confession: I haven’t actually finished this book yet. I’ve read a good chunk of it, though, and it’s a perspective-changing book. Russell Moore weaves the story of his adoption of two boys from Russia into the story of our adoption by Christ as children of God. He demonstrates that adoption {or orphan care} is a vital part of the Great Commission mandate and that it also pictures the Gospel of Christ.

9. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective (Martha Peace)


This book is a long one. It’s more of a study actually. It’s also extremely counter-cultural and flies in the face of what our society tells a woman/wife she should be. However, this book is extremely biblical. Almost every sentence Martha Peace writes is backed up by Scriptural truth. This book takes us back to God’s {not this world’s} beautiful purpose for a wife. I really, really wish I had read this book before I got married and learned some of these truths earlier. Great book to go through when discipling engaged young women, new wives, or really wives of all ages. If you don’t have time to go through every chapter, I would particularly recommend chapters 7-12 which cover issues such as Christ, home, love, respect, intimacy, and submission.

10. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)

imgres-11It’s a Christian classic and C.S. Lewis’s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. If you haven’t read it, you should!

*{Also, two parenting books on my list to read are Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tedd Tripp) and Give Them Grace (Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson). I’ve heard excellent things about both of these.}