Today I want to talk about Author Carolyn Custis James. I'm currently reading her book "Half of the church" and am about halfway through it. Been busy blogging this week, and neglecting my reading a little bit.
Just who is Carolyn Custis James?
Carolyn Custis James (M.A. in Biblical Studies) is an evangelical thinker who loves God enough to break the rules—rules of cultural convention which attempt to domesticate the gospel message of the Bible. Carolyn is president of WhitbyForum, a ministry dedicated to addressing the deeper needs which confront both women and men as they endeavor to extend God's kingdom together in a messy and complicated world.
Found on her Whitby Forum biography
How did I first hear of her? Well, actually it was one of her articles on The Huffington Post - "Virginity is not the Gospel" that introduced me to Mrs. James. Someone posted it to a rather large forum I am on, and I read it and nodded my head over and over. I, who had been a part of the True Love Waits movement and took a vow before I was 18 and kept that vow until I was a married woman at 25. Yep. That me.
What did she say that really impacted me in that article? Hm, I think it'd have to have been this:
"The Gospel message for women and girls is bigger than moral purity. It is a life-changing message that secures every young woman's place in God's Story and leaves no woman or girl behind. Against the changing winds of culture and the other voices that beckon to her, this message secures her identity as a woman as well as her purpose and meaning for the road ahead, no matter what she sees when she looks in the rearview mirror...Carolyn Custis James, "Virginity is not the Gospel"
Upon the recommendation of many ladies I have come to respect and admire, I picked up my copy of "Half of the Church" when it just came off of its $1.99 Kindle edition sale. That's ok though! It was a steal at just over 5€, and I've been reading it ever since.
I'm being challenged, I'm being spurred on, and I'm thinking very hard about all of the issues that Carolyn has brought up.
If you haven't read it already, you might want to read these reviews of her book:
"I fear that our lack of awareness of the changing dynamics of today’s young women is creating a chasm between their interest and engagement in the church. Will you consider how your church can reach them better and allow their God-given gifts to thrive for the Kingdom?"
Jenni Catron, Outreach Magazine, Reaching the Other Half of the Church
"I found this theme particularly helpful and challenging. It is easy to think of what it means to be a Christian woman only in terms of my own experience as a cherished and respected wife and mother, in a privileged nation, with a multiplicity of choices and freedoms at my disposal. While it is vital that I determine what it means to live for God in my own context, James points out that to think exclusively in these terms leaves a large percentage of the world’s women out of the conversation."
Crystal Rodli, Treasure Contained, Book Review: Half the Church, by Carolyn Custis James
"I find it profoundly tragic that this book needs to be written. The truth that James argues should be inherently apparent and practiced throughout God's Church. Sadly this is not the case and has not been throughout the Church's history. Although Western culture has made significant strides in affirming the value of women, much of the Western Church still lags far behind. For this reason James' book is necessary. Although she writes it for women, I think it has great value for and needs to be read by men as well."
Andrew Carmichael, The Unguy's Blog; Half of the Church
" James observes that the Bride that’s envisioned in the Book of Revelation “encompasses not just the female half of the church, but also the male half. We are all the bride of Christ.” James points out that this bride “transcends time and place as she lives in every epoch, culture, and location on the planet, and is last seen in the Bible on the edge of eternity.” In a world in which woman is often portrayed as “other,” we need the reminder that God has always envisioned “male and female in partnership” as the ideal for humanity. "
Sandra Glahan, Tapestry: A Christian Women's Collective, Stuff I recommend
And if that doesn't make you run out and get a copy, have a good listen to her speech at Dallas Theological Seminary. It is 28 minutes long, but worth every single second of these 28 minutes.
Seriously, I am thoroughly enjoying this book. I wish I could share it with everyone, but honestly, it is so good you need your own copy to highlight, underline and dogear, before you buy it as gifts for others, or recommend that others get their own copy!!
Gungor: God is not a white man