Author – Courtney Reissig
*Note: This book releases on May 31, 2015 but it’s available for pre-order NOW at a discounted price!*
“Many women buy into the idea that equality means sameness – even if they do so in the slightest of ways.” – Courtney Reissig
It’s wisdom like that found in the quote above that kept me glued to this book, reading and rereading it before writing this review. In The Accidental Feminist, Courtney Reissig truly hits one out of the park. Her discussion of biblical womanhood cuts through the stereotypes that have grown up on both the complementarian and egalitarian sides, and she speaks biblical truth into an issue that has grown quite heated in recent years.
Though I have had much exposure to egalitarian circles within the greater church, I was raised in a complementarian home and church, and Reissig does an excellent job of explaining what that truly means in a discussion of biblical womanhood and also of defending her position. I happen to agree with her, but even so, I found her discussion of the topic more compelling then many others I have read.
Right out of the gate, Reissig makes it clear that following Christ and femininity do not mean a throwback to the 1950s. Again and again, she reminds readers of the Gospel and encourages women of all stages of life. She does an excellent (and much-needed) job of making clear that home is of prime importance for various reasons through different seasons of our lives but that God didn’t save us just to be mini Martha Stewarts and Pinterest-perfect mommies. In other words, women don’t derive their identity solely from their children and housework. We have worth and identity as children of God, saved through Christ.
Reissig’s writing is matter-of-fact and almost soothing in tone, a welcome addition to a subject area that has in the past drawn more than its share of sarcasm, mockery, and emotionally fraught writing from all sides. The author here does a good job of pointing to Scripture to make her points, and what she finds there makes one reconsider extreme views on both the conservative and more liberal sides of things. For instance, Reissig speaks authoritatively about why the pastorate is reserved only for men. However, she also champions the variety of gifts given to women and exhorts her readers to use their gifts fully within the dicates of God’s Word.
Reissig also does not shy away from the difficult subject of submission. I know that submission is a topic I’ve struggled with in various ways throughout my Christian walk. I found the discussion in this book thoughtful and well-done. I also appreciated the author’s reminder of how wifely submission operates – and that women aren’t called to submit to every man as they do their husbands. In discussions of gender within Christianity, this very important point sometimes gets overlooked.
Lastly, and very importantly, Reissig not only speaks truth to readers about God’s design for women, but she asks some tough questions and suggests ways for women in all phases of life to put biblical teaching into action. So, what do I mean by “tough questions?” Well, the title says it all. Throughout the book, Reissig shines a light on some of the ways that we can tend to internalize worldly teachings that are contrary to what we are told in Scripture. For instance, she talks about how girls are taught from a young age to long for all male eyes to be on them – and not for entirely godly reasons. Or, she points out that looking down on those gifted in the kitchen or with the nurturing of children springs more from modern feminist commentary and fails to respect that we all have different parts to play within the body of Christ – and not all are gifted to be writers, teachers, or to work in other more publicly noticed arenas.
Many thanks to Crossway Books for providing me with a review copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.