Friday, 13 June 2008

Books by Christian women

Books by Christian women: are there any?

This was the title of an email I received from a friend the other day. Do women write books? Of course they do: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, J K Rowling, to name just three.

So how come in any listing of available Christian resources, the list rarely includes any women writers? My friend had been to an event about discipling, women, but on the list of resources around Bible study, overviews and commentaries, there was ony one book by a woman.

This conundrum went round a few people in one of the groups I belong to, and we came up with a few names - and a few explanations.

One reason may be the 'Christian books are written by Church leaders' phenomenon - well known people write books, and then become more well known. And there are few women leading larger churches... And it is difficult for an 'unknown' author to break int othe publishing world.

Then there is the cultural devaluation of women's writing: surveys consistently find that women will read books written by both sexes, but men rarely read books written by women.

Thinking of women who've written commentaries, there is a new Tyndale commenary on Esther by Debra Reid, who teaches at Spurgeons College - replacing one by another woman - Joyce Baldwin.

In the area of leadership, women write about women's leadership, but most general books are written by men. There are a few exceptions, Margaret Wheatley, for instance. In the Christian world it's the same, nearly all books are written by men, and some of those by women, especially by US authors, are not only about women leaders, but about women leading 'women's ministry' ie ministry to women only!

A few notable exceptions - Christian books by women on subjects other than pastoral care, children and family life, biography, or the usual 'women's' subjects: Sally Morgenthaler, Worship Evangelism; two titles in the 'mission-shaped' series: Mission-shaped and Rural by Sally Gaze, and Mission-shaped Spirituality: the transforming power of mission, by Sue Hope.

I'd love to hear of more titles...

And finally, on the subject of biblical equality, there are some books by women. I even discovered my own (first) book on a page of books and links on the MWG website - click here to find it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hmm thats ridiculous, hmm the 3 names you put up there ... may happen to be white but aren't necessarily Christian per se ... just bec. one may be white, does not necessarily mean that one is Christian ... in the secular world its used loosely as a category to indicate whiteness for traditional purposes .. but now adays ppl won't even put down any religion

Austen and Bronte were just stuck in a time when they had to submit to church authorities ...