Bob's Reviews > More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World

More Than Enchanting by Alan Hirsch
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's review
Mar 26, 12

bookshelves: christian, firstread
Read from March 15 to 26, 2012

OK, you may ask, why is this graying male reviewing a book that seeks to encourage rising leadership among women? Honest reason--I received it as a free book from InterVarsity Press as part of their FirstReads program with GoodReads. How is that for taking care of the required disclaimer?

Actually, I'm quite glad that I had a chance to read this book for three reasons. First, I find that Jo Saxton's prose just sparkles with her personality and her love of being a mobilizer of women in leadership. She had me from the Preface as she writes about Aunt May, the woman who brought her up. She writes, "while age would mature and change her body, it would never tame her spirit. May was feisty, passionate, selfless, grounded in lightheartedness and common sense" (p. 11). My sense is that this might describe Jo Saxton as well.

This book also helped me understand the pain that many gifted women who aspire to use their gifts to serve the church have suffered at the hands of men and what it is like to step into one's giftedness despite all this. Early on she tells of teaching on John 13 and that the ministry of washing feet was for both men and women, followed by a time of prayer ministry, where women flocked up in tears of lament. Saxton goes on to affirm the call of women to lead, beginning with a study of ezer in scripture that means far more than helper or "help mate" as it is often used of God's strength, power to save, to be a warrior and at the same time to cherish. She then reviews some of the powerful examples of women who lead in scripture and gives wise instruction on issues of calling, mentoring (including challenges to women to help rather than thwart other women), leading in a man's world, navigating life changes like children and bringing it all together in leading skillfully.

The third reason I appreciated this book is that she has much to say about leadership that applies to men as well, not only in terms of working in partnership with women but also for our own leadership. Sooner or later all of us in leadership experience failure of some sort or just "hit the wall" in our leadership. She talks about the need to take a HALT, an acronym for recognizing our Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness. Looking at our appetites, our anger, our experience of loneliness, and our weariness can put us in touch with our misshapen motivations and can be the place where Christ meets with, ministers to, and re-forms us.

This is a great book for women who aspire to or have stepped into roles of leadership yet struggle with self-doubt or past pain around the appropriateness of their leadership. And it is a book well worth reading by men who work alongside women, both within and outside the church, to realize the giftedness and courage and aspirations of these women.
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