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Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  9,784 ratings  ·  1,095 reviews
Written with poetic rhythm, a prophetic voice, and a deeply biblical foundation, this loving yet fearless book urges today’s church to move beyond man-made restrictions and fully welcome women’s diverse voices and experiences.

A freedom song for the church.

Sarah Bessey didn’t ask for Jesus to come in and mess up all her ideas about a woman’s place in the world and in the c
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Howard Books
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Colleen Langlands Mary Magdalene, as seen in John 20, verse 18. After Mary M meets the risen Christ at the tomb, she runs to the disciples and shares the good news, not…moreMary Magdalene, as seen in John 20, verse 18. After Mary M meets the risen Christ at the tomb, she runs to the disciples and shares the good news, not only becoming the first woman, but the first evangelist period of the gospel.(less)

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is heavy on the Jesus, light on the feminist.

This is not really the book I thought it would be, and I don't think the back blurb does it justice. It does not delve nearly as deep as I thought it would into biblical reasons for feminism, and is very, VERY heavy on evangelical Christian phrases. It is absolutely written for a devout, evangelical Christian crowd. If those adjectives don't describe you, this book won't hit home.

Bessey's writing style is overwrought, to be frank. Certain parts
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Because it seems pertinent: I’m a feminist! Yay!

I would like to tell you that I am a feminist because of Jesus. It’s probably true in some ways, but I prefer to say that I became a feminist because of my mother and my aunts and my grandmothers and the way they were Jesus to me. I could also say I am a feminist for my son’s future. Because the church where I grew up taught the girls how to put on makeup while the boys were mentored by our pastors. Because my students still insult each other with
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

The title is HUGELY misleading. This isn't an in-depth scriptural analysis of Jesus and how he was a feminist. There are a few clobber verses trotted out and explained but that is only a couple of chapters.

By far, most of the book is frothy, overly-emotional mumbo-jumbo hoopla about how women pursue social causes (duh), how awesome that is (double duh), and the author's personal history. This is great and all, but this isn't about how Jesus was a feminist; in fact, I have NO CLUE w
Anne Bogel
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A solid first book, and an important one for its conversation-starting potential.
Sarah Hyatt
Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it
There is a lot to like about this book, which made some of my disappointments all the more frustrating.

The good: Sarah Bessey is delivering an important and affirming message. This is a great starting point and readable overview of the importance of women in the church, one which challenges the (often destructive) limiting roles women are usually given.

The disappointing: I've greatly enjoyed following Sarah Bessey's blog over the past year and maybe that's where most of my disappointment stems
Jan 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book. I wanted to like it. Even though I knew up front that there would probably be areas of disagreement, I enjoy reading differing viewpoints, because they challenge me to think.

But Jesus Feminist was a disappointment on several levels.

First--The writing style was off-putting. It felt like a bunch of blog posts squished together, or maybe just one long blog post. Since the author is a blogger, this isn't surprising. But styles that work well for blogs don't always (
Luke Harms
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
Right out of the gate, let me say that I think what Sarah is doing here is really important. By putting the word "Jesus" in lights right next to "feminist," she's forcing a certain conversation that some folks would rather not have right now (or ever). Feminism has been recast in the past few decades as anathema to Christianity in many ways. Simply suggesting that one can hold to both concepts and implying that being a "Jesus Feminist" is possible in a way that will not, in fact, result in a sor ...more
April (The Steadfast Reader)
Full review here:

This book has taught in what order my own philosophies lie, I am a feminist over an atheist. I like to think of myself as a humanist first, so this really shouldn't surprise me.

I think that this is a fantastic book for Christian women. It's written, oddly, by an evangelical Christian, who I believe is also a literalist. I didn't find the book to be that outrageous or 'outside the box', but evidently it is. Bessey asserts that she is a fe
Rachel McAllister
Mar 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was a HUGE disappointment for me. If you've read anything at all about being a feminist as a Christian or women's issues in Christianity then you should definitely skip this book. I have no doubt you already know more than this book will offer you through a tiny bit of online research. I didn't realize that so much of the book would be about the author. That in itself is not an awful thing, but the purple prose this writer uses to discuss her relationship with Christianity is just terr ...more
Deb Martin
Nov 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
The book Jesus Feminist, by Sarah Bessey, is sure to grab one's attention. A Canadian mother of 3 with a heart for following Jesus, Sarah Bessey is eager and enthusiastic to tell others what it looks like to be a woman of God. The book begins with a welcoming foreword from blogger Rachel Held Evans followed by a poem entitled "Let Us Be Women Who Love." The content of each subsequent chapter is unified by a proclamation of evangelical egalitarian views followed by stirring romantic prose deliver ...more
Oct 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
It's hard to read this book, which quotes When Harry Met Sally and uses the Message version for almost all Scripture, as a viable argument for women in leadership. She says a lot of flowery, poetic, pretty things about community, but if you're looking for fundamental truths found in Scripture, you won't really find it here. She spends a lot of time talking about how women should be viewed with worth and as hard workers, but that's not even an argument that complementarians would disagree with. T ...more
Ed Cyzewski
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sarah Bessey boldly writes about the message of Jesus and its intersections with feminism while keeping her arms open and creating space for all.

I've followed Sarah's blog for years now. I knew that something like this book was in the works, and even I am still surprised at how she managed to take a strong and decisive line about the importance of equality and dignity for women in the message of Jesus without aiming shots at potential critics or opponents.

Sarah opens the book with a metaphor o
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know, I know. The title is going to be off-putting to many people, but try to see past that and read this incredible book of freedom in Christ for both men and women.
I don't often read a book where I set it down and think, "I need to buy this book." when I have gotten it from the library. I also don't read a ton of books that bring me to tears multiple times. This one hit both of those. I wanted to buy it so I can quote from it. There were lines that were just so powerful in here. I loved whe
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Everyone should read this book. Not because she has anything radically new to add to the conversation (though it may be wonderfully new to the reader) but because of how she says it. With humility and love, she invites the reader to reconsider things we might have never seriously thought about.

Side note: I really wish this book had footnotes instead of endnotes, since they add much to her discussion. As annoying as it is to flip back and forth, it's worth it!
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*I received an ARC from NetGalley for the purposes of this review.*

I am pretty much the target audience for this book in every category: I love Jesus, I am a feminist, and I read Sarah Bessey's blog religiously (ahem). Basically I was headed into the book prepared to love it and give it to all of my Jesus-loving girlfriends.

I think Bessey is a fantastic writer. I enjoy her style and her voice, and particularly appreciate her thoughtfulness and graciousness in approaching difficult subjects. That
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Going in, I was looking forward to what insights the author might be able to share as far as the Biblical view of feminism. However, it felt like the best ideas in the book came from outside sources. There wasn't much in the way of Biblical revelation---mostly biographical information. Yes, we all know awesome women who do awesome things for God. The women who are tight with God and listen to his calling don't actually need this book---they're already making a difference and are pushed out by Go ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

If Why Not Women?: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership and Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul had a would look something like this book.

Except that combo sounds cool and I found this book...lacking.

I thought my reaction stemmed from how breathy and annoying the narrator's voice was on audio. Obviously, not her fault she sounds like she took a shot of estrogen before recording, but looking at other reviews, I'm persuaded
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual-memoir
Every day I look at my two-year-old daughter and imagine what kind of person she will become. What career will she pursue? What sort of friends will she have? What books will she like? My prayer is that whatever such specifics are that she will live a life in service and discipleship to Jesus Christ.

Perhaps for this reason I have found myself drawn to reading more books and blogs by Christian women. I remember noticing the book Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner years ago and assuming, based on the
Oh, boy. This book has a lot of strengths and a lot of weaknesses. To be expected. First, it's a memoir. It's not academic. It's highly emotional. And it frustrated me a lot.

I wanted a story of an actual blending of Christianity and the foundations of feminism. But that's not really what this is. It has some important ideas, though, because culturally, it's a radical notion that women are people with gifts to be valued and not taken advantage of.

Sarah Bessey has a great voice and a unique expe
Ariel ✨
Mar 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I summed up my thoughts pretty well in the updates I made while reading this: ...more
Holly Case
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a good balance of explaining the context of biblical times and pointing to Jesus. It addressed a lot of my personal questions, rage, and pain. It was very refreshing and made me want to pick up my Bible again.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women Looking for Their Place in the Church
Recommended to Julianna by: Foothills Christian Church
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Jesus Feminist was the latest pick for my church book club. I hadn’t heard of it before, but the title intrigued me. I have to admit, though, that before I started reading it, based on the sub-title, An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, I guess I was expecting a scholarly book that would dig into the Biblical views of womanhood a bit more. The author does have a couple of chapters where she takes a closer look at some of the often used Bible verses for supp
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
In Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey speaks with courage and conviction on a topic near and dear to my heart. Many Christians, and many conservatives, have a knee-jerk revulsion when they hear the dreaded "f-word" feminist, but early on in her book, Bessey declares, "Most of what has passed for a description of feminism is fearmongering misinformation" (something which can also be said, ironically, of Mormonism). She continues to clarify: "It's not necessary to subscribe to all the diverse--and contr ...more
John Hosmer
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely beautiful book. My wife read it first and finished it in days - and as a male who considers himself a feminist I was excited to read it next.

Sarah herself says this is not meant to be scholarly or overly academic - clearly those books have their place - so it's not here to argue or debate about feminism or women in ministry. If you're reading a book called Jesus Feminist, it's assumed you're already open to those ideas.

This book is all about the doing. The every day, "small" things
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marriage-gender
I thoroughly enjoyed this work by Bessey. There are sections that feel, to me, like a cliche Christian women's blog, which to many is a big plus but to me is a bit tiresome; to each their own! The bulk of the book, however, I found very well written and engaging.

I was especially struck by the author's grace and even tone while handling a topic that, as Bessey discusses, is usually filled with vitriol, regardless of the side of the issue one is on. She points readers primarily to the person of Ch
Kyle Johnson
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books-read
"Patriarchy is not God's dream for humanity... Instead, in Christ, and because of Christ, we are invited to participate in the Kingdom of God through redemptive movement--for both men and women--toward equality and justice... Jesus feminism is just one way to participate in this redemptive movement."

I liked Bessey and this book from about the 3rd page when she jokingly acknowledged her choice of title consisted of 2 of the more alienating words in our current culture.

This is a beautifully-writt
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
There are some people I would recommend this book for: people in fundamentalist and/or conservative evangelical churches, especially women; people just beginning a study of women's role in Scripture and faith who would like to read something more conversational and less academic.

But in general, while this book had a good heart, if you've done some preliminary study about women and the church, reading Jesus Feminist will feel very, very basic to you.

Having done some feminist/womanist studies, I
Samantha Pfab
Dec 19, 2020 rated it liked it
So, here’s the thing. I liked this book. I loved hearing the stories and walking with her through each of them. I struggled a bit, however, with really feeling like the content actually matched up with the title/subtitle of the text. It seemed to be more of a personal narrative/anecdote rather than a deep discussion of “Jesus feminism.” This could be a misstep on my part with having expectations that weren’t accurate but the subtitle of the book claims that it is “an invitation to revisit the Bi ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: faith
This book is barely about feminism. At no point does Bessey grapple with any academic feminist ideas or texts in a rigorous way. This book is very much a feel-good affirmation of the worth of women, but it's not a book about Christian feminism.
While the author rejects complimentarianism, the book presents a pretty effective apologetic for exactly that way of thinking.

If you're already a feminist, you can skip this one.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
[I feel I need to edit my review after reading a very moving, gentle, yet convicting blog I just read on Facebook...and did a double take after reading it. The author was Sarah Bessey, whose book I'd just read.

While it is true I did not care for/agree with some of the conclusions of this particular work of hers, she addressed in the blog one key issue that bothered me in the book, and it seems she's come into agreement with the Holy Spirit on it and articulated it in such a beautiful way that it
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Jesus Feminist 1 5 May 13, 2018 04:35PM  

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Sarah Bessey is the author of the popular and critically acclaimed books, "Miracles and Other Reasonable Things." "Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith" and "Jesus Feminist." Her newest book is the collaborative project A Rhythm of Prayer (February 2021). Sarah is also the co-curator and co-host of the annual Evolving Faith Conference and she serves as President of the Board for Heart ...more

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“I want to be outside with the misfits, with the rebels, the dreamers, second-chance givers, the radical grace lavishers, the ones with arms wide open, the courageously vulnerable, and among even—or maybe especially—the ones rejected by the Table as not worthy enough or right enough.” 60 likes
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature. Dorothy Day, Catholic social activist and journalist” 37 likes
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