The Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson (Tyndale)
Close your eyes and imagine a glorious Sunday morning—without women. Most Sunday school rooms remain dark. A few men arrive with their sons but not many. Musicians struggle to lead worship. Ushers and offering counters are at full strength minus bulletins and pre-service coffee. "Won't happen," you say. Perhaps, but Jim Henderson paints that picture in The Resignation of Eve.
Females make up the majority of weekly churchgoers and volunteers. Yet since 1991, their attendance has declined dramatically, and the percentage of unchurched women has increased dramatically. Employing statistics, research and interviews, the author divides Christian women into three groups using the term "resigned."
The first are resigned to their roles at church. Some agree with a position that generally relegates them to support functions. Many don't know their pastors' views. Others have chosen acceptance while disagreeing, often for the sake of family.
A growing number of women have resigned. They may remain members but no longer exercise their greatest gifts in the church. Others have left the church or religion altogether.
Some women have "re-signed." They've signed on with other churches or denominations where they find leaders who "honor and encourage them to become whatever God has made them to be." A few have found "creative workarounds.
Whatever one's position on the role of females in the church, The Resignation of Eve offers an insightful view into women who feel overworked and undervalued. Ponder the question. What are the kingdom consequences, as Henderson asks in the book's subtitle, If Adam's Rib Is No Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone?
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman's Missionary Union of Texas
A Faith of our Own by Jonathan Merritt (FaithWords)
The 1980s saw conservative evangelicals and the Christian Right wed the Republican Party. A Faith of Our Own by Jonathan Merritt offers a thoughtful explanation that outlines the new conservatism of today's young adult generation. He depicts a cohort of socially minded activists ready to end binding partisanship and embrace the Christian Middle.
At times, the book feels like a call to disarm those who have championed traditionally high-profile social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, citing their 25-year failure to change the status quo. At other moments, Merritt sounds the charging trumpet to action. He declares all social issues equal and challenges the reader to apply the gospel in a new way. While the book lacks clarity in presenting the gospel, it does advocate a gracious approach to dealing with all people. After a 25-year marriage, Jonathan Merritt serves the Republican Party divorce papers on behalf of evangelical Christianity and urges the separation of these two great powers.
Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers by Cecil Murphey & Twila Belk (Harvest House)
Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk have worked together for years. He is the author of more than 125 books, while she is a writer and speaker and also works as his assistant. But they have something more in common—both are long-term caregivers.
Now they've co-written a brief but helpful book, Because You Care. The book's subtitle, "Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers," reveals its simple theme—lifting the hearts of those who provide care for an ill or elderly loved one. The authors take turns sharing a bit of their personal stories for others on the same difficult journey. They've also included insightful stories told by other caregivers. Brief chapters speak to issues in caring for a parent, child or spouse: Caregivers must watch someone suffer and sometimes die; they might struggle with feeling invisible, or with guilt; they sometimes endure the insensitivities of others. The 48-page gift book offers gentle wisdom for those who might feel pushed to their limit.
Nature photography by Betty Fletcher provides bright floral and scenic images throughout the slim, hard-bound book. Each beautiful page adds to the hope-inspiring passages. Because You Care should encourage anyone in the role of a caregiver.