20 May 2017

Book Review: Bible Sisters--A Year of Devotions with the Women of the Bible by Gennifer Benjamin Brooks (Abingdon)

If you are a woman who has ever been called out of your name and named by your predicament instead, Bible Sisters--A Year of Devotions with Women of the Bible is a celebration of women like you, like me--ordinary kin with extraordinary lives.

Image result for Bible Sisters--A Year of Devotions with Women of the BibleUnlike titles familiar to women in bible devotionals and study guides which read like a Who's Who of notable women on a first name basis, author Rev. Dr. Gennifer Benjamin Brooks has uncovered and reclaimed stories of women who's names did not make record, but who's stories are no less faith-filled and triumphant.  Exacting over 230 named and unnamed women in the bible, Brooks introduces us to Bible Sisters who are read over or ignored, diminished or dismissed, and for some of us, discovered for the very first time.

Although published as a devotional (scripture, reflection, and prayer), there are a myriad of ways to introduce yourself to these women, to hold them as conversation partners in your life, and to approach their stories as points for preaching. For the academic, Bible Sisters offers two indices for reference:  Index of Names with Days and Scripture Passages and Index of Scripture Passages and Days. For the preacher, Bible Sisters is fresh manna for selecting iconic women who mirror obscure women in the pews.  For the Christian educator, Bible Sisters might be the cornerstone of Sunday School curriculum or small group study.

Most efficaciously, though, as one seeking to experience the breadth and depth of womanhood through devotional discipline, Bible Sisters is like meeting for tea, catching up with an familiar friend, making a new one, and giving more than a nod and glance to a woman you know by sight but not by story.  In Bible Sisters so far, I have poured out my heart to Huldah over my female pastor's upcoming retirement; lamented with Rizpah over police murders of young, unarmed black men with impunity; and flagged the day near the end of the year when I meet Women Who Make Veils to sit with me while I do the holy work of crocheting prayer shawls for grieving mothers and knitting prosthetic breasts for women who have had mastectomies. You know--our Bible Sisters--ordinary kin with extraordinary lives.

Win the Book 

I am such a long-time fan of Dr. Brooks' scholarship and preaching--and now, this book project--that I will send a copy of the book to a woman who Comments with a question about a Bible Sister you have heard of, but want to know better!  Let's meet for tea. 

The Author (from the publisher)

The Rev. Dr. Gennifer Benjamin Brooks—the author—is the Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Preaching and the director of the Styberg Preaching Institute at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. In both her teaching and her pastorate as an ordained elder in the New York Conference of The United Methodist Church, she is committed to supporting women and speaking out in support of their rightful place in the realm of God and in the church.

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