Dr. Jackie Roese was the first woman preacher in the history of Irving Bible Church, preaching her first sermon from the pulpit in 2008 to a packed house of 2250 people. That event caused ripples throughout the conservative evangelical church. In this book, Roese shares her personal journey.
This is not a theological defense of women in the pulpit. Roese does not look at the various verses on the topic and give her interpretation. What she does do is share her own story.
She gives us the background to her call to ministry, her childhood and her marriage. Her husband felt called to attend seminary. She felt called too and started taking one evening class at a time, also raising a family. This was at Dallas Theological Seminary where women were not allowed to take classes in preaching. After speaking at a women's retreat, she knew she was called to teach. She came on staff at a church, leading women's ministries. She expressed herself at meetings, trying to break through that invisible attitude that women were “less than” when it came to Scripture, doctrine, and theology.
Roese explores a few topics in her book while telling her story. One was the concept of being a “received knower.” I loved her discussion. “Received knowers do not construct their own knowledge, they receive it. They depend on authorities to tell them what is right and wrong.” (18) They don't read any books the authorities don't recommend. They don't think for themselves nor do they look at opposing arguments.
Another topic I really appreciated Roese writing about was how women and men see Scripture differently. Men tend to see it from an independent, analytical mindset. Women tend to see it with a relational, interdependent, or communal lens. That means a woman preacher will have a different sermon emphasis on a passage, something a man might never see.
The turning point in her church came when the elders looked around and realized they were discussing an issue about women without any input from them. They invited women to a dialog and began to see things differently than merely from their privileged (male) position.
Roese advocates for a new narrative, one “that more accurately depicts God's original plan and purpose for male and female.” (61) She suggests women get started in ministry by saying “yes.” Whether it is a kid's ministry or youth, “I tell them to take the opportunities in front of them and invest in their skills.” (22)
This is a great book for those who want to understand what a woman experiences and feels when she is called to ministry. It is a very good personal account of experiencing that calling in a male dominated setting.
Why lime green? Roese realized many women in church are pink. But she was not that way. She was lime green, warm, yet bold. Wooing, yet a bit dangerous. Passionate. (xvii)
Roese founded The Marcella Project in 2012. More than a ministry, it is a movement to ennoble women. You can find out more about it at www.marcellaproject.com.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Dr. Jackie Roese is the Founder and President of The Marcella Project, a ministry committed to ennobling women through Scripture-focused teaching, training and dialog. She has a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and a DMin in Preaching from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written more than fifteen Bible studies, taught at women's conferences and was on the Sunday morning preaching team.
HIS Publishing Group, 130 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Icon Media for the purpose of an independent and honest review.