Sunday, March 11, 2012

Project 28: The Year of Female Authors

When I was a young teenager, I had this bizarre fantasy to spend a year in prison just so I could workout in 'the yard' and get really jacked. Junior high boys are strange. I blame too many Jean Claude Van Damme movies for that one.

But there is something natural to the idea of giving oneself to an ambitious project for a year. I think that it's fairly common for people to wish that they could devote a year to something like learning to play guitar, scuba diving, or hiking the Appalachian trail. We're goal-oriented people. So, at least my teenage heart was in the right place.

Last week I turned 28 and I found myself wanting to set a goal for the upcoming year. A week later it came to me: I will devote this year of reading to a majority of female authors - 28 to be exact. Over the next year I would like to read the works of at least 28 different women.

Why women? Because our 2012 world is a world catered for men. My recent adventure through the Millennium Trilogy reminded me that the world today is still very much bias toward men. It is a world where women earn less money than men and can't obtain the same opportunities as men. One quick look at political leaders, CEO's, and TV commercials reveals the misogynous reality of our world. I mean, how else can a national debate on women's reproductive health be dominated by men? How is it that we have consistently excluded the voices of those from whom all of life originates?

My field, in particular, is still wrestling with the relics of patriarchy. Even today many women are not permitted to serve as clergy. As I look at the books shelved above me, 90% of my own books on Christian theology and ministry have been authored by men.

So, I know what to do this year. I'm going to listen to the voices of my sisters. I'm going to attempt to see the world through their eyes. My hope is to gain a fuller sense of who God is and what it means to be human. After all, my sisters bear the divine imprint equally as much as men.

Here's what I need from you: Suggestions. I will conclude this post with a list of authors that I have compiled. If you have additional suggests, please comment or email me. Thanks!


Elizabeth Johnson

Sallie McFague

Margaret Suchocki

Catharine Mowry Lacugna

Donna Haraway

Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza

Loida Martell-Otero

Karen Armstrong

Kathleen Norris

Mary Daly

Anna Lamott

Nancey Murphy

Molly T. Marshall


Rachel Held-Evans


  1. hey josh, sweet idea!

    I would recommend Christine Pohl (Making Room is great and she has a brand new one out that looks good too) and Ellen Davis (Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture).

    I'll let ya know if anything else pops up.

    best of luck!

  2. Great news! I received much-needed additions to my list from my friend and former professor Dr. Loida Martell-Otero. If you're interested check 'em out:
    Joan Martin, Emilie Townes, Katie Cannon, Delores Williams, Kwok Pui Lan, Chung Kyung Hyun, Elizabeth Conde-Frazer, Daisy Machado; in fiction, Esmeralda Santiago, Isabel Allende.

  3. i got one more for ya if you still have room on the list:

    Creating with God by Sarah Jobe

  4. this is awesome josh - thanks for sending me the email to let me know you're doing this! lots of my suggestions already on the list (def. Kwok Pui Lan's Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology, yes Katie Cannon, yes ESF).

    a couple more that have had a profound effect on my life & my theology:

    Monica Coleman "Making a Way Out of No Way"
    Catherine Keller "On the Mystery"
    Pema Chodron "The Places That Scare You"

    If you want to understand the women's movements of the 60s and 70s, Betty Freidan's "The Feminine Mystique" is an important and interesting read.

    And fiction - if you've never read The Color Purple by Alice Walker... then... I think you should. :)