The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (June 2019)

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (June 2019)

Andrea Humphries, our resident bibliophile (and a board member), writes a monthly post about what she’s learned from the books she’s reading. Today, she’s here with what she learned in June:

June proved to me again that audiobooks really are a gift. 

In the wake of Rachel Held Evans’ tragic death, I found myself ⁠— like so many ⁠— wanting to revisit her words. I have ebooks of both Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church and Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again, but somehow that didn’t feel like enough. So I bought the audiobook of Inspired, which Rachel narrated, and I’m so very glad I did. When I first read Inspired as an ARC, my favourite part of the book was Rachel’s midrashim, the retellings/expansions of Biblical stories in the tradition of Jewish midrash that introduced each new genre. But listening to her read them made me love them even more; “The Well”, Hagar telling her story in a first-person monologue, and “The Letter”, the story of the first reading of Colossians to the church at Laodicea from the perspective of the wife of a poor shepherd, moved me to tears. Even more than reading her words for myself, listening to Rachel describe and contextualize the various genres of writing in the Bible convinced me of her love for Scripture and her determination to wrestle with it, to hold the hard and the beautiful in tension without losing or dismissing either one. We need more writers and pastors and mentors and speakers calling us to that kind of commitment and tenacity and Rachel’s loss has left a hole there that I very much hope others will step forward to fill.

Next week, Kat Armstrong’s first book, No More Holding Back: Emboldening Women to Move Past Barriers, See Their Worth, and Serve God Everywhere comes out. I’ve been aware of Kat and Polished, the ministry she co-founded, for a couple years through friends who attended her alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary. Part of what I do here at Rise is monitor our email inboxes and when I saw an email from Kat asking if we’d be interested in publishing a post from her leading up to the release of her book, I opened the attachment out of sheer curiosity. If you read it yesterday when it went live, you’ll understand that that blog post, as I wrote to Molly, “dang near had me standing on my chair waving my hanky. I am HERE. FOR. IT.” Full disclosure: when Kat opened up her launch team a few weeks later, I jumped at the chance based on what I had read in that post. Reading No More Holding Back in its entirety had me cheering and messaging those DTS friends. It also left me absurdly grateful for women who go to seminary, knowing that it will be an uphill battle, but choosing to follow the call on their lives. If you know a woman in seminary, pray for her and let her know you’re doing it.* There are whole chunks of the book that had me wondering if Kat had been eavesdropping on conversations I’ve had with my friends about women in ministry and the obstacles we face, so I really appreciate the way Kat tackles the lies we’ve been told and told ourselves about our worth and our abilities. 

Another audiobook that I really enjoyed in June was Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World by John Quinn and John O’Donohue. O’Donohue was an Irish poet and philosopher and in her foreword, Krista Tippett talks about “the sacramental act he made of thinking and conversing.” The book is narrated by O’Donohue’s brother, so in addition to the beautiful, thought-provoking content, you get his utterly wonderful west Ireland accent. A posthumous collection of talks, conversations, and radio broadcasts assembled by Quinn after O’Donohue’s untimely death, there’s something of a lovely country ramble to the book, laced as it is with O’Donohue’s characteristic Celtic spirituality. My inner nerd was also delighted by the smattering of Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) throughout the book, in the form of proverbs and local maxims. At the end of an incredibly busy and hectic month, the slow, steady lilt of Pat O’Donohue’s voice narrating his brother’s slow, steady words was a much-needed respite.

*We want women attending seminary to feel seen, valued, supported and empowered as they pursue God's call on their life, so we started Womenarians (formerly called Priscilla’s Daughters) in order to create shared spaces and connections for both current seminary students and women who've already completed their seminary degrees. We’re getting ready to open registration for the 2019-2020 school year, so if you’re a current seminarian looking for a mentor who understands what you’re going through or if you’re a seminary graduate who’s interested in mentoring the women coming along behind you, keep an eye on Rise’s social media (@nowsherises) for more details in the next few weeks.

Literary Agents & Honest Tables

Literary Agents & Honest Tables

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (May 2019)

The Flight: A Monthly Book Sampler (May 2019)