Women Rising: Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice by Meghan Tschanz
This is such a powerful and evocative book in that it names so many of the particular issues and the unearned privilege that U.S. American’s and Christians have long hid behind–contributing to systemic issues and oppressive harms that affect women around the world and in our own churches. She tells of meeting survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, and sex trafficking, and interfaces how men buying sex in a Thailand or Manilla bar speak of women as objects using the same words that men in churches do. This searing revelation provides an important systemic wake-up call that the words and language we use in day-to-day language to dehumanize can wreak havoc and displaying rotten fruit. She demonstrates well through numerous examples and anecdotes and statistics why the patriarchal vehicles of complementarianism and purity culture are so harmful and found at the same end of the spectrum of harm are sexual violence, porn, and trafficking.
In Women Rising, Author Meghan Tschanz tells a familiar story of the harm of purity culture which lends itself to rape culture, and the harm of patriarchy and toxic masculinity in the church. She names other systemic issues as she learns about herself and finds and reclaims her voice on an eleven-month mission trip. It’s not your typical story, but it is familiar. It’s not typical in that she names her privilege and social location, noting the journey of her own unlearning related to racism and white supremacy, and acknowledging those she learned from. (Austin Channing Brown, Layla F. Saad, Faitth Brooks)
She names her privilege and at the same time acknowledges growing up in a church culture that oppressed women and other marginalized groups. She boldly tells of the oppressions the church has caused and is complicit to this day. She draws powerful and vital connections as she draws us into her journey. She invites us into the self-reflection process in order that we might unlearn harm, and get involved in dismantling systems of harm and systems of oppression.
This book is so powerful, so unique in the way she models reclaiming your voice, speaking up, and balancing humility of leveraging her privilege for good and to do better in the fight against injustice, in the long arc of injustice against women (in particular, at the heart of this journey). Her journey is an important one and I highly encourage you to read this book, I heartily endorse it and give it 5/5 stars without any hesitations. I just know it will help more women get free from the lies and harm of the patriarchy in the church today, just as Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey, and Carolyn Custis James helped her in her journey. (And deeply relatable as Carolyn Custis James and Sarah Bessey were lifelines for me. Carolyn Custis James wrote the forward and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they linked arms together. Custis James is a phenomenal theologian and advocate for women. )
Women Rising is faithful to the message of Jesus and liberation and in the spirit of so many fiery and faithful women and men across history.
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