Jo Saxton’s book, More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World, offers some very beautiful faith-centered reflections about issues that affect modern Christian women.
I appreciate that a large portion of her book is devoted to encouraging Christian women in leadership, especially in an age when conversations about a woman’s “place” in the world are regaining popularity in Christian discourse. (If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, please Google Mark Driscoll and pay special attention to articles highlighting the anti-woman rhetoric coming out of his pulpit. Then, Google the words “masculine Christianity” and prepare to be bowled over by the antiquated male-vs.-female arguments happening in those discussions during the past few weeks. I don’t recommend reading any of the aforementioned rubbish on a full stomach.)
I especially appreciated Saxton’s treatment of the Bible’s creation story. As we all know, the Genesis creation account has been used for centuries to subjugate and demonize women… but the author of this book points out a few very important things… She highlights that a more well-rounded, contextual reading of the Hebrew words ezer and keneged will actually reveal the created woman’s equality to Adam, along with the woman’s “amazing mix of strength, power [and] proactivity.” (pg. 36)
I enjoyed Saxton’s endeavor to include non-biblical examples of strong Christian womanhood in her book. For instance, on pages 127-128, she points out that women have been at the forefront of social justice issues for hundreds of years. Saxton boldly asks her readers to become givers in their own communities. She writes: “We are well aware of the lack of mentors for female leaders… As we address the problem, could God also be calling us to be part of the solution?… Can you mentor someone?” True. Pointed. Inspiring. Impressive.
Ms. Saxton obviously doesn’t wish to solely focus on the me-me-me Gospel of personal salvation that has become so dominant in Christianity. For her, it’s not about carving out an individualistic path to the finish line of salvation. It’s about tapping into the power and wisdom of an often ignored segment of the Christian population so that the entire world can experience the healing power of God. It’s about empowering women to take leading roles that will transform the world.
My only critique of this book (which is actually more of an observation than a critique) is that it seems to be a more appropriate read for groups than for individual enjoyment. There are several impasses in the text that are obviously geared at starting conversations. For instance– in her book, Saxton entertains a discussion about whether a woman should remain at a church that doesn’t endorse her call to ministry. (pgs. 143-144) I didn’t get the impression that she wished to take a stand on either side of the issue. However, with her favorable comments about women’s equality in mind, it seemed obvious that she intended for her readers to chat it out amongst themselves.
Overall, I recommend this book to people in search of a biblical endorsement for women in leadership.
[Note: This reflection was written for the Patheos Book Club’s roundtable conversation. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.]
Crystal St. Marie Lewis blogs at Diary of a Universagnosticostal.