When I think about all the people I have met who have made a difference to my faith, there is an endless list of women. Throughout history the great fathers of the faith have been given the most credit for shaping Christianity. But we cannot overlook the great mothers of the faith. Eric Metaxas attempts to give seven such women their due in his book 7 Women.
Careful to state that this is not a “sequel” to his earlier book 7 Men, Metaxas in his introduction states that too often women are compared to men. As if the greatness of women is only great when compared to the greatness of men. And while this gesture is appreciated, his approach to getting there is a bit long-winded in the wrong direction.
Too much of his Introduction is spent seemingly justifying why he chose to write a book about seven powerful women who in their own ways shaped Christianity. He spends more time than necessary refreshing a woman who is a “lifelong opponent of feminism,” as if someone may begin to worry that he has written a book about feminist women (not that it would be a problem for this reader.)
“The lesson,” Metaxas finally states, “is that to pit women against men is a form of denigration of women.” I’m just going to leave that one right here and restate that the Introduction is too long for what it is.
Each of the world-changing figures who stride across these pages-Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks-is an exemplary model of true womanhood. Teenaged Joan of Arc followed God’s call and liberated her country, dying a heroic martyr’s death. Susanna Wesley had nineteen children and gave the world its most significant evangelist and its greatest hymn-writer, her sons John and Charles. Corrie ten Boom, arrested for hiding Dutch Jews from the Nazis, survived the horrors of a concentration camp to astonish the world by forgiving her tormentors. And Rosa Parks’ deep sense of justice and unshakeable dignity and faith helped launch the twentieth-century’s greatest social movement. (from the publisher)
The rest of the book, the seven chapters about seven amazing women is a source of inspiration and encouragement. Metaxas’ writing is conversational and approachable. For the seasoned reader, it is a quick read. While there some women in the selection I had read about before (Susanna Wesley or Corrie Ten Boom, for example), there were others I knew nothing or very little about. Such as Hannah More the playwright and author who influenced Wilber Wilberforce who would stand up against slavery in Great Britain.
Overall, this is a great collection of essays about some powerful, strong, and influential women of faith. The Introduction was a bit much for me, but once I got past that, I appreciated Metaxas’ presentation of each of the figures.
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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