One of the best parts of summer is extra time for reading.  High on my list this summer are a few "beach books".  You know the kind...predictable but entertaining plot...with no thinking required.  By the time July hits, my busy brain welcomes the respite.  I will, however, dig into something "meaty" as well...taking the opportunity to learn and grow.

In thinking about my own summer reading list, I thought I would take the opportunity to recommend a book to you that I read recently.

My recommendation is

Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women

by Carolyn Custis James.

In writing her book, it is clear that Custis James was deeply impacted by the book

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Half the Church outlines two main messages:

- Firstly, it is a clear call for the church to empower and release women fully.  Custis James elevates the vision for women and their impact, raising it above the current limiting conversation on roles for women and western evangelical ideals.  She offers a much more inspiring vision.

"The message we (the church) offer (to women) is not robust enough to address the opportunities, changes, and extremities of life in a fallen world. It is too small for successful women leaders in the secular world and too weak to restore full meaning and purpose to women who have been trampled. It is not far-reaching enough to encompass every woman's whole life of the variegations that exist within this multicultural, rapidly changing world. 

Instead of addressing the wide range of questions and situations women are facing today, we focus mainly on marriage and motherhood, and that within a two-parent, single-income family."

- Ouch.

- Secondly, Custis James asserts that the "plight of women in the Majority World demands a Christian response".  The gospel always elevates, always brings the outsider in, making room at the table. When we see the needs of marginalized women around the world, the gospel, both in word and deed brings the message of hope and love.  Custis James contends that Christians should be at the forefront of affirming the value and dignity of women world-wide.  We, as Christ-followers should be leading the way!

So that is my plug!  I think you will enjoy the book.  Each chapter offers a discussion guide, so it could be a great book to work together with friends, both male and female.

Happy reading! - Leanne