Books You’d Rather Not Read Yourself

(Posted by Paige)

Two curious questions for you:

One, in your church, who has responsibility for choosing and vetting the material used in Bible studies or classes for women? I know that some churches have pastor or elder-led systems of review in place, and some not so much.

Two, if you are someone who has this responsibility, are there any titles – whether written for popular audiences or specifically for women — for which you would appreciate a sound and careful review, so that you do not have to read the books yourself?

Putting together a Library of a website with resources for Christian literacy, and hoping to include a shelf of Reviews of Books You’d Rather Not Read Yourself. Give me some suggestions! (Some of these are truly painful to read – so this is Christian service in action! :)

16 Comments

  1. March 5, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Paige,

    Our Session generally approves study material, but sometimes defers to the Session Christian Education Liaison (me at the moment) if time is an issue.

    Your suggestion of a pre-reviewed library is excellent, as it would be somewhat anticipatory. So far, the ladies here haven’t strayed from solid, Reformed materials with one exception, and I was able to damage-control that one. Several of our ladies are very well-read, so I rely on them for thoughts and reviews. I’d love to see you construct a broader reference source, but I don’t have any specific requests at this point.

  2. johntjeffery said,

    March 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    FYI: Fred and Jim Zaspel already started a ministry that does this – Reviews of Books You’d Rather Not Read Yourself – at http://booksataglance.com/.

  3. paigebritton said,

    March 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Great minds think alike! :) (But mine is gratis.) They didn’t use the same catch phrase, did they?

  4. paigebritton said,

    March 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    They also seem to have avoided certain popular authors for women, which is where I might be able to fill in the gap.

  5. imhavoc said,

    March 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I want to link to this library from http://www.OpenDiscipleship.org when it goes live. Thank you!

  6. paigebritton said,

    March 5, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    You bet! Thanks for the interest. More to come on that!

  7. Barbara said,

    March 6, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    My experience tells me that women do not need “by women for women” whether we know it or not. We (and men) need “by Christian for Christian” whether we know it or not. For Bible Study may we have Christ-centeredness, law and gospel full throttle as we (May it be, Lord) need in sermons.

  8. paigebritton said,

    March 7, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Thanks, Barbara — I entirely agree, but I think we are in the minority. As long as there is a general preference for it, there will be a market — and hence books that somebody ought to pay close attention to, since they’re easy and attractive choices for many.

  9. imhavoc said,

    March 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly, Barbara. Unfortunately, I also agree with Paige. In my experience, almost all women’s “Bible study” and book groups work with material “for women by women” as though it makes the material more accessible or more relevant or something. I very much see a need for someone I trust (I hope I can trust you, Paige!) to vet the material for others.

  10. paigebritton said,

    March 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating…Here’s a review I did a while back of an earlier Beth Moore book. I’m working on analyzing and reviewing her most recent one now (Children of the Day), as well as a couple others written for women by other authors. (And you can read more of me here on GB till I open the doors of my Library to everybody!…at which point you can read me in both places.)

  11. Ron said,

    March 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Paige,

    This thread is like visiting a quiet coffee shop. Soothing. Very much needed in comparison to the barroom brawls going on next door. :)

  12. paigebritton said,

    March 7, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Haha! I didn’t think anyone noticed it. Like much regarding women’s ministry, it’s an island unto itself.

  13. Barbara said,

    March 7, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Yes, ladies, couldn’t agree more. My most trusted 80 yr. old BSF aunt sent me Jesus Calling. My close friends are Beth Moore devotees. Please, by all means, vet the material. Let us all take in that which truly nourishes. Thanks for what you out there do.

  14. paigebritton said,

    March 8, 2015 at 6:12 am

    …and the real trick is to do this delicately, because of the relational stakes involved! It can be awkward because of that closeness. One of the reasons I’m pushing past the surface of the Moore studies is to try to be fair about judging the content she offers, even if I find the style unappealing. I’m hoping to be balanced in these reviews, for the sake of those I care about who really, really like the books.

  15. Andy Wilson said,

    March 13, 2015 at 8:44 am

    This is a great idea. I look forward to utilizing this resource. If you are interested, I wrote a review of one of Ann Voskamp’s books in Ordained Servant a few year’s back. It can be found here:

    http://opc.org/os.html?article_id=334&cur_iss=Y

  16. paigebritton said,

    March 13, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Thank you, Andy — and you beat me to the Voskamp one! Another book I would have to approach with some trepidation, because of its local popularity. Good catch about secondary causes. (And I stopped reading when she got to Paris!)


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