Brothels, burqas, bikinis, Botox, the Booths’ Army–nothing escapes the scorching biblical light The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women, by Danielle Strickland, shines on the sins of oppression suffered by women. It is clear, however, that Strickland’s intent is to do more than just shine a singular light. She dares to dream that the Light/light of the world will expose and end the mistreatment, devaluation, underestimation and repression of women (John 9:5, Matt. 5:14). Or, as she writes, “The Church needs to rise up and be like Jesus again!”
A quick look at some of the chapter titles makes it clear that even though there’s a butterfly on the cover, this book packs a powerful punch: You Are Not A Princess, Killing Us with Cotton, A Song of Lies, Ball and Chain, and Jesus the Feminist.
If you’re still with me after reading that last chapter title, good for you. And that fact could be good for others as well if we get convinced (as Strickland is) of Jesus’ countercultural, revolutionary attitude toward women.Referring specifically to John 20, where Jesus first revealed his resurrected self to a woman, Strickland points out that Jesus did much more than tell his disciples to value women, he showed them (and us) how to do so by his actions.
I am thankful that The Salvation Army was founded firmly on the conviction that God speaks to and through his people, that Jesus died, was resurrected and lives to save, and that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to all believers–regardless of gender. While many in our movement gave lip service to these liberating truths, it remains to be seen if we will fully receive and reflect them. If we don’t, we’re not presenting the full gospel. As Leonard Swidler puts it, “Feminism, that is, personalism extended to women, is a constitutive part of the Gospel, the Good News, of Jesus.”
Strickland’s new book is not for everyone. It’s really only for those who care about how women are treated and valued both inside and outside the walls of the church. It’s really only for those who want to treat others as God would have them treated. It’s really only for those with the guts to have their traditions challenged, their minds changed and their hearts set aflame for action. “It’s time!”