Over the holidays I finished the book Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell. Growing up in a similar, but not as rigid fundamentalist Christian home myself, I felt that this book might be something I can relate to.
Campbell’s writing is funny and filled with historical tidbits about feminism, evangelicalism and faith, as she discusses everything from baseball to the role of women in the church. While not an explicitly feminist tome, she seems to be trying to explain why she is no longer a church goer in every chapter, and most, but not all the time, the reason is “it’s unfair.”
Campbell is right. It is unfair that women were (and still aren’t in some churches) allowed to teach men or boys over 12. It is unfair that women are the ones manning the nursery. It is unfair that women pastors are not accepted by some. It is unfair that the church both says to help the poor but ignores them at best, and cuts programming to them at worst. It is unfair that you have to not only your Ps and Qs at church, but you have to suppress everything that doesn’t conform to the Ps and Qs all the time.
While Campbell was trying to explain her current antipathy/apathy towards the church, I found myself trying to explain to my father (former Calvinist fundamentalist, now social justice Christian) why I found this book so interesting. In part, I find it interesting because it mirrors my own coming of age, both as a teenager and a serious young Christian. The same faults and incongruities that made me seriously reconsider my faith as a teen and later as an adult, were some of the same ones that Campbell states, much more eloquently than I could.
This book is pretty much awesome. While I wish there was a bit more depth to it (it’s a rather slim book), I think for many feminists who grew up with a religious background, it is a refreshing and funny read.