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

April 9, 2011

Carolyn Custis James wrote Half the Church in an easy to read, story-like fashion. The book is fairly engaging and frequently challenging. I did at times feel the plight of today’s global woman and felt compelled to do something if only I really knew what.

James discussed girls (and boys) from around the world who are involved in sex trafficking or  abused regularly in terribly brutal ways and the societies who not only stand by but actively participate. Her central message is that we as women (and men) as half the church have an obligation to do something because of our relationship with Christ, because we are His image bearers.

Half the Church is book full of anecdotes detailing the terrible place the world is for so many girls and women. She uses current and biblical examples. She talks about a woman’s value in modern society. She talks about the mundane things we involve ourselves in when there are so many more important and challenging situations in which we could make a very real difference. She discusses the works of Amy Carmichael, a woman James obviously admires, as well as Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Kristoff and WuDunn wrote Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Glancing at this book, it is clear that Half the Church picks up their theme.

While the book is full of anguishing tales of girls who could find no help or escape, there are also some stories of people who helped and made a difference. Since this is a book full of anecdotes, that makes it much shorter on solutions and I would have liked to have seen more. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter were particularly good and kept taking the message of help back to us being image bearers for Christ. This book probably would have been more meaningful if I’d read it in a discussion group setting where we could have brainstormed interventions and solutions.

Thanks to Mason Slater and Jesse Hillman from Zondervan for this review copy.

Book Giveaway

Zondervan was kind enough to send me two copies of this book. If you’d like one, then let me know in a comment below. If I get more than one request, I’ll draw a name from a hat! Deadline is 4/16/11 at midnight ET.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2011 11:09 am


    I observed the same thing. It did a great job telling us that there are problems, not so much on how to deal with them. I assume James wants us to think that through ourselves, but even an appendix listing organizations that deal with these issues would have been enough for me.

  2. April 9, 2011 12:58 pm

    Brian, I was thinking along the lines of an additional chapter called “call to action” or “action plan,” but an annotated list of organizations would have been wonderful.


  1. Elsewhere (04.11.11) | Near Emmaus
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