If you agree that Christian women are victims of the patriarchy and the evils of traditional gender roles, then you might value these anecdotes of a feminist navigating her way through the American Church. Otherwise, I do not find much to commend it.

Liz Cooledge Jenkins recounts her experiences inside a complementarian church, where women cannot lead, and an egalitarian one, where they can. She admits that both churches contained “nice people” who she liked and respected, and acknowledges that it was “small things” that bothered her.

She describes her anger at being perceived as an angry person, and criticises the belief that Christians should seek to be less angry, justified by her interpretation of Ephesians 4:26 as: “y’all, be angry!” (The NIV translates it, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”). She dismisses the notion of heresy due to it being defined by “homogenous councils” of “powerful, wealthy people”.

She concedes her perspective “may sound like a far cry from the Christianity most of us know”, before adding: “But if that’s the case, it may be because the Christianity we know is a far cry from the Jesus of the scriptures.” But the suggestion that the author’s progressive mindset is comparable to Christ’s perspective is highly contentious. When I reflect on Christ’s attitude towards the Romans, for example, who were upholding an undeniably oppressive, patriarchal and cruel regime, I don’t see much in common with Jenkins’ brand of modern feminism, which seems harsh and unyielding in its attacks on a much more benevolent system.

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