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Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men [Paperback]

By Joan Chittister (Author) & Nancy Earle (Illustrator)
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Item description for Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men by Joan Chittister & Nancy Earle...

This book presents a very real look at what it means to have a feminist spirituality, a "heart of flesh", in a world that glamorizes violence and legitimates domination. Joan Chittister unmasks the effects of sexism on both men and women and describes a spirituality that makes healthier, happier human beings of us all.

Publishers Description
What does it mean to live out a feminist spirituality in a world that glamorizes violence and legitimizes domination? Best-selling author Joan Chittister takes a very real look at what it means to have a feminist spirituality --a "heart of flesh" --in today's culture. She unmasks the effects of sexism on both men and women and describes a spirituality that makes healthier, happier human beings of us all. According to Chittister, the patriarchal culture that has shaped our world has also brought us to the edge of destruction with its dualisms, hierarchies, and inequality. She outlines the historical realities that produced this situation and describes how patriarchal culture and spirituality maintain their hold on us. She then argues that there is another way which is better and introduces us to a feminist worldview that, in recognizing the full humanity of women, leads all of us to new, better ways of being and relating. Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men offers a dynamic vision of spirituality from one of our finest writers of spiritual literature.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men by Joan Chittister & Nancy Earle has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Library Journal - 03/01/1998 page 93

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.03" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 28, 1998
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Edition  New  
ISBN  0802842828  
ISBN13  9780802842824  

Availability  0 units.

More About Joan Chittister & Nancy Earle

Joan Chittister Sister Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B. (born 1936) is a Benedictine nun, author and speaker.

A member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania, where she served as prioress for 12 years, Sister Joan is an author and lecturer.

She is the author of Psalm Journal, Winds of Change, and WomanStrength: Modern Church, Modern Women.

She also writes a web column for the National Catholic Reporter, "From Where I Stand". Chittister holds a master's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in speech communication theory from Penn State University. She writes and speaks on women in the church and society, human rights, and peace and justice in the areas of war and poverty and religious life and spirituality. She is co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a UN-sponsored organization creating a worldwide network of women peacemakers. She is the founder of "Benetvision". Her public presentations are announced on the Benetvision website.

Joan Chittister currently resides in Erie, in the state of Pennsylvania.

Joan Chittister has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Crossroad Book
  2. Modern Spiritual Masters
  3. Monastic Wisdom

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Womens Studies > Feminist Theory
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Womens Issues
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Women

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Women

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Reviews - What do customers think about Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men?

Feminism at the heart of the Gospel  Dec 13, 2007
In Heart of Flesh, Joan Chittister grapples with feminism as a matter of ultimate importance. She writes in a flowing, authoritative style with minimal critical apparatus and the accompanying witness of bold artwork by Nancy Earle. Her observations are grounded in extensive engagement with theology and social science research and a lifetime of committed yet critical involvement in the Catholic Church. A Benedictine leader known for her social activism, Sister Joan gives a ringing call to feminists to embrace spirituality and Christian women and men to embrace feminism, for the sake of our relationships with each other, the well-being of the planet, and faithfulness to God.

Chittister employs the 6th-century Rule of Benedict to elaborate dimensions of feminist spirituality. Benedict formulated his counter-cultural rule for "Roman men, who had been formed in a totally patriarchal society, a society that institutionalized power, hierarchy, and dominance" (97). The Benedictine approach with its emphasis on humility and non-hierarchical decision-making challenges the patriarchal church as well as the will to power that fuels secular society. The call to humility carries an inherent danger for women, however, since women have heard through the ages a destructive call to subservience; hence, Chittister must carefully differentiate between the perversions of patriarchy and a liberating humility that leads to both inner and public peace.

Throughout the book, Chittister references the damage done to both women and men by patriarchy. She does a fine job of showing connections to structural injustices and advocating for nonviolence and empowerment of the oppressed. Feminism is presented as a worldview that "makes humans of us all" (4). God speaks in Scripture about removing our hearts of stone and giving us hearts of flesh so that our humanity will be restored (175). Without attempting a full Christology, Chittister refers to Jesus as the model feminist. At points, she describes feminism in terms that most would reserve for Christ: "Feminism comes to bring both men and women to the fullness of life, the wholeness of soul, for which we were all made in the image and likeness of God" (37).

Heart of Flesh offers a helpful corrective to feminist arguments that ignore male health, on the one hand, and domesticate God, on the other hand. Joan Chittister holds reverence for God and God's revelation together with an ecofeminist vision of creation in which power, responsibility, and vulnerability are shared. Each aspect of her analysis is illustrated by a story from her own journey of learning to name patriarchal distortions and voice feminist correctives. In its breadth and mature wisdom, this volume offers a compelling challenge to see feminism at the heart of the Gospel message.
A must-read enhancement for any spiritual journey  Jul 13, 2007
With this fine, thought-provoking book, Chittister steps firmly into the gap in the area of spirituality. Her excellent explanation of feminist spirituality with its gifts for the world of today makes clear that hers is not an anti-male position (an accusation leveled against much secular feminist writing), but rather one which invites both men & women into an awareness of the wholeness of the experience of God which has been lacking in the patriarchal expression of faith and life. Joan Chittister moves feminism out of the arena of power struggles into an awareness of the possibilities it offers for human survival and accomplishment in today's world. The text of the book is dramatically enhanced by the wonderfully creative artwork by Nancy Earle which marks the beginning of each chapter.
A beautiful, well-written, hopeful, honest book. A must-read for women and men alike.
Chittister speaks the Truth  Jul 19, 2005
Concise, wise, poignant and honest, Joan Chittister gives us direct perspective on the true compassion we can find in God and nurture in ourselves. She backs up her points with scripture and history and her words cut like a knife through the tough cultural gender roles we're forced into. As others may tell us how feminists are homosexual home-wreckers, Chittister reminds us that the neglect, confinement and restraining of women hurts men just as much, and that neither men nor women can grow in God's Love under such intolerant conditions. Chittister is unwaivering with Jesus' message clearly detailed in The Holy Bible. I applaud her for her strength of character and faith in writing her books in the honest and direct manner that she does.
Naming the poison that runs through the patrirchical system.  Sep 26, 2001
As a native woman and former Christian, I found this book very helpful in naming the "thing" that we as a society has agreed upon but were unconcious about this agreement. We as woman are taught to be less than men, double that for native women for we go with the myth that we are oppressed as natives also.There are so many myths about being native, so many agreements we make to keep "peace" in the home. The terrorist act on the WTC is just a big big wake up call to see what we are allowing - violence - in our home, allowing our children to be abused and allowing ourselves as women to be less than everyone. If you want to understand women and our gift of spirituality, this is the book.
Rarely does one find such an accessible work  Jul 29, 2000
This book is one of the best, well-balanced, thoroughly-discussed commentaries on Christianity, feminism, and liberation theology that I have ever read. Although she makes no secret of her political or spiritual views, Dr. Chittister places them in context, sharing anecdotes and stories as a means for getting her point across. She also manages to detoxify such "buzz words" as "feminism" and clarify why "Westernization" meets with such strong resistance in other cultures

In additioning to covering the "same old ground" (as I've heard it described) of why traditional hurts women, Dr. Chittister also illustrates how it harms men, society, and the earth; and points out how it differs from the way Jesus related to people - inclusive, peaceful, healing and compassionate. This book points to a more respectful and open theology. A brilliant, balanced, and compassionate work.


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