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God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society [Hardcover]

By Susan M. Shaw (Author)
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Item description for God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society by Susan M. Shaw...

Raised as a Southern Baptist in Rome, Georgia, Susan M. Shaw earned graduate degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, was ordained a Southern Baptist minister, and prepared herself to lead a life of leadership and service among Southern Baptists. However, dramatic changes in both the makeup and the message of the Southern Baptist Convention during the 1980s and 1990s (a period known among Southern Baptists as "the Controversy") caused Shaw and many other Southern Baptists, especially women, to reconsider their allegiances.

In "God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society," Shaw presents her own experiences, as well as those of over 150 other current and former Southern Baptist women, in order to examine the role, identity, and culture of women in the largest Protestant denomination in the country. The Southern Baptist Convention was established in the United States in 1845 after a schism between Northern and Southern brethren over the question of slavery. Shaw sketches the history of the Southern Baptist faith from its formation, through its dramatic expansion following World War II, to the Controversy and its aftermath.

The Controversy began as a successful attempt by fundamentalists within the denomination to pack the leadership and membership of the Southern Baptist Convention (the denomination's guiding body) with conservative and fundamentalist believers. Although no official strictures prohibit a Southern Baptist woman from occupying the primary leadership role within her congregation -- or her own family -- rhetoric emanating from the Southern Baptist Convention during the Controversy strongly discouraged such roles for its women, and church leadership remains overwhelmingly male as a result. Despite the vast difference between the denomination's radical beginnings and its current position among the most conservative American denominations, freedom of conscience is still prized.

Shaw identifies "soul competency," or the notion of a free soul that is responsible for its own decisions, as the principle by which many Southern Baptist women reconcile their personal attitudes with conservative doctrine. These women are often perceived from without as submissive secondary citizens, but they are actually powerful actors within their families and churches. "God Speaks to Us, Too" reveals that Southern Baptist women understand themselves as agents of their own lives, even though they locate their faith within the framework of a highly patriarchal institution. Shaw presents these women through their own words, and concludes that they believe strongly in their ability to discern the voice of God for themselves.

Citations And Professional Reviews
God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society by Susan M. Shaw has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Choice - 04/01/2009

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Item Specifications...

Studio: The University Press of Kentucky
Pages   322
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.51" Height: 1.09"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 18, 2008
Publisher   University Press of Kentucky
ISBN  081312476X  
ISBN13  9780813124766  

Availability  71 units.
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More About Susan M. Shaw

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Susan M. Shaw is associate professor of women's studies at Oregon State University. She is the author or coauthor of several books, including Girls Rock! Fifty Years of Women Making Music.

Susan M. Shaw was born in 1960.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Baptist

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Reviews - What do customers think about God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society?

God Speaks to Us, Too  May 27, 2008
Susan Shaw has done a great job of presenting the attitudes of women who are/were part of
the Southern Baptist Convention. Her extensive use of direct quotes, her selection
of photographs, and her summary statements create for this particular group of
women a picture of what we have experienced. It is positive, and not a whining, "poor me"
kind of presentation. I'm grateful that it is available.
"We've a Story to Tell"  Apr 18, 2008
This captivating book offers an insider's look at Southern Baptist women within southern culture. The theme of "soul competency" is thoughtfully explored through the eyes and experiences of many different women with a unifying result. "God Speaks to Us, Too" is both funny and provocative. The notion of being "raised right" is a humorous vein that runs throughout the book. From the "we speak in code" acronyms of WMU, RAs, GAs, BYPU, and others, to the carefully directed activities of coronation ceremonies and sword drills, this book is very funny indeed. And all is presented amidst the backdrop of the denomination's greatest crisis to date--the fundamentalist takeover of the convention in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This power struggle within the hierarchy, and the effect it had on the denomination and institutions of higher learning associated with it, directly influenced the lives of many different women. This is the continuing story of these women, their struggles, and their triumphs. This book will appeal to all women acquainted with the Southern Baptist tradition, and will enlighten those not familiar with this way of life. Well done, Susan Shaw!
A Collective Story Well Told  Apr 5, 2008
This is a "must read" for every person ever associated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Or for anyone supporting those who grieve the losses that gender discrimination has created for women who have lived the story.

Shaw speaks with authority, laced with immense sensitivity!

While no longer a Southern Baptist, despite two decades working for it's various mission boards, I was honored to be allowed to tell some of my story. As one of the older participants, the book raises many memories and emotions for me. Yet I feel connected to so many of the other women who have struggled painfully with the identity crisis and personal losses created by fearful men who have manipulated the system and scripture in order to preserve power and privilege.

I beg to differ with one of the original descriptions of this book: After hearing far too many stories of collusion with clergy sexual abuse and other forms of oppression in the SBC, I no longer respect the leaders; and long ago, I ceased to be influenced by them.

However, thanks to Susan Shaw, parts of our individual stories, as well as the very important collective story, will live on. It needs to be told so that the next generation--both male AND female--will realize that they have many options, as well as obligations for accountability, whether they choose to stay or to leave this "established church of the South."

Dee Ann Miller


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