From The New York Times Bestselling Author Of Everything Happens For A Reason And Other Lies I Ve Loved, A Fascinating Look At The World Of Christian Women CelebritiesSince The S, An Important New Figure Has Appeared On The Center Stage Of American Evangelicalism The Celebrity Preacher S Wife Although Most Evangelical Traditions Bar Women From Ordained Ministry, Many Women Have Carved Out Unofficial Positions Of Power In Their Husbands Spiritual Empires Or Their Own Ministries The Biggest Stars Such As Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, And Victoria Osteen Write Bestselling Books, Grab High Ratings On Christian Television, And Even Preach In This Engaging Book, Kate Bowler, An Acclaimed Historian Of Religion And The Author Of The Bestselling Memoir Everything Happens For A Reason And Other Lies I Ve Loved, Offers A Sympathetic And Revealing Portrait Of Megachurch Women Celebrities, Showing How They Must Balance The Demands Of Celebrity Culture And Conservative, Male Dominated FaithsWhether Standing Alone Or Next To Their Husbands, The Leading Women Of Megaministry Play Many Parts The Preacher, The Homemaker, The Talent, The Counselor, And The Beauty Boxed In By The High Expectations Of Modern Christian Womanhood, They Follow And Occasionally Subvert The Visible And Invisible Rules That Govern The Lives Of Evangelical Women, Earning Handsome Rewards Or Incurring Harsh Penalties They Must Be Pretty, But Not Immodest Exemplary, But Not Fake Vulnerable To Sin, But Not Deviant And Black Celebrity Preachers Wives Carry A Special Burden Of Respectability But Despite Their Influence And Wealth, These Women Are Denied The Most Important Symbol Of Spiritual Power The PulpitThe Story Of Women Who Most Often Started Off As Somebody S Wife And Ended Up As Everyone S Almost Pastor, The Preacher S Wife Is A Compelling Account Of Women S Search For Spiritual Authority In The Age Of Celebrity A thought provoking look at celebrity evangelical women Elizabeth and I are going to interview Kate Bowler for the Happier podcast, and while her other book see below is directly related to happiness, I found this book fascinating. Well written, brilliantly researched, and than a little uncomfortable to read Bowler has named much of the confusing terrain surrounding christian women leaders and cast light on its shadowy parts It was probably beyond the scope of an academic work, but what I found missing from the book was acknowledgement of the inner world and motivation of some of the women described I don t believe Beth Moore, for example, set out to build an empire or become a celebrity as the marketplace model might suggest of an entrepreneur The size of her ministry speaks to the size of the need than the size of her ambition, and I would have liked to see acknowledgment of possibility that the ministry has grown perhaps even with personal reluctance, or sacrifice, and as steps of obedience or faithfulness or that it s grown because of the favor of God In the absence of a allowing space for generosity of motive, it rather made her and others look like opportunists Having said that, though it s a VERY WORTHWHILE and important read, and necessary and helpful milestone in mapping the landscape of women and evangelicalism right now Very grateful for Bowler s thorough and thoughtful engagement on this topic. So much of this book is what I have lived and experienced growing up in American evangelical and Pentecostal culture in the 1990 s It was uncomfortable for me to remember in many parts, and yet there glimpses of hope and equality laced throughout. How much did I love this book I highlighted the very first sentence of the pre introduction I highlighted and marked up my kindle every single chapter I even highlighted parts of the acknowledgements.I grew up a southern baptist preacher s daughter and long lived in the evangelical world that has strict rules and small departments women are allowed to lead in It is a song and a dance and a mental gymnastics I am all too familiar with that I have even mastered on some levels Once, my mom was asking me why a bunch of my millennial girl friends wanted to be Christian speakers What are they gonna speak about What have they done They just wanna go to a random conference and talk about Jesus As a trained journalist, this did not make sense to her Maybe they just want to be preachers I guessed But they re not allowed That conversation was years ago, and we have often re visited it with inquisitive and heated debates, mostly surrounded with the fatal question why is it like this This book holds the answers.In five chapters, Kate Bowler highlights the roles that Christian women get to play in the mostly evangelical church sphere the preacher wife , the homemaker, the talent, the counselor, and the beauty She puts figures and numbers my favorite to showcase how women are awarded less than their male ministerial counterparts in authority, education, pay, and privilege She lays out the complicated, ever changing formula for women to get and keep influence in the Christian sphere.I could tell stories about things in my church raised past that made me wonder, or question, or roll my eyes And while reading this, they all came back as an Aha moment a piece of the puzzle I long needed to put together some understanding to the things I was taught.I hope young women like me read this book I hope male pastors read this book I hope moms and dads and small group leaders and anyone who has influence over young girls in churches reads this book It is important and true and necessary. I will try not to go overboard but I loved this book Unlike EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON, this is an academic book and not a spiritual memoir like the last book which was also great Still, because of what she learned from writing for a broad audience last time, this is a much accessible, interesting, and compelling book than it would have been Anyone interested is the issue of women in ministry should read this book, since it provides depth and substance to how to understand this strange Christian phenomenon as well as overturning our assumptions of who is in which camp For instance, Bowler shows that today s factions of conservative Christians who want to keep women out of ordained ministry versus liberal Christians who support women leaders in the church turns out to be culturally conditioned than we imagined Why Because in the late nineteenth century, the roles were fully reversed It was the conservative churches who prepared tens of thousands of women as doctors, teachers, administrators, and preachers and sent them all over the globe as missionaries and it was the liberal denominations who barred women from these roles After this splendid history, Bowler takes us on a tour of celebrity women in evangelical circles, many pastors of megachurch pastors and some even heads of their own ministries usually limited only toward fellow women , showing the complicated tightrope these women have to walk such as, being thin and attractive, but not too pretty always showing submission, support, and priority to their husbands being strong, organized, and good managers while being willing to be behind the scenes for the sake of their husbands What is remarkable is how Bowler covers all this with respect, even admiration for these women, and without any obvious chip of her shoulder even though it is clear she would support women being fully equal to me in leadership This would make for a wonderful choice for a Christian book group. An academic history that has qualities of a page turner, Bowler lays out that the celebrity women of megaministry rarely have authority, but they do have influence And in the game of influence getting it, keeping it, growing it everyone has to pick a role These roles are the organizational frame for describing and exploring the role of Christian women leaders in the late 20th century The priest, the homemaker, the talent, the counselor, and the beauty are the archetypes for women with their derivatives and variations carefully noted It is a painful experience in many ways to read this account because of what it lays bare about the negotiations of power in American Christianity And yet, Bowler s synthesis which offers an answer both too tidy and extensive for my skepticism ordinarily is so compelling, complete, and well resourced that I trust the narrative she uncovers. This was a fascinating insightful read I highly recommend to anyone raised evangelical southern baptist or on Christian radio CCM or Christian broadcasting It s definitely a heavier read but still completely accessible I loved learning the history behind evangelical women and just how precarious power is for these women Dr Bowler has a great deal of both sympathy and humor as she weaves this history together For those who are curious some women she discusses are Victoria Osteen, Beth Moore, Tammy Faye Bakker, Jen Hatmaker, Ruth Graham and . Informative, powerful, thought provoking. This book was a slow read Lot of statistics and information Subject fine, but not a fun read. I would have rated this higher if Kate Bowler had been the narrator as she was in Everything Happens for a Reason She has such enthusiasm, which comes across in her voice.