Book Reviews, Books, Diversity, Ministry, Women in Ministry

Book Review: Hermanas- Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence

Title: Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence

Authors: Natalia Kohn, Noemi Vega Quiñones, Kristy Garza Robinson

Length: 208 pages

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

I really and truly loved Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing our Influence. The word “hermana,” is Spanish for “sister,” and I wish that it were possible to reach through the screen and give all three of these ladies a HUGE HUG.

As you may know, my name is Rebecca and I am a woman in ministry. I love my church very, very much- but during my three years of seminary, I was the only young woman who looked like me in all of my classes. I have been very blessed in the fact that I my church has been very supportive of me and my ministry; however, I will admit that it can be lonely sometimes.

Unlike the authors, I am not Latina; nevertheless, I can relate to many of the same struggles and insecurities addressed in this book regarding being a woman in ministry who looks different than her colleagues. I particularly appreciated the Natalia’s perspective. In the forward, she states that “Growing up, I was the girl who would get the question, ‘What are you?’” Like me, her appearance is racially ambiguous (I’m half-Filipino and half white).

The authors are not afraid to wrestle with painful and complex issues such as domestic abuse, human trafficking, racism, xenophobia, and sexism. All the chapters of this book were excellent and well researched. I was delighted to hear my favorite Bible stories of Esther and Deborah interpreted from a Latina perspective.

My favorite chapter in the book was the interpretation of the story of Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus healed from bleeding (Mark 7:25-30 & Matthew 15:21-28). In this text, Jesus seems to call a gentile woman a dog (Mark 7:27).

Every time this text shows up in the reactionary, I can’t help but cringe. Preaching from this passage has always been a struggle for me. I will continue to struggle with this complex story, but the interpretation that the authors offer in Hermanas has definitely enriched my understanding of this pericope.

As a pastor, I am fascinated by the interpretation of theology from the margins. Hermanas makes me think of two of my other favorite books, The Women’s Bible Commentary and The Global Bible Commentary. 

In Hermanas, the authors invite all of us to come and sit at the table in order to share in a feast of God’s love. The authors make it clear that this is a book for everyone and that we are all invited to come and share with them as we learn together. I would recommend this book to all of my sisters in ministry because there is something that we can all learn within these pages; however, I especially recommend this book for any woman in ministry who happens to be Latinx.

*Please note: I received a free digital copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

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Now it’s your turn! Do you have any favorite books about theology from the margins? Let me know in the comments! 

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