Women in the Bible. Not the everyday characters, but the colorful ones, the tricksters, lovers, prostitutes, judges, apostles, and strange bedfellows in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. These R-rated stories are not the preacher’s favorite topic to talk about on Sunday, let alone your children will hear about them in Sunday school classes. Ignored, spiritualized, forgotten or hidden in allegories. Alice Connor showcases these women in Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation.
A year ago I read Ann Spangler‘s Wicked Women of the Bible on the same topic. What distinguishes Alice Connor’s approach is the choice of characters. How familiar are you with Susanna, Asherah or Phoebe? Connor retells the stories in the way she was inspired by the women. Raw, in your face, and explicit like in Ezekiel’s prophecies, the erotica in Song of Songs, and the behavior of e.g. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Mariah, and Magdalene. Fierce will trigger reactions, it may be utter rejection, playing the safe side card, or a rediscovered place for women in God’s plan for mankind. The author links these biblical stories to present problems and challenges. “It is the vulnerable people of the world who show us our humanity – widows, yes, and shell-shocked refugee children, survivors of a mass shooting in a gay club, the conservative minority in a liberal-majority college, people living on the streets by choice or by chance, children trafficked into sex work out of the foster system, and so many more.”
Provoking and inspiring stuff for both female and male readers. At fierceasswomen.com you can find questions to help you deeper in your exploration of these or foremothers, as well as Pinterest boards, and other resources.
About the author
Alice Connor is an Episcopal priest and a chaplain on a college campus. She co-wrote an article for the Journal for the Study of the New Testament called “Mantic Mary? The Virgin Mother as Prophet in Luke 1:26-56 and the Early Church.” That’s academic-speak for “Hey, maybe Mary the mother of Jesus was more than a mom and actually had a word of challenge to speak to us? Just sayin’.”
Alice is also a certified enneagram teacher and a stellar pie-maker. She lives for challenging conversations and has a high tolerance for awkwardness. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two kids, a dog, and no cats.