"Dr. Jackie Roese was the first woman preacher in the history of Irving Bible Church, preaching her first sermon from the pulpit in 2008 to a packed house of 2250 attendees, and one local Dallas news crew. It was an event that caused ripples throughout conservative evangelicalism, where it is commonly taught that a woman's role in the church (and home) is submissive to a man, and the very idea of a woman teaching a man anything is sinful.
In her new book, Lime Green: Reshaping Our View of Women in the Church, Dr Roese shares her personal journey to discovering a new narrative for women in the church (one that her own church elders came to support); one that values women and fearlessly develops and promotes the giftings of,what she calls, "lime green" women." (Media release)
First of all let's get this out in the open ... this is NOT a book saying women should be preaching from every pulpit. That is not the mission Roese is going for. Instead the focus is on her story alone. After all not all women are created the same.
Jackie describes women in colors. Throughout evangelical history the church expects women to be "light pink". And she writes, "we need light pink ladies who remind us that God is peace and beauty. But we also need every color, every shade of color and colors we haven't even seen --yet-- to remind us of everything else God is".
In her own description she has never been pink and no matter how hard she tried she couldn't become pink. And even if she could ... wouldn't that be denying who God created her to be?
Her story is inspiring and heart-tugging. She's a brave woman.
It's important to point out for those skeptics that her fight has never been for the "right" to preach. Her fight has been to end injustice and inequality for women that transcends the globe. She talks many times about paving a new path for girls like her own daughter, Madison.
"Before walking up to the stage, I turned to my daughter to let her know that just like Jill (Briscoe) had chopped a few vines, so too was I about to chop a few to forge a path for her generation. She knew I meant something beyond a woman preaching from the pulpit. Madison knew I believed God was moving - globally - to address the gender injustice of women. Whether it was covert gender injustice like what goes on in the American church, or overt gender injustice like what we see in sex trafficking or in female genital mutilation, or the myriad other forms of female oppression, God was calling out what happens to his women and girls around the world."So if that entices you, confuses you or ticks you off go check out Dr. Jackie Roese' book Lime Green. It is a fascinating read that is easy and enlightening.
On a personal note, I was intrigued by the book and wanted to read it because my little, rural Evangelical church just went through a time of intense study on the role of women in the church because a woman in our congregation asked if she could be an elder. It was like a tidal wave! Suddenly we were all grasping for something we could hold onto all while trying to hold our breath. We, as a majority, suddenly realized we believed something strongly but very few of us could verbalize why.
After an eight week study we still had no definitive answer to the question if a woman could be an elder but we had an immensely deeper understanding of all the opposing sides. And we had eliminated the previous and prevailing answer of "because that's the ways we've always done it".
One thing that stood out to me the most in our little attempt to decipher God's plan was those who were "afraid" left the group. They stopped coming. They stopped studying. All because of fear.
God warns us about fear.
So we need more women like Jackie to step on that fear, uncloak it and shine some Light of Jesus on it. We might be surprised what we find.
Dr. Jackie Roese is the Founder and President of The Marcella Project, a ministry committed to ennobling women through Scripture-focused teaching, training and dialogue. She has a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and a DMin in Preaching from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Jackie spent eight years serving in a megachurch as Teaching Pastor to Women as well as serving on the Sunday morning preaching team. She has written more than fifteen bible studies, taught at women's conferences in Africa and at home in the U.S., and trained women here and abroad to preach through her She Can Teach course.
Thank you to Jackie Roese and Icon Media Group for the opportunity to review this book. I received a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.