Endorsed by Jim Daly, Beverly LaHaye, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, and other well-known conservative leaders, I was compelled to read Penny Young Nance’s Feisty and Feminine in order to understand more deeply many of the current political issues affecting conservative, Christian women. I identify that way, but my main mode is to avoid politics. Why? Because the political environment in the U.S. today is rife with strife, and based on the hostile looks and Facebook responses I get for voicing opinions, I’d rather keep my friends and share compassion rather than divisive statements.
No one is more surprised than me that I picked up this book. My natural inclination is to be rendered uncomfortable by politics (I typically read fiction and stay away from these challenging reads, knowing the contentious spirit they often espouse), but in a time of uncertainty like this I was curious to know the perspective of another female leader who identifies as a Christian conservative like I do.
Nance fearlessly shares her thoughts and encourages women everywhere (not just conservatives) to think for themselves and be brave. She begins the book by addressing issues which affect women (and men) everywhere: sexual assault, marriage, the objectification of women, and abortion. Gradually Nance transitions into the more politically-fraught issues of radical Islamic terrorists and the U.S.’s relationship with Israel, and then returns to the more universal issue of a work-family balance for modern women. Throughout the book, she shares relevant Bible verses, news stories, and research studies.
Nance speaks with a clear, firm voice, and she supplements her points with personal anecdotes and a hearty supply of quotes. I did check on a few of the sources as I read, which were well-organized in the Notes section at the end of the book, and I was not surprised to find multiple sources relying on Fox News and National Review, but plenty of others as well such as the American Psychological Association, Pew Research Center, New York Magazine, Gallup, and NPR. She opens the book with a story revealing a moment of deep vulnerability, and she gives a beautiful background on the unlikely journey of how she came to be where she is.
I couldn’t help but like Nance. I admire her and her courageous spirit, and most of all I admire her commitment to her love of the Lord and other people. She genuinely works hard to ensure women are valued and esteemed, or as she puts it, “to end suffering and establish liberty for women everywhere” (117). She loves her family and loves our beautiful country. I especially loved when she reminded readers that we are called to speak up for women living in oppression; she cited the Bible, saying ” ‘Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed’ ” (Psalm 82:3).
The beginning and end of the book resonated most with me, as Nance incites us (who she calls “Esther Women,” as a reference to the brave Biblical woman Esther who risked her life to save her people, the Jews) to courageous action with statements such as “raising awareness is good, but it must lead to concrete action,” quoting Jesus to pray boldly to God, and encouraging us to even pray for our enemies as the Bible says (138). In a time where people condemn Christians for prayer without action (by the way, prayer IS a powerful action, one of the most powerful!), Nance encourages people to take up offerings to “raise money for refugees and victims of violence in the Middle East” (139). She encourages readers to reject anti-semitism and anti-Islam prejudice and instead be loving and wise. She encourages civil, informed, and purposeful political discourse, rather than the ranting, interruptive arguments we hear on TV. She asks all women to “vote your values” (100).
Whether or not you agree with all of Nance’s points, she gives a terrific treatise and powerful call to action for Christian women in the U.S. today. She encourages all women to become vocal and active to express themselves in politics. I finished the last page still feeling shaky about being honest about my views in a time when conservatism is so denigrated but newly encouraged and informed. Maybe reading about the pain and suffering in the world through the lens of politics will always be a challenge for me, and maybe it’s meant to be, since it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. However, I acknowledge that it is not only a duty but a privilege to express our political opinions, even if they differ, and to show others that faith and politics deeply intertwine. As Nance states, we’ve been given many blessings, especially in our nation, and we should use them to help others.
I believe the Lord will give us the strength and honesty we need to not only voice our opinions but act with love if we trust in Him and try to prepare with prayer, knowledge, and wisdom as Nance has done.
Who is this book best for?
- If you are curious about a Christian conservative woman’s perspective on many key issues today, pick up this book.
- If you are like me, hesitant to share your views and uncertain of exactly where you stand, pick up this book.
- If you are looking for a read that will allow you to engage in politics without feeling overwhelmed and helpless, pick up this book.
I received this book for free from BookLookBloggers.com. I didn’t have to give a positive review; I gave you my honest review.