Christian Insights by an "Accidental Feminist" (A Book Review)
I highly recommend The Accidental Feminist by Christian author Courtney Reissig. It's a fantastic book for any person looking to understand the deeper destructive implications of feminist ideology upon the psyche and how it denigrates society as a whole.
BY TERESA YANAROS, JUNE 14, 2021
Courtney Reissig, an author of three Christian books, studied theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reissig, a wife, a mother to four boys, and an inspirer of Christian women across the country, resides with her family in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her passion for writing is evident as she blogs avidly and contributes writing pieces to multiple online periodicals, including Her.Meneutics, The Gospel Coalition, and Boundless. In order of popularity on Amazon, Reissig’s published books include: Teach Me to Feel: Worshipping Through the Psalms in Every Season of Life, Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God, and The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design.
Courtney Reissig’s book, The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design, leads the reader through Reissig’s own journey through the American feminist narrative, taking pause at every step of the way and assessing issues with feminist theory. She seeks to scrutinize feminism from a biblical perspective and even provides the reader with direct advice depending on which stage of life they are experiencing, and she poses questions at the end of each chapter for further reflection.
The key concepts that Reissig covers in her exploration of feminism include differences between men and women, desires of women and cultural pressures, submission and authority, modesty and purity, homemaking, church participation, and how to be restored to God’s original plan for women. After telling her story about how feminism failed to help her anchor her identity to anything worthwhile, we are brought into a story where Reissig is the truth-seeker, the main character, the central figure seeking answers. The book then pivots into providing practical tools and tips to the reader for how to actually lead a life of reconciliation to Christ. She continually brings in the idea of leading women’s purpose into the obedience of Christ.
The main point that Reissig makes about how to properly anchor one’s identity in Christ is to always come back to the word of God.
“If we anchor ourselves to the Word of God, we will be able to withstand the shifting sands of ever generational rebellion."
- Courtney Reissig, The Accidental Feminist, page 15
She clearly presents the case that generationally and over time, the cultural definitions and standards of womanhood are ever-changing. In order to beat the lies that women must shift their own perspectives based on the cultural norms, and must instead hold fast to the promises and teachings of God through the Bible. Because the definition of woman itself changes in the eyes of society, it behooves women to seek elsewhere for answers. The ultimate place to find this answer is in Christ.
Reissig explores the cultural attitudes toward the definition of women, traversing through the idea that women’s identity could be found in sexuality, gender, promiscuity, career, and basically anything she spends her time doing. The crux of Reissig’s argument is that it does not matter what women do so much as who they believe that they are.
“The fact that you are created in the image of God means you have incredible worth and value—because God has incredible worth and value."
- Courtney Reissig, The Accidental Feminist, page 31
There is a dignity in standing upright in the knowledge that women are cherished by God who has a distinct plan and purpose for each one of his children. This is a life-giving truth that allows women to turn around and be the life-giving image bearers that God intends them to be. Reissig’s final takeaway is that by always hoping in God first, women can recalibrate from societal pressure and lock their focus on that which is true, identity in Christ.
Reissig’s ideas are practical, approachable, and easy to understand. The way she folds her own experiences into the narrative is classy, not distracting, and actually makes her conclusions more accessible to the reader. Although personal anecdotes in a practical book can at times be tedious, Reissig does not impose this affliction upon her readership. Instead, she flawlessly selects personal stories that enhance each point she makes, a skill that any reader can appreciate.
The core of Reissig’s definition of a woman comes from Genesis 2, where Eve was described as a “helper” and a “life-giver."
“Eve was designed to nurture, care for, and cultivate life in God’s creation."
- Courtney Reissig, The Accidental Feminist, page 33
This task has been given to us to steward, appreciate, and align with the truth that God has intentions for women that are in alignment with their intended design. One of the most impacting concepts she enumerated was the idea that regardless of the status of motherhood, women are called to be life-givers as the “core of what it means to be a woman created in God’s image” (37). She gives examples of what this looks like, including “providing hope of Christ,” getting involved in Christian ministry, glorying God in the workplace, and pointing to God in all activities (38). This empowers all women to realize that the concept of giving life stems from hope in God and the outpouring of that communion in day-to-day life.
The next crucial narrative that Reissig approaches is the concept of submission. She emphatically expresses that submission by women is called upon for the husband/wife relationship, and not that all women should submit to all men in every capacity. She also explains that women are not called to submit to abusive situations.
“Biblical submission is not submitting to abuse or sin."
- Courtney Reissig, The Accidental Feminist, page 77
The final point she makes in this arena is that women are not called to relinquish their personalities in the process of learning to yield to the authority of their husbands. A “gentle and quiet spirit” is more about a woman’s calm and peaceful confidence in Christ, evidenced by her walk with God, and less about being a quiet person. Noisy and arrogant opinions are different than conviction, which she explains is “rooted in knowing God and his Word. Women should have conviction” (80). The way she leans into the empowerment of the women by her ability to humbly submit herself to God is key.
Reissig’s three-fold approach on the topic of submission is refreshing, theologically sound, and destroys common misconceptions about what submission actually means from a biblical standpoint. Reissig effectively builds authority in each space she tackles as she used to hold many of the false preconceived notions that she turns around and dismantles with the reasonable and practical Word of God. She explains that no matter what stage in life, women can learn to submit because “submission in marriage is ultimately about our submission to God” (81). Submission to God is a practice that must consistently be practiced every day.
Reissig does an outstanding job of weaving in the historical concept of feminism and explaining how it degrades the concept of womanhood over time. Any woman who struggles to grasp biblical womanhood because they have been programmed by the media and destructive messages received throughout feministic sources should read this book as a gateway out of these deleterious narratives.
“Third-wave feminism was perfectly poised to emerge in a post-modern society, where truth, gender, and sexuality no longer find their meaning in absolutes. You may not even realize it, but the complete redefinition of sexuality, gender, and morality is in part a product of third-wave feminism."
- Courtney Reissig, The Accidental Feminist, page 93
Through the rejection of the idea that women must reject all forms of authority, they can be led home to the truth: that hope in God, faith in Christ, and begging for the grace to walk with him in faith opens the door to supernatural strength, wisdom, and clarity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Teresa Yanaros, a degreed journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth, has dedicated her life to investigating images and messages received through media outlets. From a young age, she has researched and presented news media through print and began expanding her reach through multi-media.
After writing a book investigating the phenomenon of modern American online spiritualism, she traveled across America, giving speeches and practical workshops on how to analyze and synthesize information. From archetypal studies to advanced truth-seeking, Teresa has presented research in areas of American pop culture, occultism, conspiracism, supernatural and paranormal studies, theology, and anthropology of online sub-cultures. Due to Teresa's experience with seeing just how deep the rabbit holes of online culture go, she is devoted to understanding the media effects of online subcultures upon their communities.
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Teresa is the founder of Truly Free Society.
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