In her The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory, Abigail Favale combines a narrative memoir of her life with a deep examination of women’s studies –– her life study. Favale, formerly an Evangelical Christian, shares her amazing journey from nominal Church life through her years of study on feminism and gender concerns. The memoir of her life during her studies provides a meaningful foundation for understanding the tensions of ideas –– and the societal presssures driving them –– as her life and studies unfold. Favale’s storyline is a bit of a mystery –– leaving the reader wondering “how will she get to where she is now” –– while reading her thoughts and perceptions at each stage of the mystery. The storyline is also mystical, moving beyond the societal and political and into the teleological realm of human purpose.
Favale makes a robust examination of the history of women’s studies and gender studies, as well as the societal impact. She’s concise, but expertly communicates the ideas along with strengths and weaknesses in disparate dialog on these hotly debated matters. Because I think Favale intends her narrative to be somewhat of a non-fiction mystery novel regarding her personal story, I will avoid being a spoiler by delving into the book’s details. I will simply say, this book is a must read for every American.
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I listened to the Audible.com version of Favale’s The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory, which is amazingly well narrated by the author herself. I like to listen to books read by their author –– so I can better understand the inflected meaning the author intends. However, I often find that authors simply are not good at reading –– even their own book. That is definitely not the case with Abigail Favale. However, despite it being so well read in the audiobook form, I suggest the paperback version for anyone who can devote the time to read this book with it in their hands so that they can readily make notes and research Favale’s thoughts.
Speaking of Favale’s thoughts, I rated this book at four scholar caps for technical language. Reading The Genesis of Gender, for all but the most astute in philosophy, psychology, and women’s studies, requires a nearby computer for research (word definitions) and a notepad for a running, personal glossary of definitions and ideas.
The topic is one of intense debate in our society. I am hesitant to comment, but I think it is important that I do. I consider my sins of heterosexual adultery, fornication, and divorce to be sin equal to the many forms of non-heterosexual sexual sin occurring in our culture. To be honest about what Jesus taught, any lust or sexual fantasy is just the same; and frankly so is gossip, gluttony… and myriad others. Do we need a list of our own sin to be properly humble about the sins of others? Our culture is in a crisis of gender and sexual dysphoria and the Church is far from exempt in the conflict. Amazon.com has become a marketplace battleground of books debating focal point issues from the disparate worldviews that have no common ground to achieve agreement. Letters used (i.e. LGBTIQA+) to group non-heterosexual preference continually expand and the concept of gender and sex are more confused and more confusing than ever. Persons born with Y chromosomes are poised to dominate women’s sports. There is an endless proliferation of gender and sex definitions, our culture has long ago replaced the concept of equality with a concept of sameness – forsaking the reality that difference is good. I welcome LGBTIQA+ persons to the Church, but to the foot of Christ’s cross –– a place of repentance for sin ––where I too lay my dysfunctions down. Notwithstanding a pile and decades of prior reading on this topic, I have found Abigail Favale’s, The Genesis of Gender, to be one of (if not “the”) most brilliant lights for these divisive debates around gender and sex dysphoria.
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The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory. by Abigail Favale, Ignatius Press, 2022, $15.99
Buy your copy on Amazon.com
Tim Morris is the Director of Ecclesiolae Ministries Foundation, cofounded with Julie Morris. Ecclesiolae seeks to support Christians in their Spiritual Formation, Strengthening Ministry Marriages, and expanding the growth of MicroChurches within MegaChurches. Tim earned a BS in Business Management and completes an MA in Theology, from Wesley Biblical Seminary in the Spring of 2024.
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