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Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism,…
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Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl

by Susan Campbell

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There are a lot of good insights in this book, and I gave it only three stars for what may be an unfair reason: I don't think the author has fully come to terms with her religious upbringing and views. But maybe she never will -- I feel sorry for her there. Raised in a [C:]hurch of Christ congregation (she says that members are encouraged to use a small "c"), Campbell was both a firm adherent and a rebel because she could never quite see why girls/women couldn't preach or hold other church offices. Yet many years later, having left the church, earned a MARS (Master of Arts in Religious Studies) from Hartford Seminary, and worked as religion reporter for the Hartford Courant, she is filled with trepidation when asked to preach/speak at a local UCC church. And yet she also can't shake the conviction that the liberal churches that would welcome her aren't "real" churches. Visiting her brother, whose wife has led him into what sounds like a Southern Methodist would-be megachurch, she shares discomfort with him and he says "I guess fundamentalism broke off in us." She explains this as a metaphor of a key breaking off in a lock -- but to me her experience seems almost more like a knife breaking off and being left inside someone, poisoning them. I'd say the book is well worth reading although it left me unsatisfied. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Very fascinating - half memoir, half feminist look at the bible, Jesus and Christianity. ( )
  lemontwist | Nov 2, 2011 |
I enjoyed this book because I identified with the author's crisis of faith and her struggles with a conservative church. I don't understand why she skipped the actual crisis of faith. ( )
  bookweaver | Sep 19, 2011 |
I'm having trouble marshaling my thoughts in regards to Susan Campbell's account of growing up within a rigid brand of Christianity and how that shaped her adult life. When I was sixteen, my family moved and the new church we attended was unlike what I had been used to. For a while I fell in with this new brand of American Christianity until the cognitive dissonance did me in and I had to walk away. From there it's hard to turn around and find a place for faith in my own life. Campbell's experiences were similar -- her church differed in some ways from mine, and I'm sure we would have been equally certain that the other was probably not really saved, but on the larger themes, it could have been the same place.

When my Catholic friends who are lackadaisical or worse about their Bibles call their chuch the "one, true church," I sit silently. If they knew their Bible, they'd know that that title belongs to my church, not theirs. I know they are in for a big surprise come Judgment Day.

This is a humorous account of the odd things Campbell believed growing up and her dawning conviction that even though she was a girl, that she wasn't designed to be secondary; a submissive helper to the men allowed to hold the power and make the decisions. But the book is also a history of the evangelical church in America and how changed drastically over the years, and the story of how Campbell was able to come to a qualified truce with her upbringing.

I was impressed with how Campbell managed to present her story in a humorous way, without downplaying its effect on her or allowing the narrative to become bitter. I loved this book, but wonder if it would be comprehensible to someone who hadn't experienced something similar. On the other hand, with radio talk show hosts and politicians embracing the brittle, angry rhetoric of fundamentalist Christianity, it's more important than ever to understand where their ideas come from and to engage in a reasonable dialog on the subject. ( )
6 vote RidgewayGirl | Aug 28, 2011 |
The author's somewhat humorous and very thoughtful examination of her journey from Christian fundamentalism to a more wholesome acceptance of her faith via Christian feminism. She is exceptionally honest without running roughshod over those who helped form her into the person she is today. A great treasure, especially for those who perhaps question the veracity of what they have received in similar settings. ( )
  soozif | Aug 14, 2009 |
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To little girls and boys who ask tough questions. You know who you are.
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The devil is in an air bubble floating beneath my baptismal robe.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807010669, Hardcover)

By the age of twelve, Susan Campbell had been flirting with Jesus for some time, and in her mind, Jesus had been flirting back. Why wouldn't he? She went to his house three times a week, sat in his living room, listened to his stories, loudly and lustily sang songs to him. So, one Sunday morning, she walked to the front of her fundamentalist Christian church to profess her love for Jesus and be baptized. But from the moment her robe floated to the surface of the baptistry water, she began to question her fundamentalist faith. If baptism requires complete immersion underwater, what does it mean, if a piece of fabric attached to a would-be Christian floats to the top? Does the baptism still count?

In Dating Jesus,, Campbell takes us into the world of fundamentalism-a world where details really, really matter-while wrestling with questions that would thwart any young woman intent on adhering to a literalist religion. If dancing isn't permitted, what do you do when you're voted part of the homecoming court? If instrumental music is prohibited inside the church, can a piano be played during your wedding? For a while, Campbell diligently plays by the gender-restrictive rules. She knocks on doors for Jesus rather than preach from the pulpit; diligently guards her chastity, refusing even to date; and memorizes long fragments from the Bible. But her questions continue to surface, and when dogmatic answers from her Bible teachers, family, and congregational fellows confirm that women will never be allowed a seat at the throne, her faith begins to erode.

After Campbell flees her church, she remains thirsty for an unwavering and compassionate faith she knows is out there, somewhere. To find it, she returns to the historical roots of religious movements, studies the works of early feminist thinkers and contemporary theologians, and rereads the Bible with the same fervor of her youth. Dating Jesus is a lovingly told tale of how one born-and-bred fundamentalist matured into a feminist while holding onto her sanity and sense of humor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"By the age of twelve, Susan Campbell had been flirting with Jesus for some time, and in her mind, Jesus had been flirting back. Why wouldn't he? She went to his house three times a week, sat in his living room, listened to his stories, loudly and lustily sang songs to him. So, one Sunday morning, she walked to the front of her fundamentalist Christian church to profess her love for Jesus and be baptized. But from the moment her robe floated to the surface of the baptistry water, she began to question her fundamentalist faith. If baptism requires complete immersion underwater, what does it mean if a piece of fabric attached to a would-be Christian floats to the top? Does the baptism still count?" "In Dating Jesus, Campbell takes us into the world of fundamentalism - a world where details really, really matter - while wrestling with questions that would thwart any young woman intent on adhering to a literalist religion. For a while, Campbell diligently plays by the gender-restrictive rules. But her questions continue to surface, and when dogmatic answers from her Bible teachers, family, and congregational fellows confirm that women will never be allowed a seat at the throne, her faith begins to erode." "Dating Jesus is a tale of how one born-and-bred fundamentalist matured into a feminist while holding onto her sanity and sense of humor."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Beacon Press

2 editions of this book were published by Beacon Press.

Editions: 0807010669, 0807010723

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