In 1997, Mary Belenky, Blythe Clinchy, Nancy Goldberger, and Jill Tarule published an important book titled Women's Ways of Knowing, in which they explored how women understand themselves, their minds, and their relationship to knowledge, and considered whether the cognitive process of knowing is different between the genders.

From their research, the authors discerned five relationships to knowledge, the most basic being "Silence." "Silent women" were often stranded in an elementary stage of knowing, having no personal voice with which to reflect on knowledge. Without a voice to represent their own perspectives of the world, these women were virtually dependent on the opinions of others.

Studies like this one demonstrate the power of having a voice. Expressing one's self and feeling heard are uniquely human activities that give us confidence to grow and create. We see this human need even in Scripture, including in the psalmist's statement, "There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard" (19:3).

The power of voice also composes the premise of Jim Henderson's new book, The Resignation of Eve: What if Adam's Rib Is No Longer Willing to be the Church's Backbone? (BarnaBooks). Picking up on Barna Group's recent findings about women exiting the church, Henderson (pastor, author of Jim and Casper Go to Church) brings the statistics to life with flesh-and-blood stories of evangelical women.

The book is divided into three major parts. In the first, Henderson presents the problem. The evangelical tradition's neglect of women, he says, has produced different types of resignation in women: those who are "resigned to," "resigned from," or "re-signed to" the current state of the church. In the second and largest part, ...

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