Allison's Book Bag

QUICK TAKE: Sister Freaks by Rebecca St. James

Posted on: December 28, 2011

Welcome to a new feature: Quick Take Reviews! Earlier this week, I said that today (Wednesday) I’d post a surprise review. For a long time, I’ve been wanting to share my brief reaction to books that don’t fit into my normal schedule. I’ve been also wanting to review shorter books, without necessarily making them part of a round-up so that I can post my traditional long review. Today I’m making good on my hope by posting a mini-review of a devotional. While I don’t plan to post quick takes regularly, every now and then I will interrupt my weekly teasers for a Wednesday Quick Take. Enjoy!

For a long time, I’ve wanted to find a book about inspiring Christian women of our times. So I happily bought Sister Freaks at a concert of one of my favorite Christian singers, Rebecca St. James. She edited this devotional, which is divided into twelve weeks: with each day featuring a mini-biography of about four pages, and each week being followed by a series of journal questions. While the subtitle, “Stories of Women Who Gave Up Everything for God,” is somewhat misleading, Sister Freaks aptly serves the purpose of its editor: “I pray that you’ll see the world through His eyes and look for ways you can change it through His power.”

When I think of women who gave up everything for God, I think of missionaries, pastors, or at least women who started a ministry. Some of these types of women are featured here. For example, in the 1800s, Amy Carmichael threw herself into serving others-especially those from the lower class and slums, even when her church community criticized her. Then in 1892, she responded to God’s call to serve in India as a missionary. Amy Carmichael spent fifty-three years there without furlough and founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for children who are set aside for Hindu temple prostitution. (If Amy Carmichael’s story makes you think of Mother Teresa, you might be as surprised as I was to find that her story was not included in Sister Freaks.) There are also recent examples, such as Karen Watson who died from a grenade attack in 2003 while providing humanitarian aid in war-stricken Iraq.

Christian pop singer Rebecca St. James in appr...

Image via Wikipedia

Stories such as these can inspire, because how amazing it is to have faith so strong that one can face rejection, persecution, or even death for God, and yet these women’s lives can feel far removed from that of the average Christian. Most church-goers are not called to serve either abroad or at home. So I loved that Sister Freaks featured less extraordinary women too.

I didn’t agree with all of the selections. While Kate’s story might encourage other women to give their anger over rejection to God, I’m not sure how she qualifies as a woman who gave up everything for God. The majority of stories however do nicely illustrate how even average Christians can accomplish something good for God. For example, after a short-term mission trip, Megan couldn’t forget about a woman she had met abroad. Megan felt driven to do something. And so she did. She wrote letters and, with the money she raised, built a rescue station for females devastated by prostitution and AIDS. Other stories directly spoke to my situation: such as the example of Shannon who dreamt of becoming a journalist but now uses her writing skills to help others find a voice, and Kirsten who studied medicine but ended up teaching in the inner cities. These women found that their life’s work lay “where the needs of the world and the joys of your heart intersect.”

After buying Sister Freaks, I eagerly read a new devotional every day until I had finished. As a whole, Sister Freaks made me appreciate how average Christians can impact the world, no matter how small their acts. In her introduction, Rebecca St. James wrote that all of the featured women inspired her to want to “live a bigger, greater life”-and so they have me.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

2 Responses to "QUICK TAKE: Sister Freaks by Rebecca St. James"

Thanks for sharing. I’ve listened to one of her CDs but hadn’t heard of this book. Will check it out.

Normally, I don’t read books by singers, but this makes my second exception. The first is In This Sanctuary (about worship) by Twila Paris. Have you read any other books by singers? By the way, I love all of Rebecca St. James’ CDs!

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