Featured Book

Leaving Silence:
Sexualized Violence, the Bible,
and Standing with Survivors

 

Susannah Larry 

(Complete Archive Below)

A Review by Dwight A. Moody

 

It is astounding that a scholar so young, so near the beginning of her life journey can display so much courage in writing her judgments, so deep an understanding of Holy Scripture, and so broad an awareness of what is going on the world. I am stunned. And you will be also when you read this book.

 

Dr. Susanna Larry is now assistant professor of biblical studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. She was barely 30 years old when she wrote this book and younger still when its material formed the bulk of her dissertation at Vanderbilt Divinity School and University. I knew her back then, and before, when she was a young participant in the Academy of Preachers.

 

I am not a scholar of Hebrew Bible; but I have done my studies and kept up my reading, and I know a scholar when I read one. This is the real stuff: learned, creative, relevant, powerful.

 

She introduces this phrase—sexualized violence—early on to refer to violence that has a sexual component: like rape. The event is not about sex; it is about power, and she explains this repeatedly, in relation to violence against women and against men. It is not about sex, homosexual or heterosexual; it is about power and control and domination.

 

The Hebrew Bible is the primary arena of her writing in this book; and she examines such familiar stories as (among others) Genesis 16 (Hagar), Genesis 34 (Dinah), 2 Samuel 13 (Tamar), Genesis 39 (Joseph), and Judges 16 (Samson). There are considerations given to traditional “homosexual” passages, to the book of Lamentations, to the gospel story of the woman taken in adultery (as we normally frame it), and finally, the story of Mary the mother of Jesus.

 

All of it done in the context of the recent (and current) #MeToo movement. In her treatment of the Hagar story, she writes: “The God whom Hagar encountered in the wilderness and boldly named El-roi, the God who sees, is the God of the survivors who bravely told their stories—at great cost to themselves—and said #MeToo.”

 

This book, she writes, is for you “if you were abused as a child…if you haven’t forgiven those who abused you…if you were drunk before an assault…if you were silent during an assault…if you chose not to report your abuse…if you are still in that abusive relationship…if no other person has believed you…if you loved the person who hurt you… if you want to minister without doing more harm….”

 

Then she writes: “This book is for me, too.”

 

And for me, a minister near the end of his career with so little experience of sexualized violence, with even less expertise in how to minister in such fraught situations.

 

Dr. Larry has an entire chapter on men as victims of sexualized violence. She writes: “A great fear that people anticipating incarceration harbor is that they will be raped in prison.” This sentence, read by me while riding across the Appalachian Mountains with my often-incarcerated son, precipitated a lengthy conversation about that very situation in his own experience. I suspect reading the book will provoke you (or free you) to talk about these things with people you know and love.

 

There is another chapter on families of victims and their role as perpetrators, as witnesses, as victims, as survivors. It made me wonder about this in my extended family and formed my resolve to introduce the subject at the next gathering with my three siblings. (Would that even be a good thing?)

 

I appreciated so very much her description of the Bible as a conversation among its authors about the issues deep and wide that still dominate our minds and imaginations: right and wrong, power and privilege, guilt and shame, and who is to blame and what the Bible has to say about any of it. She writes frankly about the Deuteronomic tradition in the Bible—that perspective that connects sin and suffering in a cause-and-effect way. I have sought to speak about this theological tradition, so deeply embedded in both scripture and our moral imagination, in the various ministerial contexts in which I have served. There needs to be more of this, and perhaps Dr. Larry’s book will help other, younger ministers with a lifetime of listening and speaking in from of them. To that end, Larry offers a five-point summary of her book (pages 213-216) and a powerful 82-word benediction that includes these words: “May God bless you with the sight of a world not yet realized. May that future world be free of the brokenness we see now.”

 

May it be so; and may this book help make it so.

 

 

 

 

all rights reserved 2021

Book Review Archive

After Evangelicalism:
The Path to a New Christianity

by David P. Gushee

 

America’s Religious Wars:
The Embattled Heart of our Public Life
by Kathleen M. Sands

 

Ann the Word
The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah,
Mother of the Shakers,
the Woman Clothed with the Sun
By Richard Francis

 

The Asbury Hymnal

 

Barracoon
The Story of the 
Last “Black Cargo”
by Zora Heale Hurston

 

Becoming C. S. Lewis 
Harry Lee Poe

 

Becoming Mrs. Lewis 
by Patti Callahan

 

The Benedict Option:
A Strategy for Christians
in a Post-Christian Nation
by Rod Dreher

 

C. S. Lewis, A Life: 
Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet 
by Alister McGrath

 

Call Stories:
Hearing and Responding to God’s Call

edited by Barry Howard

 

Caste
The Origins of our Discontents 
by Isabel Wilkerson

 

The Church Cracked Open
Disruption, Decline, and
New Hope for Beloved Community
by Stephanie Spellers

 

Climate Church, Climate World 
by Jim Antal

 

Christ in Crisis:
Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus
by Jim Wallis

 

Disgraced
by Ayad Akhtar

 

Educated: A Memoir
by Tara Westover

 

The End of White Christian America
Robert P. Jones

 

Factfullness
Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World
and Why Things are Better Than You Think
by Hans Rosling

 

Faith After Doubt
Why your Beliefs Stopped Working 
And What To Do About it
Brian D. McLaren

 

Fault Lines
The Social Justice Movement 
and Evangelicalism’s 
Looming Catastrophe
by Voddie T. Baucham Jr.

 

From Stressed to Centered 
A Practical Guide to A 
Healthier and Happier You
by Dana Gionta and Dan Guerra

 

Getting to the Promised Land:
Black America and the Unfinished Work
of The Civil Rights Movement
by Kevin Cosby

 

God’s Hand on America:
Divine Providence in the Modern Era
by Michael Medved

 

The Great Spiritual Migration 
How the World’s Largest Religion
is Seeking a Better Way
to be Christian
by Brian D. McLaren

 

The Greatest Prayer
Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message
of THE LORD’S PRAYER 
by John Dominic Crossan

 

The Green Good News
Christ’s Path to Sustainable and Joyful Life
by T. Wilson Dickinson

 

Gullah Geechee Heritage in the Golden Isles
by Amy Lotson Roberts & Patrick J. Holladay

 

A Brief History of Christianity in Asia:
Beginnings, Endings, and Reflections
by R. LaMon Brown and Michael D. Crane

 

Is God Colour Blind?
by Anthony Reddie

 

The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd

 

Israel Matters:
Why Christians Must Think Differently
about the People and the Land
by Gerald R. McDermott

 

The Hidden Wound
by Wendell Berry

 

Jesus Loves Obamacare
by Barbara Young

 

John Prine
One Song at a Time
by Bruce Rits Gilbert

 

Just Mercy: Story of
Justice and Redemption 

by Bryan Stevenson

 

The Last Leonardo
The Secret Lives of the World’s
Most Expensive Painting

by Ben Lewis

Leaving Silence:
Sexualized Violence, the Bible,
and Standing with Survivors
by Susannah Larry

 

Let Us Dream
The Path to a Better Future
Pope Francis

 

Lift Up Thy Voice:
The Grimke Family’s Journey From 
Slaveholders to civil Rights Leaders
Mark Perry

 

The Narrative of the Life of
Frederick Douglas, an American Slave 

by Frederick Douglass

 

Paul: A Biography 
by N. T. Wright

 

Piety and Power: Mike Pence
and the Taking of the White House
Tom LoBianco

 

 That All Shall Be Saved: 
Heaven, Hell and Universal Salvation 
by David Hart Bentley

 

This Precarious Moment 
by James Garlow, David Barton

 

Raising Boys Who Respect Girls 
by Dave Willis

 

Resilient Faith:
How the Early Christian “Third Way”
Changed the World

by Gerald L. Sittser

 

Riding the Wind of God:
A Personal History of the 
Youth Revival Movement
by Bruce McIver

 

Robert E. Lee and Me
A Southerner’s Reckoning
with the Myth of the Lost Cause
By Ty Seidule

 

A Scandalous Providence:
The Jesus Story of the Compassion of God
by E. Frank Tupper

 

Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest,
and the Music that Made a Nation

by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw

 

The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump 
edited by Ronald Sider

 

The Sum of Us
What Racism costs Everyone and 
How We Can Prosper Together
by Heather McGhee

 

The 21: A Journey 
into the Land of the Coptic Martyrs
by Martin Moseback

 

Truth Over Fear:
Combating the Lies about Islam 

by Charles Kimball

 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

The Universal Christ 
Richard Rohr

 

A Warning 
by Anonymous

 

Where Do We Go From Here?
edited by Kevin Slime

 

White Too Long:
The Legacy of White Supremacy 
in American Christianity
by Robert P. Jones

 

Who Lynched Willie Earle?
Preaching to Confront Racism
by Will Willimon

 

Witnessing Whiteness:
Confronting White Supremacy 
in the American Church
by Kristopher Norris

Books By
Dr. Dwight A. Moody

Here are four books written by Dr. Dwight A. Moody, provided here (or in the near future) in both text and audio format. All are in various stages of production for this web site. Feel free to provide comment on these books using the response form at the bottom of each page.

 


 

       

Free and Faithful: Christian Discipleship in the 21st Century

This was a series of sermons preached by Dr. Moody at Third Baptist Church of Owensboro, Kentucky. It is inspired by (and follows the format of) the influential book by Buddy Shurden, Four Fragile Freedoms.  The text here includes an epilogue written in 2018 that offers reflections on the book, 20 years after its publication. It is also the intent of Dr. Moody to provide an audio version of this book; to date, only the Preface and Introduction are available.

 


 

 

 

On the Other Side of Oddville: Stories of Religion and Everyday Life
For a number of years, Dr. Moody wrote and published in public newspapers around the country a weekly column on Religion and American Life (something he continues to do through this Meetinghouse initiative). This book collects 105 of these 700-word essays. You may purchase a sign copy of this book–$20 inclusive of shipping; simply request it through the Response Form at the bottom of each page of the website. (This text is in production.)

 


 

 

Its’s About Time: A Memoir of Ministry at Georgetown College
From 1997 to 2008, Dr. Moody served as dean of the chapel and professor of religion at Georgetown College in Kentucky. This is the narrative essay that forms the core of this book. Upon leaving the school to launch the Academy of Preachers, he produced this self-published book. The book also included sermons, prayers, letters, essays, and memos; it can be ordered through Amazon. (This text is in production.)

 


 

Nine Marks of a Good Sermon
During Dr. Moody’s tenure at Georgetown College, he taught a course in “Communication for Ministry” (and popularly called “Preaching). This material was developed during that ministry and continued during his years as founder and first president of the Academy of Preachers. It is published here without the illustrative sermons included in the book.