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Book Review - Feminism And Tradition By Lawrence Farley
By Else M. Tennessen

In this work, Orthodox priest Lawrence Farley presents an Orthodox Christian response to feminism. Beginning with a chapter on why persons with feminist outlook have trouble with Christianity (they have a wrong view of scripture; they often have unteachable attitudes), he then looks at Biblical passages that are often difficult for women to swallow, beginning with the Genesis creation stories and explaining what they mean. Father Farley explains why "subordination" is so misunderstood and how it doesn't mean that women are not equal to men or "second class citizens." A later chapter on the early Church Fathers shows how tradition has interpreted these Scriptures and how the Fathers were not "woman haters" as many believe. Finally, Father Farley tackles the difficult topic of why the Orthodox church doesn't ordain women--pointing out that even Jesus Himself did not assign a woman to be one of the Twelve. The author's prose is fair, gentle, nonjudgmental and sincere in his love and concern for men, women and relationships. This book helped me understand the issues (I often don’t know how to respond to feminist friends) and especially why there is so much brokenness in male-female relationships. Father Farley made me realize that things are not right between men and women because we have lost sight of the roles and desires God has for us, and we are unwilling to accept them and be obedient to God. I recommend this book to persons who are curious or struggle with questions and who can read with an open (read=not angry) mindset.

Feminism and Tradition: Quiet Reflections on Ordination and Communion by Father Lawrence Farley, ISBN 978-0881413823, 188 pages, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press: 2012.

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