They Wrote a Thing and It’s Awesome: A Review of #WomanInThePulpit

51EX8kPEJjL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ten years ago this summer, RevGalBlogPals was born. It began as a loose collection of pastor-bloggers, mostly women, mostly pseudonymous (as was the custom at the time). We began, as all good things begin, with a T-shirt.

Now, RevGalBlogPals is a global network, with conferences, events, meetups, a burgeoning Facebook community, and a director, the Rev. Martha Spong, who is the editor of There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor.

One of the nagging regrets of the last year is letting the deadline for submitting essays to this collection pass me by. Given my life at the time, it couldn’t be avoided, but after getting to know so many of these women over the past decade, I’m sad not to be a part of this project.

But having their words on my shelf is a gracious plenty.

This book is stuffed full of 50 essays on life, death, the unique gifts and challenges of being women in ministry, and the things they don’t teach in seminary. The essays are the perfect length for picking up the book and putting it down in the midst of a busy life, or reading one selection a week for an entire year, or revisiting them again and again, which I’m sure I’ll do.

I’m still making my way through the book, but there are so many favorites. Kathryn Johnston writes an incisive piece about double standards between men and women in leadership in the sharply-titled “Balls.” Later in the book, Stephanie Anthony’s essay provides a good companion to Kathryn’s as she describes the feeling of not being “one of the guys,” but realizing it’s important to be present for the little girls who are watching us step into leadership.

Deborah Lewis considers “The Weight of Ash” and the full depth of what is many pastors’ favorite church observances, Ash Wednesday. Rachel Hackenberg offers a couple different selections, but “A Prayer for the Plunger” was a personal favorite: “As you eavesdrop on the church council’s argument over new carpet, do you remember your debate with the Pleiades over the color of grass?”

Robin Craig’s essay on how she learned to preach the gospel following her son’s death by suicide is worth the price of the book. Patricia Raube’s glorious meditation about coming out to her congregation brought tears to my eyes. Love wins, people.

And editor Martha’s essays and section headings provide a gracious glue for the book. (I now “see” the RevGals logo in a whole new way!)

You know what though… those are my favorites right now. The beauty of a book like this is that favorites will change as life changes.

I hope you’ll check out this wonderful book. Congratulations to everyone who was a part of it.


The title refers to a catchphrase during that first miraculous Big Event, where many RevGals met for the first time: We made a thing and it’s awesome.

9 thoughts on “They Wrote a Thing and It’s Awesome: A Review of #WomanInThePulpit

  1. Bob Braxton

    kindle? I have the paperback loaded onto my Wish List (last I looked it seemed like a “Pre-order”).

  2. Kathy Bostrom

    I’ve heard about this book and can’t wait to read it. Not sure how I missed being part of this awesome group for all these years. Wonder if it’s too late to join?

    1. Patricia Raube

      Kathy Bostrom it is absolutely never too late to join! Find us on facebook or at the

      MAMD– wow, thank you. Love does indeed win. I can’t tell you how honored and humbled I am at such a response to my little piece.

      Thank you for the beautiful review.

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  4. Martha Spong

    Thanks, MaryAnn! I need to share credit for the section intros with the two Julies. Julie Woods wrote the intro for “Ashes to Angels”, and Julie Craig wrote the intro and crafted what became the sublime title for “A Taste of Heaven and a Splash of Glory.” It was the one section title that never changed. I will gladly take credit for the others. 🙂

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