Archives for category: book review

It happened on a Sunday night, even though I had been a good girl and gone to church that morning …” Ruined by Ruth Everhart, Tyndale House Publishers, 2 August 2016

Why do you read a book? To be entertained? To be informed? To have your own beliefs confirmed.. or maybe even challenged? To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it hadn’t have been written by someone I have met, know a little and have travelled with a little. So I read this book with curiosity. It is a memoir about a traumatic event, about a rape, about the rape of Ruth. I’ve read memoirs and biographies before, but never of someone I know. I read this book often with my heart pounding, sometimes feeling guilty that I was being voyeuristic, intruding on such a horrific and intimate event and its aftermath.

This book is a compelling read. Ruth knows the power of language – of words that create and construct beliefs and worlds, and of words that are often unspeakable – like ‘rape’. In her writing she evokes all the senses. We see, we hear, we smell, we feel. There is such beautiful and challenging clarity in the details she records – the way that in seeing mug shots of black criminals the height markers behind their faces are ‘forever taking their measure’. In another scene where she and friends are sat in sodden woollen jumpers drying out after being out in a storm, there is ‘.. the brown sugar smell of burning wool.’ We remember the senses experienced in our dreams, which also create and construct worlds and offer new possibilities.

I think this is a visceral book. It is about matter. It is about what matters. Body and spirit matter. Words matter. Theology matters. Beliefs matter. Questions matter. Women and men matter. Ruth matters. Love matters.

And I am glad to have read this book. It matters.


I think that it was when I was doing the Saturday afternoon trawl for sermon fodder that I first came across a blog that led me to the group known as RevGalBlogPals. Not yet a blogger myself, I knew that the crafting of words was very much what I wanted to weave into my own strand of ordained ministry. Here in the group I discovered words and a love of words, and behind the words, real women. Women who were like myself and were unlike myself, and all of us reaching out for spirit-filled words, to share as part of ministry in the big wide world, and in the places of home in which we are planted. I found poems and stories. I found shared wisdom and heart-felt words. Here I found encouragement, inspiration and joy in the discovery of my own voice – a continued work in progress.

I began my own blog during a sabbatical in 2011, and began to enjoy the online journalling and reflecting there. I used for my blog title the verb ‘to pootle’ as a word whose implicit slow pace of journeying, (perhaps with an accompanying hum or song) I was attracted to. Blogging regularly meant that I could join the circle of blogs and continue to dip into other creative and challenging thoughts, reflections and stories.

Imagine my surprise and delight, a few years down the line, to find my own words included in this beautifully gathered collection of essays. As I have read the book, I’ve been listening to such a wonderful variety of voices (some of which I have now heard in person, during the fabulous Big Event Edinburgh held last month!). These voices belong to women who are like me and are unlike me. We all happen to be clergy, and we are all seeking to listen to God’s voice. These voices are heard not only in the essays but in the short and sweet biographies that accompany them. I found RevGalBlogPals as I searched for sermon fodder and I found soul food. Read this book and you will be abundantly fed! #WomaninPulpit #RevGalBlogPals

In the UK you can buy the book from

RevGals book cover

It’s out next week …. I’ve got a contribution in this book and here’s an introductory review from the editor:

There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.

(and hopefully my copy will come soon!)