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Living in a Man’s World
A Book Review by Mary Maxson

When given a selection of books to review for Best Practices, I immediately chose this book because I know the author well. Not only has she been my pastor, she has been a colleague on numerous Women’s Ministries committees over a 7 – 9 year period.

Because of the sensitivity of this topic — women in ministry —this book could become divisive. Throughout my forty-three years of ministry experience, it has been my conviction the Devil tries to bring disharmony where he can. Throughout the history of Adventism, God has always led us through, as long as we trust in Him and choose Him as our Lord and Leader.

Bonita shares her personal conviction from God as to why she wrote this book. She states three reasons from her writing: “First, I seek to create a safe place for men and women to have a dialogue about how they can best be partners in the workplace, especially within the church … Second, I seek to build up my Christian sisters as they live out their calling to God’s work in a man’s world — whatever that calling may be… Third, I seek to answer the question How can a Christian woman live in a man’s world and be faithful to God, her family, her brothers in Christ with whom she works, and herself? ... But if we seek to become instruments of healing, it can become the source of some of our greatest joys. And my greatest desire is that the words of this book will encourage this faithfulness.” (p. 16)

Within the 12 chapters, what I’ve personally appreciated is Bonita’s emphasis – it’s on the Holy Spirit’s longing and desires to make us (men and women) into His image and our ministry glorifying Him. Yet, she is extremely vulnerable in her personal journey “in a man’s world” in which she finds herself — day in and day out. She not only expresses her pain (Chapter 2) she also shares the joy of ministry to God’s people. “I went into pastoral ministry realizing that ordination was not an option for me. I asked the Lord to deliver me from the resentment to which some female pastors had succumbed regarding our church’s current stand on ordination. I didn’t’ want to become a bitter women. I didn’t want to become a male-basher, I wanted to focus on ministering to God’s people.” (p. 27)

Interestingly enough, she has chosen to use Dialogue Questions at the end of each chapter. It would be useful in a ministerial class/and or small group where there are both genders present to discuss the specific topics in which she includes in her book.

I have been personally inspired, blessed, and encouraged as a pastor by the reading of this book. I think this book can help begin a healing process in the church as Bonita reminds us that “Scripture tells us, ‘God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them’ (Gen. 1:27, NIV). The image of God is not complete until male and female work together to more fully represent Him. God’s power working through us—men and women together—can change the world!’”

Mary Maxson is pastor for discipleship and nurture at the Paradise, CA Church