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Dating Jesus - A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl
Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl
Author: Susan Campbell
Product Code: 1066 ISBN: 978-080701066-2
Binding Information: Cloth 
6 X 9 Inches (US)
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Price: $24.95 In stock.
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Growing up fundamentalist and female—and maturing into a feminist
By the age of twelve, Susan Campbell had been flirting with Jesus for some time, and in her mind, Jesus had been flirting back. Why wouldn't he? She went to his house three times a week, sat in his living room, listened to his stories, loudly and lustily sang songs to him. So, one Sunday morning, she walked to the front of her fundamentalist Christian church to profess her love for Jesus and be baptized. But from the moment her robe floated to the surface of the baptistry water, she began to question her fundamentalist faith. If baptism requires complete immersion underwater, what does it mean, if a piece of fabric attached to a would-be Christian floats to the top? Does the baptism still count?

In Dating Jesus,, Campbell takes us into the world of fundamentalism-a world where details really, really matter-while wrestling with questions that would thwart any young woman intent on adhering to a literalist religion. If dancing isn't permitted, what do you do when you're voted part of the homecoming court? If instrumental music is prohibited inside the church, can a piano be played during your wedding? For a while, Campbell diligently plays by the gender-restrictive rules. She knocks on doors for Jesus rather than preach from the pulpit; diligently guards her chastity, refusing even to date; and memorizes long fragments from the Bible. But her questions continue to surface, and when dogmatic answers from her Bible teachers, family, and congregational fellows confirm that women will never be allowed a seat at the throne, her faith begins to erode.

After Campbell flees her church, she remains thirsty for an unwavering and compassionate faith she knows is out there, somewhere. To find it, she returns to the historical roots of religious movements, studies the works of early feminist thinkers and contemporary theologians, and rereads the Bible with the same fervor of her youth. Dating Jesus is a lovingly told tale of how one born-and-bred fundamentalist matured into a feminist while holding onto her sanity and sense of humor.

In the Media:

Listen to Susan Campbell on The Faith Middelton Show

Read an interview with Susan Campbell on the Girl w/Pen! blog

Read Susan Campbell's post on the National Day of Prayer

Listen to Susan Campbell on Air America's State of Belief

Review By: Jane Ciabattari,   More magazine - December 31, 2008
“Susan Campbell’s fundamentalist girlhood in the rural Missouri Ozarks left her yearning for Jesus but troubled by a church that relegated women to the sidelines. In her heart-felt memoir, Dating Jesus, she describes growing up in the 1970s in the Church of Christ, where she was taught that holiness is ‘entirely masculine’ . . . Her writing is striking for the compassion with which she views her younger self, a fledgling believer confined in a cage of man-made rules.”
Review   Ms. - November 15, 2008
“This fond memoir of growing up a rebellious tomboy in a fundamentalist church that expects women to be pious, subservient and, above all, quiet tells what it feels like to have Jesus as your boyfriend—and what happens when you want to break up with him.”
Review   Hartford Courant - December 14, 2008
"Dating Jesus is a mesmerizing, funny, impressionistic memoir of a spiritual and thoughtful person, one has spent her life wrestling with religion, the meaning of faith and her feelings for the Divine."
Review By: Taylor Chaplin Orci,   BUST - February 1, 2009
"Campbell’s wry wit and ability to break down Scripture crown her the Sarah Vowell of feminist theology. A must read for anyone who’s wrestled with coming to terms with women’s social roles in her own faith."
Review   Mother Jones - January 1, 2009
"Rarely has a genuine feminist emerged from the modern evangelical movement. An exception is Susan Campbell."
Review   St. Louis Post-Dispatch - March 1, 2009
Dating Jesus reads better than a review makes it sound. Campbell has both a sense of humor and a knack for religious research. She sketches out in easy-to-understand prose the similarities and differences of fundamentalists, evangelicals and Pentecostals. She introduces readers to the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Jennings Bryan and John C. Danforth. And she weaves their stories in with her own.”
Review   PopMatters - March 30, 2009
“The title Dating Jesus evokes a strong feeling inside of me. This could be because it seems so absurd or even a bit sacrilegious. But in a way, it is what every Christian should want to do. They should want to walk beside him, follow in his footsteps, be part of his family.”
Review   Houston Chronicle - March 26, 2009
Dating Jesus is a mesmerizing, funny, impressionistic memoir of a spiritual and thoughtful person, one who has spent her life wrestling with religion, the meaning of faith and her feelings for the Divine.”
Review   BuzzFlash - March 17, 2009
"Few struggles rage with greater intensity than when a person grapples with doubts about deeply ingrained religious beliefs. Wed that to a young woman's need to define her own female identity, in a time when 'Ozzie and Harriet' ran smack into Gloria Steinem, and you get the drama that underlies Dating Jesus."
Review   Christian Feminism Today - February 1, 2009
"Mischievous and fun-loving . . . Campbell's style romps happily from formal where needed to down-home whenever possible . . . Dating Jesus provides the reader with a short history of 19th and 20th century and contemporary feminism, and even ancient woman-positive moments, interspersing all of that with stories of how this American girl discovered that femininity gets an athlete nowhere fast, whereas being tough sometimes brings about a fair shake."
Review   Library Journal - February 1, 2009
"Journalist Campbell's funny, sweet, and yet biting memoir recounts growing up in a fundamentalist church. . . . Campbell writes of trying to be good and gain heaven, but even as a young girl she revels in small acts of subversiveness and continually asks questions that are never answered satisfactorily. . . . Campbell knows her subject well and hopes through this book to keep a dialog open about such issues as the role of women in the church and in the world and to refocus attention upon the teachings of Christ-unfiltered. She notes that Christ's teachings are truly egalitarian in their attitude and 'downright revolutionary.' Suitable for all public and academic libraries."
Review   The Joplin Globe - January 23, 2009
"Dating Jesus contains a number of humorous moments . . . but it also is the story of a young woman 'steeped in the culture of Christ' who begins to have questions about what she has been taught-questions that have no easy answers. . . . Eventually, she concludes that she spent years seeking a relationship with a version of Jesus she didn't believe in."
Review   Girl With Pen - January 21, 2009
"The book . . . uses humor, history, and memory to great effect in relating the author's personal evolution of faith and politics."
Review   The Middletown Press - January 20, 2009
"A rueful, funny autobiography."

"In her youth, Susan Campbell was the class virgin, the sophomore homecoming princess, and the perennial smarty-pants winner of her fundamentalist church's Bible Bowl. But she was also a scrappy little outfielder and a self-described Missouri hillbilly whose budding feminism led her to question why girls and women should be content with second-class spiritual citizenship. That isometric push of irresistible force against immovable object followed Campbell into adulthood and is both the engine and the energy that drives her remarkable memoir, Dating Jesus. Simultaneously wisecracking and scholarly, both heartfelt and hilarious, Campbell's story gives testament to a 'Christ-haunted' life that rejects the chauvinistic dictates of religious dogma and insists on fairness and equal footing for all. Amen to that. I loved this book!"
-Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed

"Engaging . . . seductively simple . . . intellectually honest . . . totally informed . . . affectionate and respectful . . . this confession of faith is all these things, and more too. I loved reading it, and I continue to enjoy savoring it."
-Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours

"While it may be true that Jesus loves all of us, Susan Campbell is clearly His favorite. Her writing cuts to the quick and slices to the bone, thereby cleaning and healing old wounds for every woman who's struggled to find acceptance within, and without, conventional religion. Driven by anger and longing, but sustained by grace and joy, she offers the gift of her own journey to faith without sentimentality and with unmatched honesty and wit. An essential book."
-Regina Barreca, author of Babes in Boyland

"Dating Jesus resists easy answers-or glib categorization. Susan Campbell is too bright-and funny-for that. From fundamentalist Christianity to why baseball trumps softball, from an exploration of Title IX to footnotes steeped in scripture (and the occasional 1970s TV reference), this book entertains, educates, and surprises."
-Lindsey Crittenden, author of The Water Will Hold You: A Skeptic Learns to Pray

"Throughout this captivating memoir, I felt the presence of the spirit of Jesus merging with the feisty spirit of a fundamentally faith-full follower, guiding her through and beyond religious rigidity with liberating grace."
-Miriam Therese Winter, professor of spirituality and feminist studies, Hartford Seminary in Connecticut

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