Bound & Determined (review)

I received a review copy of Bound & Determined: Christian Men and Women In Partnership by Jeanene Reese. The book is scheduled to be published in September by Leafwood Publishers and will be 192 pages. The copy I received was a spiral bound copy.

The description of the book definitely intrigued me. Written for “Christians actively involved in mixed-gender partnerships, whether they hold leadership positions or simply collaborate in groups at work or in church. The author takes seriously biblical passages about gender and invites hard questions from readers, making this a solid resource for individuals and groups alike.”

She delivers on that. The writing style is clear and readable. This is not a lecture or a technical thesis. It is a conversation. She touches on some complex and even controversial topics, but her explanations of what the Bible says, what other experts say, and how all of that information contributes to understanding and taking action is all well put. She doesn’t try to say more or make explicit things that the Bible doesn’t say or make explicit. But she does raise the possibility that some common perceptions are based more on culture or tradition than what the Bible actually says.

As I expected and as I hinted above, she spends some time discussing the roles of men and women and how our understanding of those roles affects how we participate in ministries and partnerships. But she has so much more to say. There are other issues to be addressed, such as communication, handling conflict, offering and receiving grace and forgiveness. She treats all of these without repeating the same usual things we know, but going deeper and further with them to attitudes and actions that Christians should adopt and work to make the basis for relationships.

She discusses our individual responsibility for our own behavior, how to work with others even when they won’t accept personal responsibility for their behavior, and things the church should do to encourage healthy partnerships. While she does discuss gender, much of what she covers applies to groups of women or groups of men. But one of the most useful things this book does is encourage more mixed groups – men and women working together to accomplish great things.

This book comes with a study guide, questions to consider for each chapter. I have seen plenty of study guides that did not really contribute any further value to the book. I am happy to report I found the study guide questions to be a great help in clarifying and reinforcing the points made in the chapter and provide an environment for thinking through to the next level of understanding of a topic, see how it affects and changes our beliefs and positions on these things. It challenges the reader to really put the concepts into practice.

I recommend this book. I think it is a balanced and biblical book that provides a starting point for even further thought in the areas of gender and partnership and forgiveness.

The Bound & Determined sell sheet with further information about the book.

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