Rev. Debbie Blue is a founding pastor of House of Mercy, a church in St Paul, Minnesota. The website of the church says that she “approaches scripture like a farm wife handles a chicken, carefully but not delicately, thoroughly but not exactly cautiously.”
Magnificat: A God Who Never Stopped Considering Women seems to prove that farm metaphor right. Reverence and insolence to the sacred texts, hallowed traditions and centuries long history of biblical interpretation are kept in balance throughout the book.
Married to Jim, a fine artist, and mother of Miles and Olivia, Debbie is a Lutheran minister. Drawing form her 25-year long ministry as a preacher, she has published Sensual Orthodoxy (Cathedra Hill Press, 2003), From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again (Brazos Press 2008), Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible (Abingdon Press 2013) and Consider the Women: A Provocative Guide to Three Matriarchs of the Bible (Eerdmans, 2019). Two of his books have been published translated into Spanish by JuanUno1 Publishing House as Ortodoxia Sensual: Recuperando el Mensaje del Dios Encarnado and Considera a las Mujeres: Una Guía provocativa sobre Tres Matriarcas en la Biblia.
A God Who Never Stopped Considering Women
WOMEN THAT BREAK THE RULE RULES AND MAKE THEMSELVES VISIBLE.
THOUGHT AND ACTION PROVOKING. INTIMATE, FURIOUS AND LOVING, DEBBIE BLUE GIVES VOICE TO THE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE AS TOGETHER THEY TURN THE TABLE OF PATRIARCHY.
“The sayings of the wise are like goads,” warned a preacher of old: words that are not as restful as one might expect. The wise speak and are goaded into action. Or perhaps the community works and the wise merely capture its hidden wisdom –words and deeds that can be more disruptive at times than polite. Debbie Blue attempts to tap into this spirit as she develops her preaching ministry as a founding pastor of House of Mercy, in St Paul, Minnesota.
Debbie took a step further along the line of the preacher of old. She collected her sermons, and as a result you have this book in your hand. Its contents are piercing as nails sometimes:
Goads that are unsettling more than complacent when it comes to questioning patriarchy. This is a collection of fifteen sermons that revolve around women. “The women in the Bible break a lot of rules, resist empire, disobey the cultural norms, cause good trouble (and sometimes not such good trouble). They are fully human. They help us glimpse the possibility of transformation (not always, but often). I think we are at a time and place in the life of the world where we need to hear their stories.”
THERE IS A STORY BEHIND THE REIGNING, PATRIARCHAL CHRISTIAN NARRATIVE.
IT IS THE STORY OF WOMEN, THEIR GOD, THEIR RESISTANCE.
True to her style, pastor, preacher and author Debbie Blue, in Magnificat: A God Who Never Stopped Considering Women, spurs us on to that "possibility of transformation". She and the women in the stories with their resourcefulness, dancing, joie de vivre, irreverence, solidarity, pain, laughter and anger, constantly reminds us that God loves us and means to set us free.
Magnificat follows the lead of the women, where there are no easy heroes or happily ever after’s, but where one can glimpse profound hope in each testimony given. Debbie Blue honors the women of Scripture and honors the community of faith with this gift of sermons for our journey onward in the ways of Jesus.
Author of Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World
and Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom
If you suspect that the Bible wasn’t written to warm our hearts (at least not female hearts) you’re ready for Debbie Blue. Elevating texts that feature women, she peels away misogyny to show how complex humans navigated a relationship with God — the One who is merciful and loving, but also beyond our grasp. Her words help scripture achieve its purpose and break our hearts open.
Rev. Ruth Everhart
Author of The #MeToo Reckoning and Ruined
Debbie Blue's Manificat is a powerful collection of reflections on the profoundly important role that women have played throughout the history of our faith. Her insights into the stories of these women and the lessons that their lives teach us will challenge and inspire everyone who picks up this book, inviting us to look again at many familiar stories with fresh eyes and from a new perspective and be captivated by the prophetic wisdom and faithfulness of these women of faith.
Rev. Brandan Robertson
Author of Filled to Be Emptied: The Path to Liberation for a Privileged People
Debbie Blue has a special knack for observing every corner of the text. She considers them up and down, she peers into every nook and cranny, there is no detail that eludes her gaze. She unmasks malicious patriarchal interpretations and brings forward fresh approaches. She gets out of comfort zones, which is the most appealing trait of her contributions: you receive what you are not waiting for. You might go along her writing thinking that you are going to find what it usually has been and is said about the text, but then you discover that such is not the case. And you give her a nod of assent.
Mexican-Costa Rican Bible scholar and Theologian, author of several books,
such as Women in the Jesus’ Movement (JuanUno1 Books, 2021)
In this book, at times I laughed and other times came close to tears. Storylines are followed and characters are explored with dexterity and attention to the text and its interpreters, including the contemporary audience. Blue displays phenomenal skill in engaging the audience with the biblical story and characters while casting them in fresh perspectives.
Johanna W. H. van Wijk-Bos
Professor of Old Testament Emerita at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
I start a sermon by Debbie Blue with a sense of adventure and expectation. She leads me to see biblical texts with new eyes. She unrelentingly searches for the yes of God’s love even in texts that appear only as a no. That is not to say her sermons are gentle—all warm fuzzies. She, like the God revealed by Jesus Christ, lovingly confronts the many ways we have strayed. These sermons on women in the Bible give her ample opportunity to do all I have said above.
Mark D. Baker
Professor of mission and theology at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and author
of Centered-Set Church: Discipleship and Community Without Judgmentalism
In a religion that has historically not been so considerate of women, Debbie Blue is masterful at finding the cracks in the patriarchal foundation and blowing them up with homiletic dynamite. (Ruth actually proposes to Boaz? Wisdom can be personified as God's nursing child? Mother Mary is a threat to monotheism?) The rubble is something glorious, a reminder that we do not have to be good or pure or male to be loved and embody Love in return.
Erin S. Lane
Author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe
A thorough reading of this book, going through every single story, actually is a necessity. We as readers start to see the cracks in the patriarchal reading of the biblical text. Thus the bodies, desires, blissful ambiances, anger, power, struggles of women well up to the surface: women in the Bible, their faces and voices. As she goes mentioning them by their names, Debbie touches off a creative process that helps us to be and stay with them by means of the word, to undermine weighty historic mandates, to dismantle prejudices, to abandon naivety.
Pedagogue and Educator, Social Activist in Argentina
A timely and compelling new look at three key women in the biblical narrative.
Among the mostly male-dominated narratives in Scripture, the stories of women can be game-changing. In this book Debbie Blue looks closely at Hagar (mother of Islam), Esther (Jewish heroine), and Mary (Christian matriarch)—and finds in them unexpected and inviting new ways of navigating faith and life.
As she sets out to explore these biblical characters who live and move in places and ways outside of the strict boundaries of tradition, Blue encounters many real life characters who challenge her expectations and renew her hope—a Muslim tattoo artist, a Saudi Arabian sculptor, a rabbi in a Darth Vader costume, Aztec dancers at a feast of Guadalupe, an Islamic feminist scholar, and more.
Readers who embark with Blue on the sometimes unorthodox, subversive paths of these curious and lively figures will be led to envision more expansive and hopeful possibilities for faith, human connection, and love in our divided, violent world.
From biblical times to today, people have found meaning and significance in the actions and symbolism of birds. We admire their mystery and manners, their strength and fragility, their beauty and their ugliness—and perhaps compare these very characteristics to our own lives in the process.
From the well-known image of the dove to the birds that gorge on the flesh of the defeated “beast” in Revelation, birds play a dynamic part in Scripture. They bring bread to the prophets. They are food for the wanderers. As sacrifices, they are the currency of mercy. They also challenge, offend, devour, and fight.
Highlighting 10 birds throughout Scripture, author Debbie Blue explores their significance in both familiar and unfamiliar biblical stories and illustrates how and why they have represented humanity across culture, Christian tradition, art, and contemporary psyche. With these (usually) minor characters at the forefront of human imaginations, poignant life lessons illuminate such qualities as desire and gratitude, power and vulnerability, insignificance and importance—and provide us with profound lessons about humanity, faith, and God's mysterious grace.
Many Christians sense that their encounters with the Bible are supposed to be deep, life-forming, and powerful, but that isn't always the case. They may be overly familiar with the text to the point of finding it predictable, or they may be disillusioned with the church. Too often, and for a variety of reasons, believers make the Bible an idol and unwittingly turn the Word into stone.
Author and pastor Debbie Blue helps readers discover how to turn the stone back into living Word. She first gives general guidelines for letting the Bible breathe, then looks at the Bible's main themes as dynamically encouraging and challenging. Blue frees believers from dumbed-down spirituality as she reveals that the Word is alive and thrilling.
Debbie Blue approaches scripture like a farm wife handles a chicken, carefully but not delicately, thoroughly but not exactly cautiously. Debbie sees tangled questions about a God who gets a body. Though religion often abstracts, the story of Christ is the opposite. God becomes physical. God is made human in the womb of Mary and born through the birth canal.
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