The Christian Princess Culture* & Books Every Christian Woman Should Read
It’s sad, but I feel obligated to begin this post with a few disclaimers:
- Yes, Men and Women are different. Sometimes we struggle with different things;
- Yes, a Daughter of a King is a Princess, and we should see ourselves as such;
- No, we don’t only ever have to read books that deal immediately with Christianity and our Faith;
- Yes, reading fiction can and does benefit us, and we should avoid texts that may undermine our Faith;
- No, I’m not against Christian Romance;
Books are like pizza. Everyone has their own tastes—genres they enjoy, authors they respect and read easily, topics they find interesting or worthwhile. The idea that every Christian (or every Christian woman) should read the same books seems a bit cookie-cutter to me. Nevertheless, I think this is an important conversation for us to have this morning. Allow me to give you some pretext to the list.
As a general rule, I don’t read books upon recommendation because I am an exquisitely slow reader and I have a ridiculously low “keep my interest” threshold. A sad confession is that I have a great number of books in my library that I’ve started and bookmarked and forgotten somewhere along the way, and so I tend not to get involved with a book unless I can reasonably expect to finish it. Slow readers don’t have time to waste on books they aren’t interested in.
So why would I, having admitted my aversion to book recommendations, expect anyone to consider my own recommendations?
This blog is not about me recommending books to you. It’s not about hoping I can share some life-changing text with you. Books really are like pizza, and I would never tell you that pepperoni is better than a Hawaiian; I would never tell you that hand-tossed is better than deep dish; I would never tell you that red sauce is better than white sauce, or that homemade is better than the local pizzeria, or that square is better than round, or that six slices is better than eight (though it is, because you can actually get more pizza per slice, and who doesn’t want that? If you don’t want more pizza, why are you even reading this?). You are entitled to like and consume the pizza you like.
So what’s the point of this dialogue, if not to recommend books to you?
Rest assured, I will make some recommendations—but not because I think every Christian Woman needs to read all of the books I read.
I’m writing this today because I keep stumbling upon Pinterest lists of books every Christian Woman should read, and I keep finding myself lost somewhere between disappointment and insult. I know, I know—don’t get offended. I guess I will apologize to you now, but… I am offended.
Listen, I get it: Sub-genres matter. There are books that appeal to women and not to men, and vice versa. There are books for children, books for pastors, books for musicians, books for engineers, books for chefs, books for lawyers, books for health care professionals, books for… seriously, the list could go on indefinitely. For every area of life, there is or can be a sub-genre. We are marketed to, you and me.
As Christians, I wonder why that doesn’t bother us just a little bit? Scripture tells us that there’s no difference between Believers. Remember? Neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free…? That doesn’t mean we are not individuals, but in terms of our Christian edification and identity, none of us are really that different from one another.
And so, you see, I’m weary. I’m weary of how little we expect of ourselves as Christian Women. I’m weary of being locked into a tiny square labeled “good Christian Woman.” I’m weary of the insinuation that Christian Women need (and want) a softer, fluffier, easier-to-handle type of literature than Christian Men. Social Media in the last few years seems bombarded with ideas and images about Christian Princesses and I think we take too gentle a meaning of it. We think of a Princess as wearing a fine, beautiful dress; of having a soft canopy bed and a unicorn; of being the desire of all the Princes; of being lovely and graceful. None of these are bad (except, I don’t know—not sure it’s necessary to have a canopy bed, but I’m holding fast to the unicorn idea).
Ladies, it’s time we stopped feeding into this narrative.
Every Christian Woman is in a daily struggle to know Christ, just like every Christian Man. Every Christian Woman desires to be made more into His likeness, just like every Christian Man. Every Christian Woman desires the fellowship of the Body, just like every Christian Man. Every Christian Woman deals with guilt and sin and forgiveness and grace, just like every Christian Man. Every Christian Woman longs after the heart of God, just like every Christian Man. And I daresay, every Christian Woman—every Christian Princess—has the responsibility and authority of bearing her Father’s name (just like Christian Men). Every Christian Woman needs to learn the things of her Father’s Kingdom and be devoted to it (just like Christian Men). Every Christian Woman needs to be prepared to “Reign with Christ,” (just like Christian Men). Every Christian Woman needs to find her identity in her King (just like every Christian Man).
Yet, more than 90% of the books listed on those other sites were specific to Women. I would suggest to you that if 90% of your books are geared toward a group that segregates from half of the Body of Believers, you might need to reevaluate your priorities.
Can we dare to believe that our hearts and minds and spirits are equal to Christian Men even in our intellects and reading habits? Different, yes; differently wired, differently focused; but equal.
What about these books?
- Fox’s Book of Martyrs – John Foxe
- Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton
- The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
- The Pilgrim’s Regress – C.S. Lewis
- Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
- The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning
- The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer
- The Cost of Discipleship – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (if you’re not completely undone and broken apart by the end of the first chapter, you may be frozen in Carbonite)
- Life Together – Deitrich Bonhoeffer
- Soul Cravings – some guy whose name I can never remember (perhaps the best book on fellowship and the need for belonging I’ve ever read)
Sure—this list betrays my own interests, and I do not claim that Every Christian should be reading the books I am reading. I only suggest that it’s time we—as Daughters of a King—start expecting more of ourselves and get a bit more involved in the deeper matters of His Kingdom. You may even be surprised at how much of the message toward the Body deals directly with matters that women tend to struggle with.
*To my knowledge, no one else has used this expression. Therefore, it is now Intellectual Property. Please reference back to my blog if you would like to continue the conversation using my words.