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JESUS GIRLS True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical EDITED BY

Hannah Faith Notess

Experience in Evangelicalism Series, volume 1 A partnership between Cascade Books and The Other Journal 9 7 8 - 1 - 60608-541-7 / forthcoming Evangelicals are supposed to be experts at telling their story. From an early age you are expected to have a “testimony,” a story of how God saved you from a life of sin and sadness and gave you a new life of joy and gladness. What happens if you don’t have such a testimony? What if your story just doesn’t fit the beforeand-after mold? What are you supposed to do if your voice is not one usually heard? In these offbeat, witty, and often bittersweet essays, up-and-coming writers tell the truth about growing up female and evangelical. Whether they stayed in the church or not, evangelicalism has shaped their spiritual lives. Eschewing evangelical clichés, idyllic depictions of Christian upbringing, and pat formulas of sinner-tosaint transformation, these writers reflect frankly on childhoods filled with flannel board Jesuses, Christian “rap” music, and Bible memorization competitions. Along the way they find insight in the strangest places—the community swimming pool, Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, and an Indian mosque. Together this collection of essays provides a vividand diverse-portrait of life in the evangelical church, warts and all. CONTRIBUTORS: Jessica Belt Paula Carter Kirsten Cruzen Anne Dayton Kimberly B. George Carla-Elaine Johnson Megan Kirschner Anastasia McAteer Melanie Springer Mock Audrey Molina Victoria Moon

Shauna Niequist Hannah Faith Notess Andrea Palpant Dilley Angie Romines Andrea Saylor Nicole Sheets Shari MacDonald Strong Stephanie Tombari Heather Baker Utley Jessie van Eerden Sara Zarr

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Hannah Faith Notess is the creative writing editor for The Other Journal and was the 2008-2009 Milton Center postgraduate writing fellow at Seattle Pacific University. Her writing has appeared in Image, The Christian Century, and Slate, among other journals. “OK, male Evangelicals . . . it’s time: you need to listen to your sisters, mothers, and daughters. Their voices have been marginalized for too long, and as you’ll see in these pages, they have some tremendous stories to tell (or ‘testimonies to share’). “OK, female Evangelicals . . . it’s time: spread the word on this amazing collection of essays. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think you’ll agree. “OK, non-Evangelicals . . . it’s time: if you thought all Evangelical women were sitting quietly in church or baking casseroles for the next pot-luck, all the while dreaming of the next election in which they can vote right-wing . . . here’s a jolt and a pleasant surprise for you. Another great collection of deep feeling, honest thinking, and splendid writing from the folks at The Other Journal.” —Brian D. McLaren, author of The Secret Message of Jesus “A marvelous writer herself, Hannah Notess has gathered here a circle of riveting storytellers. Speaking from their own experience, these women reframe the ancient religious questions in contemporary language-questions about suffering, sin, and salvation, about the source and purpose and conduct of life. Above all they ask what Christianity meant to them when they were growing up, and what it means to them now. Their answers are as varied and rich as their voices.” —Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Private History of Awe


Jesus Girls (An anthology by Cascade Books)