Defecting in Place: Women Claiming Responsibility for Their Own Spiritual Lives

Citation: 
Winter, Miriam T., Adair Lummis and Allison Stokes. Defecting in Place: Women Claiming Responsibility for Their Own Spiritual Lives. Crossroad, 1994.
Abstract: 

Defecting in Place: Women Claiming Responsibility for Their Own Spiritual Lives recounts, for the most part in their own words, stories of women who are deeply moved by feminist concerns but have chosen to remain within denominations and congregations which are perceived as oppressive to women. Hence the term “Defecting in Place”: these women act as loyal opposition voicing their concerns through several avenues, while remaining within the church.
The result of a select national survey, followed-up with in-depth interviews, these stories represent women from Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. However, authors Miriam Therese Winter, Adair Lummis, and Allison Stokes note that the women they interviewed do not represent the majority of women in Christian congregations: the researches had selected women with known feminist concerns.
Divided into five chapters, these stories begin with general expressions of feminist concerns from the survey respondents in chapter 1 which also describes the design & purposes of the study. Chapters 2 and 3 explore feminist women’s relationship with the church in terms of their struggle to survive within ecclesiastical systems which they consider to be gender oppressive. These chapters also explore the effect of such long-drawn struggle on women and how it led to their leaving or staying within the church.
The rituals of feminist spirituality groups, and their symbols and alternate liturgies are described in chapters 4; chapter 5 shows how feminist spirituality is related to issues of social justice.
The book concludes with essays written by the consultants to this study, all of which have been luminaries in the field of feminist concerns within the church across denominational lines. These essays portray their reflections on this particular study and attempt to place it within wider feminist concerns.

87