Reviews – Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends


Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends

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Rev. Tony Campolo

Author of Red Letter Christians: A Citizen’s Guide to Faith and Politics

“This book lifts up one of the most important feminists in the last fifty years. Through it we can trace how Letha Dawson Scanzoni challenged evangelicals’ established and theologically legitimated roles for women and perspectives on LGBTQ persons, and then helped foster significant social change. It’s not only the biography of a long neglected history changer, but a description of how one biblically literate scholar helped the church to think in new ways.”

Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison

Associate Dean and Professor at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Building Bridges displays biography at its best, fully encompassing one life, yet written larger than life. The authors deftly set the narrative of Letha Dawson Scanzoni and her pioneering writings on sex and gender to showcase her pivotal challenge to the reigning contours of American evangelicalism. Scanzoni stands tall and courageous in this book, a prophet calling the American church to the biblical stance of justice for all.”

Brian D. McLaren

Author of The Great Spiritual Migratio

“Many think of Letha Dawson Scanzoni above all as a feminist, and that is no doubt legitimate. But I think of her first and foremost as a courageous biblical interpreter, because when I was a young evangelical, I watched her take the same biblical texts that the (white male) evangelical gatekeepers used to oppress others and instead use them to liberate. I admired her courage to differ from the gatekeepers, having no idea that I would eventually walk that same path. This book tells Letha’s story and celebrates her impact. I highly recommend it.”

Dr. Rosalie Beck

Associate Professor at Baylor University

“I have known Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Kendra Weddle for many years, but I have not met Letha Dawson Scanzoni. After reading the book, I wish I knew her. All We’re Meant to Be had a profound influence on my life, moving me toward Christian feminism at a time when that stance was not ‘cool’ on evangelical Christian university campuses. Reading this book reminded me of the journey Letha helped equip me for, and the journeys many women have taken into a worldview that sees people for who they are and values them regardless of race, ethnic identity, gender identity or color. Jann and Kendra have produced a fitting homage to Letha and an excellent review and analysis of the Christian feminist movement. As a church historian, I value their insight into and accurate interpretation of the pilgrimage of Christian women toward equality. I encourage anyone interested in the story of the intertwining of Scanzoni’s life with the development of Christian feminism to read this book. Anyone searching for a good historical presentation of the development of Christian feminism should read this book. It is a fine addition to Christian feminist scholarship.”

Rev. Philip Gulley

Author of If the Church Were Christian

“If time travel were possible, I’d set the dial back two thousand years and place this book in the hands of the early church. Then I would roll the dial forward, stopping every decade to make sure its lessons were remembered. Alas, now I can only hope its prophetic witness is not too late.”

Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Author of Embracing the Other

“Kendra Weddle and Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s book Building Bridges provides an informative and inspirational story of the life and work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni. Letha’s life paves a pathway for a new generation of feminist theologians. This thoughtful biography will stimulate future generations of feminist thinkers in their work and witness.”

Dr. Kristin Kobes Du Mez

Author of A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell

“Kendra Weddle and Jann Aldredge-Clanton provide a deeply personal portrait of the pioneering life and work of evangelical feminist Letha Dawson Scanzoni. Breaking boundaries as she built bridges, Scanzoni fails to fit any of our conventional categories. And this is precisely the point. Her work and witness demand that we rethink our categories and consider instead a paradigm shift when it comes to what it means to embrace an evangelical faith. By telling Scanzoni’s story, this book offers intimate glimpses into the evolution of Christian feminism and of an inclusive faith tradition over the past half century.”

Dr. Mark McLeod-Harrison

Professor at George Fox University

“Great read! This book shows some of the best of the work of the Christian feminist movement and the importance of building bridges and of Letha’s work for a very diverse and broad group of folks! Feminist thought is a joint project, drawing people together to work toward justice. Building Bridges illustrates that truth through tracing the life and work of one of Christian feminism’s most important thinkers and activists. Scanzoni’s Christian feminist publications deeply influenced me while in seminary in the late 70’s. Turns out, I’m not alone. This book shows her influence on thousands. An excellent history and an excellent, must read, for both Christians and others!”

Dr. Amy Oden

Professor at Saint Paul School of Theology

“Thanks to Weddle and Aldredge-Clanton for sharpening the lens on the groundbreaking work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni. Building Bridges documents an often-overlooked revolution in American evangelicalism. Christians seeking to build bridges today on pressing questions of gospel liberation and justice will find here a treasure trove of biblical resources and promising vision.”

Rev. Nancy Wilson

Former Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches

“I am so honored to endorse Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends, by Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Kendra Weddle. This important book places Letha Dawson Scanzoni where she belongs–as a founder of Christian feminism. The authors acknowledge her true context–the history of American religion, women in religion, and a branch of Christian feminism that dared to take on homophobia. This is a neglected story of personal and theological courage that helps us understand our current religious and theological struggles. I appreciate that the authors included some of Scanzoni’s most important essays so that we can hear her voice afresh. Thank you also for lifting up her role as a mentor and friend to so many women theologians, expanding their horizons and multiplying their impact. As a leader in Metropolitan Community Churches for over four decades, I can personally attest to the powerful influences of Scanzoni and her friends, such as Nancy Hardesty and Virginia Mollenkott, on more than one generation of women and men of faith. We are ever in her debt.”

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