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There would be no Moses, no crossing of the Red Sea, no story of breaking the chains of slavery if it weren’t for the women in the Exodus narrative. Women on both sides of the Nile exhibited a subversive strength resisting Pharaoh and leading an entire people to freedom. Defiant explores how the Exodus women summoned their courage, harnessed their intelligence, and gathere There would be no Moses, no crossing of the Red Sea, no story of breaking the chains of slavery if it weren’t for the women in the Exodus narrative. Women on both sides of the Nile exhibited a subversive strength resisting Pharaoh and leading an entire people to freedom. Defiant explores how the Exodus women summoned their courage, harnessed their intelligence, and gathered their resources to enact justice in many small ways and overturned an empire. Women find themselves in similar circumstances today. The Women’s March stirred the conscience of a nation and prompted women to organize with and for their neighbors, it is worth reflecting on the resistance literature of Exodus and what it has to offer women.  Defiant is about the deep work women do to create conditions for liberation in their church, community, and country. The women of Exodus defied Pharaoh, raised Moses, and plundered Egypt. We are invited to consider what the midwives, mothers of Moses, Miriam, Zipporah and her sisters demonstrate under the oppressive regime of Pharaoh and what it might unlock for us as we imagine our mandate under modern systems of injustice.  Kelley Nikondeha presents a fresh paradigm for women, highlighting a biblical mandate to join the liberation work in our world. Women’s work involves more than tending to our own family and home. According to Exodus, it moves us beyond the domestic territory and into relationship with women across the river, confronting injustice and working to liberate our neighborhoods so all mothers and children are free. Nikondeha calls women to continue to be active agents in heralding liberation as we organize and march together for one another’s freedom.


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There would be no Moses, no crossing of the Red Sea, no story of breaking the chains of slavery if it weren’t for the women in the Exodus narrative. Women on both sides of the Nile exhibited a subversive strength resisting Pharaoh and leading an entire people to freedom. Defiant explores how the Exodus women summoned their courage, harnessed their intelligence, and gathere There would be no Moses, no crossing of the Red Sea, no story of breaking the chains of slavery if it weren’t for the women in the Exodus narrative. Women on both sides of the Nile exhibited a subversive strength resisting Pharaoh and leading an entire people to freedom. Defiant explores how the Exodus women summoned their courage, harnessed their intelligence, and gathered their resources to enact justice in many small ways and overturned an empire. Women find themselves in similar circumstances today. The Women’s March stirred the conscience of a nation and prompted women to organize with and for their neighbors, it is worth reflecting on the resistance literature of Exodus and what it has to offer women.  Defiant is about the deep work women do to create conditions for liberation in their church, community, and country. The women of Exodus defied Pharaoh, raised Moses, and plundered Egypt. We are invited to consider what the midwives, mothers of Moses, Miriam, Zipporah and her sisters demonstrate under the oppressive regime of Pharaoh and what it might unlock for us as we imagine our mandate under modern systems of injustice.  Kelley Nikondeha presents a fresh paradigm for women, highlighting a biblical mandate to join the liberation work in our world. Women’s work involves more than tending to our own family and home. According to Exodus, it moves us beyond the domestic territory and into relationship with women across the river, confronting injustice and working to liberate our neighborhoods so all mothers and children are free. Nikondeha calls women to continue to be active agents in heralding liberation as we organize and march together for one another’s freedom.

30 review for Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom

  1. 4 out of 5

    D.L. Mayfield

    Gorgeous prose, deep theological insights, and the 12 (often forgotten) women of Exodus. Kelley Nikondeha is one of my favorite theologians, both for her rich insight and her work as an on-the-ground practitioner of liberation. This book is a must-read for our times which currently require not a small amount of defiance in the face of injustice and evil.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is a work of passion; borne out of time spent pondering ideas of liberation drawn from the Hebrew enslavement in Egypt. The author found a sole mate in Miriam which echoed with her own appreciation of Mary, the mother of Jesus and her expression of faith and God’s will as declared in the Magnificat. Over time the wider role of the women in the Exodus story leading to the crossing of the Red Sea became her focus. The author argues the value of women in each step of the role of Moses in leading This is a work of passion; borne out of time spent pondering ideas of liberation drawn from the Hebrew enslavement in Egypt. The author found a sole mate in Miriam which echoed with her own appreciation of Mary, the mother of Jesus and her expression of faith and God’s will as declared in the Magnificat. Over time the wider role of the women in the Exodus story leading to the crossing of the Red Sea became her focus. The author argues the value of women in each step of the role of Moses in leading the exodus. No only we’re their stories often brief but the spiritual value of their intervention is often ignored. Encourage to turn these thoughts and earlier sermons Kelley was led to write those ideas into this book. The result is a theological masterpiece placing the response and contribution of the women to the fore. Although based on the scriptures the imagination of the author reflected in her own life, experiences, biblical and spiritual journey allows her interpretation to be inspirational and motivational to all readers, especially women to realise their essential work in bringing social justice and freedom to our communities. Furthermore, although the role is best seen in co-operation with other sisters a woman compliments and endorses the ministry of men. This is taking the conservative positions of tradition women in church work behind the scenes and refuting such passive occupations to enlist a female cohort into a movement of liberation. As a bloke you would feel I might find this writing unsettling and not intended to my ears. I believe we are all saved in Christ and renewed into a body that needs all its parts functioning. I therefore believe the work is shared and Kelley outlines some strong agreements over gender roles beyond motherhood where women are key. She points out repeatedly how Moses’ life was saved by actions only women could take. I therefore enjoyed seeing this event with a fresh perspective and it brought a rich blessing. I love the honesty and integrity of this piece. The strength and support the author drew from friends and her partner. I found her book, easy to read with clear and re-enforced arguments. She draws from her own experiences, personal history and recent historical events. She champions the place of women in these news worthy events that perhaps fail to share the fuller truth. From NASA to Black lives matter. From Israel to Burundi and the inequalities in North America displaying social injustice, displaced peoples and inequality based on sex, race etc. I also liked that although this is an intelligent book with strong ideas and political ideals the writing is grounded in faith and motivated by scripture. At the end there are notes with 4-6 questions on each chapter. This is good for groups to work through and see need and opportunities within their own sphere of influence. It does show an openness not to just dictate but bring prayerful study to the original account in Exodus. In this way each reader will find consensus within a shared mission or personal calling to acknowledge privilege and see where God is leading one to pray and serve the Kingdom.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I can not recommend this book. While the accounts of modern women working for liberation and several of the liberation concepts explored were excellent, much of the source material the author grounds her concepts and stories in comes from her own imaginings about the women of Exodus—imaginings she seems to consider on par with divine revelation. She would have been better to split this content into two books: one on the modern day women working for liberation and how they are fulfilling biblical I can not recommend this book. While the accounts of modern women working for liberation and several of the liberation concepts explored were excellent, much of the source material the author grounds her concepts and stories in comes from her own imaginings about the women of Exodus—imaginings she seems to consider on par with divine revelation. She would have been better to split this content into two books: one on the modern day women working for liberation and how they are fulfilling biblical liberation concepts, and one that is the historical fiction novel she is trying to present here as close to—if not actually—biblical fact.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Hay

    Decades ago in Egypt, thousands of people were slaves under the ruler, Pharaoh. These people, the Israelites, were miraculously released from bondage and started a 40-year trek across the wilderness to their new land. Most writings about this time tell us about Moses, the leader and his brother Aaron with little mention of the women who made this journey. Kelley Nikondeha changes this in her new book, Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom . Kelley tells us about twelve women, Decades ago in Egypt, thousands of people were slaves under the ruler, Pharaoh. These people, the Israelites, were miraculously released from bondage and started a 40-year trek across the wilderness to their new land. Most writings about this time tell us about Moses, the leader and his brother Aaron with little mention of the women who made this journey. Kelley Nikondeha changes this in her new book, Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom . Kelley tells us about twelve women, each with a critical role. Shiphrah and Puah were midwives who were ordered to kill every boy who was born but didn’t. Miriam, Moses’ sister rescued him from certain death. Read further how ten other women, many who were never named, made decisions and took chances that saved the lives of their people Ubuntu is a South African word that teaches I am because you are. Kelley shows how ubuntu runs through the lives of these women who influence others even decades later. They had no idea how the small things they did would change so many lives. This interconnection of women was a contributing factor in the future of all people. Kelley Nikonedha helps us fill in the gaps that have been missing for decades by looking at the lives of the women who influenced history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Imes

    Nikondeha's prose is captivating. She explores the stories of the women of the exodus with vivid imagination, weaving them together with stories of activist women around the world today. Her retelling of the biblical text is rooted in scholarly research but she goes far beyond what we know to write about what might have been. Such work is what Wilda Gafney called "sanctified imagination." I am a biblical scholar by training and by trade, and I usually found her reconstruction of events plausible Nikondeha's prose is captivating. She explores the stories of the women of the exodus with vivid imagination, weaving them together with stories of activist women around the world today. Her retelling of the biblical text is rooted in scholarly research but she goes far beyond what we know to write about what might have been. Such work is what Wilda Gafney called "sanctified imagination." I am a biblical scholar by training and by trade, and I usually found her reconstruction of events plausible and inspiring, though I do not always imagine these events in the same ways. Nikondeha has made me think. More importantly, she models the way Scripture is meant to provoke us to action, waking us from our slumber. The women of the exodus stare us down, challenging us to follow their example by working subversively to end injustice in our day. It is a timely word.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara Hillegass

    Nikonheha does a masterful job at adding color and dimension to the stories of the women in Exodus, maintaining the integrity of culture and time. Intertwining stories of modern-day women of dignity and courage leaves the reader empowered to stand up to the evil and corrupt structures of today.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    When we think of the Book of Exodus, we immediately go to Moses, and for good reason. He is the lead character in the story. He is the one whom God calls to lead the people out of Egypt and toward freedom. While this is true, women play an essential role in the story. It's not just a background role, it is a definitive role. Without the women in the Exodus story, there would be no exodus. Kelley Nikondeha is a skilled and thoughtful storyteller who serves with her husband as the co-director for When we think of the Book of Exodus, we immediately go to Moses, and for good reason. He is the lead character in the story. He is the one whom God calls to lead the people out of Egypt and toward freedom. While this is true, women play an essential role in the story. It's not just a background role, it is a definitive role. Without the women in the Exodus story, there would be no exodus. Kelley Nikondeha is a skilled and thoughtful storyteller who serves with her husband as the co-director for Communities of Hope in Burundi. In that position, she also serves as chief story-teller. As revealed in her earlier book Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World. She continues that same ability to weave personal stories with biblical story to create a compelling narrative that enlightens and inspires. In her earlier book, Nikondeha shares her own story of being adopted and of being an adoptive parent, explored the concept of adoption in the Bible. Here, she focuses her attention on the Exodus narrative, teasing out the stories of the women of Exodus. But this is not just about a book in the Bible, it is a book about women, biblical or otherwise, who push boundaries to bring freedom to their communities. In reading the book you will discover insight into the biblical book of Exodus, but also into the strength displayed by women who give themselves to the pursuit of freedom. In this book, Nikondeha offers the women in the Book of Exodus as archetypes for modern women. At one level, she writes that women "can defy the pharaoh's (and pharaonic policies) of our day; we can subvert ordinary tasks for salvific purpose; we can organize for resistance and work in solidarity to repair our neighborhoods." Secondly, these archetypal women "challenge us to consider our social location." That is, she asks concerning the women in this story, which include Hebrew midwives and Pharaoh's daughter, how social position might influence one's actions. (pp. 6-7). She writes that she engages in this work as both a student of scripture and as "a woman hungry for justice." Both are evidenced in this book. As she begins the story in chapter 1, she seeks to balance the typical story of twelve me with twelve women. There were twelve sons of Jacob, and thus twelve tribes, and more. But here we're asked to imagine twelve women as parallels. But we're introduced not only to biblical women, but also the Batwa women of Burundi, with whom Nikondeha has worked, along with other modern women who have demonstrated courage and leadership. This conversation sets the stage for the rest of the book. We're invited to consider the lives of Shprah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who resisted Pharaoh and saved the lives of male Hebrew babies. There is Jochebed, the mother of Moses, who contributed to freedom by relinquishing her beloved son to the daughter of Pharaoh, all of which was aided and abetted by Moses' older sister Miriam. Then there is Bithiah (she's not named in Scripture, but in Jewish tradition, she was given a name). Thus Pharaoh's daughter, who rejected her father's murderous acts and conspired with Jochabed to save Moses. In other words, she leveraged her privilege. Then there's Miriam, who assisted in the transfer of Moses to Bithiah's care. She might have been young, but she was courageous and thoughtful. In this chapter Nikondeha brings into the conversation the students from Parkland, Florida who stood up for gun laws, bravely taking on the NRA, among other stories. There is a chapter on the relationship between Jochebed and Bithiah, as they conspired together to save Moses, suggesting the power fo motherhood. In this chapter she shares her own story of being an adoptive mother to children from Burundi, mixing her family story with the story Trayvon Martin, and the reality that her own son could have been Trayvon. We move then from Egypt to Midian, where Moses meets the seven sisters, who are strong and determined, herding their flock for their father. Moses will rescue them, but they will teach him as well. The story of the sisters is mixed in with modern stories of women who pushed boundaries, reminding us that women have pushed against injustice. Among those seven sisters was Zipporah, who became Moses' wife, and his savior, when for some reason God attacked him. She is pictured circumcizing their son and using the foreskin to ward off the attack. This leads to a reflection on the story of Mary's anointing of Jesus, which Nikondeha provocatively, but I think rightly suggests anoints Jesus as Messiah. Zipporah and Mary both engage in sacramental, even priestly acts. When Moses and Zipporah return to Egypt, Nikondeha envisions them encountering a Nile Network of neighbors from two sides of the river, linking Hebrew and Egyptian women in a network that resists Pharaoh. It is this network that leads to the Hebrew women gaining access to Egyptian good for the exodus. This invites us to consider the freeing power of neighborliness. Finally, we come to a chapter titled "Descendants of Miriam." Here she reminds us that Miriam was a partner with her brothers in moving out of Egypt. Nikondeha pictures Miriam leading the singing and dancing as the Hebrews crossed through the Reed Sea. While Moses may have led the singing, Nikondeha notes that there is good reason to believe that it was Miriam who wrote the songs. Along the way she played the drums. Miriam, as noted here, is the first woman to be declared a prophet. She is the forerunner of those who beat the drums of freedom in the ages to come. This is one of those books that will open one's eyes to the broader movements of scripture, bringing forth persons who normally are left in the background, giving them a voice in the story. As a good storyteller, she knows how to weave ancient and modern stories into a compelling narrative. You will want to read it. You may well want to study it in groups. With that in mind, the publisher has provided a study guide. I can assure you the Exodus story will never be read the same again after reading it through this lens.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie Ruth

    With the expertise of a theologian and the heart of a storyteller, Kelley Nikondeha introduces us to the oft-forgotten women of the Exodus narrative. The delight and care she takes in telling these women’s stories draws the reader in from the very first sentence. In each of the book’s chapters, Kelley brings a new woman (or group of women) to our attention, weaving scriptural exegesis, artistic narrative, deep reflection, and her own lived experiences to give us a glimpse of these women often sh With the expertise of a theologian and the heart of a storyteller, Kelley Nikondeha introduces us to the oft-forgotten women of the Exodus narrative. The delight and care she takes in telling these women’s stories draws the reader in from the very first sentence. In each of the book’s chapters, Kelley brings a new woman (or group of women) to our attention, weaving scriptural exegesis, artistic narrative, deep reflection, and her own lived experiences to give us a glimpse of these women often shrouded in the pages of patriarchal history and theology. She draws on the work of scholars such as Walter Brueggemann, Wilda C Gafney, and Christina Cleveland as she guides us through the Delta Nile region and introduces us its inhabitants. I grew up reading the Exodus narrative many times over, but I never really saw these women. I knew they were there, but considered them as a side note to the main story. Kelley showed me women who overthrew kingdoms, brought goodness by their calculated disobedience, and collaborated across enemy lines in search of justice. For the first time, I saw myself in the narrative. I imagined myself at the riverbed with Jochebed, pacing the palace corridors with Bithiah, and present with Shiprah and Puah as they birthed life in the midst of a death edict. You will find yourself wanting to join in Miriam’s redemption dance and weep with Zipporah as she intercedes through sacrament. Kelley pictures for us how these women, though individual actors, are all part of a larger network of women working towards collective freedom. The unique part of Kelley’s work is how she is able to succinctly identify the themes that occur throughout the chapters, highlighting the women as powerful movers of the story-line. However Kelley does not finish here, but rather she invites the reader to step into these themes and ponder what it might mean to be an “exodus-strong” woman in today’s world. Using current events, Kelley unpacks the concepts of privilege, justice, and modern womanhood to teach us all important lessons about our need to identify injustice and become involved in resisting pharonic powers wherever they may be. Defiant is powerful and subversive, faithful yet imaginative—a perfect read for these times. This book is an invitation to rediscover the wisdom that this sacred text holds for our modern lives. It is also a celebration of what it means to be a woman caught up in the work of loving God and neighbor. As Kelley shares in the book, “Women create the conditions for liberation”. May it be so, beginning with you and me. *I did receive an advance reader's copy*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    What if we read the Bible with an activated imagination? Through a narrative retelling of the Exodus story, Kelley Nikondeha emphasizes notes of the story not usually stressed as she focuses on key women in the tale. Along the way, Kelley integrates liberation stories of gutsy women activists such as Mahalia Jackson, Emma Gonzalez, Ahed Tamini, Dolores Huerta, Emilie Schindler, Rosa Parks, and many other justice-seeking women. Kelley artfully threads her own unique story as an adopted daughter b What if we read the Bible with an activated imagination? Through a narrative retelling of the Exodus story, Kelley Nikondeha emphasizes notes of the story not usually stressed as she focuses on key women in the tale. Along the way, Kelley integrates liberation stories of gutsy women activists such as Mahalia Jackson, Emma Gonzalez, Ahed Tamini, Dolores Huerta, Emilie Schindler, Rosa Parks, and many other justice-seeking women. Kelley artfully threads her own unique story as an adopted daughter born to a Mexican mother, a mother to two children by adoption, and her intercultural marriage to a man from Burundi. Kelley is a talented writer and intelligent Bible scholar, so readers who appreciate great literature will admire her expertise in storytelling. Of the many women mentioned in the book, I found Kelley’s personal story as compelling as the other women she profiles. More than anything, Defiant is first and foremost a celebration of women. As a former teacher myself, this book would be an excellent resource to discuss in a classroom since students could learn about various women in history who have made an impact through activism. Along with this, people of faith would benefit from reading a book using the Bible as a springboard to discuss personal responsibility as a catalyst for social change. Rather than divorcing social activism and religious faith, this book reflects the value of living out faith in practical ways in society. While some conservative critics may consider the book to be “extra biblical,” or too heavy on creative storytelling, followers of Jesus often need a fresh look at Scripture to resuscitate familiar Bible characters to life. In the case of Defiant, I had never heard of many of the women Kelley focused on, though I’ve read Exodus many times. Growing up in patriarchal church structures, the male pastors rarely preached about women. But as dissection specimens are injected with blue or pink dye, Kelley’s retelling illuminated the hidden women of Exodus, while causing the more-often celebrated men to fade into the background. As a woman used to hearing from and about men, this was extremely refreshing. Defiant is creative, smart, and revolutionary. Not only will you glean new knowledge of old truths as you read, you will be swept away in story and the power that storytelling can achieve in the world.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Naiomi Gonzalez

    Growing up in a society saturated with Bible stories-regardless of one's personal beliefs, or lackthereof, can lead to Biblical stories feeling stale. Many of us have heard or read at least some of the stories in Exodus so many times that it is tempting to believe that there is nothing else to learn from said stories. We've heard it all. However, Kelley Nikondeha's book challenges us to read the stories in Exodus, especially the stories of the women, with fresh and new eyes. Nikondeha uses "theo Growing up in a society saturated with Bible stories-regardless of one's personal beliefs, or lackthereof, can lead to Biblical stories feeling stale. Many of us have heard or read at least some of the stories in Exodus so many times that it is tempting to believe that there is nothing else to learn from said stories. We've heard it all. However, Kelley Nikondeha's book challenges us to read the stories in Exodus, especially the stories of the women, with fresh and new eyes. Nikondeha uses "theological imagination" to enable us to read these very familiar stories in new ways. In the actual Bible text, so many of the stories that incorporate women are quickly glossed over. The women, who are truly main characters, are reduced to background characters. But Nikondeha ensures that these voices are center stage. These women become not just static secondary characters but living, breathing people with very real concerns and fears. The women are presented as actors of liberation not because they lacked fear but because they were afraid and acted anyway. In addition to exploring Biblical stories, Nikondeha tells the stories of women from contemporary history and from the present to point out that women are still engaging in the vital work of liberation. Women continue to be a motivating force from change. She brings in stories of women from throughout the world and the United States to demonstrate that women are vital to peace and justice work. Women, in Biblical times, and into the present, are fighting against violence and oppression in all their forms. Defiant is a great, captivating read. Nikondeha's writing style is engaging and she does a great job of giving voice to women that are so often ignored and overlooked. If you are looking to read the stories of Exodus in a new way, please pick up a copy of Defiant.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nora Hacker

    The title kind of says it all. It's a book about the women in the book of Exodus and what their stories can teach us about pursuing freedom and liberation now in our time. I can't imagine not being excited by that topic! The book did not disappoint. As we weaved through the stories of Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, and Miriam we heard stories of modern day women prophets leading people to pursue justice in our capitalistic, white supremacist world. And we were inspired and encouraged to find our own The title kind of says it all. It's a book about the women in the book of Exodus and what their stories can teach us about pursuing freedom and liberation now in our time. I can't imagine not being excited by that topic! The book did not disappoint. As we weaved through the stories of Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, and Miriam we heard stories of modern day women prophets leading people to pursue justice in our capitalistic, white supremacist world. And we were inspired and encouraged to find our own place in the drum line of justice. I'd say this book is a great choice for anyone who reveres the Hebrew Bible and wants their justice work to be inspired by their sacred texts. Anyone who still struggles to see how the Bible preaches liberation and justice for all would find some valuable insights, too, as would anyone still pondering if social justice advocacy has anything to do with Christianity. My favorite part, especially during this current time of social upheaval due to COVID19, was about "the Nile Network" and the need for neighborly relationships for real, imaginative, change to be enacted. "Could it be that when our hearts turn toward one another and we see injustice and the cost it exacts, we might even recognize our own complicity and seek to right the wrong?...The divestment becomes a way to being restoration for oppressed and oppressor alike. The former Hebrew slaves leave with seed for their emancipated life outside Egypt--with the means to begin again--while the oppressor, through reparative giving, is freed from the chokehold of complicity." Defiant, p 160 I was given an advanced reader copy to read before release date.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Stephens

    For such a time as this…Defiant invites us to find our own place in the story of Exodus and deeply calls us to imagine and reimagine our roles in the work of liberation and freedom for all. Considering the disruption our world is currently facing, we desperately need voices that remind, empower, and inspire a new imagination for what is possible when we recognize our freedom and healing is tied up with one another. I was initially introduced to Kelly Nikondeha’s work through her book Adopted – T For such a time as this…Defiant invites us to find our own place in the story of Exodus and deeply calls us to imagine and reimagine our roles in the work of liberation and freedom for all. Considering the disruption our world is currently facing, we desperately need voices that remind, empower, and inspire a new imagination for what is possible when we recognize our freedom and healing is tied up with one another. I was initially introduced to Kelly Nikondeha’s work through her book Adopted – The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World. It radically challenged and expanded my understanding of adoption during our family’s own adoption journey. Therefore I could not wait for the release of her new book Defiant. Kelly tenderly yet boldly dives deep into the Exodus narrative to uncover profound insight into the lives of the women that helped cultivate and prepare the way for liberation. I found myself caught up into this familiar story in unexpected ways that inspired and challenged me to consider the small and big ways that I can help create conditions for freedom that confront pharaonic forces in this day and time. I highly recommend this book. Gather and read alongside with others that can dream and partner with you in exploring the ways God is calling us forward in the work of liberation and freedom and healing and creation. You will not be disappointed!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily Anderle

    Yesterday, Donald Trump vowed to use the military on his own people in order to restore law and order and then held up a Bible to pose for a photo. Today I finished reading “Defiant.” If there was ever a time when we needed this book, it is right now! If you looked at that photo of Trump, you might be tempted to think that the Bible endorses a national religion designed to keep the powerful in power. Kelley Nikondeha shows us that that you would be wrong. Far from being a book used to maintain l Yesterday, Donald Trump vowed to use the military on his own people in order to restore law and order and then held up a Bible to pose for a photo. Today I finished reading “Defiant.” If there was ever a time when we needed this book, it is right now! If you looked at that photo of Trump, you might be tempted to think that the Bible endorses a national religion designed to keep the powerful in power. Kelley Nikondeha shows us that that you would be wrong. Far from being a book used to maintain law and order, the Bible tells a powerful story of a great reversal. The Bible contains the subversive stories and songs that fuel the movement when liberation seems so far away. Nikondeha doesn’t merely retell the exodus stories. She puts the women at the center of the story and shows how the movement, God’s great rescue, would not have been possible without the women. From Moses’s sister, mother, and adoptive mother, to Zipporah, and even the Egyptian neighbors who financed the flight from Egypt, the women are key birthing, raising, and sustaining the movement. Nikondeha also connects modern day organizers to the story, showing how we are descendants of these powerful women. She calls us to big and small acts that overthrow all the pharaonic forces in the world today and to enlarge our vision of justice and shalom.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erica Woudstra

    This book is beautifully written. It takes the reader on a journey through Exodus from the eyes of the women. Kelly uses Prophetic Immagination to bring to life the lives and stories of the women of Exodus wand weaves it together with modern women who are undertaking the same drive for justice and liberation. This quote sums up well the trajectory of the book: We are all Miriam's descendants with work to do, songs to sing and liberation to practice until every pharaoh is dethroned and every capti This book is beautifully written. It takes the reader on a journey through Exodus from the eyes of the women. Kelly uses Prophetic Immagination to bring to life the lives and stories of the women of Exodus wand weaves it together with modern women who are undertaking the same drive for justice and liberation. This quote sums up well the trajectory of the book: We are all Miriam's descendants with work to do, songs to sing and liberation to practice until every pharaoh is dethroned and every captive set free. Women are not the soft side of church work. We aren't meant to educate only women and children. We are not serving well only when we are supporting the men in leadership. We are called to be Exodus strong and to work alongside men to set people on both sides of the Nile free from slavery, complicity, and all manner of injustice. Liberation work is part of our Exodus mandate.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Julian

    Throughout this book, Kelley Nikondeha encourages and challenges us, as women, to lean into defiance of empire, which is oppressive to the marginalized, in order to help bring about freedom and life. This is not to downplay the role men have, but to underscore the fact that women are essential for deliverance to take place. One nugget of gold I am carrying away from this read is that bridges can be forged between the privileged and the marginalized, and that these bridges form the road for freedom Throughout this book, Kelley Nikondeha encourages and challenges us, as women, to lean into defiance of empire, which is oppressive to the marginalized, in order to help bring about freedom and life. This is not to downplay the role men have, but to underscore the fact that women are essential for deliverance to take place. One nugget of gold I am carrying away from this read is that bridges can be forged between the privileged and the marginalized, and that these bridges form the road for freedom for both sides of the river. She brilliantly weaves current stories from various global contexts with holy imagination of the biblical stories of the women of Exodus with astute exegesis. I have already been encouraging leaders at my church and the *learning to be defiant* women's groups I'm a part of to read this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Deam

    A lot of us are familiar with the story of Exodus, but not with the *women* of Exodus. We may remember young Miriam, but what about Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, and Zipporah? I grew up going to church and reading the Bible but never *really* noticed these women. Kelley Nikondeha draws our attention to them and to their important work of liberation -- of freedom. The Exodus wouldn't have happened without them. I'm grateful to Nikondeha for giving me this perspective. I also love the way that Nikondeh A lot of us are familiar with the story of Exodus, but not with the *women* of Exodus. We may remember young Miriam, but what about Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, and Zipporah? I grew up going to church and reading the Bible but never *really* noticed these women. Kelley Nikondeha draws our attention to them and to their important work of liberation -- of freedom. The Exodus wouldn't have happened without them. I'm grateful to Nikondeha for giving me this perspective. I also love the way that Nikondeha interweaves the Exodus narrative with stories of contemporary women and those from other times and places--even us! She's a great storyteller, and learning about other women's lives is so important for understanding the Exodus message of freedom. Highly recommended!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren A Powell

    Fast read for anyone longing to live in the light of liberation! While reading Kelley’s book, I gained an even greater amount of respect for, and insight into, the women whose’ stories and bravery are so beautifully captured in the book of Exodus and maximized so eloquently and fearlessly within the awe-inspiring pages of Defiant! A MUST READ of our time, seated in the midst of the #metoo & #churchtoo era and movement and necessarily affront the continued patriarchal backdrop of our societal sys Fast read for anyone longing to live in the light of liberation! While reading Kelley’s book, I gained an even greater amount of respect for, and insight into, the women whose’ stories and bravery are so beautifully captured in the book of Exodus and maximized so eloquently and fearlessly within the awe-inspiring pages of Defiant! A MUST READ of our time, seated in the midst of the #metoo & #churchtoo era and movement and necessarily affront the continued patriarchal backdrop of our societal system. Thank you to Kelley, and other brave women, who write the truth at all cost and do so with intellect and might. We applaud you, become inspired by your words, therefore; committing to read and reread your revolutionary books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom is, at its heart, a book about liberation theology seen through the lives of the women of Exodus. What I love about this book is that it shines a light on the stories of the women who made the liberation of Israel possible while also walking us through ways we can become involved in the work of justice happening around us today. Kelley Nikondeha does a beautiful job of weaving the stories of the Exodus women with stories of liberation work Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom is, at its heart, a book about liberation theology seen through the lives of the women of Exodus. What I love about this book is that it shines a light on the stories of the women who made the liberation of Israel possible while also walking us through ways we can become involved in the work of justice happening around us today. Kelley Nikondeha does a beautiful job of weaving the stories of the Exodus women with stories of liberation workers throughout history. She also shares personal anecdotes of her journey to understanding Jesus's heart for the oppressed. As a mother to two young girls, I am thankful that this book is will be waiting for them in a few short years.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tristan Sherwin

    What a beautifully written, powerful exposition of the Exodus, rightly highlighting the roles of the women who were so vital in birthing and prophetically nurturing the liberation of a nation. *Defiant* is an immersive experience, as Nikondeha weaves her personal journey, along with the inspirational stories of other women across the globe, with the narrative of Exodus, drawing us into the waters of deliverance and into a renewed way of seeing justice and the dream of God. Her prose pulsates with What a beautifully written, powerful exposition of the Exodus, rightly highlighting the roles of the women who were so vital in birthing and prophetically nurturing the liberation of a nation. *Defiant* is an immersive experience, as Nikondeha weaves her personal journey, along with the inspirational stories of other women across the globe, with the narrative of Exodus, drawing us into the waters of deliverance and into a renewed way of seeing justice and the dream of God. Her prose pulsates with liberty and life, leaving the reader not only filled with a greater awareness, but with a real sense of hope. —Tristan Sherwin, author of Living the Dream? :The Problem with Escapist, Exhibitionist, Empire-Building Christianity

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    Defiant is a beautiful piece of writing, broken into bite-sized pieces within the chapters that appears to be well researched . It carefully ties together the courage, vision, and fortitude of these seven women in Exodus with more contemporary examples and indeed with women presently. It is inspiring and encouraging in a time when so many are saying, "No more. Women are to be leading side by side with men, not in the recesses of patriarchy." One of my favorite quotes, "That is how to take our pr Defiant is a beautiful piece of writing, broken into bite-sized pieces within the chapters that appears to be well researched . It carefully ties together the courage, vision, and fortitude of these seven women in Exodus with more contemporary examples and indeed with women presently. It is inspiring and encouraging in a time when so many are saying, "No more. Women are to be leading side by side with men, not in the recesses of patriarchy." One of my favorite quotes, "That is how to take our privilege and put it to work...put it in service to others that society refuses to see or hear." (p. 74) [ I received an advance copy from publisher.]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Kelly is one of my favorite theologians, but not a classroom theologian, although she’d certainly hold her own in any classroom, but a let’s wrangle through the scripture together over coffee theologian. She’s a let’s grapple through the hard questions that matter to our lives and those around us theologian. She has this way of taking the stories of these ancient women and makes them come alive. If you’re like me and you like your theology with feet on it Kelly takes the stories of the Exodus wo Kelly is one of my favorite theologians, but not a classroom theologian, although she’d certainly hold her own in any classroom, but a let’s wrangle through the scripture together over coffee theologian. She’s a let’s grapple through the hard questions that matter to our lives and those around us theologian. She has this way of taking the stories of these ancient women and makes them come alive. If you’re like me and you like your theology with feet on it Kelly takes the stories of the Exodus women and weaves them together to form a network of women called the Nile network...a network I want to be a part of. If finding out what that means sparks something in you Please Read This Book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    Are you a Jochebed, a Bithiah, or a Miriam? Or one of the many other women found in the book of Exodus? Maybe you missed them when you read it, but they are surely there. Kelley Nikondeha, in Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom, so beautifully shows us the twelve women who created the conditions for liberation in Egypt, and she shows us how we can do the same today too. This book so powerfully reminds me that women today have all we need in this world to create change, and w Are you a Jochebed, a Bithiah, or a Miriam? Or one of the many other women found in the book of Exodus? Maybe you missed them when you read it, but they are surely there. Kelley Nikondeha, in Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom, so beautifully shows us the twelve women who created the conditions for liberation in Egypt, and she shows us how we can do the same today too. This book so powerfully reminds me that women today have all we need in this world to create change, and we do it just like the women of Exodus, by joining in unlikely partnerships to create conditions for liberation together. You won't want to miss this book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Davis

    Kelley Nikondeha’s book Defiant is a book women, particularly women in Christian circles need right now. For too long the patriarchy has placed women in a corner. Nikondeha tells the story of Exodus and how the liberation of the Israelites could never have been possible without women. Defiant is a book for all who seek liberation. For women, it is empowering. For men, it should serve as a guide, a tool for valuing women and our role in the church, and society. I particularly love how Kelley Niko Kelley Nikondeha’s book Defiant is a book women, particularly women in Christian circles need right now. For too long the patriarchy has placed women in a corner. Nikondeha tells the story of Exodus and how the liberation of the Israelites could never have been possible without women. Defiant is a book for all who seek liberation. For women, it is empowering. For men, it should serve as a guide, a tool for valuing women and our role in the church, and society. I particularly love how Kelley Nikondeha tells stories of women throughout her book. It’s not just a story of Exodus, it’s a story for all of us today.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diana Cissell

    I was thrilled to be introduced to Kelley and her teaching through participating on her launch team and receiving an Advanced Reading Copy of Defiant. This book has opened my eyes to the women of the Exodus story and so much more. Her writing style is a delight as she weaves in and out of the Biblical narrative and present day. It is insightful and hopeful. Women need more books like this one! You could definitely use this for a group read/study or book club as it is packed full of things to thi I was thrilled to be introduced to Kelley and her teaching through participating on her launch team and receiving an Advanced Reading Copy of Defiant. This book has opened my eyes to the women of the Exodus story and so much more. Her writing style is a delight as she weaves in and out of the Biblical narrative and present day. It is insightful and hopeful. Women need more books like this one! You could definitely use this for a group read/study or book club as it is packed full of things to think about, discuss, and inspire you. We are all part of a story and are never too insignificant to play our part.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura Whitfield

    In this exquisitely written and researched book, Nikondeha brings the women of Exodus and their defiant deeds to life—from Pharoah’s daughter Bithiah rescuing Moses from the Nile to midwives Shiphrah and Puah defying Pharoah’s edict to kill. This book is so compelling that you simply have to linger on the page. Nikondeha gives example after example—from the Bible, contemporary figures, and her own experience—of how small acts of defiance have helped change the course of history. She encourages e In this exquisitely written and researched book, Nikondeha brings the women of Exodus and their defiant deeds to life—from Pharoah’s daughter Bithiah rescuing Moses from the Nile to midwives Shiphrah and Puah defying Pharoah’s edict to kill. This book is so compelling that you simply have to linger on the page. Nikondeha gives example after example—from the Bible, contemporary figures, and her own experience—of how small acts of defiance have helped change the course of history. She encourages each of us to consider the ways we can defy systemic strongholds and help bring freedom to those still in bondage. A profound and empowering read. Highly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenni C

    I attended a retreat a few years back and Kelley preached Exodus to me in a way I'd never heard it preached before. Looking in the margins and specifically at the women in the story of Exodus brought new life and color to a story I'd been hearing my entire life. I left that weekend changed in a large part because of Kelley's theology. When I saw this book was in the making, I pre-ordered it immediately. I savored my journey through the pages as she unpacked liberation and the subversive spaces w I attended a retreat a few years back and Kelley preached Exodus to me in a way I'd never heard it preached before. Looking in the margins and specifically at the women in the story of Exodus brought new life and color to a story I'd been hearing my entire life. I left that weekend changed in a large part because of Kelley's theology. When I saw this book was in the making, I pre-ordered it immediately. I savored my journey through the pages as she unpacked liberation and the subversive spaces women showed up to change the trajectory of history. What a timely reminder.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Kay

    Well, my first review didn't save so I'll do my best to recap it here. Defiant strikes a wonderful balance between being revolutionary for audiences who are comfortable in their mainstream Christian culture and being a comfort for prodigals or discontents who crave more from theological teachers and church leaders. A great companion for anyone looking to go deeper in their understanding of the Old Testament and specifically for anyone wondering how anything in the OT applies to our present day. Ke Well, my first review didn't save so I'll do my best to recap it here. Defiant strikes a wonderful balance between being revolutionary for audiences who are comfortable in their mainstream Christian culture and being a comfort for prodigals or discontents who crave more from theological teachers and church leaders. A great companion for anyone looking to go deeper in their understanding of the Old Testament and specifically for anyone wondering how anything in the OT applies to our present day. Kelley does a beautiful job of balancing wonder and imagination with scholarship and conviction. The book has the comforting yet challenging tone of a beloved mentor. Would be a great book for group study, as it's accessible for all levels of readers and offering a great mix of biblical scholarship with current discipleship.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Holyn

    4.5 stars Defiant is a work of heart, of deep thinking, of connection to God’s Spirit. Kelley takes womanist and mujerista theology, her own understanding of liberation work, and a passion for justice and uses these lenses (along with other deeper Biblical research) to examine the stories of the women we encounter in the book of Exodus. I am delighted, surprised, and challenged. The accompanying study guide questions would easily lead a book club or small group in hours of deep thinking and convers 4.5 stars Defiant is a work of heart, of deep thinking, of connection to God’s Spirit. Kelley takes womanist and mujerista theology, her own understanding of liberation work, and a passion for justice and uses these lenses (along with other deeper Biblical research) to examine the stories of the women we encounter in the book of Exodus. I am delighted, surprised, and challenged. The accompanying study guide questions would easily lead a book club or small group in hours of deep thinking and conversation. This is a book to which I will return and recommend to others.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Reading this book alongside the #BLM events of this week has felt like an out of body experience. There are so many parallels between Israel's liberation from Egypt and the fight for black liberation in America. There's something poignant in knowing that biblical figures fought for justice before you and there is something holy in the protests today. The author says when we protest, we pray with our feet, and tonight, I pray for the spirit of Miriam to raise a church that doesn't sit on the side Reading this book alongside the #BLM events of this week has felt like an out of body experience. There are so many parallels between Israel's liberation from Egypt and the fight for black liberation in America. There's something poignant in knowing that biblical figures fought for justice before you and there is something holy in the protests today. The author says when we protest, we pray with our feet, and tonight, I pray for the spirit of Miriam to raise a church that doesn't sit on the sidelines but defies the powers of Pharoah.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book is a totally new way of reading the Exodus story that highlights the significant contributions of the women and I am SO here for it. It's a mixture of exegesis and imaginative storytelling and I have never read a perspective on the Bible that made me feel so empowered and proud to be a woman. Kelley parallels the stories of the Exodus women with the stories of women working towards liberation and justice in our world today. The writing is full of hope, bold truth, and stories that will This book is a totally new way of reading the Exodus story that highlights the significant contributions of the women and I am SO here for it. It's a mixture of exegesis and imaginative storytelling and I have never read a perspective on the Bible that made me feel so empowered and proud to be a woman. Kelley parallels the stories of the Exodus women with the stories of women working towards liberation and justice in our world today. The writing is full of hope, bold truth, and stories that will keep me thinking for a long time. I loved this and highly recommend it.

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