In “Red Lip Theology”, Candice Marie Benbow sets out, for a reader like me (a white woman) to “open new levels of understanding and ideological transformation” and she does it well. This book is primarily autobiographical, broken into subject-driven essays. As such, being an American, Black, Southern Baptist raised, woman is central to each and eye opening to those of us who aren’t. Whilst none of the challenges and heartaches raised were unfamiliar, putting flesh and bone, lived experience to topics such as #BlackLivesMatter, #ChurchToo and others is moving and compelling.
I deeply appreciated her honesty, and vulnerability. She has endured an immense amount and doesn’t shy away from sharing the darkest and hardest elements. She is brave, bold and inspiring. She is also thought-provoking, I may not agree with everything she says but I enjoyed the way she argued her perspective.
If you are looking for a challenging and interesting read, be sure to pick this one! It’s a four out of five on the enJOYment scale.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Convergent Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
From the back cover:
A moving essay collection promoting freedom, self-love, and divine wholeness for Black women and opening new levels of understanding and ideological transformation for non-Black women and allies
“Candice Marie Benbow is a once-in-a-generation theologian, the kind who, having ground dogma into dust with the fine point of a stiletto, leads us into the wide-open spaces of faith.”—Brittney Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage and co-editor of The Crunk Feminist Collection
Blurring the boundaries of righteous and irreverent, Red Lip Theology invites us to discover freedom in a progressive Christian faith that incorporates activism, feminism, and radical authenticity. Essayist and theologian Candice Marie Benbow’s essays explore universal themes like heartache, loss, forgiveness, and sexuality, and she unflinchingly empowers women who struggle with feeling loved and nurtured by church culture.
Benbow writes powerfully about experiences at the heart of her Black womanhood. In honoring her single mother’s love and triumphs—and mourning her unexpected passing—she finds herself forced to shed restrictions she’d been taught to place on her faith practice. And by embracing alternative spirituality and womanist theology, and confronting staid attitudes on body positivity and LGBTQ+ rights, Benbow challenges religious institutions, faith leaders, and communities to reimagine how faith can be a tool of liberation and transformation for women and girls.