#18. Review by Ann Byle at The Banner on 11/2/20.
from the review: Stories taken from real life . . . are juxtaposed with biblical stories that highlight principles and examples that can help church leaders navigate the muddy waters of abuse and assault. Many of the examples—biblical and contemporary—are awful, painting pictures of coverups, ignorance, misplaced trust, and too-easy forgiveness. Some are beautiful pictures of healthy honesty and accountability.
#17. Review by April Yamasaki at When You Work for the Church on 9/28/20.
from the review: this book is also a must-read for . . . anyone who works for the church whether employed or as a volunteer, to be aware of sexual abuse and misconduct in the church and how best to respond. . . . it offers insights from Scripture, raises excellent questions, and points the way forward with practical, concrete actions for denominations and congregations. It is absorbing, honest, empowering, hopeful, and much more.
#16. Review by Robert Trube at Bob on Books on 6/29/20.
from the review: Everhart’s book ought to be a must-read for every church governance board. The church in the greatest danger is the one that says, “it won’t happen here.” . . . Those are the ones that wittingly or unwittingly create a culture where abuse can continue unchecked–until the reckoning.
#15. Review by Windy Cooler at Friends Journal on 6/1/20.
from the review: The #MeToo Reckoning is vital reading for Friends concerned with the well-being of our meetings, schools, and other Quaker institutions.
#14. Review by Diane Roth at Englewood Review of Books on 5/6/20.
from the review: One of the arresting metaphors she uses in one chapter of the book is about infection. Perhaps because we are in the middle of fighting a novel virus right now, these questions leap out at me: How does the church fight infection? And why do we succumb to it sometimes?
#13. Review by Charlotte Lohrenz at The Presbyterian Outlook on 4/17/20.
from the review: “The #MeToo Reckoning” is essential for those in pastoral leadership. It asks us to hear the stories of those who are deeply impacted by the church’s complicity and the scriptural mandate to do better. It provides the beginnings of a framework on which to analyze one’s functioning and participate in building safer systems in our congregations and the larger church. Additionally, Everhart’s use of Scripture to model compassion for the vulnerable and gird the loins of both victim and ally will be useful fodder for many preachers. . . . Everhart has done the church of Jesus Christ an extraordinary service. “The #MeToo Reckoning” might help move the church further along the long arc of justice.
#12. Review by Jon Little at Sojourners on 4/2/20.
from the review: More than an expose on abuse in American churches, The #MeToo Reckoning provides a way forward for churchgoers and church leaders alike. . . . Whether American churches will heed Everhart’s call remains to be seen. Given their current, feeble response to the larger #MeToo movement, I am far from optimistic. But pessimism will do nothing to make our churches and communities braver and safer spaces; reading and sharing The #MeToo Reckoning might.
#11. Review by Johanna Stiebert at The Shiloh Project, Leeds, UK on 4/2/20.
from the review: This is not the kind of book I usually pick up but I’m glad I did. Why might I not have picked it up? The author, Ruth Everhart, is a Presbyterian pastor, and she writes of Jesus as a presence and of the Bible as instrumental in addressing sexual abuse and misconduct in today’s churches. I am not drawn to church, and for me, doing something “because of Jesus” (the title of one sub-section early on in the book), or treating the Bible as a kind of how-to for protecting the most vulnerable (signified by “the little ones” of Matthew 18), as much as I applaud Everhart’s purpose, is utterly unfamiliar. . . . Moreover, I’ve tended to see the Bible as more part of the problem in matters sexual abuse than part of the solution. . . . It is a book that — much to my own surprise — engaged me; a book I admire and warmly recommend. It has taught me much and given me some insight into new perspectives.
#10. Review by Don Follis at Pastor to Pastor Initiatives on 2/11/20.
from the review: This book should be required reading for all church leaders, who should then insist that their pastors put the book near the top of their reading list.
#9. Review by Lauren D. Sawyer at America: the Jesuit Review on 1/24/20.
from the review: This book is a valuable resource for congregants and lay leaders who may be suspicious of the #MeToo movement and whether it is compatible with the Christian message — one hopes they will be convinced otherwise.
#8. Review by the Reverend Mindi Welton-Mitchell at The Christian Citizen on 1/24/20.
from the review: “The #MeToo Reckoning” is a bold and brave book. Everhart doesn’t shy away from sharing the details. She names names when necessary. She lays out the processes and structures that have failed to protect victims and instead silenced them to protect abusers. Everhart shares the stories and ongoing struggles of those recovering from abuse in the church. While most of the stories are from women, the author also shares the stories of boys who were abused by pastors and leaders, and challenges us to think of what our silence says to boys and men in our churches.
#7. Review by Abby Perry at Collegeville Institute Bearings Online on 1/21/20.
from the review: It is clear that [Everhart] still believes that Jesus brings liberty to the captives, that he stands on the side of the oppressed. And if she can keep speaking up, then I’ll keep reading books like hers and amplifying their message. Her work strengthens my resolve to not the darkness bury me, but to remember that the True Light is coming back into the world, and someday all will be seen, known, and made right.
#6. Review by Kristy Burmeister at Patheos on 1/17/20.
from the review: One of my biggest takeaways was something I should have already known, given my past experiences. The role lay leaders play in these cases can’t be ignored. We like to put all of the blame on ordained leaders, but the laity can cause just as much damage. . . . There’s a significant difference between a victim who was abused by a member of the clergy, but was fully supported by the members of their church, and a victim who was both abused and then abandoned by their entire faith community.
#5. Review by the Reverend Julia Seymour at RevGalBlogPals on 1/16/20.
from the review: Everhart has written the manual — for seminaries, divinity schools, first call education, and continuing education for the church- pastors, lay leaders, judicatories, and even people in the pew — with regard to sexual assault, rape, harassment, misuse of power, and community complicity and community change.
#4. Review by Byron Borger in Hearts and Minds Booknotes on 1/5/20.
from the review: The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity is powerful and readable. The prose is straight forward and captures the reader easily; it is not lurid but neither is it bloodlessly clinical. It is not explicit or graphic but there is some awful stuff reported (if not described in detailed.) It has a pastoral tone of listening well, naming things clearly, caring for victims and of demanding justice. The notion of “complicity” in the book is important, as, like the #metoo movement, has exposed cover-ups and refusal to be honest about all this. Yet, Everhart still loves the church, is a dedicated follower of Jesus and is a Christian leader; she desires the best not only for wounded victims but for our religious institutions and faith communities as well. Shining the light is not an act of vindictiveness but of faithful truth-telling, offered in a spirit of righteousness wanting to make things right. If you care about how women are treated in churches and have a hunch that some of these #metoo concerns are more prevalent than we like to admit, you need to read this book. If you are perhaps a bit naive and can’t quite imagine that youth pastors or ministers or personnel committees or elder boards would commit these kinds of sins (or cover up misbehavior) you have to read The #MeToo Reckoning.
#3. Review by Liz Beyer at CBE Christians for Biblical Equality, undated.
from the review: Despite the book’s painful and difficult subject, The #MeToo Reckoning is well-written, positive, gracious, and engaging. I found myself resonating with every story, and I marked and underlined much of the book, intending to return to sections to think more about them. I especially appreciated the way the author juxtaposed current stories of abuse and the church’s response with biblical stories showing God’s heart toward the vulnerable. Everhart makes it clear that God is deeply grieved by sexual abuse and holds those with power accountable for the abuse of “the least of these.”
I highly recommend this book to anyone — lay people, church leaders, and parachurch leaders alike — who wants to better understand the #MeToo movement and how to make their church or ministry a safer place. I am grateful to Ruth Everhart for being a prophetic truth teller, and I commend IVP for being courageous in publishing this book. I suspect we will never know how many lives will be saved and restored as a result of this book.
#2. Review by Michelle Kidwell at ChristianAuthorChick on 11/27/19.
from the review: I give [The #MeToo Reckoning] five out of five stars.
#1. Review by Pat Jackson at The Heartland Connection.
from the review: I encountered several challenging new concepts in The #MeToo Reckoning: the deliberate way that sexual predators groom not only individual victims but entire congregations; the dynamic of “male fragility” in which powerful abusers become the victim; the frequent premature rush to reconciliation that allows faith communities and denominations to avoid justice; the prospect that confidentiality in sexual abuse cases can slide into secrecy and become accomplices to evil; the sorrowful observation that today many congregations practice a ministry of absence to those who suffer from sexual abuse; and the recognition that the national #MeToo movement is a form of public lamentation in the tradition of the psalms.