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Work changes women's religious assumptions and devotional lives, a fact that traditional religious institutions, whether Jewish, Protestant, or Roman Catholic, have not understood or responded to adequately up to now. Yet, work is a powerful force shaping women's identities, relationships, volunteer activities, and their sense of meaning. Eminent writer and theologian Claire Wolfteich brings women's changing experiences in the workforce into dialogue with religious leaders, insisting that religious groups need to prepare ministers to understand evolving societal roles. She says: "The church needs spiritual guides who can walk with women as they encounter new tensions, define their identities, wrestle with vocation, and seek to live faithfully with God."
This book offers a broad-based historical perspective, from Rosie the Riveter in World War II, through Betty Friedan and the women's movement, to current models of holiness for women workers, within the church, careers, schooling, and family life. There are examples of the changing lives of women, both cultural and spiritual, as seen against ever-evolving societal norms. It includes personal stories by women of faith as they struggle to redefine their place in the world and their spiritual lives as well as constructive theological insights into questions of vocation, discernment, fragmentation, time, and spiritual models.
There are pastoral guidelines for clergy, spiritual guides, and therapists to understand and help both women and men struggling with new and expanded roles. Navigating New Terrain is recommended for religious groups, pastoral counselors, clergy, and women's groups of all faiths, historians, sociologists, spirituality scholars, and practical theologians, as well as mature women of faith seeking to redefine their private and public commitments.
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