Whatever Works

Whatever Works is a unique collection of writing by feminists of diverse faiths from around the world. This anthology combines personal essays, poems and academic musings with the goal of sparking conversations among women of all faith backgrounds. Religion plays a key role in defining and maintaining value systems, and yet it is often disregarded within feminism itself. This book shares the stories of highly diverse women with the hope that we can find collective solutions to the global problems that plague women and girls living under patriarchy.

"The magic of this anthology of women is in its radical reflection that “we are every woman,” and women are NOT the same. We do not need to pretend to sameness in order to express what is most essential about us—that is—our very existence, and our engaged faith experiences. This unique collection has the powerful capacity to remind us of the awe and beauty in diversity without itself becoming a sort of pop culture of Self worship. Each of these stories is True, and each is intimately connected to the lives of the women telling them. Read deeply. Enjoy. Then, tell your own story. That is what this volume invites you to do. I did and I am already a better person for it."
- Dr. Amina Wadud

Praise for Whatever Works: Femininsts of Faith Speak

"Whatever Works is a pioneering and paradigm-shifting must-read book for all women seeking personal empowerment and gender justice around the world. Through essays, personal storytelling, myths and poems, feminist women from diverse faiths from different parts of the world share their struggles and successes, wisdom and insights on creating new pathways for gender equality and social change. Each woman, in her own way, has challenged the status quo within her respective tradition and is using her voice to expand the public discourse on overcoming the expected submission and subordination of women and girls within religion, politics and society as a whole. This book aims to heal the fragmentation that exists withing feminism among women of different faiths so that we can move forward together in solidarity. Finally, a book to unite the sisterhood. The voices in this book are powerful, courageous, thought-provoking and honest. I feel empowered, wiser and more hopeful after reading Whatever Works.This book fills the gap to a very important missing conversation: how feminine spirituality can influence gender equality and social justice around the world. -Tabby Biddle, Author of Find Your Voice: A Woman's Call to Action

“I don't recommend books lightly, but I consider this one a must-read. The essays, by feminists from a number of countries and faiths (or non-faiths) are powerful That's not to say I agree with everything expressed. As Trista says, '..if there aren't at least several writings here that either challenge you or leave you feeling deeply uncomfortable, I have not accomplished what I set out to do.' She wants the reader to think about his or her attitudes toward female roles in religion, to recognize and appreciate the diversity of those roles, and to consider how they are changing. Some essays are rough and gritty, others polished and academic; but every voice expresses intense feeling. Don't miss Whatever Works. It's excellent. -Marilyn McFarlane, Author of Sacred Myths: Stories of World Religions

“People of faith are often taught that there are certain building blocks of religion that you don’t mess with—to even entertain picking them up and turning them over in your mind approaches heresy. In many faiths, including my own, one of these building blocks is the idea that God is always and only male. Entering into a feminist dialogue as a person of faith asks you to confront this idea, to dust it off and wonder why it has been deemed unacceptable. And when you do, all heaven breaks loose—you encounter the Divine Feminine. Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak brings together women who have encountered the Divine Feminine in a variety of faiths, creating a deeply necessary and deeply moving dialogue. It is a book that will feed you, challenge you, comfort you, and teach you.

Here, you will encounter the Divine Feminine as experienced by Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Goddessians, and others—for the experience of the Divine Feminine is as varied as faith itself. You will find tirades against the restrictive practices of patriarchy within a variety of religions, and you will find lullabies and stories and myths, spoken in Her voice. You will hear the stories of women who have been abused in the name of God, and you will hear stories of transcendence, the work of the Divine Feminine in the world. You might find things that make you uncomfortable: there is anger here, and there is deep questioning, and there is pain. This is a human book, a female book—a book that weaves together the voices of women from all over the globe, of all faiths and no faith. This is a book whose time has come.

Too often, faith is left out of feminist conversation. It is as though the taboo around the Divine Feminine is so strong that we cede this ground, unconsciously—and those who speak politically of God speak only of the patriarchal God, and only of why He requires submission from women. Whatever Works reveals the feminine aspect of God and asks us to bring Her into our hearts and to do the work right in front of us, in our own communities, so that Her healing force can begin its transformative work.” -Elizabeth Hall Magill, Author of Defining Sexism in the U.S.

“Trista Hendren is an international treasure. Her previous books have explored the sacred feminine with beautiful images and embodied wisdom from many of the world's leading feminist thinkers, writers, artists and activists. This book goes deeper into the spiritual expression of women from around the world by providing a platform for women of faith to speak in their own voices. The diversity and complexity within these pages reveals a legacy of spiritual wisdom that reaches back to the very origins of human history and may quite possibly provide a way forward for our species to restore balance to a dying world.

Andrew D. Gurevich, Host of On the Block Radio with Andrew Gurewich

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