Book Review: “Streams Run Uphill: Conversations With Young Clergywomen Of Color”, By Mihee Kim-Kort (Judson, 2014) -- By: Kristen Nicole Caldwell

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 29:2 (Spring 2015)
Article: Book Review: “Streams Run Uphill: Conversations With Young Clergywomen Of Color”, By Mihee Kim-Kort (Judson, 2014)
Author: Kristen Nicole Caldwell

Book Review: “Streams Run Uphill: Conversations With Young Clergywomen Of Color”, By Mihee Kim-Kort (Judson, 2014)

Kristen Nicole Caldwell

Kristen Nicole Caldwell is a bishop for the Worldwide Fellowship of Independent Christian Churches, serving as one of the Board of Directors and the diocesan bishop of Ohio. She received a BA in Bible/Preaching from Central Bible College and an MDiv in Biblical Studies from Ashland Theological Seminary. Having studied data from 75 women clergy in 18 denominations, she completed her DMin at Ashland Theological Seminary, writing on “Discovering the Primary Hindrances Women Face in Fulfilling their Call to Ministry.”

The recently published book, Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color, poignantly opens up a whole new world for those of us who still see through the eyes of the dominant culture. The title’s Clergywomen of Color gives a small taste of the experiences these women have faced and continue to face. Yet these women also share much with their Caucasian sisters, such as growing up without seeing a woman preach, encountering shock when announcing they are pastors, loneliness, disrespect by parishioners, internalizing negative perceptions, and disentangling various contradictions.

The primary goal of this book is to amplify the voices of these silent women in order to spark change. Through this book, these women have a platform to speak in their own culture, language and ethos. Each of the ten chapters features a clergywoman of color and may include short sections from Kim-Kort herself, as well as quotations from anonymous clergywomen. The chapters categorically focus on ten struggles: sexism, racism, ageism, community, tokenism, family, legitimacy, finding one’s niche, voice/authority, and calling. Surprisingly, though the title refers to “young” clergywomen, the only references to age concern past experiences that occurred at age thirty, thirty-something, and forty-two (96, 80, 37, respectively).

While the narratives are easy to read, the concepts are profound. These women live with the daily pressure to adapt to the dominant white culture and bury their ethnic heritage. One calls it “playing white” in order to be approved (69). There is an inward struggle between dissolving into the dominant culture and creating space for themselves. Kim- Kort shares that she often vacillated between two extremes in which she would adopt the voice and mannerisms of the group to fit in (losing self) yet would also sometimes speak up, only to feel like an awkward radical (63, 53). Another contributor shares how she lives in a “liminal state” since she does not fully belong in either place (The United States or China) as a Chinese Asian American (79). She lives between both places.

These accounts show...

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