Cover Image: Red Lip Theology

Red Lip Theology

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Member Reviews

Candice Benbow gave me exactly what I needed to read in this book. 

As a girl who has never given her life over to the church, and had a mom liberal enough to never force me to, I have always felt solid in my spirituality but grappled with organized religion d e e p l y  forever. I feel like anyone taking a good look at the inner workings of the church comes away scarred. I said what I said. This book highlights why that may be accurate for women, especially Black women. I also feel like for those in church leadership who read Red Lip Theology and listen to what this sister is laying down, Candice does a pretty good job of highlighting the way forward. Trust me, there needs to be a way forward from the mess and havoc that limited, old-school, reductive church thinking has wrought in the lives of so many. 

Now, I'm down with G.O.D., but I have a lot of long sideways glances for folks who think they know anything about the Entity to lead me a n y w h e r e. I can't. It's a no for me. It's a hard pass for me when folks want to share their thoughts about what they believe that the power/energy that created the UNIVERSE, that created my lineage, that created me believes how I should act or live. I think that that's part of the purpose of this book. Yo, don't let me get started! 

Anyway, I think pointing out the hypocrisy of the church, and attempting to restore (or reimagine) it as a judgement-free place to congregate and celebrate the higher power was the purpose of this book. I felt that her encouraging young women towards living in their truth and putting themselves first, no matter what your church mother, church sister or church father says, was the purpose of this book. It was everything I needed to read, and I loved it. I appreciate her transparency and vulnerability. I think all young Black folks committed to that church living should read it, even if they disagree with some of the takeaways. I think those who have found themselves on the receiving end of negative church encounters, or who have found themselves pushed out of the church due to the judgment of those who were casting stones even tho they were hobbled down with sin, will find deep connection with Red Lip Theology. Candice is creating space. She's carving out space.  

The fact that she shared the realities that her mother faced, contended with and overcame was powerful. The love born between her and her mother highlights the power of God. Her openness in sharing the mistakes that she made, the light and grace that she found within her own learning and explorations in humanity, the freedom she was passed from her mom, as her mom never let up on her, from a place of love, was endearing. 

This book was everything.

Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read an advance copy! 
Red Lip Theology comes out on Jan 11, 2022 - that's right round the corner! You should check it out!
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This book could be described as a brave breath of fresh air because of the holy ground it shakes to the core with its strongly held convictions and thoughts. But it acts more like a rushing hurricane at times as it blasts at long held presumptions and prejudices in a way that rattles the reader’s brain. 

It’s a rollicking conversational ride that races through unaddressed racial issues, and womanist theological assumptions, amongst other things, with whip smart intelligence. These searingly honest essays on endemic racism, feminism, theology, relationships, forgiveness and loss are revealed in all their gritty glory to us.

Whether you agree with her or not, one cannot help but marvel at Ms Benbo’s impassioned voice, and how compellingly she relates her often hard truth to us. It’s also clear that her caring sisterhood is a saving grace for her in the face of various trauma she experienced.

I think this book acts as a salutary wake up call for us all. Though it’s rather controversial and hard to digest in places because it makes us reconsider our preconceived ideas about the topics that are shared. Grateful thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the eARC.
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I found this book to be thought-provoking and the author to be authentic however for me the book borders on being somewhat divisive and contradictory.
   There are some great quotes throughout the book that show the empathy and thoughtfulness of the author. She makes a point of showing her own evolution and exposing dangerous mindsets.
   I realize this is written from the author’s own experiences and perspective, but I believe it’s dangerous to preach a theology that alienates white people by painting them with a stereotypical racial/entitled paintbrush; alienates black men as self-centered and dismissive of black women, alienates black women who adhere to their traditional roles.
   I do agree that religion itself, or church devoid of the character of God is hurtful and doesn’t offer God’s best.
   I find this statement to be absolutely true; “I believe what God wants from us is to create a world where all are free to thrive. Anything less doesn’t represent God’s heart and what God wants for us.”
   However, I think it’s contradictory of this statement; “I want a world where the ones coming behind us don’t have to fear living into their truth.”
   God absolutely wants us to thrive but when it’s based on our own truth, it’s subjective. There is only one absolute truth and within its confines we are not restricted but are freed to live the lives God intended.
    I was given a copy of this book courtesy Convergent Books a division of Penguin Random House through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion of the book.
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I enjoyed reading about Candice's life and perspective on faith. I was very interested in her journey and she was good at letting the reader into her heart and perspective on things. I felt like she covered a lot in the ways of racism, sexism, faulty church doctrine etc. I really wished she would have gone a little deeper in some of these things. I am grateful for all the resources she included in the book as far as her journey went, which point me in a direction to seek further information. After reading I am still not sure I get her Red Lip Theology, but I like where she is going with all of it and it sounds great.
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This book is a collection of essays on relationships, loss, sexuality, the church, patriarchy, feminism, womanist theology, and more. Ms. Benbow draws from all periods of her life, childhood on up, to share her faith journey and how she came to understand God, her relationship with God, and her place in God’s divine creation. I believe to love one another we must understand one another. To do that we must know one another. We can’t truly know one another if we don’t share our life experiences and beliefs with one another. Ms. Benbow, with her book, is demonstrating how and why to do this.  I hope for more courageous woman speaking their truth about their lived experiences in and out of the American church - and sharing those truths, whether in articles, books, podcasts, or other mediums. We need their voices and we need them. I highly recommend this book  for any Christian interested in the intersectionality of the church and feminism, matter your race or ethnic identity.
Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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Firstly if the title itself doesn't make you want to read the book then I don't know what will because it's the title that got me. I got into the book with no high expectations as I did not know what to expect but what I found was both educational, educating and reflective. In the book written in essay form tackles themes such as  heartache, loss, forgiveness, and sexuality, . Such an eye opening collection.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book. from Convergent Books Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
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Candice Marie Benbow’s beloved Mother was right, her calling is bigger than the four walls of the church. 

Red Lip Theology is not only a breath of fresh air for people struggling to lean fully into their faith and personhood with authenticity, this sacred text also serves as a call to action to tap into the beauty of truth-telling, and use our voices to center the marginalized and set the captives free. 

This sacred text is for the Black women who are recovering from internalizing messages of our bodies not being our own, to the point of sacrificing themselves, their dreams, and visions for the greater good. Her voice awakens and affirms the inner voice of Black women, giving strength to trust ourselves and permission to show up whole and well. 

The tone of the book felt authentic, unapologetic, and sincere. The content was relatable. She is clear as to who her audience is. Therefore, this book will challenge those who have little interest in reimagining how humans of all walks of life experience the Divine. This book explores what is possible if we do the work of unpacking, unlearning, and relearning the mysteries and wonders of life, and our relationship with The Most High. Candice asks the important questions, and encourages the readers to do the same. 

I wish I had this book two decades ago. In the same breath, I am thankful this voice exist today, as I no longer feel alone in my thoughts, and know what is possible.  I recommend this book for the women who have been there and done that, yet need to be reminded that wholeness is possible and reimagining it, is holy. I recommend this book for young Black women attempting to navigate life in their formative years, so they know they are not on this journey alone. This is a book which will be on my bookshelf, visible for my daughter (and son) to see, and be exposed to when they are ready. Lastly, I also recommend this book for non-Black people who are willing to be challenged, yet interested in showing up for Black women and marginalized people in ways that are edifying and soothing to the soul.
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I love this book! She writes in such a fun, approachable, and relatable way. I find myself laughing at her sharing stories, cheering in agreement with her statements, and frustrated with the same things she is. If you are a woman who has been hurt by toxic theology, a male-dominated church, or the oppressive Christian world, you will get so much out of this book!
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