There are a lot of wonderful women in my life who make it as good as it is. From the family members (my mom, sister, and aunts), to coworkers (you know who you are), to those at my church (Anita Terry, the ultimate ‘glue’ person and consummate pastors wife, Birdie, who feeds me every Wednesday night and Sunday morning, and so on…). Yet here are some women who make life worth living.5 women you should read (or watch what they’ve written):
1. Flannery O’Connor– Her tales of Southerners struggling to deal with the New South and its Old Faith reach across all divides.
2. Kathleen Norris- She has an amazing pen. Her ability to capture her struggles with life, relationships, and faith makes her one of our best authors today. Anyone who is interested in theology should be forced to read Amazing Grace to get another view on the terms of our faith.
3. Anne Lamott- her works on Christianity and its place inAmericaare important. Her discussion of grace is not to be missed.
4. Kristen Wiig (and co-writer Annie Mamalo)- dead serious humor with a heart is hard to write and Wiig does that well.
5. Karen Traviss- She was the best author working in the Star Wars Universe (until a bunch of dumb SWG nerds decided to run her off). Her focus on the Mandalorians culture will be missed. Will have to survive with her other scifi projects.5 women who should be entertaining you:
1. Viola Davis– seems an oblivious choice with her recent Oscar nominations; yet, they do not do justice the fine work she has been doing for years.
2. Katie Couric- She has a rep for light news, but I will miss watching her handle the hoopla of an election night better than any of the good ole boys at Fox, ABC, or NBC.
3. Michelle Beadle- In the male dominated world of sports reporting, she holds her own with witty, intelligent, and thoughtful commentary.
4. Candace Parker- She won 4 state championships as a high school student, won 3 National Championships in her first 3 years at Tennessee, and played in the Final 4 as a senior. When she was drafted by Washington in the WNBA, Slam Magazine put her on their cover in a Michael Jordan jersey (calling her the MJ of women’s b-ball). Then she struggled in her 2nd and 3rd seasons, and disappeared from the public eye. Struggles with anxiety (and post-partum depression after the birth of a child) seemed to derail her career. Now she is back healthy and playing well while focusing more on motherhood than championships. She stands as a shining example of the troubles and successes of the modern, single, working mother.
5. Morena Baccarin- She inhabits and brings spark to all her characters, whether a saucy consort in Firefly, a rock-hard soldier’s wife in Homeland, or mischievous con on The Mentalist.5 women you should be jamming to:
1. Joy Williams (Civil Wars)- her melodious voice, captivating stage presence, and warm partnership with her Civil Wars band-mate makes amazing music.
2. Merrill Garbus (tUneYards)- her jaunty tunes made from found instruments is both captivating and mesmerizing. Watching her create a song out of a bunch of disparate noises stands to me as the ultimate post-modern statement on music and beauty.
3. Kathleen Edwards- this lyrical poet with a guitar makes great, thoughtful songs about the hard life of modern women.
4. Kim Walker-Smith (Jesus Culture)- She is one of the leaders behind Jesus Culture and my favorite current P&W leader. She reveals what a strong godly woman can be.
5. Nina Simone- the pipes on this one. Need a good cry. Need to decompress, look no further than this amazing ex-pat.5 women from history you shouldn’t have forgotten:
1. Sojourner Truth– Her commitment to equality and her passion to see blacks and women accepted into American society is only beginning to pay off.
2. Dorothy Day- This activist from Chicago worked to feed, clothe, and provide services for the working poor before anyone else was. Her example started a revolution which created social services agencies without which a young Chicagoan like Barack Obama would not have been so impacted.
3. Junia- See Scot McKnight’s masterful e-book Junia is Not Alone to comprehend how important this woman was, and should be.
4. Fanny Crosby- You probably have sung her hymns recently or heard them somewhere. This blind woman of faith saw theKingdomofGodbetter than most of the seeing males of her day.
5. Hannah Whitall Smith- This woman spearheaded a call to revival and missions that changed the 20th century more than anything else. Her work to bring voting rights to women in theUS andEngland changed the course of politics in both nations.5 fictional women you shouldn’t be ignoring (because they technically don’t exist):
1. Scarlet Rue (Scarlet, Icon Comics)- This relatively new creation by Brian Michael Bendis stands as a great post-modern woman. She has seen enough and is willing to stand up for the rejects of society over against those powers that be, and in doing so is creating a new reality in her community.
2. Hannah Baker (13 Reasons Why, Razor Bill)- this is perhaps the most haunting creation of the past 5 years. No character’s voice has followed me more strongly than hers. Her haunting lilt breaks out of the page and grabs you. This work on the teen bullying epidemic (among other things) is a most read for parents, tweens, and adult children alike.
3. Penny (The Big Bang Theory, CBS)- this funny waitress warms the hearts of the nerds whose community she awkwardly joins. She is nowhere funnier and stronger than driving down to stand up to a bully that has taken advantage of her neighbor Sheldon.
4. Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones, books and HBO)- She is arguably a villainess in George R.R. Martin’s legendary Song of Ice and Fire series, but as is his wont Martin truly brings out the pathos in Cersei. He shows how she is not so much bad as mistaken and at times foolishly over-importantly invested in the lives of her family. In a sense she really means to do well by her family, but this becomes perverted as she reacts (often without thinking) to the trials of life. In this way her main problem is not so much a lack of morals, but the inability to see the world outside her own head, the lack of empathy or even realization that life exists differently for others. She is a mirror to Catelyn Stark who oftens acts in a similarly impulsive manner but who has a more grounded center which allows her to place others before herself. Cersei then speaks volume to the Tea Party elitist, Tiger-mom much on the scene now.
5. Detective Joss Carter (Person of Interest, CBS)- She is fast becoming the moral center of JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan’sNew York centered police procedural. In the battle against terrorists, corrupt cops, and crime lords she is the one character you want to see by your side.1. Rachel Held Evans– This diva of the blogosphere is bringing the heat with her daily activity. That does not mention the quality of her work on several important books. She is fast becoming a must read. 2. Jessica Chastain– She seemed to be everywhere in 2011 and is set for a stunning follow-up in 2012. This Oscar nominated redhead should be in your Netflix que and on your blockbuster radar. 3. Alex Morgan– This newer addition to theUS soccer team has a game that is pure poetry in motion. She seems to stand ready to follow Mia and Abby as the next great soccer player. 4. Lana Del Rey– love her or hate her you can’t not listen to her. Her music is exciting and intriguing. If she learns how to be a stage presence she could dominate the music world in 2012 and beyond. 5. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy)- Coming to screens in 2012 this teen huntress (involved in a complex romantic triangle thrown into moral peril) is everything you wish Bella was. She is everything you hope your daughter could become.
 Sorry for the whiteness of this list. I am appalled at my inability to come up with a more diverse list.