As part of its Best Books of 2020, Publishers Weekly has selected The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct by Ruth Everhart as one of the best religion books of the year.
The PW website posting says, “Everhart, a Presbyterian pastor, uses her own chilling story of sexual abuse to ground this resonant call to action for Christian communities to reject patriarchal systems and end widespread sexual abuse within American churches. Everhart’s voice is bold, and the many shocking statistics she cites bolster her affecting appeal for change.”
Al Hsu, senior editor for IVP, said, “When I saw the proposal for Ruth Everhart’s The #MeToo Reckoning, I knew that this was a prophetic word for us today. I was struck by her courage in telling her story and the strength of her no-holds-barred takedown of the religious power structures that have aided and abetted abusers. I am thrilled at this PW recognition, and I pray that the reckoning will continue to bring justice and healing to survivors. Congratulations, Ruth!”
Everhart shines a light on the prevalence of sexual abuse and misconduct within faith communities. She candidly discloses stories of how she and others have experienced assault in church settings, highlighting the damage done to individuals, families, and communities. In addition to addressing issues such as patriarchy and purity culture in the church, Everhart instructs religious leaders on what they can do to help pave a better way forward.
In an interview with PW in November 2019, Everhart said, “I didn’t choose to write about this; it happened to me. I wrote about my sexual assault in hindsight after 35 years of life in ministry and realizing that very few people were writing about such assaults from a faith perspective. I got so many messages from people; I heard so many stories. I wanted to broaden the lens out of personal story to larger themes, using other people’s stories and scripture. I didn’t have to go find a single story. They all came to me.”
The #MeToo Reckoning also received a starred review from PW that said, “These case studies are painful but particularly instructive, and Everhart argues ‘we must examine the system that allowed a predator to thrive and hide,’ specifically patriarchal church structures that concentrate more on ‘healing’ than on justice. She calls for churches to make the decisions required for them to become safe places, such as developing a formal system for victims or witnesses of abuse to come forward. Everhart’s unsparing analysis will be helpful for both ministers and lay readers who are concerned about sexual abuse.”
Everhart is an author, speaker, and pastor who has served Presbyterian (PCUSA) churches for more than twenty years. She has written for publications such as the Christian Century, Sojourners, and the Washington Post, and is the author of Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land and the Christianity Today award-winning memoir Ruined.
For a complete list of IVP books honors visit ivpress.com/award-winners.