When Life & Beliefs Collide


Life comes to women in stiff doses. When it does, and we are crushed or shattered or stretched beyond our limits, we need to surround ourselves with good theologians—husbands, pastors, and steadfast friends—who will encourage and help us. But at the end of the day, it won’t be their theology we will lean on, no matter how good it is. We will lean on our own.

Adversity and adventures have a way of exposing the state of our theology. We may have heard a lot about God. In the thick of things, we will discover what we really believe about him. We ask too much of ourselves to wade into these deep waters with so little to keep our faith afloat.”

When Life and Beliefs Collide



“This outstanding book offers the best demonstration that everyone needs theology, the best expository account of Mary and Martha, and the best trajectory for women’s ministry in modern North America that I have yet read. Carolyn James is a first-class writer and has a first-class, well-researched biblical message to deliver. Her book seems to me to be a must-read for Christian women and a you’d-better-read for Christian men, for it gets  right so much that others have simply missed.”                                                   —J. I. Packer

“Historically the study of theology has been the domain of men, but Carolyn James argues with both logic and passion that knowing and loving God must be the pursuit of all who are called his children. This book moved me to seek God more vigorously. Read it and pass it on to your daughter!”                                                         —Kay Warren, Saddleback Church

“After the plane crash that took the lives of our husbands, Payne Stewart, Robert Fraley, and Van Ardan, we found comfort and purpose in Carolyn’s insights into the Scripture and her focus on the importance of a deeper relationship with God. Knowing God doesn’t stop the pain, but it makes a difference in how we cope with our heartache. We trust that her book will encourage others as much as we have been encouraged.”
                                                                      —Tracey Stewart, Dixie Fraley, and Debbie Ardan

“Every Christian is a theologian whether we like it or not. Carolyn Custis James shows us how to be a good theologian—not in an academic sense, but in a way that brings God into all of the struggles of life. Though written especially for women, Christian men will also profit from this book. I highly recommend it.”
                                                                          —Jerry Bridges, Author of The Pursuit of Holiness

Table of Contents

FOREWORD: Kay Warren

INTRODUCTION: “No Great Women Theologians”

CHAPTER 1. In the School of Rabbi Jesus: Mary Learns at Jesus’ Feet
CHAPTER 2. The Dreaded T-Word and Why Women Avoid It
CHAPTER 3. Colliding with God
CHAPTER 4. Surviving the War Zones of Life

CHAPTER 5. Disappointed with Jesus: Mary Weeps at Jesus’ Feet
CHAPTER 6. Battling Our Unbelief
CHAPTER 7. Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

CHAPTER 8. A Warrior in the Heat of Battle: Mary Anoints Jesus for His Burial
CHAPTER 9. God Created an Intimate Ally
CHAPTER 10. Body Building in the Church

EPILOGUE: “Martha, Martha”

Discussion Questions

To Order:  When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference