New Writer's Showcase
    Stephanie Bibbs

    M.T.: Was there any particular incident that inspired you to write Women's Liberation: Jesus Style?

    S.B.: No, there was not any single incident. A variety of factors inspired me. I conceived the idea for this book four or five years ago. At that time, there were relatively few non-academic, trade books on the market that were authored by African American female clergy. The womanist theology movement had blossomed and was being clearly articulated in scholarly publications, but very little was available for the average, ordinary person who wanted to read the reinterpretation of ancient Biblical stories from the point of view of Black women.

    The revisionist interpretation of traditional female Bible characters and stories presented by Dr. Renita Weems-Espinoza Just A Sister Away, influenced and inspired me at a profound level. Also, I wanted to do something to showcase the abundance of talent and power that resides within African American female clergy.


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    M.T.: How does your background lend itself to the writing of this book?

    S.B.: The answer to this question is a testimony to God's care and commitment to develop us into the best that we can be. God saw talent in me I did not realize I had! I did not think I was qualified to edit and publish this book because I am not a minister, I have not been to seminary, and prior to this book, I had never been a part of the writing or publishing profession. In hindsight, I remind myself of Moses, because I gave God many excuses as to why I couldn't do the job to which I had been called. However, God looked beyond all of my excuses and urged me forward anyway.

    The traits in my background that contributed to the success with this book are my passion for God's word as it relates to the empowerment of women, my understanding of business and entrepreneurship, and my writing skills.


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    M.T.: Did you ever approach mainstream publishing with this book idea?

    S.B.: No. I felt this was a vision that God had given to me, so why should I give it away to someone else? Also, I wanted to retain final decision making authority over the book’s editorial content and length of stay in the market place.


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    M.T.: While you were writing, did you have moments of epiphany or revelation which helped shape the nature of the sermons you selected?

    S.B.: Yes. Originally I wanted only female authors in this book. However, God impressed upon me that there are some men who are genuinely committed to the notion of genderless equality in God. There voices also need to be heard, so I included two male authors. They are Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. and Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.In a more general sense, I recognize that God's continual revelation to me is the source of my creativity. That is why I am able to wake up with fresh ideas and a new dose of enthusiasm almost every day.


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    M.T.: I was intrigued by the book's opening chapter, "My Friend Sam," which is about the Samaritan woman. I was really surprised at the roots of discrimination found in the Bible. Could you expound on this?

    S.B.: Many readers have told me that this chapter is one of their favorites. I think that is because we can each see a glimpse of ourselves in Sam. Many of us have been involved in multiple relationships while searching for "Mr. Right", and we know how it feels to have a "hole in our heart.. God does not want our self- esteem eroded by guilt and pain from the past. Instead, God wants to free us from it!

    Instead of pointing the traditional accusatory finger, the creative interpretation of this Biblical story by Rev. Brenda Salter McNeil helps us understand why this sister had been engaged in multiple marriages. Like many of us, the Samaritan woman had been "looking for love in all of the wrong places." She was severely wounded by her culture’s racist and sexist traditions, but like many of us, she learned to break free and overcome by establishing a relationship with God.


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    M.T.: I really like your chapter by Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. He speaks of the nameless slave woman in the book of Luke. It speaks to the issue of enslavement, captivity, and liberation. Could you expand upon this?

    S.B.: "Every woman should have her own purse," according to the female suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This chapter illustrates that God agrees with Ms. Stanton! Too many people are stuck in low paying, dead end jobs that they hate. Employers make millions in profits while offering the persons from whose talent they benefit very little opportunity for further training or advancement. Economic exploitation is not God's desire for our lives, and therefore we should be not content to remain in such a position. There is an alternative and that nameless slave girl in this chapter found it.


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    M.T.: What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

    S.B.: I hope that this book will be read and discussed by women's Bible study/spirituality groups, at women's conferences and retreats, and by book clubs, as well as by individual readers. I want women to understand that God wants us to be strong and empowered, and does not view us as weak or inferior. Unfortunately, this message has not been effectively communicated by most traditional churches, mosques, etc. I want women to understand that the Bible contains female empowerment stories that can help us overcome our contemporary roadblocks. I hope to communicate that through the power of God, we can take charge of our lives and change for the better. It is not easy, but it can be done.


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    M.T.: As a literary entrepreneur, what are the greatest challenges that you face?

    S.B.: Right now my greatest challenge lies in the areas of promotion and distribution. More people need to be made aware that this book exists and of the message it contains. As a self-published author, I frequently feel like David in the story of David and Goliath, as I attempt to compete with the marketing muscle of the major publishing houses.


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    M.T.: What are some of the steps you have taken with your marketing?

    S.B.: I market on the internet, participate in literary events, and have held book signings at bookstores across the nation. Also, I have visited churches, church conferences, women's retreats, women's expositions, etc., across the country to introduce my book. If you know of such an activity coming up in your area, please let me know about it. My e-mail address is sfbibb@hotmail.com.