Lisa Harper, speaker at Women of Faith conferences and author of A PERFECT MESS, has a new offering of solid biblical teaching that she laces with lots of tickle-the-funny-bone (and often self-depreciating humor) comedic asides. Harper’s newest women’s resource, UNTAMED, discusses the wild side of Jesus that frees His children (women especially) to live and love with abandon. Harper notes throughout that as viewed from a different angle than most artistic renditions of Him, Jesus was totally unconventional, mightily strong-hearted (and strong-bodied), and upset the powers-that-be by how He ennobled women and placed the female gender as equal to men in that strongly patriarchal day and age.
In this 12-chapter text, Harper offers strong biblical and historical backdrop information that lends weight to her words and from which readers can do further personal study. She opens every chapter with various personal life stories and weaves each one accordingly into the chapter’s theme. She also inserts boxes titled “The Wild Ways of God” that direct women to Scripture (and here Harper’s background in theology shines through) before closing out with a strong reminder of why “We need an untamed Savior because…” box. There’s more! Harper also provides a series of “Living and Loving with Abandon” questions that are both introspective and will lead women to dig deeper into specific Bible passages pertinent to the topic of study in that chapter.
Harper’s readers will enjoy how colorfully she reminisces about her own life and the lessons she has gleaned along the way as she matches Jesus’ “wildness” with her own faith walk and life history. Women will begin to see Jesus in a different light than the frequently depicted (but utterly inaccurate) “Milquetoast Messiah.” Harper demonstrates via biblical references how Jesus is wildly redemptive, unsettling, devoted, tough, compelling, pro-women, confident, confrontational, unconventional, attentive, faithful, fearsome and liberating.
This is all to the good as Harper bares her own heart that was broken many times during her childhood, first by her parents’ divorce and then the subsequent rejection by her “best childhood friend” whose mom wouldn’t allow Harper to be friends any longer with her daughter after the divorce became public knowledge to the childhood sexual abuse she endured. Growing up with summers spent with her dad, Harper recalls positive memories as well noted in a chapter when she was running from a bull and he saved her life. This poignant moment gave Harper a feeling of safety as her dad, though small of stature, stood toe to toe with the mighty beast and punched him repeatedly in the nose to save his daughter from being mauled.
All in all, Harper succeeds in revealing Jesus as the multi-leveled God-man He was, so that women will learn to trust Him more, risk more, and step out more boldly for Him as well as for themselves.