1. That the experience of black, women, pioneers in the church and the communities they are forming are being written about. Note here, I reckon there may be some saying what black, women pioneers? The data shows that pioneers are most likely to be white males this book makes visible some work going on you might not be aware of.
2. That sometimes it's not the academic level of the book it's the content and experience in being given voice that matters. I'll be honest this book which falls into the realm of sociology of religion is not the most academic book on the I've read. It has a clear lit review and good reflexivity by the writer but it's not your usual academic text. What this does do very well though is give voice to the lived experience of the women in this book.
3. That sometimes you have to look outside the usual suspects to find good theology and sociology of religion texts. If I who published the stuff in this area I would quickly say, SCM Press, Canterbury Press, DLT and Routledge and these are the main publishers I look at in terms of what's new. This book isn't published by any of them; it's by Clink Press. I was lucky to see a tweet a friend, who is the husband of the pioneer in this book, had written. Otherwise it would have taken much longer to hit my radar.
4. That this book has the power of an early punk record by having the power and DIY ethos whilst being highly political and being a voice speaking truth to power. This book is not just by the academic who studied them, it's written in collaboration with them to give them voice. It is telling the truth about their experience with Universal Credit and the problems with the system as well as telling the story of how this pioneer community works and what people get from it. The fact that it has the points mentioned in 1-3 all contribute to this.
5. That the system needs to be worked with as well as fought to build relationship and trust. Ok so I didn't learn this from the book, I already knew it but this book reinforces it especially in a particularly powerful section about mental health issues.
6. That some of the findings I got from my own research on Single Parents in Evangelical Churches almost a decade ago now also relate to single parents in this pioneer community. In my study on single parent hood in evangelical churches I found that small groups were the key place of support and I talked about the way that these could take different forms. Those which took a holistic approach were those I identified as helping people share information and support each other best. That's what this community is doing.
7. We focus on learning black history without taking on that we need to also be learning about black experience now. Might seem daft and I don't know about you but I have been challenged to learn more about black history through the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. Yet, I have not balanced that with the importance of finding out about black lives now.
8. We need to be careful about pigeon holing those who are black and/ or on universal credit. The women in this book are on the whole part-time workers struggling to survive on universal credit. However, they are more than that and the pioneer in this book, who is doing some amazing work from a different position is also a black woman of a similar age. This book highlights similarities in experience but we must and should not generalise from them, except to say Universal Credit isn't working as it should.
9. Church isn't just Sunday mornings.
10. This book is a breath of fresh air please buy it and let others know about it, all monies raised through it go to Mummies Republic.