Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Woman's Place by Katelyn Beaty

It's a dilemma that many Christian women face. They are taught the traditional Christian family model of women staying home, yet they sense a call to a professional job outside the home. What's a woman to do with her God given gifts, talents, and abilities if God had no intention of her using them for His glory?

Beaty addresses that very issue with a great deal of wisdom and insight. She explores a theology of work, that we were created to work in order to live into God's purposes for us. “...[W]e work in order to properly bear the image of God.” But the issue arises with gender differences and what those differences might mean. Beaty wrote this book to deal with those kinds of issues.

I was surprised and impressed with her review of the history of men and women and work. Unlike our current Western culture, women traditionally worked hard, right alongside the men in the fields. Then there was the hard work of food preservation and storage. Beaty writes, “...attaching manhood to work and womanhood to the home is a perfect example of well-meaning Christians confusing deeply bound cultural norms for biblical duty.” Her review of the history of how women have been treated and where ideas about such treatment originate is very enlightening.

I appreciated her exploration of God's image in humans. Women are often taught that they are somehow lesser beings than men. Beaty encourages women to see themselves as a reflection of God's image as a human being. Period.

Beaty includes great examples of women in places where they are fulfilling their calling. These are places of authority, influence, and compassion. She also emphasizes why women are needed in such places. “And what women bring to the table is not simply a feminine touch but half of humanity's gifts, passions, and experiences.”

Some other aspects of women and work that are addressed include family responsibilities and the role of fathers, and women remaining single.

I am impressed with this book and highly recommend it. Women who sense a calling from God to influence their communities through work need to read this book. Men who want to understand such desires in women and help them fulfill their callings need to read this book. It would also be a good book for church board members to read and discuss.

You will not find attempts to explain those puzzling passages in the Bible that seem to forbid women from active involvement in ministry. What you will find is a theology of work that restores women to their rightful place of being God's image bearers in the world.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Katelyn Beaty is managing editor at Christianity Today. She is the youngest managing editor in the magazine's history, as well as the first woman to serve in that capacity. She is the cofounder of Her.meneutics, a daily website covering news, cultural trends, and theology from a perspective of Christian women. A graduate of Calvin College, she lives outside of Chicago, IL.

Howard Books, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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