This post is a FIRST. With the help of my technologically-inclined son, Nathan, I’m uploading my first video: an author interview. Last week, I interviewed Katelyn Beaty, Christianity Today’s managing editor, about her new book, A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World. We talked specifically about a Christian vision of work, the mommy wars, and the process of book writing. ( I apologize in advance for extraneous “likes” or “you knows.” Additionally, there are points in the video where our internet connection gets a little wonky.)
Katelyn’s book releases on July 19, but you can pre-order now at Amazon.com.
Introduction: I start off with the most awkwardly constructed sentence: “Katelyn Beaty is the currently managing editor at Christianity Today.” Then I gush a little bit about Katelyn’s foreword for Teach Us to Want and her important role in my publishing journey. We talk about the writer/editor relationship – and our fragile moments as writers. (Even Katelyn has had some!)
(5:50 – 10:30)
“Go vulnerable, or go home.” Katelyn explains why she begins her book with a very personal story: how her broken engagement interrupted the plans she had for her life and provided the occasion for discovering a more robust Christian theology of work.
(10:30 – 12:20)
I ask Katelyn whether or not her singleness gave her a unique angle in the conversation about women and work. “I don’t want to say that only single women have the opportunity to invest in their professional work.”
(12:20 – 15:00 )
I ask Katelyn about the book’s commitment to telling the stories of many different women. “Let’s not just make pronouncements about how the world should be,” Katelyn explains. “Let’s flesh it out.”
Does “femaleness” inform the way that women understand work? Katelyn explains that one common factor in her research was the community emphasis often evident in women’s professional ambitions and choices.
(18:32 – 22:07 )
Katelyn discusses the origin and evolution of Christianity Today’s popular women’s blog, Her.meneutics, which has amplified women’s voices and worked to correct the gender imbalance at CT. Shout out to Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Kate Shelnutt, and Andrea Palpant Dilley.
(22:07 – 27:33)
Is the church playing catch-up to culture in regards to validating women’s professional ambitions? Katelyn explains that churches have, in general, neglected to develop a robust theology of professional work for both men and women.
(27:33 – 31:18)
We dig a bit more deeply into the desire question: what caution should we exercise in looking for cultural validation of our desires? Are there contexts where desires for home and family need to be reinforced? (Most importantly, we joke about finding a date for Katelyn: “Act now: this offer is going fast!)
(31:18 – 32:52)
“It is okay to disappoint Andy Crouch.” We gush mutual respect and admiration for Andy.
(32:52 – 37:37)
“You can’t write a book geared toward women without discussing motherhood in some capacity.” Katelyn identifies that wide variety of choices available to modern women seem to promote greater self-doubt, even suspicion and judgment. “My hope is that this book will give us better language [for these conversations].”
(37:37 – 42:55)
Why are women’s professional desires considered “selfish” or “careerist” while men’s professional desires and ambitions are validated? Katelyn takes us back to the Industrial Revolution for a little history lesson. (And I unabashedly plug my next book, Keeping Place.)
(42:55 – 49:15)
Has professional ambition stalled for Christian women? Katelyn reminds us of our fear, as Christian women, in asking, “What do I really want?” She also reminds us that we can begin by simply naming our desires before God—even our professional desires. “Maybe God wants to use those unnamed desires to accomplish his work in the world and to invite us to partner with him in kingdom restoration work.”
(49:15 – 57:22)
Katelyn discusses her process of writing, A Woman’s Place. (No, neither of us has the creative genius of Ann Voskamp!) And she also talks about the immense help she received from her editor, who pushed her beyond her “very safe” first draft.
Thank you, Katelyn!