The Red Couch: A Woman’s Place Introduction


Red Couch - A Womans Place -INTRODUCTION

When I first heard the title of this month’s Red Couch book club selection, A Woman’s Place by Katelyn Beaty two thoughts came to mind: The first was that this book can help facilitate an interesting and diverse discussion about calling and equality for women in whatever workplace they feel called to by God.

The next thought, if I’m honest, was one of indignation as my first impression of the blurb on the front cover—the surprising truth about why God intends every woman to work—made me snort with a disgruntled chagrin. I began to wonder why in the world do we still need a book that discusses Christian women in the workplace at all? Forgive me my emotional response, no doubt saturated with privilege and assumptions, but I’m a woman who has spent her entire life working multiple jobs to support her artistic career. I was born into a family with a full-time working mother. I’ve also been blessed with female friends, mentors and family members who both loved God and loved the jobs to which they were called.

My first impression was that in 2017, this should be a subject that perhaps we have moved beyond.

But of course, both my wishful thinking and naïveté about the subject of Christian women in the workplace was somewhat oversimplified, influenced mainly by my own personal experiences. Author Katelyn Beaty does a fantastic job of researching the extensive subject of Christian women in the workplace, and as the subtitle implies, A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World, she took good care of thoroughly researching the topic from all sides. She includes scriptural and historical context, modern questions and concerns, even profiles of diverse modern women and their personal approaches to work and their own work/life balance.

One of the things I enjoyed about A Woman’s Place was the conversational tone. Beaty addresses all types of complicated feelings and subjects as it relates to the Christian woman, in whatever type of vocational work she pursues. She makes sure it stays personal and empowering—whether the discussion involves the corporate world or the stay-at-home mom—and every type of work in-between. I very much appreciated the aforementioned interview profiles of successful women who are thought leaders in their own right and navigate the workplace in as individual ways as their own personal stories.

I must confess as I read the first few chapters, my defenses were up, afraid I would only find the most conservative type of rhetoric and theology discussed, as it relates to women in the workplace and the Christian perspective. Then these words leaped off the page:

This book is for all women who dream of taking their hands to the plow of life and creating something good.  Something that will leave lasting goodness, truth, and beauty for this generation and generations to come.  Something that will bless their neighbors and enrich their children’s lives and satisfy their own souls.  The desire and call to work is given to all people made in the image of God, who himself is a Worker and Creator (Gen.1).  And while all of us risk turning work into an idol, I believe most Christian women today run another risk: missing out on the goodness of work, on the ways that God intends to bless them and others through it. (p. 6)

There is so much to think about and discuss here. Chapters delve into lessons from both historical and cultural perspectives. Beaty explores what it means to “do it all.” (Is it possible? Is it only a myth?) She reflects on embracing ambition, how we can be best equipped as women in our own unique callings and even offers an interesting take on Sheryl Sandberg’s concept of “leaning in” as it relates to the Christian women and her work/life balance.

Reading this book, there were moments I fervently underlined passages, took notes in the margin and cried, “Yes, me too!” Other times I wrote out a question mark and took pause to think about how it all applied to my own life as a Christian woman.

It is for those reasons and more that this book can be a powerful tool in the hands of  SheLovelys to reflect, discuss and grow from this multi-faceted, sometimes complex, and always compelling topic of the Christian woman and the work she is called to do in the world.

Are you joining us for A Woman’s Place? What has your journey in embracing your vocation looked like?

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