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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Filtering by Tag: Katelyn Beaty

My video interview with Katelyn Beaty, author of A Woman's Place

A Woman's PlaceThis 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 WorldWe 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




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."

(15:00- 18:32)

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!

Keeping Company With More Than Paper

"It should surprise no one that the life of the writer - such as it is - is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author's childhood. A writer's childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience. Writers read literary biography, and surround themselves with other writers, deliberately to enforce in themselves the ludicrous notion that a reasonable option for occupying yourself on the planet until your life span plays itself out is sitting in a small room for the duration, in the company of pieces of paper." -Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

I've been in brilliant company this last week. Thankfully, it was neither pieces of paper nor my laptop.

Our family drove to Chicago to spend the week visiting with family and friends. Because we'd planned our trip to accommodate our children's fall break, we didn't stay long enough to participate in any real Thanksgiving feasting.We did, however, hold a three-day birthday celebration for Nathan, which was lots of fun but now that I think of it, might be the very kind of thing perpetuating the notion that his birthday is a national holiday.

It's always a good thing to step away from my otherwise normal writing life and the technology, which supports it. When we cross into Michigan and my iPhone tells me that I no longer have access to data (except for an exorbitant charge), I feel relieved. Radio silence descends, revealing just how reflexive my digital habits are: all those empty minutes inhabited by a quick scroll through Facebook status updates and tweets; rabbit trails of mental activity, as I follow one article after another. Not a bad thing - but not always defensible and certainly a source of distraction.

I welcome a pause when it arrives.

And although I didn't write this last week, I did make some writing connections.

I met Katelyn Beaty, the managing editor for Christianity Today, for breakfast one morning. About halfway through the conversation (at which point I'd finally slowed my nervous chatter to a normal speech cadence), Katelyn made the wonderful and unexpected offer that I join Her.meneutics as a regular contributing writer. (P.S. I forgot to tell you I wrote another article, which they published last week: "What You Don't Know About Complementarian Women.")

I'm grateful for this opportunity, knowing that great readers make for great writing. And Her.meneutics, with its outstanding roster of women writers, certainly courts a theologically thoughtful audience. At the same time, the offer makes me feel all jittery inside, wanting alternatively to do cartwheels or move to Montana.

There's courage needed for the writing life: to keep at it, to keep risking the sound of your own voice. Which is one of the many reasons I am grateful to belong to Redbud Writers Guild, a community of women writers. For the first time last week, I had the chance to meet some of the buds in person.

Shayne Moore, author of Global Soccer Mom  and the soon to be published, Refuse to Do Nothing

Teri Kraus, a seasoned fiction writer who has published 13 books

Aubrey Sampson, a newbie like me

Margaret Philbrick, who is working on her first novel

And a friend I've known a long time, Alisha Venetis.

So there's my update, friends: I've spent a week living not just recalling the real world. There was even a lazy morning spent at a coffee shop with the my beautiful daughters: hot chocolate for them, a latte for me, and several rousing rounds of Checkers and Clue.

And if that's not life . . .