About Natalie, As Author, Part 3: For Whom Do I Write?

I’d sure like for us to become better acquainted. It’s kind of awkward over the internet. However, I have a few Q&A items that might serve us to this end. Today’s centers on the people – women in particular – for whom I write.

I hope that you will comment below and introduce yourself, as well, and let me know what brought you here.

Thank you! In advance: it’s nice to meet you. To read the first three posts, click here.

Today’s Topic: “To whom do you write?”

Well, Women, Leadership, and The Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe? helps Christian women who hold the Bible as their rule of life discern, for themselves, answers to theological questions. It is about how to discern, theologically and biblically, answers to their life’s theological questions. Plenty of books already exist telling women what to think; precious few help women think critically for themselves, particularly about theological issues. I hope to encourage women that they can do it, that they can think for themselves, that they can analyze significant theological issues, despite any hesitations they may have, any conflict surrounding them regarding the issue, or any lack of theological training.

For example, in my book, the primary case study for developing this critical biblical and theological discernment is the issue of women’s roles in church leadership. I invite women who have never truly considered it biblically and theologically to consider it through study, prayer, and a series of thoughtful filters that help them come to a conclusion about it for themselves. I also hope to challenge women who think they’ve already considered this issue, no matter their current position, to reconsider it. Often, people think they have researched a topic, but actually only read sources and authors that reflect or hold their own perspective or the one most familiar to them. If they consider an opposing perspective at all, frequently it’s done second-hand, through a perceived expert or authority (author, pastor, family member, etc.) presenting the other perspective from a limited or downright incorrect understanding. I aim to help women think critically—biblically and theologically critically—about this issue, along with any others about which they have questions.

I hope to reach laywomen in particular, but will probably and hopefully also attract women who are “theologically interested,” in general, including women in ministry but who have never been to seminary—perhaps even a number who have been to seminary. I think, due to the somewhat technical nature of the discussions (eg. in order to teach an approachable introduction to exegesis for lay people), women most attracted to the subjects, and probably to me, may have at least a high school education, are critical thinkers, and are comfortable learning complex subjects, even if they don’t realize it yet.

About Natalie, As Author, Part 2: The Development of My Writing

I’d sure like for us to become better acquainted. It’s kind of awkward over the internet. However, I have a few Q&A items that might serve us to this end.

Today’s centers on my development as a writer.

I hope that you will comment below and introduce yourself, as well, and let me know what brought you here.

Thank you! In advance: it’s nice to meet you.

How has your writing developed over the years?

Since high school, people have told me that I’m a good (at times, excellent) writer; however, I never considered myself a writer—not until, that is, God tapped me to write a book to encourage women to develop themselves biblically and theologically (about ’01). I’ve worked hard to develop my writing voice as I’ve crafted what eventually became Women, Leadership, & the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe?

I invested four years, tons of effort and study, and $10K into a D.Min. degree primarily to force myself to hone the idea in writing and, subsequently, complete the primary research. I attended two (maybe three) years of the Writer’s Publishing Workshop, offered at Gordon-Conwell, submitting my idea and writing to peers, editors, and publishers for feedback and learning. For six years, I attended the Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion’s annual meetings so I could make contacts for the book’s emergence and take advantage of every writing workshop either association offered.

Initially, I attended the Synergy Women’s Network conferences primarily for the same reasons; then I attended it for those reasons, plus I’d finally found a place that I felt I could “breathe” theologically and as a woman. I not only wanted to make contacts and improve myself there, but I wanted to participate as fully as I could and contribute significantly to other women’s well-being, as well as the network’s.

It’s taken me twelve years to write the book, so I’ve had a lot of time to develop my writer’s voice. I sought and received excellent—and often helpfully critical—feedback on my style, making the end product clearer and hopefully more enjoyable for a reader.

About Natalie, As Author, Part 1: On Writing As Calling

I’d sure like for us to become better acquainted. It’s kind of awkward over the internet. However, I have a few Q&A items that might serve us to this end. Today’s post centers on writing as part of my life’s calling.

I hope that you will comment below and introduce yourself, as well, and let me know what brought you here.

Thank you! In advance: it’s nice to meet you.

Today’s Installment: How does writing fit into your sense of calling?

During college, the Lord impressed on me that I would spend my life in ministry service, but that the form would change through time. During high school and college, I actively participated in and led student missions and ministries: church youth group, church youth choir, Christian Student Union, Young Life/Campaigners, Campus Crusade for Christ, CCC’s summer project to eastern Asia, “undercover Christian” ministry in a fiercely non-Christian camp, etc. After college, there was junior high youth ministry full-time for a summer, then volunteer high school ministry for three years, then full-time junior high/senior high/college ministry direction for 7 years in a mega church. Although I gave talks, led Bible studies, discipled girls and women, developed and led missions teams, developed and led worship teams, and engaged in all sorts of ministry activities. All this with very little theological training, and this never seemed to be a problem for the organizations in which I ministered. That’s not a huge problem for many – and not a problem at all for God to accomplish his purposes; but it was a problem for me, specifically. I think I needed the development.

When the Lord directed me to seminary, I welcomed it, even though I hadn’t been to school in just over ten years and never had any ambition to return to schooling of any kind. But I finally realized how much I needed it. Near the completion of my M.Div., the Lord strongly impressed on me an idea for a book that would encourage other women who may never have opportunity to attend seminary, or perhaps no desire, to develop themselves biblically and theologically. The idea was to give them the ability to critically discern answers to their tough theological, biblical, and practical questions.

That said, I never envisioned myself as a “writer.” I didn’t think I had the temperament for it, although I believed I had the writing skills and was uniquely positioned to write for this particular project. I came to realize that a “writer” is not merely one who is trained to write; it’s the one who writes. As I submitted to this call, eventually embraced the idea of calling myself a writer. Many, many others have confirmed writing as a potential calling. I guess it’s been a present calling all along.

More soon.

Let’s Interact!

Would you please take a moment to place a comment below? Let me (and our little community that finds its way to this page) know…

  1. Who you are and a little about yourself.
  2. Have you ever experienced a call by God to some specific task or direction?
  3. How did you sense that?
  4. Have others affirmed that task or direction as a potential calling in your life?
  5. How did you react/respond to your sense of God’s direction and others’ speaking into your life, either for or against that sense?

Thanks for participating! Have a wonderful day, friend.