Actually, women already do "have it all" (giveaway!)

Hannah Anderson and I became friends as a result of a twitter exchange about gender and theology a couple of years ago.  I was being snarky, of course, and she was being nuanced and reasonable.  Our conversation ended with my suggestion that she and I should change the terms of the debate, reframe the discussion of "women in the church".  I was half-joking, but as it turns out, she was totally serious.  Like, she wrote a whole book about it.

This month Moody released Hannah's book Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God's Image.

Though we land in slightly different places in the gender role debates, I appreciate Hannah's careful, scriptural look at what it means to affirm that women are created in the image of God.  Instead of asking "What does it mean to be a woman?"  Hannah asks what it means to be fully human.  Instead of asking if women can "have it all,"  Hannah insists that as image-bearers, we already do have it all. Here's the endorsement I wrote after reading an advance copy:

Can women "have it all"? In Made for More, Hannah Anderson reminds us that debating whether women can have fulfilling families and careers isn't the right place to begin in answering that question. Instead, she argues that women do have it all: we are full image-bearers of a great and glorious God. As Anderson unpacks the truth of what it means to be fully human and created in God's likeness, she skirts the trendy controversies of the day, instead offering women a strong scriptural foundation for understanding our identity. While the mommy wars rage, Anderson's still, small. and eloquent  voice calls women to a deeper, freeing vision of all that God intended womanhood to be.

You can hop on over to Christ and Pop Culture to read my interview with Hannah about the book.  You can also enter to win a copy of the book here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cassie & Caleb (a giveaway)

In Cassie & Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design (Moody 2013), Susan and Richie Hunt share twenty short stories for children ages 5-8. Designed for use in family devotionals, each story illustrates a lesson from Scripture, sometimes using the language of the First Catechism. Every story is followed by discussion questions, a Scripture reading, and a suggestion for prayer.

The authors (both leaders in the Presbyterian Church of America) explain in the introduction to the book that they have five principles which guided them as they wrote the book:

1. The creational principle that “God created man in his own image...male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).  The book seeks to be a corrective in a culture that has minimized gender distinctiveness.
2. To help children discover Jesus in all of Scripture, and to see gender-distinctiveness fit solidly into the context of the gospel story.
3. To teach children that God’s word “is our authority, His glory is our purpose, and the gospel of grace is the power of God to save us and to change us.”
4. To encourage children to love the church as their covenant family.
5. To plant theologically rich language into children’s hearts as a foundation for a biblical framework for thinking and living.

The book cover and pictures were attractive to my four year old, Rosie, and she immediately asked to hear a story.  My mom read the first story to her, and she listened intently to the whole thing. I think the format of the stories is just right for the target age range of 5-8, and most children that age will be truly interested in hearing and discussing the stories. They’ll be happy to learn about how they fit into God’s story, and they’ll probably be happy to have a framework for understanding gender.

Moody has offered me two copies of this book to give away.  If you are interested in one, leave a comment here!  I’ll use a random number generator to select two people to receive copies. Be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you.

Later today, I’ll post my full review of the book, including a few reservations I have about using it with my own family.

the hill country hill tribers {& a giveaway!}

{Update: This giveaway is closed and the randomly chosen winner is commenter #6, Melinda! Melinda, you will be receiving an email from the Hill Tribers within the next few days. Congratulations!}

I feel a little like Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail when she admitted to her shop assistant that she met Joe Fox in ... a chat room. I never thought I would be one of those people who made friends online, but a joy of blogging more has been meeting - virtually - some incredible kindred spirits. Today I'm bringing you a guest post from Jessica Goudeau, the executive director of Hill Tribers, a non-profit in Austin, Texas that helps refugee artisans use their talents to earn supplemental income for their families.

Needless to say, I'm extremely passionate about their work and hope you will use all your social media power to spread the word (and win some gorgeous earrings!).

We first met Huang a few weeks after her family moved to Austin from a refugee camp in India; originally they fled persecution in Burma like all of the artisans of Hill Country Hill Tribers. Her husband printed up dozens of copies of his resume in English and handed them out to everyone he met. He was hoofing it. He couldn’t stand living on the aid he was receiving through the refugee agency. He is a natural leader, an easy friend, a gifted language-learner. His wife was very quiet—she smiled and nodded briefly in acknowledgment of anything said to her, but she barely responded when we tried to get to know her better.

She was nine months pregnant with her third baby in the terrible heat of an Austin summer. Looking back, she was under a lot of stress—a new home, two tiny children, a difficult pregnancy. We made some calls and found out a local church was hiring a day porter; her husband got the job interview quickly. He teared up when they told him he had the job. Just weeks later, they gave birth to a fat-cheeked baby boy. We just celebrated that baby’s second birthday this August. In the space of his tiny lifetime, so much has changed for their family, but the real transformation has been Huang.

At first, her husband spoke for her. He answered any questions, shared any concerns. We asked her if she could weave like the Karen hill tribe women, but she couldn’t. We asked if she could sew, but she never learned how. Hesitantly, her husband suggested that she could crochet some things. It wasn’t much to look at, he said, but it was something.

This stunning artistry is what Huang brought to us so humbly and apologetically. It took us a long time to convince her that we loved the bracelets, earrings, and necklaces she was designing. The high volume of sales helped, I think—we can barely keep her products in stock. She spends all day at home with her three kids and a couple of neighbor’s children, tatting while they play. She teaches the neighbor women at night—her student Christine has become one of our most accomplished jewelry-makers (we’ll be featuring some of Christine’s earrings in a giveaway tomorrow).

Huang has changed remarkably in the last two years from a shy, apologetic woman to an accomplished teacher and outspoken leader. She is consistently among our highest earners because she is really, really good at what she does. And the transformation we have witnessed in her life convinces us that our little project to help Burmese artisans earn some money for their families is worthwhile.

With her very first paycheck, Huang’s first purchase was a navy blue hoodie for her husband. He showed it to me proudly one day, zipping it up and down: “My wife bought this for me.” He was incredulous, in a culture where men are the breadwinners, and he was proud. She was proud too. She pointed it out the next time we saw her. Her eyes twinkled mischievously at her husband, this couple who had been so stressed not long ago. In the last year they have gathered their friends around them, building an enclave of Kachin hill tribe culture in one little courtyard in Austin.

She called me the other day to talk about new products and tell me about a new friend in town who might want to join us. To hear her voice, speaking slowly but surely in a language she could barely utter two years ago, brought me to tears on my kitchen floor.

This is what empowerment looks like.

To win these coral earrings by Huang:

  • Follow Hill Country Hill Tribers (@hilltribers) on Twitter
  • Like Hill Country Hill Tribers on Facebook
  • Join our Facebook Flashmob and change your profile picture for one day on August 28
  • Tweet/share/email/call your sister about this giveaway

Leave a comment on this blog post for each thing you do to be entered to win multiple times. And head over to D.L. Mayfield's and Sarah Bessey's sites to enter giveaways there, too! The giveaway ends Monday, August 27 at 5:00 pm EST. If you don’t win, watch our website: August 28 at 8:00 am CST, the new products will go live and you’ll be able to buy the scarves and jewelry made by Huang and her friends.

Tomorrow, Hill Country Hill Tribers will be hosting the last giveaway before the new product launch on August 28. Follow us over there to read more about our favorite everyday Hill Triber earrings, made by Huang’s student and friend Christine.