What’s it like to be a woman on the cutting edge of evangelical leadership? There may be few people more qualified to answer that question today than Katelyn Beaty, the managing editor of Christianity Today’s print magazine. As both the first woman and the youngest person to hold her position, Beaty is no stranger to breaking new ground for women—and she encourages others to do so not only in her work as founder and editor of CT’s Her.meneutics blog, but also in her newly published book A Woman’s Place, released just yesterday.
But success and influence have come with their share of challenges for Beaty. As an evangelical arguing for a broader inclusion of women in public life, she’s drawn criticism from all sides for her nuanced approach to the issue of women in leadership. At the same time, she’s struggled with a church dating culture that doesn’t always value women’s professional achievements:
I think most Christians would agree that meeting a spouse in the context of the local church is in some ways preferable to trying the online dating scene. . . . People meet each other online all the time, and it works—but there’s something about coming from a similar spiritual context that really helps, and part of what we agree to in the church is to support each other’s marriages. And so that is a really fruitful context for dating. It’s also a place where you understand it’s not just the two of you as individuals trying this out, but you’re held accountable. . . . You invite people to speak into your lives as a dating couple. I think all of that is extremely healthy.
I do wonder if churches need to grapple with these imbalances . . . in terms of maturity, and then just sheer numbers between single men and single women, and help men adjust their expectation and ask, “Is it a deal breaker that she’s going to grad school? Why would that be a deal breaker?”. . . Some of the things that we label “intimidating” in women—is there a reframing that could happen where those things are actually seen as valuable and signs of maturity and purpose in a woman’s life?
On this week’s episode of The Calling, join CT managing editor Richard Clark as Beaty tells him about taking the helm of CT’s print magazine, the pivotal role that chicken fingers played in her choice of colleges, and how women can embrace their wide-ranging, world-changing vocations.