Like a young child, I like to know. I like to actually see a close friends office, hear the voice of a baby and feel the fur of a new pet. When it comes to reading, I’m no different and relish reading the dedications and introductions to books. So it will go without saying that I’d like to give a more personal introduction to Dr. Natalie R. Wilson Eastman.
Natalie and I met online through Redbud Writers Guild over a year ago. Her encouraging heart beamed through the Redbud’s private Facebook feed. Taking time to read, comment, give cheers or commit to prayers, Natalie shows-up. I had already read a chunk of her book when we both showed-up at the Redbud Writers Retreat this past March.
Meeting in person was like a Facebook feed come to life. Don’t you just love that? When you meet someone in real life after having a media based relationship and they’re the same! Reading Natalie’s book was just as energetic and thoughtful as every interaction I’ve had with her and her formal credentials are impressive!
DR. NATALIE R. WILSON EASTMAN (M.Div. ‘02, D.Min. ’05–Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is a freelance writer, editor, and member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She has served as a full-time youth minister to girls and women; Bible study teacher; worship leader and team developer; missionary to east Asia; and retreat and event teacher/speaker. She lives in Delaware, OH, with her husband and three young children. Links to her blogs may be found at natalieeastman.com, and her training and coaching at biblicalbreakthrough.com.
Q & A
Q: Natalie, what benefits does Women, Leadership, and the Bible provide to women?
A. Whether or not the subject of women in church leadership roles is an “issue” in your
community, a thoughtful approach to understanding the issue can help a person feel secure in
their practices and help them understand the interpretations of others. That type of studied,
thoughtful understanding promotes good and helpful dialogue among Christians. The method
taught in WLB benefits people wanting to get to the bottom of other issues, too; for, as we all
know, many other theological issues have been or will become “issues” there at some point. WLB
can benefit your church or ministry in numerous ways:
- Engages women with the Bible.
- Encourages women toward further biblical and theological development.
- Develops women as critical thinkers, so they can embrace their faith and service with groundedness and confidence.
- Urges independent thought within the context of Christian community, with unity being the ultimate goal.
- Equips women with seminary-level hermeneutical skills and tools on an introductory level and, hopefully, whets their appetites (or satisfies one!) for further and deeper biblical studies.
- Teaches women to recognize and face internal and external influences that impact their faith and practice.
- Encourages grace-filled dialogue and study about this and other “controversial” issues within a safe space.
- Provides a “virtual community” for women who really want to “get to the bottom of things,” biblically speaking.
Q: What’s the purpose of your book, Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How
Do I Know What to Believe?
A: The term “empowerment,” it seems to me, is vastly overused these days.
Yet, admittedly, that’s exactly what I’m doing through WLB and Biblical Breakthrough! Through
equipping women with seminary-level tools by which they can study, understand and interpret the
Bible; then, stuffing them full of confidence through constant encouragement that they can do
this, I hope to empower them to change from an internal status of paralyzed and possibly ignorant
(or simply the feeling that one doesn’t know much or enough) to confident, ready, and trained to
engage and effectively apply God’s Word with theological reliability and biblical skill.
Of course I hope this empowers and encourages any Christian wanting to become more
grounded in God’s Word, not women only; but my primary mission and calling is to and for
On an emotional level, I simply want to tell Christians, especially women, “You can do this.” This
is not rocket science. Nor do these abilities rely on a special gifting of the Holy Spirit. These are
learned skills. Anyone who puts their mind and effort toward the training can and will learn how to
know what the Scriptures are saying, as well as what they’re not saying. They can learn how to
filter through the many voices “out there” that interpret God’s Word; how to tell the difference
between when someone’s giving their opinion about what God’s Word says and when they’re
interpreting; and what to do with the many conflicting opinions and interpretations. It can be done.
People do it every day. And you can do it with greater skill and effectiveness, while still being
sensitive to and filled with God’s very presence throughout the process.
Q: What makes it different from other books on women’s issues?
A: Plenty of books espouse one position or another on women’s roles or any other issue,
effectively telling women what to think and why to think that. Yet, few teach women to discern
God’s messages and desires for his people through systematic, thoughtful, seminary-level
analysis. Women, Leadership, and the Bible steps into that void, offering step-by-step,
approachable, “non-jargonese ,”methodical process of analyzing an issue on many levels:
scriptural, academic, spiritual, emotional, community, and personal. The ultimate goal is to equip
women (and any men who desire to read it) to thoroughly and effectively investigate God’s Word,
along with filtering through various interpretations of it, and subsequently make up their own mind
about an issue.
If you stopped by yesterday and read my review of Women, Leadership and the Bible, you know I promised to giveaway a copy of Natalie’s book!