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The launch of The Black Swan Effect

[Tweet “IT’S OFFICIAL! THE BLACK SWAN EFFECT IS NOW LIVE ON AMAZON. Yay!!”]

 

Here’s the link to The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church on Amazon. Both paperback and Kindle editions are available.

I’m so grateful to the team of women–my wonderful friends Peggy Batcheller-Hijar, Jan Diss, Katie Driver, Suzette Lambert and Julie Ross–we’ve worked together on this project for four years now. And I’m very thankful for the guys who’ve stood with us, contributed chapters, encouraged us–Neil Cole, Dave Ferguson, Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch, Floyd McClung, Frank Viola and Jon Zens. And Lynne Hybels wrote the foreword of the book for someone she’d never met… What a blessing!

Although our technical launch date is tomorrow (Saturday, April 5th) there are already various other blogs and articles about  it on the Internet. (See here, here, here and here).

Most readers of my blog are familiar with the The Black Swan Effect. But if you’re new, here’s a little about it–taken from the “blurb” on Amazon.

The Black Swan Effect presents a vision for what can happen as men and women work together in the Kingdom of God.  The authors (both male and female) encourage men to champion women as equal co-laborers and partners in the harvest. They also give women permission and inspiration to follow the Lord—to reach their own full potential and encourage others to fulfill God’s call. The Black Swan Effect equips both men and women to bring an informed and positive contribution to the increasingly crucial conversation on gender in the church.

If you are like most Christians, one of three primary motivations propels you into this discussion about women in ministry:

  • Many Christians have come to the conclusion that there is no better way to increase the size of God’s missions workforce than to fully deploy women to use their spiritual gifts and God-given capacities.
  • Some are asking theological questions. They are investigating how the Bible portrays women, especially women leaders. How did Jesus treat women? Were the New Testament writers—in particular, the apostle Paul—misogynists? Are there alternative interpretations for some of the really difficult passages of Scripture?
  • Others are drawn to this discussion because of issues related to justice and human dignity around the world as well as in the church. As they study Scripture, they are assured that God creates all men and women in his image, and they can’t even imagine a God who would discriminate against women.

Fourteen different authors contribute to these themes, each writing from their own area of passion and expertise, the whole being woven together into a single narrative. Encouraging stories of women who are doing marvelous things for God today accompany each chapter.

Change is coming! Let’s get ready.

If you purchase The Black Swan Effect, readers of my blog can also get a free download of a short (25 page) e-book entitled “A Simple Guide to the Challenging Scriptures for Women.” (I’m using an honor system here. If you purchase the book, click on the link for the guide.) It’s a quick reference to four of the Scriptures that have proven most troublesome when it comes to women in ministry through the years.

 

Neil Cole on The Black Swan Effect

The Verge conference was last weekend. I always look forward to spending time with good friends who make it to Austin for the conference.  Neil Cole is one of the contributors to The Black Swan Effect, and he came and hung out with us at our home when the conference was over. I took the opportunity to take a brief video of him talking about why the concepts we all write about in The Black Swan Effect are important.

Neil has also recently written a book called Primal Fire: Reigniting the Church with the Five Gifts of Jesus, which I highly recommend.

Neil Cole speaks about The Black Swan Effect from Felicity Dale on Vimeo.

Michael Frost on The Black Swan Effect

I was at the Verge conference this past weekend, and caught up with Michael Frost, who’s one of the co-authors of The Black Swan Effect.

[Tweet “The Black Swan Effect will be released on April 5th. Just 5 days to go…”]

Although The Black Swan Effect is available right now on Amazon, it will help us if you delay getting it until this weekend. (It helps a book to climb the Amazon rankings if more people order at a similar time.)

I asked Mike to say something about the significance of both male and female contributors to The Black Swan Effect. Here’s his response:

Michael Frost on why we’re better together from Felicity Dale on Vimeo.

Is the age of chivalry dead?

Or should the age of chivalry be abolished?

Twice over the past few weeks I’ve read from different sources that it’s somehow demeaning to a woman if a man opens the door for her or pays for her meal. In both instances, the people concerned were offended if a man held the door open for them because it somehow made women inferior.  They felt that a man being chivalrous towards a woman was in some way discriminating against them because it was rooted in the idea of a female being helpless. (The idea comes from the age of knights and dragons and heroines in need of rescue.) One in particular made it clear that chivalry is basically kindness and should be practiced by both genders towards others.

Those who read my blog know that I believe women can be very strong, warriors for the Kingdom, able to do and be anything that God asks of them. They can make disciples, baptize them, plant churches, teach and train, give communion etc. There are no barriers in the Kingdom of God for women. But what about at a cultural/social level?

I guess I was taught how to “be a lady” from an early age. I’d never thought twice about a man opening the door for me. I’d never even considered the matter until recently.

I’m puzzled as to how to react to this and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think about a man opening a door for a woman?

Is chivalry purely a cultural phenomenon? Should it be encouraged? Does it say anything about women at a spiritual level? Is chivalry a Kingdom quality?

    Photo Credit: InAweofGod’sCreation via Compfight cc

We are different

I don’t have a problem with men and women being different. I studied medicine (I’m a physician by background) and not only are we anatomically different, nearly every system in our body is different in some way. The X and Y chromosomes make an impact. We obviously have different endocrine systems (hormones), but other systems differ too. For example, our skeletons are different. Our musculature is different. Our brains are different (men’s brains are larger, but women’s have more connections between right and left hemispheres.) When I studied diseases, I had to learn the differing rates at which diseases occur in men and women. Study any text book on pathology and you cannot get away from the differences.

It’s not hard to believe that the chemical and physiological differences impact how we think and process things.

Are there differences between men and women?

Yes.

I have no problem with those differences.

What I do have a problem with is when those differences are used to create a gender-based hierarchy, or when they’re used to limit women, preventing them from doing and being everything God has commanded them. Or when they produce stereotypes that people are expected to conform to, or when they are used to demean women.

What I long to see is for the body of Christ to welcome those differences, creating a synergy from our different strengths.

What do you think?


Photo Credit: Double–M via Compfight cc

 

On being a feminine leader

Yes, that’s right. I said “feminine leader,” not “female leader.”

Why is it that people expect leaders of either gender to think/look/act as though they are men?

 

Photo Credit: anicaps le forum via Compfight cc

Someone once sent me a Facebook picture saying, “I’m tired of Christian women leaders looking like men. This is how I would like a woman leader to appear.” The picture was of a very beautiful, very feminine lawyer. But there was such strength, courage and determination in her face. My response to it was, “Yes! A woman can be feminine and strong. She can be the kind of woman that men open the doors for, but yet be a leader in her own right. God has female (feminine) leaders and warriors.”

We tend to stereotype the genders–men are strategic, logical, strong. Women are relational, intuitive, creative. Many of us know people who don’t fit the stereotypes. (I, myself, think logically and strategically–I’m not sure if that’s by nature or because of my medical training). But we assume that men will carry one type of role and women another because of these characteristics.

Many assume that better leadership is more masculine. So women leaders, whether in business or on the Christian conference platform often dress like men and perform like men.

I think this is sad. Women can be feminine leaders. They can look attractive, be creative and intuitive, and still be strong leaders.

What do you think?

An update on The Black Swan Effect

I am excited! Two years of work, plus decades of background study, are nearly done. The Black Swan Effect is undergoing its final edits before going to the printers later this month.

[Tweet “Our book, The Black Swan Effect will become available on Amazon during the first week of April.”]

You readers of my blog have been my inspiration. I was totally amazed when I shifted the emphasis of this blog to include writing about women in the Kingdom, that my readership doubled almost overnight. Your comments have inspired me and caused me to do further research. When I’ve felt discouraged, one of you has always written something that’s lifted my spirits and made me think, “Yes, it is all worth it.” Thank you to everyone.

Here’s the latest:

The Black Swan Effect website is up and running. It has interesting information about the book and its authors, plus a sample chapter. You can see it here.

We are pretty much reliant on word of mouth when it comes to the marketing of the book. It would be wonderful if you would help us spread the word. Let your friends know its becoming available soon. There are a number of things practical things you can do too.

  • We have a Facebook page . It would help us if you would “like” the page and then invite your friends to like it too.
  • You can follow us on Twitter.
  • If any of you have blogs, I’d love you to blog about the book. I’ll willingly do an interview for you, or give you some other materials about it. Of course, a (favorable ;-)) book review on your blog would be great too.
I’ll keep you posted…

A woman of faith: Elisabeth Elliot

I’m currently on vacation with Tony–staying in a house on a deserted beach in Eleuthera (Bahamas). This article about Elisabeth Elliot is a repost.

Our deserted pink-sand beach

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of christian,But the fact that I am a christian does make me a different kind of woman.” Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth’s parents were missionaries in Belgium, which is where she was born, but they returned to the States when she was just a few months old, and she was brought up near Philadelphia.

Elisabeth went to Wheaton College where she studied classical Greek in the knowledge that this would help her translate the Bible into the languages of unreached people groups. She met her first husband, Jim, while she was there. Following college she went to Ecuador to work with the  Quichua Indians. A year later, Jim also came to work with the  Quichua. Jim and Elisabeth were married in Quito in 1953.

Jim had always had a heart for unreached people groups. The Aucus, a fierce tribe who killed everyone who came into contact with them, were  not too far away. Jim and four others determined to reach them and so made a trip into their territory in 1956. They made friendly contact with three of the tribe members but then all of them were speared to death. As Jim said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Left alone with a 10 month old daughter, Elisabeth Elliot continued work with the Quichua tribe. Then God led her to two Auca women who were living amongst the Quichua, whom she invited to live with her. They stayed for a whole year, and taught her and fellow missionary, Rachel Saint, the Huao language spoken by the Aucas. One of the two Auca ladies was the key to Elisabeth being able to live and work with the Aucas, the people who had killed her husband. She spent two years with them with her three-year-old daughter, Valerie, and Rachel. She then returned to her work with the Quichuas, finally going back to the States in 1963.

Since then she has led a very productive life, speaking and writing. She became an adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was one of the stylistic consultants for the New International Version of the Bible. She also remarried, and now works with her current husband. She is one of the most influential Christian women of our day.

Photo credit:www.elisabethelliot.org

The Black Swan Effect is on facebook

It’s a long story, but despite offers from publishers, the Lord has led us clearly to self-publish our book, The Black Swan Effect.  Part of the reason ties up with finances. When we were in the process of making our final decision, from two different sources the Lord spoke to us.

“It’s all about the money.”

Since we’ve always planned to give any proceeds away, we’d never even considered the financial implications. But when we did the math, we discovered that we’d be able to give away about five times as much money if we self publish.

However, one of the side effects of this decision is that we are now responsible for all the marketing.There will be no money to give away without books selling, however one publishes.  And actually, especially in the current climate, even with traditional publishers, the author is the one primarily responsible for marketing. We know we are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit for The Black Swan Effect to have any kind of impact, but there are tools out there that we can use.

So we have become active in social media. And it would be great to have your help.

The Black Swan Effect has now gone live on Facebook! You can view posts about The Black Swan Effect on Facebook here.

It would help us if you would click through and “like” the page. How about inviting some of your friends to like the page too? Then join the conversation.

We’ve also just started a Twitter account. Our Twitter name is @blackswanbook. Again, follow us on Twitter and help us to spread the word.

My blog readers are the best!! I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for reading my posts, for commenting, for offering support and encouragement. (Much to my shock, I recently discovered simplychurch in a list of the top 100 Christian blogs–Crazy! And I know I have you all to thank.)

Thank you for your help with getting the word out about the book too!

The Black Swan Effect: prayer needed

The Black Swan Effect: A response to gender hierarchy in the church is due out at the beginning of April.

Unless the Holy Spirit takes and uses this book, it will not accomplish anything of significance.  We can do all the marketing and promoting we want, but if God doesn’t take a hand in things, it will, at best, be an interesting read for some people. But it will not have the impact we long for.

Tackling the topic of women in the church also potentially paints a target on our backs.

Prayer is the answer.

Would some of you be willing to pray with us for this book? I’m going to send out weekly (or so) updates until after the launch so you’ll be aware of how things are going.

You can sign up for prayer updates here.

 

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