When you find yourself shouting “Yes!” and “Wow!” out loud as you read a book, and scribbling “Amen!” in the margins, you know it’s a good one. That was my experience reading Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image. Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the author, Hannah Anderson, so that you can take her up on that invitation.
Hannah has written a hope-filled book that injects fresh perspectives into the tired conversation about women’s work and roles. “Wait a minute,” she says, “let’s back up a bit.” Before we hash out any of that, we need to establish a more solid foundation. Those debates can’t take place on the shaky ground of culture and society and competing interpretations of a handful of verses. The conversation has to be rooted in a deeper reality: the fact that women were created imago dei, that the most significant truth about their identity and calling is that of image bearer.
In fleshing out and exploring the glorious implications of imago dei, Hannah covers a lot of ground: idolatry, death to self, eternal perspective, relationships, stewardship, the nature of sin, legalism, union with Christ, generosity and grace, education, the connectedness of body and spirit … yet no chapter feels dry or bogged down. The tone is winsome — it truly does feel like an invitation — and the book is both full of lovely, compelling illustrations and saturated with Scripture. For these reasons, Hannah is able to speak to various branches of the church, to establish common ground in the church’s thinking about women.
My only real criticism is that I wanted more of a bridge between the inspirational and the practical. I felt so validated and energized as I underlined quote after quote — but I also wondered, Okay, how do we live out this lofty vision? What is the way forward, specifically; where do we go from here in living out identity rooted in imago dei? That’s why I hope Hannah is already or will soon be at work on her second book.
In the meantime, she has answered a few questions for Ungrind to whet your appetite. And Moody Publishers has provided two copies of Made for More for us to give away!
How did the concept of imago dei become such a central feature of your thinking and writing? Share a bit about your journey to writing this book.
My journey to write Made for More was a tremendously personal one. When I first entered adulthood, life was pretty easy; I had my nice, neat categories. I knew who I was and where I belonged. And then life happened.
Ten years later, the roles and categories that had once given me security weren’t working anymore. I felt uncertain, out of sorts, and restless. When I looked around, I saw my friends going through very similar struggles. So I started asking myself, What have we missed? What has been absent from the conversation that would explain why so many of us are longing for “more”? It turns out that the “more” we needed wasn’t more opportunity or different roles; the “more” we needed was God Himself.
As I studied and wrote, I realized that a lot of us are engaging in a subtle “bait and switch.” We are doing a lot of good things in God’s name; we are committing ourselves to valuable callings as wives and mothers and aunts and teachers, but we often elevate these roles to the place of God in our lives. We look to these things to give us our core sense of self instead of looking to Jesus. That’s when I realized that we needed to lay the foundation of imago dei — we needed to go back to the very beginning and learn what it means to reflect and represent God on this earth.
You discuss the dangers of identifying first and foremost as women, making womanhood our central focus instead of Christ. Why do you think women’s ministry has so often been restricted to the “pink passages”?
My hunch is that we have unknowingly embraced secular thinking about human identity. For a long time, secular psychology promoted the idea that “biology is destiny” and gender was often used to explain why we are here and what we are to do. Then the 1960s happened. Women began throwing off these biological paradigms in very dramatic and radical ways. In response, many Christians simply doubled down on traditional understandings of what it meant to be men and women. The only problem is that “traditional” wasn’t necessarily biblical.
Scripture clearly teaches differences between men and women, but it doesn’t start with gender roles. It starts with who we are as people made in God’s image and redeemed through Christ. If we don’t keep this as center, we’ll end up with the wrong focus: we’ll focus on discipling women to be “Christian WOMEN” instead of being “CHRISTIAN women.”
It feels like Made for More is only the beginning of an important conversation. Whom do you see continuing that conversation from the imago dei foundation? Do you have any plans to write (or hopes of writing) another book as a “where do we go from here” follow-up?
I’d love to see the ideas of Made for More applied in local church settings — how does the truth of imago dei shape our discipleship patterns? How does being made in God’s image change what we call women to and how we invest in them? There is a lot to be mined here, and I’d love to see women and men exploring these ideas in practical ways.
I do think this is beginning to happen. For example, Jen Wilkin, who recently released Women of the Word, writes from this perspective. Her passion to teach women how to study the Bible is rooted in the understanding that women are made in the image of a thinking, wise God. In order to reflect Him, we must be thinking, wise women. And the only way that happens is through His Word.
I’d love to write more and am currently in a season of processing what it means to be a created being — of embracing the limitations of being human. In many ways, Made for More is this grand, expansive call to understand how amazing it is to reflect God’s nature. On the other hand, we are simply a reflection. We are not the Image. I struggle with this a lot. It’s hard to come to terms with our limitations and to accept that this is precisely what God intends as well. There is only one Messiah and it isn’t us.
Thanks so much, Hannah. May God use your book to stir both women and men to live rooted in their imago dei identity and reflect His glory more beautifully!