An Interview with Danielle Strickland
We are so excited to be able to share with you a deeper look into Danielle Stirckland's new book, Better Together, through a Q&A interview with the author herself.
Danielle Strickland is an international speaker and a justice advocate who has helped plant churches, establish justice departments, and has helped launch global anti-trafficking initiatives.
Here is our interview with Danielle Strickland:
Q: What inspired me to write about the topic of oppression and the ongoing divide among men and women in today’s society?
A: I’ve always been an advocate for women and am convinced that the Gospel, properly understood and lived out is the best way to bring wholeness and justice to the world.
When the #me-too movement happened, over 19 million women shared their own tragic experience of inequality, sexual abuse and harassment over just a few weeks! It was a tipping point in our culture. The truth is out. Things are not ok and must change. That moment was a catalyst for me to speak up and to offer some gospel centered options of how to live in the way God designed us to - reconciled and working together for the benefit of the world.
A few weeks after Bill Hybels was accused of power abuse and sexual harassment and many church leaders were exposed for their behavior towards women, I was asked to address the topic of women and men working together at the Global Leadership Summit (a large leadership conference that Bill had founded). It was filled with tension and also fraught with controversy. What was I going to say about men and women working together in this kind of climate? At the height of the tension. That 27 minute speak was the genesis of this book. I realized that if this one event had this much tension connected to it and was this difficult to speak about honestly and critically and humbly - then everyone was facing a similar situation. So, the book was born. There was a lot more to say than I could fit in in that one talk.
Q: What role will women’s empowerment play in achieving a better world where both men and women can usually thrive?
A: It’s essential. I have a whole chapter on imagining what this would look like. Economically, if women had the equity to enter the work force it would add 11 trillion dollars to the global community. The U.N. says that if it had to pick one development goal that would be the most important to help achieve every other goal it would be women’s empowerment. Global advocate, business, peace-making and politics, parenting… virtually every sector of society will only benefit from the empowerment of women. That’s what makes this issue a human one not a woman’s one. If we want to make the world a better place - we need to work on this together.
Q: What’s the first step?
A: We can model reconciliation. The apostle Paul said that the gospel was the ministry of reconciliation. In issues like this we tend to polarize the issue. We take a side and this only cements the divide - making it even harder to work together.
I suggest we take a deep look at the power of the gospel and then be willing to demonstrate to the world (who remains divided and paralyzed) what it looks like to come together.
Specifically I suggest it’s time for men to bring their shame and guilt to the foot of the cross. And I think it’s time for women to bring their hurt and pain to the foot of the cross.
Three parts of reconciliation that are necessary for right relationships are forgiveness (chasing this posture is key for victims and asking for forgiveness is key for perpetrators), repentance (which is to change our mind) and restitution (which is to do whatever we can to make the wrong - right).
Sometimes, we tend to think we can just ‘get over’ the past and move on like nothing has happened. But reconciliation is a right relationship - and that will be key to do and to demonstrate to the world - this truly is Good News.
Q: What do I hope readers will take away?
A: Hope. A vision of the future. An elevated look at how the Gospel is so very relevant for our world right now. Practical steps on how to live differently. Truth that will set people free from assumptions, prejudice, embedded beliefs, and unhelpful practices. Challenge the existing status quo of male dominated leadership structures and systems. Humility and a willingness to be the change.
Thanks to Danielle Strickland for answering our interview questions about her new book!
To get a copy of Better Together by Danielle Strickland, click here.