The Green family of Oklahoma City – the force behind the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and a significant U.S. Supreme Court ruling on religious freedom – has long been wrapped in the headlines about the Bible in U.S. society.
Now, Jackie Green, 52, co-founder of the museum and co-author with her husband, Hobby Lobby president Steve Green of This Dangerous Book: How the Bible Has Shaped Our World and Why It Still Matters Today (Zondervan, 2017) has written a new book with the oldest of their six children. Lauren Green McAfee, 29, brand ambassador for the Bible museum and doctoral student at Southern Seminary, and her mother say their new book is about the only legacy that matters – instilling in others a love of God and his word.
Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy (Zondervan, June) is primarily a collection of vignettes of 36 women, as famous as Harriett Tubman or little known as a nameless woman at an ancient well, who changed others lives through their actions as mothers, teachers, and activists.
(Their conversation with PW has been edited for length and clarity)
How did this multi-generational book come about?
Jackie: Traveling over the last few years, I would meet women from all over. As we got to know one another and share life experiences and things in common, I found a common thread of the influence of the women in their lives. So often we don’t stop and recognize the women who are so invested in us and don’t know how much impact we can have on the people around us.
Lauren: We wanted to share that there are lots of opportunities for women to step up and lead, no matter where they are – at home with children or in the workplace. Investing in a lasting legacy is not just something for the special few.
The women in your book face dramatic challenges. You share your own struggles here, too. Lauren wrote about the pain of infertility and the struggle to adopt. Why was it important to share these experiences?
Jackie (who has dealt with rheumatoid arthritis since she was a young mother of 29): We all have different paths but it doesn’t do us good to keep our challenges to ourselves. People need to realize they are not alone. They are not isolated if they have the solace of faith.
You both have been in the line of fire publicly. There was the 2014 court case (wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of small corporations owned by religious families such as the Greens who refuse to offer certain types of contraception in employee health plans). And there has been controversy over questionable archeological acquisitions by the Museum of the Bible. How are you weathering this?
Lauren: Faith comes into play. We trust our beliefs and continue forward with integrity. We know we have to take what’s in the media with a grain of salt sometimes and things are not always accurately portrayed. This wasn’t always easy to have to learn that. But we know our value is not found in what others are saying about us. We have to be true to ourselves and to our character. That gives us a lot of encouragement and comfort.
Jackie, who, like Lauren, drew her comments in part from a prepared statement concerning the museum artifacts: “I am confident we have the best team of advisors in place to meet the high standards for acquisition policies set forth by the Art Museum Directors as well as guidelines set forth by the American Alliance of Museums. The whole idea has always been to preserve important scriptural manuscripts for the future. The intent is always for the good.
You quote a phrase from Max Lucado that one should strive to “outlive your life.” How can women do that?
Lauren: Our book talks about women living their faith and intentionally applying that faith to their entire lives. It’s the power of authenticity. We may not think we’re important or empowered to do something special in life but neither did these women. It’s the small things we do every day that can imprint on others. We do that every day with our goals for health or fitness. We should set goals for our legacy as well.