About the Book
Book: Chemicals and Christians
Author: Martha McLaughlin
Release Date: January 31, 2020
“Just because you’re set apart doesn’t mean you’re set aside.”
Martha McLaughlin and her husband served as international missionaries for 10 years, ministering in a variety of ways, including helping to identify unreached people groups. When her physical breakdown forced them to return to the USA, she feared it was the end of her missionary journey. But instead, God told her, “Just because you’re set apart doesn’t mean you’re set aside.”
Today Martha feels called to try to help a different kind of unreached people group: the isolated sufferers of toxic illness, a growing but largely invisible population. Yet, like the canaries once used in coal mines to detect poisonous gases, they are a wake-up call to the effects of the thousands of chemicals used daily in our modern society.
Expertly researched and written, Chemicals and Christians: Compassion and Caution is loaded with valuable information and biblical counsel for hope and avoiding harm in our increasingly chemicalized environment. It provides steps for biblical health management, offers practical resources, and shows Christians ways to help.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
A professional writer since 2006 with a BS and an MEd, Martha has had more than 500 articles published. Alongside her husband, she served as a missionary in South America from the late ‘80s through the late ‘90s. A widow with two young adult sons, Martha lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and enjoys outdoor activities.
More from Martha
When people talk about taking the road less traveled, the implication is generally that there was a choice involved. I’ve made choices at times to wander down lonely trails, such as deciding to become a missionary and move to a country in crisis. Water and electricity were rationed, grocery store shelves were empty, a cholera epidemic raged, the president disbanded congress, inflation hit 10,000 percent, and active terrorist bombing shook our house on a regular basis. Most mission organizations and all non-essential embassy personnel left the country and those of us who chose to stay found ourselves on a very sparsely populated path.
At other times in my life I’ve ended up on roads less traveled not by any decision of my own, but by circumstances beyond my control. During my decade of missionary service, my health steadily declined and I was forced to return to the States to look for help. It wasn’t easy to find, but I eventually learned that Lyme disease, mold exposure, and the chemical onslaughts of a third-world megacity had overwhelmed my detoxification system. I discovered I could climb out of bed and function if I avoided anything that would make my full metaphorical barrel of toxins overflow. I also discovered that was much easier to do in theory than in practice because of the overabundance of untested and unregulated chemicals in common, everyday products.
My health condition introduced me to a world of chemically sensitive people, all of us living isolated lives, unable to safely access most medical care, shopping, schools, and churches. I’d been deeply saddened at having to leave the mission field and wondered why God had removed my ability to serve, but not the sense of call I felt. I gradually began to understand that I still had a calling, but to a different population. I felt God asking me to speak for people who are generally unseen and unheard. I want the Christian church to not only see us, but to find ways to open their doors and provide the spiritual nourishment and connection we so desperately need.
As I was discovering the needs of the chemically sensitive population, I was also learning how quickly it’s growing and how easy it is for anyone to join. I began to understand the connection between everyday chemical exposures and common mental and physical health conditions and symptoms. So the other side of my call is to warn healthy people, or those who haven’t yet connected their chemical exposures and health complaints, that it’s wise to be careful – that being a good steward of the physical body doesn’t just mean getting eating, sleeping, exercise, and relaxation right, but that avoiding toxins is a huge piece of the puzzle.
I’m not someone who always had a burning desire to write a book. I wrote it because I had something to say and a conviction that God wanted me to say it. I want healthy people to stay that way, and I want chemically ill people to be seen, heard, and reached with God’s love. My deep desire is for Chemicals and Christians to help save people from unnecessary suffering.
Author Interview with Martha McLaughlin
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Most of the time writing energizes me. Something that exhausted me when writing Chemicals and Christians, though, was trying to keep up with the ever-changing internet links in my endnotes and resource section. It felt like bailing water from a leaky boat. I finally just accepted that even if all links were active and correct on the day of publication, there was a good chance at least one of them would be wrong a week later.
How did writing this book grow you spiritually?
At various points in my life I’ve felt the need to re-examine my theology of suffering, and writing this book provided a natural reason to do it again. Do I still believe there’s purpose and meaning to suffering? Do I continue to trust in God’s love for me even if he hasn’t chosen to heal me yet? Do I truly expect him to bring good from the pain and messiness of my life? It was helpful to stop and ask myself those questions again and to reaffirm that yes, I still believed those things.
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
In the midst of the COVID-19 craziness, I began thinking about the fact that I was less anxious than most people seemed to be because I’ve experienced similar circumstances before. When I was a missionary, I lived through a cholera epidemic and also frequently shopped in stores with empty shelves. The experience of being stuck at home for long periods of time is also not new to me. It’s my daily reality because of the limitations imposed on me by chemical sensitivities. While everyone else was feeling their world getting smaller, I was feeling mine getting larger because of the sudden abundance of online entertainment and social connection options.
What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
In general, the hardest part for me is knowing when and how to bring a piece of writing to a close. If I’ve been given an assignment with a specified word count, it’s a bit easier, but when I’m writing a blog post (or book), I’m always navigating the balance between including all the information I want to share and keeping the piece short enough that I don’t lose the reader’s attention. I’m also a fan of neat and tidy endings that refer back to points made earlier and tie things up with a bow, but those aren’t always easy to write.
How do you do research for your books?
When I wrote Chemicals and Christians, I didn’t follow the pattern of choosing a topic and then diving into the research. I’d already spent years studying toxins and how to avoid them so I could improve my own health and keep myself out of bed and functional. Writing the book was a matter of sharing what I’d already learned through books, journals, and conversations with doctors and fellow chemical illness sufferers. I can still fall into a rabbit hole of study and exploration on any given day, but it’s such an important topic and so relevant to me personally that I can’t imagine not continuing to try to learn as much as I can.
Thank you, Martha, for your time in letting us get to know you better!
Inklings and notions, June 22
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 23
Vicky Sluiter, June 24 (Author Interview)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25
Texas Book-aholic, June 26
My Devotional Thoughts, June 27 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, June 28
Splashes of Joy, June 29
For the Love of Literature, June 30 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, July 1
Lots of Helpers, July 2
Artistic Nobody, July 3 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, July 3
Godly Book Reviews, July 4
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 5
To celebrate her tour, Martha is giving away the grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.