Watch out: I’m an extroverted, theology-loving, hermeneutics snob- writer who has just spent 6 hours alone in a rental car driving through a North/South swipe of the state of Wisconsin listening to “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” by Rachel Held Evans.
I have literally spent 6 hours listening to only the first half of this book. Wow! I cannot imagine had I read it myself, how long would it take? It must be all of those Bible references she makes…
Speaking of Bible “references” let me get straight to the point: just because something is in the Bible, it does not make it a mandate, a rule or a lesson to teach us. She covers her head, takes Proverbs 31 as a literal translation but then tells us it’s a poem and calls her hubby “Master.”
It’s funny because she herself critiques a literal translation when heralding a Jewish rabbi’s wife about Proverbs 31 and critiquing Mark Driscoll about sex.
Yet I feel like I pick up her angst as I am listening. Her angst at the church’s inability to interpret the Scriptures in a way that honors women, as it should. The way so many have been oppressed at the hands of “conservative Bible thumper.”
I would like to state to clear my conscience: that we should be careful to not interpret the Bible as a book of rules. I like how the Jesus Storybook Bible puts it: it is a love story. A story of God’s relentless pursuit of us, His people. There are rules within, but much more than that.
It is filled with stories of broken people. If we were not broken, we would not need to be rescued. But the truth is we do need a Rescuer. King David needed a rescuer when he did nothing when his daughter was raped by his son. Moses needed a rescuer when he wrote down all those laws. Rahab needed a rescuer while living a life of sin as a prostitute. All needed God: The Rescuer.
Lest I become overly critical of Rachel, Mark Driscoll (don’t get me started) or Martha Stewart, or you, for that matter, let me clarify: the Church needs a rescuer. All churches. And I do too.
I’m half way through this book, and it makes me sad to think that many will read it and perhaps have their angst reinforced. Or others will have new angst because of the interpretations of the horrible stories. I wish I could publish an additional chapter to state what Rachel may be about to or would if she had more paper and a generous publisher: Jesus is so good. God too. He saves us from ourselves, from our oppressors and our worst nightmares about one another and even about Himself.
I’d also like to point out that Rachel picks out the mandates specifically to women in this volume and doesn’t talk much (so far) about the calls for us to trust God, ask for forgiveness or pray for our enemies… I wonder what would happen if we all took the generic mandates to all of us literally, how it would go?
How about the ones about unity? Judgment? Injustice? Sexuality? Money?
Maybe someone should live a year, or maybe 30, of Biblical Discipleship and write a book — oh wait, Someone did. We didn’t like it. In fact, we criticized and ripped Him apart for it. And then He was killed.
to be fair, I haven’t finished the book yet. To read for yourself, http://RachelHeldEvans.com