Monday, October 29, 2012

Pastor or Politician? Strange reviews of Rachel Held Evan's New Book

Posted by Hannah at 3:57 PM

long island medium
You can’t have faith and fear, because they don’t go together!  You have to release the fear and embrace the faith! – Long Island Medium
As you can tell at times I like to watch some ‘fluff’ shows.  It helps me relax, and YES giggle at times.  I was flipping around on the television, and caught a small segment of this show.  She was speaking to a young girl who had lost her grandmother, and the grandchild was falling deeper into the pit of depression to the point of attempted suicide.

Anyway, this child was told to go back to her faith.  She couldn’t live with fear and faith at the same time.  The fear was overwhelming her life, and was taking up to much space in her head and in her heart.  She needed to embrace some changes so she could live the life that her grandmother wanted for her.  She told her to go back to her faith, because during this period of her she had left that behind. 

I think we all realize there is so much MORE work to do with this child besides the simplistic advice she was given.  Its good advice, but she may need counseling, etc. as well.  I remember a time when most people just realized this, and it didn’t need to be discussed.  You didn’t have to touch on all the bases, because they were just a given. 

Today you have to be careful, because people will wish to add and subtract to what you are saying just because it seems they don’t like the discussion to begin with.  I’m sure we all do it in some fashion, but today it seems so over the top. 

Its almost as if we live with fear constantly, and different viewpoints are looked upon with fear.

When I saw some reactions to Rachel Held Evan’s new book about ‘biblical womanhood’ I saw some faith circles that need to let go of the fear, and embrace the faith!   They seem so afraid of questions, and people that find doing life a bit different than what they had in mind is a threat.

They remind me of politics and the media twisting and turning facts to encourage viewers/supporters to think as they do, and those that can’t?  WHOOP up your base with all kinds of strange ways of looking at things, and YES its even okay to be downright dishonest about it – to attack the opponent.

To bring my point home lets look at the political atmosphere we presently have in the United States.  It really doesn’t matter what side you are on, because both sides do this.  I will take an example from both sides to show you, and I picked two that I felt most were familiar with.

big bird politic statement
During one of the Presidential debates Romney stated that we need to go into the budget, and cut some extras that we can’t afford at this time.  The moderator of the debate happened to work for PBS, and Romney stated that funding to PBS was one of those items.  Romney made a point that he liked PBS, and he liked Big Bird!  We as a country needed to make cuts all over to help us in our financial circumstance, and PBS maybe looked upon as unnecessary due to the financial issues we face presently.

As you can tell from the picture the point he was making was taken out of context, and used against him. 
not optimal

Host Jon Stewart states (speaking about Libya), “I would say and even you would admit it was not the optimal response - at least to the American people as far as all of us being on the same page…”

President Obama mirrored his statement, ‘Here is what I will say, if four Americans get killed it is not optimal,…”

Once again what was said was taken out of context, and used against him. 

I can’t stand this type of thing, and it bothers me to no end.  The attacks had no point, because it was taken out of context.  PBS will survive budget cuts or not – and yes that includes Big Bird.  Obama wasn’t minimizing what happened with the statements above on this show – his statement mirrored the host’s.  That is all it was.

Its this constant searching for something awful, and if you can’t find it?  Make something up, and run with it.  Twisting the points made, and adding to what wasn’t there is key.  Its so dishonest.

Lets look at the book…….

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master"
With just the right mixture of humor and insight, compassion and incredulity, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is an exercise in scriptural exploration and spiritual contemplation. What does God truly expect of women, and is there really a prescription for biblical womanhood? Come along with Evans as she looks for answers in the rich heritage of biblical heroines, models of grace, and all-around women of valor.
Rachel Held Evans describes the reason why she started this project, ‘I loved A.J. Jacob’s book The Year of Living Biblically, and always thought, “Boy, this would be a totally different book if a woman had done this.” I never dreamed of doing it myself until I started encountering Christian teachings that were advocating “biblical womanhood”—teachings about submission, submitting to your husband, and not teaching in church. I started thinking, “Well, nobody is actually practicing ‘biblical womanhood’ 100 percent.” That’s when I got the idea to have some fun and try to do all the teachings that relate to women in the Bible as literally as possible for a year.”

In this book Evans is trying to build a bridge, but I wonder if it is not rather a comfortable bridge for shaky evangelicals to find their way into theological liberalism. This book is not ultimately about manhood and womanhood, headship and submission, or the complementarian and egalitarian debate. At its root this book questions the validity of the Bible. And denying the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture is a denial that will ultimately erode the gospel of our Savior.

My conclusion at the end of the year is that there is no one right way to be a woman of God. There’s no one path to “biblical womanhood.” There’s too much in contrast, too many different women in scripture, too many different cultures represented to say, “Biblical womanhood looks like ... bullet point one, two, three, four.”
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College got upset due to statements made in a interview Rachel Held Evans recently did to promote her book.  He didn’t like the box that he felt she put certain circles of faith into, and then went to her blog to point out additional major errors she has written about.
As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.”
Now of course like a Politian you need to find things to say about the opposing party to excite your base.  The above is a great example of that, and YEP he sure did get the response he was looking for!  Check out his comment section.

BUT>>>>Lets be the fact checkers that point out there was way more to the story than a couple of partial sentences taken out of the whole statement.
Then, as a young adult, I fumbled through an angry stage, one where I realized that after Joshua “fit the battle of Jericho,” God told him to kill every man, woman, and child in the city, and that coursing through some of my favorite Bible stories were the currents of genocide, xenophobia, patriarchy, and misogyny. I began to doubt what I’d been told about the Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency. Like a teenager suddenly made aware of her parents’ flaws, I screamed and hollered and slammed doors. I sunk into quiet withdrawal, feeling angry and betrayed that the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.
Do you notice the ‘slight’ difference between what they claim she stated, and what she actually did state? 

This is the type of dishonestly you expect in politics, but you don’t expect with representatives from a faith community.

Are these men of faith or politicians?

Denny Burke states, “We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything evangelical comicclose to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.”

Shall we ‘twist’ his context for a moment?  Does that mean the proper definition of ‘evangelical’ includes using 1/2 sentences out her statements to misrepresent what she said?   Its okay to WHOOP up your base because you don’t like the criticism you seem to be seeing?

Are you really pointing out to question your view on the bible is to question GOD himself?  That is what you are saying in a nutshell!

She is not critiquing the bible, God, or any of that.  Its not God she is questioning, but certain portions of your own belief system within the book.   Don’t worry!  Its not just your belief system, but others as well.

Can’t you be honest and say that is what you are REALLY upset about?

Again she is not questioning ‘God’s way’.  She seems to be questioning your interpretation of ‘God’s way’. 

There is a HUGE difference there, and that fact doesn’t change because you don’t like it!

There is nothing wrong with questions.  God doesn’t shiver when questions are raised!  He does not attack in response either.  Why?  It does not make you evil to do so.  It doesn’t make you a feminist, apostate, heretic, nor is it blasphemy.

It doesn’t look to me like she is asking questions, making statements and all the rest out of bitterness, contempt and judgment of others being evil.  Questions should be encouraged. Defensiveness is pulled from fear.   What are you so scared of?
I hope that A Year of Bib­li­cal Wom­an­hood will make peo­ple laugh. It includes a bunch of funny sto­ries (and pic­tures!) from my adven­tures in fol­low­ing all the Bible’s instruc­tions for women as lit­er­ally as pos­si­ble for a year…so I hope it enter­tains! I also hope that it helps lib­er­ate women from this idea that there’s just one right way to be a woman of faith, that “bib­li­cal wom­an­hood” means keep­ing the home and sub­mit­ting to men.
My fear, of course, is that it will be mis­un­der­stood. I think every writer wor­ries about that. I fear that peo­ple will judge it with­out read­ing it, that they will think I’m mak­ing fun of the Bible, when noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. I took on this project pre­cisely because I love the Bible, and I was tired of see­ing it reduced to a list of rules and roles when it came to some­thing as impor­tant and beau­ti­ful as womanhood. – Rachel Held Evans
We need to keep in mind that is OKAY not to agree with everything Rachel may state, or even believe everything she does.  That wasn’t her point anyway.

The one point that made me giggle the most?  The critics state we don’t live by Old Testament rules anymore.  So why the constant reminders about the Proverbs 31 woman!  Its not Old Testament anymore?  (Rachel dealt with New Testament as well in the book)

You have to wonder if they completely missed the point, can’t grasp the purpose of the book, or just feel that questioning their views is dishonoring God.  Their reaction to me is out of fear sadly. 

The politicians deceive at times because they want to win the race…what is their excuse?

Fear.  Faith.  It’s true they can’t go together.

Additional Articles of Interest:

On Rachel Held Evans and Why “Vagina-gate” Matters
In a sense, I think it’s a potentially good thing that this story has raised the eyebrows of so many, because in doing so, it shines a bright light on the very dynamics within organized religion that still seek to control, subjugate and manipulate people in to being what they think God requires. But not all of us who claim to be followers of Jesus feel this way. It’s time for Christians to do what they say they believe when it comes to giving voice to those who have been silenced,  and to empower the marginalized, even if that subjugated group makes up more than half of the world’s population.
Belle’s Elbows
Her stories are often funny and sometimes heart-breaking, and there is wisdom sprinkled throughout the pages that I’m sure even my ultra-conservative, silent-with-head-covered grandmother couldn’t help but “Amen!” to. Looking at the story of Mary and Martha (Martha, who busies herself in the kitchen while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet), Evans writes (on pages 36-37):
Caring for the poor, resting on the Sabbath, showing hospitality and keeping the home – these are important things that can lead us to God, but God is not contained in them. The gentle Rabbi reminds us that few things really matter and only one thing is necessary. Mary found it outside the bounds of her expected duties as a woman, and no amount of criticism and questioning could take it away from her. Martha found it in the gentle reminder to slow down, let go, and be careful of challenging another woman’s choices, for you never know when she may be sitting at the feet of God.
There are many similar pause-and-praise-inducing moments in the book.
Confessions of a Heretic Husband (He writes about the critics of her book, and how we don’t follow OT rules)Except...for the ones many of them still follow (OT Rules).  Like tithing and keeping the Sabbath, which aren’t mentioned in the NT.  Also, most people still agree the 10 Commandments are OK.  And though there are a couple of throwaway references to homosexuality in the NT, most people who hold that it’s a sin go scurrying to the OT for backup.
Critics are ignoring an important fact: even if it’s true that Christian women don’t need to follow the OT laws any more, at one point Israelite women did actually follow them!  If you’re going to live like a “Biblical woman” for a year, you need to acknowledge that there are actually two kinds of Biblical women: the OT Biblical woman, and the NT Biblical woman.
The Book of Rachel
It's easy to mock these radical life experiments as inauthentic, but Evans at least had a didactic purpose. "I wanted to help free women from this impossible ideal of womanhood. And invite them to cut themselves, and one another, some slack."
After the year was up, what conclusions did she draw? "That there is no such thing as 'biblical womanhood'," she says. But above all, the project made her grateful for her husband, his respect for her and his patience.
Did it make her question the Bible's teachings? "All the time. No one can read it all and not get angry. It was written in a highly patriarchal culture, where wives were akin to slaves. But its troubling aspects don't, for me, erase its other messages."

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believer333 on 10:37 AM said...

Excellent. This is a keeper. \o/\o/\o/

Hannah on 12:34 PM said...

Thank you believer333!

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