Rachel Held Evans – 40 Ideas for Lent

Rachel Held Evans – blog.

Here is Rachel’s usual post on 40 creative ideas for Lent.

Experimental Theology: Social Media as Sacrament: A Thought For Rachel

Experimental Theology: Social Media as Sacrament: A Thought For Rachel.

This is a brilliant article, written by Richard Beck, in response to a question asked on twitter by Rachel Held Evans. It should be read by all Christian bloggers.

Rachel Held Evans – The Bible was ‘clear’…

The Bible was ‘clear’….

Was it, really?

101 Christian Women Speakers

101 Christian Women Speakers.

Rachel Held Evans is horrified by the misogyny and patriarchalism that dominates the American evangelical culture and she would like o see more of the gifted Christian women on the platforms of Christians conferences in America.

However, because she’s had enough with the question who are these women, she has decided to make the list, so that the evangelical chauvinists have no excuse.

I was happy to find some of my favourites on this list, and some new names that I should pay more attention to.

Thanks, Rachel

Rachel Held Evans on Being ‘Divisive’

Its is quite some time since I am singing praises on this blog for the writings of Rachel Held Evans. And here I am, doing it again. This time for her most recent blog post, on the charge of ‘divisiveness’ that we often get when we try to discuss in the open some of the pathologies of our churches.

Before I paste here a few quotes from the blog post, as a teaser,  here is the comment I have left on her blog for this post:

Dear Rachel,
I am sure Dan doesn’t mind if I tell you I love you. As a writer, and as a sister in Christ, I mean. 🙂
Although your context is very different from mine (I live in Romania), because we both serve in an evangelical environment, almost everyone of your texts is very relevant for me and the people I care about (and, for that very reason, I fight with, quite a lot).
Your text here, again, strikes a cord. Having lived for 35 years under an oppressive, communist regime, I am utterly suspicious about the ‘powers that be’ and overly allergic to any attempts at guilt manipulation.
So, here I go again, sharing some thoughts from your new post on my blog.
Finally, I was very happy to find out that you are doing some work with World Vision, the organisation I work with for 18 years now. Many of those to whom I have introduced your writings have read your Biblical womanhood book and really loved it.
Thanks a lot, and God bless.
Yours in Christ,
Danut

Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans on Being ‘Divisive’”

Diana Butler Bass thinks I’m wrong (and she’s probably right)

Diana Butler Bass thinks I’m wrong (and she’s probably right).

Diana Butler response to Rachel Held Evans, who has the humility to admit that her critique is right, and she was probably wrong.

13 Things I Learned About Church History From ‘The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2’ by Justo L. Gonzalez

13 Things I Learned About Church History From ‘The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2’ by Justo L. Gonzalez.

The Things That Take Leaders Down

The Things That Take Leaders Down.

Don’t you love Rachel Held Evans? I do, unreservedly.

Here is her latest blog post, in which she discusses the things that usually take leaders down.

Subordination in the Trinity? – a guest post from Zack Hunt

Subordination in the Trinity? – a guest post from Zack Hunt.

Here is a new blog post in Rachel’s series on household codes.
This one is a guest post by Zack Hunt, who deals with the dangerous and clearly heretical argument that a (supposed) subordination within the Trinity (basically, the Arian heresy condemned at the Council of Nicaea, 325) would require for subordination of the wife to her husband in the family.

Aristotle vs. Jesus: What Makes the New Testament Household Codes Different

Aristotle vs. Jesus: What Makes the New Testament Household Codes Different.

In today’s blog post Rachel compares Aristotle’s housecodes with those in the New TEstament.

The Letter to Nympha’s Church (a creative interpretation of Colossians)

The Letter to Nympha’s Church (a creative interpretation of Colossians).

The saga of household codes continues, this time with the house church on Nympha in Colosse.

Rachel Held Evans: Four Interpretive Pitfalls Around the New Testament Household Codes

You have heard me, over and over again, singing praises to Rachel. Here I come again. On Sunday I have just preached at a wedding on one of these family codes, so I cannot skip this topic, which, I know, trouble many sincere Christians, men and women alike. So, here it is:

Ever heard this before? 

“The Bible says wives are to submit to their husbands, so clearly, Christian men are supposed to be the heard of the household and Christian wives are supposed to defer to the wishes of their husbands when making family decisions.” 

Or this? 

“The Bible teaches husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands because men need respect more than they need love and women need love more than they need respect.” 

Or what about this? 

“The Bible says wives are to submit to their husbands and slaves to their masters, so clearly, it’s an outdated and irrelevant text that oppresses people.”  Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans: Four Interpretive Pitfalls Around the New Testament Household Codes”

Who speaks for Millennial Evangelicals? | Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture

Who speaks for Millennial Evangelicals? | Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture.

Although Anderson has some good legitimate points in this article, it sounds to me to complacent, self-assured and self-serving to be helpful for those millennial evangelicals struggling with the decision of staying or leaving churches.

It seems to me the whole purpose of this text is to give easy (false?) comfort to those conservatives who have been destabilised by Rachel Held Evan’s suggestions that something may be wrong with present day evangelicalism. This seems to me quite strange coming from the pen of a 26 years old person. However, taking into account that he is a conservative Baptist, maybe we should not be so surprised, after all.

To be fair, I find Rachel’s position less partisan and more realistic, even if it may need more nuances.

Rachel Held Evans – Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church

Rachel Held-Evans

I have been singing for quite a while Rachel Held Evans’s praises on my blog.

Here I want to share with you a recent text she has published on the CNN Belief Blog, on which she discusses the reasons why millenials (those born around year 2000, are leaving the church. I fully agree with her analysis. Here are a few excerpts (bold underlining is mine).

* * *

I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.

I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church”

10 Things I’ve Learned About Church History From ‘The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Justo L. Gonzalez

10 Things I’ve Learned About Church History From ‘The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Justo L. Gonzalez.

Some of my evangelical readers may learn a thing or two from this list.

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12 Things Your Daughter Needs You to Say

mother-daughter

This comes from Emily P. Freeman (thanks to Rachel Held Evans for the link).

Here is the list:

1. I have hope.

2. Live with God rather than for God.

3. I’m sorry. Continue reading “12 Things Your Daughter Needs You to Say”

Is God’s Presence Limited to Scripture?

Is God’s presence limited to Scripture?

This is a very important discussion for evangelicals: to what extent do we have direct access to God, or we need some mediation.

It is an age old question, which is framed now in terms of the legitimacy, for evangelicals, of a mystical view of Christian life.

Some (like Tim Challies, discussed here my Rachel Held Evans), unaware of their Enlightenment paradigm, have concluded that a mystical vision is contrary to the basic tenets of evangelicalism, if not even to Christianity itself.

We have had such opinions formulated by Romanian evangelicals of extreme fundamentalist extraction (like, for instance, Dan Paul), but fortunately, very few are taking them seriously, not only because of the virtual absence of arguments, b ut also because of the hateful attitude with which they approach the whole matter.

Anyway, I could not disagree more with them, as the readers of this blog are well aware.

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John Piper’s Freudian Slip – On What Else but Women Teaching Men

In his book The Blue Parakeet, at p. 148, Scot McKnight argues that, to be consistent, a man who refuses to listen to a woman teaching in church, he should also refuse to read biblical commentaries written by women.

In a recent audio commentary, John Piper takes on that issue and argues that reading a biblical commentary written by a woman is OK ‘as long as the man does not see her’, and he suggests that is behind Paul’s injunction that ‘women should not teach men’ (1 Timothy 2:12).

I am afraid what we have here is not only a sample of outdated fundamentalism, of the kind Piper if guilty time an again, but also an unintended Freudian confession of being obsessed with women bodies.

Rachel Held Evans takes this on in her article on this topic and provides us with a few examples:

  • ‘Piper’s primary measure of appropriateness is whether a man feels threatened by a woman’s teaching’
  • ‘Piper argues that a woman can teach a man so long as her teaching is “impersonal,” “indirect,” and “removed”—essentially, so long as it is easy for him to forget she is a woman’

As Evans rightly argues, these statements, and others like them are dehumanising for women and, I would add, a pathological expression that needs a bit of psychoanalytic unpacking. Continue reading “John Piper’s Freudian Slip – On What Else but Women Teaching Men”

Rachel Held Evans – Why Progressive Christians Should Care About Abortion

Rachel_Held_Evans
Those who read my blog on a more or less regular basis know how much I love Rachel Held Evans. Her pilgrimage of faith seems so similar to my own struggles.
Now, in her latest post, which I could easily file under the rubric ‘how my mind has changed’ (I hope to be able to write some day something substantial on this topic), Rachel writes about abortion. It is a long article, because the matter is much more complex than some people on the right imagine, but I assure you it is worth reading.
In order to convince you, here are a few excerpts:
* * *

I knew what abortion was before I knew where babies came from. 

Growing up in the evangelical subculture of the 80s and 90s, I was well versed in the language of the pro-life cause, as familiar with Roe vs. Wade and the silhouette of a tiny fetus as I was with Disney princesses and contemporary Christian music. My young mind grasped the essence of the pro-life argument—that all of life is valuable, no matter how small or vulnerable—but mistakenly reduced the solution to abortion to a single step—vote for a pro-life president, and abortion will go away. A Republican president meant no more dead babies. It was as simple as that. 

…Until it wasn’t.

By the time [George] W [Bush} finished his second term, I had graduated from college, come to terms with the fact that the criminalization of abortion is highly unlikely no matter the party in power, expanded my definition of “pro-life” to include Iraqi children and prisoners of war, and experienced first-hand some of the major problems with America’s healthcare system, which along with poverty and education issues, contributes to the troubling abortion rate in the U.S. I remained pro-life idealistically, but for the first time, voted for a pro-choice president, hoping that the reforms I wanted to see in the healthcare, the economy, immigration, education, and for the socioeconomically disadvantaged would function pragmatically to reduce abortions. A couple of my conservative friends called me a baby killer. Several questioned my salvation. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – Why Progressive Christians Should Care About Abortion”

Jesus Started With the ‘Outliers’

Jesus Started With the ‘Outliers’.

This is a text worth reading. Here are just two quotes.

There is this tendency within certain sectors of Christianity to assume that if our theology “works” for relatively privileged (often for white, upper-middle-class American men), then it should work well enough for everyone else, and everyone else should conform to it.’

If the gospel isn’t good news to the so-called ‘outliers,’ then it’s not good news at all. And, in fact,  if our theology doesn’t start with the ‘outliers,’ then maybe we’re doing it wrong.

 

Rachel Held Evans – Ashamed

rachel-held-evans

If you have browsed through this blog, you know already that Rachel Held Evans is one of my favourite authors.

I paste here below a very powerful text she has published some time ago on her blog, but I failed to share with you because of my travel. Here it is, in its entirety.

* * *

Ashamed

Posted: 07 Mar 2013 07:19 AM PST

I am ashamed.

I am ashamed that we feast while our neighbors go hungry.

I am ashamed of our selective memory.

I am ashamed of the bumper stickers, the t-shirts, the logos, the fog machines, the light shows, the celebrities, and that paralyzing fear of Silence we’re so bound and determined to avoid that we keep shouting and shouting and shouting at one another till our words are just clanging cymbals echoing off church walls.

I am ashamed of the walls. They are built high, with circles of barbed wire around the top, to keep pests away from our bread and wine, to keep the Silence from getting in.

I am ashamed of the abuse, the shaming, the cover-ups, the secrets, the millstones being forged in Sunday school classrooms and pastors’ offices where people are supposed to be safe, and the way I want to watch those millstones drag a few more bodies down to the bottom of the sea.

I am ashamed of the violence—in our theology, in our words, in myself. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – Ashamed”

Rachel Held Evans – The Scandal of the Evangelical… Heart

Rachel Held Evans

Rachel published yesterday on her blog a very soul searching text, which I wanted to share with you, but it was too late to do so. So, here it is.

For Rachel, unlike Noll, what is troublesome is not not so much the ‘evangelical mind’ (not that is not a problem, itself), but rather the ‘evangelical… heart’.

What she wrote resonated a lot with my own experience. That is why I have decided to invite you too to explore her claims and judge for yourselves.

Here are some fragments from her text.

* * *

It’s strange to think that doubt has been a part of my life for more than ten years now.

A lot of people, when they catch pieces of my story, assume my doubts are of the intellectual variety. They assume I’m just a smart girl stuck in the Bible Belt asking pesky questions about science, history and politics that my conservative evangelical culture, with a bent toward anti-intellectualism, simply cannot answer.

This is true to an extent.

But the questions that have weighed most heavily on me these past ten years have been questions not of the mind but of the heart, questions of conscience and empathy. It was not the so-called “scandal of the evangelical mind” that rocked my faith; it was the scandal of the evangelical heart. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – The Scandal of the Evangelical… Heart”

Rachel Held Evans – The Real ‘Evangelical Disaster’

Rev. Rachel Held Evans

I have just realised that I did not commend to you this post by Rev. Rachel Held Evans, which was prompted by another uninspired statement of Al Mohler, this vocal prophet of American (neo)fundamentalism, who argued that the failure in the election bid of the Mormon candidate Mitt Romney was a ‘great evangelical disaster’.

Rachel begs to differ, as I do. Let us listen to her arguments.

* * *

Concerned also by state measures legalizing gay marriage, Mohler said that, aside from the 79 percent of white evangelicals who voted as they should, the “[evangelical] message was rejected by millions of Americans who went to the polls and voted according to a contrary worldview.”

“If we do not become the movement of younger Americans and Hispanic Americans and any number of other Americans, then we will just become a retirement community,” he told NPR. “And that cannot, that cannot, serve the cause of Christ.”

The fact that I can affirm the Nicene and Apostle’s creeds, that I am an imperfect but devoted follower of Jesus Christ, that I am passionate about spreading the gospel, and I believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God, and still my evangelical credentials are constantly being questioned and debated reveals just how narrow evangelicalism has become. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – The Real ‘Evangelical Disaster’”

Rachel Held Evans – God can’t be kept out

rachel-held-evans

Are you troubled by the  killings in Newtown? I bet you are. What would you say to the parents of those murdered children? Or would you say anything at all? Maybe so: just sitting with them and crying, as Jesus suggests.

Yet, at this sober time, there are some ‘smart guys’ who think they can ignore the feelings of those who mourn and can use the opportunity to make another point in their ever-raging ‘cultural war’ (on common sense). According to them, who, obviously, know how God thinks, the reason for this tragedy is that ‘God has been pushed out’ of America, and poor God, he needs these well intended and shrewd  guys to save his but. Utterly disgusting!

Rev. Rachel Held Evans, the ‘biblical womanhood lady’, a woman that I love and respect deeply, takes to task this madness, in one of the best texts I have read on this troublesome matter.

Here are some fragments from her latest post.

* * *

there is a rumor floating around among the people of God that is so vile, so dangerous and untrue, it simply must be called out. It’s a rumor that began long before the shots rang out at Sandy Hook and long before this Advent season.

It’s the rumor that God can be chased out.  Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – God can’t be kept out”

Complementarian vs Egalitarian

The last book of Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, continues to make waves among evangelicals.

One expression of this is an indirect dialogue between Rachel and Jen Pollock Michel, a ‘complementarian’ lady writing for the Her.meneutics blog of Christianity Today.

Those who read my blog know already a number of things about me:

1. I consider myself a feminist theologian. I believe the church looses a lot when she reads the Bible and interprets church history and Christian thought exclusively through the eyes of men, as was the case for most of its existance.

2. I refuse to be catalogued as an egalitarian, and even less so a complementarian (as much as I refuse to choose between the Calvinist and the Arminian ideologiei); I am convinced that these labels are misguided and deceptive. In fact, most so-called ‘complementarians’ are in fact hierarchialists, while egalitarians, when they don;t buy into the Marxist rubbish that informs some extreme versions of feminism, refuse to obliterate all differences between men and women (some of them, thank goodness, are in fact impossible to obliterate, to our delight 🙂 ). Continue reading “Complementarian vs Egalitarian”

Rachel Held Evans – My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’

rachel-held-evans

Rachel tackles daringly (she can’t do otherwise) another very dear ‘holy cow’ of fundamentalists and biblicits, the obsession of everything, legitimately or not, having to be ‘biblical’.

Here are a few excerpts from the opinion article published by the CNN website:

On “The Daily Show” recently, Jon Stewart grilled Mike Huckabee about a TV ad in which Huckabee urged voters to support “biblical values” at the voting box.

When Huckabee said that he supported the “biblical model of marriage,” Stewart shot back that “the biblical model of marriage is polygamy.”

And there’s a big problem, Stewart went on, with reducing “biblical values” to one or two social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, while ignoring issues such as poverty and immigration reform.

It may come as some surprise that as an evangelical Christian, I cheered Stewart on from my living room couch. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’”

Rachel Held Evans – 5 Things You Don’t Have to Leave Behind When You Leave Fundamentalism

Here they are:

1. Love for the Bible

2. Church

3. Discipline

4. Friendship

5. Holiness Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – 5 Things You Don’t Have to Leave Behind When You Leave Fundamentalism”

Rachel Held Evans – I Love the Bible

I love Rachel Held Evans. I hope I am allowed to say that. She is the kind of Christian writer (and blogger) I always read with great pleasure. I guess those who come from time to time on my blog already got that. A simple search on her name would help the others understand.

Today I want to draw your attention to a sort of elegy to the Bible. Rachel puts very well in words much of what I myself feel about this topic. Here are just a few quotes:

* * *

I have wrestled with the Bible, and it has left me with a limp.

But I am glad. I am glad because this limp has slowed me down a bit. It has humbled me. It has forced me to stop running so fast and sure down the path of certainty that I forget to listen, to pay attention, to ask questions, to build altars, to wait. Continue reading “Rachel Held Evans – I Love the Bible”

Rachel Held Evans – Ask a stay-at-home dad…

You should absolutely read this article, especially if you are tempted by the typical misogyny promoted in Evangelical circles.

I hope to be able to give you the link to the follow up ARTICLE.

 

Rachel Held Evans – Brian McLaren, rockin’ the boat again

So Brian  McLaren’s new book, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? released last week and is already making some waves. The video above provides a nice summary of the book, which I found challenging and  thought-provoking. What I like best about the book is that Brian encourages Christians to nurture an attitude of openness and cooperation toward people of other faiths without compromising Christian identity. So often we feel like we have to choose between openness to others on the one hand and commitment to our own faith on the other. Brian argues that we don’t have to make that choice.

Read on Rachel’s post HERE.