Friday, December 28, 2012

Why I think you should read Rachel Held Evans' new book

As I'm sure my faithful readers know,I almost always utilize our library to read the books I want to read. Sometimes, however, I am inspired to own a book for reasons other than "our library doesn't carry it".  High among those reasons would be controversy surrounding the book. Such is the case with Rachel Held Evans newest book, "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" . While the controversy has many different levels, one outstanding feature is the fact that she uses the word "vagina" (in a book about women! Imagine!), which caused some Christian bookstores to not carry the book. (My husband picked up one of the copies he gt me for Christmas at our local Family Christian ).

Not surprisingly , the word vagina was not he only potentially controversial thing about the book, but the book is much, much more than that. For those unfamiliar with the premise, Held Evans, a liberated religion writer, spent a year following as closely as possible instructions to women from the Bible. Some she followed all year (not cutting her hair, dressing modestly, and deferring to a decidedly uncomfortable husband) ; other things were more short term (spending a menstrual cycle in a  tent in her front yard, eating kosher for the duration of Passover). Through it all, she delved into the commentaries and histories behind Biblical exhortations, and the cultural contexts in which they were written. Her intense study serves as a confirmation of the egalitarian theology model. Held Evans's in depth look into the differing things Paul had to say about the role of women in the church, and the context behind them, is a must read for anyone who believes the words of Paul can be used to exclude women from full ministry. The great "women of valor" of the Bible who are highlighted are an inspiration in the various ways they were called to be prophetesses, teachers, and apostles.
"A Year of Biblical Womanhood"  is a liberating look at the myths about what makes a woman's behaviour "Godly" or "biblical", and I would recommend that anyone concerned with the role of women in our society (hint: that's everyone) give this book a whirl.
In the meantime, you can read some of Rachel Held Evans's most popular blog posts here .


At 8:47 PM, Blogger Lone Star Ma said...

I had read about the controversy before but her blog sort of made me feel that for all that she wasn't really some literal interpretationist, she probably still was far enough from my views that I wouldn't be particularly interested. You have made me interested, though. I will try to find a copy at the library!


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