Editor’s Note: Brad’s thoughts here are intentionally restrained, and are only based on interviews and blog posts. We are ultimately withholding judgment until we read the book, because that’s just the fair thing to do.
We do plan to have a review of the book as soon as possible. You can expect a proper review around the first week of November. We look forward to engaging with the entirety of her book!
I am usually delighted when anyone begins to take the Bible seriously, and because of this, attempts to live their lives as biblically as they can. Rachel Held Evans wanted to do this for a year, and for that, I commend her. She did it as an idea for a book, which is also fine, but the idea that this would somehow involve something radical, since she is already a Christian, is a bit odd.
According to Rachel’s interviews and her blog, she has done this for several reasons. One is that someone else already did it, but she wanted to do it from a woman’s perspective. Another is that she is tired of the Bible being used as an adjective. Finally, I believe that she was going with the thesis that everyone picks and chooses certain things to follow from the Bible and yet they ignore others.
I have a few immediate gut-reactions to the concept of this book that I thought I would note.
At our church we have a few dozen women that live biblically day after day, year in, and year out. Yet, they have never felt compelled to call their husbands “master”, and neither have their husbands demanded it. They have never slept in a tent outside because of their monthly period, and they never sat on the roof when they were contentious. (Wouldn’t the husband be the one who would be better off on the roof anyway?) We are folks who are inerrantists, so it isn’t as if we haven’t noticed what the Bible says or taken it seriously. In fact, this experiments strikes me as a bit insulting, as if by not doing these things our ladies are living ‘unbiblically’.
The bottom line is this: Rachel Held Evans may have had a good time cobbling together some interesting things that people are free to do. But it seems to me that these stunts were hardly Biblical, because if they were, Christians would actually live like this. So what, in the end, is she trying to mock? Christians who claim the Bible seriously but don’t live in tents during their menstrual cycle or the Bible itself? Maybe next year, she could try taking hermeneutics more seriously.