Rachel Held Evans: A Woman’s Voice

Rachel in a big pulpit.

It’s tough representing your entire gender.

I feel the pressure every time I climb those super-intimidating stairs to stand behind one of those super-intimidating old-school pulpits to give a sermon I spent extra hours preparing because a small part of me still believes I’m unworthy to give it. I feel it every time I post a blog or write an article or publish a book, every time I give an interview or am asked to speak.

“We wanted to feature a woman’s voice,” a well-meaning conference planner will inform me with excitement, as if mine is sufficient to capture the experiences of 3.5 billion human beings.

I’ll desperately scan the program for another woman’s face, trying to shove the old adage from Clare Boothe Luce from my mind: “Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’ They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.”

Luce’s insight, illustrated brilliantly by XKCD, is not a helpful one to share with a perfectionistic overachiever who takes herself way too seriously and who retreats to the company of complex carbohydrates when she’s nervous, which is to say, all of the time.

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Some Notes on Christian Feminism Week

Next week, this blog will be populated exclusively by posts from Christian feminists. I’ve had several submissions, and there are more coming in. You can read about the initial invitation and learn how to submit something here.

Some have wondered why feminists need to post on my blog and not, instead, have a space of their own. They don’t need to post here. And many do, thankfully, have blogs of their own. In fact, a couple of next week’s posts are cross-posts from their own blogs. The reason, I suppose, to submit a post for this blog is to reach a different audience, and to say some things to that audience that need to be said.

Others have asked why, in my original invitation, I said that I would be reading, but not commenting or moderating comments. I won’t be commenting because, quite honestly, that’s when I’ve most often put my foot in my mouth. It’s better to let the commentary play out without my involvement.

I won’t be moderating the comments because I don’t want to be put in the position of favoring one post and disallowing another. I don’t actually think that several of the guest bloggers would even trust my judgment in that regard. However, each of the guest bloggers has my email address, so they can always notify me if the commentary is getting out-of-hand or disrespectful. Editors at Patheos will also be watching the commentary, as they always do.

If any of you thinks the commentary is growing abusive or disrespectful next week, please contact me.

I think that, for the most part, you will find what I have found: the readers and commenters on this blog tend to be thoughtful, respectful, and interesting. Of course, we have the occasional fundamentalist troll, but we’ve managed to shake most of those people loose over the years.

I’m looking forward to reading all of the posts and comments next week. I hope you are, too.

Who Is @EmergentDudeBro?

Late last week, I received a phone call from one of the original authors of the EmergentDudeBro Twitter account. More on that below.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter affords anonymity for those who want it. It’s baked into the cake of Twitter, and, in principle, I don’t mind that. Of course, when anonymity is allowed, people will say things that they would not otherwise say.

Because of Twitter’s anonymity, there are innumerable fake (aka “parody”) Twitter accounts. There’ve been fake accounts about me, my friends, and my theological sparring partners for a while now. The account referenced above is one that sprang up a couple weeks ago, and it uses a photo of me, taken by my spouse, in its profile.

My rule of thumb is to block fake Twitter accounts, just like I block Twitter accounts that write unkind things about me. And let me make my reasons for this clear with an analogy: I have made a menu on my television satellite box. It shows the channels I want to see, but it blocks porn, home shopping channels, FOX News, TBN, and others. I have no desire to silence FOX News or TBN — they have a right to access to the public airwaves, and they can pay to be on the satellite. But I have no desire to scroll through those channels when I’m looking at what’s on television.

It’s similar with Twitter. I’m not asking people to stop criticizing me on Twitter or to stop making fun of me on Twitter. That’s fine. But I’m just not that interested in seeing it, especially the mean-spirited stuff. I really like Twitter, and I use it to communicate with lots of my friends.

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NT Wright Wants Your Questions

Rachel Held Evans lands a big fish for her ongoing series:

Like a lot of you, I’ve been hugely impacted by Wright’s work and am so grateful for the ways in which he has helped me love Scripture, and the Christ to whom it points, better. One thing I have always appreciated about him is his commitment to teaching God’s people, not just the intellectual elite, but all who want to know and follow Jesus.