Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rachel Held Evans - Year of Biblical Womanhood

Rachel Held Evans
Rachel Held Evans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last week I was listening to Dr James White's Dividing Line web cast and for the first time I heard of Rachel Held Evans  and her experiment for living out all the Biblical verses that deal with prescriptions for women for a year.  She has written a book based on her experience. That book has recently been publish and she has been making the round promoting the book.  She was a guest on ABC's shows The View and Good Morning America. She appeared with her husband and both shows had video clips of her while she was living out the most wooden literal interpretations of the Bible imaginable. I was intrigued to learn more. Both of her network television appearances are available online and I think that they do a disservice. There is no attempt to apply a sound hermeneutic to Scripture. To secular television, the Bible is a joke and they do not think that there is anything of value in it. Evans does not seem to want to go that far but instead wants to cherry pick the parts of it that make her feel like she is closer to God. She has no problem with that because in her view that is what everyone does any way. She does not think that there is a consistent detailed message in the Bible about what it means to be a man or a woman or what does God desire for us. I totally disagree with that. She also seems to think that the Bible's prescriptions doesn't leave room for a woman to be herself. She's wrong about that. Here are some videos that I was able to dig up. Easy to find. The first one is her announcement for the project.

The second is from her appearance on the Techology webcast. She has thirty minutes to talk about herself and the project without the limitations she had on secular network television. I really recommend this one.

The third is another  summary of the project by Evans herself.

Here is the Good Morning America clip
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And on the View

One of the biggest problem is that  in her appearances she really seems to get a lot in the Bible wrong for example, there is video of her sitting on the roof of her home because she understands a passage in Proverbs 21 meaning that contentious wives should be punished by being forced to be in "time-out" on the roof of the home. But look at what the passage says:

 Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. - Proverbs 21:9

It's not saying that putting your wife on time-out on the roof when she is contentious is the thing to do! Instead it is talking about how horrible it is to live with a quarrelsome wife. It's so bad that the man feels like he would rather live on the corner of  his roof than live in the same house! This is but one example and not having read the book, I sure hope there are better hermeneutics and exegesis employed than what I have seen so far but I'm not real optimistic.

Also notice that she said that treated Proverbs 31 as a to-do list but she told the Techology webcast that in researching how Jews read Proverbs 31 and saw that they do not read it that way. I wonder why. Think she answers that question in her book?

There have been a few response materials released to answer some of these challenges.Some Response Articles

A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show
Mutuality 2012: Responding to Rachel Held Evans
What Biblical Womanhood is not

The Bottom line is that man and woman are ontologically equal - neither inferior nor superior to the other. But God has given men and women different roles. Both are needed and important.

Here is a link to Rachel Held Evans' book
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