Archives For Rachel Held Evans

“The quest to feel certain becomes an idol when a person’s sense of significance to God and security before God is anchored not in their simple trust of God’s character, as revealed on the cross, but in how certain they feel about the rightness of their beliefs.” – Greg Boyd

SOURCE: Faith, Doubt and the Idol of Certainty: An Interview with Greg Boyd.

Greg Boyd Book on DoubtI can say with some certainty (pun intended) that Greg Boyd is one of my favorite Christian authors.  I think I have read almost all of his twenty some books on the topic.  Greg was one of the first to let me know that it was alright to have doubts about how my then church dealt with various matters.  One of the most poignant quotes from the interview above follows. I would highly encourage you to read the entire interview and even pick up a copy of his new book about doubt. I just downloaded mine into my Kindle.

On top of this, those who embrace “certainty-seeking faith” tend to become narrow-minded, for honestly trying to see things from other peoples’ point of view might lead them to question their faith and thereby jeopardize their “salvation.“ In fact, this model can easily lead people to develop learning phobias, for if you dare to read broadly and learn to see things from other people’s point of view, you might uncovering facts that could shake your certainty and thus displease God. I’m convinced this explains why Christians, especially conservative Christians, have a well-deserved reputation in the broader culture for being narrow-minded. – Greg Boyd

I have indeed been directly exposed to many in this mode. They absolutely refuse to look at anything that might jeopardize their supposed certainly that their version of Christianity is the only true one.  At first this fact surprised me when my pastor basically refused to read a book by Shane Claiborne that I gave him. But later I realized that he by choice chooses to be narrow-minded in this and many other topics of the world.  Unlike my previous friends I have no doubt that God welcomes questions about him and what he expects of us. I pray that some day my “certainty-seeking” friends will open up their hearts and minds to the questions that other have about their beliefs.

Source: Ask Shane Claiborne…(Response).

You also see in Scripture that when people encounter Jesus, they don’t all walk away to pursue the exact same lifestyle. For instance, Jesus dealt with two tax collectors—Matthew and Zaccheus. Matthew chose to sell everything, but Zaccheus, from what we know, sold half of everything, paid everyone four times what he owed them, and then went on. So they both reimagine their life and their economics, and they both challenge the system, but they did it in different ways. And you’ll notice that Matthew didn’t get all upset and come out and tell Zaccheus how to do it! (laughter)

I think I have read all of Shane Claiborne’s book. He is one of the few Christians I know that totally lives out his faith. I don’t think he is labeled an emergent although he certainly practices inclusion in his small church.

The above quote is from a longer interview that Rachel Held Evans was able to receive.  It is well worth reading in its entirety so I will make it my blog post for today.  Click here to read it; it is well worth your time

About The Epistles….

September 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

I am well aware that there are Christians who believe that all of the bible is the words of Jesus and must be taken literally and totally without the possibility of error in every regard.  On my very first post on this blog almost four years ago I was confronted by this belief by a person rather high up in the Lutheran denominations. I have always been a person who asks questions about everything. Always asking questions has gotten me in trouble throughout my life but never more so than in the secular realm.  When I study the bible I just find too many inconsistencies in the stories and especially about the spirit of God to believe it to be from God’s lips that is if he actually has lips.  As I have evolved I have come to take the bible as inspired stories about the history and yes even the myth of what we now call Christianity. The bible contains many valuable messages but it is just not intended to always be taken literally.

When I came across the blog by Rachel Held Evans I discovered a young kindred spirit. She, like me, is not afraid to ask “why” even to the biblical text.  She learned much earlier in her life than I that in mine that the bible contains valuable stories about Jesus and God but was not dictated, either literally or otherwise, by God. Here is an excerpt from one of her postings.

The epistles were never meant to be interpreted and applied as universal law. Rather, they provide us with an instructive and inspired glimpse into how Jesus’ teachings were lived out by real people, in real communities, facing real challenges. It is not the details found in the letters that we should seek to imitate, but rather the attitudes. The details (head coverings, circumcision, meat offered to idols, widow management, hair length, etc.) are rarely timeless, but the attitudes (“as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men,” “do not cause your brother to stumble,” “avoid the appearance of evil”) provide guidelines that can instruct us as Christians today. So the questions we should be asking ourselves today are not: Should we eat meat offered to idols?, or Should women wear head coverings?,  but rather, How can we find peace when Christians feel convicted in different ways? and How do we avoid unnecessarily offending others by our appearance? 

When read this way, I am constantly impressed by the degree to which these early Christians were willing to sacrifice beliefs and traditions they held dear for the sake of love and for the sake of advancing the gospel. Such a reading does not devalue scripture, but rather honors it for what it is, not what we try to make it. 

From Rachel Held Evans   via About The Epistles…..

Rachel is a very prolific blogger! I don’t know how she keeps up the multi-day postings and I am a person who has four blogs running.  She is on my daily read list and I have just ordered her first book entitled Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions.

I could not have said it better so I will leave her words above to stand on their own.

Women Be Quiet!!!

June 9, 2012 — 10 Comments

1 Timothy 2:11-12 A woman  should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;  she must be quiet.  

I have always been troubled by these verses from Paul. I just don’t believe that God intended, especially for all eternity, that women to be quiet and not have any authority over men. Why would he deprive us of so much that women have to offer in almost every area?? Yes, I have heard that the majority of today’s theologians don’t believe that these words actually came from Paul but instead were added by someone later trying to advance a particular agenda.  Like all of these types of controversies it is impossible to discern the truth as the original documents to all of the Biblical text have long since disappeared.

I was certainly pleased to see a response to this verse below.

What’s with the women at Ephesus?

Just as I’ve never heard a sermon against Cretans, I’ve also never heard a sermon on 1 Timothy 2:8, in which Paul tells Timothy, “I want men everywhere to pray, lifting holy hands without anger or disputing” that included a universal dictum that all men everywhere must raise their hands whenever they pray. Nor have I heard a sermon on one of the most common instructions found in the epistles, to “greet one another with a holy kiss.” (1 Corinthians 16:20) Nor have I ever heard of a pastor being removed from the position in keeping with Titus 1:5-6 because one of his or her children had left the faith. (It’s an uncomfortable reality, but if complementarians were as consistent in their application of biblically-based pastoral qualifications as they claim to be, a few of their most prominent spokesmen would have had to resign from their pastoral positions when their children left the faith. They didn’t.)

I haven’t heard any sermons on all of those biblical instructions, but I’ve heard more than I can count on 1 Timothy 2:11, which says, “a woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”

Rachel Held Evans | Blog.

As shown above this response came from Rachel Held Evans blog. This young lady is certainly one I don’t want to be quiet! She is now on my regular read list. Check out the full post by clicking on the label above. She has much more to say about this than is shown above.

I am fully aligned with her that we Christians, especially the fundamentalists among us, pick and choose which verses they decide to take literally. When we quit doing that and take the Bible as an inspired series of stories we just might quit continuously dividing ourselves. I think 39,000 different versions of Christ is enough …

Until the next time I bid you peace….