This book explores what it means to be a Christian woman who takes the Bible seriously, but doesn’t take any pre-packaged interpretation for granted. Rachel Held Evans comes from a Southern USA conservative evangelical background. So when considering the position of women in the church, it’s fair to say she brings a certain amount of baggage.
She spent a year taking one theme each month and setting herself a list of rules and projects derived from her reading of the Bible. She learns to bake, she calls her husband “master”, she camps outside during her period and she goes on a Benedictine retreat to learn the value of silence. She also engages with a number of people from a range of traditions; a woman in a polygamous relationship, Quakers, a daughter from a Quiverfull family and an Orthodox Jewess.
It’s fair to say I didn’t need much convincing of Evan’s point of view, but I appreciated the insights from her novel exploration of femininity and the Bible (I will never read Proverbs 31 in the same way again, for example).
My one quibble would be that she could have made more of a distinction between Old and New Covenant issues. I’m really not as interested in contemplating the purity laws of Leviticus 15 as I am about whether 1 Timothy 2 applies to all churches everywhere. But that’s a minor point. This was a thoughtful, insightful and, at times, laugh out loud funny book, which I would definitely recommend to others.
Next week, A Grief Observed by CS Lewis
(ps, I won’t be doing the Top Trumps thing during Lent. it doesn’t seem right)