You won’t hear me say this often. But Inspired by Rachel Held Evans had my heartbeat written on its pages. It’s a controversial book, as is Evans herself, in the faith community. But, considering myself someone of “evolving faith” this book has the love of Scripture that I hold so dear, but also so much of what I have come to know to be true or part of how I read Scripture. Evans’ memoir is about her own experience with Scripture and as she explores some of the most popular Bible stories; and ways they can be interpreted, she also tapped into current scholarship and her own literary expertise to candidly discuss how Scripture is read, can be read, and how she has found it come alive and be transformative in her own life. You can’t help but be inspired yourself.
Sometimes we construct our present realities around our stories of origin; other times we construct our stories of origin around our present realities; most of the time it’s a little of both.
Spiritual maturation requires untangling these [origin] stories, sorting fact from fiction (or, more precisely, truth from untruth), and embracing those stories that move us toward wholeness while rejecting or reinterpreting those that do harm. – Evans
I had to read and re-read chapters. I switched between audiobook (just to make headway) and the print form because I was constantly wanting to take notes, re-read and underline. There really aren’t words for me to explain how “understood” I felt when I read the pages of her book. Much of my faith journey was similar to Evans so to have someone who loves the Lord and Scripture just candidly share about her findings, her exploration, and her own journey was like a breath of fresh air for me.
I’ve heard what all the naysayers or those who outright disagree with Evans have had to say, I read this book with a couple of those very people. I’ve heard her speak, can’t wait to go back and read her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood“ and to continue to journey along with Evans as she pursues God, the Scriptures, and what faith means to her.
I read this book on my own, and now am re-reading it with a community of women I trust and are all in different spots on their faith journey and find themselves in different spots on the belief spectrum. It is not only a fantastic place to start a discussion, but the book is creating a space for us to explore and learn from each other. Scriptures say “as iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17) and Evans story is not only bringing her iron to the sharpening party, but also giving us a launching point in our relationships to go there, ask hard questions and be okay if our answers are different.
These questions loosened my grip on the text and gave me permission to love the Bible for what it is, not what I want it to be. When you stop trying to force the Bible to be something it’s not – static, perspicacious, certain, absolute – then you’re free to revel in what it is: living, breathing, confounding, surprising and yes, perhaps even magic. The ancient rabbis likened Scripture to a palace, alive and bustling, fully of grand halls, banquet rooms, secret passages, and locked doors. – Evans
Grateful to have received a copy of the book from Booklook Bloggers. All opinions shared here are my own. And this one… I’d purchase again and again to give away!
One Woman’s Journey Back to Loving the Bible
If the Bible isn’t a science book or an instruction manual, then what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she began a quest to better understand what the Bible is and how it is meant to be read. What she discovered changed her—and it will change you too.
Drawing on the best in recent scholarship and using her well-honed literary expertise, Evans examines some of our favorite Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, original poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay. Undaunted by the Bible’s most difficult passages, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating Scripture’s mysteries. The Bible, she discovers, is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God’s loving and redemptive work in the world.