Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joining the conversation

Author and speaker Rachel Held Evans
Early this month, Rachel Held Evans visited Baylor University's chapel to speak on her current book project The Quest for Biblical Womanhood.

It's a really great talk, and worth listening to all the way through.

Some memorable excerpts:

"I hate seeing the Bible reduced to an adjective."

"Here's the thing: I have immersed myself totally in biblical womanhood. I have studied, I have read commentaries; I have looked, and I have found no blueprint in the Bible for how to be woman, or how to be a wife, or how to be a person of faith. And just when I think I've found one... a woman comes along in Scripture and she's praised for breaking it."

"God chose not to communicate to us in bullet points. Instead, he uses poetry, history, letters, laws, philosophy, proverbs, traditions, and mostly, story. With the exception of Noah's ark and the temple, there just aren't a lot of blueprints in the Bible, and there's certainly no blueprint for how to be a woman."

"The Bible is meant to be a conversation-starter, not a conversation-ender."

"We're part of this dynamic, centuries-old conversation with one another and with God because the Bible is hard to understand. And I think God wants us to struggle with the Bible because He wants us to be drawn into community with each other and with Him. I think He wants us to have conversations, because faith isn't about being right, it's about being a part of a community."

"We can't really have constructive, helpful, dynamic conversations about the Bible unless we're willing to admit that our interpretation of the Bible is only as inerrant as we are."

"We all pick and choose."

"Questioning somebody's motives is a bad way to end any conversation, especially one about the Bible."

"The best way to engage in better conversations about the Bible is to ask better questions. And I think the Evangelical community has kinda dropped the ball on this one in recent years. We've been so concerned about being ready to give an answer in defense of Christianity that we've forgotten that the Bible is teeming with questions."

"The Bible is a great conversation-starter because it asks the questions that are most important to us as human beings, without providing neat and tidy answers."

"Being willing to look at the Bible from another person's perspective represents a strength of faith, not a weakness of faith."

And possibly my favorite:

"I figure that if the gospel can bring together zealots and tax collectors, and pharisees and prostitutes, and Jews and Gentiles, it can bring together Arminians and Calvinists."

(And maybe, just maybe, it can even bring together complementarians and egalitarians.)



  1. The addition of the complementarian and egalitarian camps at the bottom of the post is priceless. "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." Romans 15:7

  2. Thanks for your encouragement, Suzie -- I was hoping to hear from you on this.

  3. Pam, I do like perusing Rachel's writings. Thanks for posting these great quotes!


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