In this post I encouraged you to read a piece by Rachel Held Evans. Her writing, her style, her outlook intrigued me. And, as I perused her site I discovered that she had written a book entitled Evolving in Monkey Town: How A Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned To Ask the Questions.
Evidently Rachel grew up in the town that was the location for the Scopes "Monkey Trials" that took place in the 1920's (thus the title of the book). The reviews of the book that I read explained that she grew up as a good evangelical Christian girl who indeed knew all the 'right' answers. Until she started to doubt & question & search and experience a 'faith crisis'.
I have been experiencing my own faith crisis of sorts. There have been so many questions that have been circulating through my brain and, like Rachel, I know the 'right' Christian answers. Still, they have been ringing hollow lately. And, the more I try to push back the doubt, the more it seems to push in.
Her book seemed as though it might speak to some of my own unsettledness. I ordered the book off of Amazon within 5 minutes of first reading about it.
We went camping over the weekend & the book had already arrived by the time we came home. I was tentative. I had ordered it in 'the heat of the moment' so to speak. And, now that I had it in my hands I wasn't sure if I was ready to tackle whatever emotions, thoughts, new doubts it might conjure up.
Still, I've been so hungry for someone to bounce my own questions off of, that the idea of reading about someone who had asked the same questions seemed too tantalizing to ignore.
The beginning of the book startled me, worried me, scared me a bit. What direction was she taking? I thought this book was going to help me answer some of my questions, not raise more.
I kept reading. I'm still reading. Currently I'm about halfway through. And, I have to say that as hard as portions of the book have been for me, at about the seventh chapter entitled 'When Believers Ask' I started to see where she was going. Here she really broke the questions down to a human level. This wasn't so much about Christian apologetics, but about people and how God wants to relate to us. And, it broke my heart.
I cried through chapter 7 and cried even harder through chapter 8. It was at that point that I needed to stop and come here to start to put my thoughts down. I'm still not sure where she is going to take me in the pages of her book. But, I've been challenged. I've been challenged to rethink.
To rethink is scary. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I believe this! I do. Sometimes it's so much easier to state that in any question that may arise (either from ourselves or others) than it is to face that question head on.
And, Rachel definitely faces the questions head on in this book. It's uncomfortable. I'll say that. But, I've decided that it's time to face this doubt head-on. I'm tired of running and hiding from it.
(I will follow-up once I've finished reading the book)