RHE-headshot-square Rachel Held Evans is a young woman with an unusual talent to express the Christian faith in ways that relate to her own generation with power and clarity. I discovered her blog last August in the midst of the conflict over the Lutheran Church (ELCA) adopting a sympathetic position on same-sex practice. She was particularly chagrined by the reaction of some conservative Christians, linking the lightning strike on a Lutheran Church in Minneapolis where part of the church-wide assembly was held with evidence that this was God’s judgment. She was asking the kind of questions that I feel too few Christians are willing to ask. I began to read her work and became even more interested after we “met” via the Internet. (I found our Rachel was also an Alabama Crimson Tide football fan so that made things even better!)

Rachel recently finished her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town (Zondervan), will be out in only a matter of a few days. I was excited when she asked me to endorse her book. Here is what I wrote:

“A whole generation of evangelicalism’s brightest young people, based upon a common misunderstanding of 1 Peter 3:15, was taught that vital, living faith is established by a ‘worldview’ that one can explain and defend. Rachel Held Evans, a bright and talented young writer with obvious courage, challenges this ‘sacred cow.’ Her discovery is surely right—we need a faith that obeys, not a worldview rooted in absolute certainty. She will help you embrace the questions without losing the reality of faith.”

eimt-sm(1) Rachel writes as keen thinker in the Millennial Generation but she writes in a way that I think every generation needs to hear, especially the Baby Boom Generation that has so little understanding of what Rachel and her peers have to say to the larger church. Her book officially releases July 1. Here's a link to her blog where the book page can be found on Rachel’s Web site and where you can find the trailer, endorsements, and a preview: http://rachelheldevans.com/book. If you order the book via this Amazon.com link then ACT 3 will actually benefit from your purchase. I urge you to pre-order this lively memoir if you want to see how a young woman, nurtured in a fundamentalist Southern context, has become a mature Christian thinker with a great deal to say to us all. I am actually in Rachel’s debt since she helps me to speak as a faithful Christian to those I hope to mentor and teach for the rest of my life.

Recently, another noted blogger interviewed Rachel and asked her a number of important questions. With permission I give you what I felt was the most important question and Rachel’s wonderfully helpful and insightful answer. I think she nails this question so I share it with complete support for each point that she makes. In some ways her answer explains a major reason for my own blogs.

What does this generation of Christians have to offer the next generation?

There are a few things that I really hope our generation does differently, for the benefit of the next. First, I hope we choose to pledge our allegiance first and foremost to the Kingdom of God, not to any one political party or platform.  Second, I hope we transcend the false dichotomy between faith and science and have the courage to start some tough conversations about how to embrace them both.  Third, I hope we agree to call a truce and stop using the Bible as a weapon. Fourth, I hope we take a more loving posture toward the gay community. And finally, I hope we re-prioritize caring for “the least of these,” the hungry, the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, the oppressed, the thirsty, and the homeless, both in our own neighborhoods and around the world.

Do you think she is right? Why or why not?

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  1. John Rowland June 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m surprised no one as bitten yet. So, I will do it.
    First, politics. The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. As ambassadors we need to invading, pervading, persuading, like yeast working through a lump of dough, in every venue.
    Second, science. I believe that as we “grow up” God shows us more of what “makes things tick” and we must choose to overcome evil with good, rather than taking our knowledge and bending it toward evil.
    Third, the Bible. We are foolish to remove all vestiges of mystery from God’s revelation of himself and to try to have “an answer for every question”. Can’t we just trust him for what we don’t know? By this I am not recommending anti-intellectualism, just recognition that we will see through a glass darkly. Do we really believe he is working all things together for good to those who love him?
    Fourth, the scripture is thematically unmistakeable regarding sexual expression. However, In the spirit of Galatians 6:1ff, today is the day of restoration and redemption. Let’s act like it.
    Fifth, helping the least. We don’t like our lives and congregations to be impeded by others problems (or needs). But, going back to the first point, if the Kingdom is not “salting” by offering help, restoration, redemption, the politicos will step in to take our place (and already have).

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