A Year of Biblical Womanhood

Christianity Today released its list of “50 Women to Watch” in the fall. Rachel Held Evans, blogger and author, made the list in the writing/publishing category. She began her blog in 2007 and has addressed issues important to young evangelical Christians, including pluralism, biblical inerrancy, the age of the earth, and gender. She recently released her second  book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. For more information on this funny and compassionate read, visit the book page on her website.

As a blogger, Evans is engaging and well-researched. She approaches gender issues with a great deal of respect for those with whom she disagrees. At the same time, she is good at dismantling arguments that she believes to be incoherent, or that may be hindering rather than contributing to the furthering of the gospel. Evans is committed to dialogue—one of the regular staples of her blog is her “Ask a…” series in which she allows readers to leave comments suggesting questions for her guests. These guests range from nonbelievers to Jewish rabbis to those who share many of Rachel’s convictions and perspectives. Rachel hosted Justin Lee, director of the Gay Christian Network and recent PRISM contributor, through this forum. Read an excerpt from his newly released book, Torn, featured in the November/December 2012 issue of PRISM.

One response to “A Year of Biblical Womanhood”

  1. Cindy Schilling says:

    A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
    A reader review submitted by Cindy Schilling

    The subtitle of A Year of Biblical Womanhood is “How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master.” As Evans explains in the introduction, the impetus for the book was the eve of her 30th birthday, a time when she and her husband had decided they would have a baby. Neither was quite sure they were ready, but both biological factors and Evans’ own evangelical background were pushing them to make a decision.

    Evans grew up in a church that held strong views on the appropriate roles of women in the home, the church, and society. On the other hand, in her own family, those roles were not strongly emphasized. Once she reached college she began hearing about the concept of “biblical womanhood,” which sprang up as a reaction to second-wave feminism, and was expressed in the writings of Edith Schaeffer and Elisabeth Elliot. Evans began to question what the Bible really says about women, and eventually decided that she would spend one year in pursuit of true biblical womanhood.

    This meant studying every passage in Scripture that relates to women, and to discover how women around the world interpret those passages. She also decided that she would try to follow as many of those teachings as she could in her own life. As a result, she didn’t cut her hair, covered her head, and called her husband “Master.” Each chapter explores a different aspect of Biblical Womanhood, such as beauty, purity and submission. Throughout her quest, Evans also sought out other women to find out their views on these subjects. One of her regular correspondents was able to share her perspective on life of an Orthodox Jewish woman living in Israel.

    What I found throughout this book was a thoughtful examination of what it means to be a Christian woman in today’s world. With honesty and humor Evans demonstrateds her strong desire to draw closer to God and to be able to fully understand Him in the context of His word. I realize that not everyone will agree with Evans’ viewpoint, but I appreciate her willingness to ask the questions necessary to and begin the conversation.

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