From September 2015 to September 2016, I spent every other Sunday evening helping to teach a class at my church. A group of 10 of us set out to read and discuss the entire Bible in a year. It was both challenging and eye-opening, and we ate a lot of snacks and got into a lot of arguments – two of my favorite things.
During that experience, I really struggled with how women are talked about and treated in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament. It’s something that I talked about with my class and other friends as well. Once the class was over, I still didn’t feel like my thoughts had been resolved, and I didn’t see others really wrestling in the same way I was.
Until I found A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.
In this book, RHE sets out to follow the commands and emulate the exhortations of the Bible regarding woman – all of them that are within her power, anyway. She changes the way she dresses, the way she communicates with her husband, the way she makes the decisions, the types of food she buys and eats, and so much more.
Evans has received a lot of criticism for this project, particularly from Evangelical Christians who claim that she was practicing poor interpretation and application of the Bible. But here’s my take on it.
Rachel Held Evans took a subject that was incredibly raw and real and dove right in. She didn’t stray from the difficult parts of the Bible that so many people ignore. She chewed on them, tried to apply the principles of them to today, and tried to really get a sincere understanding of what the Bible has to say about women: something that I don’t see anyone else doing in that same way, but I think desperately needs to be done.
Evans made me laugh out loud, she made me cry multiple times, and I’ve found myself continuing to come back to many of her thoughts as I think through what it means to be a woman in the church and a woman in this world in general.
A Year of Biblical Womanhood was refreshing, challenging, and encouraging and a very accessible and easy read for anyone who’s thought about the disconnect between what many Christians say they believe about woman and how they actually treat them. And for those who haven’t thought about that disconnect: this book might be even more eye-opening for you.