Once upon a 2014, I stumbled into the writing of Rachel Held Evans. She was one of the companions that I met along my path when I desperately needed the wisdom and friendship of others in a way that I couldn’t even put into words for my family. It was one of those rare situations where I was certain this stranger had been skimming my journals or somehow listening in on thoughts that weren’t even clear to me. She *got* me even more than I *got* myself.
I read “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” first. The title is catchy and there is some ‘funny’ to the book. What I loved most about this book was the intelligent scholarship that Rachel brought to the conversation. It was such a relief to not have ANOTHER book full of proof-texts and gender stereotypes and first century household codes.
Soon after, I read “Faith Unravelled” (previously called “Evolving in MonkeyTown”), which she wrote first. Again I was treated to intelligent, honest writing as Rachel shared about her faith journey. I loved this book so much that it became part of Caleb’s Bible class this year.
I was over the moon thrilled to be allowed to be part of the launch group for Rachel’s third book, “Searching for Sunday”. I have read and begun to re-read this continuing spiritual autobiography this winter.
“Searching for Sunday” is a continuation of Rachel’s journey of faith with the Body of Christ through the grid of the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick, and Marriage. In each rite, she talks historical, academically, and personally about how these holy ancient demonstrations forms us and continues forming us into Who We are Called to Be individually and corporately.
Rachel’s gift is that she asks great questions without looking to pick a fight. She has strong (and I think right on) criticism’s of the Church, but never is there a question of how much she loves the Church. She has a strong respect for her roots and much love for the Church of her childhood. Her writing oozes with compassion even in her questions and critiques.
In trying to write this blog-post, I have started about 29 other other blog posts. Some much too personal to share right now. I count running into Rachel Held Evan’s writing when I did as one of the kindest interventions God has ever orchestrated for me. I was almost ready to hang up my HopeHat and trade it in for a shawl of cynicism. I am so thankful for her questions, her honesty, and her courage to share her journey.
This is not a book that I can summarize in 500 words or less. Over the next week, I will be peppering my FB and twitter streams with some of the amazing quotes from the book. I may keep blogging about it and sharing some of the work other folks on the launch team has developed. Searching for Sunday is available tomorrow. If you like your answers, then I don’t recommend it. But if you are a pilgrim with more questions than answers like me, then I think you will really enjoy this book.