This post has been rolling around in my head for over two weeks now. I don't bring it up because of the brouhaha which erupted last week over words uttered by two Wilsons and an Evans. Truly. I have debated all weekend about never posting about it. I have written and deleted it about four times. I promised Trisha and Persis I would review this book, so here I am, posting. I will be as brief as I can, because this book's author is quite capable of generating attention; she doesn't need me.
I was asked by a young woman what I thought about Rachel Held Evans's book Evolving in Monkey Town. The question came shortly after my introduction to Evans's blog, through a post where she discussed some reasons why she left her church. That post, and a few others I skimmed while there, told me enough about her. That we are not likeminded would be an understatement.
When I was asked about this book, I didn't want to read it, but when a young lady asks my opinion, I feel like I should give it to the best of my ability. I decided to read it. I'm glad I did in one way, and wish I hadn't in another. I'm glad I am now able to have a reason why I will never recommend this book to a younger, immature believer, but the experience was kind of heart-sinking.
Evans's book is a memoir, despite her being under 30 at the time of writing, a fact she acknowledges. She recounts a crisis of faith, something which seems to have begun in her young adult years. Despite being immersed in apologetics training, she ended up being unable to confront and answer serious issues like the extent of the atonement, evolution, evil and suffering, the place of women, homosexuality, to name a few. Those are personally familar to me because I had such struggles in my own mind after being saved about 12 years, and my own daughter had them in high school. I was a grown woman when I had those questions, and I dug deeper into Scripture at that time and read other things which directed me to where I am today.
The conclusion to Evans's journey is the sad part, because there are two phrases which are rather tell-all with regard to her views now that she's come through the worst: "cosmic lottery," as a descriptor of salvation, and "pond-scum theology" as a synonym for total depravity. It is apparent that Evans also rejects Scriptural inerrancy, and that right there tells me what I need to know. Those are just the tip of a very big iceberg that tell me to turn the other way. What Evans did to reconcile the questions was to "evolve" to her new position. She's no dummy; the word "evolve" is very clever. Evolving, especially in a world which embraces scientific evolution, implies that she's coming out stronger and better. Survival of the species, and all that, you know.
Although part of me wants share more about this book for those who might want to know more, I can't, because frankly, after the events of last week, I don't ever want to be involved in any conflict, let alone the kind which involves the circles in which she travels. I've read some of her blog. The comments are usually the worst part. There is no room for contrary opinions. A contrary word will get one blocked from commenting, as I heard last night. Some of the people who follow her and support her remind me of a girl I knew in junior high, Lynn. She was the type of girl you never looked in the eye. If you did, she would respond with "You wanna fight?" And Lynn didn't fight girly fights; she used her fists. I had the misfortune of looking at her in biology class one afternoon. I don't want to be around people like that. Call me a coward if you will.
I'm a small blogger, and perhaps giving a more detailed review would not bring the naysayers here. But maybe not. Google can do some strange things. I want this place to be a place of edification. And I didn't feel encouraged by this book nor do I think it would be an encouragement to examine it more closely. For a more thorough examination, read this piece, written by Sarah Flashing. She is much more capable than I to address this book.
And now, back to regular programming. This week, I'm hoping to finish The God Who is There, by D.A. Carson, a book, quite co-incidentally, which would be perfect for someone struggling with questions about God. I will be very pleased to review this book fully.