I have to say this and I figure my blog is as good a place as any.
I am concerned a bit about Christians. Yeah, that’s not exactly a news flash. What I’m concerned about today is this idea that people are reading blogs and books way more than reading The Book and, dare I say it, God’s blog? I mean basically, God kept a journal that spanned thousands of years so that we can see His thoughts and mind. So we can read it from a historical and contextual viewpoint, interpreting as best we can through the power of the Spirit indwelling, and sometimes we get to face God in a very real way, if not physically, just by reading His open letter to us.
First let me say, we need each other. Absolutely no doubt in my mind that God uses other people to encourage, to support, to rebuke, to direct. He gives us the gift of other folks who have good wise advice and have lived lives that prove solid truth and values. We go to friends and mentors to seek counsel and I know from personal experience that I often know what I need to know but it isn’t until someone who cares about me SAYS what I need to know that I actually start to believe it.
But all that said, I get concerned about how we so often rely on others. I am as big a culprit as anyone. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Tim Keller. I love his writing style. I love his academia. I also LOVE John Piper. He is passionate and dogmatic and unapologetic – um, not to be confused with apologetics itself, because he does that – but he searches scripture, he studies it, he pours over the issues and comes out with what he sincerely believes and makes no excuses for it. Even when I don’t agree with him one iota, I have mad respect for him. Sometimes I’m just mad AT him, but I still respect him completely.
So, I’m thinking now about the hype over this book called “A year of Biblical Womanhood” where Rachel Held Evans attempted to live by the letter of the law in the Bible as applicable to women. People on one side are outraged by what appears to be mockery of God’s principles and the laws He set out – the extreme ones like not talking in church or covering her hair, etc – and that making fun of these things is practically heretical. Burn her! But seriously, the intent of her book notwithstanding, the whole thing is gimmicky, marketing genius, and it’s got us all talking (as if we weren’t before) about what it really means to be a Godly woman.
Kathy Keller (wife of Tim Keller of Redeemer Pres and who incidentally does not have her own Wikipedia page while Rachel H.E. does) wrote a solid review of the book on The Gospel Coalition and it was interesting to see that Mrs. Keller is writing a book on gender roles. I doubt highly that Mrs Held Evans was attempting to write a scholarly book or to offer any great amazing spiritual insight, though I do feel it’s irresponsible of her to make light of God’s laws. What feels like ridiculous guidelines for living in today’s world had very real implications for the time and the place and were designed to show two things – that God had a plan for His people to be set apart, visibly and spiritually different from any other people, and that it is impossible to please God (ie we need Gospel redemption). If the conclusions Rachel comes to don’t include our overwhelming need for salvation and grace and then subsequently grace towards others, then she’s wrong. But I’ll withhold that judgment until I actually read the book.
What I do appreciate about people like Rachel is that she’s willing to tackle things that we all think about – we DO think that half the Bible doesn’t really apply to us. We DO think that women are held to ridiculous standards and have been since, oh I don’t know, Eve. We have found the world over that woman are oppressed and abused, treated as products to own and sell, and only steps above the best cattle. We know this; we don’t think about this on any regular basis.
I also appreciate that Rachel among other bloggers are trying to publicly wrestle out the issues that come out and share with others the personal journey of what it means to be a Christ follower and how that plays out in our daily lives. I do this. Every time I post something I get a comment or email or two that tell me I’m onto something, or I helped someone see something differently or I totally pushed someone’s buttons. I welcome all of it. I do this blog thing for myself mostly (and more recently for my fiance too) but I also know that people respond to it. My prayer would be that it encourages them not to think more of me, but to look to my God who teaches me, who sustains me. If I’m not pointing back to the Author, the only true Author, and Perfecter of my faith, then I am wrong and I failed.
If I ever publish a book, I hope that Kathy Keller reviews it and has better things to say. Then again, I would actually prefer Rachel reviews it and we get to meet and laugh together. I have the feeling my book will lie solidly in between those two.
and because it’s halloween and this picture always make me so happy…