May 30, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 10.20.12

Greetings from the infirmary here at the iMonastery. Your Rambler has the crud once again. Allergies? Raging cold? Cooties? Who knows? I just know my nose is running more than a Kenyan preparing for the Olympics. My head feels like a brick smashed into it. Or at least like a brick itself. John Michael Talbot, who is singing to me right now courtesy of iTunes, sounds as if he is singing from inside a tunnel. And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? Still, your needs and interests must come ahead of my own, so I will shoulder on. Or, at least, elbow on. Shall we (cough, hack!) ramble?

Tomorrow afternoon I will be sharing with you a new feature for November—the iMonk book club.  We’re going to read and discuss four different books next month. I think you may be a bit surprised by the selections.

One book that we probably should include—but aren’t this time around—is Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”. It is amazing how many people are putting up a fuss about the content of this book without even having read it. If you do read it, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Rachel did make Christianity Today’s list of 50 Christian women you should get to know. Who on this list surprises you most? Who was left off you think should have been included?

And while Lifeway bookstores refuse to sell Rachel’s book because she used the “V” word, Lifeway Christian Resources is no longer considering selling their Glorieta camp in New Mexico to Olivet University because of concerns over the school’s ties to David Jang. Jang, you may remember, has been accused of allowing himself to be seen as the “second coming of Christ” by his followers. Jang and his followers also have deep ties to the Christian Post and the World Evangelical Alliance. Am I the only one who is really concerned about this?

The Billy Graham Evangelical Association is buying ads in major newspapers encouraging voters to cast votes for those candidates that support “biblical values.” I don’t recall Billy Graham ever doing this before. Does anyone else get the idea Franklin Graham and Larry Ross are running the show now with no input from the patriarch? I wonder if he even knows this is going on. Meanwhile, Franklin wrote an editorial for Decision magazine asking if an evangelical Christian can vote for a Mormon. Nothing new here except this line: “We need a “moral majority” – made up of Christians, Jews, Mormons, Catholics and many others of faith – to come together to take a stand for our religious freedoms and rights.” He separates Christians, Jews, Mormons … and Catholics. Anyone else troubled by that?

The Catholic Herald notes the TV series Downtown Abbey will address anti-Catholic sentiment in this year’s episodes. I just want to know if Matthew and Mary will finally get married.

I want to go to Vatican City someday. Now I really want to go to Vatican City. How cool is this?

Seems Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan got caught with his pans down. After a campaign stop in northern Ohio, seems the Ryan clan went to a local soup kitchen. Since it was closed at the time, they decided to get their picture taken washing some dishes. Dishes that were already clean. The director of the charity was not amused.

There were two daredevil feats attempted this week. The second was a free-fall from more than 24 miles above the earth’s surface by Felix Baumgartner. But the person who cheated the hangman in the greatest way this week was this man who, for one day, ate nothing but pumpkin products from Trader Joe’s.

And finally, God must not like Texas. First, the Longhorns get a beat-down at the hands of the Sooners last week for the second year in a row. Then yesterday, Big Tex burned down at the Texas State Fair. Not quite the same as Big Butter Jesus, but … well, let me take that back. In Texas, Big Tex was probably greater than Jesus. Now both the Longhorns and Big Tex are toast.

Birthdays, happy and otherwise, were celebrated this last week by Herblock; Nipsey Russell; Paul Simon; Jerry Jones; Sammy Hagar; Jerry Rice; Dwight Eisenhower; Paul Simon; e.e. cumming; John Wooden; Winnie the Pooh; Roger Moore; Justin Hayward; Mario Puzo; Angela Lansbury; John Mayer; Arthur Miller; Chuck Berry; and George C. Scott.

There are very, very, very few artists alive today I would call a “national treasure.” Paul Simon is one of them. Enjoy.

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  1. “‘We need a “moral majority’ – made up of Christians, Jews, Mormons, Catholics and many others of faith – to come together to take a stand for our religious freedoms and rights.” He separates Christians, Jews, Mormons … and Catholics. Anyone else troubled by that?”

    Yes, starting 32 years ago, when I heard Jerry Falwell say almost the exact same thing.

  2. That is big news about Paul Ryan and the less than honest photo-op at the soup kitchen.

    Much bigger news than the fact that the Obama administration was caught lying through their teeth about the attack that killed 4 Americans in Benghazi, Libya. The truth of the matter is that they knew the attack was coming. More security was requested by the American consulate, and that request was denied. And then they made up a cock and bull story about that stupid video being responsible for the “less than optimal deaths of the 4 Americans” (the Presidents words).

    Yes…washing clean dishes is a much bigger embarrassment.

    • Excellent point, Steve!

    • Nope. More security was requested for the embassy.

      • MelissatheRagamuffin says

        What I read was that the Obama administration did request more security and the Republicans blocked it like they block everything else the president tries to do.

        • Then your listening to the wrong media outlets. Repeated requests for security were made to the state department – not to Congress. The President fell down on this pure and simple. And yes things will happen from time to time that only seem apparent in hindsight. But in this situationi more focus was put on trying to make it a non-story than trying to protect innocent lives.

          It was not our President’s finest hour… nor does it continue to be.

      • @Donalbain: Didn’t the embassy in Tripoli have to close? Didn’t the consulate in Benghazi sort of take its place for the time being? I don’t understand what you’re getting at exactly. The point is that extra security was requested for U.S. diplomats in Libya, wherever they happened to be forced to work out of at the moment.

        • The embassy is a different building in a different city. Requesting security for one is but the same as requesting security for the other.

    • Agreed that most news agencies have way under reported this issue or towed the administrations line… shame on them.

    • The administration defended their shifting story (about spontaneous riots vs. terror attack) by saying they merely repeated what they were told by the intelligence community at the time. This happens to be the same defense the Bush Administration gave when no WMDs were found in Iraq… And Bush was branded a “liar” by his opponents. Where’s the same outrage this time, when the same justification is used?

    • I agree with your sentiment, Steve Martin, but I think the “optimal” quote is a bit of a cheap shot that conservatives are latching onto. Here’s the full quote:

      Jon Stewart: “I would say and even you would admit it was not the optimal response – at least to the American people as far as all of us being on the same page.”

      President Obama: “Here is what I will say, if four Americans get killed it is not optimal.”

  3. The whole “Cleaning Dishes already clean” thing has already been debunked. NBC reported on this other day:

    Photo-op? Yup. Conspiracy? Nope.

    And as for Franklin (who, yes, seems to be calling the shots. Stick to serving poor children with gifts and remote Alaskans with Bible Camps. Both are awesome.), I noticed that he initially wrote “Evangelical Christians” and Catholics as separate which…they usually are.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      There’s a reason why I answer the icebreaker question “what church do you go to?” with “Romish Papist with Satanic Death Cookies”…

      • …and Protestants buried under the floorboards. 😀

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Actually, that happens during the Three Days of Darkness (fringe Catholic end-of-the-world choreography) where the demons come out and eat all the Protestants.

        • I thought it was aborted fetuses. You know, from the midnight trysts between the monks and the nuns…? The ones they built special tunnels to facilitate…?

    • SR missed the icing on the cake. The soup kitchen is now being “punished” by many angry donors who have withdrawn their support. How dare they embarrass us with the truth! So lets express our partisan indignation and take our revenge on the homeless for some political one-upmanship. They are shiftless moochers of the 47% anyway.

  4. Big Texas toast and butter Jesus. What a combo!

  5. I am just really kind of flabbergasted by the whole Billy Graham thing. It seems like BGEA is becoming more like Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority” with these aggressive forays into politics. This makes me sad because I think Billy Graham is a wonderful man.

    But what really upsets me is the hypocrisy over whether or not Mormonism is a cult. For years, BGEA has said that Mormonism is a cult. Then Mitt Romney meets with Billy + Franklin and suddenly…it’s not a cult anymore!! They even went as far as scrubbing the website!

    I guess political power is more important than standing by your long-held views?? Someone care to enlighten me? Am I being too harsh?

    P.S., Whether Mormons are Christians is not the issue at all here, I think.

    • Yes. No. No.

    • There are some 5.2 million LDS members in the U.S. Once a religious group reaches that level of Republican voters, it is no longer a cult.

      • I literally laughed out loud at this. “It’s funny coz it’s true”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Joke definition: “A Cult is a religion without political power.”

        More accurate: “Joseph Smith started a cult. Brigham Young turned it into a self-sustaining religion.”

        • If you’re going to go all Weber on us, Mormonism is the established church of Utah, a denomination in the other mountain states, and a sect everywhere else!

    • I remember the stories of Mormon missionaries waiting outside Billy Graham crusades so recruit those who when forward. All must be forgiven. All Republicans go to heaven, I guess.

    • “But what really upsets me is the hypocrisy over whether or not Mormonism is a cult. For years, BGEA has said that Mormonism is a cult. Then Mitt Romney meets with Billy + Franklin and suddenly…it’s not a cult anymore!! They even went as far as scrubbing the website!”

      Agreed. That whole thing is troubling and I am suprised it was not mentioned in a post here at IMonk, at least in the Ramblings.

    • “I guess political power is more important than standing by your long-held views??”
      Yep, that’s pretty much it. I figured that out a few years ago and now I look at most church leaders with a jaded eye.

  6. Evans is on the same list with Palin and Bachmann? What an….uh…honor!

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Jang, you may remember, has been accused of allowing himself to be seen as the “second coming of Christ” by his followers. Jang and his followers also have deep ties to the Christian Post and the World Evangelical Alliance. Am I the only one who is really concerned about this?

    Am I the only one who reads that and sees “Moonies, Round Two”?

  8. Islamist extremists are terrified of a fourteen year old girl, and fundagelicals are terrified of Rachel Evans.

    • I hope you don’t mean that “fandagelicals” are like the Islamists, and would actually shoot Rachel Evans. If you meant that, it is a very irresponsible statement.

      Besides, I doubt they are “terrified” of her. Greatly disagree with her? Yes. “Terrified”? No. .

      • Actually Rick I do think they are scared of her. The reason? She is what their children will become (if they are lucky). Have you ever read her first book? (Evolving in Monkey Town…I think that’s right) No-one could be a more straight down the line evangelical than her in her early days, no child more zealous for the gospel, a true bible soaked baby…& yet she discovered that for her it didn’t stack up to the real world. And so she began to investigate & to think….She, along with others, are proof that you can walk away from the evangelical circus without walking away from Christ himself.

        • I am not arguing her points, I am simply saying that they are not “terrified” of her.

          • Good for you, Rick. It’s tiring and scandalously misleading and unethical to assert moral equivalence between disagreeing with someone and trying to kill her/him. American Christian fundamentalists are not as a group violent or given to killing their adversaries/enemies. Those who persist in making disagreement equivalent with killing enemies, or burning their temples (as was done to ten Buddhist temples recently in one Muslim majority country the name of which escapes me at the moment), are either ignorant or morally malformed.

      • Wha….?

        No! Just that both groups run scared of women. The problem is that we look at Islamic extremists like they are the enemy, rather than consider the risk that we could become just like them if driven enough by fear. Fundagelicalism has become a crazy enough world, where theological differences with groups like the Mormons are tossed aside out of political expedience but where a woman who questions the evangelical cultural (not Theological) norms is verbally attacked. It would be easy to justify throwing in a slippery slope statement about where we’re heading, but nothing is inevitable. But as someone (attributed to Burke) once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” We’re so focused on evil outside the gate rather than upon those in our midst who care for nothing of the faith except its use as a pawn in their will-to-power. That’s why Jesus spent so much time warning his disciples not to become abusive, power-hungry, neglecting shepherds like the Pharisees, because the temptation is very real. The lust for power is a far deadlier sin than other temptations, but it is too often embraced as a virtue or character quality rather than as the sin it truly is.

        • “That’s why Jesus spent so much time warning his disciples not to become abusive, power-hungry, neglecting shepherds like the Pharisees, because the temptation is very real. The lust for power is a far deadlier sin than other temptations, but it is too often embraced as a virtue or character quality rather than as the sin it truly is.”

          I think this is why the first thing Jesus did when he began his ministry was intentionally walk into the desert to be tempted, and in a way those temptations were all some form of “power” temtpation.

        • dumb ox,
          Do you identify enough with Christian fundamentalists to include them in your “we could become just like them”? It sounds to me as if you consider them, Christian fundamentalists, to be as much “other” as radical Muslims. So you are really criticizing the “other;” not “us.” How does this make your criticism any different from Christians who criticize radical Muslims from the outside? In fact, from what you write, you view both radical Muslims and “fundagelicals” as equally alien to you: “both groups run scared of women”. So the danger, along with the evil, apparently is outside your camp, and gate, in both cases.

  9. Jeff ~ get some LOCAL honey and put it in hot tea or whatever – it really helps if it is allergies. Lots of Vitamin C and fluids. Get better. I won’t make you feel worse with any opinions today.

  10. Richard Hershberger says

    “He separates Christians, Jews, Mormons … and Catholics. Anyone else troubled by that?”

    This is mostly just an example of using “Christian” to mean “Evangelical Protestant”. I see this all the time, even coming from intelligent persons of good will, and this non-Evangelical Protestant finds it quite annoying. Whether it is an example of sloppy language or a deeply offensive calumny depends on context. This particular instance is interesting in that some people traditionally include, when pressed, Catholics but not Mormons as “Christians”, giving this example an extra layer of confusion.

    • And the list of 50 “Christian” women is the same thing: Protestants all; not a Catholic or Orthodox among them.

      • David Cornwell says

        I suppose they don’t want anyone to get to know any Catholic or Orthodox women. A huge mistake for any Christian is this kind of mindset.

        Maybe they just don’t have binders with any other women as yet.

        • its kind of funny… a govenor who went out of his way to make sure he had women in high positions and have a fair and balanced office… so much so that he had the most of any govenor in the union, is still ridiculed for the action… just don’t understand (not saying you are ridiculing David)….

          • Richard Hershberger says

            He is being ridiculed for several things, some justified,some not. The “binders full of women” is peculiarly inapt phrasing, which simply invites ridicule, but which is really beside the point. A better point is that he misrepresented events, claiming that he sought out those names when actually they were sent to him uninvited by a lobbying group. Even better yet is that by his own admission, after all those years in business he had a rolodex full of men but no women. This makes it pretty clear that including women in his cabinet, while certainly commendable, was a political measure rather than an existing trait of his. Finally, this conclusion is confirmed by looking where he put those women: in the cabinet offices he didn’t much care about. Not all cabinet offices are created equal, after all. (Quick: without looking it up, who is the )urrent Secretary of State? Now who is the current Secretary of Veterans Affairs?) So while Romney including so many women in his cabinet is a good thing, he somehow managed to do it in a way which screams tokenism.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            its kind of funny… a govenor who went out of his way to make sure he had women in high positions and have a fair and balanced office… so much so that he had the most of any govenor in the union, is still ridiculed for the action… — Radagast

            And “R” behind his name instead of “D” (cue hopey-changey angelic chorus…)

      • +1

  11. I am glad to see that Rachel made CT’s list of 50 Christian Woman we should get to know. I have only read books by three of those women. (I may want to read something by Ann Voskamp. The writeup about her sounds interesting.) I guess I don’t know many “famous” Christian women!

    I see the survey “asked key leaders which Christian women are most profoundly shaping the evangelical church and North American society,” If they hadn’t said “evangelical church” and had asked “shaped the Church” then maybe Catholic sister Joan Chissister would be in the list. I like her.

  12. I just went to Amazon to read about Ann Voskamp. One of the few readers who does not give her 5 stars says as one of the things she does NOT lke about Voskam: “…she references those known to be mystics, panentheists, universalists, or New Age authors such as Brother Lawrence, Henri Nouwen, Annie Dillard, Brennan Manning, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Teresa of Avila, and Dallas Willard, among others. The influence of the teachings of these various authors is apparent in Voskamp’s writing.”

    Alrighty then…I am more inclined to read Ann Voskamp than even before!

    • Adam Palmer says

      She’s pretty great, and ONE THOUSAND GIFTS is a darn fine book. Voskamp has a poetic, lyrical, writerly style that I find mostly refreshing and very occasionally tedious. She loves, loves, loves language. And she’s Canadian!

    • Ann Voskamp is great- she has a blog if you want to check it out- it’s called A Holy Experience

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Note that most of the “pantheists, universalists, and New Age authors” she mentions by name are Catholics. I recognized Brother Lawrence (medieval monk), Henri Nouwen, and SAINT Teresa of Avila (only female recognized as a Doctor of the Church).

      Why not also claim “Papists, Witches, and SATANists” and score six-for-six?

      • Actually, St. Catherine of Siena is also a doctor, made at the same time as St. Teresa, and last week St. Hildegard of Bingen was added to the list.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          OK. Didn’t know about St Hildegard, and St Teresa was the only one I could remember.

          And I kind of doubt you’d describe St Teresa, St Catherine, and/or St Hildegard as “pantheist, universalist, and New Age”, i.e. the Shirley MacLaines of their time.

  13. James the Mad says

    From the blog on Rachel Held Evans:

    “I have many friends who have worked at LifeWay. Years ago, when she was getting ready to hand in her notice, I remember a friend telling me, “I’m a woman. I’m limited as to what I can do here. I can’t go any higher than I am right now.” Another former employee once said, “sexism bleeds throughout this company in the most subtle ways. Sometimes, because it’s such a part of the culture here, you hardly notice it.”

    Oh, people with vaginas work at LifeWay. And they sell lots of books by people who have vaginas. But LifeWay only associates with vagina people who know and respect the rules they have in regards to people with vaginas.”

    Fascinating. LifeWay’s policies are both amusing and disturbing. I suppose, though, that I shouldn’t be surprised by how deep this issue goes.

  14. Matt Purdum says

    Does Franklin know the rest of us can see right through this?

    • Maybe not. In the story the Emperor didn’t know he was naked.

      • Ted….I think a certain hope & change guy and his cheering throngs from four years ago have the current honor of representing the nekkid’ emprpor at the moment, if his disppointed former fans are any indication.

    • Yeah, this whole thing just rings incredibly hollow. A little while ago Mormonism is listed as a cult on the BGEA webpage, now all of a sudden it’s okay to vote for him. Why can’t we just be honest and say, “Of the two, we like him better?”

      • Or not. It’s amazing how often Mitt is allowed to change his mind on every single issue without retort from the evangelicals. Check transcripts from his political career and anyone can find his views to match ALL 100% of views, but never at the same time. What a crock.

  15. Richard McNeeley says

    Glad to see Mavis Staples on the list of 50 Christian Women. I did notice that all 3 of the politicians mentioned were Republicans, I guess there aren’t any Christian women that are Democrats.

  16. MelissatheRagamuffin says

    Thanks to the wonders of a proxi-server (Tunnel Bear) my husband and I are able to watch Downton as it has been airing in the UK. So, I know the answer to: Do Mary and Matthew get married. Another thing to watch out for is that one of the major characters is going to die. Be prepared to bawl your heart out.

  17. Paul Simon’s “Cecilia” is a great song with a lot of parallels to Hosea. Anytime I find Hosea coming up int he lectionary I usually dig it our and give a listen or two to help me wrap my head around the dynamics of the story. Ever since my OT prophets class in seminary almost 10 years ago….

  18. I don’t need to read a book by Osteen to know not to take it seriously… And I don’t need to read RHE’s latest book either – I just don’t take her particularly seriously. This isn’t an anatomical objection – I just think her approach to scripture in “A Year…” does a pretty good job of beating up a strawman while pretending to wrestle with Scripture. I agree that she is where evangelical kids are headed, but I don’t think there’s anything lucky about it.

    • I’ve been following her blog since before anyone knew her name (my husband met her selling her first book at a conference, and picked up a copy of ‘Evolving in Monkey Town’). Not being brought up Christian it was interesting, but not personally as relatable. Slowly, her blog grew on me. It has been an interesting journey to hear about. I am not a writer and knew next to nothing about publishing, etc.

      What I learned was: she originally wanted to write a book countering John Piper’s book on Women’s roles (can’t recall the title or if he was the sole author or not), her publisher said “no”. She wanted to write about being a woman in evangelicalism (her first book is about growing up evangelical and the questions it raised for her later). So, this was an approved way to write about the big name authors’ (non) biblical take on what women can/can’t do in marriage, church and society.

      Did you read the book? Does she take down straw-men (straw-women)? In her first book, she didn’t. It was very much her own feelings, questions and doubts. I have read quite a few of her posts, she responds to what is being said in a folky, reporter-like way, but she does hit the target well. She is readable, quite persuasive and knows quite a bit about women in the Bible and Christian history. Her opponents often are not as prepared as her (despite having more titles preceding their names).

      John Piper’s “God is masculine” comments came at a point where RHE was researching the feminine aspects of God. Jarred/Doug Wilson’s comments on BDSM/rape being connected to lack of wifely submission in the west was in stark contrast to the fact women were/are even more vulnerable in highly sexist cultures. She doesn’t just wrestle with the usual suspects (Council of manhood/womanhood, Piper, Driscoll, et. al.) she digs much deeper. She reads outside of evangelicalism, includes Jewish interpretations for the OT and responds so sweetly to the shallow formulaic rules that pour out of people like Strachan, Grudem and Mary K.(assian) and, of course, Piper. She doesn’t mock Driscoll’s comment that Esther is; “just like a contestant on the Bachelor” (as many bloggers do), she writes her own series on Esther.

      True, she isn’t a theologian, but then nor are Driscoll, Strachan or Mark K. and I have trouble seeing the theologian in Piper (massively popular, but utters strange things about the Trinity and gender in Heaven without so much as a reference). For a writer, she goes well beyond current straw-men in her book write-up, visiting many different faith communities and seeing how they follow the Bible (which all those mentioned above state is “very clear” on women’s roles). If women’s roles are sooooooo clear, why do the women in the Bible keep behaving so un-submissively? Why don’t the writers have an issue with Deborah, Huldah, Pricilla (who teaches a man) or Junia (leader over many men)? Was Jael fulfilling her female role properly – Piper says single woman should protect their households in a “feminine” way – ? Yet, try to point any of this out in church and those women all, magically, become exceptions. Proverbs 31 woman is the only normal woman (despite all her independent business decisions) and women today not behaving like a 1950s housewife are suspect. I mean, can you imagine if I went out and bought a plot of land without at least mentioning it to my husband? I would be an example of why couples have marital difficulties.

      Me/ Rachel/ every other woman who dares question the comps, well, we’re just stepping out of place, not “taking the Bible seriously” and clearly aren’t “real” evangelicals. Yet, we all read the Bible and find complementarianism to be very suspect (since no one has a single definition of it). For that, we have our entire faith in Jesus as Lord questioned. I’m not making up straw-men here, this is what is happening to many of us at church, it is becoming a litmus test for certain believers to determine our devoutness. That is frustrating, and her voice is reaching many people, because she is saying what we all are waking up to.

      So, I would suspect, as she did in her first book, she will walk through what the (evangelical) church teaches and what the bible actually says in order to make a point. The Bible isn’t clear on a woman’s role as wife, mother or woman. The parts where the bible is clear, are applicable to both genders, and (hang on, this might surprise you) you are supposed to submit to women.

      I haven’t read the book (either?), but I will keep an eye out for straw-men or straw-women.

      • Joseph (the original) says

        great perspective & personal insight. thanx for the comment/post…

        very sensitive subject & one of the lesser of the hot-button topics affect the current Evangelical Wilderness exodus.

        i think the posturing & defensiveness from both sides of the issue will continue to be dealt with in a more civil way with writers like RHE & women like you that can articulate the frustration & resistance & plain ol’ gender bias that is a much a part of our non-religious culture/heritage, but more so in the Church. refreshing to observe the efforts & how they are revisiting many of the “traditions” of Evangelical thought always considered sacrosanct. it was what attracted me many years ago to the grass-roots movement once identified as ’emerging’ thought/convo (not to be confused with Emergent iconoclasm)…


      • I haven’t read the book. I do read RHE’s blog occasionally and had already read an interview and a couple of supportive reviews.

        Look – honestly I’m not a big fan of the men whose names you mentioned. I’m not questioning her credentials to write a book. I’m not reformed. I’m not particularly complementarian – I’ve argued for looking at Priscilla and Junia myself. Heck, I’m not even evangelical. With all those disclaimers out of the way – I don’t see the value in her book even assuming that the the favorable reviews I’ve read are right (Ben Witherington, for instance). If she means to seriously engage the Christian Scriptural take on womanhood why all the strawmen? The Church catholic does not and hasn’t ever required ritual purity, no Christian I’ve ever met (and I’ve met some fundies) advocates it so why live in a tent while on your period as a way grappling with “Living Biblically”? That would be a strawman argument – unless you take the tack of some supporters and see her deploying sophisticated irony, demonstrating by way of her hermeneutical naivete the foolishness of others who prooftext their way to “Biblical Womanhood”. But if that’s the case – and I don’t see the book explicitly saying so – than I just disapprove of the project. I’m tempted to mockery myself – but it doesn’t do any good to write a whole book whose purpose is simply to be a joke for the in-crowd about the idiocy of others.

        I guess for me RHE is sort of politically analogous to Andrew Sullivan a decade ago when he called himself a conservative – the premise has always been that she is evangelical but boldly coming to contrarian positions by virtue of questioning tradition, received wisdom, etc. Once you figure out that she fits much better into liberal Christianity her positions become shockingly conventional: her takeaway by all accounts is that the Bible is too contradictory to be an authoritative guide to gender roles as such and we ought to be guided instead by something else – the liberal protestants I grew up around could have told you that long ago 🙂

        Seriously: I watch this TV appearance ( and I don’t see somebody grappling honestly with real arguments in ways that are either persuasive to those who disagree or helpful to those struggling with the same questions. I just see a bunch of publicity stunts – and that seems kind of sad to me.

  19. Ryan Nathaniel says

    Paul Simon is a national treasure, indeed. I’m 29, so Simon & Garfunkel aren’t exactly my generation, but their music remains my favorite stuff of all-time. Paul’s new music is still high quality, too – his album that came out last year is great and is definitely the work of a man who is asking the big questions about life. I hope we get some more material from him before he retires.

  20. “God must not like Texas”
    Texas A & M are not on top the 1st year in the SEC. Those bayou boys found a way to get it done yesterday.

  21. Lifeway bookstores refuse to sell Rachel’s book because she used the “V” word

    Volkswagen is a brand name, after all. Better to say “very popular German-manufactured compact car.”