on my bookshelf: faith unraveled

Over the past several years, I have read several phenomenal books that have really changed my perspective on specific issues, or helped mold my perception of the world and of God. I have decided to share some of these books with you, because I’m an English teacher, and I love to talk about books!

faith-unraveled via dual identity

The first book I’ve decided to share about is one of my most recent finds – Faith Unraveled* by Rachel Held Evans.  In this book, Evans shares her story, from growing up in a small, conservative Christian community, to questioning her faith during college, and then redefining her beliefs and values in God.  I read this book along with some friends and family members, and it is a wonderful book to spark powerful conversations.  Evans’ witty humor and bold commentary also makes the book an entertaining and insightful read.

Here are some of the topics I found most interesting in the book, along with some quotes relating to each one:

Questioning the “Christian worldview” and the impact it has on our interactions with others:

 “…I’ve grown increasingly skeptical that there is such a thing as a biblical worldview.  When we refer to ‘the biblical approach to economics’ or ‘the biblical response to politics’ or ‘biblical womanhood,’ we’re using the Bible as a weapon disguised as an adjective.  We inadvertently imply that embracing the Bible as truth requires embracing the one interpretation of it.  This results in false fundamentals, which result in an inability to change, which results in a failure to adapt and evolve.  Imagine if geocentrism were still ‘the biblical view of cosmology’!” (page 193).

Analyzing what Jesus taught about salvation:

“…Jesus said that his kingdom is more accessible to the poor than to the rich. ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,’ he said, ‘than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’  When his disciples protested, asking, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus responded by saying, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God’ (Luke 18:25-27).  (You can get that last part printed on a canvas tote bag for twenty-one bucks online)” (page 151).

Discussing varying interpretations of the Bible:

“I imagine an alternate universe in which Christians have chosen a different biblical condemnation [other than homosexuality] upon which to fixate, such as women uncovering their heads or people getting tattoos.  I imagine TV preachers claiming that 9/11 happened as a result of God’s wrath on the gossipers and the greedy, and churches raising funds to support an amendment to the constitution making remarriage illegal for people who are divorced.  I imagine people carrying signs that say, ‘God Hates Gluttons’ or ‘Stone Disobedient Children,’ and I think to myself, Boy I’m glad we didn’t pick ‘lifestyle sins’ like materialism or judgmentalism to obsess about, because if we’d had, I’d totally be screwed” (page 179).

 Providing a new perspective on doubt:

“…In short, we never learned to doubt.  Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God.  The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it.  The former is a vice; the latter a virtue” (page 219).

Whether you feel like you have questions about Christianity and would like to hear someone else’s thoughts about them, or whether you feel like you already have all the answers, I strongly recommend reading this book.  I have also really enjoyed following Rachel Held Evan’s blog – I admire her willingness to share her thoughts on controversial issues and her devotion to seeking out the perspective of others who are often criticized or pushed out of the Christian community. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these quotes, or your thoughts on the book if you have read it!

*Faith Unraveled was originally published as Evolving in Monkey Town .

Read about more books on my bookshelf here:
A Faith of Our Own
My Lucky Life
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus