“Evolution means letting go of our false fundamentals so that God can get into those shadowy places we’re not sure we want him to be. It means being okay with being wrong, okay with not having all the answers, okay with never being finished. My story is about that kind of evolution,” writes Rachel Held Evans, who is scheduled to speak at Eastern this Thurs. and Fri., Oct. 29 and 30. These words of wisdom come from her 2010 book, “Faith Unraveled,” which was added to Eastern’s INST 150 curriculum this year. On Thursday, as part of Eastern’s ongoing Conversation on Human Sexuality, Evans will speak on “The Misuse of Power in Gender Relations.” The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the McInnis Auditorium and will be hosted by INST 150 faculty, with Amy Perez moderating. On Friday at 10 a.m., Evans will speak at Windows on the World about “Living the Questions”—her own spiritual journey through doubt, and thoughts on how Christians are to go about confronting difficult, controversial questions.
In addition to “Faith Unraveled,” Evans recently published “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” (2012)—a “New York Times” best-seller—and “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church” (2015). She has been featured in “The Washington Post,” “The Guardian,” “Christianity Today,” “The Huffington Post,” and has spoken on NPR, BBC, and The Today Show. Born in Birmingham, Ala., Evans moved as a teenager to Dayton, Ten., the home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial—a key event in the early 20th-century conflict over the teaching of evolution in public schools. After graduating from Bryan College in 2003 with a degree in English literature, Evans worked for a local paper, “The Herald News,” in Dayton, and eventually wrote pro bono as the paper’s humor columnist and won an award for “Best Personal Humor Column” from the Tennessee Press Association. Evans signed with Zondervan in 2008 for her book, “Evolving in Monkey Town,” which was re-released in 2014 with the new title, “Faith Unraveled.”
In “Faith Unraveled,” Evans discusses the evolution of her own faith in light of the evangelical, fundamentalist leanings of her home community. Subtitled, “How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions,” the book RHE-headshot-landscape-in_window.jpg offers insight about trusting God with tough questions and pursuing those questions with courage and honesty. In “A Year of Biblical Womanhood,” Evans details her year-long experiment in which she vowed to take all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible, including “making her own clothes, covering her head, obeying her husband . . . remaining silent in church, and even camping out in the front yard during her period.” In reflecting on this experience, Evans addresses the question: “What does God truly expect of women, and is there really a prescription for biblical womanhood?” In her latest book, “Searching for Sunday,” Evans takes the reader through a liturgical year, focusing on the seven sacraments as she reflects on what draws her to church life despite her misgivings about church culture, as well as her hopes for the future of the Church.
Evans has been consistently recognized for communicating depths of insight with thoughtfulness, power, and humor. Eastern students will not want to miss the chance to hear her perspective in person.
Sources: eastern.edu, rachelheldevans.com, amazon.com