And the Summer 2012 Read-Along selection is…
I’ll be honest. When I first heard about this book (in 2010), I was scared to read it. I was already feeling tender about my new views on loving the poor and seeking/doing justice and reeling from the fact that I’d somehow missed this HUGE part of the gospel my whole Bible-reading life.
The last thing I needed was a memoir by some good conservative Christian girl who started questioning stuff she’d believed in since she was a kid. Especially a memoir with the words “evolving” and “monkey” in the title.
I’ve always considered myself SUPER grounded in my faith and SUPER well-versed in absolute truth (and secretly SUPER scared of reading/hearing something that might maybe possibly put the tiniest chink in my armor of definite certainty).
So I didn’t read it for awhile.
And then I thought, “What am I so scared of?”
And I read it.
And it made me s-q-u-i-r-m.
So I tucked it away and forgot it even existed. I’d read Rachel’s blog every once in awhile, but it always made me feel uncomfortable, so I mostly stayed away.
And then, evolving and monkeys aside, my own tension and wrestling got more intense.
I plopped myself in the middle of the Trayvon Martin case (because I realized my black friends really cared about it), and it kick-started an eye-opening exploration of racial issues in our country (in the past and n-o-w).
I shook my head at the strong, strong opinions we Christians have about what we wear to church and why.
I apologized to Democrats and started feeling super rubbed-the-wrong-way whenever I got forwarded e-mails from Christians spewing venom at the President.
I started re-writing Blushing Bride (to release as an e-book) and sat agape at some of the regurgitated Christianese and Bible verses I quoted glibly (and often out of context).
I asked myself if keeping gays from getting married would’ve been at the top of Jesus’s To-Do List while millions of people around the globe are starving (including some poor Cambodians I now know personally–and love dearly). And why the heck didn’t he ever mention homosexuality in one of his Mount Sermons or Temple Sit-Ins so we could know how to respond to this issue? Would that have been so hard??
I read some books about women (Half the Sky, Half the Church, etc), and I wondered if God really created us girls to stand in the background while men do all the important stuff?
And if I’m so stick-to-the-Bible like I say I am, why did I not think twice about speaking to (teaching? preaching?) 170 men about s-e-x back in October (when the Bible says women shouldn’t teach men), and why do I not wear a head covering when I pray, and why is my father-in-law’s hair longer than mine?
Am I picking and choosing (gasp!) which parts of the Bible to follow??
And then I read a book called The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight (just finished it yesterday), and for some reason, when I was done, I picked Monkey Town back up and read it from cover to cover again in about 2 hours.
And holy cow. Holy. Cow.
And I just felt this overwhelming urge to discuss it with my peeps (YOU).
Who Should Read This Book:
If you’re a Christian and you’ve ever doubted some things you’d consider Essentials of the Faith–and it scared you to death–you should read this book.
If you’re a Christian who is 100% certain about every single one of your beliefs, you should read this book.
If you don’t consider yourself a Christian and want a little more insight into us crazy folk, you should read this book.
Do I agree with everything she wrote? Nope.
Do I expect you to agree with everything I write? Nope.
Do I hope we can get a really cool dialogue going that engages all kinds of people in a constructive way? Yep.
The cool thing about Rachel’s story is that she went from certainty –> doubt –> faith. Her doubts didn’t lead her to walk away from God; they brought her closer to him.
Our God is big enough to handle our doubts and fears and questions. He really is.
Some Details (more to follow):
We’ll start the week of June 4th (probably Tuesday).
We won’t be doing Link-Ups (I don’t think). We’ll try to keep the discussion centralized.
Some chapters are super-short, so we’ll do more than 1/week. Hey, I read it in 2 hours. You can do it!
I’m so excited.
So tell me: Are you in??