Friday, March 6, 2020

Is the idea of "biblical womanhood" worth fighting?

Rachel's first memoir

A year ago, before dying of an obscure virus appeared in the nightly news, Rachel Held Evans was hospitalized for a UTI and a flu-like illness. 

Things spiraled down; she had seizures, perhaps encephalitis, and was put in a coma to control them, but she never recovered.  She died May 4, 2019 at age 37.

Everyone was shocked and saddened, especially feeling for her two toddlers.

I decided to read one of her books: the first one about growing up in Dayton, Tennessee, where the Scopes monkey trial was held in July, 1925.

Earlier I had decided not to read her work because engaging in debate with advocates of "biblical womanhood" seemed so pointless.  I'm so far beyond that.

But Rachel took it seriously and gained fame for her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

She reached a lot of women with the message that the Bible supports equality for women.

She argued with many right-wing men.

My reflections about the experience of meeting her through her first book are published on the website for Christian Feminism Today:  "Respecting Rachel--At Last."

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