5 gifts we can give rachel held evans.

blog pic the year of biblical womanhood* this week is launch week for the awesome book, the year of biblical womanhood, by rachel held evans, yeah!  this post is part of a surprise synchroblog to celebrate and remind rachel how grateful we are for the ways she his breaking down walls and paving a road of hope for so many.  a bunch of other bloggers are participating and you can find the link list here.  

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i have had the privilege of knowing rachel held evans through the wild weird world of blogging and also connecting in real life.  she’s brilliant and brave and i have told her that her generation is the real hope for change and so part of my responsibility is to support her as best i can.  sure, us oldies can definitely play our part, but the real rubber-meets-the-road is starting to come behind us.  among all kinds of other amazing things she does, rachel is a prophet (and we all know what we sometimes to do to prophets).

there are some gifts we can give her as she keeps stirring the pot & shaking the status quo & breaking down walls & offering her voice on behalf of so many of us:

1.  remember she’s human.  sure, she’s strong.  but she’s a regular-vulnerable-person-just-like-me-and-you, too.  the worst thing we can do for her is make her a super-hero or put her on some kind of weird pedestal that separates her from the rest of us. but it is pretty cool that she’ll probably be the only person we know who’s ever been on the today show, ha ha.

2.  watch her back.  we all know she takes some serious fire from critics for speaking her heart and offering new perspectives on biblical interpretation.  we can’t shut down her critics but we can step in when people go nuts.  we can stick up for her when we can.

3. encourage her.  everyone can always use more cheerleaders, and little ways we say “we are with you” go a long way.

4.  have our own opinion about what she’s sharing instead of just adopting hers.  it’s really easy when we resonate with leaders and writers to strap on to the whatever they say lock, stock, and barrel.  really, that’s not the idea.  my guess is that she shares what she shares to get everyone thinking from their own perspective, to listen to what God is stirring up for us, to integrate thoughts and implement change in our own ways that remain true to who we are, not who she is.

5.  bravely live from a new place in whatever ways we can.  really, the best gift we can give rachel is to live the solution, to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. to try, to experiment, to engage, to rock the boats in our churches & our circles of influence, to gain strength & courage from God to step into places we’re not used to stepping, to say things we’re not used to saying, to live out our faith in ways we’re not used to living. and to let her know how she played a beautiful part from afar in inspiring change.

here’s a short & simple blessing i wrote for you, rachel.  as the words came out, i thought maybe it’s not only for you but for all of us in different ways as we stand alongside each other and bravely-and-as-best-we-can live and love from new places.

may you cling tightly to God & family & friends who love you no matter what.  

may you strengthen the teflon of your heart to protect yourself from harsh critics.

may you increase the velcro on your heart so that love & encouragement will stick.

may you not take yourself too seriously.

may you take Jesus’ command to love really seriously, but remember it can be fun, too. 

may you humbly & bravely go where God is asking you to go.  

may you have eyes to see the beauty of the really simple things that are easy to miss. 

may God’s spirit of justice & mercy & love & hope & courage be more and more deeply embedded in the fabric of your heart.

and most of all, may you remember you’re loved.  really loved.  no matter what you do or what you write or what you say or what you don’t.

amen.  

we are grateful for you, rachel! congratulations!  keep stirring the pot & speaking from your heart & calling the church to something better…

 

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

18 Comments

  • Kathy, I just happened to finish reading a critical review of Rachel’s book and was thinking about her as I read it. This is a beautiful post of support. Rachel, I echo Kathy’s comments. Prayers for you as you press into this “book release season” of your life.

    Reply
  • What a beautiful beautiful blessing … I’m letting it fall upon me as well … That’s what blessings do.

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  • Kathy, I hope you don’t mind that I copied the blessing (with attribution) and plan to print it out for my sister. She’s 14 and needs a lot of blessing. I can’t decide is I should make it wallet sized or paint it in big letters around her room or both.

    Reply
  • What wise words, Kathy. I’m sure Rachel will appreciate them. We all do. We all need to remember those five points, use them in support of her, of you, and of ourselves.

    Right now, I’m learning the importance of having my own back. It makes a huge difference when others are trying to rain on my parade. I hope Rachel (and YOU) will remember that.

    Take good care of yourself, sister,friend.

    Reply
  • Seriously a blog post to support Rachel? LOL… First, she has won, in every way. Second, she is the one picking fights, quite regularly and quite successfully and apparently joyfully. Third, her critics are the ones who will have to eat their words as time passes. Rachel is fine but maybe we should pass the tissue to her critics they are the ones with bloody noses.

    Yes I am being a little mannish here… but I am also married to an ordained woman. This war is over and the ones who are fighting the battle should be given the news.

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      • Interesting means you are being polite. So…just to clarify, I support Rachel and just don’t think she is fragile but who knows… watched her on the View… it was a pointless appearance… I kept waiting for her to make a case for why someone should care about her endeavor. Didn’t happen but it was the View.

        I live in the world of the nondenominational charismatic… her venture into the acceptance of women in full leadership is part of our normal life together. Most of us were evangelicals that got run out because of the charismata. But here is the thing. We accept women because the Holy Spirit has approved of you with gifts, callings and anointing which is irrefutable. That is the same reason the Jews were compelled to accept the Gentiles.

        The day is coming when evangelicals will be compelled to accept women or they will become more and more marginalized and irrelevant. The scriptures they read will not change and they are not likely to accept fresh readings. Rachel is winning because she has died to their approval. The only hope I can see is new evangelical groups that on the basis of sheer marketing will change. If evangelicals love anything it is success.

        Peace to you and I hope you will prevail.

        Reply
        • hey alan, thanks so much for clarifying. i am not interested in online crazy debates but i did not mean to be dismissive, just being cautious. i always love to hear of pockets where women are fully accepted. thanks for sharing.

          Reply

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