Rachel Held Evans: A Woman’s Year of Living Biblically
Like many inspired ideas, the notion to live for a year according to the Bible's instructions for women came to writer Rachel Held Evans while she was taking a shower. "I was thinking about the book 'The Year of Living Biblically' [by male journalist A. J. Jacobs] and how different it would be if a woman had written it," the Tennessee native tells Shine. She embarked on a 12-month radical experiment to explore the Bible's rules for women—from not cutting her hair to calling her husband "master"—and wrote about it in on her popular blog. A book about her experiences, 'A Year of Biblical Womanhood' is being released at the end of October.
Evans was raised an Evangelical Christian and says within that community there is a lot of pressure for women to live according to the Bible. However, the way she sees it, many of the rules that are espoused by church leaders or in articles are "bullet points" that force women to be submissive. "The term 'Biblical womanhood' is basically a reaction to feminism,' explains Evans. "It means a woman who stays home and submits to her husband. It's a remembrance of June Cleaver—not what we see when we actually read scripture."
The response to her blog has been overwhelmingly positive, but she says she was surprised at "how harsh some of the criticism has been." She also asserts that Lifeway, the country's largest Christian bookseller, won't stock the book because it mentions the word, "vagina." While Evans acknowledges the book is full of "crazy stunts," her aim wasn't to be mocking. "It was hard facing criticism from people who didn't understand what I was trying to do," she tells Shine. "They thought I was making fun of the Bible, when I was really trying to honor the Bible by having more honest conversations about how we interpret and apply it. I'm hoping that when people read the book, they see that."