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