To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
It's wonderful when you come across that perfect combination of someone who is a gifted writer who also has something to say. Rachel Held Evans is a fresh voice in the 'popular yet serious' genre of Christian publishing. Originally titled Evolving in Monkey Town, this autobiographical reflection on learning to question faith when your faith journey begins in a conservative evangelical Christian culture is fascinating, amusing, poignant and helpful.
The author grew up in Dayton, Tennessee, which in 1925 was home to the infamous (and somewhat contrived...) Scopes Monkey Trial - an argument between fundamentalists and modernists over the appropriateness of teaching evolution in schools. Growing up and being educated there in the late 20th century, she writes about her faith journey through what some of her detractors would have termed 'backsliding' and doubt, into a newer/older/fresher way of being a Christian. She comments, 'Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue.' This is good stuff, but it is far from being a dry academic thesis. The description of the East Tennessee practice of Judgment Day is disturbingly funny, and throughout there is an honesty and openness which is refreshing.
Faith Unraveled is subtitled 'How a girl who knew all the answers learned to ask questions.' It's a great subtitle, and a vital skill for the contemporary church. We can't simply defend our territory and tradition for all we are worth - we need to evolve. Read and enjoy!
On a personal note, I would happily mention Faith Unraveled in the same breath as Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis and Brain McLaren's A New Kind of Christian - two of my favourite books of recent years.
A truly wonderful read. Rachel has a way of presenting her point of view in such a down to earth way it is almost impossible to disagree with her well thought out and reasoned discussion on the subjects. I loved reading this book. With Rachel’s untimely passing, her books have even greater significance and many within the conservative tradition would benefit from reading her work.
An interesting story of a journey from fundamentalism to a more open form of Christianity. I assume it was written for American readers so there are a few words that are outside my British vocabulary but it was pretty clear what was intended.