Evans’ 2010 book is a memoir of her faith crisis. She was raised in a Christian home in the Bible belt. She’s lived much of her life in Dayton, Tennessee, a town famous for the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Hence her book’s title.
Evans began questioning her faith during her college years. The spark of the crisis seemed to come when she watched a Muslim woman being murdered by the Taliban in the 2001 documentary by Saira Shah entitled Behind the Veil.
This Gen-Xer won’t hold it against Evans for being a Millennial. I like Millennials. They understand Twitter which confounds me more often than not.
I won’t even hold it against Evans that I disagree with some of her reasoning and find parts of her book troubling.
What I like about her is that she boldly questions in the first place. And she will accept “I don’t know” as an answer.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far way, I sat in a church Bible study circle when a newcomer asked a difficult question. Something to do with personal tragedy resulting in doctrinal confusion.
Fresh from my own angry rounds of questioning God after my mom died, I believed there wasn’t a definitive answer to the newcomer’s question. So I spoke up and said, “We don’t know why that happened.”
Then I sat quietly. It would have been wise to add, “We have to go by what we do know. What the Bible tells us that we can understand.”
I didn’t get the chance. The study leader panicked, fumbling to answer the woman’s question. To him, an insufficient or unsatisfactory answer was better than admitting, “I don’t know.”
I can’t fault that leader. Questioning makes me nervous, too. Throughout Evans’ story, I found myself wanting to say exactly what her theologian father said. “Rachel,” he said gently, “be careful what you say (p. 100).”
There are strong passages of assurance in Scripture. And there are instances where God doesn’t explain to our liking or understanding. Much as we need to know, some answers remain hidden.
The thing is, no matter how harrowing the questions may be to us, God can take it. He knows what we’re thinking anyway. With honest hearts, open to hearing Him, let the questions fly. Pursue Him and His Word, and the places of “I don’t know” might just lead to a deeper faith.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV1984
Today is the Last Day to Enter the Book Giveaway!
Go to Action Attraction to enter the drawing for The Action Bible. It will be shipped to the winner in time for Easter.