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If the Bible isn’t a science book or an instruction manual, then what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she began a quest to better understand what the Bible is and how it is meant to be read. What she discovered changed her—and it will change you too.

Drawing on the best in recent scholarship and using her well-honed literary expertise, Evans examines some of our favorite Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, original poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay. Undaunted by the Bible’s most difficult passages, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating Scripture’s mysteries. The Bible, she discovers, is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God’s loving and redemptive work in the world.

©2018 Rachel Held Evans (P)2018 Thomas Nelson

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Au global

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Histoire

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Adam Shields
  • 2018-06-14

Hermeneutics for people that don't use the word

I very much value Rachel Held Evans. I do not have all of the same questions and issues that Evans has had. I grew up in a different context, I am male and therefore was not restricted in similar ways as she was. I grew up in an evangelical wing of a mainline denomination, so I did not have the fundamentalist tendencies that her church background did. The problem of evil, which I treat seriously, has never been threatening to my faith in the same way that it was to her faith. But I valued her voice as one that helps me with perspective.

Evans is getting older. The original memoir-y looks at young adult faith and coming of age cannot go on forever. And while I don’t think her books were always primarily deconstructing, Inspired is consciously an attempt at constructing. I do not want to presume motive or changes, but she is 35 now. She has a young son and a newborn daughter. She has chosen a church home. So I think that it is likely that the settled nature of young middle age has her thinking about how to construct faith of those around her not just ask questions and pose problems (not that there is anything wrong with asking questions and posing problems.)

Inspired is focused on how to read the bible, or at least how she has learned to read the bible, in a new way. She is primarily approaching the bible as story. Looking at what is there, but in a new way. Evans is primarily known as a memoirist. She is not a scholar, but a writer and writing with a writer’s sense of how stories are supposed to be read and understood. 

I went through my own period of trying to understand how to read scripture again eight or ten years ago. I had a seminary degree. I had grown up in the church. I had read the bible cover to cover multiple times. At one point I felt like I needed to step away and ‘forget’ the bible a bit to be able to approach it differently. But what really helped me see the bible again in a fresh way was a combination of seeing the bible through other people’s eyes (as Evans is attempting to do here) and liturgical approach through the book of common prayer. Evans as well has found help within the liturgical world and this is largely approached as a liturgical exercise. 

I also really appreciate Rachel’s skill as a writer. She can write, but she also has a real skill of taking dense theological ideas and making them readable and understandable for people without theology degrees. That is an important and needed pastoral skill. We need to move ideas (from Greg Boyd or NT Wright or Walter Bruggemann or many others) that primarily are writing to the academy or to clergy, to lay people. One of the continued problems of the church is that bad theology can get stuck in the imaginations of lay people and lead to a distortion of the lived life of the believer. So books like Inspired are helpful to both make scripture clear and bring serious academic concepts to lay people. 

Rachel Held Evans is also passionate about whatever she is doing or talking about or writing. Having read all of her books and being an occasional reader of her blog and twitter account, that passion carries through. I do not alway agree with what she is passionate about and I think she can occasional fall into traps that her common opponents use, but I love her passion.

As with any author, there are places I disagree. But for the most part some of my complaints about previous books are much less here. I think that either Evans has a new set of editors or she is doing a better job of listening to them. This is just a cleaner book with less extraneous content than some of her previous projects. And while there are some areas where I think she does misunderstand or misrepresent opinions that differ from hers, there is a lot less of that and I think there is more grace in the presentation of differing ideas. 

I have never been as fascinated by Midrash as many popular progressive Evangelical authors seem to be. Maybe I just have not studied it enough. But while I do think we can learn something from Jewish commentators as well as the basic concept of the way that the Midrash handles differing ideas, I tend to think it gets overused. 

The section on the parables, and the incarnation and the importance of the incarnation to our faith, is my favorite part of the book. There are many Evangelicals that are not fans of Rachel Held Evans, but this section should be read by people that are not fans of hers. Her theology may not be the exact theology of others, but the importance of faith shows through. Sections like this are a reminder to me, not just that progresses can be real Christians too, but that conservatives (who I tend to have less patience for) have human reactions to faith as well.

I am also glad that Rachel Held Evans reads her own books. Authors should pretty much always read their own books if they want to. Evans is not a professional narrator, but knows her words and communicates them well.

37 personnes sur 37 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-07-25

Keep ASKING Questions Rachel

I don't have the words to express my deep compassionate love for this author, her work, her journey, her bravery and her honesty. She grabs my heart every time I pick up any of her books.I find myself rooting and sheering her on. I love the care and deep consideration she has for life, the text, and how we live out our lives. KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS. KEEP LOVING. This book is for more than the scope she's written it for - it is for anyone and everyone currious about the Inspired. The Bible, ladies and gentleman, unpacked in a new and lofe breathing way. and Rachel Held Evens is a born reader, her voice gives presence and nuiance to her own words that might otherwise have been lost. Admittedly, I have a personal preference for authors reading their works aloud.

6 personnes sur 6 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • 2018-07-19

What I’ve Been Seeking

I was raised in a conservative Christian tradition but became a member of the Episcopal Church as an adult. Nonetheless, those early teachings persisted in how I viewed the Bible . . . until my EfM experience. I then became somewhat unmoored from the Bible. This book has provided a foundational reconnection and for that I’m so thankful.

4 personnes sur 4 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony Lorenzen
  • 2018-07-03

It truly is inspired!

A great reflection on the Bible and the biblical tradition. The literalist will learn the importance of historical critical study and the non believer will come away with a,better appreciation for stories, poems, letters that are still inspirational even for the non religious.

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-01-22

How to love the bible again

As someone who has been lukewarm on faith, and much more ready to criticize the churches failings than point out it successes in recent years, this book feels like a path back to loving scripture. The book is incredibly thoughtful and well researched, and you can feel the humanity of the author struggling with the text. I will definitely be reading this again and recommending it to everyone who will listen!

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-11-29

Meh

Really enjoyed her first couple books, but felt the author could have dived deeper into her philosophies and analysis of scripture. She certainly could have, there were many opportunities to do so. I was a bit disappointed in this one overall, and that's too bad.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jon
  • 2018-06-23

Very good overall, but she has her soapboxes

This book was like a very tasty blackberry cobbler. It’s tastes very good, but you have be mindful of of the pits/seeds. I loved so many of her insights, but she definitely has her soapboxes she likes to get on occasionally. Just like those pits/seeds won’t keep me from eating and enjoying that cobbler, her soapboxes won’t prevent me from reading this again in the future. For those that are on the same page with her soapboxes, they will love this book entirely.

3 personnes sur 5 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anyone
  • 2019-05-23

a must read

As a moderate in church and in politics who often feels pressured to pull left or right, it can be a struggle to stand in a point of view that desires to wrestle with ideas rather than buy into one side or the other's desire for ideologically specific agendas accused of being lukewarm.

Rachel Held Evans holds scripture in this tension to foster a hot love for the gospel ahead of ideology. Her retelling of narratives familiar to Bible readers brought me to tears at times. This book pushed me and reassured me, challenged me and calmed my fears, in her true to the gospel approach even if conclusions she might draw are different than mine. She is clearly committed to the truth of God entering the human condition out of love for humanity in order to lead us to love life (abundant and eternal) and also to wrestle with God as a testimony to bring others into this truth, love and life. She will be missed but this is a must read for all Christians and nonbelievers asking all to let it challenge our assumptions and comfort us with a knowledge of God's love that suroasses all human understanding. please read with an open mind to see what God wants you to hear.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie Catron
  • 2019-05-15

Beautifully written, delightfully narrated.

In search of a fresh perspective of some of my big questions on faith, I dove into this book ready to welcome Rachel’s perspective even though I knew it may make me squirm a bit. Written with joy and conviction, Inspired gave me fresh eyes to embrace scripture and a challenge to ask big, scary questions even when others may be uncomfortable with them. She also gave me new questions to wrestle with and the grace to disagree with her or others while welcoming the tension of unanswered mysteries.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah Windham
  • 2019-05-15

Inspired Indeed-Because of RHE

Rachel Held Evans has become one of my favorite, progressive, transformative storytelling authors. I was amused and drawn in by her first 2 books. Then Searching For Sunday was simply spot on for me. However, Inspired has given more than what I had before. More hope, more courage, more perspective, and more language to describe my own journey. I was in the middle of listening to this book on the morning of May 4th, 2019. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Her work is going to be instrumental for people like me for generations. This world is a better place because while she was here, she gave us some incredible gifts in each piece of her work. Rest In Peace Rachel.