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Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions
     

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions

4.6 13
by Rachel Held Evans
 

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ISBN-10: 0310293995

ISBN-13: 2900310293995

Pub. Date: 06/24/2010

Publisher: Zondervan

Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial made a spectacle of Christian fundamentalism and brought national attention to her hometown, Rachel Held Evans faced a trial of her own when she began to have doubts about her faith. Growing up in a culture obsessed with apologetics, Evans asks questions she never thought she would ask. She learns that in order for her faith

Overview

Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial made a spectacle of Christian fundamentalism and brought national attention to her hometown, Rachel Held Evans faced a trial of her own when she began to have doubts about her faith. Growing up in a culture obsessed with apologetics, Evans asks questions she never thought she would ask. She learns that in order for her faith to survive in a postmodern context, it must adapt to change and evolve.

Using as an illustration her own spiritual journey from certainty, through doubt, to faith, Evans adds a unique perspective to the ongoing dialogue about postmodernism and the church that has so captivated the Christian community in recent years.

In a changing cultural environment where new ideas threaten the safety and security of the faith, Evolving in Monkey Town is a fearlessly honest story of survival.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900310293995
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
06/24/2010
Edition description:
NE
Pages:
240

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................13
Introduction: Why I Am an Evolutionist....................15
1. The Best Christian Attitude Award....................27
2. June the Ten Commandments Lady....................45
3. Monkey Town....................51
4. Greg the Apologist....................65
5. When Skeptics Ask....................69
6. Nathan the Soldier....................83
7. When Believers Ask....................89
8. Jesus, God in Sandals....................101
9. Survivor's Guilt....................109
10. John the Revelator....................121
11. Higher Ways....................127
12. Laxmi the Widow....................139
13. God Things....................145
14. Mark the Evangelist....................157
15. Judgment Day....................161
16. Adele the Oxymoron....................177
17. Sword Drills....................181
18. Sam the Feminist....................199
19. Adaptation....................203
20. Dan the Fixer....................213
21. Living the Questions....................217

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Evolving in Monkey Town 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Soul_Munchies More than 1 year ago
As someone who grew up in a small town in the deep South, there were many times that I wondered if she was talking about Dayton, Tennessee or if she was really talking about my own small towns. I really appreciated the history she shared about traditional evangelical beliefs and how those beliefs paved the way for her own discoveries. I learned a lot in this book - not only about Rachel herself, but about Christianity in the South and how my own traditions fit in. As I read, I was struck by one major theme - Rachel seemed to most struggle with the traditional views of heaven and hell. If you're born again and saved you go to heaven - no matter what. If you've never accepted Jesus, you go to hell - again, no matter what. So many people, particularly in the South, see this belief as the core of Christianity. If you don't believe this, you're not Christian. And yet this belief calls into question the unconditional love of God that Jesus proclaimed and lived. I admire Rachel for wrestling with this question and for being brave and honest enough to put it out there for the world to see. I'm encouraged by her willingness to live in the grey - to see the world as a rainbow of colors instead of black and white. She encourages us to see Christianity not as a set of beliefs, but as "being Jesus . in tennis shoes."
DarrenVA More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. It covers alot of what I had always been thinking in regards to doubts about the Bible, and faith in general. If you've ever been (or still are) a doubter when it comes the Bible and God/Jesus, this is a fantastic read. I feel like she was reading my mind in certain portions of the book. I very readable style, reminiscent of Philip Yancey. The last couple of chapters really tie it together and provide some meaningful advice on how to deal with doubts you may have.
PastorjimJK More than 1 year ago
"I'm not yet thirty, but I feel as if over the past few years, my faith has experienced a life time of change." So writes Rachel Held Evans' in her book Evolving in Monkey Town that chronicles her at times confusing and difficult journey of a maturing faith as she wrestles with the questions about God, the Bible, science, and society after she graduates from a Christian College. A college at which she was taught to defend her faith but then found herself questioning its foundations and implications. Poignant and humorous, Evans' book leads the reader through her childhood and high school years steeped in conservative Christianity. (Note: while some might call her upbringing "fundamentalist" and others "evangelical," the broad definitions associated with both names make this reviewer choose to use the word conservative. On page 17 she does say, "I used to be a fundamentalist.) What I believe she most challenges, and is troubled by in her journey, is the overwhelming apologetic approach to faith that she ultimately found wanting. As the cracks appear in her own faith foundation, however, she does not run from her faith and thus disown it. She goes deeper into it. She does, what I believe is expressed by Paul who spoke of 'working out your own salvation.' Wrestling with the major social issues of the day, Evans re-examines the reasons given to her of why she should believe what she was being taught. Along the way she revisits the various aspects and, at times, interesting expressions of her Christian upbringing (illustrated in chapter 15 with the story of the Judgment Day event). As she walks through moments of great doubt, she comes to the place where she believes that "while I still believe Jesus died to save us from our sins, I'm beginning to think that Jesus also lived to save us from our sins. I do believe there is liberation in obedience. When we live like Jesus, when we take his teachings seriously and apply them to life, we don't have to wait to die to experience freedom from sin." This is a personal narrative of one person's inner journey. If you are looking for a systematic statement of theology this is not the book for you. But if you are looking for an honest post-modern autobiography of a Christian believer, then I whole-heartedly recommend Evolving in Monkey Town. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from its publisher, Zondervan, via a request for reviews by its author.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure there's much I can say about Evolving in Monkey Town that hasn't been said already (and much more eloquently). So this is probably more of a response than a review. As Rachel Held Evans takes us through her personal crisis of faith, she offers insight into why some fundamentalists feel, believe, and act the way they do. She says in the preface: "I'm judgmental of people I think are judgmental." That resonated with me personally. But I think she encourages readers to keep an open mind, to try to understand others even when we disagree or feel judged by them. As I look back through the book, I highlighted so much, but wrote only one note, which is kind of rare for me. Most of my highlighted passages were feelings I've had and things I've wrestled with for a long time, but haven't been able to put into words. Reading this memoir was as refreshing as reading Nadia Bolz-Weber's Pastrix, but with less swearing (wink) and the added benefit of someone who has the Bible Belt perspective. Again and again, Evans compels us to fearlessly use our brain to challenge what we think we believe and ask questions, and to remember that God's love is always inclusive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
vacg More than 1 year ago
The author is a Christian, and a very articulate one at that! Raised in a fundamentalist Bible-believing community, she accepts that there are many points on which Christians must agree to be properly aligned with God. Her frustration grows as her world view widens, which leads to anger at the unfairness she perceives in God's judgement on others. Her questions lead to doubt, shaking her faith and making her ashamed to be honest about her feelings among her Christian friends and family. She eventually becomes comfortable with the questioning process and comes to realize that her faith does not require her to understand all that God knows, only to believe that God's wisdom, and His Love, far surpasses our own. The questions may make many settled-in Christians uncomfortable, but just as Rachel's faith has evolved and continually is reshaped by new concepts and ideas to which she is exposed by her continual questioning, I believe that the fundamentalist community of believers is also being reshaped, growing and transforming into a more Jesus-shaped entity,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is a good book to read no matter where you are in your path with Christ. It shows the mercy, the kindness, and the unyielding love that comes from him. The underline theme is that you are loved, that you are not alone and that I walk with you daily. I walk with you when my legs are too weak from that days battle to carry on and you carry me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems to be a "middle ground" for believers and doubters but when you try marrying science to theology, you get neither, the facts are facts, faith is pretty much hope in wishful thinking., It is ok to have faith in your spiritual preferences, but not as a barrier to scientific endeavour and applied research. Go to school for one/go to church for the other.
buttercupRC More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a great read! Evans shares her personal doubts and questions about the Christian faith, as well as her beliefs and convictions. She does a great job of drawing you in to her world and into the lives of the different types of people you meet throughout her story. It is a quick read, yet in depth and personal. I highly recommend it!