7.7.15

"SEARCHING FOR SUNDAY" (BOOK REVIEW)

Rachel Held Evan's 'Searching for Sunday'
Rachel Held Evan’s new book can be described as a long diatribe against the conservative American evangelicalism from whence she came. In Searching for Sunday she berates orthodox Christianity at every possibility, and condemns the Church’s traditional positions on homosexuality, the role of women, politics, race, the age of the earth, evolution, Biblical inspiration, etc. (Pg. 15)

Held Evans attacks the certainty of conservative believers for not tackling the difficult questions and failing to integrate the reality of post modernism into their worldview. She accomplishes this by describing her own coming of age in an evangelical church as she evolves from an active youth group youngster on fire for God into a cynical doubter who struggles to hold on to any vestige of faith.

I believe that the central principle of Held Evan’s book is true. The church has relied on its position as a tribal mononarrative to carry itself through an age of massive information flow and clashing first principles which cannot be verified or synthesized (though some are trying). As Held Evans points out, young Christians want to have faith while keeping their intellectual integrity intact. Can one ever possess absolute certainty of faith when confronted with the fact that the human mind is too small to grasp all possible realities? No, Held Evans would argue, and Christianity must learn to create a new foundation to inspire faith. Doctrinal belief is no longer a viable unifying principle. No one can be expected to believe something for the rest of their lives when the amount of information they might potentially learn in a single day is nearly infinite (i.e. internet). As Held Evans says: the church must ‘adapt or die.’

The most frustrating part of Searching for Sunday is Held Evan's response to her doubts. Rather then leading her to abandon faith in humanity and thrust herself upon God, tradition, or the church she sets out to conform Christianity to Cultural Marxist liberalism. Throughout the book it becomes obvious to the reader that Held Evan’s doubts are not the product of a realization of her own limitations but her inability to reconcile Christianity and the Bible with modern politically correct positions.

For example, in one place she rationalizes that Christians should accept gay marriage because looking back in two decades it will be equivalent to opposing the civil rights movement or abolitionism, In other words, slavery and segregation are obviously bad so opposing the LGBT movement is also bad. Or, equality trumps God and truth.

Ultimately, Rachel Held Evan’s morality arises not from a Christian worldview, but from a secular one. She doesn’t analyze the Bible to decide whether slavery is wrong, she assumes slavery is wrong because of equality and then tries to reconcile it with the faith she also wants to be a part of. Her first loyalty is not to God and Christ but Cultural Marxism: equality, liberty, and fraternity, the principles of the modern liberal experiment. This phenomenon is connected to her obsession with LGBT rights (she spends an entire chapter describing an event she attended, the Gay Christian Network, before asserting that Christians need to imitate practicing homosexuals to become better followers of God). (pg. 199)

This fundamental flaw is exasperated by the fact that she appears to have no serious theological undergirding for her religious positions. In  chapter thirty five (pg. 239-247) she tries to explain why men shouldn’t have authority over women in the home or church, but her argument is so thin and irrelevant that it succeeds only in making the reader realize the shallowness of her Biblical thought. One could only assume that her position on the issue derived itself from some other source and was then badly juxtaposed upon the Christian worldview.

I bought Searching for Sunday expecting to have to endure 250 pages of Cultural Marxist trash (indeed it was), but the book is well written and contains some good points. Being a member of the millennial generation I feel obligated to at least consider young Christian voices, but if the future of Christianity is anything like the one Rachel Held Evans would recommend it will be utterly divorced from the past.