Being patient with each other in our personal spiritual journeys

January 23, 2013

Grace for the privileged too?
Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans, who has gained widespread media attention and positive reviews for her latest book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, has also been the target of harsh criticism by many evangelicals who have claimed she is mocking the Bible.  Thus, she says that many of her readers will be surprised to learn that she finds herself “more comfortable speaking in front of evangelical groups than progressive, emerging groups.” She explains, “This is partly because evangelicalism is my background, so I know the language, relate to the culture, and can offer something of a challenge to an evangelical audience. But it’s also because I know exactly what not to say to evangelicals, whereas, in more progressive Christian communities, I’m still learning the ropes” (bold type is hers). She goes on to talk about the “learning curve” we all need to recognize in our growing social justice awareness of the realities and sensitivities of groups different from our own. It is so easy to unintentionally give offense or cause hurt and even bring sharp rebuke for speaking the “wrong” language without even realizing it. She asks that we be patient and loving with one another, recognizing the learning curve and applying grace from both directions.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.