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.