Why does Rachel Held Evans say that “Jesus started with the ‘outliers’”?

April 4, 2013

Jesus started with the outliers.
In this excellent post, blogger and author Rachel Held Evans tells of being drawn into a Twitter exchange with someone who argued that God has “hardwired” men and women to fulfill gender stereotypes, with men universally designated and naturally equipped to be the strong protectors of women, and women designed by God to be weaker and in need of protection. Evans countered by asking about situations where a man might be in a position of weakness and need help and protection from a woman—for example, a situation in which a man is confined to a wheelchair. Her Twitter challenger retorted, “Yes, but that’s an unusual circumstance. We can’t base our theology on outliers.”  At that point, Evans came up with an absolutely brilliant insight and response. See what she said— and the further thoughts arising from that truth, which she shares with her readers.

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.


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