Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Evolving in Monkeytown: How a girl who knew all the answers learned to ask the questions...

 I decided to change the name of my blog today…mostly because I realize that although I’m still working on the whole weight loss/being healthy thing….this journey I am on is about so much more….and well lately I’ve been writing more about that “more” than about weight loss…so a change seemed only appropriate.   
  With that being said….it’s time to share about my latest read.  Today I finished the book “Evolving in Monkeytown” by Rachel Held Evans (check out her blog at  In the book she shares her own journey of faith….or rather how she moved from a religious certainty, through doubt, to faith.  Here’ a girl who grew up in a conservative Christian family, in the middle of the Dayton Tennessee (home of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial featuring science (evolution) vs. religion (Christianity)), with a father who taught at a Christian college.  She basically grew up in church….ingrained at a young age with the Christian doctrine and prepared to defend it at all costs….and it wasn’t until she was a junior in college (a christian college at that) when she started having serious doubts about what she believed and why.  She shares stories about her life, her friends, her religious experiences…all of which have had an impact on her questions, her doubts, her fears.  But it's her openness and authenticity that makes this such an easy read, while at the same time providing the reader with the freedom to be real with their own thoughts, questions, and doubts that her stories evokes.
  What I love about this book though (in comparison to the last book I read which also happened to be about faith and doubt) is how she differentiates between doubting God and doubting our understanding of who God is.  She shares…”doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God.  The former has the potential to destroy faith; the later has the power to enrich and refine it”.  Never once in this book does she seem to give up all faith…rather her journey is more about moving beyond the right and wrong, black and white religion to a real relationship with a God who she will never be able to fully figure out.  I love that!
   I don’t have all the answers when it comes to my faith.  I’ve spent most of my life living under a religion of rules …trying to earn God’s love by saying and doing all the right things.  Then about a year ago I attended church and experienced God in a way I never had before.  I felt love for the first time that wasn’t based on what I did.  I’ve never been able to put that experience into words that really give it justice…but that one service changed my life….in that service I met God.  Since then I’ve been trying to live out my faith in as much honest as possible…but it’s hard.  Most days I feel like I am toeing the line between wanting to be real with God and wanting to save face as a “Christian”, books like this rekindle that part of me that’s willing to risk it all to truly know God…and give me comfort that I don’t have to have it all figured out  cause I know the one who does!

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