Yesterday I came home to an unexpected package from Amazon. Inside was a book that will no doubt be the book everyone’s talking about over the next few months. The next Blue Like Jazz is Rachel Held Evans‘, Evolving in Monkey Town.
Like Blue, Evolving in Monkey Town is not just a story about an individual wrestling with questions, having a sure-fire faith all wrapped up only to have it begin to burst with the introduction of hard questions. It is the story of a generation that has gone or is going through the same experience.
Having read through the first quarter or so of the book, Evolving in Monkey Town strikes me as the memoir of the “post-” generation. A world marked by self-descriptors such as “post-modern”, “post-conservative,” and “post-liberal” finds itself simultaneously defined by its past (modern, conservative, or liberal) while having left it behind to find a new expression of a yet-affirmed more ultimate noun.
In this case, “Christianity.”
Those of us who have found ourselves holding onto Christianity while simultaneously parting with a host of things we were told were inseparable from faithfulness to God will resonate with the anecdotes, but most especially with the theological framework that seems to put the stories in proper relief.
That theological framework is, roughly, that how we hold our theology is as as its contents; and, the questions we ask are often as important or more important than the answers we might give.
This is a narrative of storied theology–a memoir brimming with the conviction that the static categories of religious affirmation are much less important for both individual and church than the reality that we are bound up with the story of God that, yes, reaches a certain climax in the work of Jesus, but also carries forward into new days and times and thus finds itself surprisingly reinterpreted in the places to which it comes.
Go grab a copy and let me know what you think.