Archives For Questioning

 

293990: Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions

A Review of

Evolving in Monkey Town:
How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers
Learned to Ask the Questions

By Rachel Held Evans
Paperback: Zondervan, 2010.
Buy now: [ Christian Book.com ]

Reviewed by Zena Neds-Fox.

After Rachel Held Evans witnessed the televised execution of a woman in Afghanistan in 2001, her lifelong identity as a Christian well-versed in apologetics, is threatened and eventually abandoned.  Because she knows and has polished the answers for her entire life, her questioning is pointed at the weakest links of the Christian argument.  This fury of questions is the high point of Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions.  Evans’ bravery in the struggle to ask difficult questions is the hallmark of this striking new memoir.

Evolving in Monkey Town seems to be a Christian tale for Christians.  Published by Zondervan, it is the singular experience of an honest person raised within a Christian culture who — no matter what steps she makes away from that upbringing — is largely formed and informed by that upbringing.  There are people who will relate to Rachel’s story very much because when raised in this context, it becomes so difficult to question (which was one of the key points in David Dark’s heralded book The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, our 2009 Book of the Year, which incidentally was also published by Zondervan).  Those raised in such a way fear appearing as if they have no faith when voicing their doubts.  That Evans maintains faith while doing what equates to faithlessness in many Christian contexts  is another key strength of her story.

The defense of questioning the party lines of conservative evangelicalism while still loving Jesus doesn’t get much press.  Though the permission of questioning the faith may be granted on the back-country roads of church camps, it still takes a declaration of sorts to hold out a hand towards those whose doubts are bigger than any quick remedy.  Evans wants to bring freedom to readers who struggle in these ways against the mainstream of conservative evangelicalism.

Not being raised in church culture, I found some of her steps away to be somewhat timid.  Her questioning is big for her upbringing, but for those comfortable in the world, at times I wondered whether it necessitated a book.  It is her moments of going for the jugular of her doubt that kept me from being too high and mighty.  Fighting like only a true Pharisee can, she reminded me of Paul once his sight is restored after being blinded.  She can speak the language of those who doubt and therefore is best suited to ask the questions.

 


On June 16, Bloomsday (a holiday in remembrance of James Joyce and his novel Ulysses), we sat down with David Dark to talk via Twitter about his new book: The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.  Here is our conversation:

  1. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate #Bloomsday than to sit down with @DavidDark and talk about his new book. 1:00 PM Jun 16th from web
  2. THE SACREDNESS OF QUESTIONING EVERYTHING is not only a plea for critical engagement, > 1:01 PM Jun 16th from web
  3. it also is a gloriously dizzying tour through literature and pop music! 1:20 PM Jun 16th from web
  4. @daviddark Welcome! Thanks for sitting down with us! 1:02 PM Jun 16th from web
  5. @ERBks glad to be “here” 1:02 PM Jun 16th from web
  6. @daviddark LOL! Your book is very countercultural > 1:03 PM Jun 16th from web
  7. @daviddark Why should people read it, especially ones who tremble at the thought of questioning everything? 1:03 PM Jun 16th from web
  8. @ERBks Well, potential reader, if you think asking questions is at the heart of developing (and keeping) your soul, this book’s for you> 1:04 PM Jun 16th from web
  9. @ERBks and if U think the opposite’s true (keeping your soul saved requires somehow silencing your mind) I’d say this book’s REALLY for you! 1:05 PM Jun 16th from web
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“Rehabilitation, Redemption
and Ultimately Resurrection”

 

A Review of
The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.
by David Dark.

 Reviewed by Joshua Neds-Fox.

 

The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.
David Dark.
Paperback: Zondervan, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $13 ] [ Amazon ]

 

For a limited time! 
Download a Free Audiobook edition of this book
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In attempting to reduce a book-length testimony to four or five paragraphs, there’s always the risk of perverting the author’s original intent (if, of course, he/she has something intentional to say).  When I say ‘perverting,’ I mean it in the sense that David Dark defines it in THE SACREDNESS OF QUESTIONING EVERYTHING: the object is “reduced to a thing… dispensed with, taken care of, filed away.”  “Perversion is pigeonholing,” he says, and I sincerely hope not to do this to Dark’s message, since I’m convinced he actually does have something to tell us.

 

In SACREDNESS, Dark champions the power — and the spiritual necessity — of the open mind.  Asking questions of our convictions, assumptions, perversions, religions, is the only way to let the light and air into them.  “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in,” he maintains, using Leonard Cohen’s words.  Questioning our God(s), our government, our eschatology, our language or our lusts, opens them to the possibility of rehabilitation, redemption and ultimately resurrection.

Continue Reading…