Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions

Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions

by Rachel Held Evans


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How an evolving spiritual journey leads to an unshakeable faith

Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial made a spectacle of Christian fundamentalism and brought national attention to her hometown, Rachel Held Evans faced a trial of her own when she began to have doubts about her faith.

In Faith Unraveled, Rachel recounts growing up in a culture obsessed with apologetics, struggling as her own faith unraveled one unexpected question at a time.

In order for her faith to survive, Rachel realizes, it must adapt to change and evolve. Using as an illustration her own spiritual journey from certainty to doubt to faith, Evans challenges you to disentangle your faith from false fundamentals and to trust in a God who is big enough to handle your tough questions.

In a changing cultural environment where new ideas seem to threaten the safety and security of the faith, Faith Unraveled is a fearlessly honest story of survival.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310339168
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 14,750
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans (1981–2019) is known for her books and articles about faith, doubt, and life in the Bible Belt. Rachel has been featured in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, Huff Post, and the CNN Belief Blog, and on NPR, BBC, Today, and The View. She served on President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and kept a busy schedule speaking at churches, conferences, and universities. Rachel’s messages continue to reverberate around the world.

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Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Soul_Munchies More than 1 year ago
As someone who grew up in a small town in the deep South, there were many times that I wondered if she was talking about Dayton, Tennessee or if she was really talking about my own small towns. I really appreciated the history she shared about traditional evangelical beliefs and how those beliefs paved the way for her own discoveries. I learned a lot in this book - not only about Rachel herself, but about Christianity in the South and how my own traditions fit in. As I read, I was struck by one major theme - Rachel seemed to most struggle with the traditional views of heaven and hell. If you're born again and saved you go to heaven - no matter what. If you've never accepted Jesus, you go to hell - again, no matter what. So many people, particularly in the South, see this belief as the core of Christianity. If you don't believe this, you're not Christian. And yet this belief calls into question the unconditional love of God that Jesus proclaimed and lived. I admire Rachel for wrestling with this question and for being brave and honest enough to put it out there for the world to see. I'm encouraged by her willingness to live in the grey - to see the world as a rainbow of colors instead of black and white. She encourages us to see Christianity not as a set of beliefs, but as "being Jesus . in tennis shoes."
DarrenVA More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. It covers alot of what I had always been thinking in regards to doubts about the Bible, and faith in general. If you've ever been (or still are) a doubter when it comes the Bible and God/Jesus, this is a fantastic read. I feel like she was reading my mind in certain portions of the book. I very readable style, reminiscent of Philip Yancey. The last couple of chapters really tie it together and provide some meaningful advice on how to deal with doubts you may have.
PastorjimJK More than 1 year ago
"I'm not yet thirty, but I feel as if over the past few years, my faith has experienced a life time of change." So writes Rachel Held Evans' in her book Evolving in Monkey Town that chronicles her at times confusing and difficult journey of a maturing faith as she wrestles with the questions about God, the Bible, science, and society after she graduates from a Christian College. A college at which she was taught to defend her faith but then found herself questioning its foundations and implications. Poignant and humorous, Evans' book leads the reader through her childhood and high school years steeped in conservative Christianity. (Note: while some might call her upbringing "fundamentalist" and others "evangelical," the broad definitions associated with both names make this reviewer choose to use the word conservative. On page 17 she does say, "I used to be a fundamentalist.) What I believe she most challenges, and is troubled by in her journey, is the overwhelming apologetic approach to faith that she ultimately found wanting. As the cracks appear in her own faith foundation, however, she does not run from her faith and thus disown it. She goes deeper into it. She does, what I believe is expressed by Paul who spoke of 'working out your own salvation.' Wrestling with the major social issues of the day, Evans re-examines the reasons given to her of why she should believe what she was being taught. Along the way she revisits the various aspects and, at times, interesting expressions of her Christian upbringing (illustrated in chapter 15 with the story of the Judgment Day event). As she walks through moments of great doubt, she comes to the place where she believes that "while I still believe Jesus died to save us from our sins, I'm beginning to think that Jesus also lived to save us from our sins. I do believe there is liberation in obedience. When we live like Jesus, when we take his teachings seriously and apply them to life, we don't have to wait to die to experience freedom from sin." This is a personal narrative of one person's inner journey. If you are looking for a systematic statement of theology this is not the book for you. But if you are looking for an honest post-modern autobiography of a Christian believer, then I whole-heartedly recommend Evolving in Monkey Town. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from its publisher, Zondervan, via a request for reviews by its author.
Anonymous 9 months ago
KCummingsPipes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rachel Held Evans is not afraid to ask the hard questions. She is not afraid to have no solid answers. An honest account of her personal struggle with faith and fundamentalism. A quick, easy read but may require rereading. Well worth the time. Quotes" "I believe that the best way to reclaim the gospel in times of change is not to cling more tightly to our convictions but to hold them with an open hand." "Evolution means letting go of our false fundamentals so that God can get into those shadowy places we're not sure we want him to be. It means being okay with being wrong, okay with not having all the answers, okay with never being finished." "If salvation is available only to Christians, then the gospel isn't good news at all."
StephenBarkley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What happened to the millions of Holocaust victims immediately after their death? Did God consign them to eternal torture for not believing in his Son?If that question doesn¿t bother you, then don¿t bother with this book. If you do wrestle with it, Evan¿s memoir will remind you that you¿re not the only person on this journey.Evolving in Monkey Town is the story of Evan¿s spiritual journey from a fundamentalist with all the correct answers to an honest believer. If you were raised in a fundamentalist setting, this book will resonate. Evans has a knack for describing the absurdities of fundamentalism with grace and plenty of humour.I should warn you that this book will make you think through issues many of us prefer to leave buried, such as the fate of people who have never heard of Jesus. The challenge, however, is well worth accepting for any believer looking to grow up. Loving God with all our heart as well as our mind demands nothing less.
baggas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book in which the auhor, Rachel Held Evans describes her journey from a rock solid, unquestioning fundamentalist faith to one where she is no longer afraid of doubts and not knowing all the answers. This journey is set against the backdrop of growing up in "monkey town" Dayton Tennessee, which was the site of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial in the 1920s and remains a bastion of fundamentalism to this day.Rachel raises a lot of challenges questions and observations in her anecdotal style, but despite her questions she still presents a vibrant, passionate faith, robust in the face of doubts - just robust in a different way to what she might have imagined as a student. She makes some very incisve observations as to how the whole field of apologetics seems to be missing the point in many ways. A couple of quotes : "most of our peers were receptive to spiritual things... they weren't searching for historical evidence in support of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. They were searching for some signs of life among his followers... Most weren't looking for a faith that provided all the answers; they were looking for one in which they were free to ask questions." (p203-204) If you can appreciate the message in those quotes, then I think you will appreciate this book.
nachida More than 1 year ago
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure there's much I can say about Evolving in Monkey Town that hasn't been said already (and much more eloquently). So this is probably more of a response than a review. As Rachel Held Evans takes us through her personal crisis of faith, she offers insight into why some fundamentalists feel, believe, and act the way they do. She says in the preface: "I'm judgmental of people I think are judgmental." That resonated with me personally. But I think she encourages readers to keep an open mind, to try to understand others even when we disagree or feel judged by them. As I look back through the book, I highlighted so much, but wrote only one note, which is kind of rare for me. Most of my highlighted passages were feelings I've had and things I've wrestled with for a long time, but haven't been able to put into words. Reading this memoir was as refreshing as reading Nadia Bolz-Weber's Pastrix, but with less swearing (wink) and the added benefit of someone who has the Bible Belt perspective. Again and again, Evans compels us to fearlessly use our brain to challenge what we think we believe and ask questions, and to remember that God's love is always inclusive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
vacg More than 1 year ago
The author is a Christian, and a very articulate one at that! Raised in a fundamentalist Bible-believing community, she accepts that there are many points on which Christians must agree to be properly aligned with God. Her frustration grows as her world view widens, which leads to anger at the unfairness she perceives in God's judgement on others. Her questions lead to doubt, shaking her faith and making her ashamed to be honest about her feelings among her Christian friends and family. She eventually becomes comfortable with the questioning process and comes to realize that her faith does not require her to understand all that God knows, only to believe that God's wisdom, and His Love, far surpasses our own. The questions may make many settled-in Christians uncomfortable, but just as Rachel's faith has evolved and continually is reshaped by new concepts and ideas to which she is exposed by her continual questioning, I believe that the fundamentalist community of believers is also being reshaped, growing and transforming into a more Jesus-shaped entity,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is a good book to read no matter where you are in your path with Christ. It shows the mercy, the kindness, and the unyielding love that comes from him. The underline theme is that you are loved, that you are not alone and that I walk with you daily. I walk with you when my legs are too weak from that days battle to carry on and you carry me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems to be a "middle ground" for believers and doubters but when you try marrying science to theology, you get neither, the facts are facts, faith is pretty much hope in wishful thinking., It is ok to have faith in your spiritual preferences, but not as a barrier to scientific endeavour and applied research. Go to school for one/go to church for the other.
buttercupRC More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a great read! Evans shares her personal doubts and questions about the Christian faith, as well as her beliefs and convictions. She does a great job of drawing you in to her world and into the lives of the different types of people you meet throughout her story. It is a quick read, yet in depth and personal. I highly recommend it!