Yesterday Rachel Held Evans and I began discussing her new book, Evolving
in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the
Here’s the second part of the interview. Make sure you stick around to the end for an opportunity to win a free copy of the book.
JB: We’ve discussed this before, but a big part of your book is the
idea that, in order to survive, faith must adapt and evolve. The book
discusses your faith evolution, of course, but I’m wondering how your
faith has evolved since you finished writing? And where do you see it
headed in the future?
RHE: Good question! Since writing the book, I’ve become a little more comfortable with my views about evolution, having found some cool resources like the BioLogos Foundation that help me work through a lot of my questions. I’m also settling into a new way of reading the
Bible that embraces the fact that it doesn’t exist to answer all of my
questions. I suspect my faith will continue to change and evolve
through the years; I just hope that, overall, I change to look more
and more like Jesus. Right now there are good days and bad days when
it comes to that.
Big picture: How do you see Christianity as a whole adapting in our
lifetime? Where do we need to go in order to remain relevant?
I’m actually really optimistic about the future of Christianity
because throughout history it has shown a remarkable ability to thrive
in new cultural environments. There are a few things that make me
especially hopeful: I see more and more people from my generation
choosing to pledge allegiance first and foremost to the Kingdom of
God, not to any political party or platform of this world. I see
people willing to engage in tough conversations about how to embrace
both science and faith. I see my friends and family taking a more
loving posture toward the gay community. And I see Christians around
the world re-prioritizing Jesus’ command to care for “the least of
Is “Christian skeptic” an oxymoron?
It’s only an oxymoron if we buy the lie that being a Christian means
agreeing to a set of propositional statements. But if being a
Christian means following Jesus Christ, I think it’s entirely possible
to be curious and intellectually engaged while simultaneously caring
for the poor, forgiving enemies, and sharing the good news. My friend
David put it this way, “The line between faith and doubt is the point
of action. You don’t need certainty to obey, just the willingness to
risk being wrong.”
You come from a journalism career, but you got this book deal out
of nowhere, it seems. What are three pieces of advice you would give
to aspiring writers?
1. Read everything you can get your hands on — fiction, non-fiction,
poetry, song lyrics, magazines, newspapers, science, theology,
prayers, children’s books, the backs of cereal boxes, whatever — and pay
attention to how the words are put together.
2. Start a blog.
3. Write a kick-ass book proposal.
In your opinion, who are the three most significant monkeys and/or
apes in popular culture? (You are not allowed to cite the one on the
cover of your book.)
#3: Curious George
#2: Donkey Kong
#1: King Kong
contenders include Bubbles the Chimp, Koko the Gorilla, and the evil
monkey living in Chris’ closet in “Family Guy.”)
I’d love to hear what
your readers have to say!
Me, too. Our publisher, Zondervan, has graciously agreed to give away two free copies of Evolving in Monkey Town.
So here’s what you have to do to become eligible for the giveaway: Leave at least one comment on this post. That’s it. We’ll pick a random winner from among the commenters. List your own suggestion for culturally significant monkeys, discuss how your own faith has evolved, or ask Rachel a question. (She’ll be stopping by, and is a pro when it comes to meaningful interaction with readers.)
UPDATE: The comment to win giveaway ends at 11:59 pm CT on Thursday, June 24.