Inspired: Slaying Giants, outlet online sale Walking on Water, and outlet online sale Loving the Bible Again (series_title) online sale

Inspired: Slaying Giants, outlet online sale Walking on Water, and outlet online sale Loving the Bible Again (series_title) online sale

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If the Bible isn''t a science book or an instruction manual, then what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she began a quest to better understand what the Bible is and how it is meant to be read. What she discovered changed her and it will change you too.
Drawing on the best in recent scholarship and using her well honed literary expertise, Evans examines some of our favorite Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, original poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay. Undaunted by the Bible''s most difficult passages, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating Scripture''s mysteries. The Bible, she discovers, is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God''s loving and redemptive work in the world.

About the Author

Rachel Held Evans is a New York Times bestselling author who writes about faith, doubt, and life in the Bible Belt. Rachel has been featured in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, the Huffington 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 keeps a busy schedule speaking at churches, conferences, and universities around the country. Rachel is married to Dan and they have two young children. A lifelong Alabama Crimson Tide fan, Rachel''s preferred writing fuel is animal crackers and red wine.
 

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Cristi
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspired gives me hope for healing
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2018
Having read Rachel’s previous books, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Inspired. But if I’m being honest, I was also a bit hesitant because as a LGBTQIA+ Christian, the Bible has been used as a weapon against me in the past and it left me badly broken. I’ve been... See more
Having read Rachel’s previous books, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Inspired. But if I’m being honest, I was also a bit hesitant because as a LGBTQIA+ Christian, the Bible has been used as a weapon against me in the past and it left me badly broken. I’ve been on a long winding journey with my faith, and the idea of approaching the Bible with a different mindset than the one I grew up with is what ultimately drew me to the book. I found myself seeing stories I’d heard my entire life in a different light, and found comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only person who had a difficult time with a literal interpretation of the Bible. Rachel shares her experiences of wrestling with different stories and themes of the Bible while also sharing her in depth research into the who, where, when and why of the text. This quote sums up how I’m feeling having read the last page of the book. “In short, we have on our hands, a Bible as complicated and dynamic as our relationship with God, one that reads less like divine monologue and more like an intimate conversation.” If you’re looking for a different approach to Scripture that engages and inspires you, I highly recommend this book!
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Jeff and Tonya
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspired?
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2018
When I read Rachel Held Evans’ Searching for Sunday a couple of years ago (technically listened to Evans herself read it to me via Audible as I ran many miles along the Lake Murray Dam outside Columbia, SC), I was blown away. Here was someone who was roughly my age, who had... See more
When I read Rachel Held Evans’ Searching for Sunday a couple of years ago (technically listened to Evans herself read it to me via Audible as I ran many miles along the Lake Murray Dam outside Columbia, SC), I was blown away. Here was someone who was roughly my age, who had grown up in roughly my part of the country (within a couple hundred miles as the bird flies), and who was speaking to one of the things I have been doing for seemingly twenty years already – searching for a way back into the church that she cherished as a child, but that she had grown disillusioned with as an adult. I didn’t agree with her ultimate conclusions then (read the book to find them for yourself), but at least the fact that she did find answers gave me hope that one day I too might find what I’ve sought for so long.

As a storybook from Evans’ perspective, INSPIRED is an interesting work, told in the familiar cadences of Searching for Sunday. If you like the writing style of that book, you will like the read of this book from that perspective at a bare minimum. And INSPIRED raises some good points, at least a few of them likely not intended by Evans in the way I took them. For example, she speaks of prophets saying “”In other words, the prophets are weirdos. More than anyone else in Scripture, they remind us that those odd ducks shouting from the margins of society may see things more clearly than the political and religious leaders with the inside track. We ignore them at our own peril.”.

Unfortunately INSPIRED also has some severe problems beyond political disagreements between myself and the author. (Indeed, if those were the only issues with this book, it would merit a five star rating, as I refuse to mark a book down simply because I disagree with its author politically.)

Evans claims that Hagar, concubine of Abram and mother of Ishmael, is the only person in the Bible to name God, which even a cursory Google of the topic (much less having much of the same type of church upbringing as Evans herself) will show is patently false. Hagar’s El Roi, cited by Evans, is one of about a half dozen versions of the El name of God, and there are at least that many versions of the Jehovah version of the name of God. Indeed, I’ve listened to thousands of sermons from some of the most respected preachers and theologians of the modern American age, from Billy Graham to Adrian Rogers to James Merritt to more obscure people like my former pastor and former President of the Georgia Baptist Convention Wayne Hamrick. I’ve read at least some of the works of respected theologians of any era of Christendom, from Saint Augustine to Saint Francis of Assisi to Charles Spurgeon to CS Lewis and many, many others. And as best I can tell at this time – I’ve got an outstanding question to even more learned friends on Facebook that I posted over night – this “Hagar is the only person to name God” myth began with a book by feminist “scholar” and storyteller Charlotte Gordon that was published nearly a decade ago and has apparently risen to prominence in progressive/ feminist Christian circles in the time since.

Evans also claims Biblical authority for the Jewish tradition of midrash, which is effectively ancient Jewish fan fiction regarding the people and events of the Torah (effectively the first few books of the Christian Old Testament). She makes the collectivist claim that it is impossible to be a Christian on your own, despite literally millions of Christians who refuse to attend church for any number of reasons proving her wrong on a daily basis. And she apparently has never heard of Marvin Snurdley, and thus insists that letters written to particular groups and individuals 2000 years ago are authoritative for us now, despite having lost any sense of true context millenia ago.

Finally, throughout the book Evans insists that storytelling is paramount, rather than accuracy or getting to a point. Indeed, at one point she point blank says that when someone asks you what the gospel is, you should respond with a story. In her case, involving maybe her grandmother or her parents’ expensive kitchen chairs. NO! When someone asks you what the gospel is, you respond with: The gospel is Jesus Christ, and the fact that he was God made flesh who lived the life we cannot then died the death that we no longer have to. THEN we can launch into any number of stories about Jesus, all revolving around that central theme.

It is for these reasons that INSPIRED ultimately became disappointing for me. It is still a great example of storytelling, and for that reason alone it is a worthy addition to any bookshelf. It doesn’t really try to make any particular point, and its citations are few and far between, so there really isn’t anything to argue from that perspective. It achieves at least one goal Evans seems to have – to start a conversation – admirably and is to be commended for that at minimum. So yes, absolutely buy this book. Despite the critiques above, it really is a great read. Just be prepared to take it with a fair amount of salt.
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mc2cmt
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Is our God big enough to be unexplainable, or do we need to call the Bible fiction?
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2018
The concepts of the book are not new to me. I actually had a Bible teacher in high school who had similar viewpoints. Ultimately, I choose to believe what God says through his word. I believe that as humans we will never have all the answers, will never fully understand the... See more
The concepts of the book are not new to me. I actually had a Bible teacher in high school who had similar viewpoints. Ultimately, I choose to believe what God says through his word. I believe that as humans we will never have all the answers, will never fully understand the mind and workings of our Creator, and that''s perfectly okay with me. I value the Bible''s word and teaching over every aspect of my life and worldview rather than feeling the need to thwart God''s word to satisfy my personal and political views. Ultimately, this book is more suitable for the burn pile than the coffee table.
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Todd E. Hepp
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love God Again, Not The Bible: A Book Cannot Love You Back
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2018
The word "inspired" is loaded with presumption and subjectivity. Regarding inspired texts, obvious questions immediately come to mind. Inspired to what degree? How perfectly? How verifiably? How consistently? How authentically? How divinely? Was Muhammad any less... See more
The word "inspired" is loaded with presumption and subjectivity. Regarding inspired texts, obvious questions immediately come to mind. Inspired to what degree? How perfectly? How verifiably? How consistently? How authentically? How divinely? Was Muhammad any less inspired than Moses? Was Joseph Smith? No one disputes their sincerity. Muslims presume the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel during the 7th century. Mormons presume the Book of Mormon was decoded by Joseph Smith from golden plates on loan from God during the 19th century. Christians presume the Bible (compiled during the 4th century by a committee of men under Emperor Constantine from assorted writings attributed to Moses, John, Paul and 37 others) constitutes The Word Of God. Note how the formation of all three books invoke "magic" uncorroborated by witnesses. Angels? Golden plates? Visions? Did Moses board a magical time-travel machine to witness the 6-day creation?

The most startling aspect of holy book-based religion (e.g., evangelicalism) is the conspicuous absence of pause before we dive into the pool. To be fair, most of us are thrown in as children, before we can think for ourselves.

No one disputes that the Quran and the Book Of Mormon have stood the test of time, as the Bible has. Of course longevity has nothing to do with truth. How long did mankind believe the world was flat before Galileo''s telescope slowly changed people''s minds? Each holy book spawned religions with millions of adherents. Is there safety in numbers when it comes to truth? How is inspiration differentiated from delusion? Of course we can presume anything, but you know what happens when we presume. So what''s really up here? Note also how each religion is deemed holy, but typically to the exclusion of the others. Therein lies a clue. Holy books may begin with nuggets of inspiration, but they''re readily expanded into tools of manipulation.

In a broader context, who would dispute Handel''s inspiration when he composed the Hallelujah Chorus, or MLK''s when he crafted his I-Have-A-Dream speech? I can recall my own epiphanies and moments of inspiration. But I continually second-guess myself, mindful that my imagination is just that. Whenever I experience a potential sign and wonder my friends remind me about Occam''s Razor, Littlewood''s Law, and Synchronicity. If I become mystical they caution me about Bicameralism and Confirmation Bias. So before we presuppose anything about the authority of a book-of-books called the Bible, because it is "inspired," should we not carefully examine what inspired means (and does not)? Evans briefly refers to the familiar "God breathed" concept in her Introduction. The devil is in the details. Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 3:16) states "all" scripture is God-breathed. Holy sweeping generalization. So much theology hinges on the definition of "all," let alone a definition for "scripture." None is offered. Evans refers to scripture as Scripture. I want to know why. As an aside, she also refers to Apostle Paul as an ex-Pharisee. My research suggests he was an ex-persecutor of Christ followers, but not an ex-Pharisee.

Similar to Rob Bell''s: ''What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything,'' Rachel Held Evans'' ''INSPIRED: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again'' fails to acknowledge the significance of presupposition. A course in epistemology should be a prerequisite to biblical exegesis. Sure we can engage midrash to mine any text for meaning, but it doesn''t make a passage or its meaning divine. We can pledge our allegiance to the Westminster Confession, but it doesn''t authenticate its veracity. Social conformity has nothing to do with divine truth. Shakespeare''s writings are full of deep truths...and untruths. So are Dylan''s lyrics. So why e.g., are Paul''s letters deemed fully authoritative?

Presupposing inerrancy (or inspiration) is not an exercise in faith. It''s an act of desperation...a product of social conditioning...an expression of tradition...and proof that humans are comfort junkies who will invent false certainty rather than live in the honest tension of doubt. Having graduated from Bryan College in Dayton, TN (aka Monkeytown), Evans must fully appreciate the relevance of presupposition, hence I expected far more discussion on this crucial topic. Presupposition is the whole dang thing. No one has seen God. Have we forgotten? God is a mental/spiritual abstraction. Don''t get me wrong. God is not trivial whatsoever, he/she''s just not tangible. And the only tangible incarnation of God, Jesus (God in flesh, he claimed), we humans promptly killed.

What other book (full of explicit supernatural assertions) do we presume to be true until proven false? The burden of proof should be the other way around. I''m not sure what Evans presupposes because she never says. We cannot fully undo early-childhood conditioning. I know that I cannot, but I do try to presuppose nothing and just let the chips fall where they may. Guilt to please parents clouds our thinking. It holds a grip. In some families, abandoning the religion of one''s parents can result in being disowned or being resented and shunned as a black sheep by siblings. Some siblings are prideful of their tribal loyalty. The stigma of being branded a heretic is something to fear in the Bible Belt, especially for the mother of young children. Evans discusses the high-octane religious experiences of her youth in the Introduction. As I read the remainder of the book I wondered if her writing was influenced by PEG (Post Evangelical Guilt)?

It''s telling that Evans seeks to aggressively sand away at the square peg of biblical incongruities with soliloquies, poetry, and apologies until alas it slides into the round hole of post-modern orthodoxy, as if loving the Bible is the end. Do we truly love a thing if we must engage in mental gymnastics? Loving God is my end, not loving a book. Like a bad marriage, if it takes a lot of hard work, it''s not love: it''s obligation. Mark Twain snarked: "The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible." Clearly, Evans is ashamed she stopped loving the Bible, but her re-love seems more like an on-again-off-again romance. More precisely, Evans constructs love for a subset of passages comprising less than 1% of the Bible''s total text. Kudos. But extrapolating that love to the other 99% would be a tempting fallacy. I mean everybody loves, e.g., 1 Corinthians 13, that''s easy, but who loves, e.g., the Midianite Massacre (Numbers 31)? That''s how she fell out-of-love with the Bible. What''s changed isn''t the Bible, it''s Evans'' willingness to invoke hermeneutical metaphor in the extreme.

Most of us who grew up in the church were indoctrinated from birth. We spend our adult life deconstructing what was spoon-fed to us in our youth. Most of us seek to keep the baby and throw away the bathwater (and that''s what INSPIRED is about). Others toss in the towel and declare atheism. Their loss. In our youth we didn''t read the Bible like any other book: i.e., with no preconceived notions, constructing our beliefs from scratch, piece by piece like we construct other forms of knowledge. No, our starting point was imposed upon us. The Bible is the Word Of God, we were told. Period! We started with a conclusion. Nuts! We went to Sunday School and were propagandized with sanitized Children''s Bible Story books. Some of us were taught young-earth creationism. Now we know a 6,000 year-old earth is ridiculously unscientific. But that''s just the tip of the biblical-fallacies iceberg. The doctrines distilled from the Bible are far more consequential than, e.g., the historicity of the Red Sea parting. Is Predestination true? Hierarchical Authoritarianism? Providence? Demonization of Gays? Chosenness? Divine Genocide? Patriarchy? Penal Substitutionary Blood Sacrifice Atonement? Don''t even get me started.

INSPIRED is more a deconstruction guide for Dones than a construction plan for Nones. It''s therapy for recovering evangelicals who hope to salvage a perspective on the Bible they can live with, especially in the wake of evangelical nationalism and unJesuslike Religious Right agendas. But some of us don''t worry about keeping up appearances. We just want the truth. I agree we must cycle through losing our religion and gaining it back or we''re spiritually dead (comfortably numb). Evans had the courage to do that (a dozen times and counting). Good for her. Now that she''s a mother will she keep doing it, or will she settle into establishment-mode out of necessity? I wonder too, will she indoctrinate her children, or let them expose themselves to religion at their discretion as adults? She left me on the fence on that one.

When I visualize Thomas Jefferson taking a razor-blade to his Bible, assuming that the remainder of what escaped the cutting-room floor constituted God''s truth, I wonder why he didn''t do it the other way around, i.e., constructing rather than deconstructing. Seems far more logical to cut out the cherries you think are truly inspired, paste them on a sheet, then throw away the book carcass. Evans is picking cherries (and a few lemons) to be sure, but she batters and deep-fries them in fanciful writing. Everything deep-fried tastes good. As I read INSPIRED I wondered why not cut straight to the fanciful writings. Her treatment of some objectionable passages left me wanting. You can get a dog to swallow a pill by wrapping it in bread. If all Bible verses are good to swallow, shouldn''t they taste good raw?

The plenary-or-bust crowd invoke the either/or fallacy, declaring one must "believe the whole Bible or throw it in the trash." Evans clearly is not in that binary camp, but I contend the hardliners aren''t either. They just deny they''re cherry-picking too. I mean, slavery is biblical. Ethnic cleansing is biblical. So why do we praise a church (or a White House Administration) that claims it''s biblical? No one stones their disobedient son to death (that''s in the Bible too). Evans never suggests how to resolve sharply conflicting biblical interpretations, nor does she admit to cherry-picking the Bible passages in her book. Rather than return to the Bible (like an idol) and keep sanding away at incongruities (we''ve been doing that since the Reformation), why don''t we admit that divine truth resides somewhere else, however elusive? Evans seems unable to shake her presuppositional roots. She''s living proof why it''s wrong to indoctrinate children.

The Reformation replaced the Magisterium with the Bible. It''s been 500 years. Reason is now replacing the Bible. In this age of hyper-individualism, the priesthood-of-the-believer position should reign supreme, but everyone seeks to force their biblical interpretation on the other. The problem is the Bible itself. Why can''t we face that? The Bible specifies 2.5M killed spanning more than a hundred divine killing events. Millions more have been killed fighting over the Bible...some burned at the stake over nuanced doctrinal quibbling. The Bible says "you will know a tree by its fruit."

Division is a mainstay of the human condition because we''re in competition for power. All that changes is the ideological (and conventional) weapons used to fight. The Bible has been weaponized from the start. Today is no different. Evans reminds us that both sides in the Civil War pounded the Bible. The Bible did not save us from the Thirty Years'' War either. Things also got dicey in Dayton, TN during 1925. The Bible was at the center of all these disputes. Judging from the Fox/CNN dichotomy we''re all about to kill each other again. Why should we make America love the Bible again if it inspires us to fight? Rather than loving a divisive book, shouldn''t we be loving each other instead? The love of so-called holy books easily morphs into idolatry. It''s telling that Muslims refer to Christians and Jews as People Of The Book. When will we toss the book and evolve into People Of The Love?

As other reviewers have reported, Evans organizes her book into categories of stories: Origin, Deliverance, War, Wisdom, Resistance, Gospel, Fish, and Church. She is indeed a very talented writer. Proof: I read her book straight through in two days. Now it''s full of yellow-pen markings. I often found myself muttering "she reads like something I wrote." BTW, I live just up the road in Knoxville and blog frequently on these topics. Hers is not one of those preachy Bible-said-it-I-believe-it-That-settles-it books. Hardly. Evans supplies insightful commentary on familiar stories. Early on she deals with Abraham, Hagar, on down the line to Jacob. She discusses Hagar''s mistreatment and Jacob''s wrestling, tying it to our own wilderness experiences where we get one with God because we "submit to the elements and surrender to the wild." Being a Ken Burns National Park junkie myself, I was hooked. She plugged Esther. I''m no fan. At least she qualified her praise.

Evan''s pulls more punches than I would, but her social commentary is spot on. She''s as fed up with the Christian Right as I am. She writes "God is like Jesus," not the other way around. I''m not sure however that she''s embraced replacement theology because she dwells heavily in the OT, owing to her evangelical background I presume. Nor would I label her a Red Letter Christian. But she writes boldly. "The truth is, you can bend Scripture to say just about anything you want to say." Refreshing. She slams slavery, manifest destiny, misogyny, genocide, dispensationalism, clichés, quid pro quo-ism, ideological biblical worldview, laissez-faire capitalism, hierarchy, patriarchy, hubris, racism, end-of-times-ism, colonialism, social injustice, religious nationalism, antinomianism, reductionism... pretty much all the same stuff on my list (my terminologies, not hers).

The most compelling chapter is War Stories. This excerpt illustrates the dilemma of Evans'' bipolar biblianity.

"The truth is, I''ve yet to find an explanation for the Bible''s war stories that I find completely satisfying. If we view this through Occam''s razor and choose the simplest solution to the problem, we might conclude that the ancient Israelites invented a deity to justify their conquests and keep their people in line. As such, then, the Bible isn''t a holy book with human fingerprints, it'' an entirely human construction, responsible for more vice than virtue."

When I read this I shouted "Bingo!" Of course the war stories are conspicuously ungodly.

She immediately continues "There are days when that''s what I believe, days when I mumble through the hymns and creeds at church because I''m not convinced they say anything true. And then there are days when the Bible pulls me back with a numinous force I can only regard as divine..."

When I read this I wondered, is that the Bible pulling her back, or something else? Conformity? Guilt? Fellowship?

She ends the book strongly with Church Stories, which it turns out are like War Stories.

"Even after I''d come to terms with the Bible''s war stories and learned to embrace the Bible''s tensions and contradictions as fitting and good, even after I''d given up on trying to force the Bible to be something it''s not and resolved to keep wrestling with the confounding force that it is, there remained one obstacle in the way of a fresh start with my once beloved Magic Book. To make peace with the Bible, I had to make peace with Paul."

But I''m not convinced whatsoever Evans has made peace with Bible war stories or with apostle Paul. BTW, kudos to her for not making peace. I sincerely hope that Bible war stories and Paul''s uncharitable doctrines continue to haunt her. That''s how she''ll know she''s still real, not sold out. If God created us in his image we''ve been returning the favor ever since. I want her to know that we need only make peace with God, not with a book. No one departs this earth clutching a book. Sola Scriptura is way oversold. The high view of scripture is the low view of God.

In the Epilogue Evans writes "Dan and I are often asked how we plan to introduce the Bible to our son, and I generally avoid answering that question in much detail because, so far, parenting is one big exercise in changing plans." Surely she understands that children are concrete thinkers. The first time a child hears Adam & Eve, Jonah & Whale, Noah & Ark, David & Goliath, Joshua & Jericho, Moses & Pharaoh, Jacob & Esau, Sodom & Gomorrah, and all the rest, they ask "Mom, is the story really true?" "Did God really say, Jacob I loved, Esau I hated?" Children are like truth serum. Of course we don''t know if the stories are true. We can tell children what a church says they are, what Franklin Graham says they are, what we presume they are, or even what we fear they are, but the most consequential impression we make is when we tell children what we hope they are. I hope the war stories are false. God is nowhere in them. Same goes for many of Paul''s doctrines. I take comfort reminding myself that the religion is named Christ-ianity, not Paul-ianity. I cannot imagine Jesus killing or hating anyone.

Evans writes: "I am a Christian," I concluded, "because the story of Jesus is still the story I''m willing to risk being wrong about."

Ms. Evans, me too, me too. I''m betting the farm on eternal life.
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Stacy L. Muth
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love the Bible, Hate America?
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2019
While there are just whispers of Mrs. Evans'' bitterness in the first few chapters of this book, her animus against America is full-blown in the fifth chapter despite her laughable assertion that she is not an "America-hater," because she, "can remember with precision the... See more
While there are just whispers of Mrs. Evans'' bitterness in the first few chapters of this book, her animus against America is full-blown in the fifth chapter despite her laughable assertion that she is not an "America-hater," because she, "can remember with precision the entirety of [her] sixth-grade choreographed routine to Lee Greenwood''s ''Proud to Be an American.''" Worse, she presents opinions as if they were facts, although she''s too conspicuous to fool anyone; on the rare occasion she has a valid point she cites a footnote, which is often followed by several more assertions with no basis in fact, and thus, no footnotes. One of her most insipid "facts" is presented as follows: "The fact is, the shadow under which most of the world trembles today belongs to America, and its beasts could be named any number of things - White Supremacy, Colonialism, the Prison Industrial Complex, the War Machine, Civil Religion, Materialism, Greed." While it would be tempting to debate such ideas, it would be beside the point. Which is my point! What does that sentence, or any of the countless others like it in this book, have to do with loving the Bible? Heretofore, I believed Mrs. Evans too good a scholar and too interesting a writer to take the reader down such a pernicious path, but I''ll not be charmed by her folksy pseudo-enlightened religious fluff again. She cannot be blamed for this travesty entirely, however. Where were her editors when she presented this drivel? Where was the wisdom we''d expect from Thomas Nelson Publishing? Her opinion that her readers should hate themselves indefinitely because its only been 153 years since the US abolished slavery is just that - opinion. Hijacking a book that is supposedly written to inspire a love for the Bible as a vehicle for such poisonous propaganda is contemptible. I won''t purchase another book by Rachel Held Evans. I won''t donate this book and perpetuate this folly. I''m not certain I''d own to having read it. And I''m obliged to more carefully consider works published by Thomas Nelson, as their choice to publish INSPIRED, as written, was anything but.
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It''s a frustrating read.
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2018
If you feel the Bible is the literal word of God then this isn''t the book for you. I misinterpreted the title when I agreed to read this for my small group. She tends to lean to a metaphorical interpretation of the Bible, so for those that have a literal belief of the... See more
If you feel the Bible is the literal word of God then this isn''t the book for you. I misinterpreted the title when I agreed to read this for my small group. She tends to lean to a metaphorical interpretation of the Bible, so for those that have a literal belief of the Scriptures, the more you read the more aggravated you get.
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KC
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A creative, thoughtful, accessible look at the Bible
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2018
I love Rachel Held Evans'' work. Her writing is thoughtful, funny, and accessible. Inspired is all of this, too - and more! Chapters on overarching biblical themes alternate between a variety of styles of creative writing (poetry, screenplay, first-person narrative, etc.)... See more
I love Rachel Held Evans'' work. Her writing is thoughtful, funny, and accessible. Inspired is all of this, too - and more! Chapters on overarching biblical themes alternate between a variety of styles of creative writing (poetry, screenplay, first-person narrative, etc.) and a scholarly look at the topic at hand. As a seminary-trained Lutheran pastor, very little of the content was new to me, but I found myself so engaged by her creative and well-written approach. I am particularly excited to use this book with study groups and maybe even Confirmation classes at the church I serve - folks for whom the many of the points may be surprising and new. If you are eager to have life breathed into your engagement with Scripture, Inspired is for you. If you''ve never read the Bible, Inspired is also for you. Highly recommend!
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M. Walker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
For The Curious
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2018
A new book from Rachel Held Evans? I''m in! I''ve read all her previous work, and I can''t remember quite how I first heard of her writing. Probably through her blog. This book approaches a lot of questions I wrestle with about the Bible (genocide, slavery and... See more
A new book from Rachel Held Evans? I''m in! I''ve read all her previous work, and I can''t remember quite how I first heard of her writing. Probably through her blog.

This book approaches a lot of questions I wrestle with about the Bible (genocide, slavery and submissiveness for women to name a few). There are answers and more questions, but I''m especially drawn to the memoir parts, where Rachel writes about her life and faith journey. "Inspired" is so much more than that with lots of research and sources that could keep a person reading for ages! (Relate-able line in the book: "I know I can’t read my way out of this dilemma, but that won’t keep me from trying.")

"Inspired" is organized around different Bible story types, including familiar stories rewritten from various perspectives that are really engaging. The final chapter addressing Paul and his writings was particularly meaningful to me, but they''re all, well, inspiring.

I would recommend "Inspired" to anyone wondering about the many contradictions in the Christian Bible and how to hold those while maintaining faith in a loving, good Creator. The Bible is a collection of stories that together point to an overarching story, a story that I cannot quit or dismiss. A story around which I try to build my life and in which I''m raising my girls.

I finished the book in tears (maybe because of the dedication to her family and son), and looking back at my blog about reading her previous books it seems that''s a theme: crying my contacts out when I finish an RHE book! (Still waiting for a truly motherhood-focused book, although I''m sure I''d cry the entire way through that one!)
44 people found this helpful
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Liz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absolutely wonderful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2019
I loved this book a lot more than I expected to. I have read odd bits of Rachel''s work over the years but when she died so suddenly I thought I''d like to read her last book. It''s wonderful! So readable and her gift for writing is astonishing. She has brought to life stories...See more
I loved this book a lot more than I expected to. I have read odd bits of Rachel''s work over the years but when she died so suddenly I thought I''d like to read her last book. It''s wonderful! So readable and her gift for writing is astonishing. She has brought to life stories that are old favourites and characters I''ve never even heard of. I love that she doesn''t shy away from the hard stuff, she looks it right in the eye. It is entertaining, educational, thought provoking and a real joy to read. I can''t recommend it enough. You don''t have to come from the same faith background as her to appreciate it. What a loss to the world her early death is.
14 people found this helpful
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Claire Wretham
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best book on the bible that I''ve read in a long time
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2019
I''m British and coming to terms with faith in a way that means that I have a lot of questions. I like how RHE approaches lots of different elements of the bible without focussing too much on her move away from evangelical christianity/ her relationship with church (probably...See more
I''m British and coming to terms with faith in a way that means that I have a lot of questions. I like how RHE approaches lots of different elements of the bible without focussing too much on her move away from evangelical christianity/ her relationship with church (probably because she''s done this in other books). As a result i found this book really accessible and have recommended it to lots of friends as I think it is so broad it would be helpful to people regardless of their faith journey
8 people found this helpful
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M.W.Newport
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If you have questions about faith then read this book ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 12, 2018
If you have questions about faith then read this book. Rachel writes in a clear and understandable way that cuts across the fog of mindless unthinking faith and shines a spotlight on the true beauty of the Word of God and how it should be approached and understood.
11 people found this helpful
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Laura
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absolutely superb.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2021
Most helpful book on the Bible I''ve ever read. Insightful, informed, compassionate, and warmly and generously written. I gained so much insight into genre and context and I thoroughly enjoyed the creative retellings and Rachel''s narrative style. A total gift of a book which...See more
Most helpful book on the Bible I''ve ever read. Insightful, informed, compassionate, and warmly and generously written. I gained so much insight into genre and context and I thoroughly enjoyed the creative retellings and Rachel''s narrative style. A total gift of a book which has given me such a fresh and helpful way of approaching the Bible, which I was starting to really struggle with. I''m so grateful to Rachel for writing this book! She is sorely missed.
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weatherman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderfully imaginative
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2020
An approach to Christianity that does not require fundamentalism or Biblical literalism. She retells Biblical stories in a way that brings you right there.
One person found this helpful
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Inspired Searching for Sunday A Year of Biblical Womanhood Faith Unraveled
Rachel's complete collection: Drawing on the best in recent scholarship and using her well-honed literary expertise, Rachel examines Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay. A memoir about making do and taking risks, about the messiness of community and the power of grace, Searching for Sunday is about overcoming cynicism to find hope and, somewhere in between, Church. Rachel decided to follow the Bible’s instructions for women literally. With just the right mixture of humor, insight, and incredulity, this book asks: What does God truly expect of women, and is there really a method for biblical womanhood? Using her own spiritual journey from certainty to doubt to faith as an illustration, Rachel challenges you to disentangle your faith from false fundamentals and to trust in a God who is big enough to handle your tough questions.

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