INSPIRED BY RHE, CHAPTER 5 (INCLUDING THE BEAST)

Part of a series for our CWOTI study group, this session we are reading “Inspired” by Rachel Held Evans.


Resistance stories.

As I write this, the US senate is holding hearing regarding Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

And boy oh boy is it one big freaking sh*t show.

Setting aside, for a moment, the claims of those who say Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them in the past (a claim that, in my opinion, should not be ignored) his record as a judge (who never presided over a court case) makes many of us nervous that he’s more a puppet for the far right than a legitimately good choice for the bench. 

For many of us, he’s just another head of the beast that we need to resist.

Israel was no stranger to fighting its own beasts. Egypt, Assyrians, Babylon, Rome. Their tales of resistance make up much of the Old Testament. From fleeing slavery to refusing to kneel before the effigy of the Babylonian king, Israel resisted. And the leaders of their resistance? 

Prophets. 

Rather than the fortune tellers that movies and kids’ stories give us, prophets were really, above all, truth-tellers. They spoke the truth even it (and especially if) it meant spitting in the face of earthly leaders.

What we need now are prophets.

Or so seems RHE’s message in the first part of this chapter. And I can’t agree more. 

Part 2 of this chapter is a retelling of the story of Ester, focusing on the fragile masculinity of it’s male leads. A reminder that the powers that be are often nothing more than  “a frightened little kitten, insecure about its hair.”

Part 3 gives us an intro as the book moves into its discussions of the New Testament.

What are we to make then, of chapter 5.

I’ve mentioned before that RHE’s writing in this book seems to be all over the place. It seems she’s often moving from applying the Bible to our lives to trying to shoe-horn our lives into the Biblical narrative. 

And she does’t seem to so much end chapters on a conclusion so much as just kind of let them trail off. I think she misses a lot of opportunities to give us some closure in favor or rushing to the next chapter.

Like this one. There is much more she could have given us about resistance and resisting. Especially in light of our current event. Some sense of hope or action to take, but instead we get “well, they were resistors too” – which to me isn’t much hope given the history of the Jewish people into the 20th century as the ones being crushed even if they were resisting.

I, for one, would much rather like some hope from her writings.

Maybe chapter 6 has more of what I’m hoping for.

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