Rachel Held Evans is an eminent Evangelical blogger. She is a skilled writer, a courageous thinker, a charitable arguer, and, most importantly, a Christian. Although we disagree on certain points of exegesis and praxis, she is an individual whose talents and abilities should be recognized and appreciated.
Of course we know that, often enough, glowing acknowledgements are connected to some type of “but.”
In this instance, my “but” comes in the form of a request; namely, that Held Evans would be willing to call out and rebuke her readers and followers for the comments they make and the attitudes they demonstrate with as much tenacity as she does to those she disagrees with (and, eventually writes about).
To be sure, this is an issue on either side of any exegetical, theological, or cultural argument. However, what is bothersome is that those who align themselves with conservative exegesis and theology (e.g., Calvinists, complementarians, etc.) are often heavily critiqued for their so-called arrogant and aloof attitudes, whereas those providing the critique (the self-proclaimed “champions of equality”) are often given a free-pass despite demonstrating attitudes that are analogous to those they are critiquing.
In part, this request comes from the recent foofaraw surrounding Jared C. Wilson’s post about the modern celebration of perverted sexual authority/submission due to the recent success of 50 Shades of Grey. Held Evans responded, but it was not her response that left me frustrated, rather it was those commenting.
Although there were several worthwhile exchanges and comments, and, again, recognizing that vitriol can come from either side of an argument, those commenting on her posts (not just this one in particular) often resort to ad hominem and hasty generalization, which are fallacies no thinker wants to be guilty of.
So, again, here is my request (and this time it is not just to Held Evans):
Please check yourself and your readers. If you comment, ask yourself whether Jesus would submit that ad hominem attack. If you blog, do not be afraid to call out and rebuke your readers when necessary. Your readers visit (and read) your blog because they think you have something worthwhile to say (even if they might not always agree with you); but your allegiance is not ultimately to your readers, it is to Jesus.
P.S. For those scratching their heads, wondering what is going on, be sure to click the above links as well as those following to catch up on the responses and commentary surrounding said foofaraw: Doug Wilson responds, Doug Wilson's daughter, Bekah, defends her dad, J. R. Daniel Kirk responds, Morgan Guyton has one question, Michael Bird has sex with his wife not to her, and Scot McKnight wants it taken down.