One lady who has spent the last year living by the strict code of the bible has written a book (A Year of Biblical Womanhood) about her exploits. Rachel Held Evans spent one year following passages of the Bible, which included making her own clothes, ‘submitting’ to her husband and living outdoors in a tent whilst she was menstruating. Rachel Held Evans, who chronicled her 12 month attempt to obey the Bible’s commandments for women says that in the Old and New Testament, the Bible provides hundreds of rules for women to follow, and in certain passages states that men are the masters of their wives. 31 year old Rachel Held Evans particularly followed the teachings in Leviticus Chapters 15 to 18, which state that when a woman is menstruating she is untouchable, and as such should remove herself from the community. Held Evans says: “The bible’s instructions for women means camping out in the backyard for the duration of my monthly period.”
The writer, who is based in Tennessee, describes herself as a Christian who is ‘liberated’, took a cushion with her to avoid sitting on chairs outside her home, abstained from sex and touching her husband, grew her hair out and slept in a tent. Before she committed to the year long experiment, Mrs Evans wrote on her blog: “Starting this month, I will commit one year of my life to following all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible.” She also learnt how to sew so that she could make her own clothes, dressed modestly and honed her cookery skills. She got used to getting up before dawn and her husband, grew her hair long and submitted to her husband whenever he chose. “My 12-month experience will also involve submitting to my husband, growing out my hair and making my own clothes.”
Mrs Evans said that she wanted to challenge evangelical leaders and advocate an increase of women within church leadership. As she tried to obey the Bible’s teaching regarding women, Mrs Evans had to praise her husband unconditionally, and this involved her making a poster that said ‘Dan is Awesome!’ Mrs Evans also writes a blog to compliment her year living by the Bible’s rules, and she has gained a huge following of over 100,000. The A Year of Biblical Womanhood is yet to be released but publishers say that they expected at least 40% of sales to come from Christian book sellers. However, Mrs Evans has come up with a problem in that one bookstore, LifeWay, the biggest Christian book seller in the US, has objected to her use of the word vagina and so far has refused to stock the A Year of Biblical Womanhood.
Mrs Evans says: “I don’t know if they were more offended by my vagina or my brain. The only thing I know is that my editor said, “If you leave this word in, there’s a good chance LifeWay won’t carry it.” Her fans were in uproar however, when she mentioned on her blog that she might remove the word. In fact, they were so incensed that a petition was started on Amazon called ‘Put the word ‘vagina’ back into Rachel’s book!’ with one fan making Team Vagina T-shirts. Mrs Evans said: “Writers adjust our content to fit this very sanitized, very strict conservative mold, which means we’re not producing the best writing or the best books we can produce. Everyone bends over backward to meet these demands.”
You’ll be pleased to know that the word is staying in the book with Mrs Evans deciding to face up to any of the consequences. For more information regarding Rachel Held Evans, please visit her website.
All photographs courtesy of Rachel Held Evans