via Daily Mail:
- Rachel Held Evans has written a book about following the Bible’s rules for menstruating women
- Leviticus Chapters 15 to 18 holds a theory that women on their periods are untouchable
A blogger who spent one year following all of the Bible’s instructions for women, from making her own clothes to ‘submitting’ to her husband, has now written a book about her experience.
Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, chronicles her 12 month attempt to obey the Bible’s commandments for women.
The Bible gives hundreds of rules for women to follow, both explicit and implied, in the Old Testament and the New.
For example, women should dress modestly, submit to their husbands – passages of the Bible insist that husbands are the masters of their wives – and remove themselves from their communities while menstruating.
Leviticus Chapters 15 to 18 has a passage detailing rules for women to live by – with particularly stringent rules coming into play while the woman is menstruating, stemming from the theory that women on their periods are untouchable.
During the days she was menstruating over the course of the year, the Tennessee-based writer, 31, a Christian who describes herself as ‘liberated’, stayed home from church, carried around a seat cushion 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 embarking on the 12-month 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.
‘From the Old Testament to the New Testament, from Genesis to Revelation, from the Levitical code to the letters of Paul, there’s no picking and choosing… Well, except for polygamy and a few other things that I’ll tell you about later.’
Among other things her new lifestyle involved rising before dawn each day (Proverbs 31:15), growing out her hair (1 Corinthians 11:15), calling her husband Dan ‘master’ (1 Peter 3:5-6), and camping out in the backyard for the duration of her monthly period (Leviticus 15:19-33).
She also started making her own clothes, (Proverbs 31:22) and learned how to cook (Titus 2:3-5).
Talking about her experience, she told Gypsyink.com: ‘Some of these experiences were funny, others were rewarding, and others were terrible.’
In one YouTube video, Mrs Evans offers advice to other women who are considering camping when they are menstruating.
Sat in her tent, she tells viewers: ‘You’re going to need a flash light, some blankets and a sleeping bag, some reading material and a walkie talkie to call for help if you get attacked by a cat.
‘Take it from me practicing biblical womanhood isn’t as simple as it sounds.’
Mrs Evans’ project-turned-book examines all the Bible’s instructions for women as precisely as possible, taking on powerful theological questions, gender issues, and the possible future of the Church.
Using her book’s platform, she says she aims to challenge evangelical leaders and advocate an increase of women within church leadership.
Mrs Evans also writes a namesake blog that draws thousands of evangelical readers, which she launched in 2008 to promote her first book, a memoir that tiptoed around faith and fundamentalism.
Her yet-to-be-released book has already gained a following, with nearly 100,000 readers visiting her blog monthly.
Her publisher said they expected 40per cent of her book’s total sales would come from Christian bookstores.
However, despite the book’s popularity, she has revealed that one of the biggest Christian bookstore chains in the country, LifeWay, has chosen not to carry the book because of its use of the word ‘vagina’.
She told Slate: ‘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.”
When Mrs Evans mentioned on her blog that her editor suggested she remove the word vagina from the book’s manuscript to appease the Christian bookstore, her readers were outraged.
A petition on Amazon called Put the word ‘vagina’ back into Rachel’s book! was started, and one fan made Team Vagina T-shirts.
She added: ‘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.’
But with such a large show of public support, Mrs Evans decided to leave the word vagina in her book and face the consequences.