My apology to RHE

Derek Ouellette —  December 5, 2013 — 4 Comments

I wrote an article earlier in the week titled “Rachel, stop whac-a-moling other Christians. Please.” I’ve not been a consistent blogger in recent times and hadn’t expected the article to receive the attention it did. I should have known better, since the title contained the key word “Rachel,” a name which is practically synonymous with “blog-hits-amania.” And I’m sure dropping the imagery of a whac-a-mole helped drive traffic too.

But I didn’t write it for that purpose. I wrote it because I felt that Dave Ramsey’s error’s have been greatly exaggerated. And while small-time blogs like this one have harped on him before, Rachel stands apart as one who can, I think, literally cripple a persons ministry. I think she is the most polarized figure in the Christian blogosphere. And what bums me out the most is that in many ways I should be among her greatest supporters.

She’s helped pull me to her side on the issues of gay rights and women equality. She’s a fan of N.T. Wright who has radically influenced my beliefs. We both like Justin Lee. We both oppose “Calvinism” and we both prefer the politics of Jesus over the politics of either Right-Wing or Left-Wing America (in my case, Canada). My cyber-friends are her-cyber friends. I love Greg Boyd. Greg Boyd loves RHE.

But we stand opposed – from my perspective – in one key area. Christian unity. This place is very-near central for me. I make an exerted effort to see the best in the intent of the Christians I read online – even the folks at the Gospel Coalition. I don’t always succeed. But I try. When I see, for example, that someone seems to use “cause” and “correlate” synonymously, and correlate is the generous meaning in the context, I would not assume the worse and take it as an opportunity to lambast somebody publicly.

I think Christian unity not only stands as central to Jesus, to the theology of the apostle Paul, and also to the life and theology of Jacob Arminius who spent his life subverting the wills of those he was in community with when they wanted him to attack the Anabaptists, while at the same time working side by side in the ministry with those same people, and many of them wanted to see him tried for heresy.

I would like to see Rachel take on that spirit when she writes.

Instead it seems, from my perspective, that she has built her career largely on the practice of whac-a-moling conservative Christians with a blunt-forced hammer. That’s the imagery which came to my mind as I was tidying up the last article. So the underlying issue wasn’t Rachel as a person, but Christian unity in which Dave Ramsey was the latest in a long line of her victims. Apparently that underlying intent had not come out so strong as I had hoped.

But what stands as an unfortunate result of my desire to strike against that, I essentially – as someone well put it – whac-a-molled Rachel, since that post stood as the latest in a long line of other articles written against her. Most of the articles have not been gracious. Most of them have been pretty blunt, actually. Most of them have not sought to see the best in her intent at all.

For that I’m sorry.

Rachel, I don’t know that you’ve ever visited my little corner of the blogosphere and have no reason to believe that you have. But in case you have. I’m sorry for whac-a-molling you. Sincerely.

Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • http://www.tillhecomes.org/ Jeremy Myers

    I don’t think you need to apologize. RHE has a strategy for blogging that includes calling out leading Christians leaders on her blog, and hopefully getting them to respond to her on their own blog, thus increasing her blog traffic. She started this approach years ago with Mark Driscoll, and if I remember correctly, got him to respond, which only increased her blog traffic.

    I am not condemning her for this tactic… it works, and it raises awareness and gives voice to concerns that some Christians have with other Christians.

    Ironically, Rachel Held Evans is a female Mark Driscoll…. a bit of a bully toward those with whom she disagrees. I think that might be what you are writing about… it is not so much that RHE disagrees with others, but HOW she disagrees with them. That is the concern….

    • http://covenantoflove.net/ Derek Ouellette

      Jeremy, that is pretty much my point. I’m not opposed to the dialogue. I’m more concerned with how we dialogue. For my own part, I’m not apologizing for addressing what I think was a problem with her post. I just feel like I crossed a line in my own standard with regard to my own approach.
      Fancy how you draw the comparative between Driscoll and Evans. You’re right. One of the things that irks me about her general approach is that she comes off as a bully.
      Thanks for the comment.

  • Dave Taylor

    I don’t think an apology was needed. You were simply criticizing a poorly researched and written article, and what you provided was helpful. As for the pushback she has received, that’s her problem. With the measure you use it will be measured to you. That will either mature her as a person and writer or it will exacerbate her worst tendencies.

    • http://covenantoflove.net/ Derek Ouellette

      I know that kind of pushback usually matures me as a writer! Though my first tendency is to react. Lord have mercy! Thanks for commenting.