When I learned of Rachel Held Evans’ untimely passing this afternoon, my heart broke. It broke for her husband. It broke for her toddler and baby. And it broke for the world.
Our world is hurting, and an increasing number of Christians are awaking to the fact that their most sacred compilation of documents (a.k.a. the Bible) has been misappropriated for centuries to justify antisemitism, slavery, genocide, abuse, and more.
Unwilling to abandon the faith, many search for answers from those who have gone before them. Those who have not only deconstructed their faith, but also re-constructed it on a more firm foundation than bibliolatry.
Rachel Held Evans was a woman on a mission. She decided to share her faith journey publicly via her blog, then books, then speaking engagements. Her wish for any discussion that would ensue was simple:
“May it be lively. May it be civil. And may it honor the One who prayed that our unity would reflect the sweet harmony of the Trinity…because the world indeed is watching.”Rachel Held Evans
As Rachel re-evaluated her conservative religious beliefs in light of modern biblical scholarship, she was transparent with her doubts and courageous in finding ways to follow Jesus wholeheartedly amidst criticism from all sides.Rachel's voice still matters, and the impact of her words will inform faith discussions for generations. Click To Tweet
Rachel Held Evans was a gifted writer whose faith journey mirrored my own, though she was more brave than I. She skillfully, articulately, and publicly detailed her struggles with the fundamentalist approach to Scripture on her blog, in her books, and everywhere she was invited to speak.
Being a woman Bible scholar in such a divisive world, she endured incredible cyber-bullying from hyper-evangelicals who—even while she was laying in the hospital in a medically induced coma—arrogantly tweeted their condemnation of her views and “prayers” for her salvation. Unreal.
If you’re struggling to hold on to your faith or curious about why people rely on ancient writings to inform their 21st century decisions, I’d like to recommend that you read Rachel’s most recent NYT Best Seller, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again. It’s well-written, easy to understand, and filled with insights that will inform your understanding of the Bible.
You might disagree with her perspective; however, I challenge you to read it anyway. If you only read books written by authors who affirm what you already believe, you could be missing out on important conversations which can deepen and inform your faith. I highly recommend it.
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The above Rachel Held Evans quote was excerpted from Heaven, Hell, and Rob Bell on her blog.