Rachel Held Evans passed away earlier this year, and the world is a lonelier place without her writing. This is her most recently published book, and reading it after her death just added a layer of sadness that I didn’t expect.
Growing up in a conservative Christian environment, she was always the “good church girl”… but things started falling apart in her faith when she began asking questions. How can we say that God is loving when the Bible says that He ordered the massacre of entire groups of people? How can we say love everyone when the church has often condemned those in the LGBTQ community? Or endorsed slavery? Or so many other things that just don’t sit right when you measure them agains love? As she started asking questions, she was met with brushed off answers, and the suggestion that there was something wrong with her for asking… especially since since she was a girl.
She ended up walking away from that church and those who refused to engage in these tough conversations. Instead she broadened her circles, learning from people who had thriving faith IN those often marginalized communities. She talks about the wrestling she did with hard questions, with long-held, but maybe incorrect beliefs.
For someone who grew up in conservative Christianity and can relate very much to Rachel’s story, this book is so refreshing and freeing. To have that permission to struggle through tough questions, and to be ok with not being ok… I loved it.
Outside of writing, Rachel used her voice and expanding circles to be an advocate for change, especially in the church. To open the doors to those who had often been excluded by tradition. Search the #becauseofRHE tag on social media for the countless stories of impact that her death brought forward. She will be missed.