Rachel Held Evans was a popular Christian author and speaker. Recently she died of a sudden illness at age 37. She left behind her husband, Dan, and two young children. Her writing has helped more than a few people at COGS, and so it's only fitting to reflect on her in this week's midweek message.
There's much to say about her, and a quick google search will produce some very insightful and moving tributes to her and her work (seriously, go down that worthwhile rabbit hole). She challenged both conservative evangelicals and liberal mainliners. She was an earnest seeker of truth. She had a prophetic voice, one that called out cultural norms that are confused for the teachings of Scripture. In a context where only men with PhDs talked theology and women were expected to talk motherhood and little else, she knocked down those walls, walked into the theological conversation and said, "wait, what about...?" with learning, charity, insight, and grace.
Rachel had many criticisms and critics, but she was always "for" something. She was for loving those who disagreed with her. She was for wisdom, wit, and excellent writing. She was for the Bible, taking it seriously enough not to read it simplistically. Rachel's respect for Scripture is evident in how much she wrestled with its difficulties and its demands on all of us. She was for Jesus, so much so that it got her in trouble with the religious authorities of her day. But in that way, she was not merely for Jesus, she was admirably like him, too.
"Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary." -Rachel Held Evans, "Searching for Sunday"