On Monday, June 3 the New York Times Daily podcast featured a look at the life of Rachel Held Evans. Rachel was a best-selling author whose unique writing challenged conservative evangelical beliefs and helped chart new directions for people of faith. She died at age 37. Religion reporter for the New York Times, Elizabeth Dias, says this about Rachel Held Evans, “She almost single-handedly brought together an entirely new kind of community that is defining Christianity for the next generation.”
Rachel's story is powerful! We at the River identify so strongly with her work and her transition away from biblical literalism toward an inclusive welcome of L.G.B.T.Q. people in the company of Jesus.
The River Pastor John Furste says:
"I so loved her open-hearted and open-minded approach to faith.
She had a way of removing pretense and just being down-to-earth honest about things. And she was truly courageous. It really takes some guts to ask big questions like she did and to endure the negative reaction from other Christians who often go on the attack.
I think what I appreciated most was her ability to break down barriers. In her writing and her speaking she tore down walls that keep people from engaging with each other and, I think, with God. She helped people to connect.
I find her example really inspiring for what we're endeavoring to do at the River NYC. Here in our faith community, we're trying to live out the values she so articulated so compellingly.
I love that quote where Rachel said, 'allowing yourself to have doubts about Christianity or about your present version of Christianity puts your sense of safety, security, certainty at risk. And yet. It is absolutely 100 percent worth it.'
We couldn't agree more!"
We mourn her loss and affirm her vision of a more expansive view of Christian faith. If you haven’t yet tuned into the work and writing of Rachel Held Evans, here are a couple of great resources:
Bible Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
Want to dig deeper? We recommend "The Bible for Normal People" podcast.