Instead of starting a new thread on the topic, I’ll post our latest article here:
Great tribute – thanks so much for writing this.
Keeping faith does not mean pretending we have it all figured out. Commitment to Jesus Christ and his kingdom does not mean never doubting.
I love that RHE embodied that – being a Christian without pretending, but as you also say, not “deconstructing” right out of the faith or enjoying tearing something down.
Well done. Thanks. I have been searching for words since Saturday, but the only appropriate thing that comes to mind is her benediction for the Mission when it closed on Easter Sunday. As she said in Searching for Sunday, “Maybe you can’t build a church on nights and weekends. But at least you can be one."
The final prayer when the Mission closed, adapted from Alcuin of York. May it be true of all of us when our own missions come to an end …
“God, go with us. Help us to be an honor to the church.
Give us the grace to follow Christ’s word,
to be clear in our task and careful in our speech.
Give us open hands and joyful hearts.
Let Christ be on our lips.
May our lives reflect a love of truth and compassion.
Let no one come to us and go away sad.
May we offer hope to the poor,
and solace to the disheartened.
Let us so walk before God’s people,
that those who follow us might come into his kingdom.
Let us sow living seeds, words that are quick with life,
that faith may be the harvest in people’s hearts.
In word and in example let your light shine
in the dark like the morning star.
Do not allow the wealth of the world or its enchantment
flatter us into silence as to your truth.
Do not permit the powerful, or judges,
or our dearest friends
to keep us from professing what is right.
4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Is lament appropriate for Christians today?
Good article about her passing and the reaction, from The Atlantic.
Found myself reading it through tears, oddly enough.
It would help had I included the link:
“Death is a thing empires worry about, not a thing resurrection people worry about,” she told me in 2015. “As long as there’s somebody baptizing sinners, breaking the bread, drinking the wine; as long as there’s people confessing their sins, healing, walking with one another through suffering, then the Church is alive, and it’s well.”
I love that – such a reminder to be careful what kinds of things we think are most important to hold on to.
Jim, until today I confess that I was ignorant of the contributions of RHE. I will rectify that as soon as possible–thanks to the outpouring of grief expressed on this Forum, including yours. Not surprisingly, there were so many questioning: “Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people?”
Oftentimes, my mind comes up with rather quirky rationales, and I wonder what you would think of my “explanation” of the tragedy of RHE’s untimely death. It uses a comparison with Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane. Up to that point Jesus had been an effective human teacher, and, since he was truly human, it would have been a natural desire for him to continue in life until his natural death. But his Godly nature allowed him to appreciate that only through his Passion would his Message be optimally transmitted to future generations. So he said:"….nevertheless, Thy Will be done".
From what I learned on this Forum, it seems that RHE was unusually effective in bringing evangelical Christians into harmony with those of a more ‘progressive’ outlook. Is it possible that God sees that, in this Information Age, her untimely death would encourage sites like #prayfor RHE to be much more effective in spreading her message than what she could accomplish in life?
I would not dare to offer this as something Job-like to assuage the grief that Rachel’s husband and kids feel at these trying times, but it might be helpful to those of us who wonder why our prayers go (seemingly) unanswered sometimes.
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I won’t have time to listen to all of this tonight, but thought I’d share since Pete Enns was just on the BioLogos podcast – it was nice to see that Rachel Held Evans had a final appearance on his podcast before her illness:
Just listened to this wonderful interview. Dang, now I know what has been lost too. We need more people in the world like her.
I think I want to read something by her that talks more about how her background in literature informs her reading of the bible.
I would find that interesting as well – I haven’t yet read her latest book, “Inspired,” but I bet that would be the one of all her books most likely to display that understanding even if it doesn’t directly address it.
Also, FYI to whoever might be interested, it looks like her family will be graciously providing a live stream of her funeral on Saturday: https://rachelheldevans.com/funeral
I just listened to “Inspired” on Audible. I found it very insightful and did reflect her literature degree. To find more background on her reassessment of Christianity, “Faith Unraveled” is terrific, too; my wife and I read it together.
Thank you Laura. I think I’d better put a hold on it at my library.
In my foray into “The Liturgists” podcasts, I’ve run across this one from September 2018 where they interviewed Rachel Held Evans. The interview part doesn’t start till after 8 to 10 minutes in or so - they do promote other things along the way. But overall … what a treat! I continue to feel her loss.
Her funeral was streamed. Episcopal liturgy in a Methodist church with well crafted words and impossible to watch without crying
The New York times has done a podcast on her https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/podcasts/the-daily/rachel-held-evans.html