Rachel Held Evans Death: The tragic loss of a leading progressive Christian voice

A few days ago, I shared a Facebook post from Rachel Held Evans’ literary agent, Rachelle Gardner, where she gave an update on Rachel’s recent and sudden health issues, as well as ways we might help and support her family.

This morning I was shocked to hear of her death. I was at the other end of our house when my wife heard me yell out, “Oh my God!”

I couldn’t believe it. Even though Rachel was in a medically induced coma I didn’t think for one moment she would die.

Many Christians aspire to follow Jesus and to live their lives in ways that reflect what Jesus taught.  Few can do it. She did it. She pushed against the status quo. She pushed back against the Christian establishment. She was an avid critic of Christians who support Donald Trump. She was an advocate for the marginalized, and especially for the marginalized by Christians. Her advocacy for same-sex marriage, LGBT affirmation and inclusion in the Church, and her urging that Christian model love instead of hate always made me love and respect her.

In December of last year, I wrote a blog post about my five favourite people to follow on Twitter. She was one of them. I wrote,

As a Christian I’m deeply offended at how the evangelical right in the U.S. has supported Trump. I liked Rachel Held Evans well before she took such a strong anti-Trump position. I started following her back in 2012 because of her books and blogs. But her criticism of her fellow Christians who continue to support Trump is what cemented her as one of my favourites.”

My son gave me her latest book, Inspired, for my birthday this past March. I’ve been too busy to start reading it. I’ve read all her books. I can’t wait to start reading it.

She has always been so vulnerable and honest in her own doubts and struggles with her faith. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve been so drawn to her writing. If you haven’t read any of her work, do so. Buy one of her books or read her blog at rachelheldevans.com

She is a true inspiration. In my Facebook post a few days ago I said she was one of the most important and influential Christian writers today. I believe this to be so true. She’s a must read for anyone who wrestles with faith, who has doubts. As you read her work you realize she’s a soul you want to journey with. I encourage you to do so through her work.

Let me close with a quote from her husband, Dan, this morning, on the day of her death.

“Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all and her work will long survive her.”

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