Dear Rachel Held Evans

Dear Rachel,

I first heard your name in May last year when women I had grown up with or knew through my church networks mourned your death on their social media pages, but it wasn’t until a friend suggested I read one of your books that I really understood what the world had lost. Since reading that first book in December, I quickly purchased the rest on my kindle and have started making my way through the rest of your work. Last week I finished reading ‘A Year of Biblical Womanhood’ and once again I found myself wanting to tell you how important these books have been to me and wishing I had known more about you while there was still time to express my gratitude to you directly. I also now know why these other women in my life felt such a deep loss when you passed… I feel it too.

When I read and listen to your books it is almost as if you have taken the contents of my brain and turned it to a more eloquent version of my thoughts and supported it with research. There have been many deep sighs of recognition and moments of deep peace because despite how I might feel, or have been made to feel… I am not alone… that my questions will not lead to damnation and that it is ok to want more and less all at the same time.

Thank you for reminding me that God is sufficient and that wrestling with ideas, stories and concepts is part of being human and that to shut this part of my life off when it comes to spiritual things would be dangerous. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of scripture and sacraments and the church universal. Thank you for warning me that my journey to satisfaction in the church as it is will be a long road… that perhaps will bring pain or require me to make choices that will not be easy. Thank you for teaching me of the beauty of an authentic relational church and what this can and perhaps should look like… Thank you for telling me that despite my questions, and my doubts, and perhaps even my unpopular opinions, that my relationship with Jesus is most important and regardless of what at times this looks like in the church, I can continue to love people in my life and my community like Jesus would, even when it looks different.

Thank you for being bold, and honest and unashamed.

To say I am sad that there will be no more wisdom from Rachel Held Evans earthside, would be an understatement. You have re-defined the way I see myself, reaffirmed who I know Jesus to be, and given me permission to continue asking questions, even the ones people don’t want me to. You have reignited my curiosity in the Word and for that, I can’t thank you enough. I believe what I, my little world and perhaps even, dare I say it the world at large need now, more than ever is Jesus, but not Jesus packaged by the church, the Jesus who worked one meal at a time, one small act of kindness at a time, one bold idea at a time.

Your fellow doubter, but forever faithful friend,

Emma

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