Friday, May 31, 2019

Five Minute Friday: NAME (for Rachel Held Evans)

I haven't written anything on this blog since April 19, Good Friday. Life has gotten in the way: my mother-in-law broke her ankle a few weeks ago, had surgery and was in hospital for over a week, and is now in a convalescent unit getting back on her feet, literally and figuratively. Sometimes creative pursuits have to take a back seat when these sorts of things happen.

As I looked at the Blog Archive section of my blog, I realized that it's been years since I had a month with no posts -- and May ends today! So I'm barely getting in under the wire with today's short post, but it's one I'm glad to write. I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community to write about the word NAME -- and about Rachel Held Evans.

If the name Rachel Held Evans isn't familiar to you, she's a writer who explored issues of faith and doubt in her four bestselling books, all of which I've read and reviewed here on this blog: Faith Unraveled (a.k.a. Evolving in Monkey Town), A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Searching for Sunday, and Inspired.

I never met Rachel or even attended a talk she gave. But her books were a window into an intelligent, passionate, questing soul. The Christian faith of her upbringing disappointed her in many ways, but this disappointment challenged her to go deeper: to learn what it really meant to be a woman of faith, a doubter, a lover of Scripture, and a member of the body of Christ. She had many detractors who believed that her support for LGBTQ people and her refusal to accept easy answers about Scripture made her a bad influence. But she inspired many people to keep following Jesus, to keep asking questions and grappling with doubts, to come to Jesus' table in confidence that there was room for everyone.

Rachel died a month ago after being hospitalized for treatment of an infection; a reaction to medication had caused brain seizures and required an induced coma. She was 38 years old and left behind a husband and two small children. Tomorrow her funeral will be streamed live on her website.

Rachel Held Evans' death is a tremendous loss, but her name and voice live on in her writings and in the countless people who were encouraged by her words and her life. She was, to use the Hebrew phrase she championed, a woman of valor: eshet chayil.

Rachel Held Evans, 1981-2019