Close
Date TimeMay 04, 2019
VoiceRachel Held Evans, a best-selling author who challenged conservative Christianity and gave voice to a generation of wandering evangelicals wrestling with their faith, died on Saturday at a hospital in Nashville. She was 37.
Rachel Held Evans, Voice of the Wandering Evangelical, Dies at 37
Her husband, Daniel Evans, said in a statement on her website that the cause was extensive brain swelling. During treatment for an infection last month, Ms. Evans began experiencing brain seizures and had been placed in a medically induced coma.
“I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake,” Mr. Evans said in a statement. “Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all and her work will long survive her.”
An Episcopalian, Ms. Evans left the evangelical church in 2014, she said, because she was done trying to end the church’s culture wars and wanted to focus instead on building a new community among the church’s “refugees”: women who wanted to become ministers, gay Christians and “those who refuse to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith.”
Ms. Evans’s spiritual journey and unique writing voice fostered a community of believers who yearned to seek God and challenge conservative Christian groups that they felt were often exclusionary.
Her congregation was online, and her Twitter feed became her church, a gathering place for thousands to question, find safety in their doubts and learn to believe in new ways.
Her work became the hub for a diaspora. She brought together once-disparate progressive, post-evangelical groups, and hosted conferences to try to include nonwhite and sexual minorities, many of whom felt ostracized by the churches of their youth.
She wrote four popular books, which wrestled with evangelicalism, the patriarchy of her conservative Christian upbringing, and documented her transition to a mainline Christian identity, which moved away from Biblical literalism and to affirmation of L.G.B.T. people.
Her upcoming conference, called Evolving Faith, to be held in Denver in October, describes itself as “a gathering for wanderers, wonderers and spiritual refugees to help you discover ... You are not alone.”
Her close friends Sarah Bessey and Jeffrey Chu, with whom she organized the event, recalled how she created space, and hope, for evangelicals questioning the institutions of their faith.
“She didn’t care at all about fame, except for how it enabled her to proclaim a more just and expansive vision of God’s love, to encourage others, and to amplify voices that are typically marginalized in the Church and in the world,” Mr. Chu wrote in an email.
“One thing about her that I have heard over and over in these days is how relentlessly she championed the voices and experiences of others, especially those whose voices were ignored or marginalized in the Church,” Ms. Bessey said in an email.
Ms. Evans fearlessly challenged traditional authority structures, which were often conservative and male. She would spar with evangelical men on Twitter, brazenly and publicly challenging their views of everything from human sexuality to politics to Biblical inerrancy.
One of those men, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that he was her theological opposite in almost every way, but that she always treated him with kindness and with humor.
“I was on the other side of her Twitter indignation many times, but I respected her because she was never a phony,” Mr. Moore said. “Even in her dissent, she made all of us think, and helped those of us who are theological conservatives to be better because of the way she would challenge us.”
Her voice was accessible, raw and piercing, and it interrupted what was more commonly heard in evangelical circles. And it drew thousands who found in her a respite, and a friend.
“I will sow the seed I have received. Thank you @rachelheldevans,” wrote Alexandria Beightol, a young evangelical, on Twitter. “I’m still a Christian thanks to you. Your legacy includes the thousands of young girls who know God doesn’t hate them.”
Rachel Grace Held was born on June 8, 1981, in Alabama to Peter and Robin Held.
When she was 14, the family moved from Birmingham to Dayton, Tenn., in the Bible Belt, where her father took an administrative job at Bryan College.
In 2003, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Bryan College, which was founded in honor of William Jennings Bryan “to teach truth from a Biblical perspective.” The college was chartered following the 1925 Scopes Trial in Dayton, during which Bryan defended a state law barring the teaching of evolution.
The same year she graduated, she married her college boyfriend, Mr. Evans. She is also survived by their two children, a 3-year-old boy and a girl who turns 1 in a couple of weeks.
After moving to Chattanooga, where she worked as an intern for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, she returned to Dayton in 2004 and joined The Herald-News. In 2007, she won an award from the Tennessee Press Association for the best personal humor column.
Ms. Evans started a blog and in 2010 published her first book, “Evolving in Monkey Town,” the title a reference to the Scopes case. It was republished in 2014 under the title “Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions.”
The book traced her own evolution from religious certainty, like Bryan’s, to a faith that left room for doubt.
Among her other books was “A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master,” which was on The New York Times e-book nonfiction best-seller list.
Her most recent book was “Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again.”
In 2015, in a column in The Washington Post, which that same year called her “the most polarizing woman in evangelicalism,” she urged: “Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool’.”
“When I left church at age 29, full of doubt and disillusionment,” she wrote in that piece, “I wasn’t looking for a better-produced Christianity. I was looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity.”
In 2016, she described herself as a “pro-life Christian” in an essay for Vox, and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
Her last blog post appeared online on Ash Wednesday, March 6, a day of repentance. It signals the start of Lent, which ends with the celebration of resurrection on Easter Sunday.
“Whether you are part of a church or not, whether you believe today or your doubt, whether you are a Christian or an atheist or an agnostic or a so-called ‘none,’” Ms. Evans wrote, “you know this truth deep in your bones: ‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.’”
“Death is a part of life,” she added. “My prayer for you this season is that you make time to celebrate that reality, and to grieve that reality, and that you will know you are not alone.”

Latest News
The Irishman review – Martin Scorseses finest film for 30 yearsThe Irishman review – Martin Scorsese's finest film for 30 years
Do we need full-fibre broadband? Ask the lucky few who have itDo we need full-fibre broadband? Ask the lucky few who have it
Nuclear missile bunker: yours for less than $400kNuclear missile bunker: yours for less than $400k
French interior minister blames protest violence on thugsFrench interior minister blames protest violence on 'thugs'
China carrier fleet passes near rival TaiwanChina carrier fleet passes near rival Taiwan
Trump Ally Loses Bid to Unseat Louisiana Democratic GovernorTrump Ally Loses Bid to Unseat Louisiana Democratic Governor
Real estate heiress who posted $35M bail acquitted of murderReal estate heiress who posted $35M bail acquitted of murder
Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleaguePalestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague
Rebuffed by US, migrants dwell in lawless Mexican stateRebuffed by US, migrants dwell in lawless Mexican state
Leading Muslim groups to challenge India holy site court rulingLeading Muslim groups to challenge India holy site court ruling
Celebrities
Kim-KardashianKim Kardashian
American media personality
Ellen-DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres
American comedian
Selena-GomezSelena Gomez
American singer
Stephen-ColbertStephen Colbert
American comedian
Miley-CyrusMiley Cyrus
American singer-songwriter
Justin-BieberJustin Bieber
Canadian singer-songwriter
Kylie-JennerKylie Jenner
American television personality
Jennifer-LopezJennifer Lopez
American singer
Ariana-GrandeAriana Grande
American singer
MadonnaMadonna
American singer-songwriter
Khloe-KardashianKhloé Kardashian
American media personality
BeyoncéBeyoncé
American singer-songwriter
Jay_ZJay-Z
American rapper
Lady-GagaLady Gaga
American singer-songwriter
Oprah-WinfreyOprah Winfrey
American executive
Jimmy-KimmelJimmy Kimmel
American television host
Taylor-SwiftTaylor Swift
American singer
Latest News
The Irishman review – Martin Scorseses finest film for 30 yearsThe Irishman review – Martin Scorsese's finest film for 30 years
Do we need full-fibre broadband? Ask the lucky few who have itDo we need full-fibre broadband? Ask the lucky few who have it
Nuclear missile bunker: yours for less than $400kNuclear missile bunker: yours for less than $400k
French interior minister blames protest violence on thugsFrench interior minister blames protest violence on 'thugs'
China carrier fleet passes near rival TaiwanChina carrier fleet passes near rival Taiwan
Trump Ally Loses Bid to Unseat Louisiana Democratic GovernorTrump Ally Loses Bid to Unseat Louisiana Democratic Governor
Real estate heiress who posted $35M bail acquitted of murderReal estate heiress who posted $35M bail acquitted of murder
Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleaguePalestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague
Rebuffed by US, migrants dwell in lawless Mexican stateRebuffed by US, migrants dwell in lawless Mexican state
Leading Muslim groups to challenge India holy site court rulingLeading Muslim groups to challenge India holy site court ruling
Celebrities
Kim-KardashianKim Kardashian
American media personality
Ellen-DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres
American comedian
Selena-GomezSelena Gomez
American singer
Stephen-ColbertStephen Colbert
American comedian
Miley-CyrusMiley Cyrus
American singer-songwriter
Justin-BieberJustin Bieber
Canadian singer-songwriter
Kylie-JennerKylie Jenner
American television personality
Jennifer-LopezJennifer Lopez
American singer
Ariana-GrandeAriana Grande
American singer
MadonnaMadonna
American singer-songwriter
Khloe-KardashianKhloé Kardashian
American media personality
BeyoncéBeyoncé
American singer-songwriter
Jay_ZJay-Z
American rapper
Lady-GagaLady Gaga
American singer-songwriter
Oprah-WinfreyOprah Winfrey
American executive
Jimmy-KimmelJimmy Kimmel
American television host
Taylor-SwiftTaylor Swift
American singer
'SNL': Adam Sandler sings about being fired with Chris Rock, pays tribute to Chris Farley
Canelo Álvarez outpoints Daniel Jacobs to unify middleweight title belts
Nigel Farage Pranked By Teen As He Films Message For His Mother
It's Star Wars Day and SpaceX Just Launched Its Own 'Falcon' Into Space
Is Meghan Markle the New 'People's Princess?'
Tesla Model 3 police car makes an appearance at law enforcement tech conference
Explosion at Illinois silicone plant leaves 4 injured and 3 unaccounted
'Sonic the Hedgehog' director promises redesign after backlash, but changes could be costly
Dead to Me review – come back Desperate Housewives, all is forgiven!
Trump stresses importance of Russia’s steps to denuclearize North Korea - White House
North Carolina lawyer Cheslie Kryst named Miss USA 2019
Texas Officer Charged With Homicide For Shooting Black Man During Traffic Stop
Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride review, a scrapbook of brilliant ideas
Shawn Mendes Drops New Single ‘If I Can’t Have You’ With Video (Watch)
Local Elections 2019: Tories And Labour Punished Over Brexit As Lib Dems Win Big
Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew dies aged 74
SpaceX's mission to the International Space Station delayed by electrical problems
Biden says Barr 'should' resign: 'He's lost the confidence of the American people'
Channing Tatum Posts Naked Shower Pic After Losing Jenga Game To Girlfriend Jessie J
Alex Trebek on his cancer: ‘My oncologist says I’m doing well even though I don’t always feel it’
Former Child Star Ricky Schroder Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Abuse
Jenelle Evans’ Husband Just Broke His Silence on Shooting and Killing Their French Bulldog, Nugget
Maluma: Madonna is 'a huge master'
Attorney General William Barr Acts as Donald Trump’s Human Shield on Capitol Hill
Shaun Edwards will leave post as Wales’ defence coach after World Cup
Bombardier to sell Belfast operations
Game Of Thrones' Sophie Turner Marries Joe Jonas In Las Vegas After Billboard Music Awards
Watch Jennifer Lopez' twins Emme and Max put her in the hot seat during cute video
Maisie Williams responds to THAT huge 'Game of Thrones' moment with the perfect Instagram video
Larry King is recovering in the hospital after undergoing a heart procedure
Trump sues Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block release of financial records
Glasgow airport: Flights resume after security alert on inbound plane
Football rumours: Rio Ferdinand to be Manchester United sporting director?
Let’s seize the moment and create a Green New Deal for the UK
This Elon Musk Comment Should Terrify Tesla Investors
Police: 8 shot, 1 fatally, in latest Baltimore shooting
Model Tales Soares Dies After Collapsing On Catwalk At Sao Paulo Fashion Week
Glastonbury resale: What time are tickets on sale and how do I get them?
Elliott wins NASCAR race at Talladega
Tony Slattery: ‘I had a very happy time until I went slightly barmy’
'Game of Thrones' Gaze Turns South in Episode 4 Trailer
The universe is younger and expanding faster than we thought, a new study found and we may need new physics as a result
SpaceX and NASA close ranks after the mystery crew capsule incident as details remain scant
San Diego police identify synagogue shooting suspect – video
Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup
Mo Farah Finishes Fifth In London Marathon After Controversial Week
NASA's InSight Mission Detects Its First Marsquake
Putin: Maria Butina's sentence is 'lawlessness'
Donald Trump to withdraw US from Arms Trade Treaty
'Avengers: Endgame' Star Chris Evans for Men's Journal Magazine
Fake heiress Anna Sorokin found guilty after fooling banks and New York's elite
World Championship 2019: Mark Selby loses to Gary Wilson
Sam Donaldson Explains How Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Lying Is Unprecedented
Idris Elba marries Sabrina Dhowre in Morocco
‘Santa Clarita Diet’ Canceled After Three Seasons at Netflix
Facebook investigated by New York AG over email harvesting
Joe Biden Announces 2020 US Presidential Bid
Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond will include Rami Malek as the bad guy
Parents of murdered AJ Freund, 5, ‘made him stand under freezing shower to punish him’
Stefanie Sherk, Actress and Wife to Demian Bichir, Dies at 43
NFL Draft 2019: Giants pick Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins LAUGHS and fans are shocked
Plan for Banksy art gallery in Port Talbot may be under threat
Lord of the Rings star in fiery CLASH with Caroline Lucas on BBC QT 'Our last GREAT hope'
Taylor Swift releases her new song 'ME!'
Lyra McKee funeral: politicians urged to seize the moment
The Greta Thunberg effect: her activism in London in two minutes - video
Jennifer Garner thinks her face on cover of People's Beautiful Issue is 'so ridiculous'
Rapper Bun B Shoots Armed Robber in His Houston Home
SpaceX Crew Dragon Accident Another Bump in the Road for Commercial Crew
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wrote a sweet birthday message for Prince Louis, but some people think it broke royal protocol
Elon Musk told this Reddit user they 'should interview at Tesla', here's why
‘His career was incredible’. Billy McNeill was a winner as player and manager
Natalie Portman makes a surprise appearance at the Avengers: Endgame premiere
Seahawks, Chiefs blow up NFL draft with Frank Clark trade
Jared Kushner dubs Trump-Russia investigation 'a big distraction'
Vanessa Hudgens reveals why she is ‘grateful’ for her romance with Zac Efron
Tesla to Investigate Car That Appeared to Burst Into Flames in Shanghai
Stephen Graham says This Is England role nearly ended his acting career
Maisie Williams could show 'as much or as little' as she wanted in shocking 'Game of Thrones' sex scene
Sri Lanka Attacks: Asos Billionaire Loses Three Children In Easter Sunday Blasts
These 10 Democrats Want Trump Impeached
Rep. Seth Moulton Launches 2020 Presidential Bid
Why observe Earth Day on April 22?
Beyoncé lands $60M deal with Netflix
Tesla’s Elon Musk could earn up to $2.2 billion from stock options
Paris police use tear gas against 'yellow vest' protesters
Adele announces separation from husband Simon Konecki
Elizabeth Warren says House should start impeachment proceedings for Trump
Michelle Williams and her husband, musician Phil Elverum, have split
These Wisps Around Black Holes Could Reveal How the Cosmic Beasts Eat
'Boyz n the Hood' director John Singleton suffers stroke: report
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez wants ONE thing to STAY - Michael Owen reveals what he's heard
Johnny Depp Allegedly Tried to Get Amber Heard Fired From Aquaman
Kourtney Kardashian's ex Younes Bendjima attends her 40th birthday party
Emma Thompson Joins Extinction Rebellion In Climate Change Protest
Lil Dicky drops the music video of his environmental anthem, 'Earth'
Dissecting Taylor Swift’s April 26 clues
The cause of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire remains unknown. Everything else is a rumor
Kathie Lee Gifford Reacts to Hoda Kotb’s Surprise Baby News
Westbrook vows to play better after loss
Mark Carney tells global banks they cannot ignore climate change dangers
Beyoncé's 'Homecoming' is as black as it can be
SpaceX loses Falcon Heavy's center booster to the sea
Why Netflix Has A 'Game Of Thrones' Problem
Trump Campaign Makes Minnesota An Early 2020 Target
Actor Lori Loughlin, other parents plead not guilty in U.S. college admissions case
Georgia Engel, who played Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died
Would you visit a 'fake' Notre Dame? You're already doing it at other sites
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks win with record extension
Coachella day three review: Ariana Grande on fire and Pusha T on an iceberg
Man, Woman, and Robot in Ian McEwan’s New Novel
Thousands join Extinction Rebellion protests across London
Hillsborough: Jury fails to reach verdict in David Duckenfield trial
Sarah Hyland Shows Off Her Toned Abs In Green Sports Bra While Hitting The Gym
Facebook investors launch desperate bid to oust Mark Zuckerberg
Uber IPO: Former CEO Travis Kalanick to earn billions
Chinese GP: Bottas Takes Pole For His 1000th F1 Race, Hamilton Finishes 2nd in Qualifying
BTS performed on SNL and fans went crazy
Interview with American Top Team’s Dustin Poirier who headlines UFC 236 for a title
The Perfect Date review: Netflix’s latest Noah Centineo movie is fine
Ariana Grande, who has opened up about PTSD, posts images of her brain scans on Instagram
Tesla Shifts Gears, Again, and Some Fans Are Losing Patience
Julian Assange arrest: justice or a threat to free press?
Annunziata Rees-Mogg to stand as MEP for Farage's Brexit party
Comedians pay tribute to Ian Cognito after standup dies on stage
Jaden Smith Shouts Out Nipsey Hussle, Rides Flying Car During Coachella Set
‘Guava Island’ First Look: Childish Gambino’s Mystery Project With Rihanna Is Unveiled
Is New Taylor Swift Music on the Way? Countdown Clock Suggests April 26 Release
Vasiliy Lomachenko defeats Anthony Crolla with fourth-round knockout
Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who made first-ever photograph of black hole possible
Trick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until Halloween
Pavelski's painful goal sparks Sharks' take down of Vegas
Jane the Virgin's Latest Cliffhanger Creates Torture For Everyone
Good-bye glaciers: 390 billion tons of snow and ice melts each year as globe warms
Will Emmanuel Macron veto Theresa May's Brexit extension?
Farewell Fleabag: the most electrifying, devastating TV in years
Chris Davis sets record at 0 for 49, including warning track shot
Felicity Huffman to plead guilty in college admissions cheating case
Dean Ambrose’s Last WWE Match Becomes Brawl With Bobby Lashley
Twenty prison officers injured after violence at Feltham youth jail
Debenhams on brink despite Mike Ashley's last-minute offer
Humans are about to see the first-ever photo of a 'supermassive' black hole. Here what we hope to discover
At Least 6 People Shot in Chicago: Police
Pushing for Tighter Borders, President Asks Jews for Support
'Game Of Thrones' Castmates Turn Up To Ask 'SNL' Host Kit Harington How It All Ends
Charlie Rowley: Novichok victim meets Russian ambassador
Rapper Kodak Black accused of sexual assault: Prosecutor
Texas Tech's historic national title shot, courtesy of hero Matt Mooney
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle break Guinness World Record with new Instagram account
Lauren Sanchez Files for Divorce After Bezos Split Finalized
Judge orders Elon Musk and the SEC to settle Tesla tweet dispute
Trump's threat to close the border was just a trap for Democrats
Mick Jagger 'on the mend' following heart surgery
Britain starts issuing passports without 'European Union' on cover
Grand National 2019 sees awkward moment as six attendees wear same PrettyLittleThing dress
Falcon Heavy SpaceX Launch Will Mark First Commercial Mission
Kurt Cobain died 25 years ago today. A fan recalls seeing Nirvana play on the verge of fame
Lil Nas X Added Billy Ray Cyrus to ‘Old Town Road.’ Is It Country Enough for Billboard Now?
Tesla is selling fewer cars, but says it has ‘sufficient’ cash
Joker Trailer: First Look At Joaquin Phoenix As DC Villain In New Clips
Ohio teen tells investigators he's Timmothy Pitzen, child who disappeared in Illinois in 2011: report
Britney Spears reportedly checks herself into mental health facility
Bryce Harper embraces return to Washington
‘This Is Us’ finale ends season with a slew of new questions
Supermodel Amber Rose Announces She’s Expecting Her Second Child
‘Thrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie dazzles at NYC premiere
Trump lashes out at Democrats over Puerto Rico aid vote
Kim Kardashian reveals baby name she's considering for fourth child
Ernie Grunfeld fired as president of the Washington Wizards
Avengers Endgame tickets ballot opens for HUGE fan event in London: How to enter
Tania Mallet, Bond girl in 'Goldfinger,' dies aged 77
‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ Returns With Its New Star: Kanye West?
Rare glimpse into Saudi Aramco shows $111 billion net profit
Google adds Snake to Maps for April Fools' Day gag
Nipsey Hussle: Grammy-nominated rapper shot dead in LA
NASA Announces Successful Completion of ISS Spacewalk
Kylie Jenner Speaks Out About Jordyn Woods' Lip Kip Price Cut After Tristan Thompson Cheating Scandal
Saudis gained access to Amazon CEO Bezos' phone: Bezos' security chief
Brexit: Theresa May considers next step to break deadlock
Charles Leclerc pips Sebastian Vettel to Bahrain F1 pole on Ferrari’s day
Kash Ali disqualified for biting David Price in bizarre heavyweight bout
Attorney: NBA star Kristaps Porzingis is accused of rape
Suspect charged in slaying of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson
The Rolling Stones postpone U.S. shows, citing advice of Mick jagger's doctors
Purdue’s Carsen Edwards can match Steph Curry NCAA Tournament scoring mark
NASA will pay people $19000 to stay in bed for 2 months
Trump mocks Green New Deal, pokes fun at electric cars during Michigan rally
Texas Tech passes Michigan exam ... but bigger test awaits
Miami Open: Roger Federer reaches quarters, Simona Halep eyes No. 1 ranking
Anger and irreverence on the Brexit Day that wasn't
Justin Bieber Takes a Break From Music To Focus on Mental Health
Cardi B Is Defending Herself After A Video Showed Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men: I Always Own My Shit
Conor McGregor reportedly under investigation for sexual assault
Jussie Smollett: Chicago mayor attacks 'whitewash of justice' as charges dropped
Ranking Roger Dead: The Beat And General Public Singer Dies, Aged 56
Mission Shakti, a long-desired capability tested
Vandals strike again: Downtown statue of Queen Victoria doused in green paint
Government could ignore indicative Brexit votes, says Liam Fox
Scott Walker, experimental pop hero, dies aged 76
Mel B Claims She Slept With Geri Halliwell During Spice Girls Era
Close