I am among the thousands of readers mourning the death on May 4 of Rachel Held Evans. Brilliant, beautiful, humble and funny, she wrote honestly of her own spiritual journey from evangelical beginnings to a more progressive place. Along the way, she challenged conservative theology and patriarchal thinking that ignored, belittled or excluded women and dismissed, even damned, members of the the LGTBTQ community. Her observation on Twitter a few years ago became a popular meme: “The folks you’re shutting out of the church today will be leading it tomorrow. That’s how the Spirit works. The future’s in the margins.”
Dozens of writers have written moving tributes to Evans in the last few days, and I suggest that if you don’t know of her, you search her name and read a few of them. Better yet, read her last book Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible. An Atlantic piece I read just now captured her essence, but the headline gave me pause: “Rachel Held Evans, Hero to Christian Misfits.” By definition, any Christian is, or ought to be, a misfit. I can’t help thinking of the Letter to the Romans, reminding us that we “all fall short of the glory of God.” Evans counted herself among the sinners. So should we all.