Through her writing and speaking, Rachel Held Evans work opened a space for people to become involved with the evolution of their faith by example. She strived to be grace-full while admitting her imperfection. Her advocation was for the heart of God which is for the people of God. All people, a diverse bunch of clumsy-yet-beautiful people of different races, cultures, beliefs, faiths, genders, and sexual orientations just doing our best to be human. She was a person who reached for the outsider and brought their voice and perspective into the fold. She inspired change and sometimes provoked resistance. But as she says in this series, her hope was to start more conversations than end them.
Tragically, Rachel died on May 4, 2019 at the young age of 37. There really are no words to describe the heartbreak of losing Rachel. Her death is a devastating loss. In a NY Times article, her husband is quoted as saying what those who loved her and were loved by her have expressed: “I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all, and her work will long survive her.”
Our hope is that bringing these films forward in a time such as now, is that we not only get to see and remember the friend so many miss, but to honor her work in the world and continue to let her “conversation starters” to stir, awaken, and provoke those who find them.
Rachel was recently quoted as saying: “The folks you are shutting out of the church today will be leading it tomorrow. The future is in the margins.” If we are resurrection people, are we willing to let the ways of doing Church that do not serve God, ourselves, or our neighbors, die? If God throws open the doors of the church, who are we to monitor them, or worse, close them? When the doors are locked and requirements for inclusion are narrow are we willing to become sanctuaries ourselves?
Rachel, may you rest well in peace and presence, and may we tend well the love and legacy you leave behind.
The series includes 5 conversation films with Rachael a discernment and discussion guide, and transcripts of the conversation. (If needed, streaming films come with subtitles).