I discovered your blog around the time that I was starting to rethink a lot of my long-held assumptions about life and faith. I think I discovered you through Preston Yancey, though it could have been Jonathan Guenther. At the time that I found you, I didn’t think we would agree on much. I added you to my regular reading list, mostly because I wanted to know what someone that I disagreed with thought.
Little did I know what the future held.
As I’ve read your blog (and your books) over the past year or so, you have asked so many questions, confronted many difficult issues head-on, and done all of this with a sense of grace and love that turned my paradigms inside-out. For the first time I can remember, questions swimming around in my subconscious came to the surface, and I felt empowered to ask them and explore the answers. I found the courage to question beliefs that I thought unquestionable. And then something else happened I didn’t expect. I found God in the questions.
Of course, it wasn’t just you that brought me to that point. So many people played roles in bringing me to a place of humility and grace. But you were the catalyst for the questions I was asking.
I still disagree with you on a lot. But I’ve learned that love can cover a multitude of disagreements.
You and I don’t have much of a personal relationship. I can claim you as a follower on Twitter (and will confess that I was excited enough when you followed me that I texted my boyfriend about it), but other than a few short tweets, we don’t really know each other. But I can claim you as a sister in Christ, and I do so proudly. I know that you are cheering for me, just as I am cheering for you. I hope that someday we get the chance to connect on a more personal level, but even if we don’t, I am thankful to God for the role that you have played in my life.
It breaks my heart to see so many Christians immediately dismiss you and label you as “dangerous” or a “heretic.” I can’t help but wonder if they have spent any time actually listening to you and not just reacting to you. And I admit, this woman who has on more than one occasion been described as a “protective mother” type would like nothing more than to type up a post pointing out the multiple logical fallacies in some harsher reviews of your book, along with a good dose of lecturing on how Jesus said we would be known by our love, not by our doctrinal accuracy. But I know that it wouldn’t be helpful.
So instead, I pray. I pray that you would be encouraged in the midst of the criticism, and that God would bless you for the blessing you have been to others, including me. I pray that God would show all of us when to stand our ground, and when to allow room for disagreement. I pray that the church would become more unified. And I pray that more and more, God’s people would come to be known by their love.
So thank you, Rachel Held Evans. May God bless you, may He bless Team Dan and Rachel, and may He bless your ministry. I look forward to continuing the journey of faith with you as fellow bloggers and as sisters in Christ.
Eshet Chayil, Rachel. Woman of Valor.
This post is part of a synchroblog dedicated to Rachel Held Evans. Today is the release of her second book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”