Rachel Held Evans was a progressive Christian blogger and writer of four best-selling books. In the short span of the 37 years she lived, she broke ground advocating for women and LGBTQ rights in the church while debating the big questions evolving around theology, gender, sexuality, and science. She espouses a variety of biblical thoughts that resonate with me.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from her books Searching for Sunday and Inspired, written in 2018.

1423422279150Searching for Sunday quotes:

“In the U.S. 59% of young people ages 18-29 with a Christian background have dropped out of church.”

“I can talk about growing up evangelical, about doubting everything I believed about God, about loving, leaving, and longing for church, about searching for it and finding it in unexpected places.”

In speaking of why young people are disenchanted with today’s churches she wrote, “We’re tired of cultural wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known for what we’re for not what we’re against. We don’t want to have to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our heart and friends behind, without wearing a mask.”

“When our gay, lesbian bisexual friends aren’t welcomed at the table, then we don’t feel welcomed either.”

HiResQuotes from Inspired (2018), her final book:

“This ancient collection of stories and poems, prophecies and proverbs, letters and law, written and completed by countless authors spanning multiple centuries is cited by everyone from William Blake to Beyoncé.”

“America is no ancient Babylon or Rome. On the other hand, America’s no kingdom of God either.”

“Jesus invites us into a story that is bigger than ourselves, bigger than our culture, bigger than even our imaginations, and yet we get to tell that story with the scandalous particular moment and place in time. We are storytelling creatures because we are fashioned in the image of a story telling God. May we never lose our love for telling the tale.”

“We may wish for answers, but God rarely gives answers. Instead, God gathers us up in his arms and says, ‘Let me tell you a story.’ ”

My commentary:

I find it hard to believe this potent Christian lived 42 miles from where I live, and I never heard of her until her death on May 4th, 2019.

I’ve got a word for the millennials. Some of us top-heavy with gray hairs grapple with the same issues that hold them hostage. I’m now 88 plus and long for authenticity and openness in the church to discuss “hot-button topics” without being labeled a liberal or worse still to be tolerated.

I’m thinking that in the 1950s many Southern Baptist leaders held a high view of biblical interpretation that I fell heir to at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. What followed was the demise of the SBC I knew. The new SBC became an arm of the moral majority political movement and an inerrant Bible!

While feeling betrayed by our global group I sought refuge, dialog and understanding within the church my husband pastored. I didn’t find it there. During that same time (1970-1980s) my son shared with me that he was gay. That story is chronicled in my book Tarnished Haloes, Open Hearts.

I’m so sorry I never met Rachel Held Evans! I know we would have bonded instantly. Perhaps in God’s eternity a meeting time is still plausible.

Find out more about Rachel Held Evans at this website.