Rachel Held Evans was a Christian author whose books recorded her journey from religious certainty to a more questioning faith. Her death in 2019, at the heartbreaking age of 37, ignited an outpouring of grief. There were just a few projects left unpublished at her death, and Wholehearted Faith is the last.
“A touching series of essays in which Evans, with Chu’s invisible pen, explores how one might find a path forward in Christianity beyond conservative evangelicalism” -Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker
“Evans died at 37, but a beautiful new book captures her brave outlook. . . . I could not help but notice the poetry in Evans’s prose. . . . What readers will find in these pages was someone deeply human: funny, irreverent, curious, wise, forgiving, nonjudgmental.” -Maggie Smith, The Washington Post
A collection of original writings by Rachel Held Evans, whose reflections on faith and life continue to encourage, challenge, and influence.
Rachel Held Evans is widely recognized for her theologically astute, profoundly honest, and beautifully personal books, which have guided, instructed, edified, and shaped Christians as they seek to live out a just and loving faith.
At the time of her tragic death in 2019, Rachel was working on a new book about wholeheartedness. With the help of her close friend and author Jeff Chu, that work-in-progress has been woven together with some of her other unpublished writings into a rich collection of essays that ask candid questions about the stories we’ve been told—and the stories we tell—about our faith, our selves, and our world.
This book is for the doubter and the dreamer, the seeker and the sojourner, those who long for a sense of spiritual wholeness as well as those who have been hurt by the Church but can’t seem to let go of the story of Jesus. Through theological reflection and personal recollection, Rachel wrestles with God’s grace and love, looks unsparingly at what the Church is and does, and explores universal human questions about becoming and belonging. An unforgettable, moving, and intimate book.
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About the Author
Jeff Chu is co-curator of Evolving Faith, alongside Sarah Bessey, who founded the gathering with Rachel Held Evans. He is also the author of Does Jesus Really Love Me? and an editor-at-large at Travel+Leisure. He, his husband, Tristan, and their dog, Fozzie, make their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Table of Contents
Foreword Daniel Jonce Evans ix
Introduction Jeff Chu xiv
Prologue: Because They Said Yes 1
Part 1 Wholehearted Faith
1 On the Days When I Believe 17
2 My Wicked Little Heart 25
3 Where Stone Becomes Flesh 41
4 The Liberation of the Know-It-All 49
5 Thick Skin, Tender Heart 57
6 Jonathan Edwards Is Not My Homeboy 64
Part 2 Essays on the Christian
7 Beginning Again with Love 79
8 From Death to Life 88
9 The Steady Work of Living Water 104
10 Many Voices, Many Masks 117
11 Wilderness 127
12 God Has Made a Home with Us 136
13 Loving Our Enemies 152
14 Dwelling in Sabbath 167
Epilogue: Telos 176
Afterword the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber 183