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 There were just a few projects left unpublished at her death, and Wholehearted Faith is the last.
Discover the new collection of original writings by Rachel Held Evans, whose reflections on faith and life continue to encourage, challenge, and influence, lovingly performed by Daniel Jonce Evans, Jeff Chu, Jamie Wright, Sarah Bessey, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Kristen Howerton, Kaitlin Curtice, Amanda Held Opelt, Rev. Neichelle R. Guidry, Ph.D., Candice Marie Benbow, Kathy Khang, the Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D., and Amena Brown.
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the help of her close friend and author Jeff Chu, that work-in-progress has been woven together with some of her other unpublished writings into a rich collection of essays that ask candid questions about the stories we’ve been told—and the stories we tell—about our faith, our selves, and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
Rachel Held Evans (1981–2019) was the New York Times bestselling author of Inspired, Searching for Sunday, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and Faith Unraveled. Hailing from Dayton, Tennessee, she wrote about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt. Rachel was featured in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Huffington Post, and appeared on NPR, BBC, the Today show, and The View. She served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
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.
Sarah Bessey is a writer and award-winning blogger at sarahbessey.com, an editor at A Deeper Story, and a contributor at SheLoves magazine. She lives in Abbotsford,
British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, Brian, and their three children,
Anne, Joseph, and Evelynn.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado. She’s a leading voice in the emerging church movement and her writing can be found in the Christian Century and Jim Wallis’s God’s Politics blog. She is author of Salvation on the Small Screen?: 24 Hours of Christian Television and the Sarcastic Lutheran blog.
Kristen Howerton is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the mother of four children within four years via birth and adoption. She is the founder of the blog Rage Against the Minivan where, in the midst of writing about the raw emotions and experience of motherhood, she has become a fierce advocate for social justice, orphan care, and helping fellow parents to step up to hard conversations about race with their kids. Howerton has created several popular humor destinations online, including the popular Tumblr "Pinterest You Are Drunk" and the #assholeparent meme and Instagram account. She is the co-host of Selfie, a podcast dedicated to exploring the mind, body, and spirit aspects of self-care.
Kaitlin B. Curtice is a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation as well as a Christian, public speaker, and poet. She travels around the country speaking on faith and justice within the church as it relates to Indigenous peoples and has been a featured speaker at Why Christian, Evolving Faith, Wild Goose Festival, The Festival of Faith & Writing, The Revolutionary Love Conference, and more. Curtice is a monthly columnist for Sojourners, has contributed to On Being and Religion News Service, and has been featured on CBS and in USA Today and the New Yorker for her work on having difficult conversations within the church about colonization. She is the author of Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places and writes on her blog at kaitlincurtice.com.
Kathy Khang is director of campus access initiatives with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. She previously was InterVarsity’s regional multiethnic director and area director for Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is a speaker, journalist, and activist, a columnist for Sojourners magazine, and a coauthor of More Than Serving Tea: Asian American Women on Expectations, Relationships, Leadership and Faith.
Amena Brown is an author, spoken word poet, speaker, and event host. The author of five spoken word albums and two non-fiction books, Amena performs and speaks at events from coffeehouses to arenas with a mix of poetry, humor, and storytelling. She and her husband, DJ Opdiggy, reside in Atlanta, GA.
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 Life
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 by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber 183