This week progressive Christians lost one of its best young writers, Rachel Held Evans.  Rachel was a best-selling author who challenged conservative Christianity and “gave voice to a generation of wandering evangelicals wrestling with their faith”.  She died on Saturday at a hospital in Nashville. She was 37.

Her husband, Daniel Evans, said in a statement on her website that the cause was extensive brain swelling. During treatment for an infection last month, Ms. Evans began experiencing brain seizures and had been placed in a medically induced coma.

An Episcopalian, Ms. Evans left the evangelical church in 2014 because, she said, she was done trying to end the church’s culture wars and wanted to focus instead on building a new community among the church’s “refugees”: women who wanted to become ministers, gay Christians and “those who refuse to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith.”

A couple of my favorite quotes –

“If you are looking for verses with which to support slavery, you will find them. If you are looking for verses with which to abolish slavery, you will find them. If you are looking for verses with which to oppress women, you will find them. If you are looking for for verses with which to liberate or honor women, you will find them. If you are looking for reasons to wage war, you will find them. If you are looking for reasons to promote peace, you will find them. If you are looking for an out-dated, irrelevant ancient text, you will find it. If you are looking for truth, believe me, you will find it. This is why there are times when the most instructive question to bring to the text is not “what does it say?”, but “what am I looking for?” I suspect Jesus knew this when he said, “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” If you want to do violence in this world, you will always find the weapons. If you want to heal, you will always find the balm.”
― Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood

“The problem with fundamentalism is that it can’t adapt to change. When you count each one of your beliefs as absolutely essential, change is never an option.”
― Rachel Held Evans, Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions

“So what did God say to me in the silence that morning? I’m not sure, but I think God said something like, Don’t try so hard, little child, and, Hey, check out this cool turtle I made.”
― Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood