Rachel Held Evans
Rachel Held Evans
|Born||Rachel Grace Held|
June 8, 1981
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||May 4, 2019 (aged 37)|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Dan Evans (m. 2003)
Rachel Held Evans (née Rachel Grace Held; June 8, 1981 – May 4, 2019) was an American Christian columnist, blogger and author. Her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood was a New York Times bestseller in e-book non-fiction, and Searching for Sunday was a New York Times bestseller nonfiction paperback.
Early life and education
Evans was born in Alabama to Robin and Peter Held and spent her early years in Birmingham, Alabama. When she was 14, she and her family moved to Dayton, Tennessee, where her father took an administrative position at Bryan College. She attended Rhea County High School, then went to Bryan College where she majored in English literature. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003.
In 2004, Evans returned to Dayton where she worked full-time for The Herald-News, the local paper. In 2006, she switched from full-time employment to writing pro bono as the paper's humor columnist; in 2007, she won an award for Best Personal Humor Column from the Tennessee Press Association. She continued to write freelance articles for national publications and began to blog.
In September 2008, Evans signed with Zondervan for her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town. The book explores her journey from religious certainty to a faith which accepts doubt and questioning; the title is based on the Scopes Monkey Trial that took place in Dayton. Her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master, was published in October 2012. She recounts how she spent an entire year of living a Biblical lifestyle literally. The book also garnered national media attention for Evans as she appeared on The Today Show. In 2014, Evans re-released Evolving in Monkey Town with the new title of Faith Unraveled.
In 2015, she wrote a column in The Washington Post: "Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church 'cool.'" In the column she self-identified as a millennial, and expressed her belief that while churches in the United States are attempting to get more millennials in the church, their approach is wrong because they focus primarily on stylistic aspects, which she believed "are not the key to drawing millennials back to God in a lasting and meaningful way. Young people don't simply want a better show." She believed that while the church is acting in good faith in their efforts to bring millennials back to the church, they too frequently use misguided strategies to do so.
In early August 2016, Evans published an editorial for Vox defending her "pro-life Christian" position and support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Evans was placed in a medically-induced coma in April 2019 following an allergic reaction to medication for an infection. By May 2, "severe swelling of the brain" worsened her condition, and she died on May 4.
In 2003, Evans married her college boyfriend, Dan Evans. The couple had two children. She was an Episcopalian who attended St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Tennessee. At the time of her death, she no longer considered herself to be an evangelical due to its close association with the Christian right in the United States.
Emma Green, writing for The Atlantic notes that Evans "was part of a vanguard of progressive-Christian women who fought to change the way Christianity is taught and perceived in the United States." Green goes on to argue that Evans' legacy is "her unwillingness to cede ownership of Christianity to its traditional conservative-male stewards" and that her "very public, vulnerable exploration of a faith forged in doubt empowered a ragtag band of writers, pastors, and teachers to claim their rightful place as Christians."
- — (2010). Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310293996., republished as — (2014). Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310339168.
- — (2012). A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master. Thomas Nelson. 352. ISBN 978-1595553676.
- — (2015). Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-0718022129.
- — (2018). Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again. Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 9781400211074.
- "Best Sellers". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- "Following Her Death, Rachel Held Evans' 'Searching For Sunday' Is on the NYT Bestseller List". RELEVANT Magazine. May 17, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Dias, Elizabeth; Roberts, Sam (May 4, 2019). "Rachel Held Evans, Voice of the Wandering Evangelical, Dies at 37". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
- Coker, Ashley (October 23, 2013). "Alumna Rachel Held Evans – published, working and improving". The Bryan College Triangle. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- "State Press Contests Awards" (PDF) (press clippings). University of Tennessee – Tennessee Press Association. 2007. p. 14. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Evans, Rachel Held (October 22, 2012). "Living through 'A Year of Biblical Womanhood'". Today Books. MSN. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Evans, Rachel Held (2010). Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-31029399-6.
- Held Evans, Rachel. "Evolving in Monkey Town". Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Graham, Ruth (September 1, 2011). "A Year of Biblical Womanhood". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Compton, Allie (October 23, 2012). "Rachel Held Evans, Author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood", Spent a Year Living the Bible Literally". Huff Post.
- Evans, Rachel Held (2014). Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-31033916-8.
- Devlin, Nathanael (Spring 2018). Written at Pennsylvania. "Millennial Mission: The Transmission of Christianity Is Not a New Task" (PDF). Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity (Article). Chicago. 31 (2): 42–45. ISSN 0897-327X. 128120637. Retrieved October 11, 2018 – via Academic Search Premier. Lay summary.
- Held Evans, Rachel (August 4, 2016). "I'm a pro-life Christian. Here's why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton". Vox. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- Koplowitz, Howard (April 19, 2019). "Rachel Held Evans, bestselling Christian author and Birmingham native, in intensive care". AL. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- Kuruvilla, Carol (April 23, 2019). "Fans Rally Around Progressive Christian Author Placed In Medically Induced Coma". HuffPost. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Graham, Ruth (May 4, 2019). "Rachel Held Evans, the Hugely Popular Christian Writer Who Challenged the Evangelical Establishment, Is Dead at 37". Slate. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
- Vera, Amir (May 4, 2019). "Rachel Held Evans, popular Christian writer, dies at 37". CNN. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
- Merritt, Jonathan (March 9, 2015). "Rachel Held Evans defends exit from evangelicalism, calls Christians to celebrate sacraments". Religion News Service: On Faith & Culture. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (April 16, 2015). "How Rachel Held Evans became the most polarizing woman in evangelicalism". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Freitas, Donna (May 9, 2018). "Ex-Evangelical Rachel Held Evans Still Cherishes Her Bible". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- Green, Emma (May 6, 2019). "Rachel Held Evans, Hero to Christian Misfits". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 9, 2019.