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Rest in Peace, Rachel

Woke up to some sad news today. Rachel and I began blogging around the same time (back when I was chasing web traffic). She became famous, and I’m still writing to you three people out there. The Christian world lost a big voice and good person today. 

From CBN News:

Rachel Held Evans, a popular Christian writer, passed away at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital on Saturday. She was 37.

Held Evans, the author of New York Times bestseller, A Year of Biblical Womanhoodposted on Twitter April 14 that she was in the hospital with the flu and a urinary tract infection. “If you’re the praying type – I’m in the hospital with a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me,” she wrote.

Her husband Dan Evans later posted that his wife had suffered severe seizures. She was in a medically-induced coma in the hospital’s ICU as her doctors were trying to find out the cause of her seizures. 

As soon as the word spread about Held Evans condition, several leaders in the faith community rallied together in prayer for her with many using the hashtag “#prayForHRE.”

Then last Thursday, came word her medical team had discovered she had a severe swelling of the brain, according to

“She put others before herself,” her husband, Dan Evans, said in an email to Slate.comon Saturday. “She shared her platform. She always remembered how others had helped her. She enjoyed seeing other people in contexts where they thrived. She didn’t hold grudges, would forget as well as forgive. She had little time for pettiness and a big heart for people. And these are all things I wish I had told her more while I still had the privilege to keep her company.”

Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Liberty Commission, tweeted:  @rachelheldevans leaves behind a husband and two small children, one 3 and one less than one-year-old.  As many as can, let’s please help this grieving your family with the overwhelming medical bills.

In her last blog post, dated March 6, which was Ash Wednesday on the Christian calendar, she wrote:

“It strikes me today that the liturgy of Ash Wednesday teaches something that nearly everyone can agree on. Whether you are part of a church or not, whether you believe today or your doubt, whether you are a Christian or an atheist or an agnostic or a so-called “none” (whose faith experiences far transcend the limits of that label) you know this truth deep in your bones: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return,” she wrote.

“Death is a part of life. My prayer for you this season is that you make time to celebrate that reality, and to grieve that reality, and that you will know you are not alone,” Evans concluded.

Here’s a fuller article by Ruth Graham at Slate on her life and legacy — her courageous and controversial writing over her life now cut tragically short. Rest in peace, RHE.

Jeremy Berg is the founding pastor of MainStreet Covenant Church in Mound, Minnesota, and Professor of Theology at Solid Rock Discipleship School. Jeremy is completing his doctorate in New Testament Context under Dr. Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He holds a M.A. in Theological Studies from Bethel Seminary (2005) and B.A. from Bethel University (2002). He and his wife, Kjerstin, keep busy chasing around three kids, Peter, Isaak and Abigail.

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