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Rachel Held Evans (1981 - 2019), best-selling progressive Christian author

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Author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" and other books

Rachel Held Evans was a best-selling progressive Christian author who inspired many with her writings on the church and faith in our modern world. Among her well-known books was "A Year of Biblical Womanhood," which detailed her project of following the Bible to the letter for one year. Coming from an evangelical background, Evans questioned the tenets of her church, such as exclusion of the LGBT community, and eventually ended up leaving evangelicalism behind in favor of more mainstream Christianity. Her many fans followed her on Twitter, read her blog, and looked for her next books. In the weeks before her death, fans followed news of her illness and prayed for her after she was admitted to the hospital with flu and an infection, then suffered an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and was placed in a medically-induced coma.

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Died: May 4, 2019 (Who else died on May 4?)

Details of death: Died in Nashville, Tennessee of complications from an infection at the age of 37.


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Millennials at church: Among Evans' widely read writings was a 2015 column for the Washington Post, in which she discussed low church attendance among millennials. Self-identifying as a millennial, Evans argued that attempts to appeal to young people by making the church seem flashy and cool were misguided. "When I left church at age 29," she wrote, full of doubt and disillusionment, I wasn't looking for a better-produced Christianity. I was looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity."

Evans' last blog post: “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.” —thoughts she shared on Ash Wednesday, March 6

What people said about her: Women inspired by Evans started the trending hashtag #BecauseOfRHE to show how she influenced them.

“A few weeks ago, my reformed Evangelical theology fell apart. I needed to know if the Bible could be seen in a new light. #BecauseOfRHE my entire worldview changed. For the first time in years I feel free and full of joy.” —Jennifer Brown

“#BecauseOfRHE I went to seminary. I became a writer. I embraced my calling. I allowed myself to love more deeply.” —Twitter user Linnie the Pooh

“I confront scarcity, I owned my calling to be a preacher/pastor, I ask harder questions, I'm not terrified if my kids wander in their faith, I have deep live-giving friendships with queen people, I trust White women to use their voices against white supremacy, #BecauseOfRHE” —Osheta Moore

“I was writing a blog, longing for anyone to read it, and then @rachelheldevans shared it. I'm convinced people started to read my work because of her voice. My agent? My book deal? She cheered me to those spaces. There are so many of us. #BecauseOfRHE” —Micha Boyett

“#BecauseOfRHE I outlived my will to give up on life. I came out as gay and braved a world of rejection inside the faith tradition I had always known to be my home, I found God beyond church pews and in the faces of the most vulnerable, I started to really love people (& myself).” —Sarah Kessler

Full obituary: Nashville Tennessean

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