Today in the news I heard that a Christian author died at the young age of 37. Her name was Rachel Held Evans, and honestly I hadn’t read a single thing she ever wrote.
I was perplexed by her young age, so I dug further and read about her medical condition. This prompted me to dig even deeper and get an idea for her as an author.
What I expected to find, was some angry evangelical. To my complete shock, she was quite different… and dare I say, she appeared to be one of those rare people who truly represent the teachings of Jesus.
The Politics of Religion
I don’t find “Jesus” in churches anymore. Churches have become hotbeds of political debate. While getting into bed with a political party, they inherently condone the actions of some (Republicans) while focusing the actions of others (Democrats.) By “actions” I refer to their idea of sin.
According to Christian theology, ALL sin is equal, in that it takes a person from God. There is no “greater” sin, nor is there a “lessor” sin – unless you count the one sin deemed unforgivable (“blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”)
Today’s Christianity praises one man as their great “Christian leader,” a man who is (by their own theology) living in sin every day he sleeps with his current wife, and yet they condemn those who are gay or lesbian for their sins. This political nightmare has taken any hope I had of the Christian faith….
But every once in awhile I meet a true Christian. Someone who feeds the hungry, loves their enemy, works on their own problems (instead of judging the problems of others) and cares for all – regardless or race, sexual identity or supposed sin.
As I dug further into Rachel Held Evan’s views on society and people, I found she had a very different take than the modern angry evangelical.
She wrote article after article talking about caring for all people. Instead of dividing people up along some political dotted line in the sand, she simply had love for everyone.
Take this article where she speaks about World Vision’s decision to allow gay and lesbians to work there:
What I expected was some angry throw against World Vision, but instead she calmly talks about the core values of loving people and helping others. She talks about how World Vision reversed course on its decision within a single day – due to the Assemblies of God denomination threatening to pull all support from World Vision… in other words, “we’ll stop feeding our charity children if you allow gay an lesbians to work there.”
Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/31/how-evangelicals-won-a-culture-war-and-lost-a-generation/
This Loss of Life
What I read in Rachel’s words was something encouraging and uplifting – she was one of those rare individuals who went beyond the sheepish following that fills the churches. She went beyond and touched the hem of Jesus – finding a love that was without condition.
Conditional love is what most people know these days. It’s about all we know. From sinner to Christian a-like, all we see around us is condition based love.
But Rachel seemed to go beyond that… and with the loss of her life, even having never known her writing or her views, I felt sad… Sad that there was one less compassionate person left in the Christian faith.