Rachel Held Evans grew up in a conservative, evangelical, nondenominational church, and went to a conservative, nondenominational college, where one of her professors reportedly said, “You can believe the Bible or you can believe evolution, but you can’t believe both. You have to choose.”
After graduating from college and returning to her conservative, evangelical, and nondenominational roots, for Rachel, statements like the above became distracting,
“Evangelicalism gave me many gifts, but the ability to distinguish between foundational, orthodox beliefs and peripheral ones was not among them. That recurring choice—between faith and science, Christianity and feminism, the Bible and historical criticism, doctrine and compassion—kept tripping me up like roots on a forest trail” (emphasis added).
For sure, Ms. Evans has been on a journey (her popular blog demonstrates this). But it’s a journey that has taken her away from those early conservative, evangelical roots, which, according to her, “kept tripping me up like roots on a forest trail” (though she claims to remain evangelical and appreciates the knowledge of Scripture it has given her).
Ms. Evans now finds a home the Episcopalian church–a church known for its support of women leaders, the LGBT community, among other things.
According to the Christianity Today (CT) article, like many who grew up in low-church evangelical settings, Evans says she’s drawn to the Anglican-Episcopal tradition for, “the liturgy, the lectionary, the centrality of the Eucharist in worship, the Book of Common Prayer… The sacraments gave me the language to name all those things I see as worthy and valuable about the church” (This, I get).
And in the spirit of John Piper, who said farewell to Rob Bell after the release of Love Wins in 2011, the author of the CT piece, writes, “may the evangelical family respond to Evans’s joining the Episcopal Church with a sincere, ‘Fare Well, Rachel. Strength for the journey.'”