Wholehearted Faith

Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday; Inspired) was well known among evangelical and "ex-vangelical" American Christians for her passionate, thoughtful writing and for wrestling with difficult questions. In Wholehearted Faith, her final, posthumous book for adults, Evans (who died after a brief illness in 2019) shares familiar and new material relating to faith, doubt and her ongoing struggle to lead a life of compassion and grace. Ably edited by Evans's colleague Jeff Chu (Does Jesus Really Love Me?), the essays in Wholehearted Faith present a warm, generous, kaleidoscopic view of Evans's spiritual journey over the past two decades.

Readers of Evans's previous books will find familiar themes here: she returned again and again to questions about inclusion, the role of women in the church, the validity of doubt, and the wild, ungraspable love of God. Often self-deprecating, Evans pokes gentle fun at her younger self and fesses up to her own weaknesses, but she's not interested in castigating anyone else. She admits to harboring lots of questions, even insisting that doubts are a necessary part of a healthy spiritual life. She wrestles with the often-sprawling gap between the person of Jesus and the ways conservative evangelical churches have interpreted his life and teachings. And she insists--in every chapter, if not on every page--that if there is a God, God's love is for everyone, with absolutely no asterisks or exceptions.

Wholehearted Faith is "not the book that Rachel would have written," Chu reminds readers. But it is still a genuine, curious, openhearted collection from a woman who spent her life struggling to balance questions and love. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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