I did not intend to write about her passing. I was struck by the senselessness of a 37 year old mother and wife to be taken from this world because of an infection. I shook my head, said a prayer of compassion for her family, and protection for mine, and moved on.
At least I thought I would move on until a friend messaged me and asked about the John Stonestreet article on the passing of Rachel Held Evans(RHE) in Christianity Today(CT). I had not seen it so I had to research. I found that the editor of CT, Mark Galli, removed the article because after approving it, he felt it was too critical of her and removed it. He penned a short explanation that can be found HERE.
So I went searching for this article and found google links to it on a number of sites. It just isn’t to be found. My friend said it was a good article, so I had to dig deeper. I started reading about RHE and the way she connected with women and millennials. I respect that, sometimes, the things I try to say don’t resonate with them, but instead ring hollow. I want to write and speak better, so let’s read some of this and see how it works.
When I got to her blog (Found HERE), the first thing I read was her husband’s posts about her health and the induced coma, seizures, and the final days of her life. Then I read her next passage and how it ends with an admonition about how we are made from dust and will return to dust. Death is something that will come to all of us. Maybe she was just a little too prophetic there.
Then I start getting into the other posts, and what I find is something that I have to heartily disagree with. First let me explain where I come from. I grew up in a conservative home, have not voted for any Democratic Presidential candidate, and have marched for and given money to republicans. But when I did that I was still in my atheistic era. I held no devotion to Christ. As Christ found me and brought me to him, I slowly felt my political passion wavering and my attitudes changing. So I don’t consider myself first and foremost a republican, although I’m registered as one. I consider myself first a Child of the King and will honor Him before I honor any man, or issue, or political party. I voted for Trump, and for the most part support his policies, but dislike the man himself.
Then I read THIS post. I don’t need to go any further. I have seen other reputed Christian personalities that wish to take on Trump, conservatism, and some of the scriptural truths we hold to be self evident. RHE goes on to claim the bible is the text of the resistance, and describes how white America has failed in it’s charge, and how the people who have been downtrodden over history need justice. My definition of Justice is “You get what you deserve.” Nothing more, nothing less. We cannot pay reparations for slavery or for the trail of tears, but we can make sure nothing like that happens again. It is incumbent up on us to not forget, nor to gloss over the ugly periods in our history to make sure we don’t let evil loose in the public square again. But the methods, the guilt and the desire for social justice and fairness is not biblical.
If it is not biblical, it is not true. It is our feelings getting in the way of what is really true and scriptural. Now don’t jump up and call me a bigot right here, let me illustrate.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
- John 5:1-9
If we read closely we can see that the fountain at Bethesda is most likely crowded at all times with injured and infirm waiting for the waters to get stirred up. The first one in the water after the stirring gets healed. So there is most likely a race to get into the water first. Jesus came to this pool and approaches this one infirm man. He heals him and disappears into the crowd. If Jesus was into fairness and social justice why didn’t he heal them all?
Social Justice and fairness are just words for entitlement. It is not kneeling to the ultimate power in the universe, humbling yourself and following what He says. It is standing up, shaking our fist, and saying “That’s not fair!” Then expecting a do-over. God doesn’t grant do-overs. He will redeem you, he will restore you, but for the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom(s) of man.
RHE held a solid faith, and wrote about it prolifically. She was not afraid to debate and to talk to others about it, I respect that. But we cannot take her death as an affirmation of the twisted Christianity she followed. We all as Christians can do better to uplift others, to help the poor and the sick. We can call out injustices and work to correct them. We can stand up against racism and hatred. We can do a better job of reaching out to our LGBT friends and relatives. We can do better. But it is wrong to declare and own sins that really aren’t ours. To bow in repentance for something that God doesn’t hold us accountable to, is to worship an idol, and I’m convinced that social justice, climate change, marriage equality, abortion, transgenderism and many other things are idols that our culture bows down to.
I will not bow. But I will hold my hand out, not to strike, but to help, to know, to acknowledge, and to live together in Christian brotherhood.
RHE should be grieved, but her passing and her memory should start conversations about what is true, what is good, and is real, and what is biblical. I may come off strong here, because my convictions are deep. But that will never stop me from having a civil discussion with anyone about these issues. We may not agree, but we can discuss as friends.
I’m not better than RHE, I’m a saved sinner, just like her. I worship and honor God, just like she did. Her agenda was different than mine, that is all. I don’t condemn her, because it is not my place to do so. I have to realize that when I think of her, I think of a person with sin no greater than my own.