“A touching series of essays in which Held Evans, with Chu’s invisible pen, explores how one might find a path forward in Christianity beyond conservative evangelicalism” -Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker
“Evans died at 37, but a beautiful new book captures her brave outlook. . . . I could not help but notice the poetry in Evans’s prose. . . . What readers will find in these pages was someone deeply human: funny, irreverent, curious, wise, forgiving, nonjudgmental.” -The Washington Post
A new collection of original writings by Rachel Held Evans, whose reflections on faith and life continue to encourage, challenge, and influence.
Rachel Held Evans is widely recognized for her theologically astute, profoundly honest, and beautifully personal books, which have guided, instructed, edified, and shaped Christians as they seek to live out a just and loving faith.
At the time of her tragic death in 2019, Rachel was working on a new book about wholeheartedness. With the help of her close friend and author Jeff Chu, that work-in-progress has been woven together with some of her other unpublished writings into a rich collection of essays that ask candid questions about the stories we’ve been told—and the stories we tell—about our faith, our selves, and our world.
This book is for the doubter and the dreamer, the seeker and the sojourner, those who long for a sense of spiritual wholeness as well as those who have been hurt by the Church but can’t seem to let go of the story of Jesus. Through theological reflection and personal recollection, Rachel wrestles with God’s grace and love, looks unsparingly at what the Church is and does, and explores universal human questions about becoming and belonging. An unforgettable, moving, and intimate book.
Praise For Wholehearted Faith…
— Anne Lamott, author of Dusk, Night, Dawn and Help, Thanks, Wow
“Gorgeous, heartfelt and bittersweet. Rachel Held Evans spent her beautiful life trying to convince us that, all along, God’s love was for absolutely everyone. At last, we must believe her.”
— Kate Bowler, author of No Cure for Being Human and Everything Happens for a Reason
“A voice like Rachel’s endures in the time machine of her writing. All who love the sound of it owe Jeff Chu a deep bow. A vision like hers outlives a single lifetime. What she discovered, she made available to us; now it’s our turn to carry on.”
— Barbara Brown Taylor, author of An Altar in the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark
"This beautiful book is a bittersweet sanctuary. I'm grateful to Jeff Chu for coming alongside her words with such faithfulness to ensure that her voice rings true in every line. For those of us who find ourselves wandering in the wilderness, this is a respite from our most trusted leader."
— Sarah Bessey, New York Times bestselling author of A Rhythm of Prayer and Jesus Feminist
If you feel even a shred of internal division, Wholehearted Faith will help you put the pieces back together. This book is a special gift - I've already gone back for a second and third read. Each page invites you toward an honest and humane wholeness.
— Brian D. McLaren, author of Faith After Doubt
“A touching series of essays in which Held Evans, with Chu’s invisible pen, explores how one might find a path forward in Christianity beyond conservative evangelicalism”
— The New Yorker
“Wholehearted Faith…feels nothing short of radical.”
— The Washington Post
“Her quest to liberate her faith from fundamentalism garnered her a wide following of devoted fans. . . . Evans’s honest questioning of Christian teachings and a God she mostly (but doesn’t always) believe in will strike a chord with believers and agnostics alike.”
— Library Journal
“Like all of her work, [Wholehearted Faith] is warm, wise, and intimate. . . . Evans doesn’t shame the ignorant. She delights us into knowledge on the way to wisdom. . . . One can see why Evans’s critics pounce. She likes to draw out their poison to bring healing.”
— The Christian Century
“Wholehearted Faith speaks equally well to all; book groups will find rich fodder for discussions, parents will find support for raising tender-hearted Christian children and pastors will find that perfect illustration for Sunday’s sermon."
— The Presbyterian Outlook
“Long admired (and vilified) for her openness to question the Bible, God, and the practice of white evangelical Christianity, Evans takes issue with assertions that ‘a bulletproof belief system’ is a hallmark of Christianity. . . . Even readers unfamiliar with Evans' previous work will find much to appreciate.”
— Library Journal
HarperOne, 9780062894472, 224pp.
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
About the Author
Rachel Held Evans (1981–2019) was the New York Times bestselling author of Inspired, Searching for Sunday, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and Faith Unraveled. Rachel’s words about faith, doubt, and life were featured not only on her own blog but also in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Huffington Post. She appeared on NPR, BBC, the Today show, and The View. She served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She lived with her husband and two children in Dayton, Tennessee.
Jeff Chu is co-curator of Evolving Faith, alongside Sarah Bessey, who founded the gathering with Rachel Held Evans. He is also the author of Does Jesus Really Love Me? and an editor-at-large at Travel+Leisure. He, his husband, Tristan, and their dog, Fozzie, make their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.