June 18, 2019

The Christian Blogger Who Changed Everything

“Rachel Held Evans ruled a corner of the Christian internet for the past decade, where she challenged the evangelical faith of her childhood, advocating for women and LGBTQ rights in the church and debating big questions around theology, gender, sexuality, and science. She wrote four best-selling books and amassed more than 160,000 followers on Twitter.

Evans died Saturday at age 37, following more than two weeks in a medically induced coma due to an infection. During that time, the tweets poured in — first a prayer chain tagged #PrayforRHE, which trended nationwide on Good Friday last month, and then a stream of condolences and tributes.

Her well-wishers ranged from conservative evangelical leaders who openly disagreed with her stances as well as ones so theologically liberal that they disagreed with the notion of prayer. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in American Christianity eliciting such a broad response.

This outpouring of support reflects the exceptional place Evans held as one of the most popular yet polarizing Christian figures in the internet era. Another hashtag, #BecauseofRHE, offers glimpses at her legacy — and how she shaped online discussion of faith, especially for women, and paved the way for a generation of fellow writers, speakers, and leaders to build a following online.”

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