God’s Blessing to the Weak

RachelThe benediction given by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber at the funeral of Rachel Held Evans (re-posted by Diana Butler Bass on social media).

Blessed are the agnostics. Blessed are they who doubt. Blessed are those who have nothing to offer. Blessed are the preschoolers who cut in line at communion. Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are those whom no one else notices. The kids who sit alone at middle-school lunch tables. The laundry guys at the hospital. The sex workers and the night-shift street sweepers. The closeted. The teens who have to figure out ways to hide the new cuts on their arms. Blessed are the meek. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you. Continue reading

You Will Continue to Inspire

Ben, RachelBy Ben Wideman, community pastor of the 3rd Way Collective in State College, Pennsylvania

*This piece was originally posted on the 3rd Way Collective blog on May 6, 2019.

Dear Rachel Held Evans,

I’m writing with a long-overdue note of appreciation. Last week’s news of your passing shook me at a deeper level than I anticipated, and I wondered if putting words on paper would help me process some of what I felt.

I think my first memory of you was hearing about your second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I’m guessing that my reaction to hearing about an effort to live according to a legalistic reading of scripture was typical of many short-sighted folks at the time… hadn’t AJ Jacobs already tried that and written a book about the experience a few years prior? Was yours just going to be the female version of that? Continue reading