I was sad to see the news that Rachel Held Evans has died at just 37 years old. She had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic last month which led to her death early Saturday morning. Evans was born into an Evangelical Christian home in Birmingham and eventually became a popular writer as a progressive left Christian instead. I learned something interesting from her work, but it wasn’t what she intended. I looked at her books and found nothing interesting or persuasive in them, so I was curious why she had such a following. Then I had an epiphany which I should have had years ago. People follow writers not because their brilliant writing changes the readers’ minds. (Not generally.) Readers follow writers with whom they identify. Evans’ personal experience of moving from conservative Christianity to being a progressive politically and liberal theologically resonated with people who had gone through similar transitions. If you follow a writer, it’s not because he’s changed your mind, but because you identify with him or somehow feel an emotional connection that others might not understand. That’s what I learned from Evans. She connected deeply with others who had gone through the same change she experienced.
Share on Social Networks