Spirited Book Club reads Wholehearted Faith, essays by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans.
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the help of her close friend and author Jeff Chu, that work-in-progress has been woven together with some of her other unpublished writings into a rich collection of essays that ask candid questions about the stories we’ve been told—and the stories we tell—about our faith, our selves, and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.
Reviews for wholehearted faith
“I love everything Rachel Held Evans wrote, and I love her profound, warm-hearted, brilliant storytelling. Her books have always thrown the theological lights on for me, charmed the pants off me, entertained and enlightened me.” — Anne Lamott, author of Dusk, Night, Dawn and Help, Thanks, Wow
“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
“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
“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
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for April 7: First Half or more
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for April 21: Second Half
++Book discussion facilitated by Sheri Brown
About Rachel Held Evans
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.
In April 2019, Evans was placed in a medically induced coma following an allergic reaction to medication for an infection. By May 2, “severe swelling of the brain” worsened her condition, and she died on May 4. She was an Episcopalian who attended St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Tennessee. At the time of her death, she no longer considered herself to be an evangelical due to the movement’s close association with the Christian right in the United States.
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.