If you’ve ever been in a choir, you’ve had the experience where the choir stop singing perhaps for a pregnant pause, and you belt a note out in the silence. Usually you realize it pretty quickly, and you stop before many people can realize it. That feels a little bit like faith deconstruction. I had been seeing in unison with the Evangelical Church for so long that when I saying instead of rested, it felt horrible. With faith deconstruction though, instead of stopping to sing, you keep singing and you feel like you’re the only one that singing and everyone around you is staring at you in horror.
It is people like Rachel Held Evans you made me realize that I was not singing out of sync with evangelicalism alone. She started singing before I did, and unbeknownst to me, I joined her chorus.
She died this morning. I just saw her a month ago, it feels unreal. I’m reeling from the shock of a young woman losing her life so quickly, leaving behind young children and a devastated husband. Rachel LED out on many different issues for me. Well I didn’t agree with her when she started talking about lgbtq plus issues, I couldn’t disregard her completely because there is something in her message that new Jesus was in there somewhere. Without Rachel held Evans and her thoughts on doubt and disbelief and faith, I probably would not be where I am today.
Within Faith deconstruction, it’s very easy to feel alone. Like you are standing by yourself while evangelicalism hurls insults at you and secularism is clawing at your back. I do have a handful of real life friends who are also going through 50 constructions, but most of my crew, my survival gang, are people that have never heard of me, probably will never hear of me. There are people who have walked this path before me and left bread crumbs. It’s a relatively small survival crew so even the loss of one person is devastating. We need all the help, all of the support, all of the “me too!”s that we can get.
With that being said, if you have ever reached out to me and said, “Hey! Me too!”, I consider you a part of my crew. Everyone who has identified with even a part of my faith journey has been such an encouragement, literally holding my hands and steadying me as the ground has given way beneath me. I need you. Even if I don’t know you.
I wish that I would have told her- sent her an email, elbowed my way in at Why Christian, tweeted her- to tell her what her work meant for me.
I will leave you with this psalm that Addie Zierman wrote for Rachel when she was still comatose. It’s so beautiful I havent been able to get all the way through it.
I’m sorry for your loss, Beth. It may be both heartening and devastating to realize that you will have had much the same impact on other people (your survival gang, if you like) as Rachel has had on you.