Rachel Held Evans is an articulate bright young voice speaking from within the Christian world today.

Evans was raised in an evangelical tradition that she grew to question. She has now migrated from evangelicalism to worship in an Episcopal Church in the United States. In the process she has lost none of her zeal for her faith and has not forsaken the traditional roots of her belief. But she has found something that has reached her deeply and provides her with important insights into the state of the church today.

In an interview yesterday with Jonathan Merritt at “Religion New Service” Evans reflected on the life of the church and the challenges she sees the church facing.

The whole interview should be read at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2015/03/09/rachel-held-evans-defends-exit-evangelicalism-calls-christians-celebrate-sacraments/.

Here are a few excerpts:

I think our reasons for leaving church are more complicated, more related to social changes and deep questions of faith than worship style or image.

If you try to woo us back with skinny jeans and coffee shops, it may actually backfire. Millennials have finely-tuned B.S. meters that can detect when someone’s just trying to sell us something.  We’re not looking for a hipper Christianity. We’re looking for a truer Christianity. Like every generation before and after, we’re looking for Jesus—the same Jesus who can be found in the places he’s always been: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these. No fog machines required.

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We need to creatively re-articulate the significance of the traditional teachings and sacraments of the church in a modern context.

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I felt drawn to the Episcopal church because it offered some practices I felt were missing in my evangelical experience, like space for silence and reflection, a focus on Christ’s presence at the communion table as the climax and center of every worship service, opportunities for women in leadership, and the inclusion of LGBT people.

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Lately I’ve been wondering if a little death and resurrection is exactly what the American church needs. What if all this talk of waning numbers and shrinking influence means our empire-building days are over and it’s a good thing? As the religious landscape in the U.S. changes, Christians are going to have to learn to measure our success by something other than money and power.

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now may be a good time to remind ourselves that ours is a kingdom that grows not by might or power but by the Spirit, whose presence is identified by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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Thinking about Rachel’s words, I wonder what it might mean to “creatively re-articulate the significance of the traditional teachings and sacraments of the church in a modern context.”

How might we remain deeply rooted in the received revelation of the traditions of Christian faith, while seeking to embody these truths in ways that have the potential to reach out to people for whom our traditions are completely foreign territory?

I wonder how much pain we continue to experience because “our empire-building days are over”? How much of the angst experienced in church today is due to the fact that people of faith are no longer on the “winning side” in our culture?

What might Christian community look like if we really put God’s Spirit first and found ourselves empowered to live together with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”?

What might be the impact if the world looked at Christians and found themselves saying, “Oh, those Christians,  they are the people who are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and in touch with a deep source of inner strength”?

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