Rachel Held Evans, a popular author, and voice for the progressive Christian camp, is currently in a medically-induced coma. A handful of Evans’ “theological adversaries” who have openly disagreed with her work or her political stances have indicated they are praying for her swift healing.
On April 14, Evans told her followers she was in the hospital due to the flu, a urinary tract infection and an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
If you’re the praying type – I’m in the hospital with a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me. (I’m totally going to miss GOT! 😢)
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) April 14, 2019
Rachel Held Evans Being Treated for Infection
Doctors began treating Evans for an infection, but by Friday, the 19th, Evans’ husband, Daniel, announced on Rachel’s blog that doctors had placed her in a medically induced coma after discovering her brain was experiencing constant seizures. As of Tuesday, the 23rd, Daniel says she is still in the coma and that the doctors are “working to balance her treatment in an attempt to avoid negative effects of the constant seizures but also avoid possible negative effects of any medications used to sedate her and control them.”
A GoFundMe page to help the Evans family with mounting medical expenses has been set up by Sarah Bessey, Jeff Chu and Jim Chaffee, who are involved in the Evolving Faith Conference. Evans is scheduled to speak at Evolving Faith in October. In just one day, the campaign has raised more than $66,000. The comments on the page point to the impact Evans’ writing has had.
Most of Evans’ followers describe themselves as feeling marginalized in the church world. One comment reads, “Rachel has helped me reconcile my faith with my political beliefs. To use the words of LM Montgomery, I find her to be a ‘kindred spirit.’ My prayers are with those [sic] her and all those who love her and hold her dear.”
Evans drew the ire of the evangelical world when she suggested pro-life Christians would be better off voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election than they would Donald Trump. It’s no secret that her outspoken stances on controversial political issues in the U.S. have earned her some adversaries. She is an outspoken critic of President Trump.
The president bears far more resemblance to King Xerxes than to Esther. A rich, womanizing despot with thin skin who is in over his head and relies on his racist advisors to tell him what to do? It’s uncanny.
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) March 22, 2019
Rachel Held Evans and Russell Moore
Still, some who disagree with her theology and political leanings are rallying others to pray for her. Russell Moore, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote about Evans’ condition on Twitter.
. @rachelheldevans and I are, as you know, theological opposites, and we’ve debated each other on all kinds of stuff over the years.
She needs our prayers right now.
Conservatives, progressives, centrists, everybody: let’s pray for RHE. https://t.co/B8gc6eTAWI
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) April 20, 2019
Evans has commented on her appreciation of Moore in the past, like in this Facebook post from 2015. Evans attended the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast that year and appreciated the diversity of Christians she found at that gathering. She wrote:
And this year I found myself thinking: We should do this more often, this breaking of bread together, this talking and laughing together, this finding common ground together, this working together. What a beautiful glimpse of the kingdom it was to see all these diverse manifestations of Christianity sharing one meal.
Beth Moore also commented on Evans’ condition, indicated she was praying for the fellow Christian author and that anyone else who wished to take the opportunity to say something disparaging about Evans was better off praying for her instead.
Let’s get this straight. We don’t have to change our stand to kneel & pray. Good Lord. Just pray, for crying out loud. RHE needs PRAYER! If we’re only going to pray for people we line up with doctrinally, we’re going to have the shortest quiet times in the history of the church.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) April 23, 2019
Others have commented on the impropriety of writing a disclaimer about not aligning with Evans doctrinally or politically before admitting they were praying for her. The hashtag #PrayforRHE has been circulating around Twitter for a few days now.
Evans has many, many followers. I doubt she has as many enemies as followers, although it’s hard to be sure. As someone who regularly checks in with Twitter commentary, I often see more than I care to of uncivil theological debates. One thing I know is that whether you agree with what she’s written or not, she is in need of prayer, and for that reason, she should get it.
I hope you are healed soon, Rachel Held Evans.