For more than a handful of months now, I’ve been in a state of mild (and sometimes not so mild) angst regarding what is happening to Evangelical Christianity. Some of you have long since abandoned it; I get it. More power to you.
I haven’t left yet.
It’s where I’m from, and I suppose I feel sort of stuck with it, even though most of the time I’m disgusted with it. The magical portal of social media doesn’t help, where we are transported directly into everyone’s unedited thoughts and instantaneous reactions. When Jerry Falwell, Jr. said that Donald J. Trump was the dream candidate for Evangelical Christians, a Twitter Civil War erupted. When Jen Hatmaker told a reporter that she supports same-sex marriage and believes LGBT relationships can be holy, LifeWay Christian Stores pulled her books from their shelves, and the backlash against Jen (from Evangelical Christians) was immediate, vile, and personal. Even with Charlottesville – where neo-Nazis marched brandishing swastikas and tiki torches – we weren’t united in our response.
Instead of doing the hard work of listening and learning, we seem to be drawing lines in the sand and running farther and farther away from those who don’t believe everything in the same way that we do. We’re working so hard to be right that we’ve forgotten that we’re family. Or, maybe we’re not. I honestly don’t know anymore.
I’m sad, angry, confused, perplexed, and I believe we need to ask better questions. We need to go on a better journey than driving down the same hackneyed us/them, in/out, right/wrong dead end roads that leave us isolated and lost.
So I need to do some writing in order to sort it all out. I’m cursed with the inability to properly know what I think without the clicking keys and blinking cursor, so bear with me (or at least come along with me). I’m going to take the next ten posts or so to clarify the essentials of faith for me. I’m going to write about what really matters, and what doesn’t matter much – for me.
This is only the introduction. My first draft of this post listed out a bunch of topics that I hope to cover, but I deleted them, for fear those bullet points would be chum in these shark-infested waters. I’d rather have all my fingers and toes after this initial post so I can keep going. If I sound tentative, I suppose it’s because I am, at least a little.
But I’ve met way too many of you that share the same mild angst. You’re looking for a way forward, too. You’re sick of the stubborn stands and theological food fights. You’re sad because the church of Jesus Christ looks mostly pathetic right now. Please, no comments yet on how there are so many good churches out there – I know there are, I’m part of one. But we need first to acknowledge that we ain’t doing so well as a universal, catholic (small c) body.
I hope you’ll come along for the journey. But if you do, please know that you’ll have to hold the tension. There will most likely be things you’ll read that will challenge your way of thinking and believing. I’m not interested in stoking anybody’s fires – either for or against what I write. I’m interested in forging a path forward in this confusing gridlock in which we find ourselves.
And lastly, honestly, I’m hopeful. It’s a shy and tiny hope right now, but it’s there.