2016 was a watershed moment for my faith. After years of trying to hold onto the tension between my obviously non-evangelical theological views and my desire to stay within the evangelical tradition I belonged to my entire Christian life, the election forced me to jump completely off that train. But it wasn’t until this week that I finally viewed myself as being fully outside of the tent of evangelicalism.
And I have to tell you, I feel free.
I really don’t know WHAT I am yet, and perhaps a label is just reductive and should be avoided anyway. But it ain’t evangelical. And it feels great.
I no longer have to care what evangelicals think of my theology. I no longer have to just go with the flow in a church where the majority of the people I see on Sunday somehow think that it’s okay to vote for white supremacy because abortion or Hillary or lols or whatever. I no longer have to keep looking for an evangelical church that will support me as I am in my spiritual journey because I’ve realized that construct is the mythical unicorn.
Maybe I will end up in a mainline church, or maybe I will find a group of like-minded people and start something new. But the days of pretending and worrying are over.
After reading back my previous post, I feel like there are a couple things that need to be clarified, for myself.
1. This is not a church that’s against anybody. It’s a church for people. Mainline, Catholics, Orthodox, and yes, even evangelicals are still our brothers and sisters, even though we would prefer to worship in an environment different from all of those. And of course, we are more than happy to reach across doctrinal boundaries to advance God’s reign.
2. It’s political but not partisan. The way of Jesus is by its very nature political. When you assert that you are a part of the vanguard of a new reign, you are necessarily political. When you come to bring justice for the oppressed, to raise up the poor, and to break down barriers based on race and gender; you are inherently political. But Jesus never sided with the Zealots, or the Saducees, or the Herodians, or Caesar. Because his reign judges all of those things. For 1700 years the church has been held captive by Christendom. And evangelicals are the latest to cozy up to power and its institutions of oppression in a drastic attempt to hold onto Christendom. And while we may be Republican or (more likely) Democrats politically, we must always be a prophetic voice to both parties and all other centers of power, and must never seek to impose our theological perspective on others through abuse of that power. We may march for black lives, but we shouldn’t lobby or desire access to the politicians themselves.