I decided last week that I am no longer an Evangelical. Still a Christian, but just the generic variety.
I’m sure you’ll sleep better knowing this. 😉
Having dropped out of the ranks of the Republican Party several years ago, I guess the transformation is complete. Truthfully, I didn’t so much leave the GOP as it left me. The same holds true for Evangelicalism.
While most people would probably suspect that my beef with Evangelicalism comes because it’s not being conservative enough, it having “compromised with the world” too much and for too long, that’s truly not the case for me.
The primary reason I’m saying farewell to Evangelicalism is that I can’t determine what it stands for anymore. I know what Evangelicalism is clearly against, but what it stands for is mushy. And in those cases where I do know what Evangelicalism is for, I just don’t see Evangelicals doing those things. The walk doesn’t match the talk.
Take for instance evangelism. Sharing the Evangel, the Good News of Jesus, was so bedrock to Evangelicalism that the word formed the name. So how is it that I get more distinctly non-Evangelical Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons knocking on my door in any given month than Evangelicals?
Perhaps Evangelicals just got smart and realized that it takes more than door-pounding to create converts. Still, I almost never hear Evangelicals talking about evangelism. They talk about their whiz-bang church programs, their 401k plans, how vulgar our culture is, and on and on—but no one seems to be talking about leading people to Jesus and discipling them to maturity. At least not to the extent that the name of the group would imply. I get a better sense of what the modern day Tea Party movement is about from their name than I get from Evangelicalism. Heck, some Evangelicals can’t even agree on what the Good News is.
I also don’t understand the Janus-like ability of Evangelicals to love someone on Sunday and turn on them by Friday. Evangelicals talk more about restoration than any group I know, yet I see almost nothing being restored, especially “fallen” Evangelicals. Instead, the tasers, billyclubs, and brass knuckles come out, and that person Evangelicals once cherished has been reduced to so much bloody pulp tossed roadside in a 55-gallon drum on the outskirts of Nowheresville. And without so much as a Thank You for all those years of service. I’ve lost track of all the people I know who ultimately received “the left hand of fellowship” from fellow Evangelicals. I suspect my turn is coming.
I also suspect the hero worship in Evangelicalism is to blame, in part, for that selective memory of friend and foe. Despite Paul’s recommendation not to slavishly announce allegiances, Evangelicals do so with abandon—until the inevitable feet of clay appear on the hero, and then it’s off to Nowheresville, as noted. “I am of Piper” or “I am of Osteen” or “I am of Warren” or “I am of Wright” seem to be the flags that Evangelical clans bear into battle. The names change in time—feet of clay, remember. Or a good solider gets miffed at the name on the banner for some perceived slight or error, and then it’s off to a new clan. All that hero worship has so factionalized Evangelicals that one cannot even hold a conversation with a fellow Evangelical without announcing early on which flag one serves—and once that allegiance is announced, so much for real conversation. Fellow clan members can’t see beyond their clan, and distinct clans approach each other like Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man before a Wrestlemania title match, chests out and spittle-laced vitriol flying. How that builds the Body of Christ is beyond me.
Of course, the Media makes the most of defections, discord, and failings, yet Evangelicals love the capital-M Media and want to own it. In actuality, they always come off looking bad when the Media shines its light on them. Why this lesson is never learned so that Evangelicals keep their heads down and their faces out of the spotlight is beyond me. I can’t think of the last Evangelical media-mongering that truly advanced the cause of Christ. To quote “that commie” (by Evangelical standards) Pete Seeger, “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?”
In America, the need to self-label is a mania that afflicts us all, but I’m tired of labels. I’m also tired of defending ideologies that read great on paper but can’t pull off the practice.
So in stripping off years of lead-based paint, I hope to get down to the good, pure wood and build from that. Not by adding another layer of paint, but by preserving the natural beauty at the core. It’s why Evangelicalism must go—at least for me.
I’m not one of those who goes so far that I can’t call myself a Christian and end up calling myself the slightly hippie Christ Follower instead. Christian still works for me. I just won’t be adding Evangelical to the front.
61 thoughts on “Farewell, Evangelicalism!”
So…has the inevitable “Farewell, Dan Edelen” tweet come in yet?
I’m too small of a fish to receive that frying, Bob. 😉
Well said, Dan.
Thanks, Bill. And thanks for reading.
Practicing Christian would be a good label, but it seems to create more silent confusion than understanding. So I still find myself referring to me as an evangelical, simply because it conveys the type of church I attend.
I left evangelicalism because I’m not into multi-level marketing (MTM), which is what defines evangelicalism, at least in the evangelical churches of Chicago and Phoenix. “Making disciples” is getting people to find their own disciple-candidates, and, as in MTM, the leader at/near the top of the pyramid is given those candidates to train. Most “disciples” are in it for the social wellbeing. Some serve, but most of the service is internal.
Following Christ is so much more than evangelicalism.
BTW, Seeger must have had what you call “evangelical standards”: “I still call myself a communist, because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it.” (NYT Magazine, Jan 22, 1995)
It looks like old pinko Pete beat the Evangelicals to the labeling process! 😉
Hmmmm. “Pinko” is as far as you’re willing to concede, even after Pete acknowledged his communism?
I’m of Dan Edelen on this point 🙂 I reached a point in my life where I did the exact same thing of divorcing from the title of evangelical. It saddens me what that word means anymore. I find that it has more of a politial stigma than a Christian one. Evangelical usually means you are a republican and are for capitalism even at the expense of social justice and those on the fringe of society. I know evangelicals who know more about the Gospel according to Limbaugh than the Gospel according to Luke. “Blessed are the poor…for they can get out and get a darn job in our free market!” Is the attitude.
We need to get back to the true message of Christ and love the world in and through him. Throw off the titles and the boxes we have put God in. We want to control and govern God instead of allowing him to govern us.
What was your reasoning for abandoning that word?
For me Dan, it became a word that began to carry too much cultural baggage with it apart from its true meaning. I don’t think any group of Christians should align themselves more with a political party than with Christ and thats what I began to see more and more. They have taken on attitudes and actions that are not Christ-like. Evangelical in the Christian Church in Africa, China, South East Asia, even parts of Europe is not what it means here in America. I agree that it is not we who have necessarily left evagelicalism in America, but it that has left us.
“Now Peter and John broadcast their right-wing radio talk show together at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who, hearing Peter and John broadcast every day, called into the show to ask for alms. And Peter, cutting him off in mid-sentence, said, Tune into us daily. And he listened unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I some; but none of it give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get a job” (Acts of the Americans 3:1-6).
😀 😀 😀
While I do agree that Titles can often be a bad thing, I don’t necessarily agree with leaving the values of said title just because others are not displaying the true values of that title. I do feel bad for you that you’ve met people who call themselves one thing but act another way. Unfortunately that’s who people are, fickle. One of the very fundamental things kids are taught as they grow up is to never quit when the “chips” are down.
I do hate labels. But at one point or another you will be classified under one no matter what you do. If that’s going to happen to me then I’m going to choose a label whose values best describe what my core beliefs are. The label “Christianity” doesn’t cut it anymore in today’s culture. People need to know what you believe in if you are going to be evangelizing. To go up to someone calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. They want to know what you believe specifically. And as soon as you go into detail describing your core beliefs than you just get classified once more. So I say embrace the label that describes your values! But don’t quit because others who call themselves an Evangelical aren’t living up to par, otherwise you’ve just placed a label on them and may as well quit Christianity as well. Satan will do his best to divide the church in any way he can, including sect partitioning.
Be a role model. Be the person Christ has called us to be. Become the model of the core beliefs that is Evangelical, Pentecostal, Baptist or whatever “label” best describes the core beliefs that you believe in. Others aren’t doing it? So what. You will be. Making you the very essence of that label, the Christian. This is the very point of Christianity today.
As an Evangelical Christian myself, I’ve felt the hurt and the pain from those who call themselves an Evangelical but act another way. But I’m not quitting because it is my very mission to be the person Christ has called me to be and I’ve chosen the label of Evangelical. Not because it is convenient, but because the core beliefs embody the beliefs that I want to keep my focus on.
I would argue that all the labels succeed in doing is to erect barriers. I’m tired of barriers. If Steve say he is a paedobaptist Calvinist charismatic, that may immediately irk Phil, who is a credobaptist Arminian cessationist, without Phil knowing anything else about Steve. Immediately the defenses come up. Evangelicals toss those labels around like crazy; I think they are hurting the Church in this country.
Fact is, I’m not label-able. I don’t fit into any one tribe. So why adopt a tribal name? And why use one that is broken? What does Evangelical add to the basic Christian, especially if the word Evangelical lacks positive meaning? In that case, it only detracts.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that while it sucks that some Evangelicals toss around words that irk others, it doesn’t mean all of them have done that. Why not be an Evangelical who doesn’t toss around such names? Should I quit being a Christian every time I see someone who doesn’t personify the label? To say that “evangelicals” toss around names like that is labeling in itself. It would be like me saying “catholics are molestors”. It’s lumping the ones who don’t act that way in with the ones that do. While I’m sure some Catholics quit being Catholic because of those that do molest children, if they quit the faith then they’re missing the bigger picture. Now I’m not saying you’re quitting the faith. I’m not even trying to say “JOIN US”. What I’m trying to say is that the term Evangelical DOES have positive meaning, it personifies the focus of evangelizing. And while others may add and take away beliefs from the group it is the core belief that gives it it’s positive nature. The term Evangelical is much more than a term. It’s like the title “Alcoholics Anonymous”. It’s not just a title, it’s a group of people coming together under the same core belief which is to fight alcoholism. Evangelicals in there very nature are called to do just that, evangelize. And while the term Christianity now-a-days is very general speaking, the term Evangelical allows a person to meet with other’s like him/her who share the same focus.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to condemn your choice. I’m just trying to say that while it sucks that some people of a group act a certain way, it doesn’t mean that they all do and that the core belief of the group is still the same but others have chosen the skew the path.
Honestly, I no longer understand the need to add Evangelical before Christian. I feel that anymore it’s wielded as if to say, “Well, I’m not one of those kinds of Christians; I’m the right kind.” And I guess I’m just weary of that kind of wordplay.
This is not to says that all Evangelicals do that. But enough do to taint the title. When combined with the other things I mentioned here, I just don’t see the need for the added title anymore. Maybe I’m just being contrary, which I do all too easily, but it just doesn’t seem to describe me as the word now connotes. Like I said before, I didn’t leave Evangelicalism; it left me.
It’s really too bad that Evangelicals are tied so much to the political parties of the United States. Up here in Canada that is just not the case. While we do have a “Conservative” Government, in no way, shape or form is it Evangelical or even Christian Nation minded. That may be why I’m having such a hard time identifying with you.
Yes, the last thing you’d ever want to do is have one nation under God!
Honestly, I no longer understand the need to add Evangelical before Christian.
Especially when the word “Christian” without any modifiers has been hijacked to mean “American Evangelical Christian Only”.
I’m in Furry Fandom; there is only so much you can do when crazies come in, hijack your name, and loudly proclaim they’re One of You and You’re Just Like Them. Changing the name doesn’t work; nothing prevents the crazies from just moving over and hijacking THAT name too. I think George Carlin had a monologue on that very subject.
The only people that would use such terms are those that spend or have spent far too much time in the ivory tower of academia. The man on the street doesn’t care about those labels. He doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care. This type of discussion and disenchantment comes as the result of too many people not going beyond the walls of the church and into the world. It is possible to be educated and not insulated or isolated. It is possible to look beyond the problems of a “label” and see the positives. Do disenchanted Christians leave their favorite stores because they are not perfect? Do they sulk and say “The store has left me?” Leaving evangelicalism is–it could be argued, playing right into Satan’s playbook of additional division in the Body of Christ. But then again, if modernism, liberalism, darkness, sinful positions has entered into true evangelicalism, would not a departure be warranted?
I respectfully disagree, Ray. I would argue that those in the ivory tower think that the man on the street doesn’t recognize the labels, but he does.
Why? Because the Media have drilled those labels into him. The man on the street is not as deaf or blind as we think he is. Underestimating him is one of the critical oversights of Evangelicalism.
The problem comes when that man is attuned to the Media definitions and not Evangelicalism’s. Evangelicals may protest, but they’ve lost their definition, as it has been swamped by the Media’s. Sadly, Evangelicals thought their handing over of the definition was a positive.
If I were to mention the phrase “Evangelical Christian” to people I know who are not Christians, the first thing I will hear from them is “Jerry Falwell” or “the Christian Right.” Those are Media-defined images. And they are not erased easily. People on the street do not have the emotional investment to want to see beyond the labels to the positives, and Evangelicalism CANNOT expect them to. That Evangelicals think that people’s perceptions will change so easily is in error. Falwell is dead a few years now, yet he’s still the polarizing image in most people’s minds when they think of Evangelical. In second are the images tied to political campaigns and ideologies.
Talk to non-Christians more often. This is how they will answer.
Part of this is Evangelicalism’s own doing. If anyone has played into the Enemy’s playbook, it’s Evangelicals, as they’ve rejoiced at how they’ve been labeled, only now to see how it has backfired.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Those who are trusting in Christ should call themselves a “disciple of Christ” which would imply that we aren’t just a casual one day of the week follower of Christ. And everyone knows that a true disciple of Christ is a Christian hedonist who happens to be a four point Calvinist like me 😉
I guess what you’re saying is “I am 80% of John Piper,” eh, Paul? 😉
Yeah I have drank the kool-aid! I Just can’t agree with Calvin on limited atonement, at least he can’t burn me at the stake.:-)
It’s the synergy of the L with the I that gives me the most problems. I can’t see how the two together don’t always lead to the double predestination problem and the myriad subproblems that erupt from it, which is my biggest issue with Calvinism in its most ardent 5-point form. I may be restless, but the young and Reformed don’t exactly apply. 😉
Its obvious I am the lone “man” out here. Perhaps it’s because I live in a blue state (CA) where the evangelicals rarely talk about politics. The problem out here is the social justice obsession and leaving what was accomplished at the cross behind. Therefore, I am going more toward true evangelicalsm and less toward the liberal social gospel that I grew up with. I don’t find that this obsession helps the poor. I do see three black very evangelical Word of Faith pastors in various cities whose churches bought franchises and hire people in their neighborhood. That is what I want to see–allowing the people in the ‘hood’ do the stuff and we keep out of it with our “do-goddism”…..because it oftens ends up helping the poor. But I guess it salves our conscience that we helped the poor. It’s all about the WHY we do this and if it comes out of God’s plan, not our plan.
I lived in CA for a few years and I did not share your experience. Evangelicals still talked about politics in the Bay Area. And I know that the suburban megachurches down LA way did too, as my wife’s family that lived there would tell us stories.
Perhaps its your region of the city/state that isn’t politically minded.
BTW, are these black pastors Pentecostals or Word of Faith? If so, I’d like to know more, as they would be bucking the trend toward insular faith that I see growing within those two groups in America.
I grew up in the area I now live in. Ilive in a very large suburban-urban area just north of Los Angeles. My city of 191,000 shares borders with Los Angeles, Pasadena and Burbank. I was a member of churches in all fo those four cities. My experience was with both Pentecostal and non-C/P churches. Some were large (but under 5,000) and some small. This covered the time period from 1966 to the present. Rarely would I hear about politics from the pulpit and not too much from the congregants I met, except the usual individual comments before an election that you would hear anywhere by anyone in the country. Where you would hear these things in Christianity here was on the radio and TV but mostly from national ministries, though there were a local ones too. But in the churches?…No.
Where you would hear this in churches were mainly in the rural areas of the Central valley and the eastern counties like Riverside, Imperial, etc. (east of Los Angeles and San Diego).
Ilive in a very large suburban-urban area just north of Los Angeles. My city of 191,000 shares borders with Los Angeles, Pasadena and Burbank.
As an Evangelical who is not American, and who lives outside of your country, I think I can safely say that your perspective is quite American. That is to say that Americans are “hero-worshipers” by nature, always looking for the next great leader. And so they glom on to whoever is the most popular religious leader du jour. What you Yanks need to do is stop trying to turn your country into (or back into) the New Jerusalem. You’ve mixed faith and politics in an almost toxic way; in a way that Jesus never advocated or intended. “My Kingdom is not of this world”, and yet many American evangelical leaders are pushing their flocks all the time to “get America back to being a Christian nation.” If you could only see that it’s supposed to be a nation WITH Christians, not a “Christian Nation”, you might be able to pull it out of the fire before it’s too late.
Yep. I tired of that rhetoric a long time ago.
I didn’t even bring up the Evangelical dominionists who want to take over a state and turn it into a theocracy. I think the recession killed that idea, but it will resurface at some time.
We’ve done the same thing, even including officially withdrawing from the Republican party. We always say, “We’re just Christians.”
But Lee, how will we label you then? 😉
I can understand your feelings, Dan. But at the end of the day, I don’t see much point, one way or another, in dumping a label, even if doing so happens to feel really good and gets a big load off your chest.
Nobody really liked the label “evangelical” anyhow, and the term has gotten very, very blurry in its meaning. It was originally invented back in the 20th Century mostly because some high brow people felt nervous about being inadvertantly associated with those hicks and rednecks who made much merriment at the Scopes Monkey Trial. Nowdays, the Pomo Emergent Cohort avoids the term for fear that someone will think they’re in with those awful Tea Party honkies. The Fundies hate the term because they think it makes them sound like they’re in on the soft suds side of Rick Warren or Joel Olsteen. The Resolutely Elect Disciples of Calvin despise the term because it doesn’t sound Truely Reformed enough. It seems nobody is happy with it.
So at the end of the day, about the only people around who use the term are the secularists in the Mainstream New Media, who write the gooey, mushy religion articles that gets criticized on the famous Get Religion blog. They use the term as convenient albeit vague catchall to refer to that enormous blob out there that can’t be classified as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthdox, or Mainline-We-Are-WCC-Protestants-But-Are-So-Broadminded-We-May-As-Well-Be-The-Unitarian-Church-of-Ophrah-Winfrey.
Agreed, Oengus. It’s sort of a lame victory to proclaim oneself free of a label, despite the label’s continuing to exist. But maybe others will do the same (and we can then argue what’s the point of just having the label Christian, thus birthing another adjective to modify it; round and round she goes, eh?).
So nice to hear that, Dan. Evangelicalism has finite borders, Christ doesn’t. When a flower grows well, it’s time to transplant it from a safe greenhouse to open grounds.
Nice example, Giovanni! You might also mention that if you transplant it too late it gets rootbound.
Great post, Dan. I think every label undergoes this sort of cultural re-shaping over time. But I also suspect that the labeling is a marketing tool and marketing drives much of evangelical Christianity these days. It’s all about moving the product, man. Meanwhile the willing adoption of these labels (and the side-taking that goes along with that) is behavior that has been conditioned into us by the marketing culture we’ve grown up within. Our labels define what books we read, what music we listen to, what movies we rent. “Evangelical” has come to mean a set of consumer choices (as against other choices, which are rivals in the marketplace and to which we must therefore declare our antagonism). Where I live, many people think of the Catholic Church when they hear the word “Christian,” so I have used the E-word (accompanied by verbal hedging and nuancing) to differentiate, but I’m not satisfied with that, for all the reasons you mention. Maybe I should just say, “I’m into Jesus,” but then I’d sound like a ’70s SoCal hipster I guess.
You’re not a ’70s SoCal hipster, Bob? Oh, I am so disappointed! Now I can’t claim to know any. Next thing you know, I guess you’ll be sayin’ that Nate ain’t a Smoky Mountain, hammer-dulcimer-playin’, good ol’ boy and my despair will be complete 😉
I think we should risk being “improperly filed” by people with just saying “Christian.” It should be our speech and actions that distinguish us, not a powerless man-made modifier. Good stuff Dan, thanks.
A most wise distillation, Clint.
**I think we should risk being “improperly filed” by people with just saying “Christian.” It should be our speech and actions that distinguish us, not a powerless man-made modifier.**
Good point, Clint!
I’ve thought it through and I think I’m going to tell people “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.” This will let folks know that I’m a Christian, but not hung up on legalism. . .and maybe it will make them laugh. I don’t think people laugh nearly enough.
I agree, Casey; people don’t laugh nearly enough.
The whole drinking thing…many years of hiding the fact that I like a beer (work in live video events & experience LONG hours). So refreshing to hear Driscoll one day comment, “If two believers are in a bar having a beer, does that constitute a church?” Cracked me up…
The primary reason I’m saying farewell to Evangelicalism is that I can’t determine what it stands for anymore. I know what Evangelicalism is clearly against, but what it stands for is mushy.
I’ve heard it said you can tell when a preacher is getting into serious trouble when he stops preaching what he’s for and preaches only on what he’s against. Does the same thing hold for churches and movements?
Aside: Preaching only against something could also be used as a definition of a hate group or grievance culture obsessed with revenge on the Other. Have some of these churches, preachers, and movements drifted over the line?
Or a good solider gets miffed at the name on the banner for some perceived slight or error, and then it’s off to a new clan.
As a Romish Papist (Satanic Death Cookies and all), I must point out the theoretical end state of Protestantism: Millions of One True Churches, each with only one member, each denouncing all the others as Heretics and Apostates.
Of course, the Media makes the most of defections, discord, and failings, yet Evangelicals love the capital-M Media and want to own it. In actuality, they always come off looking bad when the Media shines its light on them.
I have seen this in other contexts, the most familiar of which are gamer and Furry fandom. There is only so much you can do to distance yourself from crazies who loudly proclaim to everyone (especially the Media) that They Are One Of You and You Are Just Like Them.
And the Crazies are the ones who actively seek out Media exposure the most. Judging from the weirder types who accumulate around Furry Fandom, it’s not just “Lookit Me! I’m FAMOUS!” They have this delusion that “If I Just EXPLAIN To Everyone (through My Friend The Media) Everyone Will UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT Me. Just As I Am.” And the Media looking for the next Laugh At The Freaks Show encourages this, sometimes even egging on the crazies to new heights. And those of us non-crazies in the Fandom end up as collateral damage.
Some evangelicals have denounced the prosecution as “anti-Christian”, and
claiming that the Christian companies MUST cheat investors in order to keep operating. Unfortunately for them, the US government does not agree, so the Christians
who do this kind of thing are being sent to prison anyway.
Some evangelicals have denounced the prosecution as “anti-Christian”, and claiming that the Christian companies MUST cheat investors in order to keep operating.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
In the end, labels are just that – labels. How we live defines who we are – not what we call ourselves, and not what others call us.
I wish I could agree with you, but my experience has been totally opposite. Labels not only stick, but they are massively influential, and they can also be massively detrimental.
Don’t believe me? Refer to a well-known Christian and use the label homosexual, even though it’s not true. Then watch how that label begins to weasel its way into the collective unconscious, ruining whatever it touches. Call a Christian leader a “rich preacher” and watch how that label of rich because to influence how people think about that preacher, whether rich or not.
The media in particular has used Evangelical and born-again Christian as derisive labels. And they’ve stuck like leeches.
I should have elaborated and said “how we live defines who we are in God’s eyes”.
And honestly, I no longer care if someone else – especially someone with who I rarely interact- has an inaccurate perception of me. It would be different if I were a public figure, but I think we fret too much over perceptions.
I do agree with the theme of your original post that the label “evangelical” is confusing in the current landscape. At best it is ambiguous, at worst it was never necessary.
Yeah, I get it…I truly do. I have left too. The thought of being an evangelical Christian turns my stomach sour now. And I am rejoicing in the new freedom I feel to be who I am, which is wherever God has brought me to in life thus far and not wherever everyone at church thinks I should be. I can truly begin to live with true hope and peace in that Christ is the one who will justify and sanctify me instead of the guilt and fear that comes from burdens we put upon each other within evangelical churches to have reached a certain level of holiness that has been determined by other people and not God. You know what I mean by how people get torn up throughout the week as you stated until we get to service and pretend we love one another again.
Watching the entire Bush years from an evangelical church only now reminds me of Israel when they “had to have” their own king. We wanted a “Christian” leader because that was the answer to all of our woes…well, we received our Saul. Took from us many resources (present & future from an economic stand point) & sent many of our young men to war (& their death). Somewhere mid-stream after realizing the Iraq war was being fought for other reasons than pontificated, it was clear that the evangelical cause had gone astray. It certainly didn’t stop comments coming from the pulpit like “If you don’t vote Republican, you’re not a real Christian.” Oye…
This is a good article & am enjoying the follow-up discussions.
Reading your blog off and on for a little while, it seemed to me that you were becoming more political as time went on. Not so much in the original posts but in the comments where you criticized Republicans pretty soundly and regularly. So if you feel that most Evangelicals are Republicans, and you are choosing to disassociate yourself from Evangelicalism because of all the evil traits of the Republicans, exactly how does that make you different from them? After all, you’re just adjusting your religious label to fit your political outlook. They think their path more closely follows Jesus’s just like you do. You too seem to be putting politics first, Dan. Too bad you can’t just put it aside and accept your Evangelical brothers and sisters no matter what political party they belong to.
What Alan said. If anything, I’ve become more apolitical. If it seems like I’m picking on the Republicans, it’s only because conservative Christians have had that party drilled into their consciousness since I was 18 years old.
Anymore, I don’t support parties. I’m not voting in blocs. I vote for whichever candidate best represents what I believe to be a biblical and Constitutional stance. Lately, that is less and less GOP.
I cannot vote for anyone who supports abortion—period. I believe something is genuinely morally and mentally wrong with people who cannot see that killing off portions of a generation to support personal selfishness is wickedness in the extreme. So that pretty much annihilates the Democrats right there, although a few anti-abortion Dems do exist. But since they tend to vote as a bloc with their party, they’re not likely to get my vote.
I will not vote for people who seek only to maintain the status quo. The status quo is killing our country. Drastic measures are called for, but most politicians lack the backbone to do the right thing.
If anything, I’ve tended to vote for Constitution Party candidates, since most of them believe along the same lines I do. I don’t care if “they can’t win,” I’m doing what I believe is right. And if no one in a race shares my view, I simply will not vote for anyone. I’m not going to support people who stab me or the country in the back. That’s been going on too much lately on Capitol Hill, and I won’t condone it.
While all this sounds like I am MORE concerned about politics, the general state of the institution is so corrupted, I place no hope in it to do anything except look out for itself. Politics has become “every man for himself,” which is too much the state of the entire country. Self-interest drives everything, and sacrificial service is a concept of the past. That Congress continues to exempt itself from the legislation it binds around the necks of “lesser” citizens only shows how far politics has degraded in this country.
If it all blows up, I won’t cry. I’m a citizen of heaven first. Anything else is decoration.
Actually, Dan has become more apolitical over time – just like the early Church. Certainly there is nothing in any of his blogs that suggests he has taken up an active political role of any type.
There’s also nothing in any of his writing that can be construed as not accepting “Evangelical brothers and sisters”. Dan simply disagrees with the actions of some who label themselves as Evangelical. There is a crisp distinction between disagreement and not accepting someone.
I have had a lot of hesitance to use the term ‘evangelical’ since it has been tied to shipwrecks like the ELCA, etc. Ir ia sad to see key terms lost.
It is interesting to read your account. I just posted a very similar account about myself “Why I Walked Away from Evangelicalism” on Chaos & Old Night. Though we had some similar reasons for walking away, I ended up in a little different place than you. What church are you part of now that Evangelicalism is behind you?
I like this. I should get over to this blog more often than I do.