wading through conservative evangelicalism

Some days, I am discouraged as a 20-something wading through the sea of conservative evangelicalism. I seek to know the Lord more intimately and I desire a community of friends who will support each other. However, it’s hard for me to connect with a community where sermons are laden with politically charged jargon. My heart aches, because I wonder how if I, a born again Christian who knows the Lord and is seeking to continue to grow in my faith, am feeling looked down up on by not fitting into a political/social mold… how do those who have never been a church member feel? Are they ashamed of their voting record? Do they feel guilty that they don’t mind if gay couples have the right to marry? Or even more, what if they support it? Do they reflect on their character, and wonder if moral integrity and active faith only come in one size fits all package? Do they walk out with their heads down hoping that no one asks them their opinion?

I hesitate to label myself as post-evangelical, because that phrase makes me uncomfortable. Does it imply that I think I’m better than those who think differently than I do? Because isn’t that what I am frustrated with in the first place? My heart longs for the coffee dates, small group discussions, time spent lamenting and listening to my professors… I miss conversations that expose our differences in a way that creates a beautiful harmony rather than an array of sharp and ugly contrasting noises. I am exhausted by my emotional response right now. I miss having a community.

ImageI look at this through the lens of strictly Christian Theology. If we are limiting the scope of who we can share Christ’s grace and love and mercy with because of our theology aren’t we missing the point? I’m not talking about political correctness here; I am talking about a matter of the heart. As Christians, we are daily learning to die to ourselves – to die to our selfish desires, to our expectations of ourselves that we project on others, to our worries, to our fears, to our pride, to our need to be right. That is how we find the life that is talked about in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I can’t help but think that dying to our own broken ideas of theology has to be part of that. Are we stealing away other’s opportunity to know God fully by letting ourselves love less to maintain a broken theology?

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