Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Dear Evangelicalism: I Don’t Think This Relationship Is Going To Work.

If evangelicalism were a person, here’s what I’d need to say:

So, Evangelicalism… it’s me.

I’m guessing this won’t come as a huge shock to you because our relationship has been strained for quite some time now, but I need to tell you:

This relationship isn’t working for me anymore.

I wish I could say that this is a “it’s not you, it’s me” type of situation, but let’s be real: this actually is about you. No, it’s not about what you believe– strangely enough, I think that you and I still probably hold 98% of our beliefs in common. The belief structure isn’t what’s not working for me– it’s your culture.

I just don’t think I feel comfortable associating with it anymore. The more time I spend with you trying to make this work, the more I find the life being drained from me. And, ironically, the harder I work to earn your approval and acceptance the further I feel from God.

It’s just not working– it hasn’t been working for a long time, and I just can’t go on like this.

I’m sure you probably saw this coming a long time ago. Yes, I remember the way you freaked out when I took that class on Emergent Christianity in seminary and worried that it would damage our relationship. I know I told you not to worry and that we’d always be together– but I was wrong on that count. I was just more comfortable with Emergent from the first time I met them and it didn’t take long for me to realize that our relationship would never be the same. To be honest, I didn’t have to try hard to be loved and accepted by Emergent, but I did and do with you. I know that I should have just ended things then, but I tried to hold on– you and I have a long history together, so I did my best to make it work.

I just don’t think this is going to. The longer I try to earn your acceptance the more I actually grow to resent you, and that isn’t a healthy situation for either of us– we should both just be free to go our own ways. I’ve tried for too long to hold onto old identities and split loyalties, and I just can’t anymore. If Emergent didn’t make me realize that, I certainly came to realize that when I met Neo-Anabaptism and Progressive Christianity. Unfortunately, the only hope you and I have at salvaging some sort of relationship with each other is to take some time apart. Maybe one day we can be friends, but right now I just need my space from you. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but I really do.

When people ask if you and I are together, I’m going to have to start answering them honestly and telling them that we’re not an item anymore. For now, I need to take some space from churches that overtly claim to associate with you, because going to those churches at this time just further reminds me of our painful, sometimes abusive, relationship– and I just don’t have the emotional energy for that.

I know you think this is all about Rob Bell, but it’s not. The truth is, it was over long before I even met Rob– and I hope you can see that. Rob is a good guy, so it wouldn’t be fair to blame our break-up on him. Plus, you’re never going to learn and grow if you deal with this by blaming others– this is about you, and your need to change if you don’t want to continue to hear people tell you “it’s over”.

Now, in a strange sort of way I do still love you (but not in that way), and I really do want to see you change. In fact, if you made some serious changes I would reconsider things. But until you do, I need to respect myself and be firm in that we’re not a “thing” anymore. I realize you wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow from this experience if I didn’t tell you why this isn’t working, so here’s why the house is empty and I’ve moved my stuff into storage:

 I’m tired of the way you view people as objects.

It’s been my experience that you often see people as objects to be converted instead of people to love, and I just don’t like that. It’s dehumanizing, and I can’t associate with it. In fact, Jesus doesn’t like that either– he once chided religious leaders of his time for their ability to go to great lengths to win a “convert” only to turn them into something that God never intended. First, learn to love people simply because they are PEOPLE, and then all the other stuff will work itself out.

I’m tired of the way you treat women.

Call me a heretic, but I think men and women are equal and that God gives individual gifting regardless of gender, and I know you don’t always share the same belief. I had hope you’d come around on this issue, but I’m realizing more and more that we just have irreconcilable differences when it comes to this, and that it’s a non-negotiable for me. I want to encourage women to use their skills, talents and abilities to be whoever God created them as individuals to be, and I just can’t be with someone who won’t support women embracing their full identity. Plus, every time I log onto Twitter you’re doing something to bully female bloggers, and if you treat them that way in public, what does it say about how you treat other women in private? So, until or unless you start treating women like equals at home and at church, it’s over between us.

I’m tired of the way you treat my gay friends.

I don’t care if you always believe that being gay is a sin– that’s your prerogative– but I do care how you treat my gay friends and the ways in which you express your beliefs on this issue. I think it is important for you to realize that there are in fact, Christians who are gay. They are people just like you and me who are busy trying to follow Jesus the best they can. However, the way you treat them is having the opposite effect that you claim to want– I think the way you treat them is actually driving them further from the wonderful message of Jesus instead of closer to it.  As one of my readers told me yesterday, there is a large gap between Christianity and the LGBT community, and we need people to bridge that gap in loving ways– something you don’t seem interested in doing. So, until your culture is one where my LGBT friends will find a safe place to connect to God, I just can’t claim to be part of you anymore.

I’m sick of your gun obsession.

Seriously– have you tried to step back and look at your gun obsession through the eyes of an outsider? You look like a 12 year old collecting video games. I’m tired of it, and I’m quite sure that Jesus is tired of it too. You act like Jesus had a tattoo of the second amendment and sported a mullet, and quite honestly, I can’t be with someone who has that bizarre a view of Jesus. The more you continue this obsession the more you actually participate in a never ending system of violence, and I want nothing to do with that– because Jesus wanted nothing to do with that. I mean really- whenever we’re on the phone you end up talking more about guns than homelessness, which really seems backwards. So, until I see some growth in this area, it’s just not going to work.

I find your insistence that Jesus was a Republican almost unbearable.

You do know that there were no such thing as Republicans back then, right? When we first started spending time together, this issue wasn’t a big deal to me but as time goes on, I now see how silly this is. Jesus invites us to follow him, but you seem more concerned with following the platform of the Republican National Committee. I used to think there was a chance you’d grow out of this, or at least embrace that not all of us identify with conservative politics, but now I see I was wrong about that. I don’t know how to be in a relationship with someone who has meshed faith and politics together like a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’ve had it with your obsession with power and control.

I need to be completely honest: I’m starting to think you have a power addiction. The next time you hear Mr. Brownstone by Guns n’ Roses, pay attention to the line: “I used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do it so a little got more and more”, because that’s the way I experience your relationship with power and control. You keep feeding the beast, but the beast keeps getting more hungry. As if  the power you already have isn’t enough, now you talk about “taking the country back” which makes me think you’re more concerned with the pursuit of power and control than pursuing the Jesus guy who said “blessed are the meek”. It just feels like we have different goals for the future of this, and that’s not going to enable a healthy, life-long relationship.

I’m tired of arguing over finances.

I know that finances become an issue in a lot of relationships, and it did in ours too. I tried to look past this, but I just can’t anymore. Have you even looked at the checking account lately? We’re actually LOADED with dough, but whenever we talk about finances it feels like you’re more interested in building funds than feeding the hungry in the local community. Seriously, are you even aware of the tone you take with me when I bring up “social justice”? Whenever I say those words you get instantly nasty with me and when that happens I don’t even want to be in the same house as you. I just can’t continue sharing my finances with someone who wants to blow so much of it on building campaigns and installing life-size Noah’s Arcs in church sanctuaries. I won’t even bring up how much must have gone into that foolish Creation museum with the cave men riding dinosaurs. You’re free to spend to spend your money however you’d like, but I feel like our financial priorities are too often incompatible.

As we both know, there are a lot of other reasons why this simply isn’t going to work, but I’m not sure that it would be healthy for us to try to talk about every last issue since we both know that we can’t live like this anymore.

In the end, I was okay with the fact we didn’t agree on everything and thought we could live in peace and mutual respect– but it feels like you’re not open to being content with diversity of viewpoints in the areas where we don’t see eye to eye. It’s almost like you were more interested in changing me, than actually knowing me and loving me for who I am. What’s sad, is that embracing diversity would have made us stronger, but it often felt like I had to always see things your way in order to be included and accepted as a member of the tribe.

And that, simply became too painful for me.

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, but I’m tired of feeling hurt so much of the time. I’m tired of the way you’re always trying to change me instead of just loving me for who I am. I’m tired of the way you’ve always forced me to the margins and isolated me when I didn’t meet your expectations or asked questions that made you uncomfortable. I’m tired of  the way I experience your culture and your tone, especially with people you disagree with. More than anything, I’m tired of the fact that I don’t believe you even care about anything I just told you.

So, Evangelicalism, I don’t think this relationship is going to work.

You can call me an Anabaptist, an Emergent or Emerging Christian, you can call me a “Progressive Christian” or you can even call me a heretic (I get that a lot), but I just don’t think I can wear the name “evangelical” anymore.

So, it’s over.

Maybe if you turn the keys over to some fresh and reasonable evangelical voices, stop bullying women on Twitter, pawn your guns, apologize to the LGBT community and take your name off the checking account, we could meet for coffee and talk… but until then, I just don’t see how there can be a path forward for the two of us.



PS. I hope you think of me when you hear this song:

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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180 Responses

  1. I just agreed to sponsor a child with World Vision to in a small way make up for those unfeeling “Christians” who dropped their sponsorships because of a line in the Old Testament. I hope that lots of people do this. Only the poor children are going to be hurt by the actions of these Evengelicals.

  2. Just…so powerful. And beautiful. Please don’t let any of these critical responses deter you from what you are doing, Ben. To all those who are posting in opposition to this article, see Matthew 23 for Jesus’ response to the type of religion that is being spoken out against here. I mean for this to be tendered with love and respect, though it is harsh. Religion like that kills people from the inside out (and not in the good way that Paul wrote about when he said, ‘I die daily.’ It does it in the bad way, like being assimilated into the Borg Collective on Star Trek. If that were a real thing.)

  3. Very timely, since I just came back from counsel over a serious marriage issue with my pastor. It seems that all of my suffering could have been alleviated if I had never disobeyed God and dated a man that wasn’t a Christian–never mind that he was a Chrsitan when we got married, and that plenty of Christians have the same problems we do, so our problems are not limited to “unbelievers.” Even though I am the one being hurt, it is still all my fault and these are the consequences. I don’t know what got into me thinking that going to an evangelical pastor for comfort and counsel would work…it never has before. My “unbelieving” friends are much more compassionate and I am usually left feeling like I am a special person deserving of love, not blamed and cursed. Something needs to be done about the lack of compassion among this set (which I have been a part of for over 20 years). There isn’t going to be any less suffering in the world of the future, scripture assures us of that. Maybe they need to shift their focus.

  4. Wow… I am depressed after reading this article. Where is the objectivity? Where is the transcendence above what even unregenerate people could dream up?

    I suppose we have to let whoever take Jesus and make whatever they will of Him. Religious conservatives and Evangelicals have misrepresented Him, so why not the social justice junkies?

    What gags me is that one form of extremism is gladly embraced while dismissing a former extremism. There is no consideration of a false dichotomy or that one could be merely changing labels on an empty bottle. Damn the torpedoes, straight ahead into oblivion.

    This just shows me what a lack of relationship with God will render. We live in a day where few know God. And I mark myself in this generalization.

  5. I agree with about 65% of this. My issue here is, instead of rightfully criticizing the bias about the Christian Right, you only make a case for the progressive end. You ignore there being a median. The article is on point until you hit guns, which is less about Jesus and more about you. You kind of pulled a Rolling Stone there.

  6. How do you define or describe Emergent or Emergent Christian or Progressive Christian?

    Is the brand of Christianity enunciated under any of these any less affected by (or infected by, as you seem to say Evangelicalism is) the culture with which each envelops itself?

    And what is so important about labels? Why would you want to be branded anything other than “apprentice to Jesus Christ?”

  7. Don’t know if this is the best post to ask this, but are there any areas of Catholicism, theological or social, that you agree with? I read a comment by you somewhere that looked at Christian ideas 1,000 years ago so I thought I’d ask.

  8. I am a Christian (Baptist) and a Republican. I have a feeling we would completely disagree on politics, but I can agree with you on this: Too often LOVE is missing in the evangelical mindset. It gets lost somewhere along the way and sinners end up looking down upon sinners. I even wrote about this here:

    While I think we need to call out many in the evangelical community, it is also important not to become a pharisee ourselves, even while trying to change hearts and minds.

    God is big enough to have Republicans and Democrats, as long as they all serve Christ first.

  9. With all due respect, this screed is so stereotypical and self-righteous that it’s just nauseating. It is obvious a left wing Christian like Mr. Corey doesn’t like conservative Christianity, but it’s not enough to say that. No, he must do everything he can to delegitimize it because he simply disagrees with it. I’m no fundamentalist, but the mostly conservative evangelical church I attend is nothing at all like his picture. The biggest punching bag of our secular culture is conservative Christianity, and Mr. Corey gleefully piles on. He says he just wants to be loved for who he is, but he’s not showing any love here. I’d call that hypocrisy.

  10. When one confuses “how I have experienced the culture” with the culture itself, one is inevitably doomed to misrepresentations, often grotesque ones, and sometimes slander. Case in point: this article.

  11. I tend to listen to a fair bit of the “right-wing” evangelical types, a long with a fair bit of left leaning shows (trying to get both sides). At some times they seem to address some of the points you bring up.

    Usually, (from what I’ve heard) they would not say that (to them) Jesus was Republican, they would say that the Republican party platform is far closer to reflecting the standards of Biblical morality than the Democratic party platform.

    In a similar fashion to this, they would say that the only reason they are “obsessed” with guns is that there is a movement to curtail gun rights across the country, and that they are resisting this movement. A similar sort of thing for the issue of gay marriage. They say that they would prefer not to focus on it, but since there is so much focus on advancing what (to them) is a sin, they feel they have to respond.

    As for conversion, well I guess I can understand how if you truly believed that non-believers were going to hell conversion would be the first and foremost thing on your mind. I don’t believe such things.. so its not an issue for me.. but I can understand the emphasis on conversion if one truly believes what they do about hell.

    Curious how you would respond to those thoughts.

  12. I consider myself an Evangelical, I’ve grown up in Evangelical circles, and I’ve put a lot of thought into my beliefs these last couple years. Ultimately your characterization is not what I would have gathered in my experience with all the Evangelicals I know. They hold to all the traditional beliefs, and yet my church–which had made it clear that it is Evangelical and believes homosexuality is a sin–teaches us that we should love gays just as we love anyone else (I think you’ll find that the everyday Evangelical or conservative Christian thinks no differently of gays regardless of their belief in the sinful nature of the gay lifestyle, as they realize that we are all sinful). Honestly, if it weren’t such a popularly held belief, I would never think that evangelicals were known for being “homophobes.” My church holds a meeting once or twice a year to show the finances of the past year and where all the money has gone. Oh, did I mention that my church is partnered directly with the local chapter of LOVE INC to run the local women and children’s shelter for abused or otherwise homeless women and their kids who have nowhere else to turn, and has a ministry for helping the homeless in Portland, OR? The ministry is run by a man who used to attend our church until he started a Sunday service for the homeless (I think). Regardless, they can’t do much to buy them homes or provide jobs, but they provide coffee, meals, and decent human conversation with these people by whom others might blissfully continue to stroll. I’d much appreciate if you refrain from casting such aspersions on the entirety of Evangelicalism and rather acknowledge that while some have done us harm by garnering the reputation upon which you seem to rely, there are at least as many who are attempting, in my opinion successfully, to hold to our beliefs while working against these negative and incorrect views of our “culture.”

    1. The fact that you believe that someone falling in love, getting married, raising a family, and devoting their lives to another person is a sinful lifestyle that results in eternal torture from Jesus because you don’t approve of their respective genders is all the evidence one needs that you and your church are indeed homophobic.

      Let me guess. You can cure them with Jesus.

      1. /Rolls eyes.

        Yes, because any disagreement with homosexuality must be homophobia.

        Ladies and gentlemen, Identity Politics in action. Observe.

        1. Of course not. Just like any disagreement with the colour of your skin isn’t racism.

          Oh wait.

          Any way, just keep on pretending that your religion’s interaction with the LGBT community can be defined with ‘disagreement.’

          1. Oh, here we go with equating homosexuality with race.

            Let’s cut this short. There is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is purely biological in nature. All available genetic research on this issue still concludes that it is a combination of environmental, psychological, and biological factors at best. And neurological research has not produced any unequivocal categorical standards by which to discern that one’s brain can function in a homosexual capacity.

            Even then, hypothetically, if homosexuality is mostly or purely biological in nature, then you are faced with the issue of if it is an unbeneficial mutation in man or not, especially if humanity enters a dark future and, yes, has to “trim down” society in order to survive.

            So what option is left for you? Social engineering with social pressure. Just socially engineer disapproval of anyone who does not agree that homosexuality is purely biological in nature and, viola, you don’t need to worry about the issues of scientific evidence or social practicality anymore. After all, this approach worked with the APA.

            1. You are correct. The history of white Christian oppression of racial minorities in America is very different from the history of Christian oppression of the LGBT community in America. There are different issues at stake, different conflicts, different people involved.

              But the hate you feel for them is the same.

              The words nigger and faggot have very different origins. But the punch someone feels in their belly when you hurl the word at them is exactly the same.

              Not being able to marry the black woman you love is different from not being able to marry the man you love when you’re also a man. But the pain and humiliation felt knowing that millions of Christians believe you are an abomination and are working actively to prevent you from living happily with the person you love is the same.

              It’s more difficult to be identified as LGBT than a racial minority. But the shame of being turned away at a store when all you want to do is buy a wedding cake? That’s the same.

              It’s the same when you’re not allowed to serve your nation with dignity and honour. It’s the same when Christian groups paint you in the media as a potential paedophile or rapist. It’s the same when you are refused jobs, mocked, and harassed simply for who you are.

              And the dozens of LGBT people in America killed by Christian fundamentalists are just as dead as the hundreds of black people lynched by the same. What does is matter how different the reason behind your hate is?

              The fact that your only words are to justify bigotry, not condemn it, says all we need to know. The fact that you apparently think homosexuality is some sort of disease is all we need to know.

              The fact that you condemn people because you don’t approve of who they love is all we need to know. Even if the whole thing was a choice, you don’t have an excuse to even speak about them anymore.

              After everything the Christian Church has done to LGBT people, the only thing that should concern you is minding your own business.

              1. You just proved my point that social engineering with social pressure is your only option in this discussion. Your latest reply is nothing but an attempt at using your interpretation (read “spin” here) of two whole posts from me as a basis for erecting a strawman of my person and, on the basis of this strawman, launching a poisoning the well ad hominem attack against me.

                I’m not going to defend myself against your accusations of “hating homosexuals”. Instead, I challenge you to prove that disagreeing with the belief that homosexuality is purely biological in nature and simply disagreeing with homosexuality in a basic sense is “hate against homosexuals”.

                    1. Fact of the matter is, I don’t really care what you think the cause of homosexuality is. Whether nature our nurture, you haven’t given one reason to ‘disagree’ with it. So at this point I must assume that your only reason is that your particular idol demands their execution in your holy book.

                    2. So, you make unsubstantiated claims and accusations and then brush this fact aside, but then demand some justification for my position from me?

                      Frankly, right now, I don’t trust in your capacity for an honest conversation.

                      Please, help me out with that. Honestly, please.

                    3. An honest conversation about what? The worth of people’s lives and loves and families? Because all of these things fall under ‘homosexuality.’ Something you disagree with.

                      I’m sorry that I have no interest in reducing people down to a debate about a sexual function that you find distasteful. I like to think I have more integrity than that.

                    4. So, you see the issue of homosexuality purely through an emotional lens and that’s it. If so, then that explains things a bit …

                      Okay, if I may ask, do you have any friends or family who are homosexual?

                    5. Yes. My cousin is a captain in the Navy and a lesbian. I have many gay friends and coworkers. I had a gay friend in Christian high school who was bullied into suicide.

                      Though what business that is of yours I cannot possibly imagine.

                      I see homosexuality through an emotional, familial, scientific, educational and social lense.

                      I do not see it though a ‘things my idol says are icky’ lense.

                    6. I’m just trying to understand your passion over the issue of homosexuality better. That’s it, no catches.

                      I’m sorry about your gay friend in that Christian high school. That was definitely an unconscionable thing to do to him.

                      I admit that I cannot possibly understand what happened there. I’ve had only very brief experiences with institutions which are related to various Christian churches and, frankly, what I saw in them thoroughly repulsed me away from them. I couldn’t imagine actually living a daily life in one and under those circumstances.

                      But, while acknowledging this, I cannot understand how coming onto websites like this one and verbally assailing Christians is going to help you find personal healing and peace. Surely, there has to be a better way in which to find your way through what you’re going through.

                    7. Well, I’m getting the sense that you’re trying to settle the score with the Christian community. And what you experienced with your gay friend in the said Christian high school and any other such experiences in your life would certainly explain why, especially from an emotional point of view.

                      That’s just the sense that I am getting. Just my two cents. Nothing more.

                    8. Actually, I meant it in a neutral sense. In the absolute sense, I don’t see either side as being completely right or wrong in this situation.

                      I’m just wondering what you hope to achieve in what you are doing.

                    9. Short term? Let people know that the lives of my LGBT loved ones are worth more than their sneering ‘disagreement.’

                      Long term? Fight against the Church. Forever. Peace and healing don’t save any lives.

                    10. Not something Christians are really interested in. Or me. I won’t give tacit approval to what they do.

                      Once you’ve been bitten by a snake a few times, it’s generally healthier to just avoid snakes.

                    11. Well, then set a good example and challenge Christians to follow it. For instance, set a good example of how to love others who disagree with you. That will shame judgmental Christians far better than verbally assailing them.

                      And those Christians who reciprocate that love will prove that they are worth talking to further.

                    12. Well, it seems the Christian who was so eager to paint people I love as diseased and broken is lecturing me about showing love.

                      That’s just rich. I’m so eager to embrace you and learn which of my other friends and relatives are broken and disagreeable. Maybe in time Ill come to understand how lost and alone and afraid I am and be filled with the peace and healing only your deity can provide.

                      Or maybe I’ll keep fighting you with everything I have and actually do some damn good in this world.

                    13. First, I’m not a Christian.

                      Second, I simply challenged you to set your example of how to love others who disagree with you. And I said nothing beyond that in terms of defining that statement.

                      I’m just trying to get you more productive than … verbally berating Christians on random comment threads. That’s it.

                      Third, you’re not willing to openly discuss the issue of what homosexuality is, but you’re willing to beat me over the head with your interpretation (read “spin” here) of what I said about homosexuality and fault me for it. That’s so hypocritical. That’s … the kind of hypocrisy which a lot of judgmental Christians engage in. Congrats, pot, meet kettle.

                      Whatever, if you want to stew in toxic anger for the rest of your life, then be my guest. It’s your life to ruin.

                      Good night. 🙂

                    14. And yet you claimed in an earlier comment to Mr. Corey that you’ve pitched your tent as ‘an independent believer.’

                      So there’s a large bit of dishonesty or misrepresentation right there. At least I’m honest about who I am and my motives. And I have been right from the beginning. I’ve been here, discussing and debating with Mr. Corey and his readers for months.

                      Rest assured, I have no interest in loving you.

                      I was not aware we were discussing what homosexuality is. It had no relevance to my point at any time. I was discussing how Christians treat LGBT people. Nothing more or less.

                      Now take a look at the sky. Think about how how you are one person on a planet of 7 billion. And how this planet is a speck in the solar system. Our star is one in over 400 million in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of 80 billion in the known universe.

                      Once you can comprehend that, truly comprehend it, you will get a feeling for the size of the damn I don’t give about what you think of the values I chose to live my life by.

                    15. “An independent believer” means just that, an independent believer without qualification.

                      Christians aren’t the only categorical group which believes in Jesus, or Yeshua or Yehoshua. For starters, there are Messianic Judaists and those who exist in-between Christianity and Messianic Judaism, each with their own nuances. (I fall in this void.)

                      Heck, even Muslims believe in Jesus, but, broadly speaking, not in the same way that Messianic Judaists, Christians, and those in-between do.

                      You get the point. “Believer” =/= “Only Christian”.

                      There was no misrepresentation of myself there. Just you going for a cheap “gotcha”.

                      Now, I’m going to bed. Good night. I mean it this time.

                    16. Same idol. Same holy book. So my point still stands.

                      When someone claims to be a believer on a Christian blog, then turns around and says he’s not a Christian, it is logical to suspect some duplicity.

                      But in the end, it doesn’t change anything about what I said.You can give yourself an edgy label, but you’re no different than any other Christian because of it.

                    17. Says the person with the “/Rolls eyes” and the rest of the snarky comment. All of a sudden he/she wants to sing Kumbaya and hold hands with everyone.

                  1. Don’t even get into the “who they are” side of things. Ted Bundy had ASPD, and that was “who he was.” But we all know that regardless of “who he was,” what he did was wrong.

                    1. My dear, you spent I don’t know how much time protesting that you’re not homophobic only to go and compare LGBT people to a serial killer like Ted Bundy.

                      And you wonder why I address you with ill-disguised contempt….

                    2. Let me begin with a basic lesson on propositional logic before I explain why it’s relevant and further respond to this post. While you may be familiar with it, I will assume that you are not for the sake of explanation.

                      A syllogism is an argument which, in its most basic form, contains a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. If the two premises can be proven to be true, AND if the argument’s structure is valid, then the conclusion is necessarily true. There are 256 different organizations of the syllogism (based on whether the statements are universal or particular and affirmative or negative, and on the placement of the middle term), yet only 24 of them are considered valid. That is to say, in any of the other 232 forms, the conclusion may be correct in some scenarios, but will not be correct by necessity. There will be instances of those syllogisms in which the premises are true but the conclusion is verifiably false.

                      This branch of reasoning is deductive. The argument you used belongs to the inductive branch of reasoning, but the principle remains the same: the argument must be valid regardless of the premises.

                      So in fact, your analysis of my most recent comment is unfounded and incorrect, as you missed entirely what I considered an obvious point (perhaps I was mistaken). In fact, I did not even refute your belief in the acceptability of homosexuality. All I did was point out that the argument used was not sufficient grounds upon which to justify your belief.

                      To further illustrate my point, let’s examine the idea of “the ends justify the means.” This is a universal statement, and thus it takes only a single instance in which the ends do NOT justify the means to discredit the argument entirely.

                      My last post did not seek to demonstrate why homosexuality ought not be accepted, nor did it aim to compare the LGBT community with serial killers. The latter inference is illogical. Its sole purpose was to discredit the particular argument with which you sought to discredit JustaPosterToo.

                      As for your last statement, I do not wonder in the slightest. I am sorry that I cannot extend the same feelings of contempt in return (Matthew 22:39).

                      (Oh, and if you think that sounds “holier-than-thou,” you’d be right; just not perhaps in the manner in which you would think or mean such (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).)

  13. Your journey is certainly in the right direction. After being an evangelical for 46 years, and many years as a missionary in Europe and the UK, I too said goodbye about 5 years ago. But I said goodbye to Christianity and the supernatural altogether. I tried Emergent, I tried Blue Like Jazz faith, but it turned out to be “cherry-picking” the Bible and keeping the bits I liked, and either allegorizing or ignoring the bits I didn’t like. And that, ultimately, was intellectually dishonest.

    There is something to the evangelical’s “inerrant infallible” approach to the Bible. At least they are being intellectually honest. The Bible was NOT written by it’s original authors to be a collection of stories and myths. They really believed in the historical record they were writing. Either you believe it, or you don’t. If you don’t believe Hell is a real place for unbelievers, then really, how can you say you believe in Heaven? If Hell doesn’t exist (Jesus thought it did), then why cling to the rest of it? Your version of Christianity, at that point, is just a subjective interpretation that makes faith warm and fuzzy for you, and at least allows you to remain part of the faith community and culture. Speaking for myself, I miss that part of my former life, but what I have gained is unlimited freedom to explore the rational world, without fear of what it might do to my “faith”.

    1. Thank. You. One of my biggest points of contention with Mr. Corey (and he knows this) is that he’s an intelligent man, but so much of what he says seems intellectually dishonest for the very reasons you cited.

      1. Believe it or not, I hear you and see your point. But, this is the tension of faith– there are simply areas where I’m willing to step out and believe, and invite myself into the tension.

        1. It’s convenient, however, that the parts of faith you step out and believe fall curiously in line with your own motives, while the ones that contradict said motives are the ones you are most eager to paint as allegory or misinformation.

  14. But your relationship shouldn’t be with evangelicalism. It should be with Jesus Christ. The fact that people have misrepresented him and misinterpreted the Bible is sad, but one should never throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    1. I think you misunderstood– never said anything about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, just shedding the label of “evangelical”, that’s all. I’m a Christian– and a passionate one at that, so no one ever said anything about quitting the team.

  15. Eh… aside from his completely patronizing tone, I thought he threw out some rather careless generalizations of what “Evangelical” means. What I see is a guy who probably grew up feeling a bit out of place in a strongly conservative environment and who now compensates himself with condescending stuff like this. I have to agree with him in that I find people who embody the kind of things he’s trying to distance himself from pretty distasteful as well, but the whole tone of the article seems geared toward galvanizing liberal/progressive Christians against conservative ones. Seriously, how is this anything but divisive?

    1. Good points. It seems like a promotion of liberal Protestantism or Evangelicalism (?). Forgive me on the terms, I’m Catholic.

      1. No need to be sorry, brother. I feel like we protestants still owe you guys for that door we messed up so long ago 😉

    2. yeah, it’s always wise to completely judge and sum-up a guy by reading just ONE of his blogs. well done.

  16. Eh… aside from his completely patronizing tone, I thought he threw out some rather careless generalizations of what “Evangelical” means. What I see is a guy who probably grew up feeling a bit out of place in a strongly conservative environment and who now compensates himself with condescending stuff like this. I have to agree with him in that I find people who embody the kind of things he’s trying to distance himself from pretty distasteful as well, but the whole tone of the article seems geared toward galvanizing liberal/progressive Christians against conservative ones. Seriously, how is this anything but divisive?

  17. Mr. Corey, I have no love for Evangelical church culture. But, at the same time, I’m a little worried about what you said in the sense that you seem to be trading (present tense) one big thing which wants to tell you how to think (Evangelical culture, with stuff like authoritarian Pastors, plotting church cliques, churches which behave like businesses, etc.) with another big thing which wants to tell you how to think (Progressivism, with Identity Politics, political soundbites, etc.). And, in this process, I don’t get the sense that you are developing your own intellectual center of gravity and stepping into it.

    1. Thanks– I hear your concern, but this isn’t really a trade, and certainly isn’t an overnight trade. This transition has been happening for the last 5 or 6 years, and I have a book coming out about it later this year. So, my departure was all but official.

      However, I haven’t traded one major paradigm for another– I pitch my tent in the progressive movement since that’s where I’m free to be me, but I have no loyalty to any party line. In fact, some aspects of progressive culture are just as bad as evangelicalism– something I critiqued in a previous post calling it a “new kind of fundamentalism”.

      I would, however, be loyal to Anabaptist principles.

      So, appreciate the concern– if it were an equal exchange and done in haste, it wouldn’t be good.

      1. You don’t have to pitch your tent there. You can pitch it in the spiritual wilderness as an independent believer, roam freely, and continue taking your journey there.

        I do. Yeah, I’m still sorting the issue of fellowship with other believers out, but, I wouldn’t have it any other way right now.

        BTW, sorry about the thumbs down rating at first. The ratings system was acting screwy with me.

        1. What’s funny, is I am mapping out my next book this evening, and I just planned out a chapter called “wandering in the desert” which will be about learning to be content not having a spiritual home, shedding labels, etc.

          Unfortunately, it’s hard if not impossible to shed all labels since that’s how we identify things, but I completely agree with you in principle. If I were privately going about my process I could probably just renounce all labeling entirely, but since I’m playing out my personal process in front of thousands of readers, I can’t exactly walk away from all labeling since it’s helpful for readers to put me into some type of category. It’s when those categories become too restrictive for my personhood, that I reject them.

        2. You are wise. I prefer the wilderness myself. I got condemned by the Hellbringers for not believing in sadistic Torture theology as “justice,” and I got condemned by the worshippers of the Redemptive State for irreverence to their “politics of Jesus” political agendas.

          Myself, I’m like Thomas Jefferson. I don’t mind gays and I don’t mind guns, and that just upsets nearly 100% of the “Christian” church–especially Anabaptists.

          “I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.”~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, June 25, 1819

  18. I don’t want harm to be done to how people view Jesus out of what some in the Christian ranks do in their passion & perspective of how to live out their faith. But for me it should come down to love & the basics of treating each other well, with dignity & respect, as Jesus taught & showed by example. But it was the attitide in this movement (a “cut off their ear” approach), not the people, I had to part with too (although I still consider them loved friends). I can’t be around it very much (too life draining), nor can I be on board with what I’ve heard out of the pulpit in my fundamentalist church. Quoting scripture condeming one people group only spoke Pharisee to me (Jesus was overshadowed by digs againts non-heterosexuals in nearly all sermons in a year). And subordination of women was made an issue too (yet they never taught Acts 2:17 or Galatians 3:28). Comments inferred they are the stallions & the “sinners” are the dung behind their tail that can be swept into the fire – I saw too much joy in their expressions of judgment. Rather than stay & try to be a voice of differing view, another Christian outside my church advised me to not cast my pearls before swine (& BTW – I don’t view them as swine), but I simply left with feelings of being scolded & judged for not staying with them. I found pastors & believers in other churches who could better relate to me & my real life dynamics. I’ve had another person tell me she left her church on the basis of hostility expressed toward gay people & she is not a LGBT family like mine. She said she has compassion & love for them. I believe sexual orientation is determined in gestation like handedness, as Dr Cynthia Chappell has taught in her biology & science presentations. The Earth is no longer flat in my views now on that issue.

  19. It sounds like the writer is wishing to limit the freedoms expressed in an evangelical church. Gun obsession and Republicanism? There is no litmus test for these in the freedom-loving church that I attend. Sure, one can carry his/her gun and Republicanism through the doors without judgment (which is one of the very FEW places in the U.S. you can still do so!) But you could just as easily come in gunless, or Democratic, or gay, straight or “other” and receive a warm welcome and feel the love of God and His people. If one is there to seek and praise God, then we are all there for the same reason! The only thing that I am recognizing that we hold a bit strongly to in our congregation is freedom – and I hope we never let go of that! I do, however, appreciate the reminder not to forsake our first love and our purpose – to worship God. So thankful that because of the values we hold dear in (most of) America, we can still do that. And I’m also recognizing that is only because God has allowed it and entrusted it to us. May we continue to endeavor to keep that freedom for the next generation.

    1. If I saw someone walk into a house of worship with a gun in their hands, my first response wouldn’t be judgment. It would be an instant phone call to the civil authorities and a call to evacuate immediately.

      1. Sorry – I do not mean gun in the hands – I was addressing concealed carry (legal here.) I do believe that because concealed carry is legal and practiced well where I attend, anyone walking in to the church with a gun in hand would be instantly convinced to rethink it. And I feel confidant that someone would be calling the authorities, as well.

    2. Nope.

      Folks are free to arm up with their swords as they come to worship the God who said “put away your swords” and I’m free to not go to those churches that don’t hold to the cultural values Jesus asked us to live out.

      Freedom cuts both ways. They can have their guns and I can go my own way; everyone is free and everyone is happy.

  20. You know, if you think YOU are tired of it, consider how tired GOD is of it. He has had to deal with it since man left the Garden. Every one of these issues has been discussed in the Bible and it is not going to go away any time soon – at least as long as Satan is around and we are not tugged by his temptations away from a right relationship with God.

    In your rant, I never once saw any reference to fact, to scripture or anything to defend your views as truth and not simply your own views of the world.

    Instead of walking away and blaming everyone else with your rant, it is time to recognize that we are all sinners and fall short of the Glory of God.

  21. This article is not a religious article belonging on, but in reality, a political article disguised as as a religious one, that would fit better on or the huffington post.
    Let’s just put away the deception and call it what it is: Politics.
    ~ And liberal ideologies at that.

    1. Oooooh, liberal ideologies. Satan’s minions are surely crowing at delight over Mr. Corey’s assertions that gay people should be treated like human beings and that maybe we shouldn’t be so eager to shoot one another.

      Next he’ll be saying that Michelle Bachmann is not, in fact, Christ’s representative on earth. Deliver us from Beelzebub and Asmodeus!

    2. Good point. What really turned me off about the article was that the author spent a ton of time talking about political policies, who to vote for, what party he belongs to, etc., and didn’t spend enough time just being authentic and transparent about his own feelings and experiences.

    3. What’s wrong with liberal ideologies? There are certainly plenty of conservative ideologies being bandied about.

      There’s no deception here, any more than conservative Christians backing conservative candidates are being deceptive.

      And, if this is a political piece, what is it when Focus on the Family puts out an article?

  22. I had to laugh reading your piece and another blog with similar attitudes.

    You folk who are blogging along these lines are so funny. You seem to think you are the only folk who ever have thought this way.

    I stay with evangelicalism while I agree with most of your critiques. I stay to love folks and to subvert the very points you speak of.

    My unity with evangelical folk lies in my commitment to follow Jesus Christ and their commitment to follow Jesus. I think you folk need to read the first chapter of Life Together by Bonhoeffer.

    I hate to tell you this but you may have material for a blog but you certainly have lousy ecclesiology and understanding of Scriptural teaching on unity.

    I have to say it but I expect you probably are going to leave a lot of faith communities because you are just like those evangelicals you are rejecting – power and control, your blog reeked with it.

    Sorry but as Eugene Peterson says, “loving people is being committed to the wellbeing of people you don’t even like”.

    So find a church where you are avoiding the tensions and you will either be by yourself or in a graveyard.

    I just have to say it…you really do have frightfully bad ecclesiology …

    I am an egalitarian who stays in a denomination that refuses to deal with the issue… I am allowed to be a Pastoral Worker but not a Pastor… I have just been advocating for a young man to come on staff who disagrees strongly with my position. WHY? Because I want our community to see that our unity lies in Jesus Christ not in our position on women.

    I find this blog amazingly pretentious… I know lots of evangelical Democrats who are strident in their position also, etcetera, etcetera. And your last paragraph was very revealing…your unity has to lie in people agreeing with you.

    Thanks I’ll stay in my community with all of it’s weaknesses and find our unity in Christ.

    Hate to say it but your blog is moving toward the idolatry of your positions…

      1. Benjamin, you have had positions of major responsibility among the people of God. You are studying at a major evangelical seminary. You have in a very public way absolutely lambasted persons that hold to some of those positions. Then in your final paragraph you have said: “Maybe….(if you do all that I insist on) we can meet for coffee and talk…”.

        The irony of you position doesn’t seen to have permeated your thinking. Here you are absolutely slamming people you don’t agree with and then you insist that they meet your demands before you will sit and talk with them…

        I laughed with a grimace at the irony of what you are doing to yourself and the Body of Christ.

        Jesus is the basis upon which we come together. Not positions on guns, women, or whatever else. As soon as our positions become the basis on who we decide to fellowship with we become as divisive as those you are telling off.

        I am sorry that you don’t seem to understand that you are doing exactly what you are accusing all those you disagree with of doing.

        If I cannot learn to fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I strongly disagree we can cut 1 Corinthians 13 and John 17 and all the texts that speak of unity out of the bible because we have made Jesus second.

        I suggest you read NT Wright’s most recent volume” Paul and the Faithfulness of God and see how unity and holiness are to be understood. Unity is central to the Body of Christ and you are choosing to throw it away.

        And in that you are digging yourself into a hole.

        1. I wonder what it’s like to listen to all the ways a man can be hurt by organised religion and then laugh at him.

          I wonder what it’s like to read about a man’s struggle to build a symbiotic relationship with a belief system that often contradicts what he believes to be right and sneer at it as ‘bad ecclesiology.’

          I wonder what it’s like to be so supremely smug in my own upstanding position in the evangelical church that you boast about your own achievements before mentioning your personal idol.

          I wonder what it’s like to get more angry about people saying mean thing about your pastors than those wounded and destroyed by church abuse.

          Oh wait, I do know. Because the seething river of hatred that keeps me warm at night thinking about Evangelicals like yourself is extremely familiar.

          I disagree with Mr. Corey on many counts, but at least he tries tries to keep his priorities in order.

          The fact that you can cite myriad other abusive men of religion doesn’t make you more educated or enlightened than anyone here, nor does it mean that laughing at the hurts of a man makes you any less of a pretentious bitch.

          1. Sir, as you know nothing about me I will ignore your comments because they really are quite absurd and reflect on you, not on me.

            1. On the contrary. Your comments have shown me a bit about you. The side of yourself that you choose to display to the public is the one that I have every right and inclination to criticise.

            2. quite frankly, ma’am, it seems you fit the category of people the author was describing in his article.
              maybe we know more about you than you think

            3. Mary, I hope, for your own sake, the you of five years hence considers the you of today a heretic. (with apologies to Thomas Merton). In fact, that would be my hope for all of us.

        2. Yes, Jesus is where we come together, and that means we’re all Christians. It doesn’t mean we have to all wear all the labels. You’re assuming that in order to have unity I have to call myself an evangelical, which simply isn’t true. I work and interact with plenty of Christian traditions that I don’t self-identify as belonging to.

          I never said I wouldn’t fellowship with people, just that I was no longer self-identifying as an evangelical and that I’m taking a break from church. That’s quite different from saying “I’ll have nothing to do with you”. Having fellowship with people that I disagree with is not the same as claiming to share the same identity with them. I can have fellowship with a Pentecostal without claiming to be one, and even have warm relationships with atheists, without claiming to be one– this is all I’m saying about the term evangelical.

          And, I didn’t lambast people, I simply pointed out the non-Jesus like areas of evangelical culture that I need a break from. The culture has so deeply blended with American culture that it is making the act of following Jesus more complicated, instead of facilitating it.

          1. I never said you had to call yourself “evangelical”. I don’t so am happy for everyone else not to. The issue of how you wrote of fellowship was summed up for me in your last paragraph.

            “Maybe if you turn the keys over to some fresh and reasonable evangelical voices, stop bullying women on Twitter, pawn your guns, apologize to the LGBT community and take your name off the checking account, we could meet for coffee and talk… but until then, I just don’t see how there can be a path forward for the two of us.”

            By looking at your bio you are presenting yourself in a certain way. These are your words from the blog not mine.

            I appreciate your response, understand and agree with your concerns but disagree with the manner you have written about it. Thanks

            1. Mary,

              You wrote, “I appreciate your response, understand and agree with your concerns but disagree with the manner you have written about it.” Dear sister, I believe I could say the exact same thing about “the manner you have written” in your comments.

              In your first comment, you wrote you have “laughed” at this blog and others like it, saying “You folk who are blogging along these lines are so funny. You seem to think you are the only folk who ever have thought this way.” Sadly, you go on to say this blog is “amazingly pretentious” and that Ben has “frightfully bad ecclesiology”. May I ask you, is the demeaning attitude in your comments the way in which you think unity will manifest for brothers and sisters in Christ?

              I think it is a very noble thing that you are continuing on in your church to bring about change, but certainly you would not have advised Martin Luther to do the same as you, when confronted the Catholic church with his 95 theses? Some of us are called to bring attention to the wrong and hurtful ways that exist in the Church.

              Mary, you may not realize, but there are many of us who feel exactly like Ben, and we write what we do because we have been seriously abused and injured by the church, we see our fellow brothers and sisters being hurt, and we see and hear horrible things on the internet and television that completely misrepresent the Lord Jesus’ love, which we are trying to share with our unbelieving friends.

              I am sorry to say, but your comments have simply added insult to injury. You have insulted a brother for sharing his heart in a way you do not approve of, but did you stop to think that maybe you were being harsh in your criticism?

              You suggested Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together,” which I have read, as well as books by N.T. Wright. Both great authors. Now if I may, I will recommend a book to you called “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning, which I sincerely hope will give you a better idea where we are coming from. Also check out Wayne Jacobsen’s “He Loves Me” and “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore”.

              I leave you with a quote from The Ragamuffin Gospel:

              “The North American Church is at a critical juncture. The gospel of grace is being confused and compromised by silence, seduction, and outright subversion. The vitality of the faith is being jeopardized. The lying slogans of the fixers who carry religion like a sword of judgment pile up with impunity. Let ragamuffins everywhere gather as a confessing Church to cry out in protest. Revoke the licenses of religious leaders who falsify the idea of God. Sentence them to three years in solitude with the Bible as their only companion.”

              1. Heather I think that what you are saying to me and I am saying to Benjamin can be summed up by a recent post by Tim Challies. I have tried to post it here but it doesn’t seem to post. Try

                I also wonder if the phrase..the sword of judgment ….from the quote you gave me…doesn’t apply all around as well.

                As far as Martin Luther was concerned, my memory of church history is that he did not want to leave but the church forced him out. He wanted to bring reformation within the church. But as I haven’t read on Luther for a long time.

                I am sorry if I hurt Benjamin it seriously was not my intent. I was trying to say – you sound like those you are speaking of.

                And perhaps that is why I think Challies post is so relevant for all of us.

      2. Personally, I appreciated it. I felt the exact same way when I broke up with her. Biggest difference? Your break-up letter was better than mine.

    1. And I would argue that by being an egalitarian who stays with a denomination that discriminates, you are enabling discrimination. Unity can become an excuse for inaction. Everything is in the eye of the beholder.

      Ben is entitled to his pain and his choices. Why do they bother you so?

  23. I agree with you on many points but what I don’t read is what they do well, what they do better than you, or what you appreciate about them. I only read how you are better.

    You live in Maine, where only 27% of the population consider themselves religious according to the last census, of that 14.4 % of the population is Catholic and the next largest denomination is Methodist at 3.3%.

    What I read is complaints about regional beliefs or ” sins of my Father”.

    Republican and guns is regional and has nothing to do with religion.

    Instead of spending so much effort is writing why you are better, more deserving, more enlightened and find out what they do well, maybe you can find a bridge instead of asking them to change and be like you.

    Enlightenment comes thru critical thought and not received knowledge.

    1. During a break-up, that’s often the case, don’t you find? It takes time and distance to see the good points of your ex, weather it’s your ex-girlfriend or your ex-beliefs. What I got from Ben is this is about his pain. When he’s no longer hurting, he may be able to get together for a cup of tea, remember the good times.

  24. I could have written this myself! So my question is….where do I go from here? My husband and I have wrestled with what churches to visit for over 2 years!

  25. My picture to the left of the comments is an accurate description of where I am at. I truly love my Lord and want to be molded and shaped by him. I so appreciate all of your writings. Sometimes out of frustration I just wish it was me and God. I HATE all the labels whether there from the right or the left or out in space! I want to just be a Jesus follower. I want to learn and grow while never taking my eyes off the one who died for me. I read everything you write and have a deep respect for your faith journey. Thank you for always making me think.
    In Christ alone,
    Your covered sister

    1. How about being against abortion and FOR taking care of whatever needs those self same babies might have post utero? You can kill a child by heartlessly denying them food, shelter and healthcare, something many evangelicals are all too willing to do in opposition to governmental enforcement of the Golden Rule.

  26. It’s not just how that culture attacks female bloggers, it’s how they attack anyone who challenges the status quo or voices harm or offense at their agreement with ideas that promote inequality, rape culture, racism, or just generally dehumanizes people. Standing up to a quasi-friend today on Twitter that I know from a mostly evangelical-based professional group (John Acuff’s STARTExperiment turned we-can’t-call-it-that-since-he-left-Lampo), the guy came at me guns blazing, so to speak. I just let someone I know professionally know something he posted was offensive racially and towards women, and I’m the bad guy. I decided not to be baited into an argument when insults started to fly at me, but I know full well I’ll see the guy again in this life or the next, and that misogynists are people too. It was more sad, than anything, so see this lack of humility (“hey sorry if that came off wrong, I just thought the thing was funny, but I guess it could be seen as poor taste” – really, how hard is that?). That’s over and above how devalued women are to them, and how dehumanizing they really can be.

  27. Thanks for sharing your goodbye. I recently said my goodbye too. This was my letter.

    20 de diciembre de 2013
    “Be yourself. Really”

    You have to change, they said. You have to conform to the norms. You will never be happy if you stay the way you are. Your way is the wrong way.

    I can never be myself?

    Sure you can, when you have changed and become what is expected of you. It is better to cut off your arm and enter the kingdom of heaven, than keep your arm and go to hell. Your arm is bad, it moves too much. It should be still.

    So I mutilated myself. And happiness was still a stranger. I then mutilated my tongue, it was always getting me into trouble anyway. But I was still unhappy.

    You are unhappy because you still haven’t surrendered yourself. Your feet are bad, they dance too much. They shouldn’t dance, the should walk in a straight path. It is better to cut off your legs and enter the kingdom of heaven, than keep your leg and go to hell. Do you want to go to hell?

    No! I want to be good. I want to serve God. So I mutilated my legs. And I felt worse than ever.

    Your heart is evil, your feelings must be evil, you should be happy conforming to the righteous. If you can’t be happy is because you are bad. You must rip your heart and its evil feelings so you can finally be good.

    So I ripped my heart, and bled to death. I was completely dead now, and mutiladed and still very unhappy.

    Until I met God. He found me in a puddle of my own blood and with my body mutiladed beyond recognition. I was crying and He cried with me.

    Beloved daughter, what have you done?

    I have done what you wanted, but I must be so evil because I can’t be happy and I haven’t served you or done anything good.

    How can you be happy? you are dead. How can you do anything with your body mutiladed? I never said you should do this. I need your arms to build, to reconstruct, to comfort. I need your tongue to speak for love, to sing for joy, to share. I need your legs to run, to dance. I need you just the way you are.

    And He rebuilt me into a wonderful me. And He loves me just the way I am. Imperfect, weak and sad. He lets me sing, He lets me dance, He lets me build. I am now perfectly content. I am Happy.

    1. This is so powerful and beautifully poetic. Thank you for sharing this, Lily. My heart resonates with your words.

    2. When I got to the “So I ripped my heart and bled to death” part, I completely lost it. What you describe was my exact experience. Thank you for posting this. So beautiful.

  28. thank you for sharing your goodbye! I also resently said my goodbye. This was my letter..

    Be yourself, really.

    20 de diciembre de 2013 a la(s) 12:10PúblicoAmigosAmigos excepto conocidosSolo yoPersonalizadoMejores amigosHighschoolVer todas las listas…CollageCollagefarmville neighborsMaestra de InglesUnivercity of lifeHome school teacherFull Time MomFamiliaConocidosVolver

    You have to change, they said. You have to conform to the norms. You will never be happy if you stay the way you are. Your way is the wrong way.

    I can never be myself?

    Sure you can, when you have changed and become what is expected of you. It is better to cut off your arm and enter the kingdom of heaven, than keep your arm and go to hell. Your arm is bad, it moves too much. It should be still.

    So I mutilated myself. And happiness was still a stranger. I then mutilated my tongue, it was always getting me into trouble anyway. But I was still unhappy.

    You are unhappy because you still haven’t surrendered yourself. Your feet are bad, they dance too much. They shouldn’t dance, the should walk in a straight path. It is better to cut off your legs and enter the kingdom of heaven, than keep your leg and go to hell. Do you want to go to hell?

    No! I want to be good. I want to serve God. So I mutilated my legs. And I felt worse than ever.

    Your heart is evil, your feelings must be evil, you should be happy conforming to the righteous. If you can’t be happy is because you are bad. You must rip your heart and its evil feelings so you can finally be good.

    So I ripped my heart, and bled to death. I was completely dead now, and mutiladed and still very unhappy.

    Until I met God. He found me in a puddle of my own blood and with my body mutiladed beyond recognition. I was crying and He cried with me.

    Beloved daughter, what have you done?

    I have done what you wanted, but I must be so evil because I can’t be happy and I haven’t served you or done anything good.

    How can you be happy? you are dead. How can you do anything with your body mutiladed? I never said you should do this. I need your arms to build, to reconstruct, to comfort. I need your tongue to speak for love, to sing for joy, to share. I need your legs to run, to dance. I need you just the way you are.

    And He rebuilt me into a wonderful me. And He loves me just the way I am. Imperfect, weak and sad. He lets me sing, He lets me dance, He lets me build. I am now perfectly content. I am Happy.

  29. Treating people as objects; support for Republicanism; power; and marginalizing opposing viewpoints is right on. Being pro/anti gun shouldn’t be a topic. Misuse of money should always be on the table. But individuals using their $ for what you don’t like is your attempting control. Demanding they adopt secular values on gender and LGBT is given in loaded and ultimatum fashion. Evangelicals flaws are forgetting their first love and not looking in the mirror.

    1. Re: gun obsession– I know not everyone agrees. This was a letter about what I have trouble with in evangelical culture, and gun obsession is one of the cultural aspects that troubles me. It’s about how I have experienced the culture.

      1. My concern with the gun obsession is that we are buying into the fear that our enemy wants us to have toward one another and to embrace the idea that by being well armed we are somehow “protected”, when only by walking with God are we both protected and fearless. I believe Jesus said something about not fearing those who could kill us physically, but to fear those who could destroy our relationship with God. So its a narrow path (aren’t they all!!??) IMO. However, if one has guns and enjoys shooting and even hunting (don’t read this PETA) LOL, then have at it. As in all things, we need to examine our relationship with it an be sure it isn’t obstructing our walk with Him. (Something I have to remind myself about A LOT!) Love to all my brothers and sisters!

        1. Queen Alice,
          I would have been happy to reply to your question on

          but I am being censored.

          Kimberly, the OP; wrote to me: “Unlike other sites where you have been censored or banned I will gladly let your comments stand”

          and then she blocked me from any further comments. I don’t want to derail this thread, so I’ll stop here. No reliable information or discussion allowed on Patheos, just propaganda. I’m sure you’ll love the site!

          1. Since you don’t know me, I don’t understand where you are coming from by stating I will love the site.

            From the comments I have read that you have posted on other sites, I don’t see where you are giving out any reliable information, esp where homosexuality is concerned. Sadly, you seem to have a homophobic, knee jerk reaction to it.

            Pray for God to open your eyes so that you are able to love all His children and I will do the same.

        2. > only by walking with God are we both protected and fearless

          That’s the sweet talk. Then there is harsh reality:

          “But the neo-Anabaptists increasingly offer their own fairly aggressive politics aligned with the Democratic Party, in a way that should trouble traditional Mennonites. Although the neo-Anabaptists sort of subscribe to a tradition that rejects or, at most, passively abides state power, they now demand a greatly expanded and more coercive state…” ~Mennonite Takeover?

          “…the new political fervor that some, tongue-in-cheek, are calling ‘Mennonite mania.'” ~A new faith in politics: Young Mennonites join world of politics

          “Progressive” Christians do trust in guns, as long as they’re in higher, tighter hands of hierarchy, and they control that hierarchy.

          P.S. I’m mentioning Mennonites, because I am one, and Benjamin is involved somwhat from what I’ve read, and even am an alumni (at least I get all the alumni mail) of Goshen College, albeit only by taking a summer course there. I’ve been condemned by conservative Mennonites for not believing in Hell. Then condemned by liberal Mennonites for not believing in their gloriously redemptive State that they worship in place of Jesus. Both sides are hopelessly addicted to authoritarianism. I’ve even called it Reich Wing Politics, as in “Dein Reich komme,” or, “thy kingdom come.” What a bunch of authoritarian submissive bootlickers.

          1. Okay, but I’m not speaking for “progressive Christians”. I’m speaking from my understanding of where we are walking as Christians, as followers of Christ. As long as we fear for our “bodily selves” we are more likely to fear what our enemy can do to us. And as such, we then fear what we don’t know or understand which can push us into fear/hate of our fellow people – God’s children. Putting our bodily selves above all will not take us where we need to be in our walk with God. And that’s where the gun stuff comes in, as I mentioned above.

            I don’t doubt there as those who are addicted to authoritarianism, as there are those who are addicted to power, sex, money, alcohol and the list goes on. Addiction is not part of the walk with God, but rather a part of our bodily selves we must walk away from in order to walk toward Him.

              1. A bit snarky, I’d say.

                And I think if you reread what I posted, you’ll find I did not say anything about my neighbor. Our walk with God is, first of all, a walk between God and oneself. The Word guides us on this walk, as does the Holy Ghost, the comforter to whom Jesus referred when He told His disciples that He had to go so that He could send the Comforter.

                As to my neighbor, I am to love him/her as myself – that is our greatest commandment as regards to others and if one does this, one has done well. In regards to loving one’s neighbor as oneself, CS Lewis, in Mere Christianity puts it better than I could. If you are curious in that direction, I suggest you read his work. If, however, you are only interested in trolling and posting snarky comments, I doubt anything I can say will convince you otherwise, and so I leave you to it.

      2. Progun is there, true. But church should not be a voice for pro/anti. Both are politicizing (as is party advocacy). I agree almost completely with your statements. Evangicalism has morphed. It is shallower and more brittle. But many similar complaints can be made of mainline, black, Catholic, Emergent, and other churches. A black-white couple I know go back and forth because they love/dislike aspects of both. You will find significant flaws in all but just look for the one that has the least for you.

      3. >gun obsession

        Then quit obsessing. I’m tired of Philistine Politics that reject egalitarian power sharing. So how did you end up on the wrong side of the David and Goliath struggle, anyway?

        Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” ~I Samuel 13:19

        If we humans are going to have iron and forges and civilization, there are going to be guns in somebody’s hands. The United States has decided to not concentrate that power into a few hands and instead share that power in an egalitarian manner.

        What the United States has done is in line with our human genetic heritage of egalitarianism as evidenced by evolutionary biology* and anthropology.** What’s wrong with a culture of egalitarian power sharing?

        And even Jesus would be disgusted at the “progressive” power-concentrating agenda; he was against hierarchy.

        • “Call no man your boss.” ~Jesus

        • “Rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.” ~Jesus

        You’d think the Sojourner bootlicking authoritarian submissives in D.C. had never read Jesus.

        * Christopher Boehm (1999) Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. Harvard University Press.

        ** “Historically, people in non-state societies are relatively autonomous and sovereign. They generate their own subsistence with little or no assistance from outside sources. They bow to no external political leaders.” ~Elman R. Service (1975), Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution. New York: Norton.

      1. Curtis: “Being Gay is a sin.”. Is a misrepresentation and negative spin on Evangelical beliefs. Large gap between Christianity and LGBT community. Okay that is true but in large part because there is a large gap also with secular straight culture. Denouncing sexual promiscuity, and the concept of “sin” (any sin), are offensive to secular gay and straight thinking. Taking a single biblical concept (love or holiness etc. ) and suppressing everything else in the Bible is bad hermeneutics.

  30. I’m not American, and I don’t own a gun, but your rant on guns was foolish. We have a DUTY to protect ourselves and our families. If people feel that a gun is the what they need to do that, then excuse me, but who in God’s name do you think you are to criticize them, Benjamin? That was uncalled for, it was ignorant, and it detracted from everything else you said. Why don’t you go ask a native American what happens when you can’t defend yourself.

      1. Then you can’t be progressive, and collude with the State to change the behavior of thy neighbor. The State is violence, as most any political scientist or anthropologist can evidence. John Howard Yoder’s trying to turn Jesus into a political machine who would sail to Rome to advocate disarmament of the Jews or other Leftist agendas is as dishonest as the Right ignoring all of Jesus’ ethical teachings and using him only for a fire insurance talisman.

    1. You do not necessarily have to own a gun to protect your family or yourself. American culture, and in particular some Evangelicals, are obsessed with the idea that they have to “protect” themselves against all sorts of enemies, mostly unseen. This is not a healthy since it is fear based, not fact based. Native Americans did have their own defenses and did win some battles (Little Big Horn for one). Unfortunately, they were overwhelmed by forces that had more in their number and better equipped.

      1. “You do not necessarily have to own a gun to protect your family or yourself.”

        ## In the UK, the idea of having “to to own a gun to protect your family or yourself” would be almost unthinkable – which may be no bad thing. Shouldn’t Evangelicals be trusting in God instead ? The Bible, which Evangelicals talk an awful lot about*, has this to say:

        “This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”

        *Though not when it is corrupted by being made ueber-conservative: Evangelical pulpits, that are so noisy on some other issues, are very quiet while The Conservative Bible is being produced:

        Is there any difference between Evangelicals & Fundies ? Neither seem to be very evangelical at all. It’s almost as though they’ve redirected their ancestral Papacy-bashing on to gays, liberals, Obama, etc.

    2. Rpflix, perhaps to an unbeliever, a lukewarm Christian or a person who is deficient in knowledge of the bible, Mr. Corey’s criticism of evangelical gun worship might appear foolish. But anyone who is sincere about following Jesus will recognize that gun worship and violence are incompatible with God’s desires for the members of the body of Christ. You may not like it but followers of Jesus are called to a different standard of behavior. Mr. Corey is simply speaking truthfully to his brothers and sisters.

      Matthew 5:38-48

      38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

      Love for Enemies

      43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He
      causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the
      righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

      John 15:8

      8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
      showing yourselves to be my disciples.

      Galatians 5:22-23

      22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

      1 Peter 3:8

      8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love
      one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

      2 Peter 1:3-9

      3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

      5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      1. Jesus: Rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.

        If Christians are supposed to be non-violent, then why do so many of them directly disobey Jesus and support State politics, which are enforced with violence, as political science and anthropology—and Jesus himself—readily evidence?

        P.S. Don’t bother quoting Romans to me. I cut those Pauline dunghills out of my Bible long ago. I’m only interested in the moral diamonds of Jesus.

        “The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

    3. Please see my post above about guns. As with all things in this world (we are called to be IN the world and not OF the world) we need to examine our relationship with the thing (guns, food, sex, and the list goes on and on) to ensure we are not setting these things up as idols. Love you brother!

    4. Wow, Benjamin, how dare you foolishly criticize guns when a foreigner, who does not own a gun, and has no idea about gun worship among Evangelicals is reading your blog? I mean, rpflix, in God’s name, has the right to criticize you!

      1. Gun worship? I’ll bet you’re a worshiper, just as long as the guns are in the higher, tighter hands of a hierarchy you control.

        As Chairman Mao said, quite correctly: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

        And he further said:

        “Our Principle is that the Party commands the gun.”

        What evangelicals are actually advocating isn’t necessarily guns, but egalitarian power sharing of that political power.

        Do you mind sharing that power?

    5. rpflix, you prove his point precisely. This gun thing has NO relationship to spirituality or Christianity. It is entirely a cultural phenomenon. You understand, don’t you, that he wasn’t criticizing gun ownership, just that American evangelicals have almost turned it into a point of doctrine?

      1. Every single jurisdiction on Earth has guns. The American and Swiss cultures are those of egalitarian power sharing of those tools.

        For all the “liberal” bandying about of “equality,” they’re the most politically authoritarian folks out there. And for all the conservative banging away about authority, they’re the most egalitarian folks in America.

    6. Where did you receive the divine mandate to protect your families? Was it before or after Jesus wished for you to turn the other cheek?

    7. rpflix, you’re correct, we do have a duty to protect ourselves and our families. As you can see by your downvotes, progressives have as tenuous of a grasp on morality as evangelicals.

      “But all moral problems can be illustrated by one misquotation: ‘Greater love hath no man than a mother cat dying to defend her kittens.’ Once you understand the problem facing that cat and how she solved it, you will then be ready to examine yourself and learn how high up the moral ladder you are capable of climbing.” ~Robert Heinlein

      I think Christians would do well to study their fellow species on the subject of morality. I love leaving one of these titles on the table when company comes over. 😉

      • Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals. (1996) Harvard University Press.
      • Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved. (2006) Princeton University Press.
      • Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (2010) Chicago University Press

  31. LOVE this. I’ve been struggling with feeling like the word, “Evangelical” has been stolen from me. I AM an evangelical, but I know of not one evangelical group that would accept me because of issues that have been adopted by the main force behind the current use of the word! I am not liberal. I am not conservative. I am a follower of Jesus and a progressive one at that!…thanks for introducing me to the term neo-anabaptist. I am a Methodist, but yeah, that works!
    Thanks for this piece. Love. Love….Love it

  32. Is anyone else uncomfortable with the rhetorical strategy of writing to an ism? There must be a human or two that we could approach with our concerns.

  33. I’ve “broken up” with evangelicalism a while back, but I want to caution against something that happened in this article, a mistake I have made repeatedly since the break up. I’m more in the radical theology Caputo vein and am informed by poststructuralism so this comes from that angle, along with some postcolonialism, but what I consider just good hearty peacemaking. What happened in this article is “othering.” Corey stereotypes a majority of evangelicals as the totality of them and sets them in a “bad” category. I hope the church moving forward breaks free from these good-bad or orthodox-heretic binaries. While I agree with his criticism of problems within evangelicalism (and he misses badly on its racist bent, but let’s be honest the Emergent church is all white too so it’s to be expected) talking that way won’t make things better. Hopefully we’ve learned from our past mistakes (Great Schism/Reformation).

    1. Not trying to stereotype all Evangelicals, but I did make some generalizations about Evangelical culture as I have experienced it. Perhaps there was some othering born from hurt, but it was a raw post. Not sure if the racism critique is fair– this is an issue I’ve bluntly dealt with in the past as the father of Latino children.

      1. I think most conservative Evangelical people aren’t exactly racist, Ben. However, I think a couple of their more common beliefs make them act as though they are:

        Firstly, many Evangelical people seem to have bought into the Prosperity Gospel stuff. They also believe God directly punishes sin. Also, for some reason, most of the people I have known in Evangelical churches deny the existence of systemic racism. of course, many of life’s hardest hits have nothing to do with our own actions. Systemic bias against people of color is real, so more people of color are in bad situations. But, since those facts don’t fit with their beliefs, many Evangelicals seem to sit in judgement of people in hard times, condemning them. They get angry if tax-dollars are spent to help them. They often seem to blame anyone suffering for their situation. Since those people are more often people of color, that comes off as racist.

        Secondly, many conservative Evangelical people seem to back authority simply because it’s in power. (Unless it’s an authority they don’t recognize, see their reaction to President Obama.) Because in a society shot-through with systemic racism (which they don’t acknowledge) most people in positions of power are white. That means they often seem to back the mostly-white power-structure against any challengers, and that comes off as supporting white privilege.

    2. Thank you, Matt. It really is a mark of irony how so many self-styled progressives are more “them vs us” about this than the conservatives they castigate and generalise about. Thank you for speaking up.

  34. I’m on board, but “academically driven”? The university is the furthest thing from evangelicalism, if you don’t count the indoctrination camps that try to pass as such (Bob Jones, Liberty, Oral Roberts, etc.).

  35. I’m here with you!

    Question: the anger & frustration & resentment I seem to be harbouring towards evangelical circles, while understandable, is growing. Can anyone here give me some life tips about letting go?

    While we’re at it, like the author, I don’t want to be changed or converted by evangelicalism anymore than the next person. But we’re still demanding change of it. Has anyone encountered or expressed better ways of handling smugness or self-righteousness that sometimes creeps in. At least… it does for me & it creeps in at the most inconsiderate times. It could be ‘right’ as rain, but how the heck does one take the evangelical out of the girl even after the girl has fled the evangelical???

    1. People often talk about anger as if its a universally bad thing. It’s not. Anger doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an unhappy or miserable person. I’m often accused of being an angry atheist, and my only response is that yes, I am. I’m a very angry person. It means I’m paying attention.

      Sometimes anger is all that helps you survive. Anger is what rescued me from an extremely dangerous church body. It saved me from a religiously abusive father. It prompted me to publicly confront a priest who raped my best mate when I was barely a teenager. It destroyed the prejudices and lies I grew up with. It keeps me motivated to stand up to religious authorities on behalf of those whose voices are too soft to be heard.

      I’m not telling you to embrace your anger. I’m advising you to examine it. Determine whether it’s the anger that makes you unhappy, or its source. There’s no need to let go of your anger. Fire is deadly and destroys when it’s out of control, but when it’s tempered and channeled, it can create good things. So can your anger, if you can channel it in the right direction.

      If you imagined me as the Emperor Palpatine while reading this, it’s okay. So did I. Embrace the Dark Side.

      1. Well said, Irish Atheist. Anger is just an emotion. It’s no more inherently bad than love. Anger carried to extreme can lead to violence. Love carried to extreme can become obsession.

        Anger at wrongs suffered by yourself or someone else, anger at institutions that do damage, anger at deliberate deceptions, that is healthy anger. It motivates you to right wrongs, stop damage and speak the truth. It’s a force for good.

        Palpatine had a point. Remember, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  36. I totally agree, although I’m not ready to burn any bridges yet. I’m at the place where I really want to know and follow Jesus independently of politicalism, genderism, patriotism, classism, religiousism, Duckism, and any other isms that have been heaped onto Christianity by American evangelicals. I’m very much looking forward to reading your book.

  37. I can totally relate! I grew up Southern Baptist at a time when the term “evangelical” referred to a lot of parachurch groups such as Campus Crusade, Youth for Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, etc. As such, evangelicals groups usually had an interdenominational flavor. When my own spiritual pilgrimage led me to a more historical liturgical expression of Christianity, some of my evangelical friends no longer knew what to think or how to talk to me, even though I still considered us to be part of the same “family of God.” For some it was as though I ceased to exist. Even as the years went by, I would ache over what I saw to be un-Christ-like thoughts and actions on the part of Evangelicals because I still considered them kin and wished their spiritual walk could be a little different. Still, I have never regretted my move to a more historic Christian faith.

        1. The next step, would be to buy and read this book called the Naked Anabaptist– you won’t regret it.

          Then, if you enjoy learning from sermons, start listening to some Greg Boyd who’s essentially an Anabaptist voice and someone nearly all of us in the current Anabaptist movement love. You can listen to his sermons by audio or video here:

          I think that should get you started, but keep coming back and asking questions and I’ll help you explore this. Following Kurt Willems on his blog and FB will also be a good resource for you.

          1. Benjamin, I appreciate a lot of what you say here. You also promote Greg Boyd, who also says a lot of good things.

            Yet, Greg and his church are pretty clear on the fact that marriage is hetero-exclusive. i.e. no gays allowed. Which, firmly puts them in the Evangelical camp as far as I’m concerned. Unless Anabaptist-ism (?) is just a mild form of Evangelicalism? It certainly isn’t progressive Christianity, at any rate.

            So, are you saying then, that gays are welcome yet gay marriage is not? I’m just asking for clarity’s sake.

            1. I would appreciate any clarification that more learned minds than mine can give, but here’s what I felt was laid on my heart recently about this very issue:

              As a legal issue, gay marriage falls into the “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” in that, the legal system should recognize unions of two consenting adults and afford all the legal status of any union it already recognizes.

              As human beings, we are to love one another as Jesus loved us: it was one of the last things He said to His followers as He left us here to return to His Father. He didn’t issue disclaimers and frequently was called out by the “righteous” for the people with whom He associated.

              As couples, each person must prayerfully enter ANY relationship with another person and seek God’s guidance. I have had my share of failed heterosexual marriages, (note the plural) so I am the LAST person to cast stones at anyone who lovingly, prayerfully and with God’s guidance enters into a union. We must put these things first in ALL our relationships with each other and walk as the Word teaches us.

              As Paul pointed out, I have also found myself walking the Christian walk as a single person to be more fruitful for where I am right now in my walk. But should this change, I would expect to put all the things I stated above into any relationship or marriage that I might enter. I didn’t do that before and I failed miserably. The heart of man being what it is, this isn’t going to be foolproof, but it’s probably as close as it gets here in this old broken world.

              Having one out of three of my sons come out to me has made me prayerfully seek answers from God on this very subject. All three sons were raised in the same household by the same parents, so only one of them coming out as homosexual has taken me places in my spiritual life that I might not have gone otherwise. And I’m still prayerfully seeking guidance. And so far the guidance I’m receiving is Jesus message of love for us all.

              I am adding this edit since I realized the question you asked of Ben may have more to do with what the Anabaptist view of same sex marriage is. I’m sorry if I drifted off that, but wanted to share what was just recently laid on my heart about this issue. I don’t know the Anabaptist view, but hope is is line with the above.

              1. I don’t know what the Anabaptist view is either, Alice, but regardless, I personally think your view is excellent.

                John Shore has had a lot to say on the subject of being a parent of a homosexual. You can check that out at

            2. I can’t speak to all of Greg’s positions. I have affirmed (see recent article on 12 years a slave) on the right of traditions to maintain their traditions/beliefs, and I wouldn’t want to change that. I also affirm the right of people to act and support same sex marriage as citizens, even if they belong to traditions which do not recognize them. What I aimed to get at in the post, is how the gay community is often treated and not often able to find safe space to connect with God.

              1. I see. That makes sense. I read that ’12 years’ article and would affirm the same. I think perhaps, being in Canada we’ve moved through these issues, from a civil perspective, a number of years ago.

                But I would like to add this: as a gay person I don’t want merely a ‘safe’ space to connect with God, I want a community in which I can truly belong. The churches that maintain the traditional view of marriage will never be one of those places.

                Which is fine, there are lots of truly progressive churches out there which are affirming. I was just trying to understand where you were coming from with that, and now I know.

      1. Followed that link as well and apparently, I are one!. LOL! Didn’t know there was a name for where I have found my walk taking me, but nice to know that I’m not off base and God has pointed others in this direction as well.

  38. A lot of this is only AMERICAN evangelicalism though, not evangelicalism in other parts of the world (e.g. UK, Canada).

      1. Yes, ‘American Evangelicalism’ would be more accurate, though since you are mainly talking about culture (rather than theology/doctrine) I think ‘American Conservatism’ would be best.

        As a (theologically evangelical) Brit living in the States, I’m constantly aware that, had I grown up here, I almost certainly wouldn’t be a Christian. Cos who wants to be a flag-waving, gun-toting, power-hungry, other-hating, hyper-capitalistic, militaristic, enemy of science, right?

        Having been fortunate enough to have seen a bit of the world, I can confirm that evangelicalism is nothing like your letter* anywhere else. But since America is so internationally influential, we get tarred with the same brush anyway.

        *Apart from the power bit, but then that’s a human disease.

        1. I disagree. The Evangelical community of Northern Ireland holds many similarities to their American counterparts.

          My experience with British evangelicalism is limited, but those few I have interacted with could have come straight from a Southern Baptist church in Alabama, with the exception of the gun culture bit.

          1. Fair enough – I’ve never been to Ulster.*
            But in the evangelical churches I’ve been to (or belonged to) in England, Scotland, Poland, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe, or the evangelicals I’ve known from Germany, Scandavia, Romania, Latin America, South Africa, Egypt, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, India (etc.etc.etc.) the stereotype does not conform.

            *Do you think there’s a link with Calvinism? I’ve only ever been to one Calvinistic church, and that was in the States.

            1. And Ulster evangelicals even tend to like Country music too! They are, though, relatively small in number.

    1. Very accurate, Keen. Most international Christians I know don’t deal with these issues. In fact, they think it is quite strange.

    2. Lol yes. Earlier I thought of commenting “Is this about evangelicals you’ve met or living around you, isn’t it? Because I don’t think these descriptions fit the evangelicals back home in my country, nor in this country where I live right now.” But then I reached the point about guns and I got it, oh, this is indeed about “American evangelicals”.

      1. I probably should have clarified but thought that since the name of the blog is “insights, hopes and laments on American Christianity and culture” that the context would have been more obvious.

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