post evangelical blues

For the past couple of years now, I’ve been identifying myself as a post-evangelical when it comes to matters of my faith. Completely philosophical in nature, really. I’ve adopted the term after discovering and chewing on the various articles on the iMonk site, where I first stumbled upon the word “post-evangelical”. It counts as one word when it’s hyphenated, right?

Anyway, it should come as no surprise that I’ve come across more than a few questions about this. And sadly, even more knee-jerk leaps of conclusions, which have lead to more than my share of having to explain myself and justify my existence. People are more gracious when I tell them I’m a metalhead. But not by much, there.

So, I thought I would take this time to write a bit on why I’ve come to call myself this, muse a bit on whee my faith has led me since coming out of the closet as a Christian in 1992, and maybe answer some of the questions and concerns I’ve come across in conversations about his. More for my own benefit than anything.

To begin, I thought I would get the negatives out of the way—i.e., what labeling myself “post-evangelical” does not mean. And we’ll start off with the most important point I’d like to make:

  • It does not mean that my faith in Who Jesus is has changed.

If you forget everything else that I’ve written here (and I wouldn’t blame you a bit), please remember this one: Jesus has been, and always will be, my Lord and Saviour. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Word made flesh, God incarnate, and the only way sinful, degenerate humans can ever be reconciled—through faith and grace alone—to God. Are we clear? I don’t want anyone thinking I’m being obscure about this. Which leads me to this next one…

  • It does not mean that I don’t think sharing the Gospel or being involved in some form of ministry or outreach is important.

Despite what it sounds like, “post-evangelical” doesn’t mean discarding evangelism (all will be explained soon enough, I promise). As Christians, we have a very serious mandate to share the Gospel, faithfully and boldly, with love and compassion. And with me, also with a bit of a twisted sense of humor. Either in an official outreach capacity, or as a part of our seemingly mundane existence, sharing the Gospel is non-negotiable.

Those were the two main important points I wanted to make, to get out of the way. But, just to have all of the important bases covered…

  • It does not mean that my views on the Bible have wavered.

The Bible is the inspired Word of God, “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), and my love for this ancient tome is unwavering.

Well, now that we have those out of the way, let’s get to the whole point of this little writing exorcise of mine: why I refer to myself (among other things) as a “post-evangelical”. And it’s pretty simple:

I grew disillusioned with Evangelical Christianity. Well, the shiny Western version of Evangelical Christianity.

I got tired of the spectacle. I got tired of the superficiality of trying to fit in, yet not quite getting it. I got tired of being emotionally manipulated with flash and style with hardly any substance whatsoever to feed upon.

I grew weary of sermons that seemed more like motivational seminars. The pep rally concerts that passed as “worship songs”. The insider language, the outer trappings, the constant playing of a Christian game.

In short, the desire to follow Jesus superseded the superficial posturing that I was doing in order to please other people. It hasn’t been easy, and I suspect that I shall be wrestling with my faith until the Lord Jesus calls me home finally. But, God as certainly blessed me while I wander in this post-Evangelical wilderness. He has been showing me truly what it means to be given life more abundantly, so much more than anything I could ever buy in a church bookstore.

I write this, not so much to make you understand who I am, but more to make sense of things myself. All I know is, when I say “I love Jesus”, I want it to be genuine, and not just a slogan to keep up appearances. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.