Why I'm not Evangelical Anymore
I can't identify myself as an Evangelical Christian any longer. I haven't for a while now, I think, but it becomes increasingly obvious to me all the time. I know (and love and greatly respect) so, so many people who do place themselves in that category and this is not meant in any way to be a denigrating statement.
My personal convictions have led me to a place where thinking of myself as a follower of Jesus (who, by the way, is absolutely still my Lord and Savior, in case some of you were concerned) is a much more appropriate description. I've been part of evangelical churches for a vast majority of my life, and I think I will always experience a pull towards those customs and ideologies in some small way. It's painful to me, this change. I've been going through a grieving process over this loss for about three years now. I don't know when that grieving will end, if ever. But I can no longer pretend that what the Evangelical Church, by and large, presents to the world, aligns with my beliefs or convictions, simply because I attended Hillsong or used to sing on stage a lot, or because I'm from the Bible Belt.
The intent of this post is to clarify what may seem confusing to some in my drastic change in ideologies and politics, etc. It is also simply for the purpose of being transparent and not being ashamed of who I am, who I'm going to offend, who is going to think me a sinner/heretic, and so on. I'm simply done with that way of life.
I'm still figuring out what this means for me. Humans like to be placed in categories, and I no longer feel as if I fit in one (in terms of my faith). What does this mean for the role of church in my life? What does this mean for my passion for worship leading and singing? What does this mean for my view of God and the world and life and humanity and the Bible? I simply don't know. I do believe those answers will come, eventually. In the meantime, many of the painful and harmful things I have learned for most of my life about who God is and what matters in life, etc., are being deconstructed, brick by brick. I'm grateful for that. I think I hit rock bottom a few years ago, and when I looked up, my heart awakened. "Oh. There You are," it said. "That's not who I thought You were at all. And I am so, so glad."
I should also add that this is in no way to suggest that nothing good came out of my experience in the evangelical church. There were so many things I learned, so many people I met, so many ways in which I came to know God and myself, so many happy, joyful experiences, and I would never trade any of that for the world. But I realized somewhere along the road that one of the primary identity markers for me and others like me was exclusion. I'd so much rather be known as someone who says, "Come to the table. There is room for everyone."
It's been a really hard and painful journey. And it's not even close to finished.
I don't know if this will mean anything to anyone. I just needed to say it.
Commentary and discussion welcome (as long as it's respectful and sensitive 😊).