This week I wondered if the label I wear as an evangelical really fits me? Many days I feel so different from the folks I do church with... I don't have any desire to be part of a structured precepts Bible study, I question church rules that seem more about culture than Christ and I have always been curious about both understanding and befriending others with worldviews very different than my own. I started my faith journey never needing anyone to lay out hermeneutics or apologetics to convince me I needed God. I simply sought Him, believed the Bible, and after so many years of studying, wanted to spend time hanging out with the poor to develop a deeper faith. It just seemed there were more scriptures about walking with the poor as a human love model than anything else. In Western culture where we tend to label, this choice put me in a box of having a mercy gift; and, I'm sometimes written off with this posture because I've been told it's not for everyone. Well, all I can say is spending time hanging out with the homeless poor allowed me to see Jesus in a way I had never seen Him before... and, it made the scriptures come more alive for me than through any of my Bible study. Basically, it changed my entire perspective in being an evangelical.
That said, I am also a creative-type and am inspired by creativity... and, us creatives don't seem to fit the mold with evangelical academic types either. I can look at art and see or hear God sometimes better than reading a scripture or following a study. And when I do study, I am way more inspired by the juxtaposition of biblical concepts as they relate in a current cultural context or a personal life story. That's just me, being real, and it has taken me a while to figure all that out and not feel guilty about either the art thing or the study style. Though, again, both don't seem very evangelical compared to my traditional church teaching focused around Bible study and discussion.
These above scenarios highlight my evangelical label wondering... it's a tension for me. However, this week I was encouraged by some folks that do not seem typically evangelical either. They are three people I know and their postings are not like anything I have ever heard in church. So, I guess if these folks are evangelical and see things differently and live in the tension of not being traditional with their viewpoints in a postmodern, post-Christian culture... well, then I can, too.
A Call to Transform Politics
The Silence of Women
God & Gays: Bridging the Gulf
(ps - this Marin Foundation post is an older, but powerful BBC broadcast)