The Evangel and Evangelicals

By | December 23, 2017

It’s weird to me. My friends who are not connected to white Evangelicalism see all the things white Evangelicals are doing. They see the open adulation of whiteness and religiosity and absolutely crazy & delusional “rationalizations” for supporting people like Trump and Moore and somehow making it OK because Jesus.

This is actually going on, in front of our eyes. Everyone knows this.

And my white Evangelical family either pretends it’s not happening, and is going through the same motions and programs, OR is just shouty and angry and defensive.

Tell me, white Evangelical…

  • What do I say to my gay friend kicked out of his home by Christian parents because he is gay and won’t “repent.” What does he repent of? Being what he is?
  • What do I say to my black friend when he is told his faith is invalid because he doesn’t support white Evangelicalism but instead supports a gospel that demands repentance and restorative justice? Does he give it up because it troubles white Evangelicals?
  • What do I say to my Muslim friend who is told he is a terrorist and threat to America by his elected Evangelical representative, and is told by other Evangelicals that he is unfit to hold office should he attempt to extend his rights as an American citizen?
  • What do I say to my sick or poor or unemployed or elderly friends who are told by Evangelicals that “if you will not work you will not eat”? And that it’s not the duty of government to care for them, but churches–and churches by and large are not supplying this need because they are not designed to supply this need?
  • What do I tell my Latinx friends that even though they are in the sanctuary of the church they can still be dragged out by ICE, to the applause of white Evangelicals who call them “illegals” unfit to stay in America?

How do I tell them the gospel when the gospel of white Evangelicals isn’t good news at all, but terrible, destroying, crushing news that they don’t count because they don’t fit in?

I dunno.

I just tell them the real gospel, and hope God works on them, and … I figure I can do nothing to fix white Evangelicals. They are surely as much as part of the Kingdom as I, and in the story of the Prodigal Son we are never told which of the sons we are, so maybe there is reason to hope. Maybe I’m the one running home; maybe I’m the one already home; and the problem is that I’m not in full restored relationship with my family.

But maybe building the Kingdom is more than something where we go to a building and say words. Maybe the Kingdom is about both believing and doing, about joy and love, about a manger and a cross and a grave and a hope.

That’s what I look for. If white Evangelicalism can fit in with the Kingdom, great. If not, then let’s abandon it as not useful and even destructive.