Grey thinking and my [post?-]evangelical self

by Kat

Image from an article in Relevant Magazine about Donald Miller's book adapted to film, Blue Like Jazz

Image from an article in Relevant Magazine (relevantmagazine.com) about Donald Miller’s collection of essays adapted into film, Blue Like Jazz

When asked about my religious beliefs, I describe myself as “a person of some faith.” Sometimes I feel like I should have subtitles or footnotes or something during the  rest of the conversation. These days I attend church mostly for the community, while at the same time imagining what it would be like to still have the certainty that accompanied my culturally Christian youth. I’ve mentioned to friends before that when you grow up theologically (and in this case, also politically) conservative, you tend to stay in that tradition or become considerably more liberal as you develop your religious identity.

I suppose this becomes a narrative of my [post?-]evangelical / person of some faith journey. I was reminded of about this continuing process as I happened upon the Recovering Evangelical (http://recoveringevangelical.com) blog and reflected on my own story. This process has been a series of monologues (sometimes even imagined conversations) written on sheets of notebook paper and bound journals with authors such as  Rachel Held Evans (1), Andrew Marin (2), Sarah Sentilles (3), Greg Epstein  (4), Mel White (5), Donald Miller, Lauren Winner, Brian McLaren, and Bishop Spong.

My reading has been intermingled with dialogues over cups of tea with people of faith — those who listen and emphasize that the spaces they inhabit are comfortable for people who doubt and wonder.  They remind me that my thinking about my religious life doesn’t have to be so black-and-white. Being in the grey, engaging in grey thinking, in a place that can be uncomfortably uncertain, is okay. I find it preferable to assuming I know everything about God, if ze [gender neutral pronoun] exists at all.

So dear readers, I’m reminded of a quote, from the writer of Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, with which I’ll end this discussion for now: “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ~ Anne Lamott

  1. Review of Rachel Held Evan’s A Year of Biblical Womanhood: http://persephonemagazine.com/2012/11/02/book-review-a-year-of-biblical-womanhood-by-rachel-held-evan/
  2. The Marin Foundation, founded by Andrew Marin to promote dialogue between the LGBT community and evangelical Christians : http://www.themarinfoundation.org/
  3. Blog post about Sarah Sentille’s book, Breaking Up With God: http://www.religiondispatches.org/books/rd10q/4650/breaking_up_with_god%3A_i_didn%27t_lose_my_faith%2C_i_left_it/
  4. Interview with Greg Epstein, Harvard Humanist Chaplain and author of The New Humanism: http://reedsecular.org/2009/11/16/good-without-god-interview-with-greg-epstein/
  5. Soulforce, an organization for LGBT[QIA] – QUILTBAG – Christians and their allies, co-founded by Mel White: http://soulforce.com/