Friday, July 02, 2004

the big "E"

adam over at pomomusings has a post that i read before bed last night. it's been chewing at the edge of my thoughts even before i read it, and it resonated deeply within me.

as the wife of a youth pastor 'in the big E' evangelical church i am struggling. i too care more about the small 'e' than i do about the big "E" now. but that wall of christianity that says once it's labelled big "E" we can turn off our brains, not have to think anymore, it's been 'approved for our consupmtion' mentality is so rampant in the church today that i feel like i'm swimming against the tide.

i think that if you truly are evangelical it should be evident without words. it's almost like having to tell someone you're smart or handsome - if you do - you're not. if those around you can't figure out you're intelligent or good looking by being around you then your telling them isn't going to change anything (other than the fact that they're going to think you're delusional).

lately i've noticed that the term 'EVANGELICAL' is like 'look for the union label' - if it's stamped big "E" then it's safe. but what that really means is it's watered down, 2nd generation information that others have already processed for us.

i have tried for the past year to explain to others in my church that the pablum they are reading is inspired by real thoughts and works by people outside the realm of the big "E". that people like henri nouwen and thomas merton, parker palmer and theresa of avila are the people that the authors they are reading read. trying to push them just a bit outside the 'abc' books (already been chewed) that they can't seem to put down.

but when they hear words like 'catholic' or 'monk', 'quaker' or 'contemplative mystic' they look at me like i've got three heads, make the evil eye sign and run for cover. i'm weary. coming from creation and heading to the national youth conference tomorrow i realize that i don't 'fit' in like is used to. the 'rah, rah, hyperactivity of the big "E" church' leaves me feeling queasy and empty inside. they're trying so hard to convince me and everyone else that they really have it all figured out, that they are spiritual. please stop telling me that you are 'evangelical' - for god's sake, show me.

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